Even if you haven't heard of him, you've heard some of his stuff; he's one of those guys whose works have dissolved into collective memory. Unofficial New Year's Eve song "Auld Lang Syne" is hisnote . He also wrote "To A Mouse", a line of which was pressed into service for John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men. Another of his poems, "To A Louse", gave us the proverb
To see ourselves as others see us!
Burns was a member of the Romantics, and was specifically a Romantic nationalist, who helped craft the global view of Scotland. In addition to these grand tragic poems of Highland life, he also wrote on things that mattered to him personally. Such as farming, and the state of his wife's pubic hair.
Celebrated by fans annually on the 25th of January at Burns Suppers. The celebrations involve piping in the haggis in and reciting the "Address to the Haggis". Followed by eating, toasts, more addresses, more toasts, more addresses, readings of Burns, more toasts, and occasionally dancing.
Tropes in effect:
- Badass Boast: "Scots Wha Hae" is one.
- Cannot Cross Running Water: The witches and devils in "Tam o' Shanter".
- Country Matters: Almost entirely used in the anatomical sense. By most accounts, Burns was rather an expert on them.
- Dead Artists Are Better: Popular in Scotland in his own lifetime, his death led to a massive reappraisal of his work further afield. Within a decade, there was a massive tourist industry devoted to the Burns legacy, and it hasn't let up since.
- Hot Witch: Nannie from "Tam o' Shanter".
- I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: "Love in the Guise of Friendship".
- Massively Numbered Siblings: The oldest of seven children, who had twelve children, the youngest born the day of Burns' funeral. Even though only five lived to adulthood, some 200 years after his death, Burns has at least 900 direct descendants living today.