Home » Victorian Authors List » Robert Burns Biography » Short poems of Robert Burns

Short poems of Robert Burns

Burns experienced a challenging upbringing. Throughout his childhood, he was compelled to work at the family farm. His father was the main source of instruction for Burns, teaching his siblings and him the fundamentals of school.

Many people today praise the idea of homeschooling as a novel and successful way to educate children. Even though it is nothing new, a glance through Robert Burns’ writings should suffice to demonstrate its potential as a powerful instructional tool.

After pleading for help in generating money, Burns’ first collection of poetry was finally published in 1786. It appears that Burns was being pursued by the girl’s father for a substantial quantity of money since he had allegedly caused the girl to get pregnant.

For Burns, John Wilson published Poems, mostly in the Scottish Dialect. Burns’ talent was rapidly recognized by the public, and he was quickly regarded as a fine Scottish poet. This collection, commonly referred to as the Kilmarnock Edition, contains many of his better poetry. ‘The Twa Dogs’, a sample from this collection.

Burns promptly left for Edinburgh after learning that a few gentlemen from that city were eager to see the second edition of his work. Burns was quickly on his path to becoming a renowned poet once the Edinburgh Edition of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect was published.

Burns got the chance to socialize with a few of the city’s elite while he was there. In later works, it was mentioned that Burns left a profoundly favourable effect on everyone he met. Young Walter Scott in particular expressed admiration for Burns and wrote some remarks on the rural poet that was both fascinating and highly complementary.

Burns penned ‘Tam O’Shanter’, the story of a drunk farmer who stumbles upon a bunch of witches who chase him and his horse over a river, not long after he returned to Ayr.

Because of his poetry, Burns earned the nicknames Bard of Ayrshire, Ploughman Poet, and simply The Bard. Burns Suppers, a tradition of readings and one of Burns’ favourite meals, haggis, are held in honour of the author’s works on his birthday every year. One of the numerous poems recited at a Burns Supper is Address to a Haggis, which is presented here in the original Scots dialect.

Some of Burn’s short poems

A Bard’s Epitaph

Robert Burns’ “A Bard’s Epitaph” emphasizes the poet’s character as a person and the lessons that can be drawn from his life. The opening line of the poem discusses the poet’s imagined grave. The crowds of people that occasionally swarm around it are drawn to it. The verses left on the poet’s tomb also serve as a reminder of his contribution to Scottish literary history.

The poet’s grave has a wise man or woman standing by it. The “whim-inspired idiot” who once amused people with his rusted tunes even the person sheds a tear upon seeing him. In contrast, the poet discusses his careless transgressions that marred his “name” in the final two stanzas.

The poet concludes by urging the readers to draw lessons from his experience. Prudence, awareness, and self-control are the three qualities that define a sensible person in life.

A Man’s a Man for A’ That

‘For a’ That and a’ That’ by Robert Burns explains how a person’s intrinsic worth is not determined by their status, wealth, or belongings. The speaker of the poem begins by explaining that a person’s value is not determined by how much he owns or how he behaves. It originates from a deeper place.

According to the speaker, a man’s worth is far more influenced by his honesty than by his appearance or his diet. This is made more inclusive so that the idea can depose lords and princes from their lofty positions. The independently thinking guy is placed above them because they are “coof,” or foolish. The speaker ends by expressing his hope that one day all men will “be brothers be,” and the world will change.

A Red, Red Rose

The speaker compares his love to “A Red, Red Rose” and to a “Melodie / That’s beautifully play’d in tune” in the poem’s opening lines. The speaker describes in the second and third stanzas how intense his love is. It’s deep, too. As long as he is alive and till the end of the world, he will cherish his “bonnie lass.” He bids farewell and ends by promising to return, even if it means walking 10,000 kilometres.

Ae Fond Kiss

The poem describes the tragic split up of two lovers and the speaker’s depression over all the things he is losing in his life. It starts with the speaker saying goodbye to his lover while also lamenting her leaving. He is filled with a “Dark gloom” that the light cannot penetrate. Even though he occasionally feels troubled by this relationship, he does not regret it.

He couldn’t resist her, therefore whatever he did with her was not his fault. In the poem’s conclusion, Burns has the speaker list all the good things his sweetheart has done for him, from peace to pleasure. By the end, he has not accepted the loss; instead, the poem’s opening lines are repeated to form a circling lyric.

Anna, thy Charms

Burns penned a brief poem about love and misery after meeting Anna, the girlfriend of his friend Alexander Cunningham.

Comin Thro’ The Rye

In this poem, the poet is looking at Jenny, a woman or maiden who is drenched in the rain. Her trudging through the rye fields dragging every petticoat she owns while being drenched in rain is the subject of all six paragraphs.

Jenny is perhaps a virgin who works in the fields; the poet observes her every day and claims that she is frequently wet and never dry. Although there isn’t a lyric that explicitly states the poet’s love for Jenny, the poet is inspired by Jenny and yearns for her.

Green Grow The Rashes

A challenging and fascinating poem called “Green Grow the Rushes, O” employs counting to explain biblical and astronomical concepts to young singers and readers. Beginning with twelve, the poem counts down to one. The first part of the Bible referred to is the twelve apostles.

The poem then continues with discussions of individuals who have gone to paradise, the ten commandments, and other topics. Midway through the poem, there are many more cryptic allusions, possibly to the planets and star clusters. It ends with a reference to “the one,” which most readers interpret to be God.

John Anderson, my Jo

One of Robert Burns’ best love poems or love songs is John Anderson, My Jo. A quick explanation: The word “jo” is slang for “sweetheart,” and the speaker of the poem is a woman speaking to her elderly husband and telling him that even if his hair is greying (what is left of it), he is still her “jo” and that they will travel life “hand in hand.” Burns may have been aware of the bawdy version, although the clean version is more frequently anthologized.

Mary Morison

Robert Burns wrote the poem “Mary Morison.” Burns professes his love for a stunningly attractive and exquisite woman in the first stanza. He claims that he feels destitute without her and that he wishes he could have her.

The first meeting between them is described in the second stanza. Burns begs the woman to break up with her boyfriend and go out with him in the third stanza. He begs her to feel sorry for him.

O, Were My Love Yon Lilac Fair

It is a love lyric. Here, the poet uses metaphor to equate his love to a red rose and a lilac bloom. If his love were as fair as the deep purple lilac blossom, the poet would like to be a bird, according to the poetry. When worn out, he will then discover a snug nest in its bosom.

Furthermore, throughout the youthful May, he would chant lustful melodies to the blossom. The poet asks to be a drop of dew in the following line if his love is like a crimson rose. He will take a nap inside of its lovely breast and savour the beauty of the night. The poet will stay there till the sun comes up in the morning before leaving.

Oh Wert Thou In The Cauld Blast

In the poem, Burns says that if the poem’s subject was outside in the cold or if she was in distress or danger, he would provide shelter for her and protect her. Everything would be OK if he were in a barren area, and it would be heaven if she were there. The most amazing thing he would have if he were King of the entire globe would be his Queen.

The Banks O’ Doon

Ye Banks an’ Braes o’ Bonnie Doon, better known as “The Banks o’ Doon,” is a short song that Robert Burns wrote about looking at the natural environment while filled with fears and cares due to an unfaithful love. While the birds continue to sing happily and the natural world remains fair and carefree, the speaker of the poem is overcome with sorrow.

The Birks Of Aberfeldy

The lyrics to “The Birks of Aberfeldy” were composed in 1787 for music that already existed. While on a visit to the Scottish Highlands with his friend William Nicol, Robert Burns was inspired to write it by the Falls of Moness and the birch (the Scots name for it is birks) trees of Aberfeldy.

The Ploughman’s Life

The poem discusses the value of agriculture. Agriculture is essential to the continued existence of life on Earth, and it directly affects how much is consumed. Not only is farming essential for human survival, but it also helps protect the planet’s wildlife. For humans, it has served as both a physical and economic opportunity.

Found info useful?