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The Burns Encyclopedia
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National Bard, Scotland's

The title of National Bard, sometimes applied to Burns, is in its usual connotation a creation of nineteenth-century romanticism; but possibly it derives from two references by Burns to himself.

In a letter written from Edinburgh on 14th January 1787, Burns tells John Ballantine: "I went to a Mason-lodge Yesternight where the Most Worshipful Grand Master Charters, and all the Grand lodge of Scotland visited. The meeting was most numerous and elegant; all the different Lodges about town were present, in all their pomp. The Grand Master who presided with great solemnity, and honor to himself as a Gentleman and Mason, among other general toasts gave, "Caledonia, and Caledonia's Bard, brother B-", which rung through the whole Assembly with multiplied honors and repeated acclamations. As I had no idea such a thing would happen, I was downright thunderstruck, and trembling in every nerve, made the best return in my power.' This incident occurred at a meeting of Lodge St Andrew's in Edinburgh.

Writing to Mrs Dunlop from Edinburgh on 22nd March of the same year, Burns told her: 'The appelation of a Scotch Bard, is by far my highest pride; to continue to deserve it is my most exalted ambition.'

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

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