Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759. Each year his life and poetry is celebrated on Burns Night. The celebrations, which began at the end of the 18th century, include the traditional Scottish dish and drink – Haggis and Scotch Whiskey – and recitations of Burns’s poetry.
Robert Burns often went to Edinburgh where he established a platonic relationship with Mrs Agnes Maclehose.
Agnes was a competent poetess when she met Robert Burns at a tea-party given by Miss Erskine Nimmo. She was immediately attracted to him and they began to correspond regularly using the pseudonyms ‘Clarinda’ and ‘Sylvander’. Sir Walter Scott referred to the resulting love letters that passed between Burns and Maclehose as “the most extraordinary mixture of sense and nonsense, and of love human and divine, that was ever exposed to the eye of the world”.
Agnes was known to her friends as ‘Nancy’. Burns wrote ‘Ae fond kiss’, refering to “Nancy” in the poem, after their final meeting on 6 December 1791 and sent the poem to her before she departed to be with her estranged husband in Jamaica. She outlived him by 45 years.
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Celebrate Robert Burns birthday with a Scottish themed Treasure Hunt
Explore the V&A Museum in London for all things Scottish. Discover art and artefacts from north of the border as you and your team solve clues and puzzles, and answer questions on the collection.