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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Afton Manuscript

A collection of his later poems presented by Burns to Mrs Alexander Stewart of Stair in 1791. It consisted of thirteen then unpublished poems, including 'Tam o' Shanter', 'Elegy on Captain Matthew Henderson', 'The Lament of Mary Queen of Scots' and both versions of 'Lines in Friar's Carse Hermitage'. In view of the inclusion of 'Tam o' Shanter' it is strange to find Burns writing in his Preface; 'Many Verses on which an Author would by no means rest his reputation in print may yet amuse an idle moment in manuscript; and many Poems from the locality of the subject may be unentertaining or unintelligible to those who are strangers to that locality. Most, if not all, the following Poems are in one or other of these predicaments; and the Author begs whoever into whose hands they may fall not to publish what he himself thought proper to suppress.'

Mrs Stewart afterwards built a house on the Enterkine estate, which she called Afton Lodge, after her father's estate.

The small quarto volume of sixty-eight pages, sewn in limp boards, is now in the Cottage Museum, Alloway, gifted by Mrs Stewart's grandson, William Allason Cunningham, in 1880. See Stair Manuscript.

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Robert Burns Store

NEW!! robert burns store View our exclusive range of distinctive Robert Burns related products. Register with our Shopping Club for further offers and unique member offers.Click here...


Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

ScotwebThe finest Scottish shopping site in the world, with the world's largest choice of kilts and tartans, exclusive jewelry, Highland Dress, Bagpipes and piping supplies, cashmere, and much more. Buying from these sites helps pay for the upkeep of Burns Country! Click here...