In the words of the Bard | Robert Burns quotes

'My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose'

Oh, my luve's like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June; 

Oh, my luve's like the melodie That's sweetly played in tune.

From Burns' most famous love song 'My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose', penned in 1794. It is written to someone from whom he is parted and hopes to meet again one day, however great the separation.

'To a Louse'

Oh wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursel's as others see us!

It wad frae monie a blunder free us, And foolish notion.

The poet notices an upper class lady, Jenny, in church with a louse roaming around unnoticed in her bonnet. The theme is contained in the final lines (above) and is that we would all be disabused of our pretensions if we were to see ourselves through each others' eyes.

'To a Mouse'

The best laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft a-gley;

And leave us naught but grief and pain For promised joy.

These lines, which are amongst the most famous in world literature, are from Burns' poem 'To a Mouse'. The lines inspired the title of John Steinbeck's 1937 classic novel 'Of Mice and Men'.

'Tam o'Shanter'

But pleasures are like poppies spread

You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed

Or like the snow falls in the river

A moment white then melts for ever

From Burns' epic poem 'Tam O'Shanter', written in 1791. As well as containing humour, horror and social commentary, the poem also includes beautiful lines like the above.

'The Cotter’s Saturday Night'

From scenes like these old Scotia’s grandeur springs,

That makes her loved at home, revered abroad:

Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,

An honest man’s the noblest work of God.

From 'The Cotter's Saturday Night', this poem was written for inclusion in the Kilmarnock Volume, Burns' first book of poems. It is one of the best known and most admired of his works.

'A Man's a Man for A' That'

For a' that, an' a' that,

It's coming yet for a' that,

That Man to Man, the world o'er,

Shall brothers be for a' that.

These lines are from Burns' song of equality and universal brotherhood ‘Is there for Honest Poverty’ (also known as 'A Man's A Man for a' That').

'Auld Lang Syne'

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne!

Amongst the top most sung lines in the English language, these words are, of course, from 'Auld Lang Syne', which has become an anthem sung the world over at New Year.

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Last updated 16 Jan 2015