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The Magic of Robert Burns Poetry

Updated on May 28, 2015

Enjoyment of Life...

Robert Burns, the Scottish Bard, was a man who expected all men to be considerate towards their fellow men. He felt aggrieved by hypocrites and those who blatantly exploited their social positions in order to further their own wellbeing. One example of this is his poem called Holy Wullie's Prayer. In this work he discusses the guilty conscience of a local Church Elder who has more faces than Big Ben, praying to God to forgive his many sins and by doing so, reinforcing his path to the Pearly Gates.

He enjoyed the company of his fellow neighbours and friends and was a regular at the local watering holes, where he and his cronies would "Get fou and unco happy". One of his greatest works, "Tam O' Shanter ", tells the story of one of his friends, Tam , who has a very scary experience, during his ride home on horseback, after an evening carousing- [probably totally blotto with the demon drink] through the wind and rain of a Scottish winter [ or maybe it was summer].Tam passes a church which is well known locally as an area haunted by ghosts and spooks of all kinds. Lo and behold the Devil and some of his cronies were having a rave in the churchyard.Tam eyed up one of the witches and made a comment about her appearance and her short dress. This resulted in the witch pursuing Tam and almost catching him- but she misses and is left holding his horse Meg's tail. A warning to all regarding the evils of excessive drinking and travelling late in the night!

Origins and Glory

Robert Burns is celebrated across the world as one of the greatest writers in Scottish Literature. His humour and empathy towards his fellow man are admirable. He was born a short distance from the area where I spent my youth, South Ayrshire in Scotland, and I think it is fair to say that a large part of my education, in the general sense, evolved from his work . A couple of years ago I decided to create what those in the trade call " A Vanity Project" - to write [and publish] an homage to Burns , using his poems and my illustrations.[The book is available on Amazon, for those who are interested- Robert Burns , Ten Of His Best].

Romantic Poetry

Amongst other topics,Burns wrote a lot of Romantic Poetry, based , I would guess on his many exploits with ladies. He must have found it so easy to win over his series of amours , as there are many poems attributed to different named ladies. One of these ladies eventually became his wife , Jean Armour. Her father initially disapproved of their relationship, but eventually gave in. She not only looked after him and their many children, but also brought up one child he fathered by a young servant girl he met on his travels. His wife was quoted as saying that Burns needed not one but three wives.

Wullie's Wife

One of my personal favourites is" Sic A' Wife as Willie's Wife", the descriptive poem of the wife of one of his friends, Willie Wastle. Although today this poem would be seen as sexist by Modern Woman, it still remains very humourous. Burns in his admiration of the fairer sex, liked pretty women. Good looking women, unlike Willie's Wife. His description of her creates a picture so vivid and as a woman , she was definitely not, as they say, at the top of the queue when attributes of the fairer sex were handed out. " She his an ee [eye], she his but yin [one] , the cat has twa [two] the very colour."

Her hands are described as looking like " midden creels"- baskets containing rubbish. What a woman. We cannot take this onslaught of female attraction too seriously as I'm sure it was written very tongue-in-cheek.


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