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Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

More than two centuries ago, the most famous poet in Scotland was untimely ripped from this mortal coil. When Robert Burns died in 1796, he was but 37 years of age.

The life of Robert Burns might have furnished the plot for a romantic novel. He was born on Jan. 25, 1759, in a clay cottage of two rooms at Alloway, near the southwestern coast of Scotland. His father was an unsuccessful farmer, and young Robert was assigned heavy work in the fields when he was only 11. The strain resulted in a progressive heart disease that was to prove fatal at the age of 37.

In 1786, Burns’ life reached its low point. In despair over his poverty and the rejection by the woman he had hoped to marry, Burns resolved to emigrate from Scotland to Jamaica. He gathered some of his poems, hoping to sell them for a sum sufficient to pay the expenses of his journey. The result was a small volume of poetry titled “Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect,” and its impact changed the course of English verse.

Burns bought his ticket to Jamaica from the 20 pounds he earned from the sale of his little book. The night before he was to sail he wrote “Farewell to Scotland,” which he intended to be his last song composed on Scottish soil. But in the morning he changed his mind, led partly by some dim foreshadowing of the result of his literary adventure.

In the late 18th century, with its emphasis on elegance, style and refined manners, the rustic, simple lyrics of Burns seemed incongruous. But “Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect” took all of Scotland by storm and was universally praised by critics. The newly famous author was dubbed The Peasant Poet and The Plowman Poet, and he became instantly lionized as a natural singer and rustic philosopher. Ultimately, Burns’ work established him as the Scottish national poet and the primary bridge between the rational satire of the 18th century and the exuberant romanticism of the 19th.

Now, more than two centuries after his death, Robert Burns sings to us in another special way, for one of his lyrics is the first that many of us hear each year. On New Year’s Eve, when the clock strikes midnight, the song that many bands around the world often play consists of verses written by Rabbie Burns:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to min’?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

We all know “Auld Lang Syne,” even though few of us really know what it means, which happens to be “old long since.” The song was first popularized in 1929 by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians orchestra.

The passing of one year into the beginning of another is marked around the world by New Year’s Eve customs ranging from high-spirited parties to solemn prayer and thought. The biggest and most famous New Year’s party takes place in New York City. Millions of people around the world watch the ginormous Waterford Crystal ball drop over Times Square.

On Jan. 1, we make New Year’s resolutions, vowing to better ourselves in the coming year. Many of these resolutions are forgotten as soon as they’re made, but the sentiment remains noble. Taking a few moments to reflect on our shortcomings and optimistically plan to overcome them is better than making no attempt at all. And sometimes, when we are ready for change, those resolutions do stick — some for a few months, some for a year and some for a lifetime.

Please send your questions and comments about language to richard.lederer@utsandiego.com