On This Day

Robert Burns

Poet and Lyricist Robert Burns

Profession: Poet and Lyricist


Biography: Robert Burns is Scotland's favorite poet and perhaps its most famous son.

Burns' poetry was first published in 1786, his volume "Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect" brought him wide acclaim.

Burns spent the last ten years of his life collecting, revising and writing traditional Scottish songs, and it is with these songs that most of his fame lies.

It is Burns who wrote down and tinkered with "Auld Lang Syne", now traditionally sung on New Year's Eve throughout much of the English-speaking world.

Throughout his short 37-year life Burns also made his name for his stand against orthodox religion and for his numerous love affairs, he fathered in total 12 children.

Burns night is now celebrated through the world on the poet's birthday 25th January.

Born: January 25, 1759
Birthplace: Alloway, Scotland, United Kingdom
Star Sign: Aquarius

Died: July 21, 1796 (aged 37)
Cause of Death: Possible rheumatic heart condition following a dental extraction

Historical Events

  • 1786-07-31 "Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect" by Robert Burns is published by John Wilson in Kilmarnock, Scotland
  • 1791-03-18 Robert Burns poem “Tam o’ Shanter,” is published in the "Edinburgh Herald"
  • 1802-01-29 First celebration of Burns Night, in honor of poet Robert Burns's birthday by The Mother Club in Greenock (later realized his actual birthday 25th January)

Biographies and Sources