ROBERT BURNS (1)

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             Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet, was born on Janu­ary 25, 1759 in Scotland. His father, William Burns, was a poor farmer. There were seven children in the family, and Robert was the eldest. His father knew the value of a good edu­cation, and he tried to give his children the best education he could afford. Robert was sent to school at the age of six, but as his father could not pay for the two sons, Robert and his bro­ther Gilbert attended school in turn. When not at school, the boys helped their father with his work in the fields. But soon the teacher left, and so Burns’s father invited a young school teacher to teach the boys. When the teacher left, the poet’s father taught the children himself. Reading and writing, arith­metic, English grammar, history, literature, French and La­tin — that was Robert Burns’s education.

               Robert’s mother knew many Scottish songs and ballads and often sang them to her son in his childhood. His mother’s friend Betty told Robert many fantastic tales about devils, fairies and witches. Burns’s mother died in 1820. She lived I        long     and enjoyed the fame of her poet son.

               Robert Burns became fond of reading. He read whateverhe could lay his hands on. His favourite writers were Shakes­peare, Smolett, Robert Fergusson, a talented Scottish poet (1750-1774). Fergusson’s tragic fate deeply touched Burns. Burns devoted many verses to Fergusson.

               Robert Burns began to write poetry when he was fifteen. He composed verses to the melodies of old folk-songs, which he had admired from his early childhood. He sang of the woods, fields and wonderful valleys of his native land. Burns pub­lished some of his poems in 1786. Their success was complete. And Robert Burns became well known and popular.

               When Burns came to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, a new and enlarged edition of his poems was published. But soon Edinburgh society grew tired of him and forgot about the poet.

               Robert Burns left Edinburgh and returned to his native village with money enough to buy a farm and marry Jean Ar­mour. Burns devoted to Jean many beautiful poems, such as «I love my Jean», «Bonnie Jean» and many others.

                Robert Burns’s poems were very popular, he always re­mained poor. He worked hard and destroyed his health. He died in poverty at the age of thirty — seven in 1796.

The poetry and songs of Robert Burns are famous all over the world.

               Robert Burns’s poems and verses inspired Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn and other composers who wrote mu­sic to them.

              Burns is a democratic poet. His sympathy was with the poor. That is why his funeral was attended by a crowd of ten thousand. They were the common Scottish people whom he had loved and for whom he had written his poems and songs.

              The most popular poems of Robert Burns are «The Tree of Liberty», «My Heart’s in the Highlands», «Red, Red Rose» and many others.

 

 

QUESTIONS:

1. When was Robert Burns born?

2. How many children were there in their family?

3. What did Robert’s father try to give his children?

4. Who knew many Scottish songs and ballads?

5. What did his mother’s friend Betty tell Robert?

6. When did Robert begin to write poetry?

7. What did Robert Burns publish in 1786?

8. Why did Robert Burns return to his native village?

9. Who was Robert Burns’s funeral attended by?

10. Whom did Robert Burns’s poems and verses inspire?

 

 

 

VOCABULARY:

value — ценность

to afford — быть в состоянии позволить себе что-либо

devil — дьявол

fairy — фея

witch — ведьма

to enjoy — наслаждаться

to lay — положить, класть

to devote — посвятить

to admire — восхищаться

to compose — сочинить

valley — долина

to grow tired of... — уставать от...

to destroy — разрушать

to inspire — вдохновлять

funeral - похороны

poverty — бедность

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