Robert Burns (1759-1796), of course, is considered the national poet of Scotland. Perhaps because my family has Scottish roots, I’ve always liked his poetry. He is beloved and well known for many poems, including “my love is like a red, red rose”, “To A Mouse” and the song “Auld Lang Syne”, which is sung on New Year’s Eve. All over the world people celebrate Burns Night on his birthday January 25, eat haggis, and someone recites “Address To A Haggis” and other Burns poems. He wrote in English and sometimes with a Scots dialect. Burns had 12 children, though he died at only 37. Here is a succinct poem:
Epitaph On My Own Friend
An honest man here lies at rest,
As e’er God with his image blest:
The friend of man, the friend of truth;
The friend of age, and guide of youth.
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d;
Few heads with knowledge so inform’d.
If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.