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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Kilpatrick, Nellie (1760 — 1820)

Burns's 'Handsome Nell', the poet's partner when he was harvesting in his 15th year. She was the daughter of Allan Kilpatrick, miller at Parclewan, near Dalrymple. She married the Laird of Newark's coachman, William Bone.

In Burns's Autobiographical Letter, he tells how this 'bonie, sweet, sonsie lass', initiated him in a 'certain delicious Passion'. He 'looked and fingered over her hand, to pick out the nettle stings and thistles...'

Among her other love inspiring qualifications, she sung sweetly; and 'twas her favourite reel to which I attempted giving an embodied vehicle in rhyme. I was so presumptive as to imagine that I could make verses like the printed ones, composed by men who had Greek and Latin; but my girl sang a song which was said to be composed by a small country laird's son, on one of his father's maids, with whom he was in love; and I saw no reason why I might not rhyme as well as he... Thus with me began Love and Poesy...'

The tune to the song, 'O, once I loved a Bonny lass', has not come down to us.

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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
Search our huge CD and music store for any Burns-related phrase!
Hint: Type "lang syne" or "peck maut" etc. into the Search box there for all artists, titles, descriptions or track listings with the words entered.
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...