For amateur historians and trivia collectors everywhere

Location: Masterton, New Zealand

I survived school history despite the best efforts of the education system to bore me to death. Many years later, I discovered Treaties, dates, the movement of nations, are mere context. The fascination is in the details.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Birth of a Scottish Icon.

From 'The Life of Robert Burns' (1828) by John Gibson Lockhart -

Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759, in a clay cottage at Alloway, two miles south of Ayr, and near the "auld brig o' Doon."
..... at the age of six, Robert, with his brother Gilbert, was learning to read, write, and sum under the direction of John Murdoch, an itinerant teacher, who has left an interesting description of his pupil.
"Gilbert always appeared to me to possess a more lively imagination," says Murdoch, "and to be more of the wit, than Robert. I attempted to teach them a little church music. Here they were left far behind by all the rest of the school. Robert's ear, in particular, was remarkably dull, and his voice untunable. It was long before I could get them to distinguish one tune from another. Robert's countenance was generally grave and expressive of a serious, contemplative, and thoughtful mind. ..... certainly, if any person who knew the two boys had been asked which of them was the more likely to court the muses, he would never have guessed that Robert had a propensity of that kind."


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