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Robert Burns(1)

   Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, was born on January 25, 1759 in Scotland. His father, William Burns, was a poor farmer. There were seven children in the family, and Robert was the eldest. His father knew the value of a good education, and he tried to give his children the best education he could afford. Robert was sent to school at the age of six, but as his father could not pay for the two sons, Robert and his brother Gilbert attended school in turn. When not at school, the boys helped their father with his work in the fields. But soon the teacher left, and so Burns's father invited a young school teacher to teach the boys. When the teacher left, the poet's father taught the children himself. Reading and writing, arithmetic, English grammar, history, literature, French and Latin — that was Robert Burns's education.
   Robert's mother knew many Scottish songs and ballads and often sang them to her son in his childhood. His mother's friend Betty told Robert many fantastic tales about devils, fairies and witches. Burns's mother died in 1820. She lived long and enjoyed the fame of her poet son.
   Robert Burns became fond of reading. He read whatever he could lay nis hands on. His favourite writers were Shakespeare, Smolett, Robert Fergusson, a talented Scottish poet (1750—1774). Fergusson's tragic fate deeply touched Burns. Burns devoted many verses to Fergusson.
   Robert Burns began to write poetry when he was fifteen. He composed verses to the melodies of old folk-songs, which he had admired from his early childhood. He sang of the woods, fields and wonderful valleys of his native land. Burns published some of his poems in 1786. Their success was complete. And Robert Burns became well known and popular.
   When Burns came to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, a new and enlarged edition of his poems was published. But soon Edinburgh society grew tired of him and forgot about the poet.
   Robert Burns left Edinburgh and returned to his native village with money enough to buy a farm and marry Jean Armour. Burns devoted to Jean many beautiful poems, such as "I love my Jean", "Bonnie Jean" and many others.
   Robert Burns's poems were very popular, he always remained poor. He worked hard and destroyed his health. He died in poverty at the age of thirty — seven in 1796. The poetry and songs of Robert Burns are famous all over the world.
   Robert Burns's poems and verses inspired Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn and other composers who wrote music to them.
   Burns is a democratic poet. His sympathy was with the poor. That is why his funeral was attended by a crowd of ten thousand. They were the common Scottish people whom he had loved and for whom he had written his poems and songs.
   The most popular poems of Robert Burns are "The Tree of Liberty", "My Heart's in the Highlands", "A Red, Red Rose" and many others.
   1. When was Robert Burns born?
   2. How many children were there in their family?
   3. What did Robert's father try to give his children?
   4. Who knew many Scottish songs and ballads?
   5. What did his mother's friend Betty tell Robert?
   6. When did Robert begin to write poetry?
   7. What did Robert Burns publish in 1786?
   8. Why did Robert Burns return to his native village?
   9. Who was Robert Burns's funeral attended by?
   10. Whom did Robert Burns's poems and verses inspire?
   value — ценность
   to afford — быть в состоянии позволить себе что-либо
   devil — дьявол
   fairy — фея
   witch — ведьма
   to enjoy — наслаждаться
   to lay — положить, класть
   to devote — посвятить
   to admire — восхищаться
   to compose — сочинить
   valley — долина
   to grow tired of... — уставать от...
   to destroy — разрушать
   to inspire — вдохновлять
   funeral — похороны
   poverty — бедность

Robert Burns(2)

   Robert Burns, a famous and popular Scottish poet, was born in 1759.
   Burns was born in a family of a poor farmer. Robert was the eldest of seven children, so he had to help his father on the farm. His father William Burns was a kind person who loved and understood people. So Robert learned to love and respect people from his father. His mother had a beautiful voice and often sang songs and told many folk-tales to her children. Robert remembered mother's songs and stories all his life.
   His father wanted Robert to be an educated person and sent him to school at the age of 6. Robert liked reading books. His favourite writer was Shakespeare.
   At the age of 15 he started to write poems. He wrote about people, about everyday life. The heroes of his mother's stories became the heroes of his poems.
   In 1777 Robert moved to another town where he organized a society of young people. They discussed moral, social and political problems of that, time.
   In 1784, his father died and Robert had to work at the farm. In 1791 he had to sell the farm because he wasn't successful at farming. Feeling the injustice of the world, he protested against landlords who owned the best land in his poetry. In 1786 he published a book of his poems which soon made him popular.
   Burns took part in creating a book of old Scottish folksongs, writing words for many melodies. Burns is the author of the words of the song "Auld Lang Syne", which Scottish people sing on the New Year Day. Robert Burns died in poverty at the age of 37.
   1. When was Robert Burns born?
   2. Who taught him to love people?
   3. When did he started writing poems?
   4. What did he write about?
   5. Was he a successful farmer?
   6. What famous Scottish song did he write words to?
   eldest — старший
   folk-tales — народные сказания
   successful — преуспевающий
   injustice — несправедливость
   landlord — помещик
   poverty — бедность

Robert Burns(3)

   Robert Burns was born in 1759. He was a farmer but he was always poor. He became famous because he wrote poetry. He wrote many love poems and some of these are now songs. Burns also wrote angry poems about rich people and poor people. For Burns all men were the same. They were all brothers.
   Rich people in Edinburgh liked Burns's love poems but they did not like his other poems. They did not help him much. Once they gave him a small job. So Burns left his farm and went to work. There he died in 1796.
   A popular Burn's poem is "Tarn O'Shanter". Here is the short contents of it. Tarn went to a pub and stayed there till midnight. Oh his way home he passed the church. He saw lights in the church and looked inside. He saw witches and devils there. They came out of the church and tried to catch him. But Tarn and his horse were safe, because the witches could not cross water. Though on the bridge over the river one witch caught his horse's tail.
   Burns took part in making a book of old Scottish folksongs, writing words for many melodies. Robert Burns wrote the words of the song "Auld Long Syne" (which means "They days of long ago"). Scottish people sing this song, when they celebrate the first of January, New Year's Day. Burns's poems are known and loved by people all over the world because he glorified a human being.
   1. What was Robert Burns?
   2. When was he born?
   3. Have you read any poems by Robert Burns?
   4. Robert Burns wrote the words of "Auld Long Syne", didn't he?
   5. When do Scottish people sing this song?
   poetry — поэзия
   contents — содержание
   midnight — полночь
   witch — ведьма