The 19th-century scholar and educationalist J S Blackie summed up Burns's importance to Scotland and the Scots with the words:

'When Scotland forgets Burns, then history will forget Scotland.'

Today, Burns is unique in the affection and fascination that his memory inspires. The fruits of his legacy can be seen not only in Scotland but around the world — on product packaging, in advertising and on a wealth of merchandise, as well as through continued scholarship and academic study.

Music at the National Library

Letters, poems and books are not the only material relating to the poet which the National Library of Scotland holds in trust for the nation. Songs by Burns also form part of the Music Collections.

Sites of interest

From the many websites relating to Burns, we list a very small sample which may be of interest (although we do not endorse any views or opinions expressed on these sites):

Scotland's Cultural Resources Access Network (SCRAN):
'Scotland's Bard' — images relating to the poet, his work and the people and places in his life.

The official Robert Burns site:
Songs and poems online, an encyclopedia, useful links, and much more.

Robert Burns birthplace museum:
The site for the heritage park which has Burns Cottage at its heart and a modern museum to enjoy.

University of South Carolina:
Burns and Burns-related texts held by the university include letters, translations, and collections of essays.

By 1986, it was estimated that over 2,000 editions of the poetry of Burns had been published since the first one appeared at Kilmarnock. That makes an average of 10 a year over the intervening centuries.