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Forget him, did I say? Forget!
'Tis Scotia's bard I mean;
Forget him! No, we never can,
While woods & meads are green.
Forget him! While the earth revolves,
And on its axis turns,
His name shall never be forgot,
The honour'd name of Burns.

--George Dobie
from "Lines repeated
at Burn's Anniversary"
held in the Edinburgh Hotel
January 25, 1863

Above, "Alloway Under Snow" a painting by Sam Bough,
of a small flock of sheep being driven by two sheepdogs
past the cottage where Burns was born.

BurnsNasmith.jpg Burns met Jean Armour, the love of his life and eventually his wife and the mother of his (legitimate) children, at a "penny dance" at the races but they did not become lovers then. There is a story of how they eventually came together that is an amusing one. At the dance in question, Burns' collie (Luath?) was following him about and he was overheard remarking to a friend that he wished he could get "the lasses to like him as well as his dog did." A few weeks later he and his collie passed by Jean, who was washing clothes on the public green, and she greeted him and said "Have you no fa'n in wi' a lass yet to like you as weel as your dog?" Soon after that they began their relationship in earnest.

Left, Jean Armour Burns Brown, great granddaughter of Robert Burns and Jean Armour, in front of the cottage where Burns was born in Alloway. She is shown with a collie.

Right, a portrait of Robert Burns by Alexander Nasmith.

Left, an engraving that illustrated a collection of Burns' work (artist and date unknown). It shows the sheepdog Luath on the left, and Caesar, a Landseer Newfoundland, on the right. There isn't a big difference between the collie and the Newfie because Newfoundlands were a smaller breed back then. Numerous paintings, etchings, and photographs from the late 18th through the late 19th centuries show Newfoundlands (usually the black and white variety known as "Landseer" after the Victorian artist who frequently painted them) to look very similar to the collie, except for being slightly larger and perhaps having slightly lower ear carriage, broader head, and blunter muzzle. Dog World magazine had an article (April 1992) called "Images of the past" which featured a postcard of a Landseer Newfoundland that could have easily been mistaken for a Border Collie.

Attesting to the fact that Burn's work, "The Twa Dogs", is still popular, is the sign, right, at the Twa Dogs Inn, on the A591 a few minutes walk from Keswick town center in the Lakes District of England. It depicts Luath as a Border Collie, and Caesar as a Yellow Laborador rather than a Nefoundland. The inn was owned by Lois and Gordon Hallatt. (Photo by Jeannette Ingham.)

Left, a detail from a painting (anon.) showing two shepherds making a toast
with a "wee dram" by an open hearth in a cottage
much like the one in which Burns was born.
At their feet lies their collie.

Right, a painting by George Harvey of a pastoral scene with sheepdog as it would have been during Burns' day.
This painting was engraved for the collection
Songs of Burns.

Left, another illustration of "The Twa Dogs", a chair in the Burns Museum in Ayrshire, Scotland, has Caesar holding up the left arm and Luath holding up the right. (Thanks to Gordon Hallatt and Jeannette Ingham for this photograph.)

Right, an illustration of Ellisland Farm, where Burns lived and farmed
from 1788-1791, and where he wrote Tam o'Shanter.
It shows a herdsman (Burns himself, perhaps) with his cattle and dog.

The Globe Inn in Dumfries, frequented by Burns.

back to the main Burns article



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Last modified: July 12, 2013