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date: 17 January 2021

Burns, Robert (1759–96) Scottish poet, 

The Oxford Companion to English Literature
Dinah BirchDinah Birch

one of seven children born to a cotter near Alloway in Ayrshire. His father moved his family from one unprofitable farm to another, but was determined that his sons should be well educated. Though his formal schooling was intermittent, Robert received a good grounding in classic English authors from Shakespeare onwards, along with a reading knowledge of French and at least an elementary grasp of Latin and mathematics. He read voraciously, and began to write verses while still in his teens. Most of his time was taken up on the ailing farm as labourer and ploughman. His experience of poverty and injustice fuelled his egalitarian beliefs, and led to his involvement with the progressive New Light wing of the Church of Scotland and his enthusiasm for the French Revolution. After his father's death in ... ...

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