“There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.”
― Robert Burns, Collected Poems of Robert Burns
Each year, January 25th sees Scots (and indeed people from all over the world) celebrate the birth of Robert Burns, either by reading his poetry or taking part in a Burns supper.
The national poet of Scotland, Burns is also seen as an icon, both politically and socially, and a pioneer of the regarded Romantic movement. He is revered across the globe, with literary greats such as John Steinbeck and Bob Dylan citing him as an influence on their works.
At Pro-Sapien we are very proud of our Scottish heritage, as was Burns. To learn more about Burns, and see our reworked EHS version of one of his poems, please read on...
Farm labourer to literary sensation
Burns was born in a town called Alloway on January 25, 1759. Educated by his father, he was a labourer on the family farm. Whilst working, he honed his skill and love for poetry. He married Jean Armour, with whom he had twins, but after an argument he moved to Jamaica with another woman, Mary Campbell.
However, the sudden death of Mary, as well as the success of his first published poems, meant he returned to Scotland.
Burns, now a literary sensation, moved to Edinburgh, where he made many influential and rich friends, a stark contrast from his poor life on the farm. Burns hit a purple patch in his work, including the well known standards Ae Fond Kiss (I got married in the same building as the subject of this poem!) and Auld Lang Syne, still sung every New Years Eve across the world.
Having spent the majority of his Edinburgh wealth in a short period of time, Burns moved to Dumfries with his wife Jean (despite a string of affairs and illegitimate children). His new job as an excise officer, along with the toil of his earlier life and poor lifestyle choices meant Burns passed away at just 37 years of age.
Burns was chosen as The Greatest Scot of all time in a 2009 poll, beating William Wallace and Sir Alexander Fleming. His legacy lives on today with poetry readings and Burns suppers taking place every year on January 25th, the anniversary of his birth.
Safety ode to Burns
To pay homage to Burns, we have taken one of his more famous pieces, To A Haggis, and adapted it to convey the importance of safety management, both in Scottish (where possible!) and a more 'standard English' version.
Having worked in no doubt poor conditions on the farm, we would like to think Burns would be concerned about poor working conditions, such as the ones that contributed to his poor health.
If you think we can translate your safety from puir (poor!) to guid (good!), please get in touch, and Happy Burns Night!
Tae A Form
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
A groanin’ problem there you fill,
His knife see rustic Labour dight:
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Is there that owre his incident form, endit?
Poor devil! see him owre his paper,
But mark the Rustic, Pro-Sapien come
Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
To A Form (Translation)
Fair and full is your honest, jolly face,
A massive problem there you fill,
His knife see rustic Labour wipe:
Then pound for pound, they stretch and strive: To be like Pro-Sapien,
Is your incident form not completed?
Poor devil! see him over his paper based form
But mark my words, Pro-Sapien come
Their powers, make mankind their care,