Today Scotland’s bard Robert Burns would have been 257. Why should you care?
- He wrote “Auld Lang Syne”
- Bob Dylan has credited Burns’ “A Red, Red Rose” as his single most important influence
- Salinger took the title of “Catcher in the Rye” from Burns’ “Coming Through the Rye”
- The title of Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” is from Burns’ “To a Mouse”
- The work of Burns has been translated into more languages than any other writer except for Shakespeare and the Bible.
- It is said that 10,000 people attended his funeral when he died at age 37 having fathered at least 13 children (including one born on the day of his funeral) by four women
The life and work of Robert Burns has been celebrated throughout the world for more than 200 years in Burns Suppers, held on or near his birthday, January 25. These dinners have a prescribed order of events and traditional components including bagpipes, haggis, and whisky.
I introduced my community to the concept and more than 50 wonderful people showed up on a Sunday night in the aftermath of a snowstorm to raise a glass to the man whom Byron described as such:
“What an antithetical mind! Tenderness, roughness – delicacy, coarseness – sentiment, sensuality – soaring and groveling, dirt and deity – all mixed up in that one compound of inspired clay!”
Note that all the photos that look professional are: Thanks and photo credits to John Ferris Robben.
Many thanks to The Greenwich Pipe Band, Stefanie Kies, The Knights of Columbus, the University of Edinburgh Alumni Association, and everyone who braved Snowmageddon to raise a toast to The Ploughman Poet. See you next year!