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Book/Printed Material Rear High thy Bleak Majestic Hills.

About this Item


  • Rear High thy Bleak Majestic Hills.


  • 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. This poem was written by William Roscoe, "dedicated to the memory of the poet Robert Burns." It was originally published without a title in 1800 in Dr. James Currie's The Works of Robert Burns. The manuscript is accompanied by an engraved portrait of the historian, dated 1813. Roscoe lead a professional life as an attorney in Liverpool, while delving into literature and art, collecting works as well as writing biographies. He took Robert Burns and his works in high regard, later corresponding with Currie regarding the publication of his manuscripts. His suggestions were accepted by Currie, and fully incorporated into the biography.


  • Roscoe, William, 1753-1831 Author.

Created / Published

  • [place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], 1796.


  • -  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • -  1750 to 1796
  • -  Burns, Robert, 1759-1796
  • -  Dialect Poetry, Scottish
  • -  Portrait prints
  • -  Roscoe, William, 1753-1831


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 1 leaf ; 29 x 23.5 centimeters and 1 engraving.
  • -  Original resource at: University of South Carolina.
  • -  Content in Scots.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Source Collection

  • Robert Burns Collection

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021667627

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:

Roscoe, William, Author. Rear High thy Bleak Majestic Hills. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 1796] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Roscoe, W. (1796) Rear High thy Bleak Majestic Hills. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Roscoe, William, Author. Rear High thy Bleak Majestic Hills. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 1796] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.