Robert Burns is the best known of all Scottish poets. He wrote about the feelings of ordinary poor people, love between man and woman, he glorified a healthy, joyous and clever Scotch peasant. The poor people loved him as the most gifted poet who expressed their thoughts and feelings in his poems and verses.
Burns was born on January 25, 1759, into the family of a peasant farmer in southwest Scotland. The family was poor and the children had to work from the early age. When Robert was 13 his father sent him to school as the boy had shown great abilities in his studies at home. Robert and his brother Gilbert went to school in turn, as there was no money to pay for the studies of both boys.
When one was at school, the other helped the father in the field.
From his mother Robert learned something which was to be of value to him. As his mother worked in the kitchen she often sang the old songs and ballads of the countryside. Later Burns used in his works the songs and stories he had heard in his little cottage home. From an early age Robert was so fond of poetry that he not only read verses but memorized them as well.
He was fond of Shakespeare and Milton. When he was 16 he wrote his first verses.
With tenderness, understanding and simplicity, he depicts the life he knew, and his poems touch the heart and soul of every reader. Before his poems were published, they had been passed round among his friends in the village. Burns was self-educated poet. The source of his poetry was the life of common people and Scottish folklore.
The young poet felt deeply the injustice of the world where the landlords owned the best land, pastures and woods.