MS: Letter from Robert Burns to Maria Riddell

Robert Burns, Author 
Object Number:


Maria Riddell (1772 - 1808) was one of Burns's most reliable and intimate female confidants. Maria was married to Walter Riddell, the younger brother of Robert Riddell, Burns's neighbour at Ellisland. The two met in 1792 and soon began a long-lasting friendship that would continue until Burns's death.

In this letter, Burns writes to Maria to arrange a visit to her home. He also discusses an old Scots song which his friend James Clarke has favoured. Burns has added the words to his song For pity's sake, forgive me to the tune, which Clarke is to take back with him to Edinburgh. The song later appeared as Farewell Thou Stream.

Burns also offers Maria, ‘thou first & fairest of Critics’, his new revisions of the song along with many compliments to her kindness and intelligence.

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