Who is Robert Burns?
Robert Burns is the national poet of Scotland.
Famous for his handsome features and his fortune with women, Robert Burns was called the ploughman poet due to his humble beginnings as a farmer.
The story of Robert and Desdemona was inspired by an early love in Burns' history, Alison Begbie. She lived in Cessnock Banks and he proposed marriage to her, but she turned him down. Even in her old age, she could still recite the poems he had written for her. The world may never have known of Robert Burns' talent with words or with women had Alison said yes.
One of the nights he was late coming home because he had been visiting her, his excuse to his father was that he had 'met the Devil on the road'. In Caledonia, it is unclear whether this refers to Desdemona or the Nuckelavee. Burns' poems about Alison are significant in that they refer to her mind rather than her physical beauty.
From wikipedia: Burns said of her "All these charming qualities, heightened by an education much beyond anything I have ever met in any woman I ever dared to approach, have made an impression on my heart that I do not think the world can ever efface."
Robert Burns died young and impoverished, despite his fame. His love for whisky and fast living had a disastrous effect on his health, and he died from a routine tooth extraction at the age of 37. He had been quite ill beforehand and suffered from rheumatic fever. Official cause of death was inflammation of the heart valve.
Burns was survived by his wife, Jean Armour, and his twelve children, some of whom belonged to other women but she helped raise.
Today, Robert Burns' handsome face adorns many portraits and statues in Scotland and around the world. He has become a national icon. His gift of music and poetry to the world is invaluable, and worldwide, people still sing Auld Lang Syne every New Year's Eve.
To learn more about Robert Burns, Scotland's national bard, visit: