On this day in 1759 Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s flawed but freakishly able sons, was born. We mark the anniversary with a quote – not from his poems but from his letters. It’s a simple but beautifully put manifesto that reveals the warmth of Burns’ poet heart:

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‘No doubt there is much I’ll have to answer for, yet my philosophy was simple enough. Whatever mitigates the woes or increases the happiness of others – that is my criterion of goodness. Whatever injures society as a whole or any person in it – that is my measure of iniquity and, if I could, believe me I would, wipe all tears from all eyes.’

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And if you’re celebrating this evening with friends, you might want to take heed of this lovely piece of Burnsian advice…

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Then catch the moments as they fly

And use them as ye aught man

Believe me, happiness is shy

And comes not aye when sought man’

[A Bottle and a Friend]

 

 


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