USC gets rare 18th century manuscript written by Robert Burns

COLUMBIA (WACH)- The University of South Carolina has one of the largest collections of scottish literature outside of the United Kingdom, and now that collection is even larger with the addition of an original manuscript of a poem by 18th century poet, Robert Burns.

The manuscript is one of Burns' famous poem "Flow Gently Sweet Afton." The poem was set to music in the 1830's by music composer Jonathan Spillman. In 1911 professor of English at USC G. A. Wauchope used the tune to compose the university's alma-mater, "We Hail Thee Carolina."

USC Literary expert professor Tony Jarrells says having a manuscript like this gives a health to Carolina's prestigious literary collection, and how the Scottish poet can relate to students of literature nearly 3 centuries later.

"His poetry is very beautiful, but if you're not into the whole beauty thing, he's bawdy, he's very rebellious, and an irritation to authority," said Jarrells.

The piece was acquired from a private collection in memory of the late G. Ross Roy, a noted scholar on Scottish literature and poetry at the University. The manuscript is on display to the public during the library's normal hours.