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
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
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
Robert Burns's poems and verses inspired Beethoven,
Schumann, Mendelssohn and other composers who wrote music
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
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