Jane Ferrier was a well-known Edinburgh society beauty whom Robert Burns met in 1787. She asked Burns to send her one of his poems. The poet obliged with a copy of his recent ‘Elegy on the Death of Sir James Hunter Blair’. He enclosed the elegy along with the following verses addressed to the lady herself.
“Nae heathen name shall I prefix, Frae Pindus or Parnassus;
Auld Reekie dings them a' to sticks, For rhyme-inspiring lasses.
Jove's tunefu' dochters three times three Made Homer deep their debtor;
But, gien the body half an e'e, Nine Ferriers wad done better!
Last day my mind was in a bog, Down George's Street I stoited;
A creeping cauld prosaic fog My very senses doited.
Do what I dought to set her free, My saul lay in the mire;
Ye turned a neuk-I saw your e'e- She took the wing like fire!
The mournfu' sang I here enclose, In gratitude I send you,
And pray, in rhyme as weel as prose, A' gude things may attend you!”