Scottish Poet Robert Burns' Legacy Lives on in Tattoos

Scottish Poet Robert Burns' Legacy Lives on in Tattoos

The Bard of Ayrshire inspires body art over 200 years after his death.

There are so many tattoo portraits of (HOT TAKE) horrible poet and descent-at-best short story writer Edgar Allan Poe out there that it's simply gag-worthy, and too rarely do poets who are truly remarkable get homages in the form of body art. One Scottish window cleaner, Lee Jamieson, is working to change this by transforming his entire back into a tribute to his homeland's most beloved poet, Robert Burns. Though they aren't the most refined pieces, they're all ten times better than even the most exquisite portraits of that dreary, longwinded hack, Poe. [Editor's Note: The Cask of Amontillado alone is better than anything Burns ever produced, but the tattoos are getting wicked played out.]

A shot of Lee Jamieson's Robert Burns back-piece. #LeeJamieson #RobertBurns #literary #poetry #Scotland #tributetattoos

Jamieson has homages to nearly every outstanding poem that Burns ever penned, including unforgettable works like "To a Mouse," "Tam o' Shanter," "A Red, Red Rose," and more. He even has the entire text of "Auld Lang Syne," Burns' most celebrated sonnet, tattooed next to a full-body black and grey portrait of the poet. By having these allusions inscribed on his body, Jamieson is a walking, talking testament to Burn's incredible legacy, even though his tattoos might not quite do the literary great justice. 

A closeup of Lee Jamieson's Robert Burns back-piece. #LeeJamieson #RobertBurns #literary #poetry #Scotland #tributetattoos

His fanaticism toward Burns' corpus extends back to when he was a schoolboy. "When I was a pupil at Kyle Academy, I got a certificate from the Robert Burns World ­Federation for my knowledge of Burns," said Jamieson in an interview with Mirror. "That’s what really sparked my interest and from then on I’ve not looked back. For the last three years I’ve been getting tattoos to celebrate him. And I have finally finished just in time for Burns Day this year." There are still plenty of other fantastic poems by the early Scottish Romanticist for Jamieson to model new tattoos on, so here's to hope that for next year's supper celebrating Burns' legacy, he'll get a piece that tips its hat to "Address to a Haggis." 

Lee Jamieson, the Scot with a back-piece full of Robert Burns tributes. #LeeJamieson #RobertBurns #literary #poetry #Scotland #tributetattoos

Should you want to see some other tattoo tributes to great authors from the past, check out this very bookwormy post. Also, if you're a true devotee of lyricism, think about getting a tribute to your favorite writer on your body... Unless of course it's Poe, which means you desperately need to read more, perhaps starting with good old Rabbie Burns — the one and only Bard of Ayrshire and Ploughman Poet.  

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