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Poem by Robert Burns: 'A fragment, which was meant for the beginning of an Elegy on the late Miss Burnet of Monboddo -'

Introduction:
Burns wrote this elegy for Elizabeth Burnett ( referred to in the 'Address to Edinburgh as 'Fair Burnet') It has been suggested that 'Burns laboured for several months to produce a satisfactory Elegy'. Alexander Cunningham received the text from Burns on the 23rd January 1791.
Image Rights Holder:
National Trust for Scotland
Ref:
BMT331.14A
Project:
618:The Burns Manuscripts at Alloway
Subject:
Elizabeth Burnett died of tuberculosis on 17 June 1790. Back in December 1786, Burns said of her, 'There has not been anything nearly like her in all the combinations of Beauty, Grace, and Goodness the great Creator has formed, since Milton's Eve on the first day of her existence.'.
Who:
Eliza Burnett (1766-1790) (admired by Burns)
Robert Burns (author)
Alexander Cunningham ( d. 1812) (friend of Burns)
When:
c. 23 January 1791 (date of composition)
Where:
The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, South Ayrshire
Background:
Elizabeth Burnett died of tuberculosis on 17 June 1790. Back in December 1786, Burns said of her, 'There has not been anything nearly like her in all the combinations of Beauty, Grace, and Goodness the great Creator has formed, since Milton's Eve on the first day of her existence.'.
Description:
This elegy reveals the Poet's feelings for Miss Burnett. Indeed 'Life ne'er exulted in so rich a prize'. For example, Burnett carries the epithet of being God's 'noblest work ' and Burns provides beautiful countryside images to reflect this.