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Mary Campbell - (1763-86) - Highland Mary

The Highland Mary of Robert Burns legend. Little is known of Mary Campbell's life; she was born in Auchamore by Dunoon and was employed as a nursery maid to Gavin Hamilton in Mauchline, and later as a dairymaid at Coilsfield. She met Robert Burns during the period of his estrangement from Jean Armour and according to tradition she and Burns exchanged Bibles on the banks of the River Ayr on the second Sunday of May 1786. Mary Campbell died in Greenock in October that year, either as a result of typhus fever or in childbirth; Burns's song 'Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary' suggests that he may have asked her to emigrate to the West Indies with him. In later life Burns was stricken with remorse over the affair and he wrote for her the song 'The Highland Lassie 0' and a sentimental poem 'To Mary in Heaven'.

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