year after moving to Lochlie, Burns father became embroiled
in a dispute with his landlord which was to precipitate the familys
next move. Fearing the worst, Burns and his brother agreed secretly
to lease another farm.
years later, the Court of Session decided in favour of William Burnes,
but he was to die less than three weeks later. The rest of the family
promptly moved three miles away to Mossgiel farm, near to Mauchline.
was to meet his future wife, Jean Armour, at a dance in Mauchline.
Jean, to the horror of her family, fell pregnant out of wedlock
to Burns, and the building where they would live together is now
by is Poosie Nancies Hostelry, Burns ``local
at the time. Successive owners have renovated its interior to provide
home comforts, but discreetly enough not to spoil the atmosphere
in the old fashioned public bar.
was here that Burns witnessed the wild drinking sessions which inspired
his cantata The Jolly Beggars. He and his close friend John Richmond
joined a group of lawless vagrants as they downed ale and sang till
the rafters of the building shook.
sang the Bard and Nancies was
Shook with a thunder of applause,
Re-echoed from each mouth!
They toomd their pocks, they pawned their duds,
They scarcely left to coo their fuds,
To quench their lowin drouth.
todays traveller will find more civilised company in Nancies,
local worthies who are never short of a story or two about its historic
village of Mauchline has its own tribute to the poet in the shape
of the Burns Monument, a majestic tower devoted to his memory, but
while he lived there his complicated love life was to make him the
subject of public indignation.
1784 he admitted to being the father of a child born to Elizabeth
Paton, a local farm worker, but rather than follow the accepted
code of conduct of that time, he refused to marry her.
years later Jean Armour was to bear twins by Burns and he agreed
to marry her. Jeans parents had other ideas, however. They
were so furious that Burns had impregnated their daughter out of
wedlock that they forbade the union and sent her to stay with relatives
distraught Burns, who at this time became romantically involved
with yet another woman, Margaret Campbell, made plans to work as
an estate bookkeeper in Jamaica in an attempt to leave his troubles
the emigration plans were abandoned after a twist of fate that was
to change the course of Burns life. In July of 1786 ``Poems,
Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect was published in Kilmarnock.
Such was the popularity of what is now known as ``The Kilmarnock
Edition that Burns postponed his emigration plans and
set about arranging for the publication of a second edition in Edinburgh.
November 27 he set off on a borrowed pony to meet publishers in
Edinburgh. The voyage to Jamaica was never to take place: Burns
had set out on an alternative journey which was to earn him world
wide fame and the title ``Scotlands Bard.