Top 10 Quotes by Robert Burns


Burns Night provides occasion to remember the life of the 18th Century bard and enjoy his poetry. Not to mention drink whisky and eat haggis (Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!).

Burns Supper was first held in July 1801 when nine of Burns’ closest friends gathered to mark the fifth anniversary of their friend’s death. Hosted at Burns cottage in Alloway, the evening involved a tasty meal (including haggis, of course!), performances of Burns’ work and a speech in honour of the great poet (now known as the Immortal Memory).

Today Burns Night is an annual event, held on the 25th of January, Burns’ birthday. On this day Scotland and Scots all over the world come together to celebrate the life of our national poet.  We have put together our top 10 favourite quotes from this most famous bards poems, songs and letters.

‘Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!’

To a Mouse (1785)

‘There’s nought but care on ev’ry han’,
In ev’ry hour that passes, O:
What signifies the life o’ man,
An’ ’twere na for the lasses, O.’

Green Grow the Rashes (1787)

‘For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne!’

Auld Lang Syne (1788)

‘The voice of Nature loudly cries,
And many a message from the skies,
That something in us never dies.’

New Year’s Day (1790)

‘When Nature her great masterpiece designed,
And framed her last, best work, the human mind,
Her eye intent on all the wondrous plan,
She formed of various stuff the various Man.’

Letter To Robert Graham (1791)

‘Some hae meat, and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.’

‘His lockèd, lettered, braw brass collar
Showed him the gentleman an’ scholar.’

The Twa Dogs (1786)

‘While Europe’s eye is fix’d on mighty things,
The fate of empires and the fall of kings;
While quacks of State must each produce his plan,
And even children lisp the Rights of Man;
Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention,
The Rights of Woman merit some attention.’

The Rights of Woman (1792)

‘O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion.
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us
An’ ev’n Devotion’

To a Louse, On Seeing one on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church (1786)

‘Lay the proud usurpers low
Tyrants fa’ in every foe
Liberty’s in every blow
Let us do or dee!’


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5 thoughts on “Top 10 Quotes by Robert Burns

  1. Dr Mac says:

    Rab’s works remain so relevant. One of my favorites excerpts “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”

  2. B. says:

    Surely one of the most pertinent and relevant quotations for today’s world must be this:
    ‘O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as others see us!
    It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
    An’ foolish notion.
    Perhaps one day we – and world ‘leaders’ – will have a better understanding of how our words and actions affect others and not squander the ‘gift’ of this perception.

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