An AHRC-funded Project to produce a multi-volume edition of the Works of Robert Burns
Handsome Nell – Kath Campbell
Performed by Kath Campbell
Burns claimed to have written this song at the age of 15, and as such it is thought to be his earliest work. It first appears in the poet’s Commonplace book, however, it was not published until after his death, in James Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum (1803). The inspiration for the song is thought to be Nellie Kilpatrick who worked as a farm servant. Even from an early age, Burns notes that Nell possesses an array of qualities that attract him, rather than just her outward beauty.