The great Scottish poet was born on January 25, 1759 in the village of Alloway, Ayrshire. His ancestors were independent farmers and took part in the uprising for the independence of Scotland. The father of the poet worked for many years as a gardener in the Edinburgh. Saved enough money, he rented the farm Oliphant where Robert Burns and his younger brother Gilbert spent their childhood. Despite the very hard work, reading books played a great role in life of the family. The Burns’ language was formed as a combination of folksy Scottish dialect on which his mother sang and literary English that he studied from books.
Being a young man, Robert began to collect and make notes of fine patterns of Scottish literature and songs. A big influence on him had the poet Robert Fergusson who died at the age of 23 during the uprising. Burns decided to write in Scotch despite the fact that all the metropolitan elite used to read poetry in English only. When he was 25, his father died leaving him the head of the family and the host of the farm. At the same time he met his future wife, Jean Armour, but they could not get married because of the prohibition of her parents.
On July 31, 1786 Burns published the first book of his poems “Kilmarnokk little volume” that immediately brought him great fame. Many notable people of Edinburgh became his friends. The following two years Burns spent traveling across the country and everywhere he was greeted with enthusiasm. However, he did not take any money for his books considering it unworthy of a true creator. In 1789 the poet became excise official. Former rebel and freethinker had to behave like a model civil servant and it constantly tormented him. The last years of his life the poet lived in Dumfries with his big family combining official duties with writing poems and ballads. Burns died on 25 July 1796 and in the same day his fifth son Maxwell was born.
Burns’ poems are written in very clear and simple words. Once, when Dr. Moore advised him to get acquainted with Greek mythology, the poet replied that he wrote to his fellows living in rural huts. He did not aspire for immortal fame but he wrote to his contemporaries about things that troubled them. Many researchers said that the main feature of Burns was his humanity. The main motive of Burns’ creations was freedom. The poet saw it in the liberation of people from the power of the king and in the possibility of unlimited development of all human abilities.
Burns’ poetry entered the world literature as a powerful active force. Goethe and Byron both said that the source of Burns’ greatness was his proximity to his nation. Robert Burns greatly influenced the English literature, especially in the romantic period. He was a predecessor of Walter Scott in using national stories and folklore in literary works.