Edited and introduced by Christopher MacLachlan. This superb anthology offers a lively and indispensable collection of poems and songs from the eighteenth century. Here are the poets who created the 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 Ferguson (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. MacLachlan's excellent introduction also puts these works in perspective and makes a case for a linguistic confidence, rather than insecurity, in their vigorous use of English and Scots.