Scottish Poet and Freemason: Robert Burns

Robert Burns

Freemasonry has no greater name in its ranks, other than that of Robert Burns (Rabbie Burns). Higher tribute there is none for any man to say, justly, that the world is gentler and more joyous for his having lived; and that may truly be said of Robert Burns, whose very name is an emblem of pity, joy and brotherly love.

Robert Burns was born on the 25th January 1759 in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland in a two roomed cottage, the home of a tenant farmer. His parents being William Burnes and Agnes Broun, who ran a small market garden.

In 1766, William Burnes faced a dilemma, he could no longer earn enough to support his growing family. The family set up home at Mount Oliphant Farm, a few miles down the road. It was at this time, William saw to it that his gifted son Robert received some form of education. By the spring of 1777 the family left Mount Oliphant before William faced financial ruin, and moved to Lochlea Farm.

The problems faced by William Burnes and other farmers at that time, was the short lease system, granted to farmers. If a farmer improved his land, he would find the rent would increase when it was time to renew his lease. So it was, they attempted to scrape a living from the poor soil, as best they could. William Burnes was one of these farmers.

On the 4th July 1781, aged just twenty-two Burns was initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry at St.David’s Lodge, Tarbolton as an Apprentice. The Second and Third degrees were conferred upon him that very night following his initiation.

In February 1781, peasant farmer William Burnes died. Robert and his brother Gilbert rented the farm of Mossgiel, from lawyer Gavin Hamilton. Robert would spend little time on the farm, he let his brother Gilbert take over the running of it, as he spent more time on his writing and love of women.

On the 27th July 1784, Burns was elected Depute Master of St.James Lodge at Tarbolton, a position he held until St.John’s Day 1788.

In 1785 Robert Burns had an affair with household servant, one Elizabeth Paton, which bore a child out of wedlock.

In 1785/86 Robert Burns had an affair with Jean Armour, resulting in the birth of twins in 1786, much to her father’s displeasure. The couple announced they be married, but Jean was forced into requesting an annulment by her father.

In 1786 Robert Burns released his book of “Kilmarnock Poems” which received much praise from his critics and public alike. In the same year he moved to Edinburgh as his fame as a poet grew, where he mingled within literary circles.

On the 26th October 1786, Burns was made an honary member of St.John’s Lodge, Kilmarnock, with the designation of being a “Poet.” Major William Parker master of the lodge, became a great friend of Burns, to the point of subscribing to thirty-five copies of his collection of poems.

In 1787 Burns was made a Royal Arch Mason in Eyemouth

With fame as a poet, Jean Armour’s Mason father consented to an official marriage between Robert Burns and Jean Armour in 1788.

Success was short lived, but Burns the poet had a family to support, and so in 1791 relocated to Dumfries to take up the position of an excise officer.

Burns had another love, collecting and composing traditional Scottish songs. He will always be remembered for his composition “ Auld Lang Syne” sung across the world, in celebration of New Year.

Robert Burns, famed Scottish poet died in Dumfries in 1796 at the age of 37. He lived for the day, his love was writing, women and drink, leaving behind a trail of illegitimate children and broken relationships.

Advertisements

Freemason: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang-Amadeus-Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

On the 27th January 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the son of Leopold and Maria Mozart from Bavaria, was born in Saltzburg, Austria.  On the 28th January, the young Mozart was baptised with the names; Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart at St.Rupert’s Cathedral.  Mozart came from a musical heritage, for his father Leopold was a composer and violinist, serving as an assistant concert master in the Salzburg court.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his sister, Maria Anna came under the musical tutorage of their father; Leopold.  Wolfgang’s introduction into the world of music started when he was three and Maria was seven.  Wolfgang excelled quickly in the world of music, and by five, had written his first composition, and went on to demonstrate his abilities on harpsichord and violin.

With Wolfgang aged six, and Maria aged eleven, these child prodigies went on European tours.  Their father took them to the court of Bavaria, Paris, London, The Hague and Zurich in 1762.

In 1763, Leopold Mozart became Vice-kappelmeister to the Archbishop of Salzburg.  In the latter part of 1763, the Mozarts toured Germany, France, England, Switzerland and the low countries, promoting their child prodigies, and returning home in 1766.  Towards the end of 1766, the Mozarts travelled to Vienna, where Wolfgang Mozart composed two operas.  In 1768, the young and talented Mozart, wrote a Mass and a collection of Serenades, and in the October of 1769 became honorary “Konzertmeister “at the Salzburg court.

These concert tours, would promote this child genius; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a possible prospect for employment by the noble courts of Europe, as a musician or court composer.

With Wolfgang’s sister having reached the age of 17, her musical career was all but over, for the custom of that time, no longer permitted her to show off her artistic talent in public.  It was now her time, to prepare for marriage.  With sadness in their heart, Wolfgang and his father, departed Salzburg bound for Italy in December of 1769, leaving his sister and mother behind.

Tours across Italy intensified to secure Wolfgang permanent employment, as they visited Verona, Mantua, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples.  Wolfgang composed the opera “Mitridate Re di Ponto,” which established his reputation in the world of opera.

Aged just 13, Wolfgang Mozart had made his mark, when Pope Clement XIV made him a “Knight of the Golden Spur,” and at Bologna admitted to the “Accademia Filarmonica.”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart along with his father returned from Italy in the March of 1773.  Leopold’s benefactor, Archbishop von Schrattenbach had died during their absence, and been succeeded by Hieronymus von Colleredo, who appointed the young Mozart as assistant concert master.  This gave Wolfgang the chance to experiment on different musical genres; symphonies, sonatas, serenades and operas.  It was during this experimental period he developed a passion for Violin Concertos, and during his life wrote five.  In 1776, he changed direction, and started writing piano concertos.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had much success with his compositions, but he wanted more, than be known as a mere assistant concert master in Salzburg.

In the August of 1777, departed Salzburg for Mannheim, Paris and Munich, accompanied by his mother seeking out better employment.  On the 3rd July 1778, Wolfgang’s mother died, and he was left along in a foreign country, to find his way home, whilst his father negotiated a better court position for him.  Mozart returned home, to take up the position of Court Organist.

Wolfgang was commissioned to write an opera, for the Court of Bavaria.  In November 1780 travelled to Munich to complete the work and conduct the “Idomeneo.”

In the March of 1781, Wolfgang was summoned by Colleredo to join his entourage in Vienna.  Treated much like a servant, and rolled out to perform chamber concerts in houses of nobility, did not go down well, and he often voiced his opinions to the fact on several occasions.

A heated argument erupted between Archbishop von Colleredo and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, resulting in Mozart’s resignation being accepted.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart settled in Vienna, at the home of Fridolin Weber, becoming a music teacher, writing music and performing concerts.

On the 4th August 1782, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart married Constanze Weber, with the approval of his mother, but his father believed his music was far more important, which led to difference of opinions regarding his forthcoming marriage.  Yet he finally gave way, and gave his son his blessing.  The couple were blessed with two children who survived infancy; Karl Thomas and Franz Xaver.

In the latter part of 1782 and early 1783, Wolfgang was influenced by the works of Johannes Sebastian Bach and George Frederic Handel, resulting in several Baroque styles compositions… (The Magic Flute).

He became friends with Joseph Haydn and often performed together, and went on to write six quartets dedicated to Haydn.

The opera “Die Entfuhrung” became popular, bolstering Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s name throughout Europe.

In 1784, he became a Freemason, and was well regarded by the secret society.  Freemasonry influenced much of his compositions.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart went on to compose some 600 works or more, lived an extravagant lifestyle, more associated with nobility.  By the latter part of the 1780’s Wolfgang and Constanze found themselves falling into serious financial difficulties.  To turn his finances about, he needed court appointment, as he had been borrowing from fellow Freemasons to retain his extravagant lifestyle.

In 1785 Wolfgang collaborated with Lorenzo da Ponte, composing “The Marriage of Figaro” which premiered in Venice and Prague in 1786.  With such success the pair wrote “Don Giovanni” which premiered in 1787.

In the December of 1787, Emperor Joseph II appointed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as chamber composer.  This income was most welcomed, as he was struggling with debt.

On the 18th November 1791, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart conducted the dedication for the new Masonic Temple.  Just a few days later, on the 5th December he died in Vienna, Austria.

Wallpaper Image