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Hey I'm Ross and I'm 17 years old and I am currently studying Intermediate 2 I.T. I live in the middle of nowhere outside Banff but originally came from Stirling and will be moving back down at the end of the year.

Thursday, 15 November 2007


Robert Burns Biography

Robert Burns was born in 25 January 1759 two miles south of Ayr in Alloway, South Ayrshire and is the oldest of the seven children from his father William Burness.

The house they lived in until he was seven was built by his father and is now called The Burns Cottage Museum. Upon his seventh birthday, his father sold the house and took the tenancy of a seventy acre farm south east from Alloway. Burns then lived a life of poverty and hardship, and because of the severe manual labour, the farm contributed to an already weakened constitution.

Because of the families poverty, Robert was seldom schooled and received most of his educational teachings from his father who taught him, and all the other children, reading, writing, mathematics, geography and history, as well as writing a manual of Christian belief to give them some sort of religious education.

At the age of fifteen he was the main labourer at the farm but was assisted by Nelly Kilpatrick who then inspired to attempt his first poem, O, Once I Lov’d A Bonnie Lass. He then was sent to finish his education with a tutor where he met Peggy Thomson, to whom he wrote two songs, Now Westlin’ Winds and I Dream’d I Lay.

In 1781 Burns became a Freemason at Lodge St David, Tarbolton. His earliest existing letters date from this time, when he began making romantic overtures to Alison Begbie (b. 1762). In spite of four songs written for her and a suggestion that he was willing to marry her, she rejected him.

In December 1781 Burns moved temporarily to Irvine to learn to become a flax-dresser, but during the New Year celebrations of 1781/1782, the flax shop caught fire and was sufficiently damaged to send him home to Lochlea farm.
He continued to write poems and songs and began a Commonplace Book in 1783, while his father fought a legal dispute with his landlord. The case went to the Court of Session and Burness was upheld in January 1784, a fortnight before he died. Robert and Gilbert made an ineffectual struggle to keep on the farm but after its failure, they moved to the farm at Mossgiel, near Mauchline in March, which they maintained with an uphill fight for the next four years. During the summer of 1784 he came to know a group of girls known collectively as The Belles of Mauchline, one of whom was Jean Armour, the daughter of a stonemason from Mauchline.

His casual love affairs did not endear him to the elders of the local Kirk and created for him a reputation for dissolution amongst his neighbors. His first illegitimate child, Elizabeth Paton Burns (1785 - 1817) was born to his mother’s servant, Elizabeth Paton (1760 - circa 1799), as he was embarking on a relationship with Jean Armour. She bore him twins in 1786, and although her father initially forbade their marriage, they were eventually married in 1788, and she bore him nine children in total, but only three survived infancy.
During a rift in his relationship with Jean Armour in 1786, and as his prospects in farming declined, he began an affair with 'Highland' Mary Campbell (1763 - 1786), to whom he dedicated the poems The Highland Lassie O, Highland Mary and To Mary in Heaven. Their relationship has been the subject of much conjecture and it has been suggested that they may have married. They planned to emigrate to Jamaica, where Burns intended to work as a bookkeeper on a plantation. He was dissuaded by a letter from Thomas Blacklock, and before the plans could be acted upon, Mary Campbell died suddenly of a fever in Greenock. That summer, he published the first of his collections of verse, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect, which created a sensation and has been recognized as a significant literary event.
Meanwhile he was writing at his best, and in 1790 had produced Tam O' Shanter. About this time he was offered and declined an appointment in London on the staff of the Star newspaper, and refused to become a candidate for a newly-created Chair of Agriculture in the University of Edinburgh, although influential friends offered to support his claims. After giving up his farm he removed to Dumfries.
As his health began to give way Burns began to age prematurely and fell into fits of despondency. The habits of intemperance aggravated his long-standing rheumatic heart condition, and on July 21, 1796 he died at the age of 37.
A memorial edition of his poems was published to raise money for his wife and children, and within a short time of his death, money started pouring in from all over Scotland to support them. His life and work continues to be promoted by Burns clubs across the world, with his birthday an unofficial national day for Scots and those with Scottish ancestry, celebrated with Burns suppers.
This information is based on information given on wikipedia. To vistit this topic in more detail visit www.wikipedia.com

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