Burns spent the final years of his life in
Dumfriesshire. From 1788 he attempted to farm at Ellisland, but
the ground was so exhausted that this ultimately proved fruitless.
In September 1789 he began work for the Excise at Dumfries. Though
he performed these duties diligently and compassionately, charges
of political disloyalty were raised against him.
At the same time failing health, which he sought to remedy by sea-bathing, overshadowed his literary and musical output. Years of hard physical labour working on a series of unproductive farms aggravated his long-standing heart condition. This lead to his premature death at the age of 37 on 21 July 1796.
On the day of his funeral, his wife gave birth to
their youngest son, Maxwell.
Burns's house in Dumfries.
(By permission of the National Galleries of Scotland)
(By courtesy of the National Museum of Scotland)