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Young John McLeod of Raasay died in 1787, his father having passed away just the previous year. Robert Burns was a friend of the family and on seeing the death reported in a newspaper was prompted to write the following poem to the late John’s sister, Isabella McLeod. In the Glenriddell manuscript, Burns added the comment: “this poetic compliment, what few poetic compliments are, was from the heart”.

“Sad thy tale, thou idle page, And rueful thy alarms:

Death tears the brother of her love From Isabella's arms.

Sweetly deckt with pearly dew The morning rose may blow;

But cold successive noontide blasts May lay its beauties low.

Fair on Isabella's morn The sun propitious smil'd;

But, long ere noon, succeeding clouds Succeeding hopes beguil'd.

Fate oft tears the bosom chords That Nature finest strung;

So Isabella's heart was form'd, And so that heart was wrung.

Dread Omnipotence, alone Can heal the wound He gave;

Can point the brimful grief-worn eyes To scenes beyond the grave.

Virtue's blossoms there shall blow, And fear no withering blast;

There Isabella's spotless worth Shall happy be at last.”

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