Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns
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This book contains all Robert's poems, including epitaphs, plus all his song lyrics, but not the sheet music, because he did not compose any music. Of course, there is one song of his, Auld lang syne, which is extremely well known, although not many people are aware that he was its writer. This is not a biography, though some brief historical details are provided. If you want an in-depth biography, you must look elsewhere.

Robert Burns wrote about every topic you could imagine - love, nature, politics, people, anything that was topical in the late eighteenth century. Among the most famous poems are A red red rose (including the line Till a' the seas gang dry my dear), To a louse (including the line O wad the Power some giftie gie us) and To a mouse (including the line The best laid schemes o' mice and men).

The poems and songs are presented chronologically in the order of date written. Personally, I would have preferred the book divided into chapter, with each chapter covering a different theme, but it doesn't really matter. There is an index of first lines as well as an index of titles.

A glossary is provided to allow translation from Scottish to English. People sometimes joke that Britain and America are two countries separated by a common language, but this glossary is a reminder that the same can be said about Scotland and England. I cannot say how easy or difficult you will find the dialect. I was born of Scottish parents so I learned a bit as a child even though I was raised in England. Hopefully, you will find most of it reasonably straightforward with a bit of practice. The quality of the poetry makes it well worth the effort.

Within the main book, at the bottom of each page, footnotes are provided to set the context of the poem or song where this is deemed useful. For example, Ballad of the American war has footnotes giving brief details of events between 1775 and 1784, so you will immediately realise that the poem doesn't just focus on the war itself, but also its aftermath.
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on January 7, 2013
This book does not contain Burns' bawdiest works, such as "Nine Inch Will Please a Lady." For me, these are an essential part of the Burns canon, and should be on hand for a Burns Supper.

The good news is that this is a handsome book which is otherwise quite comprehensive. One solution would be to have a copy of this on hand, as well as a copy of The Merry Muses of Caledonia, which contains the bawdy works left out of this collection.

This is not a particularly scholarly work--the introduction is only a couple of pages long, and makes no mention of the works left out--but it is jam-packed full of poems.
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on February 22, 2011
Why keep slaving along, trying to make sense of all those capital P poets who clutter the canon? Burns wrote his lyrics and poetry with the same big calloused hands that pushed his plow. Perhaps the most talented soul of the 18th century; it's coming yet for all that where all eyes shall see, and all ears hear the songs of this bard from the lowlands. And this is the edition to buy, the James Barke one.
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on March 4, 2016
Bought to prepare myself for Burns night, now I just have to practice the Scots and order the haggis to go along with a wee dram . Great collection for me as this is my first of Robert Burns...definitely complete.
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on July 20, 2014
Burns was an amazing wordsmith. He was well-educated in the classics and could fit in at any social level. However, he devoted much of his career to preserving the distinctive Scottish dialect. He found many of the classic songs and added his own verses to augment them. His work preserved the cultural inidividuality of the region in the most glorious of ways. I loved his interpretation of "John Barleycorn: A Ballad." This was turned into a famous classic rock song in the early 1970's by the group Traffic.

His poems and songs are timeless masterpieces. Burns could write intelligently and stir the emotions with vivid and colorful language. Almost any inspiration could serve as a topic for him. My favorite poem was "To a Mouse, On Turninh Her up in Her Nest With the Plough, November, 1785.

"But Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!"

Burns could appeal to highbrow culture with his satirical insights on the religious and satiricial leaders of his day. He could offer insight on superstitious beliefs of the people such as his "Halloween." He wrote about the simple joys of love, friendship, fatherhood. He loved wine, women, and song. He lived life to the fullest and inspires men and women to do the same. Burns was a legend and an incomparable poet. You will be the richer for reading his works.
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on January 4, 2013
Great book and easy read. I use this book as my source for getting Burns readings for our annual Robert Burns night celebrations in January.
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on February 26, 2014
This is a nicely done, inexpensive version of the immortal bard's work. Easy to read, and find what one wants.
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on March 30, 2016
If you are a fan of Robert Burns' poetry, this book is a treat. Its hard cover, and fantastic.
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on March 8, 2016
Heard about this guy on Parks and Recreation, and bought the book. It's fantastic!
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on March 6, 2015
It was purchased as a gift and was very much appreciated and enjoyed.
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