Montreal Daily Star,

25 January 1882, page 2


The Birthday of Robert Burns

Canada is pre-eminently blest with an extra supply of Scotchmen and their descendants!  Governor-General, Premier and a host of other officials, claim that nationality, whilst Scottish merchants, lawyers, men of science and learning, editors, farmers, storekeepers and skilled mechanics, represent their native land (perhaps we ought rather to say, do honor to it) by occupying the innermost ranks in their various calling themselves this wide Dominion, which they adopted as their home.  The ~~~ and intelligent body of Caledonians will feel doubly proud of their “cherished land hoped ~~~,” as they remember that this day, the 25th of January, is the birthday of Scotland’s Inspired Bard, the gifted Robert Burns!  The day is held sacred to his honored memory throughout the world.  His wondrous and heart stirring poetry is read and appreciated wherever the English language is spoken; no library is complete without his works; quotations from his verses are on every tongue, and his songs, breathing both love, morality and patriotism soften and enchant both heart and ear.  The birthplace of Scotland’s poet is now visited by thousands of admirers from all parts of the glob, especially by Canadians and Americans, who rightly consider the tour of Scotland incomplete without a pilgrimage to the lowly thatched cottage where Robert Burns first saw the light.  Colonel RG Ingersoll, however far astray in his theological belief, has certainly expressed both well and happily the feelings evoked by a visit to the poet’s birthplace in the following stirring lines:-


Though Scotland boasts a thousand names

Of patriot, king and peer,

The noblest, grandest of them all

Was loved and cradled here;

Here lived the gentle peasant prince,

The loving cotter king,

Compared with whom the greatest Lord

Is but a titled thing.


‘Tis but a cot roofed in with the straw,

A hovel made of clay,

One door shuts out the cold and storm,

One window greets the day:

And yet I stand within the room,

And hold all thrones in scorn,

For here beneath this lowly thatch

Love’s sweetest bard was born.


Within this hallowed hut I feel

Like one who clasps a shrine,

When the glad lips at last have touched

The something deemed divine;

And here the world, through all the year,

As long as day returns,

The tribute of its love and tears

Will pay to Robert Burns.