Robert Burns

Robert Burns, also known as Rabbie Burns and the Bard of Ayrshire, was a Scottish poet and lyricist (someone who writes song words) He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. During his lifetime, King George II and King George III were on the throne.

  • Born: 25th January 1759, Alloway, Scotland
  • Died: 21st July 1796 (Aged 37)
  • Family: Burns reportedly had several children with several different ladies

Robert Burns

Famous Works

Robert Burns wrote over five hundred poems and songs. Some of his most famous works are ‘My Heart is in the Highlands’, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, ‘A Red, Red Rose’ and ‘Tam o’Shanter’.

Poems briefly explained:

My Heart’s in the Highlands declares the poet’s love for Scotland.

Auld Lang Syne is traditionally sung on New Year’s Eve at midnight and reminds us of events and people from long long ago.

A Red, Red Rose is a romantic poem celebrating true love.

Tam o’Shanter describes the habits of Tam, a farmer who often gets drunk with his friends in a pub in the Scottish town of Ayr.

First lines from poems by Robert Burns:

My Heart’s in the Highlands: ‘My heart’s in the highlands; my heart is not here…’

Auld Lang Syne: ‘Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind…’

A Red, Red Rose: ‘O my Luve’s like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June….’

Tam o’Shanter: ‘When chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet….’

Learning resources

Example questions

  • When was William Shakespeare born?

  • When did Charles Dickens die?

  • Who was on the throne when Jane Austen was born?

  • Where was Robert Burns born?

  • Tell me something about Jane Austen’s family.

  • Name a play written by William Shakespeare.

  • Explain the plot outline of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

  • Name a poem written by Robert Burns.

  • Quote a line from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.

  • Quote a line from any of Charles Dickens’s works.

Graduate Award links:

Pupils who wish to become Graduates in the available study topics can elect to study at home and in school during their own time, taking the Graduate Test when they know they are ready.

Upon graduation, they will receive a badge which they can wear on their school uniform with pride.

This will further demonstrate to their peers, parents, visitors and the wider community just how dedicated they are to their studies.