Some Robert Burns Quotes and Poetry Excerpts

Updated: Apr 1

Burns Night is a staple celebration in the Scots calendar, and for good reason. The annual festivities are a welcome excuse for a feast, music, dancing, and boasting about Scotland’s cultural contribution to the world. And tonight's the night!

Statue of Robert Burns

Burns Night is considered to be Scotland’s “other national day”, alongside St Andrew’s Day in November. Celebrated on the same date each year (his birthday), the night gives a nod to the life and work of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns.


Rabbie Burns lived between 1759 and 1796, and is widely regarded as the national bard of Scotland thanks to his famous works, which were penned in Scots or in the Scots dialect. To help the celebrations, here are some of his best quotes along with some excerpts from his poetry.


"God knows, I'm no the thing I should be, Nor am I even the thing I could be."


"My love is like a red, red rose

That's newly sprung in June:

My love is like the melody

That's sweetly played in tune."


"Dare to be honest and fear no labor."


"We'll gently walk, and sweetly talk,

Till the silent moon shine clearly;

I'll grasp thy waist, and, fondly prest,

Swear how I love thee dearly."


"If there's another world, he lives in bliss; if there is none, he made the best of this."


"And even children lisp the Rights of Man;

Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention,

The Rights of Woman merit some attention."


"Painters and poets have liberty to lie."


"I pick my favourite quotations and store them in my mind as ready armour, offensive or defensive, amid the struggle of this turbulent existence."


"It's guid to be merry and wise,

It's guid to be honest and true,

It's guid to support Caledonia's cause,

And bide by the buff and the blue."


"Suspicion is a heavy armor and with its weight it impedes more than it protects."


"I'm truly sorry man's dominion

Has broken Nature's social union."


"The heart that is generous and kind most resembles God."


"Some hae meat and canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it,

But we hae meat and we can eat,

And sae the Lord be thankit."