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The Burns Encyclopedia
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M'Murdo, Philadelphia Barbara (1779 -1835)

The second daughter of John M'Murdo, and a well-known beauty of the day. She was the subject of several of Burns's songs, notably 'Adown winding Nith I did wander'.

Writing to Thomson in August 1793, Burns said:

'Mr Clarke begs you to give Miss Phillis a corner in your Book, as she is a particular Flame of his, and out of compliment to him, 1 have made the Song.'

Stephen Clarke had been engaged to give singing lessons to Phillis, and to her sister, Jean. Burns directed that the song should go to 'The Mudein 'o' Geordie's Byre', sung slow with expression. Thomson suggested that the verses should be turned entirely into English. Burns refused, and Thomson did not print the song.

The other song to Phillis, the duologue 'O Philly, happy be that day', to the tune 'The Sow's Tail', from McGlashan's Scots Measures, 1781, appeared in Thomson's Scottish Airs.

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Robert Burns Store

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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

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