Following the success of the Kilmarnock edition, Burns decided to further his literary ambitions by visiting Edinburgh. Soon he was being fêted by an Edinburgh society eager to meet the man described by Henry Mackenzie as the 'Heaven-taught ploughman'.
For the next 18 months he stayed frequently in Edinburgh to arrange the publication of a second edition of his poems, and to join in the social round.
One of the people he met was Mrs Agnes McLehose, with whom he established a platonic relationship. Their ensuing correspondence — using the pseudonyms 'Clarinda' and 'Sylvander' — is one of the most famous examples of stylised romantic letter-writing. But even more famous is 'Ae fond kiss', the parting song which Burns sent to Mrs McLehose after their final meeting in December 1791.
The Earl of Glencairn (by D O Hill), the poet's principal patron on his arrival in Edinburgh. It was by his influence that the Edinburgh establishment subscribed so enthusiastically to the Edinburgh edition.
William Creech by Henry Raeburn. He organised the first Edinburgh Edition of Burns's poems, but his well-known reluctance to part with money caused the poet endless problems. (By permission of the National Galleries of Scotland)
Agnes McLehose, known as 'Clarinda'.