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Robert Burns


Born in Alloway on 25 January 1759, Burns is one of Scotland’s most celebrated children. His first book, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, saved him from financial disaster; he also produced in two collections of songs — one of his own, and one of old Scots airs. But heavy drinking broke his fragile health and left him dead at 37. Burns had many children, legitimate and illegitimate, all of whom he loved and took responsibility for. His politics, despite a romantic Jacobitism, were republican: he passionately supported the French Revolution of 1789. Burns’ appeal is enduring and international, and his birthday is celebrated each year by fans of his life and works.