Happy Birthday Robert Burns!

burnsJanuary 25th, 1759.

A weary Winter soon will pass

And spring will cleed the birken shaw.

(Spring will clothe the birch woods, that is)

From “The Bonnie Lad That’s Far Awa,” 1788

Why do I mark Burns’s birthday each year, even though I am not from Scotland?

1. He was prolific. I admire a guy who did not make it to age 40 but yet wrote . . .  however many poems he wrote. Project Gutenberg has about 500 poems, songs etc.:


2. I also admire a guy who wrote so much in a dialect that most English-speakers would not understand. It’s like Melville sitting down to write 500 pages about whales, or Richard Adams grinding out a novel about rabbits. Just imagine the confidence it takes to know that what you’re writing is so good, people will work to figure it out.

3. He was politically a right-on guy, for his time; he spoke of support for democratic movements in France and the U.S.

4. His birthday is a good excuse for food and Scotch in a slow time of year.



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