As a way of celebrating Burns Day (25 January) the National Library of Scotland will display a special letter from Robert Burns to one of his oldest friends, which has not been seen in public for more than 100 years.
The letter was written in August 1786, just weeks after publication of his first work ‘Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect’, and tells of an evening Burns spent with his former school-friend William Niven in Maybole in Ayrshire.
In the letter, Burns thanks Niven for their encounter:
I thank you with the most heart-felt sincerity for the worthy knot of lads you introduced me to. Never did I meet with so many congenial souls together … To all and each of them make my most friendly compliments particularly ‘Spunkie, youthful Tammie’.
The letter, which has been in private hands since 1899, is an important addition to the Library’s collection of material by and about Robert Burns.
It goes on show at George IV Bridge in Edinburgh on 25 January from 11.00 to 15.00. Entry is free.