Monday, October 31, 2022

My hero / Robert Burns by Alex Salmond


Robert Burns

My hero: 

Robert Burns

by Alex Salmond

Scotland's first minister pays tribute to the national bard

Alex Salmond
Friday 29 August 2014

Robert Burns is a cultural and literary icon, whose poetry transcends culture, creed and era. Whether in traditional publications or online, his work continues to thrive. This year, I delivered the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns address at the Dunblane Youth Burns Club and it was fantastic to see younger generations fully appreciate the global contribution of Scotland's national bard.

Thousands of Burns celebrations take place across the world, from Boston to Beijing, every year. Bob Dylan named Burns as his greatest inspiration and there are more Burns monuments than any other figure of modern times – in the US, there are more statues of him than of any American writer.

The statue of Robert Burns in Stirling

Some of the best romantic poetry ever written is by Burns. My admiration for him lies in the descriptive, artistic phrasing that encapsulates Scottish identity – our creativity, pride and confidence – but also in his portrayal of love and a true humanitarian ethos. "Common weal" is an interesting auld Scots term meaning the wellbeing of all, with relevance to the core theme of Burns's work: The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor; Is king o' men for a' that.

Were he around today he would be tweeting and blogging his ideas to mass approval. Burns admirers keep his work and beliefs alive.

Robert Burns

"A Man's a Man for A' That" was recited at the opening of the Scottish parliament in 1999, its verse resonating around the debating chamber as MSPs took their seats for the first time in Scotland's reconvened legislature:

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.


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