Abstract

The article attempts to retrace the connections between an early lyric of Robert Burns, 'I dream'd I lay', the song 'The Flowers of the Forest' by Alicia Cockburn (1713-94) and the poem of Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski (1595-1640) entitled 'Ad suam testudinem'. The article includes a brief account of the available knowledge concerning Burns's poem, its dating and history of publication. It presents the two possible sources of influence upon the poet, discussing his possible access to the texts and their respective popularity in late eighteenth-century Scotland. The paper concludes that Burns became acquainted with the two poems in question in his early teens. Even though he failed to acknowledge the connection, they most probably influenced him when some years later he set out to compose his short poem, one of the first he ever wrote.

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