Edinburgh played an important role in the life of Robert Burns after the success of The Kilmarnock Volume, his first published book in 1786. Much of his fame today still rests on the poems which appeared in that volume.
He was loinised in Edinburgh and met many important and influential people who feature in his life's story. He met Clarinda here and had a brief but passionate literary affair with her. It is fitting that Burns should have not only a fine statue in Leith but also a monument to him in this city.
Robert Burns was one of the most charismatic people ever to have walked on this earth. Yet even today, 250 years after his birth, he is misunderstood by many.
Robert Burns was a complex individual. We can look at different aspects of his character almost as if we were looking at the facets of a diamond. Each facet has a clarity, a depth and a brilliance.
Firstly there is Burns the poet.
It was his poems which initially assured him of a worldwide stage. Poems that are full of fun. Poems that champion the poor and oppressed. Satires against the hypocrisy and cant of the Calvinistic church. Philosophies and observations of life and its people. His concern for human rights and his love of friendship. His poems can pierce your soul.
Burns the songwriter.
It was into his songs that Burns' consummate literary craftsmanship breathed a rejuvenating life and spirit, and a consistently all-pervading honesty and sincerity. Burns rescued over 370 songs from obscurity and neglect.
Burns the letter writer.
His correspondents included the Prime Minister, clergymen, doctors, lawyers and the cream of literary society of his day. He immersed himself in the affairs of the time, political and social, writing to John Francis Erskine,the 27th Earl of Mar as follows: 'Does any man tell me, that my feeble efforts can be of no service; that it does not belong to my humble station to meddle with the concerns of a People? - I tell him, that it is on such individuals as I, that for the hand of support and the eye of intelligence, a Nation has to rest.'
At that time only the wealthy had a vote, and yet Burns, one of the greatest intellects to walk the world's stage, who mingled at ease in conversation with the aristocracy, had no vote.
Burns the patriot and politician.
Robert Burns was quintessentially Scottish. Almost everything he did was political. His writing of songs was done for no remuneration. He knew that a nation without song had no soul. He knew that a nation without song would lose its identity. He kept alive the idea that there was such a thing as a Scottish nation. He helped to keep our belief in ourselves breathing through a long, long hibernation. The truth is that Scotland would have a different identity, if it had not been for Robert Burns.
Burns was universal and a humanitarian.
He was able to take everyday events, as in To a Mouse or Mountain Daisy, for example, and turn them into universal truths. His poetry speaks of breaking down international barriers, of championing human rights, and standing up and being a voice for oppressed people throughout the world.
If A Man’s a Man is the Anthem to humanity then Auld Lang Syne is the world’s National Anthem, an anthem of friendship.
He is Immortal.
Check out the related web page for details on this monument.
For many years I have been indebted to Uilebheist for his help in placement and maintenance of this cache. He is now setting off on another journey in life and I and many cachers wish him well.
Zeryx followed and her help in maintaining this has been appreciated but she is now off to pastures new.
JaxJaunts has stepped into the breach and will now be looking after this cache to keep it alive.