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This weeks Friday Gem concentrates on a new Burns related acquisition here at Dumfries Museum. Issued to mark the bicentenary of the poet in 1996, these are First Edition stamps from the Royal Mail.

Awarded as part of a contest, the lucky winner also won a special bicentenary diary along with the stamp presentation pack.

Take a look at the pictures below to see the splendid detail of the illustrations!

In 1793 Burns also wrote the lines Scots, Wha Hae, the Poet’s imagined rallying cry of Bruce to his men at Bannockburn. It was never published in his lifetime, but is now a national song of Scotland.

In Auld Lang Syne Burns reworked a traditional air and added his own verses in 1788, one of hundreds of songs he saved or recreated, so giving the world a universal anthem sung at the close of gatherings worldwide.

A Red, Red Rose contains a lasting testament to the pain of a lover’s parting. An amalgam of several traditional ballads, it shows Burn’s genius for reworking folk material and creating a poetic gem. It was composed in 1793 in Dumfries.

To a Mouse shows the Poet’s sympathies extending to all living things trying to overcome the frailty of existence. Autobiographical, it was written in 1785 at Mossgiel farm, Mauchline, and published the following year in the book of his verse which launched his fame.