With an Introduction by Donald McFarlan Robert Burns, the most celebrated of all Scottish poets, is remembered with great devotion - his birthday on 25th January provokes fervour and festivity among Scots and many others the world over. Born in 1759 into miserable rustic poverty, by the age of eighteen Burns had acquired a good knowledge of both classical and English literature. In June 1786 his first collection of verse, Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, which included To a Mouse and The Cotter's Saturday Night, was greeted with huge acclaim by all classes of society. His later poems and ballads include Auld Lang Syne, the beautiful song My Love is like a Red Red Rose, Highland Mary, Scots Wha Hae and his masterpiece, Tam O'Shanter. Robert Burns was born on 25th January 1759 in Alloway Scotland, the eldest of the seven children of William Burness. He was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide. 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. Burns 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 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. In 2009 he was voted by the Scottish public as being the Greatest Scot, through a vote run by Scottish television channel STV. 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 wellknown 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.