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OBERT BURNS, Scotland's national bard, the son of a poor farmer, was born in 1759 in the parish of Alloway, near Ayr. His father gave him what education he could afford, but that was very slight indeed; when he left school he possessed only a few books, among which were “The Spectator, Pope's Works, Allan Ramsay, and a collection of English songs: but these few he studied thoroughly. In 1786 Burns published his first volume, which created a great sensation, and the impatience of the public could scarcely be kept within bounds for the third edition. After this success he took the farm of Ellisland near Dumfries, and married. In 1788 he obtained the situation of

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~ Exciseman, in which, however, son o convivial habits, he had no chance of promotion, audoin 1791 he retired to Dumfries, where he mu upon his paltry salary of L. 70 a year. He then published a t!. edition of his works, with the new poem of “Tam O'Shanter" and other pieces composed on his farm at Ellisland. He died in 1%. aged 37 years. His best known productions are his “Cotter's Saturday Night" and “Tam O'Shanter, but the feeling of the author is not so well expressed in them as in his poem ‘To a mouse on turning up her nest with a plough, and some of his smaller and less known productions, in which his pathos and original inspiration are strongly marked.

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The sultry suns of Summer came,

And he grew thick and strong, His head weel (1) arm'd wi' (2) pointed spears, 15

That no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
When he grew wan and pale;

His bending joints and drooping head
Show'd he began to fail.

His colour sicken'd more and more,
He faded into age,

And then his enemies began
To shew their deadly rage.

They've ta'en a weapon, long and sharp, 25 And cut him by the knee;

(i) well. (2) with.

20

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1) So.. (2) To fall. (3) Dark. (4) Woeful. (5) From. o Hall. (7) All. (3) (4) (5) i

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