These are Scots poems and songs from the eighteenth century which created a literary tradition of vernacular directness which Burns drew upon and shared. Before Burns includes a substantial selection from the work of Allan Ramsay and Robert Fergusson (Burns's 'elder brother in the muse'), as well as a wider selection from the men and women writers whose good humoured accessibility so characterised the poetry of their time. Christopher MacLachlan's introduction puts these works in perspective and makes a case for a linguistic confidence, rather than an insecurity, in their vigorous use of both English and Scots.
Christopher MacLachlan attended Trinity Academy, Edinburgh and received an MA(Hons) and PhD from the University of Edinburgh. He is teaching at the University of St Andrews.