Page last updated at 23:35 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 00:35 UK

Mystery over 'lost' Scottish poet

George Colburn book
The volume of poetry belonged to Colburn and contains personal notes

A charity shop in Ayrshire is appealing for help to solve the mystery of a 19th Century Scottish poet.

The specialist Scottish International Relief (SIR) bookshop in Ayr was given a volume of work by George Colburn, titled "Poems on Mankind and Nature".

But even after contacting university experts, SIR Books has been unable to uncover information about the life of the Victorian writer.

Anyone who can help is asked to contact the shop at Newmarket Street in Ayr.

Chris Moorhouse, who runs SIR Books, contacted the University of Glasgow in the hope of discovering more about the poet's background.

Goerge Colburn poetry volume
The volume by George Colburn was published in 1891
But, so far, the only information that has come to light is a review of the book, which was published in The Scotsman on 7 September 1891.

The book given to SIR was Colburn's own copy and contains his personal notes.

Further cuttings of his own poems, published after 1891, are slotted into its pages.

Mr Moorhouse said: "I find it really surprising that we haven't been able to learn anything about this poet.

"These are good, classical poems, and the book was printed by a reputable Glasgow publisher."

One of the most moving of the poems is about a young man who "sleeps within Italian seas".

It has a note by Colburn on the back, explaining that his nephew drowned off the coast of Italy in 1916.

An inscription shows that in 1930 Colburn passed his book on as a gift to a couple who were close friends of his.


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