Robert Burns

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Rabbie Burns! Bonnie Scotland's favourite poet; Bard of Ayrshire; author of a poem called "Address To A Haggis". Yes, really.

Even if you haven't heard of him, you've heard some of his stuff; he's one of those guys whose works have dissolved into collective memory. Unofficial New Year's Eve song "Auld Lang Syne" is his[1]. He also wrote "To A Mouse", a line of which was pressed into service for John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men. Another of his poems, "To A Louse", gave us the proverb


O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!


Even Scots who don't need an excuse to get pissed celebrate Burns Night: His birthday, 25 January. The celebrations involve bringing the haggis in and reciting part of its poem (it's a really long poem) before cutting it open.

  1. well, sort of - he claimed it was a pre-existing folk sing that he just wrote down and tidied up