Robert Burns (January 25, 1759 – July 21, 1796) (also known as Rabbie Burns, Lowland Scotland's favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as simply The Bard) was a poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of the Lowland Scots, and is celebrated worldwide by their diaspora. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a 'light' Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these pieces, his political or civil commentary is often at its most blunt.
He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement and after his death became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism. A cultural icon in Scotland and among the Lowland Scottish diaspora around the world, celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature.
As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) Auld Lang Syne is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and Scots Wha Hae served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country. Other poems and songs of Burns that remain well-known across the world today, include A Red, Red Rose, A Man's A Man for A' That, To a Louse, To a Mouse, The Battle of Sherramuir, Tam O'Shanter and Ae Fond Kiss.
- Andrew O'Hagan, "The People's Poet", The Guardian, 19 January 2008.
- Robert Burns as a Freemason by Todd J. Wilkinson (Freemasonic)
- Brother Robert Burns by Grand Lodge of Scotland (Freemasonic)
- Scots celebrate bard's birthday