2014-04-21 08:27 KST  
  RSS
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
JapanFocus
Rabbie Burns: A Woman's Man For A' That
Jan. 25 marks the 250th anniversary of the poet's birth
Eric Shackle (shack)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2009-01-21 14:50 (KST)   
This new set of British postage stamps honors Scotland's favorite son for the third time, beating Winston Churchill (two special editions of stamps) William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens (one each).
Thousands of folk with Scottish blood in their veins are planning to attend "Burns dinners" around the world on Jan. 25, to mark poet Rabbie Burns' 250th birthday. US president Barack Obama, who is said to have Scottish ancestry, has been invited to attend a "glitzy" Burns dinner in Washington.

  TODAY'S TOP STORIES
OMNI's New Approach to Citizen Journalism
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Technology Can Save Money, Planet
[Opinion] Iran Defends Peaceful 'Right'
Couchsurfing in Gaza
  FROM THE SECTION
Women March From Capinas to Sao Paulo
The art of writing with clarity
Defining United States of America
Tyler, Tx. Remembers Martin Luther King Jr.
Mixing Gods, Devils, and Geishas
People attending those dinners, at which haggis and Scotch whisky are served, will be honoring one of the world's finest poets, who is often called Scotland's favorite son. But he has also been labelled "a racist, sexist drunk?"

There's no doubt Burns lived an immoral life, judged by today's standards. But life was vastly different in 18th-century Scotland.

"Robert Burns had a total of twelve children by four women, including nine by his wife," says Toronto, Canada descendant and genealogist John Burness (The poet sometimes spelled his name that way). He says:
Seven of his children were illegitimate, including the first four by Jean Armour before they were married in 1788, although under Scottish law they were considered legitimate after their parents' marriage. Of Jean's children, six died young and another... had no children.

All living descendants of Robert Burns and Jean Armour descend from either their granddaughter, Sarah Elizabeth Maitland Tombs Burns (1821-1909), daughter of their fourth son James Glencairn Burns (1794-1865), or their grand-daughter Anne Elizabeth Burns (c1820-1889), illegitimate daughter of their eldest son Robert Burns (1786-1857).
Most of Robert Burns descendants today are from his two illegitimate daughters:

1. Elizabeth "Bess" Burns (1785-1816), daughter of Elizabeth "Betsey" Paton, who married John Bishop in 1807.

2. Elizabeth "Betty" Burns (1791-1873), daughter of Ann Park, who married John Thomson in 1808.

Robert Burns also had an illegitimate son, Robert Burns by Janet "Jennie" Clow. He was born in Edinburgh in 1788 and later became a merchant in London...
The Edinburgh newspaper The Scotsman this week quoted historian Michael Fry as having said, "Burns was a drunk, misogynistic, racist philanderer. Perhaps he was not untypical of Scots, but we have to wonder whether this is the right image for the modern Scotland. By all means, let us celebrate the poetry according to its merits. But, in the same critical spirit, let us deal honestly with the man who wrote that poetry."

More than 200 readers commented on that article. Shamus from Glasgow, wrote:
Rabbie Burns was a Great SCOTSMAN. Hunners of thoosands turned oot when he died. NEVER A WORD OF VIOLENCE FROM HIM. OK HE LIKED THE WUMMIN BUT WHO DISNAE. Well he never condemned anybuddie that didnae fancy wummin...
Britain Express has posted an interesting biography. "Burns spread his affections freely," it says.

Special sets of stamps and coins have been issued in Britain to mark the 250th anniversary. Burns is the first person apart from members of the Royal Family to have been celebrated with three collections of stamps. Britain's wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill scored two special editions; William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens only one each.

Eric Shackle says he's been a compulsive writer ever since gaining his first job as a cadet/cub reporter in 1937. Now 89, he is OMNI's oldest reporter.
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Eric Shackle

Add to :  Add to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us |  Add to Digg this Digg  |  Add to reddit reddit |  Add to Y! MyWeb Y! MyWeb

Ronda Hauben
 
Netizens Question Cause of Cheonan Tragedy
Michael Werbowski
 
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Michael Solis
 
Arizona's Immigration Bill and Korea
Yehonathan Tommer
 
Assassination in Dubai
[ESL/EFL Podcast] Saying No
Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
  [ESL/EFL] Talking About Change
  [ESL/ EFL Podcast] Personal Finances
  [ESL/EFL] Buying and Selling
How worried are you about the H1N1 influenza virus?
  Very worried
  Somewhat worried
  Not yet
  Not at all
    * Vote to see the result.   
KOREA WORLD SCI&TECH ART&LIFE ENTERTAINMENT SPORTS GLOBAL WATCH INTERVIEWS PODCASTS
  copyright 1999 - 2014 ohmynews all rights reserved. internews@ohmynews.com Tel:+82-2-733-5505,5595(ext.125) Fax:+82-2-733-5011,5077