In the week when the whole world celebrates the genius of Robert Burns, I thought I’d look back to his early consciousness as a poet. In 1786, Robert Burns composed a very long epistle for the friend of his youth in Mauchline, James Smith. There are several themes in the poem but I’ve decided to focus on the section where he talks about his writing and declares his intention to publish his work. But for that decision we would have missed the huge contribution he has made to the lives of millions since then - and January would be a very dreary month!
Friendship, mysterious cement of the soul!
Sweet'ner of Life, and solder of Society!
I owe thee much-Blair.
Dear Smith, the slee'st, pawkie thief, That e'er attempted stealth or rief!
Ye surely hae some warlock-brief Owre human hearts;
For ne'er a bosom yet was prief Against your arts.
For me, I swear by sun an' moon, An' ev'ry star that blinks aboon,
Ye've cost me twenty pair o' shoon, Just gaun to see you;