Let other poets raise a fracas
'Bout vines, an' wines, an' drucken Bacchus,
An' crabbit names an' stories wrack us,
An' grate our lug:
I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us,
In glass or jug.
--from "Scotch Drink"
Robert Burns, the son of a tenant farmer in Ayshire, Scotland, endured great hardship before emerging as a poet and songwriter in his native dialect, as well as in English. This "Bard of Scotland" caught the spirit of his country, as these 23 verses and songs so vividly show. Though his works frequently focused on two of his greatest pleasures--women and Scotch--he also found inspiration in local subjects. His "Tam O'Shanter" is one of the finest examples of narrative verse ever written: it vividly evokes the Scottish landscape and weather, the native inns and native folk, all while telling a compelling, almost supernatural story of the drunken Tam. From "The Twa Dogs" to "Death and Doctor Hornbook," this colorful collection is a pure delight.