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Happy Robert Burns Day!

Author: Bill Caudill, Director of the Scottish Heritage Center

Today, January 25 is the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns. There will be celebrations today worldwide honoring this great writer.

Why is Robert Burns important? He was a voice of the common man in poetry and not only one of the pioneers of romanticism, but also an inspiration for liberal thinking as well as an early advocate of socialism.

He wrote many poems, but his most well known is perhaps the best known song in the whole world….and sung on the evening of December 31 each year…

"Should auld acquantance be forgot,
and never brought to mind
Should auld acquantance be forgot,
and Auld Lang Syne."

Robert Burns was the author of “Auld Lang Syne” as well as other great poetic works – particularly regarding the topic of love:

My Love's But a Red, Red Rose

"My love is like a red red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Love's like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune;
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Ae Fond Kiss
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee

You can find more of Burns’ works either online, or among our Burns collection here in the Scottish Heritage Center.

Here at St. Andrews we have a wonderful statue of Robert Burns which is housed in the Scottish Heritage Center. This statue is a 1/6 model of the original which was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie and which stands in front of the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA. It was given to our predecessor institution – Flora Macdonald College in Red Springs in 1938. It is one of our most valuable possessions and was sculpted by John Massey Rhind – an early 20th-century Scottish-born sculptor who created the busts of Andrew Carnegie which were in all the Carnegie Libraries throughout the United States.

He also sculpted the famous figures of Peter Stuyvesant which stands in Manhattan, NY as well as the figure of Benjamin Franklin which stands in Philadelphia. His sculptures are also found at the Gettysburg Battlefield as well as many other sites. His statue of John C. Calhoun which stood in Calhoun Square in Charleston, SC was recently removed.

Come by and visit Robbie Burns and see the other treasures at the Scottish Heritage Center!