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Faculty of Advocates reproduces bawdy Burns poem

4 March 2009

A risqué poem by Robert Burns is to be reprinted by the Faculty of Advocates for charity.

"The Fornicator's Court", which was probably written in 1786, was discovered in Sir Walter Scott's private library at Abbotsford. It is a humorously satirical account of the 18th century Presbyterian Kirk's approach to sexual shenanigans.

The facsimile version will have a limited print run of 1,000 copies. Money raised will go to the Abbotsford Library Project Trust, which was set up to help conserve the library.

Sir Walter was a member of the Faculty of Advocates, which owns his library of more than 9,000 volumes.

The online cataloguing of the collection is now well underway and, already, a number of priceless antiquarian volumes, including medieval manuscripts, have been rediscovered.

The Faculty decided that the Year of Homecoming, with its theme celebrating Scotland's national bard, was the time to produce a facsimile edition of the Abbotsford version of "The Fornicator's Court".

The facsimile edition - true to the Abbotsford original - also includes a manuscript copy in Burns' own hand of "O saw ye my Maggie", another risqué composition, which Sir Walter had "tipped into" his copy of The Fornicator's Court.


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