Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Me and Robert Burns

What a claim this may seem to be, but I feel some simpatico with this Scotch drinker and man.

I include the following information on Robbie:
Burns wrote of his own rural experience as well as dealing with themes of patriotism, republicanism, class structure, and sexuality, with wit, humor and sometimes bawdy but always accessible verse. He devoted much of his life and writing to honoring Scottish heritage and culture; its people, literature, folklore, ballads, and music. He was also at times deeply troubled by the societal values that led to conflicts and wars and he was considered radical for his political views. He alienated himself from many friends when he expressed support of the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. While not forgetting his humble roots he went on to be one of the most celebrated poets during his lifetime and up to the present, almost two hundred and fifty years later. His life and works have inspired many other writers including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Hugh MacDairmid, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and William Wordsworth.

And if I may be so bold, Peter Rake

Robert (Rabbie) Burns was born on 25 January, 1759 in Alloway, Ayrshire of south west Scotland, the son of a poor tenant farmer or “cotter” William Burnes [Burness] (1721-1784) and his wife Agnes Broun [Broun]. The Burns family lived in a cottage that William himself had built, and which John Keats would later visit and write his sonnet “Written in the cottage where Burns was born”. The cottage and property now belong to the Burns National Heritage Park. Young Robert and his siblings worked the fields with their father, which was hard manual labour near the shores of the Firth of Clyde. They were exposed to the sometimes fair but more often harsh climes of Scotland that would take their toll on Robert’s constitution. He and his younger brother Gilbert also attended the local school and were tutored by John Murdoch.

Burns became a voracious reader of many classic Greek, English and Scottish literary works including William Shakespeare’s, Allen Ramsay’s, and Robert Fergusson’s. He also studied the Bible, French, Latin, arithmetic, geography, and history, and his childhood nurse Betty Davidson is said to have introduced him to the world of Scottish folklore and witchcraft as in “Tam o’Shanter”. The family moved to the farm Mount Oliphant in 1766, then a year later to Lochlea farm. Burns was a handsome, dark-haired young lad; a hard worker at the plow, and he worked as a flax dresser for a time. He also started on his life-long habit of spending nights out drinking Scotch whisky and flirting with the ladies. Burns became a Freemason in 1781 and after the death of his father in 1784, he and Gilbert rented Mossgiel farm, near Mauchline, but it proved an unsuccessful business venture.

Around the age of fifteen Burns had started writing poems in the Ayrshire dialect of Lowlands Scots, including his first, “Handsome Nell” (1771-79);

O once I lov'd a bonie lass,
Ay, and I love her still;
And whilst that virtue warms my breast,
I'll love my handsome Nell.

I write with the love of Australia, and particularity the Outback that Robbie did for his beloved Scotland.  I am not adverse to some Liquid Scotland as well.

For Robbie to live and labour on Scottish soil would put in him the love that one attains from feeling the power of the earth.  I put it to those that feel that they have a connection to the land to stand bare footed and experience the earth reaching up to your very being. (read my poem "Tranquility")

I too, feel as though my radical political views are as those of Robert, but only because, as it was in his time, it is in mine, we make mock of political correctness.

If at all, one needs a hero, Robert Burns is mine.

Just like me, he is a handsome 'divil' yeah!

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