Alison Cockburn entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Alison Cockburn did not publish, and much of her writing is probably lost. She won a place in literary history with her composition of a popular mournful song or ballad, to an old Scottish tune. Most of her verse is occasional and much of it political. She was a delightful letter-writer, markedly independent in some of her opinions. She also left a short account of her own life and a fable-like biography of Robert Keith.
8 October 1713 Alison Rutherford or Rutherfurd (later AC) was born at the family's mansion house at Fairnalee in Selkirkshire, Scotland. She was much the youngest of seven children (apart from two elder half-brothers). Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
1764 The Black Bird. A Choice Collection of the Most Celebrated Songs. Few of which are to be found in any other Collection, published at Edinburgh, included, anonymously, what is probably the best-known of all AC's works, the song or ballad beginning "I've seen the smiling of Fortune beguiling." Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
3 November 1794 AC, who had been writing of herself as old for something like twenty years, composed the last of her printed letters, to the Rev. Robert Douglas. Bibliographic Citation link.
22 November 1794 AC died in Edinburgh. Bibliographic Citation link.
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