Burns' portrait, by Taylor The Nasmyth Portrait Burns' portrait (from Nasmyth) Burns at Work Burns Travelling

Robert Burns composing "The Cotter's Saturday Night"

after Sir William Allan

Robert Burns, Scotland's National Poet, was born in a small thatched cottage in Alloway, Ayrshire on 25th. January 1759. He was the son of a market gardener who as a farmer was to compose a wealth of songs and poems in his relatively short life. He died in Dumfries of heart disease in 1796.

This poem Burns is seen composing in the farmhouse at Mossgiel Farm, Mauchline, Ayrshire during the Winter of 1785-86. For the ' Cotter's Saturday Night' Burns used the Spensarian stanza popular in 18th. Century. for sentimental poetry extolling the merits of rustic simplicity.

The engraving shown is by John Burnet after Sir William Allan, RSA, 1838. Several of this type of engraving showing the Poet composing at a desk in his farmhouse were produced in the 18th Century and this is a typical example.

• click here for SCRAN Resource