Robert Burns passed away in Dumfries, Scotland, on July 21, 1796, at the young age of 37. Burns Night honours the fact that he was born into poverty on January 25, 1759, and went on to become a prolific poet and singer who observed the challenges of the day in a Scottish vernacular that was in danger of being supplanted by English.
The cause of Robert Burns’s death has been the subject of numerous rumours. This was undoubtedly the fault of Dr James Currie, a Scotsman who had lived in Liverpool and wrote Burns’s first biography. According to rumours, Currie was a little prudish and disapproved of the claims he had heard about Burns being a drinker and womanizer.
He may have added two and two to create five, but he claimed that Burns’s death was caused by alcoholism and even hinted that venereal disease was a contributing role.
Later authors seized on this facet of Burns’s fame as a result. Burns quickly passed away from a hundred various reasons when a poetic license was exercised. According to one account, he may have even spent a wild night with his friends in the Globe Tavern in January 1796 while receiving treatment for his illness.
He was so inebriated as he left the Globe that he collapsed and passed out in the snow. This cannot withstand close examination. First off, given how unwell he had been, his friends would have been taking care of him. Additionally, he wrote a letter on January 31 to his muse, Mrs Dunlop which reveals that he was lucky just to get out of bed that month, let alone go out to the pub.
Regarding the day of Burns’ passing, Alan Cunningham wrote the following:
“It was soon spread through Dumfries that Burns had returned from the *Brow much worse than when he went away, and it was added that he was dying. The anxiety of the people, high and low, was very great. I was present and saw it. Wherever two or three were together their talk was of Burns, and him alone. They spoke of his history, of his person, and his works – of his witty sayings and sarcastic replies, and his too early fate with much enthusiasm, and sometimes with deep feeling.
All that he had done, and all that he had hoped he would accomplish, were talked of: half a dozen of them stopped Dr Maxwell in the street, and said, “How is Burns sir?” He shook his head, saying, “he cannot be worse, ” and passed on to be subjected to similar inquiries farther up the way. I heard one of a group inquire, with much simplicity, “Who do you think will be our poet now?”
Even though Burns was now aware that he was dying, his sense of humour and wit never wavered. Looking up, he noticed Dr Maxwell sitting at his bedside “Alas! What brought you here, he exclaimed. I’m only a meagre crow, not even worth picking up.” He indicated his handguns, which were a gift from their creator, Blair of Birmingham, and hoped Maxwell would accept them, stating that they couldn’t possibly be in better hands and that he should no longer require them.
This freed his proud heart from a burden of responsibility. Soon later, he noticed Gibson, one of his brother volunteers, crying by the patient’s bedside. He grinned and stated, “John, don’t let the awkward squad fire over me!”
The poet was dying, his wife was expecting to be imprisoned hourly, four helpless children were wandering from room to room, watching their miserable parents, and there wasn’t enough food or goodwill to appease everyone or heal the sick. His home was a sad spectacle.
All readers of the poet’s works owe a debt of gratitude to Jessie Lewars because she acted with the caution of a sister and the tenderness of a daughter, preventing desolation even if she was powerless to stop the disease. – According to Maxwell, “a tremor infiltrated his frame,” his mouth remained parched despite frequent rehydration, and when not stimulated by speech, his thinking descended into madness.
He had a fever and lost strength on the second and third days following his return from the Brow. On the fourth day, as his attendant James Maclure placed a cordial to his lips, he excitedly gulped it down, rose almost to his full height, extended his hands out in front of him, nearly ran the length of the bed, fell on his face, and passed away.
He was 37 years and 7 months old, and possessed a build and vigour that suggested a long life; nonetheless, the great and inspired are sometimes taken from us in our youth while “Villains ripen grey with time.”
So Robert Burns passed away. It cannot be added to the conjecture regarding the cause of his passing. But based on facts it is precise to claim that Burns passed away from chronic rheumatic heart disease and bacterial endocarditis. It is possible that having experienced rheumatic fever as a youngster caused this condition, which affects the membrane surrounding the heart.
Burns’ funeral was on a grand scale, and he was buried with full military honours with thousands of people lining the streets of Dumfries despite his “awkward squad” request to his brother volunteer Gibson. As the soil was shovelled into the grave, the firing squad at the graveyard fired three volleys.
Unfortunately, Gilbert, his brother, was the only member of his immediate family to attend the funeral (his wife Jean being in labour with her ninth child).
The tombstone of Robert Burn
The St. Michael’s Church, whose red spire dominates the south-east side of Dumfries and makes it rather easy to identify, has a mausoleum named after Robert Burns that is located at the eastern end of the churchyard. After locating the churchyard, you proceed past the church’s south side and quickly spot the mausoleum. There is no mistaking it: its white construction and dome stand out dramatically in a churchyard that is nearly exclusively occupied by enormous monuments built of red stone.
From 25 January 1759 to 21 July 1796, Robert Burns was alive. Since his untimely death at the young age of 37, he has loomed large in Scottish culture and consciousness and is considered Scotland’s national poet. Burns relocated to Dumfries in 1789 to assume a position as an excise officer. Seven years later, as his wife Jean Armour was giving birth to their ninth child, he passed away from rheumatic illness.
Robert Burns was initially laid to rest in the northeast corner of St. Michael’s Churchyard, but soon his adoring following grew so large that they felt his tomb didn’t do justice to his brilliance. On November 29, 1813, a circular was released asking the public to contribute to the expense of a tomb. On December 16, 1813, a gathering at the George Inn in Dumfries with 18 local dignitaries in attendance saw the beginning of the project.
Sir Walter Scott was one of the individuals who played a significant role in the fundraising effort. Money poured in from throughout Great Britain as well as from beyond, including America and India. The project, which was based on a design by Thomas Hunt of London, could be put out to bid by the spring of 1815 thanks to sufficient funds.
John Milligan, a local stonemason, won the job with a bid of £331.86. In a less congested area of the churchyard than where Burns had previously been interred, the first stone was set on June 5, 1815.
Milligan’s refusal to follow instructions from the committee overseeing the work or follow the specifications led to several issues throughout the mausoleum’s construction. The mausoleum wasn’t finished until September 1817, when the memorial was placed within. The real monument inside the mausoleum was created by London-based Irish-Italian sculptor Peter Turnerelli. The statue on the wall depicts the Muse Coila circling Robert Burns, who is positioned next to his plough.
At midnight on September 19, 1817, Burns’ remains and those of his two boys, who had passed away at the ages of 9 and 2, were removed from their original burial spot. Burns’ casket, in contrast to the children’s coffins, was in a bad condition, displaying the body’s remnants inside, which itself deteriorated when moved.
Then, beneath the floor of the new mausoleum, the remains of Robert Burns and his two sons were reinterred. Both his son Robert, who passed away on May 14, 1857, and his wife Jean Armour, who passed away on March 26, 1834, were interred in the mausoleum.
The tombstone inside the mausoleum was recarved in 1946 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Burns’ passing, and memorials for other members of the family buried there were also inserted.
The mausoleum was first finished without any external decorations, and it likely looked better for it because it is composed of the same red sandstone as everything else in this area. In the 1880s, it was painted blue and white, ostensibly to shield it from air pollution; it has since been painted plain white. In the 1930s, the statues underwent substantial restoration.