Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) (also known as Robbie Burns, Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as The Bard) was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest.
He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world. Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature. In 2009 he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.
As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) “Auld Lang Syne” is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and “Scots Wha Hae” served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country.
Our Scottish heritage is rich in New Brunswick. One of the first known settlements was Kincardine in 1873. The Scots-Canadian settlement of New Kincardineshire was an event which captured the interest and imagination of everyone in New Brunswick. It was the largest immigration with the exception of the United Empire Loyalists, ever planned for New Brunswick.
The Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew was founded in 1825 and ever since, has been serving the interests of supporting the Scottish component of New Brunswick’s cultural mosaic.
In 1906 the Society sponsored the erection of a statue to Robbie Burns in Fredericton, on the Green by the banks of the Saint John River, close to the Provincial Legislative building.
Many years ago, behind the Burns statue the Bicycle and Boating Club was located on The Green. It was later renamed the Automobile and Boating Club.
Thanks to Kelsey Goodine for sending us her sunrise shot of the Burns Statue.