Books: Auld Acquaintance

SELECTED LETTERS OF ROBERT BURNS (371 pp.)—Edited by DeLancey Ferguson—Oxford ($1.25).

"Do you think that the sober, ginhorse routine of existence could inspire a man with life, & love, & joy—could fire him with enthusiasm, or melt him with pathos. . . ? No! No! Whenever I want to be more than ordinary in song ... do you imagine I fast & pray for the celestial emanation? Tout au contraire! I have a glorious recipe ... I put myself on a regimen of admiring a fine woman."

Robert Burns followed his regimen so strenuously that at his death in 1796, he was...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!