The Edinburgh Edition

by untangledwebl

Robert Burns dedicated the Edinburgh Edition of his work to the Caledonian Hunt, some of whose members had befriended or patronised him during his stay in Edinburgh. The dedication, which is included at the beginning of the volume, can be read at Dedication to the Noblemen and Gentlemen of the Caledonian Hunt.

The following Acknowledgement of this Dedication is included in the Minutes of the Meeting of the Caledonian Hunt in Edinburgh dated 10th January 1787 : “A motion being made by the Earl of Glencairn, and seconded by Sir John Whitefoord in favour of Mr Burns, Ayrshire, who had dedicated the new edition of his poems to the Caledonian Hunt, the meeting was of the opinion that in consideration of his superior merit, as well as of the compliment paid to them, Mr Hogart should be directed to subscribe for one hundred copies in their name, for which he should pay Mr Burns £25, upon the publication of his book.”  Robert Burns was enrolled as a member of the Caledonian Hunt on 16th April 1792.


The first Edinburgh Edition was printed by William Smellie, and published by William Creech on 21st April 1787, the funding for which had been by subscription ‘for the sole benefit of the author’. This edition had to be re-set and reprinted more or less simultaneously as it was over-subscribed. In all 3,000 copies were published.  In the second run, there was an error in a line of the “Address to a Haggis” whereby “Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware” appeared as “Auld Scotland wants nae stinking ware”. This second run of the 1787 Edinburgh Edition thereafter become known as the ‘Stinking Burns’.  The price to subscribers for the Edinburgh Edition was 5/- ( 25 pence) and 6/- (30 pence) for other purchasers.

Detailed below are the Songs and Poems of Burns’ Edinburgh Edition, the second volume of his Work to be published.  The songs/poems are listed in the Order they appeared when it was first published.

Click on the appropriate link to access the full Text

Works marked  were not published in the earlier Kilmarnock Edition, so were therefore first published in this Volume

 The Twa Dogs, a Tale

Scotch Drink

The Author’s Earnest Cry and Prayer, to the right honorable, and honorable, the Scotch representatives in the House of Commons

The Holy Fair

Death and Doctor Hornbook   *

The Brigs of Ayr   *

The Calf   *

Address to the Deil

The Death and Dying Words of Poor Maillie

To J. S**** [ Later referred to as “Epistle to James Smith” ]

A Dream

The Vision   *

Address to the Unco Guid, Or the Rigidly Righteous   *

Tam Samson’s Elegy   *


The auld Farmer’s new-year-morning Salutation to his auld Mare, Maggy, on giving her the accustomed ripp of Corn to hansel in the new year

The Cotter’s Saturday night, inscribed to R. A. Esq;

To a Mouse, on turning her up in her Nest, with the Plough, November 1785

A Winter Night   *

Epistle to Davie, a brother Poet

The Lament – Occasioned by the unfortunate issue of a friend’s amour

Despondency, an Ode

Man was made to mourn, a Dirge

Winter, a Dirge

A Prayer in the prospect of Death

Stanzas on the Same Occasion (Prospect of Death)   *

The First Psalm   *

Under the Pressure of Violent Anguish   *

The First Six Verses of the Ninetieth Psalm   *

To a Mountain-Daisy, on turning one down, with a plough, in April 1786

To Miss Logan with Beattie’s Poems, For a New Year’s Gift, Jan 1, 1787   *

Epistle to a Young Friend

On a Scotch Bard gone to the West Indies

To a Haggis [ Later known as “Address to a Haggis” ]   *

A Dedication to G.H. Esq – [ Later referred to as “A Dedication to Gavin Hamilton, Esq.” ]

To a Louse, on seeing one on a Lady’s bonnet at Church

Address to Edinburgh

Epistle to John L*****k, an old Scotch Bard ………… [ Later referred to as “Epistle to J. Lapraik” ]

Epistle to William Simpson

Epistle to John Rankine

John Barleycorn   *

A Fragment [ Later referred to as “A Ballad on the American War” ]   *

Song: Tune, Corn Rigs are Bonie [ Later known as “The Rigs o’ Barley” ]   *

Song Composed in August [ Later known as “Now Westlin Winds and Slaught’ring Guns” ]   *

Song: Tune, My Nanie O [ Later just referred to as “My Nanie O” ]   *

Green Grow the Rashes O   *

Song: Tune, Jockey’s Gray Breeks [ Later known as “Composed in Spring” ]   *

Song: Tune, Roslin Castle [ Later known as “The Gloomy Night is Gathering Fast” ]   *

Song: Tune, Gilderoy [ Later known as “Farewell to Eliza” ]

The Farewell – To the Brethren of St James’s Lodge, Tarbolton

Song: Tune, Prepare my Dear Brethren, To the Tavern Let’s Fly [ Later known as “No Churchman Am I” ]   *


A Bard’s Epitaph