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Book/Printed Material An Interesting History of Robert Burns; The Ayrshire Bard.

About this Item


  • An Interesting History of Robert Burns; The Ayrshire Bard.


  • Robert Burns (1759-96) is best known for his poems and songs that reflect Scotland's cultural heritage. He was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland, the first of seven children belonging to William Burnes, a tenant farmer, and his wife Agnes Broun. Burns had little formal education, but he read English literature and absorbed the traditional, largely oral Scots-language folk songs and tales of his rural environment. He began to compose songs in 1774, and published his first book, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, in 1786. The work was a critical success, and its poems in both Scots and English, on a range of topics, established Burns's broad appeal. While building his literary reputation, Burns worked as a farmer, and in 1788 he was appointed an excise officer in Ellisland. He spent the final 12 years of his life collecting and editing traditional Scottish folk songs for collections including The Scots Musical Museum and A Select Collection of Original Scotish [sic] Airs for the Voice. Burns contributed hundreds of Scottish songs to these anthologies, sometimes rewriting traditional lyrics and setting them to new or revised music. Burns's works were widely distributed throughout Scotland and beyond in chapbooks. These small, inexpensive eight-page booklets were often illustrated with woodcuts and printed on coarse paper. Chapbooks (called garlands if they included songs) were a popular form of entertainment in the 18th and early 19th centuries and the principal way that ordinary people encountered songs and poetry. They were distributed by traveling "chapmen" who sold the books at markets and door-to-door in rural areas. Chapbooks often included poems by more than one author, and the authors were not identified. This biography, from the G. Ross Roy Collection at the University of South Carolina, is longer than the typical chapbook, and documents the life of Burns from birth to death.

Created / Published

  • Glasgow : [publisher not identified], 1850.


  • -  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland--Scotland
  • -  1750 to 1799
  • -  Biography
  • -  Burns, Robert, 1759-1796
  • -  Chapbooks, English
  • -  Poetry


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 24 pages ; 16 centimeters.
  • -  Original resource at: University of South Carolina.
  • -  Content in English.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Source Collection

  • Robert Burns Chapbook Collection

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666684

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

An Interesting History of Robert Burns; The Ayrshire Bard. [Glasgow: Publisher Not Identified, 1850] Pdf.

APA citation style:

(1850) An Interesting History of Robert Burns; The Ayrshire Bard. [Glasgow: Publisher Not Identified] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

An Interesting History of Robert Burns; The Ayrshire Bard. [Glasgow: Publisher Not Identified, 1850] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.