Robert Burns' first daughter was Elizabeth. Her story and the five descendants Scottish lives are recorded here with the Bard's message today as ever in need. Al Quida listen: Then let us pray that come it may, As come it will for a' that. That Sense and Worth o'er all the Earth Shall bear the gree for a' that. For a' that an' a' that, its comin yet for a' that. That man to man the world o'er, Shall brithers be for a' that.
NB gree means have priority.
Living in Dumfries I am aware of visitors from all over the world following the Bard’s footsteps, visiting his former homes in Dumfries and at nearby Ellisland farm. All seek a sign of those times, the conditions and the places that inspired the poet. Many are moved by visits to his grave at the Mausoleum at St Michael’s Church, or at the Brow Well where he sought healing. Others stroll the magnificent walks on the Nith riverbanks that truly inspired the Bard to pen Tam o Shanter and collect, craft, and mend over 300 songs. All can share in his works, many recite their favourite verses and others understand the hardship and politics of the times but in one thing their experiences will fall short. His genius was his alone. Miller CaldwellDumfries May 2005 Acknowledgements and a Final ThoughtI was most fortunate in having the counsel of a special friend when preparing this text. John McFadden was not only a past President of the Dumfries Burns Club but he served as the Club’s secretary with distinction for more than a quarter of a century. His sharp legal eye brought to my attention the difficulties in recording a work that was neither a simple biography nor a pure historical novel. I am grateful to him for his advice and proof reading. Once more Joyce Bell is at her eclectic best as a graphic artist producing a unique front cover. From a distance the book reveals a picture of the National Bard. I am grateful to the Dumfries & Galloway Museum Service for providing and permitting the use of this image of Robert Burns. In the collage, at the top left is Mary Pender; at the top right Dr Muriel McLean; at the bottom left the Reverend David McLean and at the bottom right the author, the Reverend James Caldwell.Finally, my father fortunately never lived to see the growth of religious fundamentalism in evil proportions. The modern world we now experience is so far from the times of Robert Burns. Yet surely Robert Burns has a message for all mankind and for all ages? Yes, and for al-Qaida militants too:Then let us pray that come it mayAs come it will for a’ thatThat Sense and Worth o’er a’ the EarthShall bear the gree an a’ thatFor a’ that an a’ thatIt’s comin’ yet for a’ thatThat man to man the world o’erShall brithers be for a’ that.Thereafter, any mistakes can only be laid at my door. MC POET’S PROGENYThe first and illegitimate child of Robert Burns was Elizabeth Burns, his Dear Bought Bess. The poet loved and worshipped his daughter in life and in verse. Thou’s welcome, Wean! Mishanter fa’ meIf thoughts o thee, or yet thy mammie,Shall ever daunton me or awe meMy sweet wee lady,Or if I blush when thou shalt ca’ meTyta or daddie! …Gude grant that thou may ay inherit (God)Thy mither’s looks an’ graceful merit,And thy poor, worthless daddie’s spirit,Without his failings!‘Twill please me mair to see thee heir it, Than stocket mailens (well stocked farms) Whatever failings led to her birth, Elizabeth Burns’ life was treasured, making its own mark on subsequent generations to the present day. This is their story carefully captured before it was lost forever. They were the descendants of Robert Burns and his first child. They are the POETS PROGENY.