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Cockburn, Alison

-1785

Alison Rutherford (1717-94) was born in Selkirkshire in the borders. In 1731 she married an Advocate, Patrick Cockburn of Ormiston. Widowed in 1753 and left with a small income, she never lost her liveliness, her insatiable love of mischief, mockery and match-making (Graham, H.G., The Social Life of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century, p.331). She was acquainted with many notable enlightenment figures. In 1777 she remarked of a young Walter Scott that he was the most extraordinary genius of a boy and befriended Burns in 1786. She was a poet as well as a wit and a socialite. She wrote lyrics to the Border Ballad the Flowers of the Forest.

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