Robert Burns 1759 - 1796
"Even then, a wish (I mind its power),
A wish that to my latest hour
Shall strongly heave my breast-
That I for puir auld Scotland's sake,
Some useful plan or beuk could make,
Or sing a song at least."
From "Epistle to Mrs Scott (the Gude Wife of Wauchope) 1787
Robert Burns is known across the world as a poet, with his works being translated into more than sixty languages and indeed by the age of twenty-six he had already achieved enough to ensure his immortality. However it is a writer and collector of songs that he made his biggest impact on Scottish history. He not only composed his own, usually to well known airs of the time, but also wrote down, in many cases for the first time, the songs of the people of Scotland, which until then had only been passed on by oral tradition. He gathered, improved, collected, and wrote over three hundred and sixty songs in his short lifetime. Many of these ‘songs of folklore’ would have been lost forever had he not travelled, listened, remembered and, via Johnson and Thomson, published them.
This collection was originally intended to supplement a one-man show on the life of the Bard, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth. Telling his story through his own words and the key events in his life. It includes some little known songs which are real gems but seldom sung, and spans his creative life, from his first song; O Once I Lo’ed A Bonie Lass, written for Nell Kilpatrick when he was only fifteen, to his last; Here’s A Health to Ane I Lo’e Dear, written for Jessie Lewars from his death bed. It encompasses his patriotism with Awa’ Whigs Awa’ and Scots Wha Hae and shows his humour in A Lass Wi’ A Tocher. Burns was a man of many talents who has brought hope, comfort and pleasure to millions. I hope these songs do so for you.