Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect

Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect
Cover of Robert Burns' Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. Circa 1786.png
First edition cover, circa 1786.
AuthorRobert Burns
Original titleKilmarnock Edition
GenrePoetry and Lyrics
PublisherJohn Wilson of Kilmarnock
Publication date

Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, commonly known as the Kilmarnock Edition, is a collection of poetry by Robert Burns, first printed and issued by John Wilson of Kilmarnock on 31 July 1786.[1] It was the first published edition of Burns' work. It cost 3 shillings and 612 copies were printed. The volume was dedicated to Gavin Hamilton. The Kilmarnock volume contained, besides satire, a number of poems like "Halloween" (written in 1785), "The Twa Dogs" and "The Cotter's Saturday Night", which are vividly descriptive of the Scots peasant life with which he was most familiar; and a group like "Puir Mailie" and "To a Mouse", which, in the tenderness of their treatment of animals, revealed one of the most attractive sides of Burns' personality.

Six of the original manuscript versions of the poems from the book are in the possession of the Irvine Burns Club.

In 1787 Burns travelled to Edinburgh with the intention of organizing a second edition and, after being introduced to publisher William Creech and printer William Smellie, 3,000 copies of the Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (Edinburgh Edition) were published in April 1787.


Centenary Facsimile with Jamies McKie's signature in a limited edition of 120 copies.

As stated, only 612 copies of the Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect were printed by John Wilson in 1786 and the publisher James McKie saw that most collectors of Robert Burns's works would be unable to acquire a copy and to satisfy this demand and satisfy his own interests as an admirer of Burns he produced the first facsimile edition for collectors in 1867 in a print run of 600 copies.[2] These facsimiles were in original style boards, signed by James McKie.

A miniature facsimile issued in a protective case with a magnifying glass in the 1890s and was of benefit to troops in the trenches in World War I due to its protective case and convenient size.

The miniature facsimile edition of Robert Burns 1786 volume of poems.



  1. The Twa Dogs
  2. Scotch Drink
  3. The Author's earnest cry and prayer, to the right honorable and honorable, the Scotch representatives in the House of Commons
  4. Address to the Diel
  5. The Death and dying words of Poor Maillie
  6. Poor Mallie's elergy
  7. To J. S****
  8. A Dream
  9. The Vision
  10. Halloween
  11. 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
  12. The Cotter's Saturday Night
  13. To A Mouse
  14. Epiftle to Davie
  15. The Lament
  16. Despondency, an Ode.
  17. Man was made to mourn, a Dirge
  18. Winter, a Dirge
  19. A Prayer in the prospect of Death
  20. To a Mountain-Daisy,on turnip one down, with the Plough, in April, 1786,
  21. To Ruin
  22. Epistle to a young Friend
  23. On a Scotch Bard gone to the West Indies
  24. A Dedication to G. H. Esq
  25. To a Louse, on feeing one on a Lady's bonnet at Church
  26. Epiftle to J. L*****k, an old Scotch Bard
  27. To the same
  28. to W. S*****n, Ochiltree
  29. to J. R******^ enclosing some Poems
  30. Song, It was upon a Lammas night
  31. Song, Now westlin winds, and flaught'ring guns
  32. Song, From thee, Eliza, I must go
  33. The Farewell
  34. Epitaphs and Epigrams
  35. A Bard's Epitaph

See also


  1. ^ Burns, Robert (1786). Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (First ed.). Kilmarnock: Printed for John Wilson. Retrieved 26 January 2016. via Internet Archive
  2. ^ Young, Allan (2017). The Kilmarnock Edition. A Census. University of South Carolina. p. 174. ISBN 978-1976245107.
  3. ^ Robert Burns (1786). Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. University of Michigan. J. M'Kie.

External links

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