More about this epigram
Although this epigram is undated, it is thought to have been written around August 1793. Maria Banks Woodley Riddell (1772-1808) was the youngest daughter of William Woodley, who was the governor of the Leeward Islands.
She married Walter Riddell, the brother of Burns’s friend Robert Riddell.
Burns gave her an introduction to William Smellie who published her work Voyages to the Madeira and Leeward and Caribbee Islands (1792).
By the time that Burns wrote these words in 1793 the two had become ‘first of Friends’, and he valued her as the ‘most accomplished of Women’.