Burns's 'Sheriff-Muir' manuscript to return to Scotland

The National Library of Scotland has bought at auction the only known manuscript of a Robert Burns poem.

Written in 1790, 'The Battle of Sherra-moor', or 'On the Battle of Sheriff-Muir', gives two viewpoints of a 1715 Jacobite conflict. The manuscript dates from after the poem's initial publication in 1790 and shows changes made for the 1800 edition of 'Works of Robert Burns'.

After years in private hands in Switzerland and the USA, the document sold for $45,000. Cate Newton, NLS Director of Collections and Research, commented: 'We believe the price is fair for a manuscript of a Burns poem of this significance and quality, and it is very appropriate that it returns to Scotland in this Homecoming year.'

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, will see the original manuscript on 24 February at a Burns symposium in Washington's Library of Congress. 'I'm delighted that this unique piece of Burns history will be coming home to Scotland,' he said.

Read more in our Burns manuscript press release.

23 February 2009

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