2009 was the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Brother Robert Burns. The Scottish Government designated that year to be 'Scottish Homecoming Year' when anyone with a love of Scotland, its people, its culture, its history and its National Bard were invited to come to Scotland and attend any of the many events that were held.

To mark that anniversary the Grand Lodge of Scotland have undertaken a number of initiatives which might be of interest to visitors to this site.

Firstly, the Grand Lodge of Scotland commission the award winning author and broadcaster, Billy Kay, to produce a double CD - The Mystic Tie. One of these explores the world of Scottish Freemasonry here in Scotland and overseas. The second CD discusses the impact of Freemasonry on the life and work of Brother Robert Burns. This is a unique venture for the Grand Lodge and the end result is a handsome and informative product. The CD set can be purchased at Freemasons' Hall or from the secure Grand Lodge online shop. To purchase the CD set click here or on the previous links.

The Scottish World - A Journey through the Scottish Diaspora

Secondly, the Grand Lodge of Scotland has available the book: The Scottish World - A Journey through the Scottish Diaspora. The book is also by Billy Kay and whilst much of it will be fascinating to Scots the Chapter: The Mason Word will be of special interest to Freemasons. As with The Mystic Tie this book can be purchased at Freemasons' Hall or from the Grand Lodge online shop. To go to the page of the online shop to purchase this book click here or on previous links.

Finally, the Grand Lodge of Scotland organised two concerts to celebrate the songs of Brother Robert Burns. One of these concerts was held in Glasgow and the other in Edinburgh. The former on Friday, 12th June and the latter on Saturday 13th June 2009. You might wish to download a copy the Concert Flyer (a .pdf file) and to do so click here or on the previous link but these are now only of historical interest.

Brother Robert Burns

Caledonia's Bard - Brother Robert Burns

Brother Robert Burns was born in 1759 and died at the young age of 37 in 1796. In his short life time he created a legacy that has lasted to this day. Burns, his songs and poems, are one of the ways by which Scots are known to have a different identity, a different culture, from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Sadly, few people are aware that Robert Burns was a Freemason and remained so all of his adult life, indeed he was Senior Warden of Lodge St Andrew, Dumfries, (dormant) when he died.

Even fewer people are aware of the Masonic content of his work. One of his most famous: A Man's a Man for a' That, was sung at the official opening of the new Scottish parliament and delivered superbly by folk singer Sheena Wellington from a balcony overlooking the debating chamber. Freemasons, especially Scottish Freemasons, all over the world are intensely proud that a Masonic Anthem was chosen to mark this historic occasion. Freemasons everywhere will readily identify the Masonic significance of the words of Brother Robert Burns:

A Man's a Man for a' That

By Brother Robert Burns

Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by -
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Our toils obscure, an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine -
A man's a man for a' that.
For a that, an' a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that,
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie ca'd 'a lord',
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that?
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that,
The man o' independent mind,
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that!
But an honest man's aboon his might -
Guid faith, he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities, an' a' that,
The pith o' sense an' pride o' worth
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that)
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth
Shall bear the gree an' a' that!
For a' that, an a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That man to man the world o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that.

Other articles concerning Brother Robert Burns

Robert Burns and the First World War
Race on to complete £17m museum for Burns anniversary