During his stay at Ellisland Farm, Robert Burns produced some 130 ~ about a quarter ~ of his songs and poems, and 230 of his 700 letters.
Many of Robert Burns’ best known works were written at Ellisland, including his poetic masterpiece ‘Tam O Shanter’ and his songs ‘Ye Banks and Braes o Bonnie Doon’ and his version of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, which continues to be sung across the world to this day. His personal experiences while at Ellisland inspired him directly, such as the tragic ‘Address to a Wounded Hare’ and comical ‘Willie Brew’d a Peck o’ Maut’ and ‘Elegy on Willie Nicol’s Mare’.
Burns’ recollections of his Highland tours undertaken before settling down at Ellisland were to inspire a range of songs on Jacobite themes, including ‘Battle of Sherramuir’, ‘Braes o’ Killiecrankie’, ‘Ye Jacobites by Name’ and ‘There’ll Never Be Peace Till Jamie Comes Hame’.
His interest in wider Scottish history was expressed in works penned at Ellisland such as ‘The Lament of Mary, Queen of Scots’, ‘Nithsdale’s Welcome Hame’, and ‘Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation’.
It was while living at Ellisland that Robert Burns began his collecting of traditional Scots songs in earnest. Among the best known traditional songs which he reworked and preserved while here are ‘McPherson’s Lament’, ‘The Dusty Miller’, and ‘Tam Glen’.
Burns is well known for his love songs, and he wrote the one he considered his best ‘The Gowden Locks of Anna’ while at Ellisland. The beautiful ‘Of A’ the Airts the Wind Can Blaw’ was written for his bride Jean Armour, back in Ayrshire while Robert was getting their new home built. His sensitive ‘John Anderson My Jo’ portraying the love of a long-married couple was penned at Ellisland, and was one of many of Burns’ songs which featured in the Scots Musical Museum.
Visitors to Ellisland today can visit the spence where these works were written, see original manuscripts, and enjoy the same landscape which so inspired Robert Burns.