I was delighted to
receive a complimentary copy of this book and having had a read of it I
would highly recommend you go to
http://www.nwp.co.uk/show_publication.cfm?pub_id_var=1305 and get a
copy or indeed for American visitors
Below I'm going to give
you the Introduction from the book and also a scan of 3 poems from the
book so you can see how the layout works. I'm sure that having read
these pages you'll want to get a copy of this for your own home. I would
like to thank George for giving me permission to put up his entire book
onto the site. He and I hope this will greatly improve your
understanding of Robert Burns.
As January 25
approaches each year, thousands of people in
countries all over the globe prepare to celebrate the life of Scotland’s
most famous son. The kilts are brought out and the sporrans and
skean-dhus are given a polish. The speeches are rehearsed, the haggis is
prepared along with the tattles and the neeps, and, of course, a few wee
drams will be consumed during the evening.
The Bard’s most popular works will
be brought out, given an airing, and we’ll hear what a lad he was for
the lassies, and what a terrible fellow he was for fathering so many
children by so many women. There’ll be all sorts of scandalous stories
regarding his private life that will be dressed up as the ‘Immortal
Memory’, his life-style seemingly more important than his life’s work.
Then, at the end of the evening,
everyone will go home feeling that they’ve had a great night and
promptly forget about Robert Burns until the same time next year.
They don’t know what they’re
Burns, in common with many other
great figures in history, did indeed have a colourful and eventful
during his 37 short years upon this earth, his early
demise due in no small part to the doctors of the time who believed that
standing immersed in the freezing waters of the Soiway Firth would
benefit his failing health.
But his lifestyle is not the
reason for his everlasting fame. That is due simply to the wonderful
legacy of poems and songs that he left to the world, and which most
certainly deserve to be read more than once a year.
Robert Burns was a man of vision.
He believed absolutely in the equality of man, irrespective of privilege
of rank or title. He detested cruelty and loved the gifts of nature.
It is undeniable that Burns liked
the company of women, but what is not generally recognised is that he
was a strong advocate of women’s rights, at a time when few men were.
He despised false piety and
consequently was unpopular with
church as he mocked their preachers mercilessly.
I have, however, heard an eloquent
Church of Scotland minister describe some lines from the Bard’s works as
being no less than modern proverbs, and
is difficult to disagree with that statement when one considers the
depth of meaning in some of the words that Burns wrote.
laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft
‘Man’s inhumanity to man makes
countless thousands mourn!’
‘O wad some Power the giftie gie
us to see oursels as ithers see us!’
‘An honest man’s the noblest work
The works of Robert Burns are
indeed full of wisdom!
Burns’ poems and songs are
wonderful to read, but as many are composed in what is virtually a
foreign language to the bulk of English speakers, they can be heavy
going to the non-Scot, or non-Scots speaker.
This book contains a varied
selection of Burns' works, some well known, others less so. It is
designed to make the understanding of the verses simpler than constantly
having to refer to the glossary, but without interfering in any way with
the original. Burns’ words remain sacrosanct! Where necessary, each
verse is annotated with a simple explanation that allows the reader to
follow the poem without constant interruption, and hopefully to
appreciate with ease what the Bard is saying.
Let me stress that the
explanations are merely my own thoughts as to the meaning of the works.
If you would prefer to work them out for yourself I would recommend
sitting down and writing out or typing each verse. This is essential if
you are a student with exams to sit on Burns, and will ensure that your
eyes do not skate across the lines, missing out much of what is
contained in them.
Read and enjoy the words of Robert
Burns and you will join the many millions who have fallen under his
George Scott Wilkie
Auld Lang Syne
Morning Salutation to his Auld Mare, Maggie
The book has been scanned in to a set of .pdf
files and we have published them in both high quality for
broadband users and low quality for dial up users.