Robert Burns

In need of some inspiration on a dark winter’s day? To that end, we have revived an old staple: why not consider the scandalous tactics of Scotland’s most famous artist to liven up your life and improve your prospects?

*not recommended if you wish to avoid accusations of misogyny

To be like Robert Burns, you probably need to at least pretend to like a whisky. Beyond that though, taking a leaf out of his book will give you the skills necessary to escape a life of manual labour for one of excitement, sex, booze, and Romantic poetry.

From his birth in 1759, he was a man who knew how to have fun. Numerous affairs may not be morally admirable, but if you consider he really didn’t like church – and that perhaps the infidelity was a bit of a ‘fuck you’ to the religious establishment – maybe you can forgive…

And for the record, E&M is certainly not endorsing all of his life choices.

Give food due reverence

We all like a good meal. But how many of you have written an ode to your favourite offal? Not many, I’m sure.

Burns wrote a poem which inspires a great night a great meal even almost three hundreds later.

I refer, of course, to Burns Night. On January 25 every year, Scots and others come together to celebrate Burns’ life in a way I’m sure he’d respect: By getting sloshed and eating a big meal.

To begin festivities, someone theatrical tends to perform his poem ‘Address to the Haggis’. Because, well, why wouldn’t you want to write a love letter to food?

For those of you who may have been under the impression that the haggis which stars in the poem was, well, a real animal, though: I’m afraid I have to disappoint you.

Little haggises are not running around the Scottish Highlands.

However, the man known as Rabbie, (where they get the A from, even the Scots don’t know), was onto a winner when he recommended the delicacy that is “offal mixed with suet, oatmeal, and seasoning and boiled in a bag, traditionally one made from the animal’s stomach”.

It’s delightful. What’s more, Burns’ message of really getting behind the food that you devour in your trencher (bread used as a plate, effectively) is a good one. A good square meal will set you up for a solid evening’s work or play, and frankly paying attention to what you like? That’s a good idea.

Serve haggis with neeps and tatties (suede and potatoes) and wash down with a good single malt and you’re onto a winner.

Robert Burns’ portrait | Image: Public Domain

Make goals, strive for them and inspire the best

“The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.”

Burns wrote those lines in one of his more well-known poems, ‘To A Mouse’. Of course John Steinbeck plagiarised them for his novel (for any fellow Brits, you’ll remember this from your Year 10 English classes), but the line is a good one to remember when things go badly, too.

Sometimes tough stuff just happens. Burns knew this all too well. At one stage he even planned to run off – leaving a couple of pregnant women behind and no doubt a kid or three – to Jamaica and work on a plantation (yep, unfortunately we can’t whitewash the odd slavery connection here...)

But well, he didn’t do that. He knuckled down. Got a mate to hawk his poetry around some publishers, had a few published, made a fortune, had nine kids with his wife and died happy, well on the way to becoming the most famous man his country has ever seen. Although he did die a bit young, admittedly.

How’s that for looking into the abyss and turning things around?

Party hard

We’ve already spoken about Burns Night. You might also know that Auld Lang Syne, sung each New Year across the world when we hold hands in a particularly backwards fashion is a Burns lyric too.

This is certainly a man who liked a good knees-up.

Beyond special occasions too, Robert loved a drink. The internet abounds with tales of his exploits in his local pub, while let’s not even consider the content of Tam O’Shanter, his long narrative poem.

It’s generally thought to be roughly autobiographical, and well – check it out – Tam loves to roll home from the boozer…

Play the field

So we’re not advocating infidelity, as we’ve said before. However, there’s something to be said for knowing the odds.

Back then, pregnancy was a risky business. Perhaps dear old Robert’s cheating and carousing was all to increase his odds. Only three of the children he had with wife Jean Amour lived to adulthood, after all.

Take this advice (not in your relationships, please god, no-one could argue Burns’ were healthy) in other aspects of your life. Try and try again, spread your chances, maybe it’ll pay off?

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons; Licence: Public Domain

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