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H O'SiJiSi-r D'iJjiiVJ, 














Hutnn'B Songs, 

FROM Johnson's *' musical museum," and "Thompson's select mklodifs;" 













Iv the Dedication of tlie Life of Burns by Dr. Currie to his friend Cap» 
tain Graham Moore, the learned Doctor tliiis expresses himself as to his 
Editorial office: — " The tas!c u-a-5 bcs;.'t with considerable dilHculties, and 
«* men of establislied reputation naturally declined an undertaking, to the 
•* performance of which it was scarcely to be hoped that fi^encral approba- 
** tion could be obtained by any e?:ertion of juJpncntor temper. To such 
** an office my place of residence, my accustomed studies, and my occu- 
** pations, were certainly little suited. l]ut the partiality of Mr. SjTne 
«* thought me, in other respects, not unqualified ; and his solicitations, 
•* joined to those of our excellent friend and relation, Mrs. Dunlcjp, and of 
^ other friends of the family of the poet, I have not been able to resist," 

These sentences contain singular avowals. They are somehow apt to 
suggest, what we have all heard before, that some are born to honour, 
while others have honours thrust upon them. The Doctor's squcamishness 
in favour of persons of catahlis/ied reputation^ who might be chary of a tick- 
lish and impracticable, if not an odious task, is in ludicrous contrast with the 
facts as they have since fallen out. Have we not seen the master-spirits 
of the age, Scott, Byron, Campbell, honouring in Burns a kindred, if not a 
fuperior genius, and, like passionate devotees, doing him homage? They 
have all vohuitarily written of him ; and their recorded opinions evince no 
feelings of shyness, but the reverse : they not only honour, but write as if 
honoured by their theme. But let us leave the subject, by merely pointing 
attention to the Doctor's mode of treatinc: it. as a decisive test of the evil 
days and evil tongues amidst v.hich the poet had ihllen, and of the exis- 
tence of that deplorable party-spirit, during which the facts involving his 
character as a man, and his reputation as a poet, could neitlicr be cor- 
rectly stated, nor fairly estimated. 

It is true, Dr. Currie's Life contained invaluable materials. The poet's 
auto-biographical letter to Dr. iMoore, — indeed the whole of his letters, — 
the letters of his brother Gilbert, — of Professor Dugald Stewart, — of Mr. 
Murdoch and of Mr. Syrae, and the other contributors, are invaluable ma- 
terials. They form trulv the very backbone of the poet's life, as edited by 

( M ) 

Dr. Currie. ThejT must ever be regarded As precious relicii ; and howeVef 
largely they may be used as a part of a biographical work, they ought also 
to be presented in the separate f«nn, entire ; for, taken in connection with 
the general correspondence, they will be found to be curiously illustrative 
of tlie then state of society in Scotland, and moreover to contain manifold 
and undoubted proofs of the diffusion and actual existence, amongst Scots- 
men of all degrees, of that literary talent, which had only been inferred, 
hypothetically, from tlie nature of her elementary institutions. 

We have no wish to detract from the high reputation of Dr. Currie. 
It will however be remarked, that the biographical part of his labours, 
•a stated by himself, involve little beyond the office of rcdacieur, — He 
was not upon tlie spot, but living in England, and he was engaged with 
professional avocations. If truth lies at the bottom of the well, he had nei- 
ther the time nor the means to fish it up. Accordingly, it is not pretended 
that he proceeded upon his own views, formed, on any single occasion, afler 
a painful or pains-taking scrutiny ; or tliat, in giving a picture of the man 
and the poet, he did more tlian present to the public what had come to 
him entirely at second-hand, and upon the authority of others ; however 
tunted or perverted the matter might have been, from the then general- 
Ijr diseased state of the public mind. The Life of the poet, compiled under 
such circumstances, was necessarily defective, — nay it did him positive in- 
justice in various respects, particularly as to his personal habits and moral 
diaractcr. These were represented with exaggerated and hideous features, 
unwarranted by truth, and having their chief origin in the malignant viru- 
lence of party strife. 

The want of a Life of Bums, more correctly drawn, was long felt. This 
is evident from the nature of the notices bestowed, in the periodicals of 
the time, upon the successive works of Walker and Irving, who each of 
them attempted the task of his biographer ; and upon the publications of 
Cromek, who in his *' Ilcliques," and *' Select Scottish Songs," brought to 
light much interesting and original matter. But these attempts only whet- 
ted and kept alive the general feeling, which was not gratified in its full 
extent untd nearly thirty years af^er the publication of Dr. Currie's work* 
It was not until 1827 that a historian, worthy of the poet, appeared in the 
person of Mr. John Lockhart, the son-in-law of Sir Walter Scott, and (ra- 
ther a discordant title), Editor of the London Quarterly Review. He in 
that year published a Life of Bums, both in the separate form, and as a part 
of that excellent repertory known by the title of Constable's Miscellany. 

It is only necessary to read Mr. Lockhart's Life of Bums, to be satisfied 
of his qualifications for the task, and that he has succeeded in putting 
them, after an upright and conscientious manner, to the proper use. It 
oertainly appears odd, that a high Tory functionary should stand out the 
champion o£ the Bard who sung, 

" A man*i a man for a' that :** 

and who, because of his democratic tendencies, not only missed of public 
patronage, but moreover had long to sustain every humiliation and indirect 
persecution the local satellites of intolerance could fling upon him* But the 
ispse of time, and the spread of intelligence, have done much to remove 
prejudices and soften asperities ; to say nothing of that independence of 
mind which always adheres to true genius, and which the circumstances 
in the poet's history naturally roused and excited in a kindred spirit. Mr. 

(*** % 
111 ) 

Lockhari, it w31 farther be observed, besides ha?in^ tetnpiled his work fM* 
der circumstances of a general nature much more favourable to accimta 
delineation, likewise set about the task in a more philosophical nwoMf 
than the preceding biographers. He judged for himself ; he took neither 
facts nor opinions at second-hand ; but inquired, studied, comparefl» and 
where doubtful, extricated the facts in the most judicious and careful maa 
ner. It may be said, that titat portion of the poet's mantle which invealad 
his sturdiness oT temper, has fallen upon the biographer, who» as the fort 
did, always thinks and speaks for himself. 

lliese being our sentiments of Mr. Lockhart's Life of Bums, we hava 
preferred it as by far the most suitable biographical accompaniment of the 
present edition of his works. It has been our study to insert, in this edi- 
tion, every thing hitherto published, and fit to be jiublished, ot' which 
Bums was the author. The reader will fmd here all that is contained 
in Dr. Currie's edition of 1800, with the pieces brought to light by all thr 
respectable authors who have since written or published of Bums. — ^Thp 
following general heads will show the nature and extent of tlie preoenf 

1. The Life by Lockliort. 

5. The Poems, as published in the Kilmarnock and first Edinburgh editioa* 

with the poet's own prefaces to these editions, ond also as published 
in Dr. Currie's edition of 1800; having superadded the pieces aince 
brought forward by Walker, Ir\'ing, M orison, l^iul, and Cromek. 

8. Essay (by Dr. Curric), on Scottish Poetry, including the Poetfy oC 

4. Select Scottish Songs iiol Bums's, upwards of 200 in number, and manjr 
€i& them having his Annotations, Historical and Critical, prefixed. 

6. Buras*s Scn^St collected from Johnson's Musical Museum, the laiger 

work ^ Thomson, and from the publications of Cromek, CunninghaiQ^ 
and Chalmers, nearly 200 in number. 

6. The Correspondence, including all the Letters published by Dr. Curric^ 
besides a number subsequently recovered, published by Cromek and 

The whole forming the best picture of the man and the poet, and the onljr 
complete edition of his writings, in ont work, hitherto offered to the public. 
Besides a portrait of the poet, executed by an able artist, long familiar with 
the original picture by Nasmyth, there is also here presented, (on entire 
novelty), a &c*simile of the poet's handwriting. It was at one time mat- 
ter of surprise that the Ploughman should have been a man of geniua and 
n poet. If any such curious persons still exist, they will of course be lOse* : 
wiae surprised to find that he was so good a penman. 

miw TonK, Sept. 1I| 1838. 



nrflet from Dumltief— The AfuM wakeful an ever, while the Poet maintalM A 
vaiied and excenaiTe litcraiy correapondenee with all and aundnr— Remarka udoii 
iSbm cotif apon d cD ce Sketch of hb penoo and habits at this period bjr a brother 
poet, who ahewt came a|{ainst aucceaa in fanning— The untoward conjunction of 
Owiger to Fanner— The notice of the aquirearch^, and the calla of admiring 
iriailon, lead too uniformly to the ultra conririal life— Leaves Klliesland (ITtfl) 
to be czdacman In the town of Dumfries, ..,. » -»■■ ■ ■■» lxsxii-»4(f 

GSAP* VIII. — Is more beset in town than country— His earljr biompherf, (Dr. 
Carrie not excepted), hare coloured too darkly under that head-^u is not correct 
to sneak of the Poet as having sunk into a toper, or a solitanr drinker, or of his 
mus as other than ocraxional, or of their having intcrferca with the punctual 
dkcharge of hit official duties — He it shown to have been the affectionate and be- 
loved hukband, althouf^h pwMing foSlics imputed ; and the constant and most as- 
iiduous instructor of his children — ImpubieM of the French llevo1ution.~Symp. 
loms of fntemizinfc— The attention ot hi» official superiors is called to them— 
Pnctically no blow i« inflicte<I, only the bod name — Interesting details of thbpe- 
riod.M.^iTes his whole soul to song ioaking~.Preference in that for his nauve 
dialect, with the other attendant f&cu, as to that portion of his immonal lays, ..^ zd— cix 

CvAF. IX. — The Poet*s mortol period approaches....His peculiar temperament— 
Symptoms of premature old age — These not diminiiJied oy narrow drcumstanoes 
mmJC&Bgnvk from neglect, and death of a Daughter — The Poet misses public pa- 
tronage : and even the fur fruits of hist own geniuii — the appropriation of which 
is debated for the casuista who gelded to him merely the iliell — His mognani- 
inity when death is at hand ; hi:* interTicw», convenmiions, and addresses as a 
dying man^-Dies, 21st July l/lfri — Public funeral, st which many attend, and 
amongst the rest the future Premier cf England, wlio had steadily refused to ae. 
iDMnruidge the Poet, living — Hi* family muniliccnily provided for by the publie 
-^Analysis of character — His integrity, rrligiouH Ktate, and genius— Strictures 
upon him and bis writings by ikott, Campbell, Uyron. and ouuers, — .^.^.-..i... ex— csxiiv 

Vcnet on the death of Dums, by Mr. Roscoe of I jvcrpool, m cxxzt 

Character of Bums and his M'ritingft, by Mrs. Iliddcll of Glcnriddell, 


Co the First Edition of Dums^t Poems, prictcd in Kilmarnock, „■■.,.*, dxiift 

to the Caledonian Hunt, prefixed to the E^^inburgh Editiott, .^.i, .„, Jz? 


th BflTd EOd* to (hfl West In 

Ihc flH of Fvrn 


Tha Aiild Cimc^ NH.YinC.SakitUioa to 
M.« Muaie. 

Voweli, ■ rt\e, - - 

wtam, ■iMut, — — — 

Emi on ScoNU PmIit |Di. Cunbl, _ 



AmATiW aud hit Cutty Gun, ...,■»*»«.«.». ^.^ > I-IR 

ABHIC JjliWrltf J- --n. -r-i jj rxrjj. 17>> 

Al I wrat nut In a May Moininf*. ^.«.^>,..^,,^.^, 1 ST 

S%OD1ll ^ ' y> *-**■■----■----- rrrrjj r>r Jiru- i r <^ ra j r r j i j i jr n 1 ■' J 
^^ ^wSUKllXC 9Xlllil\| "— ■** --■■■-■ » i tm a -ft-r r^rw rr.r i j.rj-.rj 11' 

Am Whiss Awa, .,,^,.^ 

'^•^•^'^^^^^•^m*^0im0>^ii0^0>0>im0'^m^^i^w I 

.*^ Ibl 

Berif of Srrect Rosn, , 

the GRukio.~'.«^~..~ 
Beuv Bell anil Mnry (rr.-.v, ^ 
BMe'yc Vcr cJfiut:}, «..!-..-, 
Blink oVr tlic IJurn Sivit Ik- 1*-. -,«-, 

Blue IJonni't^ ovrr Ih'j! U.>r.'ii-,^.,„ 

Bamiic Knrlnra Allan, ^ 

Mary Hay,^ 

i#« ■«^«1^^« ^« 

'# «« ## 'v^v « - 

'^0^^0*r ^>»^^0'0'^^m9«0 mm^^ 

Cgmc ye o'er frr.s Fr.i«cc, 
Carle :in* the Kinp ovm.'.-. 
CauJil Knil in Alrnlroii.^. 
Car the Kwes ti> ilic K .oiv 
Charhe i< my Darhnj;, ~«. 
Cloiit the CiuMroUi^^..^ 

<»^»^»^^^^#^^»*y^^^^^^^* J 

Come under my I'liiiiu* 
Comin' thro* the live 

Corn Ilijjs are Hnmii 
Crail Toivii ( L'or:ii:i 
Oomlci's Lilt, M^^. 


*^^^^*^^*^>^'» •• ««» 

11- I 









1. ■,;■•. 


Jockey uid to JcnDy,«MM<.M«M«. 
John ilay'K Uonnic Laacie. ...«. 


Jdhn o* U:t(l(!nyon, 
Johnny Cope, 
Johnny Fca, 
Johnny's Ciray Brocks, ^ 
Jujnpin John, 

P0 0'm *» »^mm mmm^mm'mmsm^i^'^i^i^'^ 

« 144 
. 145 

.M lun 

^ 106 

Kaip of Aberdeen, 
K.ithniu' O^le, 

Rei'p the Country 
l\ul\ in (jrore, ,.^ 

Uoimiu Lurjii', ^«.<,. 

ui.uninvv'.i on nn«l nwi Willie, — .»«■■.. ... 
IIiliuT:;:iku! (The Baltle). 
KilKcrankio O (the Utaus), ..^^..^ 
]vijii llobiu lutiH uie. 


- 107 

~ Ih."? 
^ 13H 




L."yV/ T.Tary Ann, 
L.'.ss f;in yc Loo me ti'll nic now, 
Lr^-.if lie near me, i.».,<w .».»«»...«» 
Lcv.-i< Gordon. 

Little yc \vhn'« comin*. 
LochulxT no more, ■^■^^^■. 


Lo;',aii ilraes. (double fct),~ 
Lo;;ii; o' niK'han,^.^^^^ 

Lend Ronald, my Son, ^.....^ 
LoMT down in the Uruumj 

im ^m^m^m ^m ^^^> ^^»^ ^•i»»-o#i»o>*>»^i*^»wMij»o^ 

^*»^^^»*»»i^*i#>» »*«# 

ninna think Konnh- l.?.-<i\c,.^^^,.^^„^^^..^.„^ 1.'" 

IXmald roii], ^^..^..^^.^...^ ,^^.^^.....^,^^ li'.c. 

Sown the Bum Davic^.^^^^^^,^.^,,,...,.^,...^ 1 : ■ 
Dumhartmi'i Drums,.^. .^^^ — ,^.^„., ,.-»^ 1J7 

^^USiy 3mivTj 0^<^>0^*mi0 0^mm*m0^^<mi^^0mti0mm^^^mm0»0^00m^* ^^^^^m^^ l«JO 

'f.tejil'.TKijn's Rant, 
■^l.i;.-.':e Lander, 


7 Mary j-iv)t, the Flower o' Y.irrmv, ■....^^,,..^..^ 

Ettrick Banks, 

^»»» * »i^^#<# ^# ^i0^*'^0^0^^^>m>0m ^i#^» ^0>^im^m<^0 • 

*>»^>»^p ^ I •> 

^«»^^^i^BX^Pi^»**» o* ^w I 

Wr Annie of Loohroyan, 

Fairly Shot of Her, 

FalM! Love and \u'.c yc Played Me This ^^, 

JFivewetl to A ynh Ire, .,.-«.— 

Fare ye wee! my A'.ild \\ iio, - 

For Lark o' Iio] \ Mi..'s Icf: ir.f, - 

For the Sake o* JjomclxKly, «,^...^^.. 

Fye gar rub her o'er wi" sjuaw 

C?ala V.'cter,-.^^*. 

Get up and liar thr; Pm^r U, ^ 

Oo to Bcrwirk Joliiui*, 

tiudo Vill Coiius a:i'I (Jude Viil Uon, 

.Mi-riy h;ic' 1 been Teething a Heckle, .,^..>.^..^ 

M..!. Mil!. (), 


VyAt.It Man, 

i I V J K-ari', if tijou Die, ^^ 

My Jo J.;!.c:, 

>'y Lf've s-hi's hut a Lassie yet, — , 

My Lo\e'* in (icrmanie. 


I » i < I I I ■ I < r I rr r r < ir<-r Cf r^ r a Jn i#<»rM r rtfn ra ■'■wxi^ia 


I ^>i^»0<0 

^^^010^109 < 

Hame Ti'n-CT cam* Wr, ^,.-. 

Haud an-a fr»e nji* T»'^t,iM, 
Hap and row t'.i- i'lf. tic o'r,-. 
Here's ? Health to ll>e.:i that's ana 
Hey oi* (l«';h,-.^-.^.-.<< 

Illghlrnd LiiUiK-, , ^..^M^, 

Hooly nnd Knirtii',*. 
Uugltic (;ir.!ium,^«. 

I had a llnmc ard I hrd nao malr, — 
I'm o'rr Vi:U!>i: tn ^^1rr,• Vet, ..■,^,^.^ 
ni nevrr Ic-avp Vr, ..^Z,.-^ 

1 JooCd nac a LaiUlic }."it anc, . 

Jfeniiy Mans the Wrawr, ^^.^.^.^ 

My M.thpr'.* aw (ilowrin o'er me, 
My Native CaU.dnnia, ^ — ...»>. 
My onlv Joe and Dearie (), .^^^ 

m0 m »9» 9m^t mt^ ^ ^ m ^trnt^m^m^^^immmmm^mm^ 

My Wne's a Wanton Wee Thing 
My Wife has tatu the Gee, «~««*^ 


Neil Gow's Farewell to Whisky O, 

O an' re were Peail Gudcman,* 

(> (viii ye l:u)i)v:r I^a Vouhj; Man,«..~« 
Uch lu'V Jiilinnr Lad. 

(> di ,ii- 'M::niy uhnt kh:Jt I do, 
(» iiiL'iTv V. ?v t!:c Mai I l)J. 

^^^00^0^ ^^^mi^^i0>m^^^m* 

>^0 0^0^010 

i0»0mm* mm 

I) iMi o.hrh) (ihe AVidow of GlcrrfX);, «.«m 
Old Kin;T C"Oi;l.-.^«.-. 

(hir (luidrr.mi t-ain' Ilame at L'cn, 
O'lt I li'.' Muir aman J the 1 leather, 
(J'cr IJ;>fji.r wi* uiy I^i\C, 

^0 ^^0^'^i^0>0imm 

U Waiv, W;'.ly up you Uauk,^ 

i I^iklwarth on the Grccn,.,.^.*^^..^. 
Po\c;:y psrti Gudc Company,. 

IMMW lift 

A ■ ' 

,^ IGJ 

If TcOl bo mv Dawtie a:ul kit on my Platd, ^.^^.^ ](:j 

RoO'in Caitlp,«» 
Uo) » Wifc,^^ 

K:»e "^lerry an A^e hnc been, * 
^andy o'er the Ix>a, »^.«^ 

iSaw )u Jiihnny Comm', m.^ 





1 65 











«■ T*** *^ •■'• t/rtVtIV BilU Mfc Mil llljr • t«Hl, » w »«»— ll>. OilW )V W<llillliy I IIUIIII , «.>..^..»,oi.i..«i — .WiMM^tPJ* JUlT 

^ woOaro of Old Qvi'f*f*t»<rtrf<ttr*r*r*'vi»i***t**t w im HO Saw )c wy KBthCTj »rrf »f<»w»»«w»^i »«<»«» « i> w i la^ nu ^ ni 


tftm roMf an»\ tct me in,. 

y iwrh tr up anU fMud her gAun, 
Sttcphon MM Lytluit **'»—m 

.^ lr>4 


»« 170 
.^ 1.» 
.^ 170 

TA* your A«iU Cloak about yo«,« 
Tmm o* the iMIodi.i. ^■>#. 

Tsrry WtfOtJ».i w«» 

Tha AuM Man'* Marc's dead, i» 

Tbe AuM Wife ayont the Fire. ««»«» 
The Rattle tf Sherra-mnir, . 
The Banks <f the Tweed. «« 
The Bed« o* Sweet Ruses, •» 

THe Birkii of Inrermay, 
The Blythrsotne Bcidal. « 
The Bbthrie o*t,« 
The Bnatie mwi. 

k4V«Mei4MMkaWi»««i«i*«a«^ * 

The Bub of DumbUneM 

The bonnie brucket Lassie, «, 


The bonnie Lai« o' Brankmrnc, .,... 

The bnnnic L«u that made the Bed Ui me.. 

The Rrses uT Oalleodcan, .■■^.., »..-,.., 

The brisk yotme L«d, 

TKe Bfumc o' tne Covdenknowes, .»« 
Tlie Bush ab >oa Traqusir, . 
The CampbdU are eomin*, «»..•. 

l*he Ctfl? h? cam' o'er the Craft, «. 
The ('iiaUicrN bnnnie L«f«ie» 


The Ewie wi' tlie Crookit Horn.-. i, ....... 

Ttie Ftotrcn of Uic Forest, .,».->—».-«— 
Tiie KloYcis (if EtimlHireh,.. ». »>.—.■ i*^.— 
The F.way, 


The (•abrrlnnsie Man, 
The happy Marriage. .^—^ 
TIm Hicklaiht guvcn, ...» 
The JiiUy HnuC'ti^* «>'»«»««»^ 
'I'he l.ammie. 

The Laodart Lainl, 

Thft Laa of Peatitys Mill, .»..# ,.«,.».■*,., ^,»., 

I'he l*aas u Liviston.*. n r« » ■»>> >■ » «»».»»■»»» ■»»» 

The Last 1 im;» I cam' o'er the Muir^ 

TW vH*H ^t tn*f**fT*****'***'<'f^''*T*it*r*f*r' < *»* " ^t 













The Mfo and A|ie ti MtH.^.-M^Mi. 

The Maid that tends tlie Uoats, . 
The Maltinan. •»»»»■*»«■. i* ■>»■»■ 





The prierry Men O, 

The Miller o* Dee. *^^^^^m^ 


The Min«tr«!l (nnnoduliead), .. 
The muekin* o' Geordic^ Byre* 
The Okl Man's SfWff.' 

The PocU, what Foob thtfre to Daave us. 
The ruesie, , 

The flock and the wee pickle Tow,*^ 
The S nitork »' Selkirk. .,».»>»i..— «, 

The Tailor fell thro' the Bed. 
The Tunilmtpike-..^ 



The weary Pund o' Tow, ^^ 

The wee, wee (reiinan l.airdie, 
The IV ee Thim|iw»— »»»»»■ m »««ii 
The Wee WiOkle, 

..^ im 

I he White Cockade, 

The Widow, .»,...,».,. 

'i'he Veliow.hAir'd Udilic. 
i he Young Laird and E<hnbuT|[h Katiei 
There's imc Luck about tlie Huuser 
This U no Mine Aiu House, 
Tibbie Fiiwier, .i*..>.<>^...M... 

Tibbie Duubjr..,.. «..„.,.,. 
To Me,. 

Ta the Kyc wi' Me, (3 sei»). 

Tndlln I lame, ...., ».. ,.^, 

Tnuient-Miiir, - 

TiilloehKorum. . 

Twas within a Milv o' Kdniburgh l^wn, , 

Twecil»idc {i sets),*. , 






Up and Warn a' Willie, ...^ 
L |> in the Muruiu' early,...*. 

»»■■■ iSl 
— ISf 

Wandering Willie, ..i^,.,. 

Waukui* u' tlie Kjiild* ■.wi*...^.^... 
We're a' Nid Nixldin.. 

I m mmmm»<^i0m0>^^immmm*mf 

■M IM 

... IM 

-. 167 
Were iiae my Vleart Liqlit 1 wad Die, , IM 

Willie was a Wttiiinn Wan, *»-" — "■■■« IM 

WW4 «iU turned and a', .... ■■<»« » «■ < < < m ' h i^ lit 

»* *^' 


I, a neart>warm fcmd AiCcu, ......... 

M CBBd Kiss and then we Sever, 

A^n rcjoictng Nature sees, ......^.i ....... 

A Highland Ljd niv I^vc was bom.«..~ 
Amang the Trers w:iorL> humming Uocs, 

A Kan's a Man fur a' that,....—.,.. 


^ IHS 
^ IM 
^ 1>>8 


A iM rad Ro^e...' 

A Ron Bud bv my early Walk,... 

A ScMthtwid jTcnnie, 

AuU Lang S> nc,... — iw ... ■ ..■■ «... .. «.. 

AvM Rob Mi^rris, »■ n ....r>.i.»i.i...M...p.». 

»...» ^..lai..*!..*.. 



......... I'Ji 

and her Spinnlnf .Wheel, 
BehoM the hour the Hoat arrives. 
Beware of Bonnie Ann, 
Beyond thee. I>earle, 


Biythc hae I been on yon Hill,...*.. 
Blythe wis She, .. ...■■ ... mm ■ ■ ■ m .. ■»■ 

...... 1!«.^ 

Jean, ... 

Wee Ihine. ........ 

tf OaiiDockuum,*. 



rahrtnnli flhrir OroTet & flweet Myrtir). IP.') 

Caa'at lb«Ni leave roe thus, Katy. ..,,, .. ..■■ .^^ \uS 

Rc|ily, m. ,...,.- 196 

^ir Qte Kwes,....«i.w.w.i.i»«..M.......i.......i......«.M..i.i...>... i *.•' 

CIiIMi *ww>w*» w »'W*»w.»' »*»<»«» *»w>^»rw>^^fr»»w» »»<»*» IvO 


i iiiori^i .... w. ........ . . .■...■.. .p .......... ..I... ....i.w^.w.1.. a«p7 

Clar inn ti, ........ .».....».».<o».».».. ». ....«■.. ..........^mi. 1«fi 

Come Irt inc tnKc Thcc to iny Uicast, ............. 1«I7 

ConlciJUnl wi' Little, 
(.'oimtry f.«n!(«ic, 




Dainty Darir,-.. 

Dcliiiieil ^ivain. 

Ilnrs li.iii^iity Uiiil,..^. 


DoAii llic lliiru Daxli*, ~. 

Duncan Gra'y , .......... ....*.. 

Evan Banks, 




^» # ^m0^m m0'0imm0>^m0mi0^ o^i* EHra.- 

KAirc5t Mai i *>u Drven Daiiks...^ 

fate i;avi* the Wcmi, ........»....< 

I-'or the Sake o* SomebtKly, ^ 
Koiloru my Love, 
From tiicc Eliza... 



Gala. Wafer,. 
Gloomy Dccrinlier, .- 

Orecii prow the llashc* 0,..~. 
Uudewifu count the Lawin',. 








tu TbciQ th«i'f awa, ^ MMw .i w nw ^ 

na<l la Cn\e nii some Wild distant Shore, 
MAii(lv)nit* Ncii, ................. x i . »» » .....«.... 

Hrr flowing Loi-k«, 

llerv'# a health to Anc 1 Inc dear, .. 


^^••Botttoiad Ml Honit Friend, «.«...«.....,. 9tH 

tfl^hllM mMijp ■«■! ».i.«..i.i»p<» M . .■■««. .«..■>. 305 

Mwr Ciml «w th» Pwau, ,„. fD4 

mm ]Mi§ ami inuj fa Um Night, . 304 

I «■ a Sob of ltei,...i. ■ 

Jmie flOBM try me ,^..— .,...■.■.. ..i 

I iwni'd I toy wImio Fkmon were sprtnglfiff » 

n are ei* la by yon Town,, 


ftiO*er VouBf to Marry wt, «^ 
It k BOB Jaaa thy boaaie Feoe, ...*.. 

'« U'en the Partii^ Khe, 
- ndetinnmyjo, 
Badeyeora, «.«» 


^ 306 
«. 306 

Mv 306 

Lait May a brew Wooer oem* down the Lang Glen, 308 
Laale wi* the Lint-white r.oeki, 308 

»thy lAtot In nine Lait, ........................ wiw S08 
Ml a Wooaan e'er cootptoin, Sog 

SiBrao, 309 
, long the Night, .., .,.„.. 3«i9 
Oregory, ——. w ji w ».■..»».«».«■...■ 

«. .« «■ .11 .. xuv 

llMPhcnon** Fan 
Maria'^ DweUing, 


onder Pomp of eoitly Fashion. . 

yonder roi 

My Bonnie Mary. «. 

f Heart** hi the Highlands.. 

Mf UMly'e Gown thMe^s Gain upoa't, . 
My Nannic^s awa, ^ 
My Nannie O. 


f Fogy's Faee my P^ggf* Form. 

y Spouie Neney. 

My Wiftli a wtaMome Wee Thing, 

MliliU on dw Roaring O ce a a , 



Nancy, MMM 
Nan Banlu and Brae* are dad in Green, «.« 
Now Spring has dad the Grove in Grem.^^ 
Now weetlm Wind* and stoughtering Guns, 

O* a* the alrti the Wind can bUiw. 
O ay my Wife she danr me, 
O bonaie is yon Rosy Briery 

81br Ane and Twmtie Tam. 
gin my Lore were yon RmI Rose. «.^ 
O leave Novdics ye Maudilin Uellcs, ^ 
O let me in this ae Night, 
O Lore will vmture in, 
O May, thy Mom.«.«. 

On a Bank of Flowers, . 

On Ccssoock Bank, >.^. «,..>.-. 

On the Seas and far away,. 
Opra the Door to me O.. 

O Phllly happy be that day...... -.,..». 

O flay sweet warbling Woodlark, «..*. 
O wat ye WhiTs In yon Town, ^.....^ 

O were I on Pamaasus Hill, ....^ 

O wert Thou fai the CaaM Blast, 

O wha is She that Loes me,^ 

Out over tho Forth,.»*. ..*»*»■«.»».•» »■.«■» *».»w»^ 



• ■■•>■•• the Fair. 

FnwcTs Celestial whoee protection, 
Fitfftith Cauld. 








B«itin'Roarin* Willie, 

Raring Winds aimttd her WowiH*' 


Saw ye onght oT Captain GroM^ —.• 


She's Fair and Shc^s Fauaeb . 
She says she Loes roe best of aT, 
Sie a Wife as Willie had,.. 



Steer her up and hand her gaun 

ts—^u^ «_•_ A.m. w-mm. ^^^ n_x2.k^. 



SweoC Cs'e the Sva on CiaictabHm.wood, 
Tarn Glen, ■■■ 



..^ 334 

The AukI Han, 
The Banks o^ Castle Gordon,. 


o Pevon,»».«».w» 

& Doon, 
The BanTs Soiig, 


^ tfS 

....... 336 

■ ...... xx^ 



The Battle o' Sherra-Muir, 
The Big-bellied Bottle,. ,. . 

The Birks o' Aberfeldie,*,. 
The Blue-eyed Lassie, 
The bonnie Wee Thing, 



«..»«» 337 

.... tm TTo 

The Braes & Ballochroyle, 
The Carle & Xdlybum-Braes, . 
The Chevalier's Lament, ^^ 
The Day Returns, ,.,.«,.>— 
The Death Song, ^ 


.»«...■ 338 

The Ddl's awa wi* the Exdseman, . 
The Election,*. 

The Gallant Waaver,..^. 
The Gardener, ^»^ 

The Gkwmy Night U gatherin' fast, -m^^^ 
The Heather was bloomin', 
The Highland Lassie 0,«m 
The Lad that'* far awa, 

^ 839 
i*. 329 
^ 3.10 
^ 3W) 
.. 330 
., 331 
.. 331 
- 333 
.. 233 

1 llv ajwsi «flMa%a %m^ nv*«% mmmmmm0>^^>f<^>0'^m*m* 

The Lass o* Ballochmyle. 

The Lass that made the Bed tu me,.... 
The Lasy Mist, 

The Lea-Rig, . 

The Ixivdy l.ass o' Inverness, 

The Ix)ver*s Salutation, ..*.... 


The Soldier's Return, ..^. 

The stown G lance o' Kindncas............ 

The Toast, ^ 

..»» 333 

i..>.>i .1 ...» 335 

I ..*.. . .....>. xa«. 


^ 235 


The Tocher for Me, 
The Woodlark, 

— 337 
..^ 336 



The Voiinf; Highland Rover, 

Therein never be I*race till Jamie oumes hune,«. 336 

There's a Youth in this City. -. .„ 337 

There's News Lasses. „.,.,...,.», , ^ 337 

There was once a Day, 338 

ThU is no mine ain Lassie, 31X 

Thou has left ine ever Jamie, ^.» ......«..,.».» ....... S39 

Tibbie 1 hae seen the Day, ..«.«.«.«....«.........«....«. 340 

To Mary in Heaven. ,.,.....■..■■■. .............. 239 

True-hearted was He, ■ ,mmm ...»<...J -340 

Wae Is my Heart and the Tearsin my Ka^. 
Wandering Willie,. 

^ 310 
~. 340 

What can a Young Lauie do wt' an Auld Man, .. 340 

Wha Is that at my Bower Door, ...,, »., 311 

When Guildford Good, « ^» 341 

Where are the Joys I hae met in the Momhtg, ^ 343 

Whistle and I'll come to ye my Lad, 3f 3 

Willie brew'd a Peek n^ Maut, — ...,. ..«, 342 

Will Ye go to the Indict my Mary..,., 943 

Wilt thou be my Deane, -.. « ..«..,.......>.,... , 313 

fmiim«0*mtir00m r t»*»»»*rM*»* f *»i*tit0 ••« 


Yon Wild Moeiy Mountains,...* 
Young Jockey was the biythest Lad, 





1783. 1781. 
L»v« Ullaib at fO. tai food Ei«li«h, but untTail. 
Tollr. r ' • - . - 

or Um Pott and hkOpi. 

Xxtractiltan tht !f ffta p-frOT li^ 



ToHr Join Richmoml, Cdlnbinith— lint inib- 

T« Mr. Hocwhinnto. Ayr— «une topic, 

To Mc laiMt SxnitA. Mauehline— loiito for Ja- 



To Mr. DavM Brioe — mne — about to become 
moct im ^fiW— Che bMt foolUh action he U to 

T o Mr . AlUbOi, Ayr— Authonhip^Kxcito— a fU< 

To Mrt Dunlop— OfBt Letter— her order dtr Cx*- 
^-4— hit oariy dMotkm u her aoeettor. Sir W. 

waiiaee. M ■■«■ ■» ■ »—■■——> ■ •, , , r «■ >.«■«»»»»■»».»■. 7df 

To Mn. Stewart of Staii— introductory— hurry— 

totog abroad ~«emUSongt. S55 

FraoA I>c Blacklock tn the Rev. Mr. G. Laurie— 

with Jttrt eitiinate of the Puet'R merits— which 

En an cod to the West India icheme, and bring* 
■ to Bdinbunh, ■■..m , .>.»««...«.■—.> 25.> 

FnNB^Sir John Whitefoord— ouroplimeoUry.^...^ S36 
Ftam the Rer. Mr. G. Lauri e i ireM i ng intcnrlew 

««th Dr. DIacklock— cood advice, .^ 256 

To Gavin Hamilton, Mauehline— /rom Kdinburgh 
— <he Poet eminaat as Thomas a Kem|iiB or 
John Buarao-^AfOlirsafflii Edinburgh public, 256 
To Dr. Macfciniie, MaucwM— with the Lines on 



To Mr. Joha BaQaatloe, Ayr— o tfui ie ne es at 


r. winiam 


To Mr. Wllflam Chafanen. Ayr— the same, and 
taBOumosly apologetieai, 257 

To Mr. Joha Ballanttoe— Fnrming projects and 
fkolher incidents at Edinburgh, «.>..,«,...-.,.,■„., 25ft 

To the Earl of Efltaloo— a thankful Letter, 258 

To Mm Dnolo i ^ tre a ts of Dr. Moore and his 

J*— critieal remarks c 
maelf at the height of popular Csvour,., 259 

rrtttnfs— critieal remarks on his own— and 
woo nimaelf at the height of popular Civour,.. 
To Dr. Mooffo— IntrodueCory — the Poet's views of 


«»A* .pO«/ 

Tmm Dr. Moore— thbiks the Poet no/ of the Ir- 
rUabUtMf mu * a d mires his love of Country aiid 
fndencndent spirit, not le« than his Poetical 
Beauties emA MIm WlUbkms Sonnet on tho 

Mountain Daisy. ■.«.».■.»» ».«.!.«»»>» ... m .!. .»■.«..■ «.* 3uu 
iViDr. Mooco-gMcnl character of Miss Williaim* 

To Mr. John DaUai^ne— printn^ at Edinburgh, 

Mrt gettjtjt his n>l» done,..., 261 

From Pr. MoorO'- t rHh his View of Society— and ^ 

To the Sari of Otaneaira— with Line* for his Pic- 

Tb the Cari of Burhsn— as to Pilgrimages In Cale- 

Proecedingv as to the Tombstone of Femnsnn, 2»4 
To Mr. James Candlith, Glasgow— the i\>ct dlaas 
to Revealed Rclieinn, leaving Splnosn— but still 

the Old Man with his deeds, .,..» IN 

To the same— Arst notice of Joha^oo's Musical 

To Mrs. Dunlop. fhrni Eilinburgh— the Hard— his' 
situation and views, „».,..«.., - ffi 

Tu the same, «.-..., «. ..,, ; 

To Dr. Mniwe— leavmg Edinburgh for his first 


To Mrs. Dunlop— Mre under Iter literary criti* 

CHIfHsw^^i m m mmtmmmmm 


To the Rev. Dr. Hugh Iflair^'^ave taking.. 

From Dr. Blair— who notices his own claims fiic 
flnt intrmlucing Oisian's Poems to the wiwM— 
gircK the Poet, at parting, accrtiicate of ch»> 
ractrr, with much good adri.^e, both vocdly aad 

pj'^^^piOXipo^^i***^*^* * **^**!** m^mm^^m 

To Mr. Willism Crccrh— wt:h the Klegy durii^ 
the first Pili^rimafe, .>«>^.„ , ■>., SH 

From Dr. Moore— uparing iiie HercaTer of the Dialect rrcoinmendcd— more valiia* 
ble hints al<o giveti, ^.m^*,^^^^,^^ .. ».,^. .. „.,.» Ml 

Tn Mr. William Nlcoll— the Poe:'s Itinerary la 
bimU Spota.^..^^.....^...........,.,^..^.,.,......^ fldT 

Frtim Mr. John llutchei>on, Jamaica — Poems 
excellent— but belter in ihr Englith «ty1e— Scat* 
li<h now hecominc nb«ulrto— disutiidcs from the 
Wot Indicit--" there iit no enctMiragemetit for a 
man of lenminc and grniiH tliere.* .,..»«. Mi 

To Mr. W. XicolT— on arri\ing at home— mniaH- 
xcs over the iiccnes and Coinpsninns of his re> 
cent elrvafino-^loomily a* to the future,..*..,- SM 

To (lavin Hamilton— occurrences of the seoiod 
PilfH'imaee. .» ..->...»«... n .,. , SM 

To Mr \^ all(cr. Blairin-Athole— the s^me— Che 
Duke's family, ^ ,.. ,. ,„^ fn 

To Mr. (jilbcrt Ilunv—fiirthrr adventures, «— 279 

From Mr.RAmjay of n.*htertyre— with laeenptlona 
—Tale of Owen Camcrun— hinu for a Poctkal 
Composition on the grand acale and other taste- 
ful and interctfing rojttrr... ., »..»..,— 271 -t 

From Mr. Watkrr, .Mholc-Hou^c— particubn nf 
the Poet's visit there— fctaalc euntrivaneos to 
prolong his »'iiy,„» .■,...... STV 

From ^^r A. M*. an admiring Frtcud letumcd 

from Abroad— with tnbufary Verses 
From Mr. Ramviy to the Re«. William Voung— 
intniduetiiry of the Poet, 


From the snme to Dr. Ularklock— .rith thanlts for 
the PoK's acnuainrance and Siings— i\nce1ote», 271 

From Mr. Munliich-^ kind Lcrter fiom aa old 
Tutor, njoicing in the fhiits of the genius he 
had helped to cultivate, «»..- .^.-,.^- .. „ 273 

From Mr R. , fn>m Uovdon.Caitle — inadvnis 

of the Pocl'i vi.;i'. there, 


From the Ro'. John bklnncir— prefer* the Natural 
to the Classical Poet— hit own Poesy— eonui- 
butc( to the 5«onR.making entcrnrise, ■ , , 27ft 

From Mtk Rom oiT Kilraivach— UaeUe airs— the 
Poet's NorUicm Toiir,- 

— *37 

To Mr. Duln-ropIeofflraBgcftcld— RhynieS' 

Fragment— Letters to Hi« Chalmers ---r , 

To nitss M ao Es»ay on the oompltiaentary 

style, p.— ..<».. »» ■■■» ...... .»■.«»« ■ .1. «i. n i m mmmt i mmmmmtmmm^m 9#l 

1'oMr. Uobert Ainslic^-fticuJahi 

To Mr. John Ballantine— wi;h Soof, 
aad Bcacs g* Ooouk . oon,. 


Ve Banks 



Ts Dr. Woorr, tmm Ui* I>Dct— SkHdi of h 


(lllbm Bnnu, * niniii>( Cenuocntuy 


M.^^. B u .fc. ee^ m^ Tuk 



(iiiljfil Hum., living h-uay of uiifin 

Tin rMniiau>-t!uak, iftnha ninci 

lETTERS, V785. 
To Vn. Dwilofii fVom Ediot 

•tCDf--«|iclJ]tv IniiniulMm u (a 

Dniilop — DndcB't ViMil— 
^^iMipi^nlcd hi the jfcntid 

irtEStaSrflfRlSl. _ ,„ 

tnjKlllut ml hvmmijr of linrnijip. * 
To Ht. Rateit AlDllk-4 JiiirLMIrr 

Tolln.Owiliii>— InrnulKiarniiiitllkini,. MT 

Totht)iuiw-«nirninEllDliii<l— hl<iiMTftw!i 3m 
TnUt. PHcr Hill, iriihi f>r4nl'k Chcne-i 
.lUnafH (nnlfiirliHllMiannrrB kinds,— „ SX 
Ta'Ht. nSbcn AtMli^rIni!kM|~-tho I^ki^ 

Um Ilghl iBHw o( Fa«i fm Ihe HiiaUn 

ImTi^niinl nuHicht-MuriHT, 

To Mr. Hmlni, WHiJM, N»B.flhjt-lhr 
To Mr. RotoM ji'linilii^' KrlmuUUeTI! 

of (cniM fSnihibnuttn- J: 

Td Mn. Huiilrtk-n luFk.unint — t'llu'i 

HrnnlliiCi: uii] iMhcr Liim 

X<> Ih« Hinc-liK iDinii lu liri. 11.4 »:t1 

' Rpbuutprv of hb nuniiia— prontl lUU ir 


To 1 



nA Smigi ud food idikr 

Td Dr. Bl 


la Mn. Duiln)— aUHl 

rati of «I)tW)t (OHRT 


u luiiul Ihe nino 
— Auld I.BI1fl Siyiifr— 

P. C'vmt-ot Mirin n 


Bu m, tlw Poaf I BnUiir— h 


ItuJ.lKlif— inUi 






n<.-B. _ 



rrithfTtHiiTm— tlienaKrfr-VmnfoTlhflm. U 

To ktn. Iluii1n]<— ihe ■■ocl Filconn— lUltadi, _ 31 

" m Mr. Cuuolncluni— fttnuUr luxicn, SI 

in Mr. I>ttn Hi1i_" 1 ninr TMK.Itr Cll"" " 
-Dimnjgili Ittnirm— Book» — Note, mO\ ■— SwfiltU 

, Cunatpglun — fncDdlf »nHm. i ■ i ii 




From Mr. CwmriiHthim' • Song for each of the 


H W M n — tuxxWMirawwo— 


>«<WiiW»« W« >*XW— *— » 


To Cmivflofd Tfelt, Iiiq»— wco mmtnrtln g a young 
F ri io d g I I .«»< — n «.i>ii>#pii« » »iwi ■■■■■ S49 

litiloBi lo hit MifffMeiMit Air hb oOetal pfooio* 


Td Mr. ramlnxhani^Ekty on Ml« Burnet, 

Tb Mr. PiMcr liUl^Emy on Poverty, 

Fran A. r. Tytler, EM|.'-Tam o' Shantn,^ 
To Mr. Tytler-in WMwer, 



To Mn. bunlop— broken arnv— Elegy on Mi« 

Bnme^^ rentcniBrance, <■«■<»«■»>*■»■<»««<■ « »»»»». oo* 
tb Lftdy Mvy CoosCible-a SnuflT-box. ^^-...^ S53 
T» Mn. GnuiMn of Ftntry— Ballad on Queen 

Mary- -tin PocTi gratitude, *.»..»i«. .>«. « *.«»..»..» 353 
Ftam ttw R*r. PilnSpal Baird— Miehad Bruot.^ 353 
To Pitedpal Babd-HoOMng erery aid for pub- 
llibing Brue<i Wor k!, ..* >»» . 354 

To Dr. 

Ta_tlia Bar. Arobibeld AUiMin— hi* Eiuyf on 

and Ballad*— Zeleuoo-^pri. 

To Mr. Cnnntaighain— Song, " Thereat never bo 
paeaa ttu Janua eone naine, <»<» «■<»<!. o m o*.*.^. 356 

Tb Mr. DateO. Faotor to Lord Glencaiin>-thc 
fteA grief far hi* LofdihiiM^ «i^ to »(te°<l 
theFttoera l i ..« . ' ..,. « .... ■ ■ . 356 

Vtain Dr. Moora— eritlctaei Tam </ Shanter, and 
Mmt pi—i mllrif* the PoetT* remarlM on Zc. 
hiwi wlilwi him to be more dury of giving 
Cnpie*— and to uie the modem English, ^......^ 356 

Tb Mn. Dunlop-»« domoktle occurr e n ce c xclU' 
riva advantages of humble life, <»^-,#»..«» ....«.>. 557 

To Mr.^Cuanmi^hBm— In behalf of a persecuted 

From ttaa Bail of Buchan— crowning of 'rhomstm's 

To Mr. Thonai Sloan, ManchMTer— disappoint 
■MMt pirifurincwi raoomroended— Tlie i*oec'a ^ 

flunilKe Karl of Buehan— auggesU Harvi-st-lioinc ^ 
Mr a tiMRW lo the Muee, »mr»t»»»* » »r «. «»<»*..>»».»»» im!! 

Tb Lady E* Cnaalngham— >eundulenoe on the 
dbalh of her Brother, Lord Glenc»lm,>..,.,>.»— . 360 

IW Mr. Robert Almlie-a Mind dijeatod. 3U> 

ftom Sir John Whltefoord— Lament fur l^nl 

A. P. Tytler, Esq.— the WhkUe— the U- 



>i#i> Pp^<»#< x <»^»*»^»i^» 

Ta MIm Davie*— Jrtitlinan ta t ■ *» l th some hmu as 

10 a Raoicai w eior m, ***.*« *»«»..»«*» »»»»<» »««»»»» » p»>. (Mia 
Til Mr*. Donlop— with the Death-Sung— lliglu 

To Cantt^ Gro*e-4auds Profeswr liugald Stew. 

— Trs 

Ta the lamc^Wltch Sturie* of Kbrk-Alloway, — 363 

Ti MiK Dunlop animadversion* of the Boaid— 
maHdoiu inainuatlon*— « cup of kindoeM,«— ^ Tif>\ 

?'% Mr. W. Sroellle^-lntroductory of Mrk RiJdd, 364 
• Mr. W. Wicoll admiration of, and gratUude 

Ta MriCvnolMham--<he Puef * Arms, .^..^ — 3(>.> 
'1 « Mr. Clavte - bivItatSon to eome to the Country, 366 
Ta Mflk Dunlop— « Platonic attadiment and a 
MO^— Religion ludlqicnciUe to make Man 

Ti Mr. Cn«Blngna m_ no ctu rnal ravinj{», ^ ^„ , * , 367 

To Mis* B. of York— mnralian over the riumca. 
medleys of human IntereourNw ,■■■! ■_*■ 371 

Ti Mnw twmlnp dWhrenee tai Farmiut; for mm^s 

fair aMs Parmlng lor a&oioer, »■ ». .. i>» « i»»<a»»««»*i«»w woh 

Tb Patrick MiU«, Baq. of DBb«lnta»-«illMB*t 

To John FnaetoEnklnaof Mar, Esq — the PoetT* 
indenendaoca of lantiment, and particularly hh 
opinions as to Reform doquently Justified, • 37f^ 

To Mr. Robert Almlie — Spunkle— •ebookraft 
caught by contact, », * »»*'— ■»»»» » »»»»» tt .■« ■..■ » ■. 373-4 

To Mus K'^— delicate Umttery to a Beauty, ...— 374 

To I^y Gleueaim- gratitude to her Family— 
ftom an independent Exciseman, 374^ 

To Mis* Chalmers— a curiou* analysla which diewe 
" a Wight nearly as miserable as a Poet," .««..• 575 

To John M'Murdo, Esq.— out of debt, ........... 375-6 

LETTERS, 1794, 1795, 1796. • 

Td the Earl of Buchan— with " Brace'* Addmib" 87B 
To Mrs. Hicldel — Dumfries Theatricals,.**.,.^..^— nfi 

To Mr. — --• the Pwt'* Dream* of Exdae promo* 

and Iofaftar<«oated 


tion and literary leinire, ««» 
D Mn. Riddel— Thea^kal* 


To the same— gin<horse routine of Excite buainesa, .177 
To the same— effects o( a cool reception,. ,» ....„^ 377 

To the same— a spice of ciprice w.. .. .—. 378 

I'o the same— Arm yvt coiiciliatiug , ., Sti 

To John Syine, Esq.— ^waises of Mr. A.-^Song on 

To MiM -^ — in defence of hi* reputation— ra- 

claims nis Mt>« «»»'..■ «i.»i>».».»j « ...«i....i ■.«.«»,»*■<» oi9'9 
To Mr Cuunincham— a Mind Di«ea*ed Rdlgioa 

necesory to jlan,..».»»«>» n i«i p«.i..«<»'<w»—xwp^wi> 97w 

To a Lady — from the Shitdc*, .».. ..> ■■wi.w.wii» 
To the Earl of Uleiicalm— the Poet's gratltodi to 
his laic Hrotlier,*..,..*.^^ «. 

To Dr. Aiuicrsou— Ins Work, the Livea of the 

To Mrs. Riddel— «(>titarv confinemcut Kood to re* 
claim Sinneri— Ode for llirth-day of WaUUng. 

To Mr. J.tmet Johnson— Aiougs and prctjucts for 

XllV M «IMymHg#»#»»<»»#i<M»i ^ 00^*s0>0i0m000m0m00*^00<^m'^i0>^<0^99m»m MW& 

To Mr. Millvr of I)MU«inion— <tedinvs to be a r& 

Silnr ctiiitributor to the lNx:l's Comer of the 
oniini; Chronicle, *,#..»*.«>..»<».» .w«,.»»...».w<».» 381 
To Mr. davin llamilton^tlw Poet recjinmcuda a 

pirtictilor rr^imen to liim,*...,i .^..»..«. w«» SM 

Tt) Mr. Samuel Clarke— iKtiitence after cxoms •* 5W 
To Mr. Alexander FinuUter^-^upervisor— " So 

mudi for >»clieincs,"^..~>..>^>>»^^.,.^^.>...«....^ .'S5 
To tlic Editors of the Mnruiug ClironiHe— its in> 

(lC|ldlft^*lld*f 00 0^0>0^m0m0i^^»'*-m00 000msm0^mm0m0000^'00^mm-0m^m 3nO 

To .Mr. W. Duubar— Ncw-Vear wi»hes,.>..i,. 3!}J 

To Mus KtHitviivUt^— with a Piolusue for her be- 


r#*rf # ^>^»ie<p^<<*w<i»[*< »0<0m^mmm 000m 

fW*lllf<^#i«tf^ »00m000»0 

'i'o Mnu Diinloi>— cares nr' Die Married Lifo— DutC' 
flies TheairlcaU — Cow Iter's Ta^k— the Poef* 
Serait-book, — 304-A 

To Nlr. Ilenni of I leroii— l\>Utkal Bailail*— 

Drcuins of Excise promotion, ^ 


To the Right lion. W. Pitt— in behalf of tha 

OtfOlS I IIS«lllvr»f 0000 0m0m0»0>0i00t0m000m0mmm0mm0000mmm0m0mtm < 

To tlie Magip'rates o( Dumfricft— Flee School E- 

UUfftUOtlf 0» 00 09^000 0n000>0^0000m 00000000100^0 0»>000m000m0^0m vO§ 


Family InBietlbu— coodolenee, «* 369 
and uncertainty of Life— 

TlHSfeirtOiiiliam, Eaq^uatUia* himarif Mala^t 
iiiiliMVi oTdbiMloa to tha British Contti. 



po » F» m i « ..»g«w»i«» 

y» Mni Piaiii f ■ t i M l^m'l nmwvca i>ifet>-sri- 

To Mrs. Dunlop in IxMulon — Mr. I'hoinsou** 
Work— acting Sujicrvisur— New Year wishes-. 

AJla I»l ^^9T^f0m0000<i00l00'0^l0'0-^000m0>00 0m<00 0m00 00^wm00000^000 v9i**V 

To Mm. Riddel— AiuKshania— the Mus«* stiil pta* 


To Mrs. Dtiiilu;>— in afllictloii,^ 


TO Mr*. Riddel— ou Birth<day loyalty, ,^.».,..,,.— 
To Mr. Janiei Jolinson.-.the Museum— a coovum- 

liur iilnei* banits over tlia Poet,.,.,.,,,..,.^...,^ 
To Mr. Cunningham— (Vom the Brow, Sra^batJu 

ing Quart iTS ii T i n d picture. - .-i. ij„ij_. fff 

To Mm uyms— TnHn the Brow*4tiragthcpci^ 

but total dreay of nnM**f, i ,, ■■.i,,^^.., fff 

To Mrif pu?tl>>t>-i l«H(iur*vli| t^t^^ ^^w^ m^*^ M 






tnm Mr. TAMMon^idllcltSnff the Poet's aiA to ' 

tht Select MekxUei, ^.^.^.^ »«,......«..........^ 391 

Hm Poetfe OHwer — fkankly cmbwkiog In the 

•r'^ fc t — «> M »l*iP| III M il I, I... MW . »»».».■».. .«.«,,, «i» 391— S 

ffVom Mr. ThomKm— Tiews of c«»ductinc the 
Work— end with 1 1 Sonet for New Vene«. 39f 

thiair^** O tew ye boniiie Lesley.'* • 


Wrom the fHiet—wlth *• Ye Banks and Braes and 

Streams around the Castle oT Montgomery,".^ 394 
nma Mr. Thomson— criticisms and currecuons,^ 39i 
JniMn the Poet— admits some eorrecdons, " but 
OMnot alter b^nnle Lesley"— additional VerM 

te the *« Lea Rig," 393 

FMD the Poet— wHh ** Auld Rob Morris" and 

*' PoorUth Cauld" and 




Ih0 Poet^-with 

•• Oalla Water/ 

Tooa MT. HMMMODr-laudatory uvt raTours rc> 
Mived-detalls thenian of his Work— P. S. from 
the Honou r a b le ^ Erskine— « brother Poet 

iMd contributor,* 




Vlroaa the Poet— approYcs of the detail^-oflnfrs 
Matter aneedoCic— the Song «• Lord Gregory"— 

KngUsh and Scots sets of it, .,.,., 396^7 

Piom the Poet— wHh ** Wandering Willie," 397 

9wm the Poet— •« Qpen the Door to me O," 397 

Piom the Poet— •• Ttue-bearted was he," 397 

From Mr. 1 horosnn— with complete list of Songs, 

•ad tether detalb of the Work. 397-4 

■ the Poet— with " The Soldier's return"- 
Mer or the MUI." 398 


the Poet— Song making his hobby— ufftrs 
valrteMe hints for enriching and improving the 

^e<wkj<w < ■« r»ii«i >««■■»»»<■«■«■ m m 

Fsom Mr. Thomson— in answer. 

the Poet— tether hints and critical remarks 
Song on a celebrated Toast to suit 


Tune, ** Bonnie Dundee," 

Wmm the Poet— with ** llie last time I eame o'er 
the moor," - .,«. 400 

FVpm Mr. rhomsou— excuses hit taste as against 
the Poefs,f 1 11 » .ii.^w...*.. .11 >.»...■ W..J.I.. .. 40O 

Vroai the Poet-^togmatieally »et against altering, 400 

1 he Poet to Mr. Thomtuo— Kraser the Hautboy 
Ptafap— Tune and Song, «• Tlte Ouakci's Wife^ 
— •^Blythe hae I htcn on yon Hill." 400-1 

The same— mad arabMoo— **Logan Rrae^— l-'rag- 
■cnt from Witherspoon's CoUectinn— •« O gin 
my lore were yon Red Rose.", , 401 

Mr ThomsQii<«4n answe r a change of Partners in 

The Poet to Mr. Thomson— Tune and Air of 
*■ Bonnie Jean"— the Poet* s Heroines.,, 40S 

The maie— a remlttanre acknowledged—** Klow- 
OTB ef the Porest**— the Authoress— Plnkerton*s 
AntJent Ballads pronhectes, , 402 

Mr. Thomson to xna Poet—Airs waiting the Mu* 

W iS MNim, i—»i«*«*p<«»««>*»i'» » *»»i >» ■. ' «»—»i. w » ».■»■. » 403 

Tim Poet to Mr> Thomson— Tune, ** Robin A- 
.4hir— «• Phillis the Fail* to It— "Cauld KaU 


Mr. Thomson— grateful for the Poet's •• ra- 
hmd Bplstke"— wants Verses for •* Down the 
" I Davkr—osentions Drawings for the Work, 403 

tfw Peet— Tune ** Robin Adaii" again— 

Prom^lhe Poet-widi Kew Song to ** Allan Wa> 

From the Mune— with Song •• Whistle and I'll 
come to you, mv," and •* Phillis the Fair," 
to the *« Muckin' o' Geordie's byre," 404 

From the saro»— ** Cauld Kair— a Gloamiu' Shot 

From the same—" Dainty Davie*— four lines of 
Song and four of Chorus, ...>.....»-„^..» « .. 405 

From Mr. 'Iliomson— profuse acknowledgments 
lor numy favourt, «.*« «■«. *.»■ «... .«<^«» »»»..» .w « » n ii « n vo 

From the Poet— Peter Pindar—** Scots wha hae 
wi' Wallace bled"—" So roav God defend the 
cause of truth and liberty at ne did tliat day,".. 405 

From the aamc— with Song ** Behold the hour the 
B(Mt arrives,* to the Highland Air ** Oran gaoiL" iO$ 

From Mr. Thomson—** liruoe's Addresi"— (he Air 
" Lewis Gordon" better for it than ** Hey tuttle 
tat ie**— verbal criticut ms , <..»<■.«■»»■.. « «»*».. «■»>..»■ 406 

From the Poet— additional Verses to ** Dainty 
Davie"— *• Through the wood, Laddie^— •• Cow. 
den.knowe^"— ** Laddie lie near mc^— the Poclls 
form of Song making— •* Gill Morrioe"— '* High, 
knd Laddi^— ** Auld .Sir Simeon"—" Fee him 
Father"—** There's luck about the House" 
—the finest of Lo\'p Ballads. " Saw ye my Fa. 
ther"— " lodlin hame" — sends *' Aukl Laotf 
.^yne"— farther notices of other Songs and BaU 

From the Poet— rriccts the verbal criticism on the 
Ode, *' Druce's Address," .»««.«.„»..— ., «. 40ft 

From Mr. Thomson — Stricture* on the Poet's no> 
ticM of the above Songs-^again nibbling at the 

From the I^oct— *< I'he Ode plea>es me w much I 
cannot alter it"— sends Song " Where are the 
Joys 1 hae met in the roomin*,".. ........« « ». ..>..» 409 

From the Poct'^-icnli •' Deiiidrd Swain" and 
" Raving Winds aroond her blowing^— Airs 
and Songs, to adopt ur rcjevt— diflbreners of 

From the same—" Thine am 1 my Faithful Fair" 
—to the *• Quaher't Wife." which is Just the 
Gaelic Air ** Liggeram cosh," ..«...«.«».» ...» 410 

Frtnn Mr. Thomsun — in answer ■ 410 

From the Poet— Sung to *' My Jo Ja ct, * ,.. , .^« 410 

From Mr. Thomson— proposed confeicnoe— Re* 
marks on Drawings and Sonc«. .,.»*. ..«,^ 410 

From the Poet— ramc suUects— Plcyel— *a tUtenu 
—whereby hinderance oi iheWork— Song " The 
Banks of Crce," .... .....i..*....*..! ..»...!■■.■». »■«.<<«■«. 411 

From the same—*' I'he ausptduus {teriod pre^ 
nant with the happiness of MiUioiu**— Inserip. 
tion on a Cony of the Work presented to Mns 
Grahem of Fintry, <..»....».i. ...■■.. ■ >•*,,, ».i.«.«... 411 

From Mr. Thomson -in anawer,,, , .,..., 411 

From the Poet^wiih Song 

On the Seas and fsr 

From Mr. Thomson— criticises that Songrevovly, 411 
From the Poet— withdrawing it—** making a Song 
is like begettine a Son*— sends «• Ca' the yewct 

to the ftnOWCS, ■■ .. . ... i»< .■ m . » .»«■ rmm^^^ammm^mmmmr^r^lm 'IS 

Prom the same— Irish Air— sends Song to it ** Sae 
flaxen were her ringlets*— Poet's taste in Music 
like Frederic of Prussia's— h« begun " O let me 
in this ae nighf— Epigram, 41f 

From Mr. 'J nomson — profuse of acknowledg. 

From the same^Peter Pindar's task completed— 
Ritfoii'sC(»lkctigi»-4rcesingupcif OldSongi^ ill 



flom th* iPoaU*" Cntgfo-bitni Wood* and the 
lnfOlM Rgdpt Ibr Soog iiwkiM--SoBg *' Saw 
y my Pbcly"— «• Th« IH»lC"~**13oooelitheKr 
m»i Cbc PoeCs— *' Whistle o'er the lave &rr hit 
— eo is *• BIythe wm At T u oOm Sanaf " How 
leoff and ilnanr Is the nkht**— '* Let not Wo- 
Bian e^sr eomplatar— " SIcep'tt thou"— Eatt 
Indian Aliu-Soi« " The AukT Man," 414 

From Mr. Thomson— In acknowledgment, and 
withflgthereoromiislons,^,^ ■.^. 415 

From the Post- thanks for Ritaon—Sonff of Chlo- 
ri»— LoTe, Conjugal and Platonic—" Chloc^— 
•• Ijwie wi' the Untwhite kxkf^— '* Maria's 
dwelling*—** Banks and Braes o* bonnie Doon" 
— Reciiie to m£ce a SeoCs Tune— humble re« 
^oesK for a Copy of the Work to give to a fe> 
male friend, ^..<— ,..«.^..i,.,«»».^».,. 4IC-17 

From Mr. Thomson -^n answer— criticicm»—^ends 
three Copies, and as welcome to >0 as to a pinch 
of snuC -.. « ^ ,. . 0. 417 

From the Poel— Duet completed— sends Songs 
•« O Phlllj happy be that day"—*' Contented 
«r Btdir— •* Canst thou leare me thus my 
Kiifty"— nemariu on Songs and the Stock and 

From Mr. Tbomaon— modest acknowledgments-* 
PwCuies for the Work, »■.»..»».«» ..■. . <.«.»...»... 419 

From the Poet— with Song «' Nannie^s awa**— Pic 

I— originality a coy feature in 
A man's a man for a' 
*— whidi shows that Song making Is not 
eonfinad to love aari wi ne new sec of '* Crai- 
gie^Mm Wood," .......................................^ 419 

From Mr. Thomson— In acknowledgment, 419 

From «M Peec— with, •< O let me in OiU ae Night," 

Fkmn the asme ebiise of sweet Eoelefechan— air, 
«* Well g ang nae mair to yon Town," b worthy 

From the Pote— with four Sottgi, «* TW Wood 
Urk*— «' Long, kmg the Nighr— •• 1 hair gnma 
cf swtct MyrUcsT— *' 'Twas na her bomile bine 

Een was my ruin, « »>• ^t^mtm mf m ■■■» <■ ■»■ « m iK— «— — — 
FYom Mr. Thomaoo— actoowledgmanti picCurm 
for the work. 


From the Poet— with two Songs. ** How cruel am 
the Parent^—** Mark vonder PompT* -add^, 
•< Vour Tkllor could not be mora minctual,"-.* 
From the sam» acknowledgment of a presentr*— 
From Mr. Thomson— Clarke's Air to Mallet's Bal- 
lad of •* WiUlam and Margaret," «——.» 
From the Poet— with four Songs and Verses, 
** O Whistle and 1*11 come to ye, my Lad"—** O 
this is no my ain LassJcT*— •« Now Spring haa 
dad the Grove in Green"—*' O bonnie was yoa 
rosy Brier,*— Inscription on his Poems prtatnt- 
cd to a young Lady, ».» « o. «««w« <».i. «i.i <■!■.»■ 
From Mr. Thomson in acknowledgment, «^«- 
From the Poet— with English Song, ** Forkirn, 
my Love,"" 

m^^^m^m .pp.. 


From the sanMs-with Song, ** Last May a braf 
Wfjoa cam' down the lang Glen,"— a Frag- 

From Mr. Thomson— in answer, 

From the saroi-— «fter an awAil pause, «,.»i».»«i.... 

From the Poet— acknowledges a Present to Mrs. 

B.— sends Song, ** Hey for a Lass wi' a Toch- 




From Mr. Thomson— in answer,..^ 

From the Poet— health has deserted him, not the 


From Mr. Thomson— 4n answer ,.,— 

From the Poet— with Song, ** Here's a health to 

them thalTs awa." » p ■■ «» ■ >■ 

From the same— announces his purpose to reviat 

all his Songs , «»p. w . ■*■».<■ pii w ..,..**.*! » n ■>■»■■■■■»■■ 
From the same— at Sea-bathing— deprassed ami la 

extremity t »».■ «■ p»«»»««pip»»»». i mm . * . ■ n —— — — ' 
From Mr. Thomaoo— with a Remittinoa^i 








CosrkXTfu — Tk€ Poet 9 Birth, 1769— C/Vctfmjfoffrej and peculiar CkMracUr 4jf km 

amd Molher-^HardMhipa of hit Early Yeara — Sovrces, auch at thejf wert, ofhi§ MetdtJL 

Improremfnt — Comnuncelh Love and Poetry at 16. 

** My father was a (aimer upon the Carrick Border, 
And soberly he brought me up in decency and order. 


Robert Burks was bom on the 25th of January 1759. in a ckj-lHdC 
cottage, about two miles to the south of the town of Ayr, and in Uie im* 
mediate vicinity of the Kirk of Alloway, and the ** Auld Brig o' Doon.** 
About a week afterwards, part of the frail dwelling, which his father had 
constructed with his own hands, gave way at midnight;. and the infant 
poet and his mother were carried through the storm, to the shelter of a 
neighbouring hovel. The father, William JBumes or Bumnts, (for ao he 
spelt his name), was the son of a farmer in Kincardineshire, whence he re* 
moved at 19 years of age, in consequence of domestic embanrassmenta. 
The farm on which the family lived, formed part of the estate forfeited, 
in consequence of the rebellion of 1715, by the noble house of Keith 
Marischall ; and the poet took pleasure in saying, that his humble ancea- 
tors shared the principles and the fall of their chiefs. Indeed* after Wil« 
liam Burnes settled in the west of Scotland, there prevailed a vague no- 
tion that he himself had been out in the insurrection of 1746-6 ; but thongh 
Robert would fain have interpreted his father's silence in favour <^ a taJb 
which flattered his imagination, his brother Gilbert always treated it aa a 
mere fiction, and such it was. Gilbert found among his fiither's piqpers a 
certificate of the minister of his native parish, testifying that ** the bearer, 
Willixun Burnes, had no hand in the late wicked rebellion." It is easy ta 
auppose that when any obscure northern stranger fixed himaelf in thoae 
days in the Low Country, such rumours were hkelj enough to he circtt* 
hUed concerning bint 


. r 



William Burned laboured for some years in the neighbourhood of Edin- 
burgh as a gardener, and then found his way into Ayrshire. At the time 
when Robert was bom, he was gardener and overseer to a gentleman of 
small estate, Mr. Ferguson of Doonholm ; but resided on a few acres of 
land, which he had on lease from another proprietor, and where he had 
originally intended to establish himself as a nurseryman. He married 
Agnes Brown in December 1757, and the poet was their first-bom. Wil- 
liam Bumes seems to have been, in his humble station, a man eminently 
entitled to respect. He had received the ordinary learning of a Scottish 
parish school, and profited largely both by that and by his own experience 
m the world. *< I liave met with few," (said tlie poet, afler he had him- 
self seen a good deal of mankind), ** wlio understood fncn, their manners, 
and their ways, equal to my &ther." He was a strictly religious man. 
There exists in his handwriting a little manual of theology, in the form 
of a dialogue, which he drew up for the use of his chil^n, and from 
which it appears that he had adopted more of the Arminian than of the 
Calvinistic doctrine ; a circumstance not to be wondered at, when we con- 
uder that he had been educated in a district which was never numbered 
«mong the strongholds of the Presbyterian church. The affectionate re- 
verence with which his children ever regarded him, is attested by all who 
have described him as he appeared in his domestic circle ; but there needs 
no evidence beside that of the poet himself, who has painted, in colours 
that will never fade, *' the saint, the father, and the husband,** of The 
CMoar't Satwrday Night. 

Agnes Brown, the wife of this good man, is described as '' a very sagaci- 
ous woman, without any appearance of forwardness, or awkwardness of man- 
ner;" and it seems that, in features, and, as he grew up, in general address, 
the poet resembled her more than his father. She had an inexhaustible store 
of ballads and traditionary tales, and appears to have nourished his infant 
imagination by this means, while her husband paid more attention to « the 
weightier matters of the law.'* These worthy people laboured hard for 
the support of an increasing family. William was occupied with Mr. Fer- 
guson's service, and Agnes contrived to manage a small dairy as well as 
her children. But though their honesty and diligence merited better things, 
their condition continued to be very uncomfortable ; and our poet, (in his 
letter to Dr. Moore), accounts distinctly for his being bom and bred ** a 
very poor man's son," by the remark, that ** stubborn ungainly integrity, 
and headlong ungovernable irascibility, arc disqualifying circumstances." 

These defects of temper did not, however, obscure the sterling worth 
of William Bumes in die eyes of jNIr. Ferguson ; who, when his garde- 
ner expressed a wish to try his for tuncon a farm of his, tlien vacant, and 
confessed at the same time his inability to meet the charges o^ stocking it, 
at once advanced £100 towards the removal of the dilficulty. Bumes ac- 
cordingly removed to this farm (tliat of Mount Olipli&nt, in the parish of 
Ayr) at Whitsuntide 1766, when his eldest son was between six and seven 
years of age. But the soil proved to be of the most ungrateful descrip- 
ticm ; and Mr. Ferguson dying, and his afluirs falling into tlie hands of a 
ItturshyZicftyr, (who afterwards sat for his picture in tlie Ttra Dogs\ Bumes 
was glad to give up his bargain at the qnd of six years. He then removed 
about ten miles to a larger and better farm, that of Lochlea, in the parish 
of Taibdlton. But here, afler a short interval of prosperity, some unfbr^ 
tunate misunderstanding took place as to the conditions of the lease ; th« 

Llf E Of R06ERT fiUR^S. tit 

dispute W^ deferred to arbitration ; and, after three years of suspense, the 
result involved Bumes in ruin. The worthy man lived to know of this de» 
cision ; but death saved him from witnessing its necessary consequences. 
He died of consumption on the 13th February 1784. Severe labour, and 
hopes only renewed to be baffled, had at last exhausted a robust but irri* 
table structure and temperament of body and of mind. 

In the midst of the harassing struggles which found this termination^ 
William Bumes appears to have used his utmost exertions for promoting ^ 
the mental improvement of his children — a duty rarely neglected by Scot- 
tish parents, however humble their station, and scanty their means maj 
be. Robert was sent, in his sixth year, to a small school at Allowar 
Miln, about a mile from the house in which he was born ; but Campbell, 
tlie teacher, being in the course of a few months removed to another 
situation, Bumes and four or five of his neighbours engaged Mr. John 
Murdoch to supply his place, lodging him by tums in their own housefly 
and ensuring to him a small payment of money quarterly. Robert Bums, 
and Gilbert his next brother, were the aptest and the favourite pupils of 
this worthy man, who survived till very lately, and who has, in a letter 
published at length by Currie, detailed, with honest pride, the part which 
he had in the early education of our poet. He became the frequent in- 
mate and confidential friend of the family, and speaks with enthusiasm of, 
the virtues of William Bumes, and of the peaceful and happy life of his 
humble abode. 

** He was (says Murdoch) a tender and affectionate father ; he took plea« 
sure in leading his children in the path of virtue ; not in driving them, as 
some parents do, to the performance of duties to which they themselves are 
averse. He took care to find fault but very seldom ; and therefore, when 
he did rebuke, he was listened to with a kind of reverential awe. A look 
of disapprobation was felt ; a reproof was severely so : and a stripe with 
the tawz^ even on the skirt of tlie coat, gave heart-felt pain, produced a 
loud lamentation, and brought forth a flood of tears. 

" He had the art of gaining the esteem and good-will of those that were 
labourers under him. I think I never saw him angry but twice : the one 
time it was with the foreman of the band, for not reaping the field as he 
was desired ; and the other time, it was with an old man, for using smutty 
inuendos and double cntetidres.''-^—^* In this mean cottage, of which I my- 
self was at times an inhabitant, I really believe there dwelt a larger por- 
tion of content than in any palace in Europe. T/te Cottars Saturday Night 
will give some idea of the temper and manners that prevailed there." 

The boys, under the joint tuition of Murdoch and their father, made ra- 
pid progress in reading, spelling, and writing ; they committed psalms and 
hymns to memory with extraordinary ease — the teacher taking care (as he 
tells us) that they shoidd understand the exact meaning of each word in 
the sentence ere they tried to get it by heart. " As soon," says he, " as 
they were capable of it, I taught them to turn verse into its natural prose 
order ; sometimes to substitute synonymous expressions for poetical words ; 
and to supply all the ellipses. Robert and Gilbert were generally at the 
upper end of the class, even when ranged with boys by far tlieir seniors. 
The books most commonly used in the school were the Spelling Book. 
the New TesiamerU^ the BibUy Mason's Collection of Prose and Verse, and 
JPisker's Englislt Grammar.*'-^^* Gilbert always appeard to me to possess a 
liTely imaginationi and to be more of the wit; than Rcbert I at« 



tempted to teach them a h'ttle church-music. Here they were left far be« 
liiml by all the rest of the school. Robertas ear, in particular, was remark- 
ably dull, and his voice untunable. It was long before I could get them 
to distinguish one tune from anotlier. Robert's countenance was general- 
ly grave and expressive of a serious, contemplative, and thoughtful mind. 
Gilbert's face said, Mirths with thee I mean to live ; and certainly, if any 
person who knew the two boys, had been asked which of them was the 
^Biost likely to court the Muses, he vi^ould never have guessed that Robert 
kad a propensity of tliat kind." 

" At those years," says the poet himself, in 1787, " I was by no means 
a favourite wiUi anybody. I was a good deal noted for a retentive memory, 
a stubborn sturdy something in my disposition, and an enthusiastic idiot 
piety. I say idiot piety, because I was then but a child. Though it cost 
the schoolmaster some thrashings, I made an excellent English scholar ; 
aod by the time I was ten or eleven years of age, I was a critic in substan- 
tivesy verbs, and particles. In my infant and boyish days, too, I owed 
much to an old woman who resided in the family, remarkable for her 
Ignorance* credulity, and superstition. She had, I suppose, the largest 
collection in the country of tales and songs concerning devils, ghosts, fairies, 
brownies, witches, warlocks, spunkies, kelpies, elf-candles, dead-lights, 
vraiths, apparitions, cantraips, giants, enchanted towers, dragons, and other 
trumpery. This cultivated the latent seeds of poetry ; but had so strong 
an effect on my imagination, that to this hour, ia my nocturnal rambles, I 
jometimes keep a sharp look-out in suspicious places ; and though nobody 
can be more sceptical than I am in such matters, yet it oflen takes an ef- 
£xrt of philosophy to shake off these idle terrors. The earliest composition 
that I recollect taking pleasure in, was lite Vision ofMirza^ and a hymn 
of Addison's> beginning, How are tliy servants blest, O Lord f I particular- 
ly remember one half-stanza, which was music to my boyish ear — 

** For though on dreadful whirk wc hung 
High on the broken wave — '* 

I met with these pieces in Masons English Collection, one of my school- 
books. The two first boolcs I ever read in private, and which gave me 
Biore pleasure than any two books I ever read since, wore, Tbe Life of Han- 
ftibalf and The History of Sir WiUiam Wallace. Hannibd gave my young 
ideas such a turn, that I used to strut in raptures up and down afler the 
recruiting drum and bagpipe, and wish myself tall enough to be a soldier ; 
while the story of Wallace poured a tide of Scottish prejudice into my 
veins, which will boil along there till the flood-gates of life shut in eternal 

Murdoch continued his instructions until the family had been about two 
years at Mount Oliphant — when he lefl for a time that part of the country. 
** There being no school near us," says Gilbert Burns, •• and our little ser- 
"vices being already useful on the farm, my father undertook to teach us arith- 
metic in the winter evenings by candle hght — and in this way my two elder 
sisters received all the education they ever received." Gilbert tells an anec- 
dote which must not be omitted here, since it furnishes an early instance 
of the liveliness of his brother's imagination. Murdoch, being on a visit 
to the family, read aloud one evening part of the tragedy of Titu%Andro- 
picus-— the circle listened with the deepest interest until he came to Act 
ly sf;, 5| where J^avinia 19 introduced ** with her handf cuf pfl^ ^od ber 


tonigue cut out** At this the children entreated, with one voice, in an 
Hgooy of distress, that their friend would read no more. " If ye will not 
he«r the play out,** said William Bumes, " it need not be lefl with you.** 
— «« If it be left,** cries Robert, « I will bum it." His father was about 
to diide him for this return to Murdoch*s kindness — but the good young 
man interfere.d, saying he liked to see so much sensibility, and left 'J%e 
School far Lace in place of his truculent tragedy. At this time Robert 
was nine years of age. << Nothing," continues Gilbert Bums, •< could bo 
more retired than our general manner of living at Mount Oliphant ; we 
rarely saw any body but the members of our own family. There were no 
boys of our own age, or near it, in the neighbourhood. Indeed the greatest 
part of the land in the vicinity was at that time possessed by shopkeepers, 
and people of that stamp, who had retired from business, or who kept tlieir 
form in the TM>untry, at the same time that they followed business in town. 
My &ther was for some time almost the only com{)anion we had. He con* 
▼ersed fomiliarly on all subjects with us, as if we had been men ; and was 
at great pains, while we accompanied him in the labours of the farm, to 
lead the conversation to such subjects as might tend to increase our know- 
ledge, or confirm us in virtuous habits. He borrowed Salmons Gtogra^ 
plaoal Grammar for us, and endeavoured to make us acquainted with the 
utuation and history of the different countries in the world ; while, from a 
book-flociety in Ayr, he ]>rocured for us the reading of DerhanCs Pkynco 
and Atirth Theoloffi/, and Rayn Wisdom of God in the Creation^ to give us 
some idea of astronomy and natural history. Robert read all tliese books 
with an avidity and industry scarcely to be equalled. My father had beea 
a subscriber to Stachhowics IlisforT/ of the BiUe, From this Robert coU 
lected a competent knowledge of ancient history ; for tio book uxu so vo^ 
humnoMS as to slacken his industry^ or so antiquated as to damp his researches,*' 
A collection of letters by eminent English authors, is mentioned as having 
fallen into Burns*s hands much about the same time, and greatly delight^ 

When Bums was about thirteen or fourteen years old, his father sent 
him and Gilbert " week about, during a summer quarter,'* to the parish 
school of Dalrymple, two or three miles distant from Mount Oliphant, for 
the improvement of their penmanship. The good man could not pay two 
fees ;. or his two boys could not be spared at the same time from the la* 
bour of the farai ! ** We lived very poorly," says the poet. << I was a dex- 
terous ploughman for my age ; and the next eldest to me was a brother, 
{Gilbert), ilmo could drive the plough very well, and help me to thrash the 
com. A novel writer might perhaps have viewed these scenes with some 
aatisfiiction, but so did not I. Mv indignation yet boils at the recollection 
ef the scoundrel factor's insolent letters, which used to set us all in tears.** 
Gilbert Bums gives his brother *s situation at this period in greater detail 
— -** To the bune tings of misfortune,'* says he, ** we could only oppose 
hard labour and the most rigid economy. We lived very sparingly. For 
several years butcher's meat was a stranger in the house, while all the 
members of the fiunily exerted themselves to the utmost of their strength 
and rather beyond it, in the labours of the farm. My brother, at the age 
of thirteen, assisted in thrashing the crop of com, and at fifteen was the 
principal labourer on the farm, for we had no hired servant, male or female* 
llie anguiffh of mind we felt at our tender years, under these straits and 
dificaltiesi was very great. To think of our father growing old (for ha was 


DOW above fifly), broken down with the long-continued fatigues of his life« 
with a wife and five other children, and in a declining state of circumstances, 
these reflections produced in my brother's mind and mine sensations of the 
deepest distress. I doubt not but the hard labour and sorrow of this pe- 
riod of his life, was in a great measure the cause of that depression of spirits 
with which Robert was so oden afflicted through his whole life afterwards* 
At this time he was almost constantly afilicted in the evenings with a dull 
headach, which, at a future period of his life, was exchanged for a palpita- 
tion of ^e heart, and a threatening of fainting and suffocation in his bed, in 
the night-time." 

Tlie year afler this, Burns was able to gain tliree weeks of respite, one 
before, and two aflcr the harvest, from tiie labours which were thus strain- 
ing his youthful strength. His tutor Murdoch was now established in the 
town of Ayr, and the boy spent one of these weeks in revising the English 
grammar with him ; the other two were given to French. He laboured 
enthusiastically in the new pursuit, and came home at the end of a fort- 
night with a dictionary and a Telemaque, of which he made such use at his 
leisure hours, by himself, that in a short time (if we may believe Gilbert) 
he was able to imderstand any ordinary book of French prose. His pro- 
gress, whatever it really amounted to, was looked on as sometliing of a 
prodigy ; and a writing-master in Ayr, a friend of Murdoch, insisted that 
Robert Burns must next attempt ihe rudiments of the Latin tongue. He 
did so, but witli little perseverance, wc may be sure, since tlie results were 
of no sort of value. Burns's Latin consisted of a few scraps of hackneyed 
quotations, such as many that never looked into Uuddiman*s Rudiments 
can apply, on occasion, quite as skilfully as he ever appears to have done. 
The matter is one of no importance ; we might perhaps safely dismiss it 
with parodying what Ben Jcnson en id of Shakspeare ; he had little 
French, and no Latin. He had read, however, and read well, ere his six- 
teenth year el^sed, no contcm])tible amount of the literature of his own 
country. In addition to the books wliicli have already been mentioned, he 
tells us that, ere the family quitted Mount Oliphant, he had read " the 
Spectator^ some plays of Shakspeare, Pope, (the Homer included), Tull 
and Dickson on Agriculture, Locke on the Human Understanding, Jus- 
tice's JBritish Gardener's Directory, Boyle's Lectures, Taylor's Scripture 
Doctrine of Original Sin, A Select Collection of English Songs, Hervey's 
Meditations" (a book which has ever been very popular among the Scottish 
peasantry), " and the Works of Allan Ramsay ;" and Gilbert adds to this 
list Pamela^ (the first novel either of the brotbers read), two stray vo- 
lumes of Peregrine Pickle, two of Count Fathom, and a single volume of 
** some English historian," containing the reigns of James L, and his son. 
The ^* Collection of Songs," says Burns, was my vade mecum, I pored 
over them, driving my cart, or walking to labour, song by song, verse by 
verse ; carefully noticing the true, tender, or sublime, from affectation or 
fustian ; and I am convinced I owe to this practice much of my critic-crafl, 
such as it is." 

He derived, during this period, considerable advantages from the vicinity 
of Mount Oliphant to the town of Ayr — a place then, and still, distinguish- 
ed by the residence of many respectable gentlemen's families, and a con- 
sequent elegance of society and manners, not common in remote provin- 
cisJ situations. To his friend, Mr. Murdoch^ he no doubt owed, in the first 
iiistancei whatever attentions he received there from people older as well 


as higher than himaelf : some such persons appear tohaV6 taken a pleasure 
in lending him books, and surely no kindness could have been more useful 
to him than this. As for his coevals, he himself says, very justly, '* It is 
not commonly at that green age that our young gentry have a just sense 
of the distance between them and their ragged pla3rfellow8. ify young 
superiors," he proceeds, ** never insulted the doiUerh/ appearance of my 
plough-boy carcass, the two extremes of which were often exposed to all 
the inclemencies of all the seasons. They would give me stray volumes 
of books : among them, even then, I could pick up some observation ; and 
one, whose heart I am sure not even the Munny Begum scenes have tainted, 
helped me to a little French. Parting with these, my young friends and 
benefactors, as they occasionally went off for the East or West Indies, was of- 
ten to me a sore aiHiction, — ^but I was soon called to more serious evils."^ 
(Letter to Moore). The condition of the family during the last two years 
of their residence at Mount Qliphant, when the struggle which ended in 
their removal was rapidly approaching its crisis, has been already describe 
ed ; nor need we dwell again on the untimely burden of sorrow, as well as 
toil, which fell to the share of the youthful poet, and which would have 
broken altogether any mind wherein feelings like his had existed, without 
strength like his to control theni. The removal of the family to Lochlea, 
in the parish of Tarbolton, look place when Burns was in his sixteenth year. 
He had some time before this made his first attempt in verse, and the occa- 
sion is thus described by himself in his letter to Moore. '* This kind of life^- 
the cheerless gloom of a hermit, with the unceasing moil of a galley-slave, 
brought me to my sixteenth year ; a little before which period I first commit- 
ted the sin of Rhyme. You kno;v our coimtry custom of coupling a man and 
woman together as partners in the labours of harvest. In my hfleenth au- 
tumn my partner was a bewitcliing creature, a year younger than myself. 
My scarcity of Ilnglish denies me tho power of doing her justice in that 
language ; but you know the Scottish idiom — she was a bonnie, sweet, sonde 
lass. In short, she. altogether unwittingly to herself, initiated me in that 
delicious passion, which, in spite cf acid disappointment, gin-horse pru- 
dence, and book-worm philosophy, 1 hold to be the first of human joy8» our 
dearest blessing here below ! How she caught the contagion, I cannot tell : 
you medical people talk much of infection from breathing the same air, the 
touch, &c. ; but I never expressly said I loved her. Indeed, I did not know 
myself why I liked so much to loiter behind with her, when returning in 
the evening from our labours ; why the tones of her voice made my heart- 
strings thrill like an i^olian harp ; and particularly why my pulse beat such 
a funous ratan, when 1 looked and fingered over her little hand, to pick out 
the cruel nettle-stings and thistles. Among her other love-inspiring qua- 
lities, she sung sweetly ; and it was her favourite reel, to which I attempted 
giving an embodied vehicle in rhyme. I was not so presumptuous as to 
imagine that I could make verses like printed ones, composed by men who 
had Greek and Latin ; but my girl sung a song, which was said to be com- 
posed by a small country laird's son, on one of his father's maids, with whom 
be was in love ; and I saw no reason why I might not rhyme as well as he ; 
for, excepting that he could smear sheep, and cast peats, his father living 
in the moorlands, he had no more scholar-crafl than myself. 

** Thus with me began love and poetry ; which at times have been my 
only, and till within the last twelve monthsi have been my highest enjoy- 


Tk$ fftrUeftt of tke poet's productions is the little ballad, 

^^ O once I laved a booaj has. 

Burns himself characterises it as ''a very puerile and silly performance ;"* 
yet it contains here and there lines of which he need hardly have been 
aahamed at any period of his life : — 

'^ She dresses aye sae clean and neat, 
Baith decent and genteel. 
And then there*ii something in her gait 
Oars onj dress look weeL" 

<< Silly and puerile as it is,** said the poet, long afterwards, ''I am al- 
ways pleased with this song, as it recalls to my mind those happy days 
when my heart was jret honest, and ray tongue sincere...! composed it in a 
wild enUiusiasm of passion, and to this hour I never recollect it but my 
liaart melts, my blood sallies, at the remembrance." (MS. Memorandum 
book, August 1783.) 

In his first epistle to Lapraik (1785) he says — 

*^ Amaist as soon as I could speU, 
I to the crambo-jingle fell, 

Tho* rude and rough ; 
Yet crooning to a body's sell 

Does wcel eneugh." 

And in some nobler verses, entitled << On my Early Days," we have the 
ibllowing passage : — 

** I mind it weel in early date. 
When I was beardless, young and blate, 

And first could thrash the bam, 
Or haud a yokin* o* the pleugh, 
An' tho' fbrfbughten sair eneugh, 

Yet unco proud to learn — 
AVhen first amang the yellow com 
.' A man I reckoned was, 

An' wi' the lave ilk merry mom 

Could rank my rig and lass- 
Still shearing and clearing 

The tither stookit raw, 
Wi' claivers and haivers 

Wearing the day awa — 
E'en then a wish, I mind its power, 
A wish that to my latest hour 

Shall strongly heave my breast : 
That I for poor auld Scotland's i^ke. 
Some useful plan or book could make. 

Or sing a sang, at least : 
The rough bur-tmstle spreading wide 

Amang the bearded bear, 
I tum'd the weeder-clips aside. 

And spared the symbol dear/ 


He is hardly to be envied who can contemplate without emotion, this 
exquisite picture of young na'ture and young genius. It was amidst such 
scenes that this extraordinary being felt those first indefinite stirrings of 
immortal ambition, which he has himself shadowed out under the magnifi- 
cent image of << the blind gropbgs of Homcr*s Cyclops, around the walls 
of his cave.** 


CoVTijrrt— — .TVtMi 17 to Iti^-^ Robert and Gilbert Btons work to their Father, om Labourwrif 
at atated Wage9-~At Rural Work the Poet feared no Competitor — Thi» period not narked 
hjf wmA Mental Improvement— 'At JDaneing- School — Progress in Love and Poetry — AM 
Sekaoi at Khrkonoalds — Bad Company^^At ZrvtM^^Flaxdressiny^^ Becomes there Mtm 
Ur of a B^Btehdm* Onb. 

^^ O enviable early days. 
When dancing thoughtless pleasure's maze, 

To care and piilt unknown ! 
How ill exchan^^ Tor riper times, 
To feel the follies or the crimes 

Of others— or my own !*' 

As has been already mentioned, William Burnes now quitted Mount 
Oliphant for Lochlea, in the parish of Tarbolton, where, for some little 
vp%ce^ fortune appeared to smile on his industry and frugality. Robert 
and Gilbert were employed by their father as regular labourers — he allow* 
ing them £7 of wages each per annum ; from which sum, however, the 
Yalue of any home*made clothes received by the youths was exactly de- 
ducted. Robert Bums's person, inured to daily toil, and continually expos- 
ed to every variety of weather, presented, before the usual time, every cha- 
racteristic of robust and vigorous manhood. He says himself, that he never 
feared a competitor in any species of rur^il exertion ; and Gilbert Bums, 
m man of uncommon bodily strength, adds, that neither he, nor any labourer 
he ever saw at work, was equal to the youthful poet, either in the com 
field, or the severer tasks of the thrashing-floor. Gilbert says, that Ro- 
bert's literary zeal slackened considerably aflcr their removal to Tarbolton. 
He was separated from his acquaintances of the to^^n of Ayr, and proba- 
bly missed not only the stimulus of their conversation, but the kindness 
that had furnished him with his supply, such as it was, of books^ But the 
main 'source of his change of habits about this period was, it is confessed 
on all hands, the precocious fervour of one of his own turbulent passions. 

" In my seventeenth year," says Bums, '* to give my manners a brush, I 
went to a country dancing-school. — My father had an unaccountable anti- 
pathy against these meetings ; and my going was, what to this moment I 
repent, in opposition to his wishes. My father was subject to strong pas- 
sions ; from that instance of disobedience in me, he took a sort of dislike 
to roe, which I believe was one cause of the dissipation which marked raj 
succeeding years. I say dissipation, comparatively with the strictness, 
and sobriety, and regularity of Presbyterian country life ; for though the 
Will-o'-Wisp meteors of thoughtless whim were almost the sole lights of 
my path, yet early ingrained piety and virtue kept me for several years 
afterwards within the line of innocence. I'he great misfortune of my life 
was to want an aim. 1 saw my father s situation entailed on me perpetual 
labour. The only two openings by which I could enter the temple oi For- . 




tune, were the gate of nigardly economy, or tlie path of little chicaning 
bargain-making. The firjst is so contracted an aperture, 1 could never 
squeeze myself into it ; — the last I always hated — there was contamination 
in the very entrance ! ITius abandoned of aim or view in life, with a 
strong appetite for sociability, as well from native hilarity, as from a pride 
of observation and remark ; a constitutional melancholy or hypochondria- 
cism that made me fly solitude ; add to these incentives to social life, my 
reputation for bookish knowledge, a certain wild logical talent, and a 
strength of thought, something like the rudiments of good sense ; and it 
will not seem surprising that 1 was generally a welcome guest where I vi- 
sited, or any great wonder that, always where two or three met together, 
there was I among them. But Hir beyond all other impulses of my heart, 
was uniyniclii tut pour CadorcAlc tfioifie du gairc hnmain, Sly heart was com- 
pletely tinder, and was eternally lighted up by some goddess or other ; 
and as in every other warfare in this world my fortune was various, some- 
times I was received with favour, and sometimes I was mortified with a 
repulse. At the plough, scythe, or reap-hook, I feared no competitor, and 
thus I set absolute want at defiance ; and as I never cared farther for my 
labours than while I was in actual exercise, I spent the evenings in the 
way after my own heart. A country lad seldom carries on a love adven- 
ture without an assisting confidant. I possessed a curiosity, zeal, aiid in- 
trepid dexterity, that recommended me as a proper second on these occa- 
sions, and I dare say^ I felt as much pleasure in being in the secret of 
half the loves of the parish of Tarbolton, as ever did statesman in knowing 
the intrigues of half the courts of Europe." 

In regard to the same critical period of Burns's life, his excellent brother 
writes as follows : — ** I vronder how Robert could attribute to our father that 
lasting resentment of his going to a dancing-school against his will, of which 
he was incapable. I believe tlie truth was, that about this time he began 
to see the dangerous impetuosity of my brother's passions, as well as his 
not being amenable to counsel, which often irritated my father, and which 
he would naturally think a dancin[;- school was not likely to correct. But 
he was proud of Robert's genius, which he bestowed more expense on 
cultivating than on the rest of the family — and he was equally delighted 
with his warmth of heart, and conversational powers. He had indeed that 
dislike of dancing-schools which Robert mentions ; but so far overcame it 
during Robert's first month of attendance, that he permitted the rest of 
the family that were fit for it, to accompany him during the second month. 
Jlobert excelled in dancing, and was for some time distractedly fond of it. 
And thus the seven years we lived in Tarbolton parish (extending from the 
seventeenth to tlic twenty-fourth of my brother's age) were not marked by 
much literary improvement ; but, during this time, the foundation was laid 
of certain h2d)its in my brother's character, which afterwards became but 
too prominent, and which malice and envy have taken delight to enlarge 
on. Though, when young, he was bashful and awkward in his intercourse 
with women, yet when he approached manhood, his attachment to their 
society became very strong, and he was constantly the victim of some 
fiur enslaver. The symptoms of his passion were often such as nearly to 
equal those of the celebrated Sappho. I never indeed knew that he 
fainted^ sunk, and died aioay ; but the agitations of his mind and body 
exceeded any thing of tlie kind I ever knew in real life. He had always a 
particular jealousy of people who were richer than himself; or who had 


more consequence in life. His love, therefore, rarely settled on persons 
bf this description. When he selected any one out of the sovereignty of 
his good pleasure to whom he should pay his particular attention, ^e was 
instantly invested with a sufficient stock of charms, out of the plentiful 
•tores of his own imagination ; and there was oflen a great dissimilitude 
between his fair captivator, as she appeared to others, and as she seemed 
when invested with the attributes he gave her. ' One generally reigned 
paramount in his affections ; but as Yorlck's affections flowed out toward 

Madame de L at the reraise door, while the eternal vows of Eliza were 

upon him, so Robert was frequently encountering other attractions, which 
formed so many under-plots in the drama of his love." 

Tlius occupied with labour, love, and dancing, the youth " witliout an 
aim*' found leisure occasionally to clothe the sufficiently various moods of 
his mind in rhymes. It was as early as seventeen, (he tells us),* tliat he 
wrote some stanzas which begin bcautifidly : 

" I drcamM I lay where flowers were springing 
Gailv in the' sunny beana ; 
Listening to (he vnld birds singing, 

By a fallen crystal stream. 
Straight the sky srcvr black and daring, 
Thro* the wtjoos the whirlwinds rave, 
. Trees with aged arms were warring, 
O'er the swelling drnmlic wave. 
Such was life's d»<.citl"ul morning,** &c. 

On comparing these verses with those on " Handsome Nell," tlie ad* ' 
▼ance achieved by the young bard in the course of two short years, must 
be regarded with admiration ; nor should a minor circumstance be entirely 
overlooked, that in the piece which we have just been quoting, there occurs 
but one Scotch word. It was about this time, also, that he wrote a ballad of 
much less ambitious vein, whicli, years after, he says, he used to con over 
with delight, because of the faithfulness with which it recalled to him the 
circumstances and feelings of his opening manhood. 

— " My father was a farmer upon the Carrick Border, 
And carefully he brought me up in decency and order. 
And bade mc act a manly part, tho* 1 had ne'er a farthing ; 
For without an honest manly heart, no mun was worth regarding. 

Then out into tlie world my course I did determine ; 
TAo' to he rich xcas not my trix/t, yd to hr great wot charming / 
My talents tlicy were not llie zront^ nor yet my education ; 
Resolved was 1 at least to try to mend my situation. 

No help, nor hope, nor view had I, nor person to befriend me ; 
So I must toil, and sweat, and broil, and labour to sustain me. 
To plough and sow, to reap and mow, my father bred me earlv ; 
For one, he said, to labour bred, was a match for fortune fainy. 

Thus all obscure, unknown and poor, thro* life Fm doomed to wander ; 
Til] down my weary bones 1 lay, in everbsting slumber. 
No view, nor care, but shun whate'er might breed me pain or torxow ; 
1 live to-day, as wdTs I may, regardless of to-morrow, &c 

These are the only two of his very early productions in which we have 
nothing expressly about love. The rest were composed to celebrate the 
cfaArms of those rural beauties'who followed each other in the dominion of 

• Rdiques^p. 242. 


titi fiuicy-— or shared the capricious throne between them ; and we mar 
euOy helmwef that one who possessed, with his other qualifications, suck 
flowers of flattering, feared competitors as little in the diversions of his 
evenings as in the toils of his day. 

The rural lover, in those districts, pursues his tender vocation in a stjle^ 
the especial fascination of which town-bred swains may find it some* 
what difficult to comprehend. Afler the labours of the day are over, nart 
▼ery often after he is supposed by the inmates of his own fireside to be in 
Ills bed, the happy youth tliinks little of walking many long Scotch miles 
to the residence of his mistress, who, upon the signal of a tap at her win* 
dow,« comes forth to spend a soft hour or two beneath the harvest moon, 
or, if the weather be severe, (a circumstance which never prevents the 
journey from being accomplished), amidst the sheaves of her father's banu 
This ** chappin' out,** as they call it, is a custom of which parents com- 
monly wink at, if they do not openly approve, the observance ; and the 
consequences are far, very far, more frequently quite harmless, than per- 
sons not familiar with the peculiar manners and feelings of our peasantry 
may find it easy to believe. Excursions of this class form the theme of 
almost^l the songs which Bums is known to have produced about this pe- 
riod,— and such of these juvenile |>erformance8 as have been preserved, 
are, without exception, beautiful. They show how powerfully his bojrish 
fancy had been affected by the old rural minstrelsy of his own country, 
and how easily his native taste caught the secret of its charm. The truth 
and simplicity of nature breathe in every line — the images are always just, 
often originally happy — and the growing refinement of* his ear and judg^ 
ment, may be tracecf in tlie terser language and more mellow flow of eadi 
•ttccessive ballad. 

The best of the songs written at this time is that begumingr-* 

*' It was upon a liominaR night. 

When com rigs are bonnie. 
Beneath the inoon*s unclouded light, 

I held awa to Annie. 
The time flew by wi* tentless heed, 

Till, 'tween tne late and early, 
AVi* sma* pcnuiaston she agreed 

To tee me thro* Uie barley.** 

We may let tlie poet carry on his own story. *' A circumstance,*' says 
he, *' which made some alteration on my mind and manners, was, that I 
spent my nineteenth summer on a smuggling coast, a good distance from 
liome, at a noted school (Kirkoswald*s) to learn mensuration, surveying, 
dialling, &c^ in which I made a good progress. But I made a greater pro« 
gress in the knowledge of mankind. The contraband triEide was at that 
time very successful, and it somethnes happened to me to fiill in with those 
who carried it on. Scenes of swaggering riot and roaring dissipation were 
till this time new to nic ; but 1 was no enemy to social life. Here, though 
I leamt to fill my glass, and to mix without fear in a drunken squabble, yet 
I went on with a high hand with my geometry, till the sun entered Virgo, 
m month which is always a carnival in my bosom, when a charming fildU^ 
who lived next door to the school, overset my trigonometry, and set me 
off at m tangent from the sphere of my studies. I, however, struggled on 
with my 'UM' and cfhmnes for a few days more ; but stepping into the gar« 
den one charming noon to take the sun's altitude, there I met my angelp 
h'ke ■ 


^^ Pronerpint, jMheibff flowers, 
Hendf a fiSrtr flSver.** 

*< It was in vain to think of doing any more good at schooL The remain- 
ing week I staidf I did nothing but craze the faculties of my soul about 
her, or steal out to meet her ; and the two last nights of my stay in the 
country^ had sleep been a mortal sin, the image of this modest and iono- 
cent giri had kept me guiltless. I returned home very considerably improvecL 
My reading wai enlarged with the very important addition of Thomaon*! 
and Shtmatone's Works ; I had seen human nature in a new phasis ; and I 
engaged several of my school-fellows to keep up a literary correspondence 
with me. This improved me in composition. I had met with a collection 
of letters by the wits of Queen Anne's reign, and I pored over them most 
devoutly ; I kept copies of any of my own letters that pleased me ; and a 
comparison between them and the composition of most of my correqxMi'* 
dents flattered my vanity. I carried this whim so far, that though I had ' 
not three &rthings worth of business in the world, yet almost every post 
brought ne ai numy letters as if I had been a broad plodding son of day- 
book and ledger. My life flowed on much in the same course till my 
twenty-third year. Vive famour, ei vive la hagaidUy were my sole princi- 
ples oi' action. The addition oi* two more authors to my library gave me 
great pleasure; Sterne and Mackenzie — TrUtrtun Shaidy usnA The Man 
of Ftiimg ■— were my bosom favourites. Poesy was still a darling walk for 
my mind ; but it was only indulged in according to the humour of the hour. 
I had usually half a dozen or more pieces on hand ; I took up one or other, 
as it suited the momentary tone of the mind, and dismissed the work aa 
it bordered on fatigue. My passions, once lighted up, raged like so many 
devils, till they found vent in rhyme ; and then the conning over my veraes, 
like a spell, soothed all into quiet." 

Of the rhymes of those days, few, when he wrote hb letter to Moore, had 
appeared in print. JVinfer, a dirge, an admirab|y versified piece, is of their 
number ; The Death of Poor MaiUe, Mailie*s Elegy , and John BarkyeonC; 
and one charming song, inspired by the Nymph of Kirkoswald*f| whose at- 
tractions put an end to his trigonometry. 

*^ Now wcidin winds, and slaughtering guns, 

Briag'Autumn^s pleasant weadier ; 
The mooicock spring on whtrring win^ 

Amang the bkKxning lieathcr. . . • 
— PegsT dear, the evening's dear, 

Thidc flics the shimmin|[ swallow ; 
The skjr b bine, the fidUb in view. 

All iading green and yellow ; 
Come let us stray our gladsome way,** Ilc. 

John Sarl^eom is a clever old ballad, very cteverlv new-modeOtd and 
extended; but the Death and Elegy of Poor MaHe deserve more atte»« 
tion. The expiring animal's admonitions touching the education c€ the 
*< poor toop lamb, her son and heir," and the '' yowie, silly thing/* her 
daughter, are from the same peculiar vein of sly homely wit, embedded 
upon fimcy, which he afterwards dug with a bolder hand m the Twa Dogs^ 
and perhaps to its utmost depth, in his Death and Doctor Hornbook. It 
need acarcelybe added, that Poor Mailie was a real personage, though she 
did not actually die until some time after her last words were written. She 
had bwn pur^aK^by Buma id a fro)iC| and b^ame exceedingly attacbe4 


^ Tlno* an the town ihe trotted by him • 
A lan^ half-mfle she could descry him ; 
Wi* kindly bleat, when she did vpr him, 

She ran wi* speea: 
A friend miir faithfu* ne>r came nigh him, 

llian Mailie dead.^ 

These little pieces arc in a much broader dialect than any of their pre** 
decei^ors. His merriment and satire were, from the beginning, Scotch. 
Notwithstanding the luxurious tone of some of Bums*s pieces produced in 
those times, we are assured by himself (and his brother unhesitatingly con- 
firms the statement) that no positive vice mingled in any of his loves, until 
after he had reached his twenty- third year. He has already told us, that 
his short residence *' away from home" at Kirkoswald*s, where he mixed 
in the society of seafaring men and smugglers, produced an unfavourable 
alteration on some of his habits ; but in 1781-2 he spent six months at 
Irvine ; and it is from this period that Iiis brother dates a serious change. 

" As his numerous connexions," says Gilbert, " were governed by the 
strictest rules of virtue and modesty, (from which he never deviated till 
his twenty-third year), he became anxious to be in a situation to marry. 
This was not likely to be the case while he remained a farmer, as the stock- 
ing of a farm required a sum of money he saw no probability of being mas- 
ter of for a great \vhile. . He and I had for several years taken land of our 
father, for the purpose of raising flax on our own account ; and in tJie 
course of selling it, Robert began to think of turning flax-dresser, both as 
being suitable to his grand view of settling in life, and as subservient to 
the flax-raising." Burns, accordingly, went to a half-brother of his mo- 
ther's, by name Peacock, a flax-dresser in Irvine, M'ith the view of learn- 
ing this new trade, and for some time he applied hirpself diligently ; but 
misfortune after misfortune attended him. The shop accidentally caught 
fire during the carousal of a new-year \s-day*s morning, and Robert ** was 
left, like a true poet, not worth a sixpence." — *' 1 was obliged," says he, 
** to give up this scheme ; the clouds of misfortune were gathering thick 
round my father's head ; and what was worst of all, he was visibly far gone 
in a consumption ; and, to crown my distresses, a belle Jille whom I adored, 
and who had pledged her soul to meet me in the field of matrimony, jilted 
me, with peculiar circumstances of mortification. The finishing evil that 
brought up the rear of this infernal file, was, my constitutional melancholy 
being increased to such a degree, that for three months 1 was in a state 
of mind scarcely to be envied by the hopeless wretches who have got 
their mittimus — Depart from me, ye cursed^ The following letter, addressed 
by Bums to his father, three days before the unfortimate fire took place, 
will show abundantly Uiat the gloom of his spirits had little need of that 
aggravation. When we consider by whom, to whom, and under what cir- 
cumstanceSy it was written, the letter is every way a remarkable one : — ^ 

<< Honoured Sir, 
** I HAVE purposely delayed writing, in the hope tliat I should have 
the pleasure of seeing you on New-year*s day ; but work comes so hard 
iq[xm us, that I do not choose to be ai>sent on that account, as well as for 
aome other little reasons, which I shall tell you at meeting. My health is 
nearly the same as when you were here, only my sleep is a little sounder; 
and, on the whole, I am rather better than otherwise, though I mend by 
Tery alow degrees. The -weakness of my nerves has so diebilitated my 


tBindf tliat 1 dare neither review past wants> nor look forward bto futurity ; 
for the least anxiety or perturbation in my breast produces most unhappy 
elects on my whole frame. Sometimes, indeed, when for an hour or two 
my spirits are alighteued, I glimmer a little into futurity ; but my principal, 
and indeed my only pleasurable employment, is looking backwards and for- 
wards in a moral and religious way. I am quite transported at the thought, 
thiit ere long, perhaps very soon, I shall bid an eternal adieu to all the 
pains and uneasiness, and disquietudes of this weary life ; for I assure you 
I am heartily tired of it ; and, if I do not very much deceive myself, I 
could contentedly and gladly resign it. 

^ The soul, uneasy, mnd confined at home. 
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.* 

** It is for this reason I am more pleased with the 15th, 16th, and 17th 
Terses of the'7th chapter of Revelations, than with any ten times as many 
Terses in the whole Bible, and would not exchange the noble enthusiasm 
with whidi they inspire me for all that this world has to offer. As for this 
world, I despair of ever making a figure in it. I am not formed for the 
bustle of the busy, nor the flutter of the gay. 1 shall never again be cap* 
aUe of entering into such scenes. Indeed, 1 am altogether unconcerned 
at the thoughts of this life. I foresee that poverty and obscurity probably 
await me, and I am in some measure prepared, and daily preparing, to meet 
them. I have but just time and paper to return you my grateful thanks 
for the lessons of virtue and piety you have given me, which were too much 
neglected at the time of giving them, but which I hope have been remem- 
hmd ere it is yet too late. Present my dutiful respects to my mother, 
and my compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Muir; and, with wishing you a 
merry New-year's-day, I shall conclude. 

* << 1 am, honoured Sir, your dutiful son, 

" Robert Burks/' 

P. S. — My meal is nearly out ; but I am going to borrow, till I get 

The verses of Scripture here alluded to, are as follows i-^ 

*^ 15. Therefore are they befofc the throne of God, and serve him da/ and night in hit tenu 
]))e; and he that sitteth on the tlironc shall dwell among them. 

** IS. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more ; neither shall the sun lis;ht on 
tlicm, nor any heat. 

*^ 17. For tlie Lamb that U in the midvt of the throne shall feed them, and shall lend them 
vato Irving fountains of waters ; and Gud shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.'* 

** This letter," says Dr. Currie, " \\Tittcn several years before the publi- 
cation of his Poems, when his name was as obscure as his condition was 
humble, displays the pliilosophic melancholy which so generally forms the 
poetical temperament, and that buoyant and ambitious spirit which indi* 
a mind conscious of its strength. At Irvine, Bums at this time pos- 
a single room for his lodgings, rented, perhaps, at tlie rate of a shil- 
Siig a-week. He passed his days in constant labour as a flax-dresser, and 
his food consisted chiefly of oat-nieal, sent to him from his father's family. 
The store of this humble, though wholesome nutriment, it appears, was 
neariy exhausted, and he was about to borrow till he should obtain a sup- 
ply. Yet even in this situation, his active imagination had formed to itself 
pictures of eminence and distinction. His despair of making a figure in 

«ri Lin OP ftOSBRT fiORM& 

the world, ihavri how ardently he wished for honourable finne ; and hit 
eontempt of life, founded on this despair, is the genuine expreanon of a 
jroathfu) and generous mind. In such a state of reflection, and €i stiimng, 
the imagination of Bums naturally passed the dark boundaries of our earthhr 
horizon, and rested on those beautiful representations of a better worid, 
where there is neither thirst, nor hunger, nor sorrow, and where happiness 
shall be in jproportion to the capacity of happiness.**— -Zijf%^ p. 102. 

Unhaf^ily for himself and for the world, it was not always In the recol- 
lections of his virtuous home and the study of his Bible, that Bums sot^it 
.for consolation amidst the heavy distresses which " his youth was heir to." 
Irvine is a small sea-port ; and here, as at Kirkoswald's, the adventurous 
spirits of a smuggling coast, with all their jovial habits, were to be met 
with in abundance. <' He contracted some acquaintance," says Gilbert, 
^ of a freer manner of thinking and living than he had been used to, whose 
•ociety prepared him for overleaping the bounds of rigid virtue, which had 
lulhcrto restrained him." 

One of the nndst intimate companions of Boms, while he remained at 
Irvine, seems to have been David Sillar, to whom the Epidk i» D&^ 
M^ a BroAer Poet, was subsequently addressed. Sillar was at this time a 
poor schoolmaster in Irvine, enjoying considerable reputation as a writer 
cf local verses : and, according to all accounts, extremely jovial in his 1^ 
and conversation. 

Bums himself tlms sums up tlie results of his residence at Irvine ^-* 
^ From this adventure I learned somethi|ng of a town life ; but the princi- 
pal thing which gave my mind a turn, was a friendship I formed with a 
young fellow, a very noble character, but a hapless son of misfortune. He 
was file son €^ a simple mechanic ; but a great man in the neighbourhood, 
taking him under his patronage, gave him a genteel education, with a view 
of bettering his situation in life. The patron dying just as he was ready to 
launch out into the world, the poor fellow in despair went to sea; where, 
after a variety of good and ill fortune, a little before I was acquainted with 
turn, he had been set ashore by an American privateer, on the wild coast of 

Connaught, stripped of every thing His mind was fraught with 

independence, magnanimity, and every manly virtue. I loved and admir- 
ed him to a degree of enthusiasm, and of course strove to imitate him. In 
aome measure I succeeded ; ( had pride before, but he taught it to flow in 
proper channels. His knowledge of the world was vastly superior to mine ; 
and I w2ls all attention to learn. He was the only man 1 ever saw who was 
a greater fool than myself, where women was the presiding star ; but he 
spoke of illicit love with the levity of a sailor — which hitherto I had regard- 
ed with horror. Here hut fricndihip did me a mischief," Professor Walker, 
when preparing to write his Sketch of the Poet's life, was informed by an 
aged inhabitant of Irvine, that Bums's chief delight while there was in dis- 
cossing religious topics, particularly in those circles which usually gather 
in a Scotch churchyard aflcr service. The senior added, that Bums com- 
monly took the high Calvinistic side in such debates; and concluded with 
a boast, that *' tlie lad'* was indebted to himself in u great measure for 
the gradual adoption of *' more liberal opinions." It was during the aame 
period* that the }>oet was first initiated in the mysteries of free masonry, 
*^ which was,*' says his brother, *' his first introduction to the life of abooQ 
companion." He was introduced to St. Mary's Lodge of Tarfoolton by 


John Banken, a very dissipated man of considerable talents, lo whom he 
tftenrards indited a poetiod epistle, which will be noticed in its place. 

*^ Rhyme,** Bums says, << I had givea up ;'* (ongoing to Irvine) << but 
meeting with Ferguson's Scottish Poetng^ I strung anew my wildly sound- 
log lyre with emulating vigour." Neither flax-dressing nor the -tavern 
could keep him long from his proper vocation. But it was probably this 
accidental meeting with Ferguson, tliat in a great measure finally deter- 
mined the Scottish character of Bums's poetry ; and indeed, but for the 
lasting sense of this obligation, and some natural sympathy with the personal 
misfortunes of Ferguson's life, it would be difficult to account for the very 
hi^ terms in which Bums always mentions his productions. 

Shortly before Bums went to Irvine, he, his brother Gilbert, and some 
seven or eight young men besides, all of the parish of Tarbolton, had form- 
ed themselves into a society, which they called the Bachelor's Club ; and 
which met one evening in every month for the purposes of mutual enter- 
tainment and improvement. That their cups were but modestly filled is 
evident ; for the rules of the ^lub did not permit any member to spend 
more than threepence at a sitting. A question was announced for dis- 
cussion at the dose of each meeting ; and at the next they came prepared 
to deliver their sentiments upon the subject-matter thus proposed. Bums 
drew up the regulations, and evidently was the principal person. He in- 
troduced his friend Sillar during his stay at Irvine, and the meetings ap- 
pear to have continued as long as the family remained in Tarbolton. Of 
the sort of questions discussed, we may form some notion from the minute 
of one evening, still extant in Bums's hand-writing. — Question foe Hal- 
LOWEBN, (Nov. 11), 1780.—" Suppose a young man^ bred a farmer^ hui 
uriihoui anyfoTtum^ lias it in his power to marry either of two wotneu, tJie ons 
a ^tf7 4^ large fortune, but neither handsome in penoti, nor agreeable in con* 
vermUion^ but who can manage tJte Jumsehold affairs of a farm locU enough ; 
tke other ffOian a girl every way agreeable in person, conversation, aiui behavi^ 
OMTf but without any fortune : which of thetn shall he cltoose 9" Bums, as 
may be guessed, took the imprudent side in this discussion. 

** On one solitary occasion," says he, " we resolved to meet at Tarbol- 
ton in July, on the race-night, and have a dance in honour of our society. 
Accordingly^ we did meet, each one with a partner, and spent the evening 
in such innocence and merriment, such cheerfulness and good humour, that 
every brother will long remember it with delight." There can be no doubt 
that Bums would not have patronized this sober association so long, unless 
he had experienced at its assemblies tlie pleasure of a stimulated mind ; 
and as litue, that to die habit of arranging his tlioughts, and expressing 
them in somewhat of a formal shape, thus early cultivated, we ought to at- 
tribute much of that conversational skill which, when he first mingled witli 
the upper world, was generally considered as the most remarkable o^ all his 
persoiud accomplishments. — Bums's associates of the Bachelors Club, 
must have been young men possessed of talents and acquirements, other- 
wise such minds as his and Gilbert's could not have persisted in measuring 
themselves against theirs ; and we may believe that the periodical display 
of the poet's own vigour and resources, at these club-meetings, and (more 
frequently than his brother approved) at the Free Mason Lodges of Inrine 
and Tarbolton, extended his rural reputation ; and, by degrees, prepared 
pfffUff^ not immediately included in his own circle, for the extraordinary 
iiiHii I MJnn which his poetical efforts were ere long to create all over ** thf 
CvTickborder,*' ^ 

iviii LttE OF ROfiliRT BDR^S. 

David Sillar gives an account of the beginning of his &ith ^quainttnetf 
with Burns, and introduction into this Bachelor's Club, which will ahrayi be 
read with much interest — " Mr. Robert Bums was some time in the parish 
of Tarbolton prior to my acquaintance with him. His social disposition 
easily procured him acquaintance ; but a certain satirical seasoning with 
which he and all poetical geniuses are in some degree influenced, while it 
set the rustic circle in a roar, was not unaccompanied with its kindred at- 
tendant, suspicious fear. I recollect hearing his neighbours observe, he had 
a great deal to say for himself, and that they suspected his principles. He 
wore the only tied hair in the parish ; and in the church, his plaid, whidi 
was of a particular colour, I think fillemot, he wrapped in a particular 
manner round his shoulders. These surmises, and his exterior, had such 
a raagnetical influence on my curiosity, as made me particularly solicitoua 
of his acquaintance. Whether my acquaintance with Gilbert was casual 
or premeditated, I am not now certain. By him I was introduced, not 
only to his brother, but to the whole of that family, where, in a short time, 
I became a frequent, and I believe, not unwelcome visitant. Afier the 
commencement of my acquaintance with the bard, we frequently met 
upon Sundays at church, when, between sermons, instead of going with 
our friends or lasses to the inn, we often took a walk in the fields. In these 
walks, I have frequently been struck with his facility in addressing the fiur 
sex ; and many times, when I have been bashfully anxious how to express 
myself^ he would have entered into conversation with them with the great- 
est ease and freedom ; and it was generally, a death*blow to our conversa- 
tion, however agreeable, to meet a female acquaintance. Some of the few 
opportunities of a noontide walk that a country life allows her laborious 
sons, he spent on the banks of the river, or in the woods, in the neigh* 
bourhood of Stair, a situation peculiarly adapted to the genius of a rural 
bard. Some book (generally one of those mentioned in his letter to Mr. 
Murdoch) he always carried and read, when not otherwise employed. It 
was likewise his custom to read at table. In one of my visits to Lochlea, 
in time of a sowen supper, he was so intent on reading, I think Tristram 
Shandy, that his spoon falling out of his hand, made him exclaim, in a 
tone scarcely imitable, * Alas, poor Yorick !* Such was Bums, and such 
were his associates, when, in May 1781, I was admitted a member of 
tlie Bachelor's Club.** 

The misfortunes of William Burnes thickened apace, as has already been 
seen, and were approaching their crisis at the time when Robert came 
home from his flax- dressing experiment at Irvine. The good old man 
died soon afler ; and among other evils which he thus escaped, was an af- 
fliction that would, in his eyes, have been severe. The poet had not, as 
he confesses, come unscathed out of the society of those persons of ** li- 
beral opinions" with whom he consorted in Irvine ; and he expressly 
attributes to their lessons, the scrape into which he fell soon after ** he 
put hb hand to plough again.'* He was compelled, according to the then 
all but universal custom of rural parishes in Scotland, to do penance in 
church, before the congregation, in consequence of the birth of an illegi- 
timate child ; and whatever may be thought of the propriety of such ex- 
hibitions, there can be no difference of opinion as to the culpable levity 
with which he describes the nature of his offence, and the still more re- 
prehensible bitterness with which, in his Epistle to Ranken, he inveighs 
Itgainst the clergyman, who, in rebuking him, only performed what was 

LIFE Ot ftO&Ellt BURNS. xin 

then a regular part of the clerical duty, and a part of it that could never 
have been at all agreeable to the worthy man whom he satirizes under 
the appellation of <' Daddie Auld." The Poet's Welcome to an lUegiOmaie 
Child was composed on the same occasion — a piece in which some very 
manly feelings are expressed, along with others which can give no one 
pleasure to contemplate. There is a song in honour of the same occasion, 
or a similar one about the same period. The rantin' Dog the Daddie o'^-^ 
which exhibits the poet as glorying, and only glorying in his shame. 

When I consider his tender affection for tlie surviving members of his 
own family, and the reverence with which he ever regarded the memory of 
the &ther whom he had so recently buried, I cannot believe that Bums has 
thought fit to record in verse all the feelings which this exposure excited 
in his bosom. ** To wave (in his own language) the quantum of the sin,*' 
he who, two years aflerwards, wrote The Cottars Saturday Night, had not, 
we may be sure, hardened his heart to the thought of bringing additional 
sorrow and unexpected shame to the fireside of a widowed mother. But 
his fidse pride recoiled from letting his jovial associates guess how little he 
was aUe to drown the whispers of the skU smcdl voice ; and the fermenting 
iMttemess of a mind ill at ease within itself, escaped (as may be too oflen 
traced in the history of satirists) in the shape of angry, sarcasms against 
others, who, whatever their private errors might be, had at least done him 
Bo wrong. 

It is impossible not to smile at one item of consolation which Bums pro- 
poses to himself on this occasion : — * 

«« .—^ The nuur thej tilk, Fm kend the better t 

£*en let them clash r 

This it indeed a singular manifestation of « the last Infirmity of noble 


CoxTZKTt. — Tht Sroihen, Robert and Gilbert^ htwnu ienanis of MottpJU^TMr imeutaai 
labour and moderate habits — The farm cold and unfertile-^Nvi pro§perou9-^»Th§ MuM 
anti'odvinistical — The port thence involved deeply in local polemiee, and ckitrpmi with he» 
regy — Curiovg aceouut <f these disfmtes — Early poems prompted by them — Origin of and 
remarhs npon the poeCs principal pieces — Love leads him far astray-^ A crisU^-^ The jail at 
the West Indies^ The altemaiive. 

t ** The star that rules my lucklen loC 

Has fated mc the russet coat. 
And damoM my fortune to the f^toaX ; 

But in reauit, 
Has blessM me wi* a random snot 

C country wit.** 

Three months before the death of William Bumes, Robert ind Gilbert 
took the farm of M ossglel, in the neighbouring parish of Mauchline, with 
the view of providing a shelter for their parents, in the storm which they 
had seen gradually thickening, and knew must soon burst ; and to this 
place the whole family removed on William's death. Tlie farm- consisted 
of 119 acres, and the rent was £90. " It was stocked by the property, 
and individual savings of the whole family, (says Gilbert), and was a joint 
concern among us. Every member of the family was allowed ordinary 
wages for the labour he performed on the farm. My brother's allowance 
and mine was £7 per annum each ; and during the whole time this family 
concern lasted, which was four years, as well as during the preceding pe- 
riod at Lochlea, Robert's expenses never, in any one year, exceeded his 
slender income." 

" I entered on this farm," says tlie poet, " with a full resolution, come^ 
goy I will be teise^ I read farming books, I calculated crops, I attended 
markets ; and, in short, in spite of the devif, and tfie world, and the /leshf 
I believe I should have been a wise man ; but the first year, from unfor- 
tunately buying bad seed, the second, from a late harvest, we lost half 
our crops. This overset all my wisdom, and I returned, like the dog to hU 
vomit, and the sow ih<tt was washed to her wallowing in the mire.'* 

" At the time that o«r poet took the resolution of becoming wise, he 

procured," says Gilbert, " a little book of blank paper, with the purpose, 

expressed on the first page, of making farming memorandums. These 

farming menwrandujns are curious enough," Gilbert slyly adds, " and a 

specimen may gratify the reader."— Specimens accordingly he gives ; as. 

" O whv tlie deuce should I repine, 
Ana be an ill foreboder ? 

Vm twenty-three, and five foot nine,-i« 
i*U go and be a soil^i** &c« 


^^ O kave norellt, ye Mauchline beUet, 

Ye*i« safer at your fpiiinixig wheel ; 
Such witching books are baited hooks 

For rakish rooks—like Rob MossgieL 
Your fine Tom Jodmbs and Orandisons, 

Thev make your youthiiil fancies reel^ 
They neat your veins, and fire your brains. 

And then yc*re prey for Rob AlosKgiel,** Sic &c. 

Tlie four years during which Bums resided on this cold and ungrateful 
fium of Mossgiely were the most important of his life. It was then that 
hk genius developed its highest energies ; on the works produced in these 
years his fame was first established, and must eyer continue mainly to rest: 
It was then also that his personal character came out in all its brightest lights, 
and in all but its darkest shadows ; and indeed from tlie commencement 
of this period, the history of the man may be traced, step by step, in his 
own immortal writings. Burns now began to know that nature had meant 
him for a poet ; and diligently, though as yet in secret, he laboured in 
what he felt to be his destined vocation. Gilbert continued for some time 
to be his chief, oflen indeed his only confidant ; and any thing more inte- 
resting and delightful than this excellent man's account of the manner in 
which the poems included in tlie first of his brotIier*s publications were 
composed, is certainly not to be found in the annals of literary history. 

The reader has already seen, that long before the earliest of them was 
known beyond the domestic circle, the strength of Burns*s understanding, 
and the keenness of his wit, as displayed in his ordinary conversation, and 
more particularly at masonic meetings and debating clubs, (of which he 
^Nrmed one in Mauchline, on the Tarbolton model, immediately on his re- 
moval to Mossgiel), had made his name known to some considerable extent 
in the country about Tarbolton, Mauchline, and Irvine ; and this prepared 
the way for his poetry. Professor Walker gives an anecdote on this head; 
which must not be omitted. Burns already numbered several clergymen 
among his acquaintances. One of these gentlemen told the Professor, that 
after entering on the clerical profession, he had repeatedly met Burns in 
company, •* where," said he, " the acuteness and originality displayed by 
him, the depth of his discernment, the force of his expressions, and the 
authoritative energy 'of his understanding, had created a sense of his 
power, of the extent of which I was unconscious, till it was revealed to 
me by accident On the occasion of my second appearance in the pulpit^ 
I came with an assured and tranquil mind, and though a few persons of 
education were present, advanced some length in the service with my con- 
fidence and self-possession unimpaired ; but when I saw Bums, who was 
of a different parish, unexpectedly enter the church, I was affected with 
a tremor and embarrassment, which suddenly apprised me of the impression 
which my mind, unknown to itself, had previously received." The Pro- 
fessor adds» that the person who had thus unconsciously been measuring 
Jie stature of the intellectual giant, was not only a man of good talents 
and education, but ** remarkable for a more than ordinary portion of con • 
stitutional firmness." 

Every Scotch peasant who makes any pretension to understanding, is a 
theological critic — and Burns, no doubt, had long ere this time distinguish- 
ed himself considerably among those hard-headed groups that may usually 
be seen gathered together in the church-yard afler the sermon is over. It 
KUijbe guessed tha| from tlie time of his residence at Irvine, his stric- 


turcs were too often delivered in no reverend vein. ^' Polemical divinity/ 
8ays he to Dr. Moore, in 1787, ** about this time, was putting the coun- 
try halfmad, and I, ambitious of shining in conversation -[larties on Sun- 
days, at funerals, &x., used to puzzle Calvinism with so much heat and in* 
discretion, that I raised a hue-and-cry of heresy against me, which has not 
ceased to tliis hour.** 

To understand Burns's situation at this time, at once patronized by a 
number of clerg3rmen, and attended with *< a hue-and-cry of licrcsvy" w^ 
must remember his own words, ^ that (wlemical divinity was putting tlic 
country half mad.** Of both the two parties which, ever since the revolu- 
tjon of 1G88, have pretty equally divided the Church of Scotland, it so 
happened that some of the most zealous and conspicuous leaders and par- 
tizons were thus opposed to each other, in constant warfare, in this porti- 
cular district ; and their feuds being of course taken up among their con- 
gregations, and spleen and prejudice at work, even more furiously in the 
cottage than in tite manse, he who, to the annoyance of the one sot of belli- 
gerents, could talk like Burns, might count pretty surely, with whatever 
alloy his wit happened to be mingled, on the applause and countenance of 
the enemy. And it is needless to add, they were the less scrupulous sect 
of tlie two that enjoyed the co-operation, such as it was then, and far more 
important, as in the sequel it came to be, of our poet. 

William Burnes, as we have already seen, though a most exemplary and 
devout man, entertained opinions very dLfFerent from those which common- 
ly obtained among the rigid Calvanists of his district. The worthy and 
pious old man himself, therefore, had not improbably infused into his son's 
mind its first prejudice against these )x*rsons. The jovial spirits with whom 
Burns associated at Irvine, and afterwards, were of course habitual dcriders 
of the manners, as well as the tenets of the 

*' Orthodox, orthodox, wha believe in John Knox.** 

We have already observed the effect of the young poet's own first collision, 
with the ruling powers of presbyterian discipline ; but it was in the very 
act of settling at Mossgiel that Burns formed the connexion, which, more 
than any circumstance besides, influenced him as to tlie matter now in 

Sucstion. Tlie farm belonged to the estate of the Earl of Loudoun, but 
ie brothers held it on d sub-lease from Mr. Gavin Hamilton, writer (t. e. 
attorney) in Mauchline, a man, by every account, of engaging roahners, 
open, kind, generous, and high-spirited, between whom and Robert Bums, 
a close and intimate friendship was ere long formed. Just about this time 
it happened that Hamilton was at open feud with Mr. Auld, the minister 
of Mauchline, (the same who had already rebuked the poet), and the ruling 
ciders of the parish, in consequence of certain irregularities in his personal 
conduct and deportment, which, according to the usual strict notions ot 
kirk discipline, were considered as fairly demanding the vigorous interfer- 
ence of these authorities. Tlie notice of this person, his own landlord, and, 
as it would seem, one of the principal inhabitants of the village of Maudn 
line at the time, must, of course, have been very flattering to our polemical 
young farmer. He espoused Gavin Haniilton*s quarrel wannly. Hamilton 
was naturally enough disposed to nii\ up his personal affair with the stand- 
ing controversies whereon Auld was at variance with a large and powerful 
body of his brother clergymen ; and by degrees Mr. Hamilton's ardent/^m- 
Ic^cf came to be as vchcnKntly interested in the church [lolitics of Ayrshire» 


as he could have been in politics of another order, had he happened to be 
a freeman of some open borough, and his patron a candidate for the honour 
of representing it in St Stephen's^ Mr. Cromek has been severely criti- 
cised for some details of Mr. Gavin Hamilton's dissensions with his parish 
minister ; but perhaps it might have been well to limit the censure to the 
tone and spirit of the narrative, since there is no doubt that these petty 
squabUes had a large share in directing the early energies of Bums*s po- 
etical talents. Even in the west of Scotland, such matters would hardly 
excite much notice now-a-days, but they were quite enough to produce a 
world of vexation and controversy forty years ago ; and the English reader to 
whom all such details are denied, will certainly never be abje to compre- 
hend either the merits or the demerits of many of Burns*s most remarkable 
productions. Since I have touched on this matter at all, I may as well 
add, that Hamilton'^ family, though professedly adhering to the Presbyte- 
rian Establishment, had always lain under a strong suspicion of Episcopa- 
lianism. Gavin's grandfather had been curate of Kirkoswald in the troubl- 
ed times that preceded the Revolution, and incurred great and lasting po- 
pular hatred,- in consequence of being supposed to have had a principal 
hand in bringing a thousand of the Highland host into that region in 1677-8. 
The district was commonly said not to have entirely recovered the effects 
of that savage visitation in less than a hundred years ; and the descendants 
and representatives of the Covenanters, whom the curate of Kirkoswald 
had the reputation at least of persecuting, were commonly supposed to re- 
gard with any thing rather than ready good-will, his grandson, the witty 
writer of Mauchline. A well-nursed prejudice of this kind was likely^ 
enough to be met by counter-spleen, and such seems to have been the trum 
of the case. The lapse of another generation has sufficed to wipe out every 
trace of feuds, that were still abundantly discernible, in the days when 
Ayrshire first began to ring with the equally zealous applause and vituper- 
ation oii — 

" Poet Bums. 
And his priest-skelping tuxnt.** 

It is impossible to look back now to the civil war, which then raged 
among the churchmen of the west of Scotland, without confessing, that on 
either side there was much to regret, and not a little to blame. Proud 
and haughty spirits were unfortunately opposed to each other ; and in the 
superabundant display of zeal as to doctrinal points, neither party seems 
to have niingled much of the charity of the Christian temper. The whole 
exhibition was unlovely — the spectacle of such indecent violence among 
the leading Ecclesiastics of the district, acted most unfavourably on many 
men's minds^ — and no one can doubt that in the unsettled state of Robert 
Bums's principles, the effect must have been powerful as to him. 

Macgill and Dalrymple, the two ministers of the town of Ayr, had long 
been suspected of entertaining heterodox opinions on several points, par- 
ticularly the doctrine of original sin, and even of the Trinity ; and the for- 
mer at length published an Essay, which was considered as demanding 
the notice of the Church-courts. More than a year was spent m the disr 
cussions which arose out of this ; and at last Dr. Macgill was fain to ac- 
knowledge his errors, and promise that he would take an early opportunity 
of i^pologizing for them to his own congregation from the pulpit — which 
promii^ boweveri he ^ever performed* The gentry of the country took, 


finr the most ]iart, the side of Macgill, who was a man of cold unpopular 
nuumersy but of unreproached morsd character, and possessed of some ac- 
complishments, though certainly not of distinguished talents. The bulk 
of the lower orders espoused, with far more fervid zeal, the cause of those 
who conducted the prosecution against this erring doctor. Gavin Hamil- 
tOD, and all persons of his stamp, were of course on the side of Macgill — 
Auld, and the Mauchline elders, were his enemies. Mr. Robert Aiken, a 
writer in Ayr, a man of remarkable talents, particularly in public speaking, 
had the principal management of MacgilFs cause before the Presbjrtery, 
and, I believe, also before the Synod. He was an intimate friend of Ha- 
milton, and through him had about this time formed an acquaintance, which 
soon ripened into a warm friendship, with Burns. Bums, therefore, was 
from the beginning a zealous, as in the end he was perhaps the most effective 
partizan, of the side on which Aiken had staked so much of his reputation. 
Macgill, Dalrymple, and their brethren, suspected, with more or less jus- 
tice, of leaning to heterodox opinions, are the New Light pastors of his 
earliest satires. The prominent antagonists of these men, and chosen cham- 
pions of the AuldlAglUj in Ayrshire, it must now be admitted on all hands, 
presented, in many particulars of personal conduct and demeanour, as broad 
a mark as ever tempted the shafbs of a satirist lliese men prided them- 
selves on being the legitimate and undegenerate descendants and repre- 
sentatives of the haughty Puritans, who chiefly conducted the overthrow 
of Popery in Scotland, and who ruled for a time, and would fain have con- 
tinued to rule, over both king and people, with a more tyrannical dominion 
than ever the Catholic priesthood itself had been able to exercise amidst 
that hi^-spirited nation. With the horrors of the Papal system for ever 
in their mouths, these men were in &ct as bigoted monks, and almost as 
rdentless inquisitors in their hearts, as ever wore cowl and cord — austere 
and ungracious of aspect, coarse and repulsive of address and manners- 
very Pharisees as to the lesser matters of the law, and many of them, to all 
outward appearance at least, overflowing with pharisaical^ self-conceit, as 
well as monastic bile. That admirable qualities lay concealed under this 
ungainly exterior, and mingled with and cnecked the worst of these gloomy 
passions, no candid man will permit himself to doubt or suspect for a mo- 
ment ; and that Bums has grossly overcharged his portraits of them, deep* 
•ning shadows that were of themselves sufficiently dark, and excluding al- 
together those brighter, and perhaps softer, traits of character, which re- 
deemed the originals within the sympathies of many of the worthiest and 
best of men, seems equally clear. Their bitterest enemies dared not at 
least to bring against them, even when the feud was at its height of fervour, 
chiM^s of l^t heinous sort, which they fearlessly, and I fear Justly, pre- 
ferred against their antagonists. No one ever accused them of signing the 
Articles, administering the sacraments, and eating the bread of a Church, 
whose fundamental doctrines they disbelieved, and, by insinuation at least, 

The law of Church-patronage was another subject on which controversy 
ran high and furious in the district at the same period ; the actual condi- 
tion of things on this head being upheld by all the men of the New Light, 
and condemned as equally at variance with the precepts of the gospel, and 
the rights of freemen, by not a few of the other party, and, in particular, 
by certain conspicuous zealots in the immediate neighbourhood of Bums. 
While thia w^rnins ragedi there broke out an intestine discwd within Ae 



Mttnp of the ftciion which he loved not. Two of the foremost leaders of 
the Auld Light party quarrelled about a question of parish- boundaries ; 
the matter was taken up in the Presbyter j of Kilmarnock, and there, in 
the open court, to which the announcement of the discussion had drawn a 
multitude of the country people, and Burns among the rest, the reverend 
dirines, hitherto sworn friends and associates, lost all command of temper, 
and abused each other coram popido^ with a fiery virulence of personal in- 
vective, such as has long been banished from all popular assemblies, where- 
in the laws of courtesy arc enforced by those of a certain unwritten code. 
" The first of my poetic offspring that saw the light," says Bums, " wag 
a burlesque lamentation on a quarrel between two reverend Calvinists, both 
of them dramatis perionm in my Ifofy Fair. I had a notion myself, that 
the piece had some merit : but to prevent the worst, I gave a copy of it to 
a friend who was very fond of such things, and told him that 1 could not 
guess who was the author of it, but that I thought it pretty clever. With 
a certain description of the clergy, a& well as laity, it met with a roar of 
appknue." This was The Holy Tuilzie, or Tioa Herds, The two herdg^ 
or pastors, were Mr. Moodie, minister of Uiccartoun, and that favourite vic- 
tim of Bums's, John Russell, then minister of Kilmarnock, and afterwards 
of Stirling*— " From this time,'* Burns says, ** I began to be known in the 

country as a maker of rhymes Holy Willies Prayer next made its 

appearance, and alarmed the kirk-session so much, that they held several 
meetings to look over their spiritual artillery, and see if any of it might 

be pointed against profane rhymers. Burns's reverend editor, Mr. Paul» 

presents Holy Willie's Prayer at full length, although not inserted in Dr. 
Currie's edition, and calls on the friends of religion to bless the memory of 
the poet who took such a judicious method of " leading the liberal mind to 
a rational view of the nature of prayer." — " This/* says that bold com- 
mentator, ** was not only the prayer of Holy Willie, but it is merely the 
metrical version of every prayer that is offered up by those who call them- 
selvea the pure reformed church of Scotland. In the course of his read- 
ing and polemical warfare, Bums embraced and defended the opinions of 
Taylor of Norwich, Macgill, and that school of Divines. He could not 
reconcile his mind to that picture of the Being, whose very essence is 
love» which is drawn by the high Calvinists or the representatives of the 
Ccrenanters — ^namely, that he is disposed to grant salvation to none but 
a few of their sect ; that the whole Pagan world, the disciples of Maho- 
met* the Roman Catholics, the Lutlicrans, and even the Calvinists who 
differ fh>m them in certain tenets, must, like Korah, Dathan and Abiram, 
descend to the pit of perdition, man, woman, and child, without the possi- 
iHlity of escape ; but such are the identical doctrines of the Camcroniana 
of the present day, and such was Holy Willie's style of prayer. The hy- 
pocrisy and dishonesty of the man, who was at the time a reputed Saint, 
were perceived by tlie discerning penetration of Bums, and to expose 
them he considered his duty. The terrible view o£ the Deity exhibited 
in that able production is precisely the same view which is given of him, 
in different words, by many devout preachers at present. They inculcate, 
that tlie greatest sinner is the greatest favourite of heaven — that a reform- 
ed bawd is more acceptable to the Almighty than a pure virgin, who has 
hardly ever transgressed even in thought — that the lost sheep alone will be 
saved, and that the ninety-and-nine out of the hundred will be lefl in the 
to perish without mercy — that the Saviour of the world lovea 



the elect, not from any lovely qualities which they posBess* for they are 
hateful in his sight, but ** he loves them because he loves them.** Such 
are the sentiments which are breathed by those who are denominated High 
Calvinists, and from which the soul of a poet who loves mankind, and who 
has not studied the systen) in all its bearings, recoils with horror. • • • The 
gloomy forbidding representation which they give of the Supreme Being, 
has a tendency to produce insanity, and lead to suicide.** * 

This Reverend author may be considered as expressing in the above, 
and in other passages of a similar tendency, the sentiments with which 
even the most audacious of Bums*s anti-calvinistic satires were received 
among the Ayrshire divines of the New Light ; that performances so blas- 
phemous should have been, not' only pardoned, but applauded by minis- 
ters of religion, is a singular circumstance, which may go far to make the 
reader comprehend the exaggerated state of party feeling in Bums*s native 
county, at the period when he first appealed to the public ear : nor is it 
fair to pronounce sentence upon the young and reckless satirist, without tak- 
ing into consideration the undeniable fact — that in his worst offences of 
this kind, he was encourapjed and abetted by those, who, to say nothing 
more about their professional character and authority, were almost the 
only persons of liberal education whose society he had any opportunity of 
approaching at the period in question. Had Burns received, at this time, 
from his clerical friends and patrons, such advice as was tendered, when 
rather too late, by a lajnuan who v/cs as far from bigotry on religious sub- 
jects as any man in the world, this great genius might have made his first 
approaches to the public notice in a very different character. — ** Let your 
bright talents," — (thus wrote the excellent John Uomsay of Ochtertyre, in 
October 1787), — •« Let those bright talents which the Almighty has be- 
stowed on you, be hencefortli employed to the noble purpose of supporting 
the cause of truth and virtue. An imagination so varied and forcible as 
yours, may do this in many different modes ; nor is it necessary to be al- 
ways serious, which you have been to good purpose ; good morals may be 
recommended in a comedy, or even in a song. Great allowances are due 
to the heat and inexperience of youth ; — and few poets can boast, like 
Thomson, of never having written a line, which, dying, they would wish to 
blot In particular, I wish you to keep clear of the thorny walks of satire, 
which makes a man an hundred enemies for one friend, and is doubly dan- 
gerous when one is supposed to extend the slips and weaknesses of indi- 
viduals to their sect or party. About modes of faith, serious and excellent 
men have alwoys differed ; and there are certain curious questions, which 
may afford scope to men of metaphysical heads, but seldom mend the 
heart or temper. Whilst these points are beyond human ken, it is suffi- 
cient that all our sects concur in their views of morak. You will forgive 
me for these hints." 

It is amusing to observe how soon even really Bucolic bards learn the 
tricks of their trade : Burns knew already what lustre a compliment gains 
from being set in sarcasm, when he made Willie call for special notice of 

^^ Gaun ITanniIton*8 deserti, .... 

He drinks, and k wears, and plays ut carts ; 
Yet has soe mony taken* arts 

Wi* great and sma*, 
Frac Qod*s ain pricjtts the pcoplu*s hearts 

He steals awa,** ^c 

* The Her. Hamilton PauTs Life of Boms, pp. 40, 4L 


Nor 11 his other patron, Aiken, introduced with inferior skill, as having 
merited Willie's most fervent execration by his " glib-tongued*' defiance of 
the heterodox doctor of Ayr : 

*' Lord ! Tisit them whs did employ him. 
And for thy people's lake destroy 'em.*' 

. Bums owed a compliment to this gentleman for a well-timed exercise of 
hia elocutionary talents. ** I never knew there was any merit in my poems," 
said he, " untU Mr. Aitkcn read them into repute." 

Encouraged by the *' roar of applause" which greeted these pieces, thus 
orally promulgated and recommended, he produced in succession various 
satires wherein the same set of persons were lashed ; as The Ordinaiumf 
The Kirh*s Alarm^ &c. &c. ; and last, and best undoubtedly, The Ho^ 
Fmr^ in which^ unlike the others that have been mentioned, satire keeps 
its own place, and is subservient to the poetry of Burns. This was, in- 
deed, an extraordinary performance ; no partizan of any sect could whisper 
that malice had formed its principal inspiration, or that its chief attraction 
lay in the boldness with which individuals, entitled and accustomed to re- 
spect, were held up to ridicule : it was acknowledged amidst the sternest 
mutter ings of wrath, that national manners were once more in the hands 
of a national poet. The Holy Fairy however, created admiration, not sur- 
prise, among the circle of domestic friends who had been admitted to watch 
the steps of his progress in an ai't of which, beyond that circle, little or 
nothing was heard until the youthful poet produced at length a satirical 
master-piece. ♦ It is not possible to reconcile the stiitcmcnts of Gilbert and 
others, as to some of the minutia* of the chronological history of Bums*s 
previous performances ; but there can be no doubt, that although from 
choice or accident, his first provincial fame was that of a satirist, he had» 
some time before any of his philippics on the Auld Light Divines made 
their appearance, exhibited to those who enjoyed his personal confidencey 
a range of imaginative power hardly inferior to what the holy Fair itself dis- 
plays ; and, at least, such a ral)idly improving skill in poetical language 
and versification, as must have prepared them for witnessing, without won- 
der, even the most perfect specimens of his art. Gilbert says, that ** among 
the earliest of his poems," was the Epistle to Davie^ (s. e, Mr. David Sillar), 
and Mr. Walker believes that this was written very soon ofler the death of 
William Bumes. This piece is in the very intricate and difficult measure 
of the Cherry and the Slae ; and, on the whole, the poet moves with ease 
and grace in his very unnecessary trammels : but young poets are careless 
beforehand of difficulties which would startle the experienced ; and great 
poets may overcome any difficulties if they once grapple with them ; so 
that I should rather ground my distrust of Gilbert's statement, if it must 
be literally taken, on the celebration of Jemi^ with which the epistle ter- 
minates : and, afler all, she is celebrated in the concluding stanzas, which 
may have been added some time after the first draught. The gloomy cir- 
cumstances of the poet's personal condition, as described in this piece, 
were common, it cannot be doubted, to all the years of his youthful his* 
tory ; so that no particular date is to be founded upon these ; and if this 
was the firstf certainly it was not the last occasion, on which Burns ex- 
ercised his fancy in the colouring of the very worst issue that could attend 
a life of unsuccessful toil. But Gilbert's recollections, however on trivial 
points inaccurate, will always be more interesting than any thing that could 


be pot in their place. ** Robert," says he, ** often composed without any 
regular plan, when any thing made a strone impression on his mind, so 
as to rouse it to poetic exertion, he would give way to the impulse, and 
embody the thought in rhyme. If he hit on two or three stanzas to please 
him, he would then think of proper introductory, connecting, and conclude 
,ing stanzas ; hence the middle of a poem was ofien first produced. It was, 
I Slink, in summer 1784, when in tne interval of harder labour, he and I 
were weeding in the garden (kail-yard), that he repeated to me the prin« 
cipal part of his epistle (to Davie). I believe the first idea of Robert's 
becoming an author was started on this occasion. I was much pleased 
with the epistle, and said to him I was of opinion it would bear beinff 
printed, and that it would be well received by people of taste ; that i 
Ihought it at least equal, if not superior, to many of Allan Ramsay's epis- 
tles, and that the merit of these, and much other Scotch poetry, seemed 
to consist principally in the knack of the expression — ^but here, there was 
a strain of interesting sentiment, and the Scotticism of the language scarce- 
ly seemed affected, but appeared to be the natural language of the poet ; 
that, besides, there was certainly some novelty in a poet pointing out the 
consolations that were in store for him when he should go a-begging. Ro« 
bert seemed very well pleased with my criticism, and he talked of sending 
it to some magazine ; but as this plan afforded no opportunity of knowing 
how it would take, the idea was dropped. It was, I think, in the winter 
following, as we were going together with carts for coal to the family, (and 
I could yet point out the particular spot), that the author first repeated to 
me the Address to the DeiL Tlie curious idea of such an address was sug- 
gested to him, by running over in his mind the many ludicrous accounts 
and representations we have, from various quarters, of this august person- 
age. Death and Doctor Hornbook^ though not published in the Kilmar- 
nock edition, was produced early in the year 17b5. The schoolmaster of 
Tarbolton parish, to eke^ up the scanty subssitence allowed to that useful 
class of men, had set up a shop of grocery goods. Having accidentally 
fallen in with some medical books, and become most hobby-horsically at- 
tached to the study of medicine, he had added the sale of a few medi- 
cines to his little trade. He had got a shop-bill printed, at the bottom of 
which, overlooking his own incapacity, he had advertised, that <' Advice 
would be given in common disorders at the shop gratis." Robert was at a 
mason-meeting in Tarbolton, when the Dominie unfortunately made too 
ostentatious a display of his medical skill. As he parted in the evening 
firom this mixture of pedantry and physic, at the place where he describes 
his meeting with Death, one of those floating ideas of apparitions, he men- 
tions in his letter to Dr. Moore, crossed his mind ; this set him to work for 
the rest of the way home. These circumstances he related when he re- 
peated the verses to me next aflemoon, as I was holding the' ploueh, and 
he was letting the water off the field beside me. The JEptstU to John Lap- 
raik was produced exactly on the. occasion described by tlie author. He 
says in that poem. On Fasten^'en toe had a rockin\ I believe he has omit- 
ted the word rocking in the glossary. It is a term derived from those 
primitive times, when the country-women employed their spare hours in 
spinning on the rock or distaff*. This simple implement is a very portable 
one, and well fitted to the social inclination of meeting in a neighbour's 
bouse ; hence the phrase ongoing a-rocking, or unth the rock. As the con- 
nexion die phrase bad with the implement was forgotten when' the rock 


gtf 6 jJaoe to tlie •pinning-wheely the phrase came to be luea by both 
8ei€i on social occasions^ and men talk of going with their rocks as well as 
women. It was at one of these rockingt at our house, when wc had twelve 
or fifteen joung people with their rodu^ that Lapraik's song, beffinnmg— 
'* When I upon thy bosom lean," was sung, and we were informed who was. 
the author. Upon this Robert wrote his first epistle to Lapraik ; and his 
second in reply to his answer. The verses to the Mouse and Mouniain 
Jkdty were composed on the occasions mentioned, and while the author 
was holding the plough ; 1 could point out the particular spot where each 
was composed. Holding the plough was a favourite situation with Robert 
for poetic compositions, and some of his best verses were produced while 
be was at that exercise. Several of the poems were produced for the pur- 
pose of bringing forward some favourite sentiment (H the author. He used 
to remark to me, that he could not well conceive a more mortifying picture 
of human life than a roan seeking work. In casting about in his mind how 
this sentiment might be brought forward, the elegy, Man was made to 
Mowrn^ was composed. Robert had frequently remarked to me, that he 
thought there was something peculiarly venerable in the phrase, *< Let us 
worship God," used by a decent sober head of a family introducing family 
worship. To this sentiment of the author the world is indebted for The Cot' 
iar'M Saturday Night The hint of the plan, and title of the poem, were taken 
from Ferguson's Farmer^s Ingle. When Robert had not some pleasure 
in view, in which I was not thought fit to participate, we used frequently 
to walk together, when the weather was favourable, on the Sunday afler« 
noons, (those precious breathing-times to the labouring part of the com* 
munity), and enjoyed such Sundays as would make one regret to see their 
number abridged. It was in one of these walks that I first had the pleasure 
of hearing the author repeat The Cottar* s Saturdof/ Night, I do not recollect 
to have read or heard any thing by which I was more highly electrffied. 
The fifUi and six stanzas, and the eighteenth^ thrilled with peculiar ecstacy 
through my soiil." 

The poems mentioned by Gilbert Burns in the above extract, are among 
the most popular of his brother's performances ; and tliere may be a time 
for recurring to some of their peculiar merits as works of art It may be 
mentioned here, that John Wilson, alias Dr. Hornbook, was not merely 
compelled to shut up shop as an apothecary, or druggist rather, by the sa« 
tire which bears liis name ; but so irresistible was the tide of ridicule, that 
his pupils, one by one, deserted him, and he abandoned his schoolcrafl also. 
Removing to Glasgow, and turning himself successfully to commercial 
pursuits. Dr. Hornbook survived the local storm which he could not cffec* 
tually withstand, and was oflen heard in his latter days, when waxing cheer- 
ful and communicative over a bowl of punch, *' in the Saltmarket»" to bless 
the lucky hour in which the dominie of Tarbolton provoked the castigation 
of Robert Bums. In those days the Scotch universities did not turn out 
doctors of physic by the hundred ; Mr. Wilson's was probably the only 
medicine-chest from which salts and senna were distributed for the benefit 
of a considerable circuit of parishes ; and his advictf, to say the least of the 
matter, was perhaps as good as could be had, for love or money, among the 
wise women who were the only rivals of his practice. The poem which 
drofe him from Ayrshire was not, we may believe, eitlier expected or de« 
signed to produce any such serious efiect* Poor Hornbook and the poet 
were old acquaintances, and in some sort rival wits at the time in the mt^ ' 
9oa lodge. 

joit Lm 09 ROBERT Bt7RN& 

In Man wu made to Mourn, whatever might be the casual idea that set 
the poet to work, it is but too evident, tliAt he wrote from the habitual 
feelings of his own bosom. The indignation with which he through )ife 
contemplated the inequality of human condition, and particularly, the con- 
trast between his own worldly circumstances and intellectual rank, was 
never more bitterly, nor more loftily, expressed, than in some of those 
stanzas :«- 

** See youder p6or o^erUbour'd wight^ 

So abject, mean, and vile, 
Who b^ a brother of the earth 

To give him leave to toil. 
And see his lordly feUow worm 

The poor petition ipum, 
Unminaful, tlio* a weeping wife * 

And helpless (^spring mourn. 

If Tm designM yon lordling's ilave— 

By Nature*s laws de8ign*a— 
Why was an independent wish 

E*er planted in my mind ? 
If not, why am I subject to 

His cruelty and scorn, 
Or why has man the will and power 

To make his fellow mourn ?^ 

** I had an old grand-uncle," says the poet, in one of his letters to Mrs. 
Dunlop, ** with whom my mother lived in her girlish years ; the good old 
man, for such he was, was blind long ere he died ; during which time his 
highest enjoyment was to sit down and cry, while my mother would sing 
the simple old song of The Life and Age ^ Man'* 

In Man was made to Mourn, Durns appears to have taken many hints 
from this ancient ballad, which begins tlius : 

'^ Upon the sixteen hundred year of God, and fifby-three, 
Frae Christ was bom, that bought us dear, as wridngs tettifie; 
On January, the sixteenth day, as I did lie alone, 
With many a sigh and sob did say^Ah ! man is made to moan !*** 

The CotUare Saturday NigJu is, perhaps, of all Bums*s pieces, the one 
whose exclusion from the collection, were such things possible now-a-days, 
would be the most injurious, if not to the genius, at least to tlie character, 
of the man. In spite of many feeble lines, and some heavy stanzas, it ap- 
pears to me, that even his genius would suffer more in estimation, by being 
contemplated in the absence of this poem, than of any other single perform- 
ance he has lefl us. Loflier flights he certainly has made, but in these he 
remained but a short while on Uie wing, and effort is too oflen perceptible ; 
here the motion is easy, gentle, placidly undulating. There is more of the 
conscious security of power, than in any other of his serious pieces of con- 
siderable length ; the whole has the appearance of coming in a fiill stream 
from the fountain of the heart — a stream that soothes the ear, and has no 
glare on the surface. 

It is delightful to turn from any of the pieces which present so great a 
genius as writhing under an inevitable burden, to this, where his buoyant 
energy seems not even to feel the pressure. The miseries of toil and pe- 
nury, who shall affect to treat as unreal ? Yet they shrunk to small dimen- 
■ions in the presence of a spirit thus exalted at once, and soUened, by the 
pieties of virgin love, filial reverence, and domestic devotion. 

* Cromek*8 Scottinh Songs. 


The Ot>Uar*M Saturday Ntgkt and the Holy Fair have been put m con- 
thMt, and much marrel made that they should have sprung from thcf lamo 
source. " The annual celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper 
in the rural parishes of Scotland, has much in it," says the unfortuzutte 
Heron, <^ of those old popish festivals, in which superstition, traffic, and 
amusement, used to be strangely intermingled. Burns saw and seized in 
it <me of the happiest of all subjects to afford scope for the display of that 
strong and piercing sagacity, by which he could almost intuitively distin- 
guish the reasonable from the absurd, and tlie becoming from the ri£culous ; 
of that picturesque power of fancy which enabled him to represent scenes, 
and persons, and groups, and looks, and attitudes, and gestures, in a manner 
ahnost as lively and impressive, even in words, as if all the artifices and ener- 
gies of the pencil had been employed ; of that knowledge which he had ne- 
cessarily acquired of the manners, passions, and prejudices of the rustics 
around him — of whatever was ridiculous, no less than whatever was affect- 
ingly beautiful in rural life." This is very good, but who ever disputed the 
exquisite graphic trutli of the poem to which the critic refers? The ques- 
tion remains as it stood ; is there then nothing besides a strange mixture 
of superstition, traffic, and amusement, in the scene which such an annual 
celebration in a rural parish of Scotland presents ? Does nothing of what 
it « affiectingly beautiful in rural life," make a part in the original which 
was before the poet's eyes? Were "Superstition," •* Hypocrisy," and 
** Fun,'* the only influences which he might justly have impersonated ? It 
would be hard, I think, to speak so even of the old popish festivals to which 
Mr. Heron alludes ; it would be hard, surely, to say it of any festival in 
which, mingled as they may be with sanctimonious pretenders, and sur- 
rounded with giddy groups of onlookers, a mighty multitude of devout men 
are assembled for the worship of God, beneath the open heaven, and above 
the tombs of their fathers. 

Let us beware, however, of pushing our censure of a young poet, mad 
with the inspiration of the moment, from whatever source derived, too far. 
It can hardly be doubted that the author of The Cottar » Saturday Night 
had felt, in his time, all that any man can feel in the contemplation of the 
most sublime of the religious observances of his country ; and as little, that 
had he taken up the subject of this rural sacrament in a solemn mood, he 
might have produced a piece as gravely beautiful, as his Hoty Fair is 
quaint, graphic, and picturesque. A scene of family worship, on the other 
hand, I can easily imagine to have come from his hand as pregnant with the 
ludicrous as that Holy Fair itself. The family prayers of the Saturday's 
night, and the rural celebration of the Eucharist, are parts of the same sys- 
tem — ^the system which has made the people of Scotland what they are-*- 
and what, it is to be hoped, they will continue to be. And when men ask 
of themselves what this great national poet really thought of a system in 
which minds immeasurably inferior to his can see so much to venerate, it 
Is surely just that they should pay most attention to what he has delivered 
under Uie gravest sanction. 

The Reverend Hamilton Paul does not desert his post on occasion of 
7%e Holy Fair; he defends that piece as manfully as Holy JVHHe; and» 
indeed, expressly applauds Burns for having endeavoured to explode ** a* 
bmes discountenanced by the General Assembly." Hallowe*aii^ a descrip« 
ttre poem, perhaps even more exquisitely wrought than the Holy FaJir^ 
mA oonfaining nothing that could offend the feelings of anybody^ waa pnn 

tttii Ltn 01^ RObERt Btrntrs. 

AiMd about die Mme periocL Bums's art had ncm readied tti dtnudt ; 
Kilt it ia Ume that we should revert more particularlj to the personal hU« 
tonr of the poet. 

He seems to have very soon perceived, that the farm of Mossglel eotiU 
at the best furnish no more than the bare means of existence to io lartfe 
a fiunily ; and wearied with ** the prospects drear/' fVom which he omy 
escaped in occasional intervals of social merriment, or when gay flashes ttf 
Solitary fancy, for they were no more, threw sunshine on every thing, he 
very naturally took up the notion of quitting Scotland for a time, and try* 
ing his fortune in the West Indies, where, as is well known, the manageft 
of the plantations are, in the great majority of cases, Scotchmen of Buma*a 
own rank and condition. His letters show, thdt on two or three different 
occasions, long before his poetry had excited any attention, he had applied 
ibr, and nearly obtained appointments of this sort, through the intervention 
of his acquaintances in the sea-port of Irvine. Petty accidents, not worth 
describing, interfered to disappoint him from time to time ; but at last a 
new burst of misfortune rendered him doubly anxious to escape from hk 
native land ; and but for an accident, his arrangements would certainly 
have been completed. But we must not come quite so rapidly to the last 
of his Ayrshire love-stories. How many lesser romances of this order were 
evolved and completed during his residence at Mossgiel, it is needless to 
inquire ; that they were many, his songs prove, for in those days he wrote 
no love-songs on imaginary Heroines. Marjf Moruon — Bekmd yen kills 
where Stmehar flows — On Cessnock bank there lives a lass — ^belong to this 
period ; and there arc three or four inspired by Mary Campbell---the ob- 
ject of by far the deepest passion that ever Bums knew, and which he has 
accordingly immortalized in the noblest of his elegiacs. In introducing 
to Mr. Thomson's notice the song, — 

" Will ?e go to the Indten, my Mary, 
And leave auld Scoda*s snore ?— 
Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, 
Across tlie Atlantic's roar ?** 

Bums says, '< tn my early years, when I was thinking of going to the Weft 
Indies, I took this farewell of a dear girl ;*' afterwards, in a note on—* 

*^ Ve banks, and braes, and streams around 
The Castel o* Mootgomerie ; 
OiCen be your woods, and fur your flowerSi 
Your waters never drumlie.*' 

he adds,-*<< After a pretty long trial of die most ardent reciprocal afle^ 
tion, we met by appointment on the second Sunday of May, in a sequester* 
ed spot by the bsinks of Ayr, where we spent a day in taking a farwell be^ 
fore she should embark for the West Highlands, to arrange matters among 
her friends for our projected change of life. At the close of the autumn 
following she crossed the sea to meet me at Greenock, where she hadi 
scarce landed when she was seized with a malignant fever, whidi hurried 
my dear girl to her grave in a few days, before I could even hear of her 01* 
ness ;" and Mr. Cromek, speaking of the same ^< day of parting love,** givii 
some further particulars. '* This adieu," says that aealous inquirer into thf 
details of Burns's story, « was performed with all those simple andMriUiy 
ceremonialsi which rustic sentiment has devised t4T fffrlong f ander omffti ffm 


ahd to impose we. The lovers stood on each side of a small purling brook 
«— they laved their hands in the limpid stream — and, holding a Bible be« 
tween them, pronounced their vows to be faithful to each other. They 
parted— never to meet again." It is proper to add, that Mr. Cromek*s story 
has recently been confirmed very strongly by the accidental discovery of a 
Bible presented by Bums to Mcny Campbell, in the possession of her still 
surviving sister at Ardrossan. Upon the boards of the first volume is in- 
acribed, in Bums's hand-writing, — << And ye shall not swear by my name 
falsely*— I am the Lord." — Levit. chap. xix. v. 12. On the second volume, 
^^** Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine 
mUl"— -St Matth. chap, v., v. 33. And, on a blank leaf of either, — « Ro- 
bert Bums, Mossgiel." How lasting was the poet*s remembrance of this 
pure love, and its tragic termination, will be seen hereafler. Highland 
Mary seems to have died ere her lover had made any of his more serious 
attempts in poetry. In the Epistle to Mr. Sillar, (as we have already hint- 
ed), the very earliest, according to Gilbert, of Uiese attempts, the poet 
oelebfBtes " his Davie and his Jean" This was Jean Armour, a young 
woman, a step, if any thing, above Burns*s own rank in life, the daughter 
of a respectable man, a master-mason, in the village of Mauchline, where 
^e was at the time the reigning toast, and who still survives, as the re- 
spected widow of our poet. There are numberless allusions to her maiden 
OTarms in the best pieces which he produced at Mossgiel ; amongst others 
k the six BeUes of Mauchline, at the head of whom she is placed. 

*' In Mauchline there dwells tax proper your.e belles. 
The pride of the phice and its neighbourhood a* ; 
Their carriage and dress, a stranger would guess, 
In Ijon'on or Paris they'd gotten it a* : 

" Miss I^Iillar is fine, Miss Markland*s divine, 

Aliss Smith she' has wit, and Miss Betty is brnw ; 
There*s beauty and fortune to get wi' Miss Morton, 
But Armour's the jewel for me o' them a\" 

The time is not yet come, in which all the details of this story can be ex- 
pected. Jean Armour found herself pregnant. 

Bums*s worldly circumstances were in a most miserable state when he 
was informed of Miss Armour's condition ; and the first announcement of 
it staggered him like a blow. He saw nothing for it but to ^y the country 
at once ; and, in a note to James Smith of Mauchline. the confidant of his 
amour, he thus wrote : — " Against two things I am fixed as fate — staying 
at home, and owniiig her conjugally. The first, by Heaven, I will not do ! 
— the last, by hell, I will never do ! — A good God bless you, and make 

you happy, up to the warmest weeping wish of parting friendship , 

If you see Jean, tell her I will meet her, so help me God, in my hour of 
need*" The lovers met accordingly ; and the result of the meeting was 
what was to be anticipated from the tenderness and the manliness of Burns*8 
feelings. All dread of personal inconvenience yielded at once to the tears 
of the woman he loved, and, ere they parted, he gave into her keeping a 
written acknowledgment of marriage. This, under the circumstances, and 

Eroduced by a person in Miss Armour's condition, according to the Scots 
iw, was to be accepted as legal evidence of an irregular marriage having 
really taken place ; it being of course understood that the marriage was to 
be formally avowed as soon as the consequences of their imprudence could 
no longer be concealed from her familv, Th^ disclosure was deferred tQ 

• 7 ' 


the last moment, and it was received by the father of Miss Atmoitr with 
equal surprise and anger. Bums, confessing himself to be unequal to the 
maintenance of a family, proposed to go immediately to Jamaica, where he 
hoped to find better fortunes. He offered, if this were rejected, to aban« 
don his farm, which was by this time a hopeless concern, and earn bread, 
at least for his wife and children, by his labour at home ; but nothing could 
appease the indignation of Armour. By what arguments he prevailed on 
his daughter to take so strange and so painful a step we know not ; but the 
fact is certain, that, at his urgent entreaty, she destroyed the document. 

It was under such extraordinary circumstances that Miss Armour be- 
came the mother of twins. — Bums s love and pride, the two most powerful 
feelings of his mind, had been equally wounded. His anger and grief to- 
gether drove him, according to every account, to the verge of absolute 
insanity ; and some of his letters on this occasion, both published and un- 
published, have certainly all the appearance of having been written in as 
deep a concentration of despair as ever preceded the most awful of human 
calamities. His first thought had been, as we have seen, to fly at once 
from the scene of his disgrace and misery ; and this course seemed now to 
be absolutely necessary. He was summoned to find security for the main- 
tenance of the children whom he was prevented from legitimating ; but 
the man who had in his desk the immortal poems to whi(£ we have been 
referring above, either disdained to ask, or tried in vain to find, pecuniary 
assistance in his hour of need ; and the only alternative that presented it* 
aelf to his view was America or a jaiL 


C toWai i H- ^TI* Ptt g%t$» np MoupUl to hit Brother Gilbert — TiUeudt for JanuuetUmt 
S t A m rifiti § M S di t h m of hit Poema tuggtnttd to tupply meant of omtjit — Out of 600 eopiu 
pwiml t d €i XUmarmoek, 1786<— A bringt him extended reputation, and £20^Alto many 
Mry UrndfrUnd^ hut no patron — In thett circumstances, Guaging Jirtt hinitd to him ly 
Mf oatig fritmdtt H am i lton and Aiken — Sayinpt and doingt in thejirst gear of hitfame^-^ 
^■■I'm tigain In vitm — PEm detitted from becaute of encouragement bg J}r, BkuUoek 
i^fmUitk td Bd M mykf vktnin the Poet tojourns. 

^>He law misfortune*! eauld nor^-vett^ 
Liag muttering up a bitter blast ; 
A julet brak his heart at but, 

111 may >he be ! 
So, took a birth afore th^ mast. 

An* owre the sea.** 

jAif AicA was now his mark, for at that time the United States were 
sot looked to as the place of refuge they have since become. After some 
little time> and not a little trouble, the situation of assistant-overseer on 
the estate of Dr. Douglas in that colony, was procured for him by one of 
his friends in the town of Irvine. Money to pay for his passage, however, 
he bad not; and it at last occurred to him that the few pounds requisite 
for this purpose, might be raised by the publication of some of the finest 
poems that ever delighted mankind. 

His landlord, Gavin Hamilton, Mr. Aiken, and other friends, encouraged 
him warmly ; and after some hesitation, he at length resolved to hazard an 
experiment which might perhaps better his circumstances ; and, if any tole- 
rable number of subscribers could be procured, could not make them worse 
than they were already. His rural patrons exerted themselves with suc- 
cett in the matter ; and so many copies were soon subscribed for, that 
Bums entered into terms with a printer in Kilmarnock, and began to copy 
out his performances for the press. He carried his MSS. piecemeal to the 
jyrinter ; and encouraged by the ray of light which unexpected patronage 
had begun to throw on his affairs, composed, while the printing was in pro- 
gress, some of the best poems of the collection. The tale of the Twa jiogt^ 
for instance, with which the volume commenced, is known to have been 
written in the short interval between the publication being determined on 
and the printing begun. His own account of the business to Dr. Moore is 
jtt follows : — 

^ I gave up my part of the farm to my brother : in truth, it was only 
nominally mine ; and made what little preparation was in my power for 
Jamaica. But before leaving my native land, I resolved to publish my 
Poems. I weighed my productions as impartially as was in my power : I 
thought they had merit ; and it was a delicious idea that I should be called 
a clever fellow, even though it should never reach my ears — a poor negro- 
driTer— or, perhaps, a victim to that inhospitable clime, and gone to the 


world of spirits, t can truly say that, pattvre inconnu as I then was, I had 
pretty nearly as high an idea of myself and of ray works as I have at this 
moment when the public has decided in their favour. It ever was my opi« 
nion, that the mistakes and blunders, both in a rational and religious point 
of view, of which we sec thousands daily guilty, are owing to their igno- 
rance of themselves. — To know myself, had been all along my constant 
study. I weighed myself alone ; I balanced myself with others : I watch- 
ed every means of information, to see how much ground I occupied as a 
man and as a poet : I studied assiduously Nature's design in my formation— 
where the lights and shades in character were intended. I was pretty cmii* 
fident my poems would meet with some applause ; but, at the worst, the 
roar of the Atlantic would deafen tlie voice of censure, and the novelty of 
West Indian scenes make me forget neglect. I threw off si3( hundred copies, 
for which I got subscriptions for about three hundred and fifty.*—- My va* 
nity was highly gratified by the reception I met with from the public ; and 
besides, I pocketed nearly £20. This sum came very seasonably, as I was 
thinking of indenting myself, for want of money to procure my passage. As 
soon as I was master of nine guineas, the price of wafting me to the torrid 
zone, 1 took a steerage passage in the first sliip that was to sail from the 

Clyde; for 

^^ Hungry ruin had me in the wind.** 

*< I had been for some days skulking from covert to covert, under all the 
terrors of a jail; as some ill-advised people had uncoupled the merciless 
pack of the law at my heels. I had taken the last fkcewell of my fbw friends ; 
my chest was on the road to Greenock ; I had composed the last song I 
should ever measure in Caledonia, The gloomy night is gathering Jhsit when 
a letter fVom Dr. Blacklock to a friend of mine, overthrew all my schemes* 
by opening new prospects to my poetic ambition." 

To the above rapid narrative of the poet, we may annex a fbw detailsy 
gathered from his various biographers and fVom his own letters. — While 
the Kilmarnock edition was in the press, it appears that his fViends Hamil- 
ton and Aiken revolved various schemes for procuring him the means of 
remaining in Scotland ; and having studied some of the practical branches 
of mathematics, as we have seen, and in particular guaging^ it occurred to 
himself that a situation in the Excise might be better suited to him than any 
other he was at all likely to obtain by the intervention of such patrons as Ii^^ 
poatessed. He appears to have lingered longer after the pubkcation of thft 
poems than one might suppose fVom his own narrative, in the hope that 
these gentlemen might at length succeed in their efforts in his behalf. The 
poems were received with favour, even with rapture, in the county of Ayri 
and ere long over the adjoining counties. " Old and young,*' thus speaka 
Bobert Heron, ** high and low, grave and gay, learned or ignorant, were 
alike delighted, agitated, transported. I was at that time resident in Gal- 
loway, contiguous to Ayrshire, and I can well remember how even plough- 
boys and maid-servants would have glady bestowed the wages they earned 
the most hardly, and which they wanted to purchase necessary clothing, 
if they might but procure the Works of Bums." — The poet soon foiuul 
that his person also had become an object of general curiosity, and that a 
lively interest in his personal fortunes was excited among some of the gen* 

* QUbert Burnt mtDUons, Uut • tingle indlridttji], Mr. WilliMB ?vVf mtrcbaDt in 


try of the district^ when the details of his story reached them, as it wai 
pretty sure to do, along with his modest and manly pre&ce. "^ Among 
others, the celebarted FVofessor Dugald Stewart of Edinburgh, and his ac- 
complished lady, then resident at their beautiful seat of Catrinet b^an to 
notice him with much polite and friendly attention. Dr. Hugh Blair, who 
then held an eminent place in tlie literary society of Scotland, happened 
te be paying Mr. Stewart a visit, and on reading TTie Holy Fairy at once 
pronounced it the ** work of a very great genius ;" and Mrs. Stewart, her- 
self a poetess, flattered him perhaps still more highly by her warm com? 
mendations. fiut« above all, his little volume happened to attract the no- 
tice of Mrs. Dunlop of Dunlop, a lady of high birth and ample fortune^ 
enthosiastically attached to her country, and interested in whatever ap- 
peared to concern the honour of Scotland. This excellent woman, whUe 
slowly recovering from the languor of an illness, laid her hand acciden- 
taOy on the new production of the provincial press, and opened the volume 
at The Cotiar's Saturday Night. «' She read it over," says Gilbert, " with 
the greatest pleasure and surprise ; the poet*s description of the simple 
cottagers operated on her mind like the charm of a powerful exorcist, re- 
pelling the demon ennui, and restoring her to her wonted inward harmony 
aqd satisfaction.** Mrs. Dunlop instantly sent an express to Mossgiel, dis- 
tant sixteen miles from her residence, with a very kind letter to Burns, re- 
questing him to supply her, if he could, with half-a-dozen copies of the 
book, and to call at Dunlop as soon as he could find it convenient. Burns 
waa fWmi home, but he acknowledged the favour conferred on him in this 
very interesting letter : — 

«< Madam, Ayrshire^ 1786. 

^ I AM truly fforry I was not at home yesterday, when I was so much 
honoured with your order for my copies, and incom{)arably more by the 
handsome compliments you are pleased to pay my poetic abilities. I am 
folly persuaded that there is not any class of mankind so feelingly alive to 
the titiUations of applause as the sons of Parnassus ; nor is it easy to con* 
ceive how the heart of the poor bard dances with rapture, when those 
whose character in life gives them a right to be polite judges, honour him 
with thm qyprobation. Had you been thoroughly acquainted with me. 
Madam, ytm could not have touched my darling heart-chord more sweetly 
than by noticing my attempts to celebrate your illustrious ancestor, the 
Satkmrefhis Country, 

*^ Great patriot hero ! ill requited chief !'* 

** The first book I met with in my early years, which I perused with 
pleasure, icas The Ufe of Hannibal ; the next was The History of Sir 
William Wallace : for several of my earlier years I had few other authors ; 
and many a solitary hour have I stole out, afler the laborious vocations of 
the day, to shed a tear over their glorious but unfortunate stories. In 
those boyish days I remember in particular being struck with that part of 
WaUace's story where these Imes occur — 

'^ S^ne to the Leglan wood, when it was late, 
^0 make a ulent and a safe retreat.** 

* Sec Prose Camposhioni. 


" I chose a fine summer Sunday, the only day my ime of life allowed, 
and walked half a dozen of miles to pay my respects to the Leglan wood, 
with as much devout cndisiasm as ever pilgrim did to Loretto ; and as I 
explored every den and dell where I coul^l suppose my heroic countryman 
to have lodged, I recoIlcQt (for even then I was a rhymer), that my heart 
glowed with a wish to be able to make a song on him in some measure 
equal to his merits.** 

Shortly aflerwards commenced a personal acquaintance with this ami* 
able ai^d intelligent lady, who seems to have filled in some degree the place 
of Sa^ Mentor to the poet, and who never afterwards ceased to be^iend 
him to the utmost of her power. His letters to Mrs. Dunlop form a very 
large proportion of all his subsequent correspondence, and, addressed as 
they were to a person, whose sex, age, rank, and benevolence, inspired at 
once profound respect and a graceful confidence, will ever remain the most 
pleasing of all the materials of our poet's biography. 

At the residences of these new acquaintances, Bums was introduced into 
society of a class which he had not before approached ; and of the mannet 
in which he stood the trial, Mr. Stewart thus writes to Dr. Currie :— 

" His manners were then, as they continued ever afterwards, simple, 
manly, and independent ; strongly expressive of conscious geniua and 
worth ; but without any tiling that indicated forwardness, arrogance, or 
vanity. He took his share in conversation, but not more than belonged to 
him; and listened, with apparent attention and deference, on sid>jecta 
where his want of education deprived him of the means of information. If 
there had been a little more of gentleness and accommodation in his tem- 
per, he would, I think, have been still more interesting ; but he had been 
accustomed to give law in the circle of his ordinary acquaintance ; and his 
dread of any thing approaching to meanness or servility, rendered his man- 
ner somewhat decided and hard. Nothing, perhaps, was more remarkablo 
. among his various attainments than the fluency, and precision, and origi- 
nality of his language, when he spoke in company, more particularly as no 
aimed at purity in his turn of expression, and avoided, more successfully 
than most Scotsmen, the peculiarities of Scottish phraseology. At this time» 
Bums*s prospects in life were so extremely gloomy, that he had seriously 
formed a plan for going out to Jamaica in a very humble situation, not» 
however, without lamenting that his want of patronage should force him 
to think of a project so repugnant to his feelings, when his ambition aimed 
at no higher an object than the station of an exciseman or ganger in his 
own country." 

The provincial applause of his publication, and the consequent notice of 
his superiors, however flattering such things must have been, were far from 
administering any essential relief to the urgent necessities of Burns*s situa- 
tion. Very shortly after his first visit to Catrine, where he met with the 
yoimg and amiable Basil Lord Daer, whose condescension and kindness on 
the occasion he celebrates in some well-known verses, we find the poet 
writing to his friend, Mr. Aiken of Ayr, in the following sad strain >— ** I 
have been feeling all the various rotations and movements within respect- 
ing the Excise. There are many things plead strongly against it ; the un- 
certainty of getting soon into business, the consequences of my follies, which 
may perhaps make it impracticable for me to stay at home ; and besides, 
I have for some time been pining under secret wretchedness, firom causes 


whidi you pretty well know — the pang of disappointment, the sting of 
pride« with some wandering stabs of remorse, which never fail to settle on 
my vitals, like vultwes, when attention is not called away by society, or 
the vagaries of the muse. Even in the hour of social mirth, my gaiety is 
the madness of an intoxicated criminal under the hands of the executioner. 
All these reasons urge me to go abroad ; and to all these reasons I have 
only one answer — the feelings of a father. This, in the present mood I am 
in, overbalances every thing that can be laid in the scale against it.** 

He proceeds to say, that he claims no right to complain. ** The world 
has in general been kind to me, fully up to my deserts. I was for some 
time past fast getting into the pining distrustful snarl of the misanthrope. 
I taw myself alone, unfit for the struggle of life, shrinking at every rising 
doud in the chance*directed atmosphere of fortune, while, all defenceless, 
I looked about in vain for a cover. It never occurred to me, at least never 
with the force it deserved, that this world is a busy scene, and man a crea- 
ture destined for a progressive struggle ; and that, however I might pos- 
sess a warm heart, and inoffensive manners, (which last, by the by, was 
rather more than I could well boast), still, more than these passive quali- 
ties, there was something to be dime. When all my schoolfellows and 
yoatfaful compeers were striking off, with eager hope and earnest intent, 
oo some one or other of the many paths of busy life, I was ** standing idle 
zn the market-place,** or only lefl the chase of the butterfly from flower to 
flower, to hunt fancy from whim to whim. You see. Sir, that if to know 
one's errors, were a probability of me^iding them, I stand a fair chance ; 
but, according to the reverend Westminster divines, though conviction 
must precede conversion, it is very far from always implying it.** 

In the midst of all the distresses of this period of suspense. Bums found 
tune, as he tells Mr. Aiken, for some ^ vagaries of the muse ;*' and one or 
two of these may deserve to be noticed here, as throwing light on his per- 
sonal demeanour during this first summer of his fame. The poems appear- 
ed in July, and one of the first persons of superior condition (Gilbert, in- 
deed, says ^ first) who courted his acquaintance in consequence of having 
read them, was Mrs. Stewart of Stair, a beautiful and accomplished lady* 
Bums presented her on this occasion with some MSS. songs ; and among 
the rset, with one in which her own charms were celdbrated in that warm 
strain of compliment which our poet seems to have all along considered 
tlie most proper to be used whenever this fair lady was to be addressed in 

** Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green bnes, 
Flow gently, 1*11 nng thee a song iq thy praise : 
My Mary*B asleep by thy mnnnuring stxeam. 
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream. 
How feasant thy banks and green valleys below, 
M'here wild in tne woodlands the primroses blow ; 
There oft, as mild evening sweeps orer the lea. 
The sweet-foeflted birk shades my Mary and me.** 

It was in the spring of the same year, that he happened, in the course 
of an evening ramble on the banks of the Ayr, to meet with a young and 
lovely unmarried lady, of the family of Alexander of Ballamyle, of whom, 
it was said, her personal charms corresponded with the character of her 
mind. The incident gave rise to a poem, of -which an account will be 
found in the following Tetter to Miss Alexander^ the object of his inspira- 


<< Madam, Mossgid, 18M Nw. 1786. 

« Poets are such outre beings, so much tlie children of wayward fancy 
juid capricious whim, that I believe the world generally allows them a 
larger latitude in the laws of propriety, than the sober sons of judgment 
and prudence. I mention this as an apology for the liberties that a name- 
less stranger has taken with you in the enclosed poem, which he begs leave 
to present you with. Whether it has poetical merit any way worthy of the 
theme> I am not the proper judge ; but it is the best my abilities can pro- 
duce ; and what to a good heart will perhaps be a superior grace, it is 
equally sincere as fer\'ent. 

*< The scenery was nearly taken from real life, though I dare say. Ma- 
dam, you do not recollect it, as I believe you scarcely noticed the poetic 
rtveur as he wandered by you. I had roved out as chance directed in the 
favourite haunts of my muse, on the banks of die Ayr, to view nature in 
all the gaiety of the vernal year. The evening sun was flaming over the 
distant western hills ; not a breath stirred the crimson opening blossom, or 
the verdant spreading leaf. It was a golden moment for a poetic heart. I 
listened to die feathered warblers, pouring their harmony on every hand, 
with a congenial kindred regard, and frequently turned out of my path, 
lest I should disturb their litde songs, or frighten them to another staUon. 
Surely, said I to myself, he must be a wretch indeed, who, regardless of 
your harmonious endeavour to please him, can eye your elusive flights to 
discover your secret recesses, and to rob you of all the property nature 
gives you, your dearest comforts, your helpless nesdings. Even the hoary 
nawthom-twig that shot across the way, what heart at such a time but 
must have been interested in its welfare, and wished it preserved from 
the rudely-browsing catde, or the withering eastern blast ? Such was the 
acene, and such the hour, when in a comer of my prospect, I spied one 
of the fairest pieces of Nature's workmanship that ever crowned a poetic 
landscape, or met a poet's eye, diose visionary bards excepted who hold 
commerce with aerial beings ! Had Calumny and Villany taken my walk, 
they had at that moment sworn eternal peace with such an object. 

<* What an hour of inspiration for a poet ! It would have raised plain, 
dull, historic prose into metaphor and measure. 

*< The enclosed song was die work of my return home ; and perhaps it 
but poorly answers what might be expected from such a scene. 

" I have the honour to be," &c. 

^^ *Twa8 even — the dwey fields were Kreen, 

On every blade the peails hang ;* 
The Zephyr wantonM round the oeam. 

And bore its fragrant sweets alang ; 
In every glen the mavis sang. 

All nature listening seemM the while. 
Except where green- wood echoes rang, . 

Amang the braes o* BaUochmyle. 

With careless step I onward strajed, 
My heart r^iced in naturc*s joy, 

When rousing in a lonely glade, 
A maiden fair 1 chanc d to spy ; 

Her look was like the morning s eye, 
Her air like nature's vernal smile, 

* Hang, Scotticism fox hung. 


Perfection wbitpered paMUiff by, 
Bdiold the lass o* BallocHmyle !* 

Fair is the mom in flowery May, 

And sweet b night in autumn mild-; 
When rovins[ through the garden say, 

Or wandenng in toe lonely wHd: 
But woman, nature*s darling diild ! 

There all her charms she does compile t 
£Ten there her other works are fo^M 

By the bonny last o* BaUochmyle. 

O had she been a country maid^ 

And I the happ^r country swam. 
Though sheltered in the lowest died 

That eter rose on Scotland's plain. 
Through weary winter^s wind and ndn. 

With iotr, with rapture, I would toil, 
And nightly to ray bosom strain 

The bonny lass o* BaUochmyle. 

Then pride might climb the slipperjr steep, 

Where fame and honours lofty smne ; 
And thirst of gold might tempt the deep, 

Or downward seek the Indian mine : 
Oive me the cot below the pine. 

To tend the flocks or till the soil. 
And every day have joys dinne. 

With tne bonny lass o* BaUochmyle. 

The autumn of this eventful year was now drawing to a close, and Bums, 
who bad already lingered three months in the hope, which he now consi* 
dered vain» of an excise appointment, perceived that another year must be 
lost altogether, unless he made up his mind, and secured his passage to 
the West Indies. The Kilmarnock edition of his poems was, howeTer* 
nearly exhausted ; and his friends encouraged him to produce anotlier al 
the same place, with the view of equipping himself the better for the ne* 
cessities of his voyage. But the printer at Kilmarnock would not under- 
take the new impression unless Diirns advanced the price of the paper re« 
quired for it ; and with this demand tlie poet had no means of complying. 
Mr. Ballant}De, the chief magistrate of Ayr, (the same gentleman to whom 
tlie poem on the Ttva Brigs of Ayr was aflcrwards inscribed), offered to 
fumisli the money ; and probably tliis kind offer would have been accepted* 
But, ere this matter could be arranged, the prospects of the poet were, in 
a very unexpected manner, altered and improved. 

Bums went to pay a parting visit to Dr. Laurie, minister of Loudouii» 
a gentleman from whom, and his accomplished family, he had previously 
received many kind attentions. After taking farewell of this benevolent 
circle^ the poet proceeded, as the night was setting in, ** to convey hit 
chest,** as he says, <* so far on Uie road to Greenock, where he was to em* 
bark in a few days for America." And it was under these circurastancet 
that he composed the song already referred to, which he meant as his faro* 
well dirge to his native land, and which ends thus :— 

•« FareweU. old Cotla*8 hills and dales. 
Her heatny moors and winding vales. 
The scenes where wretched fancy roves. 
Pursuing past unhappy loves. 

* Variation. The ]ily*8 hue and rose^s dye 

Be»poki* the kics o* itollochmyle. 



Farewdl, my friends ! farewell, my foes ! 
My peace with these — my love with those— 
The bursting tears my heart dedare. 
Farewell, the bonny banks of Ayr.'* 

Dr. Laurie had given Bums much good counseli and what comfort he 
could, at parting ; but prudently said nothing of an effort which he had 
previously made in his behalf. He had sent a copy of the poems, with a 
sketch of the author*s history, to his friend Dr. Thomas Blacklock of Edin- 
burgh, with a request that he would introduce both to the notice of those 
persons whose opinions Were at the time most listened to in regard to lite- 
rary productions in Scotland, in the hope that, by their intervention. Burns 
might yet be rescued from the necessity of expatriating himself. Dr. 
Blacklock's answer reached Dr. Laurie a day or two after Bums had made 
his visit, and composed his dirge ; and it was not yet too late. Laurie 
forwarded it immediately to Mr. Gavin Hamilton, who carried it to Bums. 
It is as follows : — 

" I ought to have acknowledged your favour Ipng ago, not only as a tes- 
timony of your kind remembrance, but as it gave me an opportunity of 
sharing one of the finest, and perhaps one of the most genuine entertain- 
ments of which the human mind is susceptible. A number of avocations 
retarded my progress in reading the poems ; at last, however, I have finish- 
ed that pleasing perusal. Many instances have I seen of Nature*s force or 
beneficence exerted under numerous and formidable disadvantages ; but 
none equal to that with which you have been kind enough to present me. 
There is a pathos and delicacy in his serious poems, a vein of wit and hu- 
mour in those of a more festive turn, which cannot be too much admired, 
nor too warmly approved ; and I think I shall never open the book without 
feeling my astonishment renewed and increased. It was my wish to have 
expressed my approbation in verse ; but whether from declining life, or a 
temporary depression of spirits, it is at present out of my power to accom- 
plish that agreeable intention. 

'* Mr. Stewart, Professor of Morals in this University, had formerly 
read me three of the poems, and I had desired him to get my name in- 
serted among the subscribers ; but whether this was done or not, I never 
could learn. I have little intercourse with Dr. Blair, but will take care to 
have the poems communicated to him by the intervention of some mutual 
friend. It has been told me by a gentleman, to whom I showed the per- 
formances, and who sought a copy with diligence and .ardour, that the 
whole impression is already exhausted. It were, therefore, much to be 
wished, for the sake of the young man, that a second edition, more nume- 
rous than the former, could immediately be printed ; as it appears certain 
that its intrinsic merit, and the exertions of the author's friends, might give 
it a more universal circulation than any thing of the kind which has been 
published in my memory.'* 

We have already seen with what surprise and delight Bums read this 
generous letter. Although he had ere this conversed with more than one 
person of established literary reputation, and received from them atten- 
tions, for which he was ever after grateful, — the despondency of his spirit 
appears to have remained as dark as ever, up to the very hour when his land- 
lord produced Dr. Blacklock's letter. — << There was never,*' Heron says, 
** perhaps, one among all mankind whom you might more truly have called 
an angel upon earth than Dr. Blacklock* He was guileless and innocent 




as a chfld, yet endowed with manly sagacity and penetration. His heart 
was a perpetual spring of benignity. His feelings were all tremblingly 
alive to the sense of the sublime, the beautiful, the tender, the pious, the 
virtuous. Poetry was to liim the dear solace of perpetual bhndness." This 
was not the man to act as Walpole did to Chattcrton ; to discourage with 
feeble praise, and in order to shift off the trouble of future patronage, to 
bid the poet relinquish poetry and mind his plough. — ** Dr. Blacklock," 
says Burns himself, <' belongea to a set of critics, for whose applause I had 
not dared to hope. His opinion that I would meet with encouragement in 
Edinburgh, fired me so much, that away I posted for that city, without a 
single acquaintance, or a single letter of introduction. The baneful star 
that had so long shed its blasting influence on my zenith, for once made a 
revolution to the nadir." 


CovTlSTt.— 7^e P9d winiert im JBdinburgk, 1786-7— J9jr hit adMtO^ the WHtHtiim of thmi 
cifyi LUtrary, Legal, Philomfphiealt Paiieiam, amd Pedamtie, it UfhUd up, mth^a mtUmr 
'^iit it in At fil tidt of hitfamt thertt amd for a while earetttd kg the faJiemahli 
Wkai hofpemt to him gtmeraOg in that new woHd, and kit hAavSonr under the narfing and 
very trying circumetaneet — Tht tavern life then gready follow ed The Poet tempt e d beyond 
ail firmer experience by bacehanalt of every degree — Hit convertationai taient mnivereatty 
admitted^ at not the leatt of hie talentt — The Ladiet Khe to be carried off their feet by it^ 
while the phitoiophere hardly heep theirs — Edition of 1500 eopiee by Creech^ which yidde 
nmeh money to the Poet — Retoivet to vieit the dauic tcenee of hit own conntry — Attailed 
with thich'coming vitiont of a reflux to bear him bach to the region of poverty and tetiution. 

'' Edina ! Scotia*! darling seat ! 
All hail thj palaces and tow*rt. 
Where once beneath a monarches feet 
Sat leginlation*! sovereign powers ; 
. From marking wildly-acatterd flowers, 
As on the banks of Ayr I strajM, 
And singing, lone, the unffering hours, 
I shelter m thy honour*a shade.** 

Burns found several of his old Ayrshire acquaintances established in 
Edinburgh, and, I suppose, felt himself constrained to give himself up 
for a brief space to their society. He printed, however, without delay, a 
prospectus of a second edition of his poems, and being introduced by 
Mr. Dalryraple of Orangefield to tlie Earl of Glencaim, that amiable 
nobleman easily persuaded Creech, then the chief bookseller in Edinburgh, 
to undertake Uie publication. The Honourable Henry Erskine, Dean of 
the Faculty of Advocates, the most agreeable of companions, and the most 
benignant of wits, took him also, as the poet expresses it, '< unfder his 
wing.'* The kind Blacklock received him with all the warmth of paternal 
affection, and introduced him to Dr. Blair, and other eminent UteraU; 
his subscription lists were soon ' filled ; Lord Glencaim made interest 
with the Caledonian Hunt, (an association of the most distinguished 
members of the northern aristocracy), to accept the dedication of the forth- 
coming edition, and to subscribe individually for copies. Several noblemen, 
especially of the west of Scotland, came forward with subscription-moneys 
considerably b?ypnd the usual rate. In so small a capital, where every 
body knows every body, that which becomes a favourite topic in one 
leaaing circle of society, soon excites an universal interest ; and before 
Bums had been a fortnight in Edinburgh, we find him writing to his 
earliest patron, Gavin Hamilton, in these terms : — *< For my own affairs, I 
am in a fair way of becoming as eminent as Thomas a Kempis or John Bun« 
yan ; and you may expect hencefortli to see my birth-day incribed among 
the wonderful events in the Poor Robin and Aberdeen Almanacks, along 
with the Black Monday, and the Battle of Bothwell Bridge." 

LIFB 0^ ROBBRt MRltO, tif 


It Is but a melancholy busioess to trace among the records of literary 
lilstory, the manner in which most {^eat original geniuses have been greet- 
ed on their first appeals to the world, by the contemporary arbiters of 
taste ; coldly and timidly indeed have the sympathies of professional criti- 
cism flowed on most such occasions in past times and in the present i Rut 
the reception of Bums was worthy of The Man of Feeling, Mr. Henry 
Mackenzie was a man of genius, and of a polished, as well as a liberal taste. 
After alluding to the provincial circulation and reputation of tlie first edi- 
tion of the poems, Mr. Mackenzie thus wrote in the Lounger, an Edin- 
burgh periodical of that period : — *< I hope I shall not be thought to assume 
too much* if I endeavour to place him in a higher point of view, to call 
for a verdict of his country on the merits of his works, and to claim fbr 
bim those honours which their excellence appears to deserve. In men- 
tioning the circumstance of his humble station, I mean not to rest his pre- 
tentions solely on that title, or to urge the merits of his poetry, when con- 
sidered in relation to the lowness of his birth, and the little opportunity of 
improvement which his education could afford. These particulars, indeed, 
must excite our wonder at his productions ; but his poetry, considered ab- 
stractedly, and without the apologies arising from his situation, seems to 
me fully entitled to command our feelings, and to obtain our applause." 

After quoting various passages, in some of which his readers 

^ must discover a high tone of feeling, and power, and energy of expres- 
sion, particularly and strongly characteristic of the mind and the voice of 
a poety" and others as shewing ** the power of genius, not less admirable 
in tradng the manners, than in painting the passions, or in drawing the 
scenery of nature,** and ** with what uncommon penetration and sagacity 
thb beaven-taught ploughman, from his humble and unlettered condition, 
had looked on men and manners,*' the critic concluded with an eloquent 
appeal in behalf of the poet personally : " To repair,'* said he, " the wrong 
or fuflMng or neglected merit ; to call forth genius from the obscurity in 
whidi it had pined indignant, and place it where it may profit or delight 
the world— 4liese are exertions which give to wealth an enviable superiori- 
ty, to greatness and to patronage a laudable pride."* 

The s^>peal thus made for such a candidate was not unattended to. 
Bums was only a very short time in Edinburgh when he thus wrote to one 
ef Us eariy fmnds : — *' I was, when first honoured with your notice, too 
obic u re ; now I tremble lest I should be ruined by being dragged too sud- 
deply into the glare of polite and learned observation ;** and he concludes 
the «me letter with an ominous prayer for <* better health and more spi- 
rita.*'f — Two or three weeks later, we find him writing as follows s-»** ( Ja- 
notry 14i 1787). I went to a Mason Lodge yesternight, where the M.W. 
Grand Master Charteris, and all the (irand Lodge of Scotland visited. The 
meeting was numerous and elegant : all the different lodges about town were 
present in all their pomp. The Grand Master, who presided with great so- 
lemnity, among other general toasts gave, ' Caledonia and Caledonu s bard, 
Brother Bums, which rung through the whole assembly with multiplied 
honoors and repeated acclamations. As I had no idea such a thing woidd 
happen, I was downright thunderstruck ; and trembling in every nenrei 
miHie the best return in my power. Just as I had finished, one of tha 

* Ths leiiMrsi tat iatunlMr. DtsmlMr 9L 1786. 

t Uast islpt twmtp^ 9i Apivknoi^ it, i/se ; RtttfMi, f* l% 

riti Ltf E 01? ROIlEtlT BUnKS*- 

Gtmid Officers said, so loud that I could hear, with a most comfbrting to- 
oent, * very well indeed/ which set me something to rights again.?— And 
a few weeks later still, he is thus addressed bjr one of his old asso ciateg 
who was mediuting a visit to Edinburgh. << ny all accounU, it will be a 
difficult matter to get a sight of you at all, unless your company is bespoke 
a week beforehand. There are great rumours here of your intimacy with 
the Duchess of Gordon, and other ladies of distinction. I am really told 
that — 

*^ Cudi to invite, fly bj thousands each night ;** 

and if you had one, there would also, I supoose, be < bribes for your old 

aecretaiy.' I observe you are resolved to maJce hay while the sun shines, 
and avoid, if possible, the fate of poor Ferguson. Qwerenda pectmia pri^ 
$mum eti^^Virtui post nummos, is a good maxim to thrive by. You seem- 
ed to despise it while in tliis country ; but, probably, some philosophers 
in Edinburgh have taught you better sense." 

In this proud career, however, the popular idol needed no slave to whis- 
per whence he had risen, and whither he was to return in the ebb of the 
^ning-tide of fortune. His << prophetic soul** carried always a sufficient 
. memento. He bore all his honours in a manner worthy of himself; ai!d 
of this the testimonies are so numerous, that the only difficulty is that ot 
selection. << The attentions he received," says Mr. Dugald Stewart, ** from 
all ranks and descriptions of persons, were such as would have turned any 
bead but his own. I cannot say that I could perceive any unfovourable effect 
which they lefl on his mind. He retained the same sunplicity of manners 
and a(^>earance which had struck me so forcibly when I £nt saw him in the 
coun^ ; nor did he seem to feel any additional self-importance from the 
number and rank of his new acquaintance." — Professor Walker, who met him 
for the first time, early in the same season, at breakfast in Dr. Blacklock'a 
house^ has thus recorded his impressions : — " I was not much struck with his 
first appearance, as I had previously heard it described. His person, though 
strong and well knit, and much superior to what might be eiqpected in a 
pbughman, was still rather coarse in its outlme. His stature, from want 
of setting up^, appeared to be only of the middle size, but was rather above 
it. His motions were firm and decided, and though without any preten* 
sions to grace, were at the same time so free from downish constraint, as 
to show that he had not always been confined to the sodetpr of his prcifes- 
skm. His countenance was not of that elegant cast, which is most f^ 
quent among the upper ranks, but it was manly and intelligent, and mariced 
by a thoughtful gravity which shaded at times into sternness. In hb large 
dark eye the most strUdng index of his genius resided. It was full of mind ; 
and would have been singularly expressive, under the management of one 
who could employ it with more art, for the purpose of expression. He 
was plainly, but properly dressed, in a style mid-way between the holiday 
costume m a fiurmer, and that of the company with which he now assod* 
ated. His black hsir, without powder, at a time when it was very gene- 
rally worn, was tied behind, and spread upon his forehead. Upon the 
whde, from his person, physiognomy, and dress, had I met him near a sea- 
port, and been required to guess his condition, I should have probably con- 
jectured him to be the master of a merchant vessel of the most ren>ectable 
class. In no part of his manner was there the slightest degree of affecta- 
tion, tKyr oould a stranger have suspectedy firom any thing in his behaviour 

Ltf £ OP fiOBERT BURNS. xlvii 

Of cohversatioDy that he had been for some mondis the favourite of all the 
fitthionable circles of a metropolis. In conversation he was powerfuL His 
oooceptions and expression were of corresponding vigour, and on all subjects 
were as remote as possible from common places. Tliough somewhat autho- 
ritative, it was in a way which gave little offence, and was readily imputed 
to his inexperience in those modes of smoothing dissent and soflening asser- 
tion, which are important characteristics of polished manners. After break- 
fast I requested him to communicate some of his unpublished pieces, asxi, 
he recited his farewell song to the Banks of Ayr, introducing it with a des- 
cription of the circum.<;tances in which it was composed, more striking than 
the poem itself. I paid particular attention to his recitation, which was 
plain, slow, articulate, and forcible, but without any eloquence or art. He 
did not always lay the emphasis with propriety, nor did he humour the 
sentiment by the variations of his voice. He was standing, during the time, 
with his face towards the window, to which, and not to his auditors, he di- 
rected his eye — thus depriving himself of any additional effect which the 
language of his composition might have borrowed from the lang^uage of his 
countenance. In this he resembled the generality of singers in ordinary 
company, who, to shun any charge of affectation, withdraw all meaning 
from their features, and lose tlie advantage by which vocal performers on 
the stage augment the impression, and give energy to the sentiment of the 
song. The day after my first introduction to Bums, I supped in company 
with him at Dr. Blair*s. The other guests were very few, and as each- 
had been invited chiefly to have an opportunity of meeting with the poet, 
the Doctor endeavoured to draw him out, and to make him the central 
figure of tlie group. Though he therefore furnished the greatest propor- 
tion of the conversation, he did no more than what he saw evidently was 
expected." • 

To these reminiscences I shall now add those of one to whom is always 
readily accorded the willing ear, Sir Walter Scott — He thus writes ^— 
'< As for Bums, I may truly say, Virgilium vidi tanium. I was a lad of 
fifteen in 1786-7, when he came first to Edinburgh, but had sense and 
feeliog enough to be much interested in his poetry, and would have given 
the world to know him ; but I had very little acquauitance with any lite- 
jsry people, and still less with the gentry of the west country, the two 
lets that he most frequented. Mr. Thomas Grierson was at that time 
a clerk of my father's. He knew Burns, and promised to ask him to his 
lodgings to dinner, but had no opportunity to keep his word ; otherwise I 
might have seen more of this distinguished man. As it was, I saw him 
one day at the late venerable Professor Fergusson*s, where there were se- 
veral gentlemen of literary reputation, among whom I remember the cele- 
brated Mr. Dugald Stewart Of course we youngsters sat silent, looked, 
and listened. The only thing I remember which was remarkable in Bums*s 
manner, waft the effect produced upon him by a print of Bimbury*s, re- 
presenting a soldier lying dead on the snow, his dog sitting in misenr on 
one side, — on the other, his widow, with a cliild in her arms. These Unet 
were written beneath, — 

'* Cold on Camtdian hills, or Minden*8 plain, 
Perhaps that parent wept her soldier slain — 
Bent o*er her babei her eye dissolved in dew, 
The big drops, mingling with the milk He drew, 

MtoiiiQQ*s Bum, ToL i pp. Izxi, Izzik 

ilftti t\n OF RO&SRT BURKS. 


nn^ve the mi\ presage ot \m future yearn, 
The child of misery baptized in tears.'* 

<* Bums seemed much affected by the print, or rather the ideas which 
h suggested to his mind. He actually slicd tears. He asked whose the 
lines were, and it chanced tliat nobody but myself remembered that they 
occur in a half-forgotten poem of Langhorne's, called by the unpromising 
title of The Justice of Peace. I whispere^ my information to a friend 
present, who mentioned it to Burns, who rewarded me with a look and 
a word, which, though of mere civility, I then received, and still recdllecti 
with very great pleasure. 

*< His person was strong and robust ; his manners rustic, not clownish ; 
a sort of dignified plainness and simplicity, which received part of its ef- 
fectt perhaps, from one's knowledge of his extraordinary talents. His 
features are represented in Mr. Nasmyth's picture, but to me it conveys 
the idea, that tney are. diminished as if seen in perspective. I think his 
countenance was more massive than it looks in any of the portraits. I 
would have taken the poet, had I not known what he was, for a very sa- 
gacious country farmer of the old Scotch school, i. e. none of your modern 
agriculturists, who keep labourers for their drudgery, but the douce gudt- 
tiktm who held his own plough. There was a strong expression of sense and 
shrewdness in all his lineaments; the eye alone, I think, indicated die 
poetical character and temperament. It was large, and of a dark cast, 
which glowed (1 say literally giowed) when he spoke with feeding or inte- 
rest. I never saw such another eye in a human head, though I have seen 
ihe most distinguished men of my time. His conversation expressed perfect 
aelf-confidence, without the slightest presumption. Among the men who 
were the most learned of their time and country, he expressed liimself 
with perfect firmness, but without the least intrusive forwardness; and 
when he differed in opinion, he did not hesitate to express it firmly, yet at 
the same time with modesty. I do not remember any part of his conver- 
sation distinctly enough to be quoted, nor did I ever see him again, except 
in the street, where he did not recognise me, as I could not expect he 
should. He was much caressed in Edinburgh, but (considering what lite- 
rary emoluments have been since his day) the efforts made for his relief 
were extremely triHing. I remember on this occasion I mention, I thought 
Burns's acquaintance with English Poetry was rather limited, and also, that 
having twenty times the abilities of AUan Kamsav and of Ferguson, he 
tidked of them with too much humility as his models ; there was, doubt- 
less, national predilection in his estimate, lliis is all I can tell you about 
Bums. I have only to add, that his dress corresponded with his manner. 
He was like a farmer dressed in his best to dine with the Laird. I do not 
speak in malam partem^ when I say, I never saw a man in company with 
his superiors in station and information, more perfectly free from either 
the reality or the affectation of embarrassment. I was told, but did not 
obsfrve it, that his address to females was extremely deferential, and al- 
ways with a turn cither to the pathetic or humorous, which engaged their 
attention particularly. 1 have heard the late Duchess of Gordon remark 
this. — I do not know any tiling I can add to these recollections of forty 
years since." — 

There can be no doubt that Bums made his first appearance at a period 
highly favourable for his reception as a British, and especially as a Scottish 
poetf N^rljr fort^ ynx% had tiapsed since tbt death pf Thomson ;«-^ 


Colling, Gray, Goldsmith, had successively disappeared : — Dr. Johnson 
had belied the rich promise of his early appearance, and confined him- 
self to prose ; and Cowper had hardly begun to be recognized as having 
anj considerable pretensions to fill the long-vacant throne in England. At 
home — ^without derogation from the merits either of Douglcu or the 3fin* 
Urtlf be it said — ^men must have gone back at least three centuries to find 
a Scottish poet at all entitled to be considered as of that high order to which 
the generous criticism of Mackenzie at once admitted ** the Ayrshire 
Ploughman.** Of the form and garb of his composition, much, unquestion- 
ably and avowedly, was derived from his more immediate predecessors* 
Ramsay and Ferguson : but there was a bold mastery of hand in his pic- 
turesque descriptions, to produce any thing equal to which it was neces- 
sary to recall the days of ChrisCs Kirk on Vie Greeriy and Peebks to the 
Pfay ; and in his more solemn pieces, a depth of Inspiration, and a massive 
energy of language, to which the dialect of his country had been a stranger, 
at least since '< Dunbar the Mackar.** The Muses of Scotland had never 
indeed been silent ; and the ancient minstrelsy of the land, of which a slen- 
der portion had as yet been committed to the safeguard of the press, was 
handed from generation to generation, and preserved, in many a fragment, 
faithful images of the peculiar tenderness, and peculiar humour, of the na- 
tional fancy and character — precious representations, which Burns himself 
never surpassed in his happiest efforts. But these were fragments ; and 
with a scanty handful of exceptions, the best of them, at least of the seri- 
ous kind, were very ancient. Among the numberless effusions of the 
Jacobite Muse, valuable as we now consider them for the record of man- 
ners and events. It would be difficult to point out half-a-dozen strains 
worthy, for poetical excellence alone, of a place among the old chivalrous 
ballads of the Southern, or even of the Highland Border. Generations had 
passed away smce any Scottish poet had appealed to the sympathies of his 
countrymen in a lofly Scottish strain. 

The dialect itself had been hardly dealt wIUi. '* It is my opinion/* said 
Dr. Geddes, « that those who, for almost a century past, have written in 
Scotch, Allan Ramsay not excepted, have not duly discriminated the ge- 
nuine idiom from its vulgarisms. They seem to have acted a similar part 
to certain pretended imitators of Spenser and Milton, who fondly imagine 
that they are copying from these great models, when they only mimic their 
antique mode of spelling, their obsolete terms, and their irregular construc- 
tions.** And although I cannot well guess what the doctor considered as 
the irregular constructions of Milton, there can be no doubt of the general 
justice of his observations. Ramsay and Ferguson were both men of hum- 
ble condition, the latter of the meanest, the former of no very elegant 
habits ; and the dialect which had once pleased the ears of kings, who 
themselves did not disdain to display its powers and elegances in verse, 
did not come untarnished through their hands. Ferguson, who was en- 
tirely town-bred, smells more of the Cowgate than of the country ; and 
pleasing as Ramsay's rustics are, he appears rather to have observed the 
surface of rural manners, In casual excursions to Pennyculkand the Hun- 
ter's Tryste, than to have expressed the results of intimate knowledge and 
sympathy. His dialect was a somewhat incongruous mixture of the Upper 
Ward of Lanarkshire and the Luckenbooths ; and he could neither write 
English verses, nor engrafl English phraseology on his Scotch, without be- 
(raying a lamentable want of sUU in the use of hi^ instrumental It was l^« 


denred for fiurnd to interpret the inmost soul of the Scottish peuant in aU 
Its moods, and in verse exquisitely and intensely Scottish, without degrad- 
ing either his sentiments or his language with one touch of vulgarity. Such is 
the delicacy of native taste, and the power of a truly masculine genius. This 
is the more remarkahle, when we consider that the dialect o£ Bums's na- 
live district is, in all mouths but his own, a peculiarly offensive one. The 
few poets * whom the west of Scotland had produced in the old time, were 
all men of high condition ; and who, of course, used the language, not of 
their own villages, hue of Holyrood. Their productions, moreover, in o 
far as they have been produced, had nothing to do with the peculiar cha- 
racter and feelings of the men of the west. As Burns himself has said, — 
** It is somewhat singular, that in Lanark, Renfrew, Ayr, &c. there is 
scarcely an old song or tune, which, from the title, &c. can be guessed to 
belong to, or be the production of, those counties.*' 

The history of Scottish literature, from the union of the crowns to that 
of the kingdoms, has not yet been made the subject of any separate work 
at all worthy of its importance ; nay, however much we are indebted to the 
learned labours of Pinkerton, Irving, and others, enough of the general ob- 
scurity of which Warton complained still continues, to the no small discre- 
dit of so accomplished a nation. But how miserably the Uterahtre of the 
country was affected by the loss of the court under whose immediate pa- 
tronage it had, in almost all preceding times, found a measure of protec- 
tion Uiat will ever do honour to the memory of the unfortunate house of 
Stuart, appears to be indicated with sufficient plainness in the single fact» 
that no man can point out any Scottish author of the first rank in all the 
long period which intervened between Buchanan and Hume. The re- 
moval of the chief nobility and gentry, consequent on the Legislative Union, 
appeared to destroy our last hopes as a separate nation, possessing a se- 
parate literature of our own ; nay, for a time, to have all but extinguished 
the flame of intellectual exertion and ambition. Long torn and harassed 
by religious and political feuds, this people had at last heard, as many be- 
lieved, the sentence of irremediable degradation pronounced by the hps of 
their own prince and parliament. The universal spirit of Scotland was 
humbled ; the unhappy insurrections of 1715 and 1745 revealed the full 
extent of her internal disunion ; and England took, in some respects, mer- 
ciless advantage of the fallen. 

Time, however, passed on ; and Scotland, recovering at last from the 
blow which had stunned her energies, began to vindicate her pretensions* 
in the only departments which had been lefl open to her, with a zeal and 
a success which will ever distinguish one of the brightest pages of her his- 
tory. Deprived of every national honour and distinction which it was pos- 
sible to remove — all the high branches of external ambition lopped on, — 
sunk at last, as men thought, effectually into a province, willing to take 
law with passive submission, in letters as well as polity, from her powerful 
sister — the old kingdom revived suddenly from her stupor, and once more 
asserted her name in reclamations which England was compelled not only 
to hear, but to applaud, and " wherewith all Europe rung from side to 
side,** at the moment when a nsttional poet came forward to profit by the 
reflux of a thousand half-forgotten sjrmpathies — amidst the full joy of a na- 
tional pride revived and re-established beyond the dream of hope. 

* Soch M Kennedy, Shaw, Montgomenr, and, more Utdy, HamdtOD of Oilbeitfidd. 

LtF£ 01^ RObEftT BURf^ U 

It #31 ilwAjri reflect honour on the galaxy of eminent then of letters* 
li^, m their yarious departments, shed lustre at that period on the name 
of Scotland, that they BufiPerect no pedantic prejudices to interfere with 
their reception of Bums. Had he not appeared personally among theiyi, 
it may be reasonably doubted whether this would have been so. They 
were men, generally speaking, of very social habits ; living together in a 
small ciqutfld ; nay, almost all of ilieir, ir: O-* about one street, maintaining 
friendly intercourse continually ; not a few of them considerably addicted 
to the pleasures which have been called, by way of excellence, I presume, 
convivial. Bums*s poetry might have procured him access to these circles ; 
bat it was the extraordmary resources he displayed in conversation, tlie 
strong vigorous sagacity of his observations on life and manners, the splen- 
dour of his wit, and the glowing energy of his eloquence when his feelings 
were stirred, that made him the object of serious admiration among these 
practised masters of the arts of talk. There were several of them who 
probably adopted in their hearts the opinion of Newton, that " poetry is 
ingenious nonsense." Adam Smith, for one, could have had no very ready 
renpect at the service of such an unproductive labourer as a maker of Scot- 
tish ballads ; but the stateliest of these philosophers had enough to do to 
maintain the attitude of equality, when brought into personal contact with 
Bums*s gigantic understanding ; and every one of them whose impressions 
011 the subject have been recorded, agrees in pronouncing his conversation 
to have b^n the most remarkable thing about him. And yet it is amus- 
ing enough to trace the lingering reluctance of some of these polished scho- 
lars, about admitting, even to themselves, in his absence, what it is cer- 
tain they all felt sufficiently when they were actually in his presence. It 
is difficult, for example, to read without a smile that letter of Mr. Dugald 
Stewart, in which he describes himself and Mr. Alison as being surprised 
to discover that Burns, afler reading the latter author's elegant Etsay am 
TTatie^ had really been able to form some shrewd enough notion of the 
general principles of the association of ideas. 

Bums would probably have been more satisfied with himself in these 
learned societies, had he been less addicted to giving free utterance in con- 
versation to the very feelings which formed the noblest inspirations of hit 
poetry. His sensibility was as tremblingly exquisite, as his sense was 
masculine and solid ; and he seems to have ere long suspected that the pro- 
fessional metaphysicians who applauded his rapturous bursts, surveyed them 
in reality with something of die same feeling which may be supposed to 
attend a skilful surgeon's inspection of a curious specimen of morbid ana- 
tomy. Why should he lay his inmost heart thus open to dissectors, who 
took special care to keep the knife from their own breasts ? The secret 
blu^ that overspread his haughty countenance when such suggestions oc- 
cured to him in his solitary hours, may be traced in the opening lines of a 
diary which he began to keep ere he had been long in Edinburgh. *< April 
9, 1787. — As I have seen a good deal of human lifeMn Edinburgh, a 
great many characters which are new to one bred up in the shades of lifc» 
aa I have been, I am determined to take down my remarks on the spot* 
Gfay observes, in a letter to Mr. Palgrave, that, * half a word fixed, upon, 
or near the spot, is worth a cart-load of recollection.' I don't know how 
it ii with the world in general, but with me, making my remarks is by no 
means a solitary pleasure. I want some one to laugh with me, some one 
to be grave with me, some one to please me and help my discrimination. 


with his or kef own f ematk, and at Umeti no doubt, to adnurt in;|r Aciite* 
ness and penetration. The world are no buiied with selflth purgiiitfi am* 
bition, vanity» interest, or pleasure, that very few think it worth their while 
to make any observation on wliat passes around them, except where thai 
observation is a sucker, or branch, of the darling plant they are rearing in 
their fancy. Nor am I sure, notwithstanding all the sentimental flights of 
novel-writers, and the sage philosophy of moralists, whether we are cap*> 
aUe of so intimate and cordial a coalition of friendship, as that one man may 
pour out his bosom, his every tliought and floating fancy* his very inmost 
soul, with unreserved confidence, to another, without hazard of losing part 
of that respect which man deserves from man ; or, from the unavoidable 
imperfections attending human nature, of one day repenting his confidence* 
For these reasons I am determined to make these pages my confidant. 
I will sketch every character that any way strikes me, to the best of my 
power, with unshrinking justice. I will insert anecdotes, and take down 
i^marks, in the old law phrase, witkoui fiud or foffourm — ^Where I hit on 
any thing clever, my own applause will, in some measure, fieast mv vanity; 
and, beggping Patroclus' and Achates* pardon, I think a lock and key a se« 
curity, at least equal to the bosom of any friend whatever.** And the same 
hiridng thorn of suspicion peeps out elsewhere in this complaint : ** I know 
not how it is ; I find I can win liking — but not respect'* 

** Bums (says a great living poet, in commenting on the free style of Dr. 
Currie) was a num of extraordinary genius, whose birth, education, and tm^ 
ptojrments had placed and kept him in a situation far below that in which the 
writers and readers of expensive volumes are usually found. Critics upon 
works of fiction have laid it down as a rule that remoteness of place, in 
ixing the choice of a subject, and in prescribing the mode of treating it, is 
equal in efiect to distance of time ^— restraints may be thrown off acoordU 
kigly. Judge then of the delusions which artificud disUnctions imposop 
when to a man like Dr. Currie, writing with views so honourable, tlui so- 
cial condition of the individual of whom he was treating, could seem to 
eoe him at such a distance from the exalted reader, that ceremony might 
discarded with him, and his memory sacrificed, as it were, almost with- 
•at compunction. This is indeed to be erushed beneath the furrow*8 
w^ht**'* It would be idle to suppose that the feelings here ascribed, and 
jttstly, no question, to the amiable and benevolent Currie, did not ollen 
find their way into the bosoms of tliose persons of superior condition and 
attainments, with whom Bums associated at the period when he first e* 
merged into the blaze of reputation ; and what found its way into men's 
bosoms was not likely to avoid betraying itself to the per^icadous glance 
ef the proud peasant. How perpetually he was alive to the dread of being 
looked down upon as a man, even by those who most zealously applandea 
the works of his genius, might perhe^ps be traced through the whole se* 
quence of his letters. When writing to men of liigh station, at least, he 
preserves, in every instance, the attitude of self«defence. But it is only 
in his own secret tables that we have the fibres of his heart laid bare ; and 
the cancer of tliis jealousy is seen distinctly at its painful work : kabtmuM 
fWMi et amfiimiem. ** There are few of the sore evils under the sun give 
mm more uneasiness and chagrin than the comparison how a man of genius, 
pMiy, of avowed worth, is received everywhere, with the recepita) fniich a 

• lUfi iToi'SfwwiH*! ItHif It a Wfaa s» Bwuni^ ^ 1^ 


mere ordinary character, decorated with the trappings and futile distinc' 
tioDs ci fortune* meets. I imagine a man of abilities, his breast glowing 
with honest pride, conscious that men are born equal, still giving honour 
to whom honour is due ; he meets, at a great man's table, a Squire some^ 
thing, or a Sir somebody ; he knows the noble landlord, at heart, gives the 
bardf or whatever he is, a share of his good wishes, beyond, perhaps, any 
one at table ; yet how will it mortify him to see a fellow, whose abili- 
ties would scarcely have made an eightpenny tailor, and whose heart is not 
worth three fiirthings, meet with attention and notice, that are withheld 
ftvim the son of genius and poverty ? The noble Glencaim has wounded 
me to the soul here, because I dearly esteem, respect, and love him. He 
showed so much attention— engrossing attention, one day, to the only 
blockhead at table, (the whole company consisted of his lordship, dunder* 
pstet and myself/, that I was within half a point of throwing down my gago 
of contemptuous defiance ; but he shook my hand, and looked so benevo- 
lently good at parting — God bless him ! though I should never see him 
morei I shall love him until my dying day ! I am pleased to think I am so 
capable of the throes of gratitude, as I am miserably deficient in some other 
Yirtues. With Dr. Blair I am more at my ease. I never respect him with 
humble veneration ; but when he kindly interests himself in my welfiu'e, or 
ttHl more, when he descends from his pinnacle, and meets me on equal 
pound in conversation, my heart overflows with what is called liking. 
When he neglects me for the mere carcass of greatness, or when his eye 
measures the difference of our points of elevation, I say to myself, with 
icarcely any emotion, what do I care for him, or his pomp either ?'* << It 
is not easy (says Bums) forming an exact judgment of any one ; but, in 
my opinion, Dr. Blair is merely an astonishing proof of what industry and 
application can do. Natural parts like his are frequently to be met with ; 
his vanity is proverbially known among his own acquaintances ; but he is 
justly at the head of what may be called fine writing, and a critic of the 
firsty tlie very first rank in prose ; even in poetry a bard of nature's mak- 
hig can only take the pass of him. He has a heart, not of the very finest 
water, but far from being an ordinary one. In short, he is a truly worthy 
and most respectable character/' 

A nice speculator on the * follies of tlie wise,* DTsraeli, * says— '< Once 
we were nearly receiving from the hand of genius the most curious sketches 
of the tamper, the irascible humours, the delicacy of soul, even to its 
shadowiness, from the warm sbozzot of Bums, when he began a diary of 
his heart— a narrative of characters and events, and a chronology of his 
emotions. It was natural for such a creature of sensation and passion to 
pr oj ect such a regular task, but quite impossible to get through it." This 
BMiSt curious document, it is to be observed, has not yet been printed en- 
tire. Another generation will, no doubt, see the whole o£ the confession ; 
howevery what has already been given, it may be surmised, indicates suf- 
ficiently the complexion of Burns*s prevailing moods during his moments 
ef retirement at this interesting period of his history. It was in such a 
BMiod (they recurred oflen enough) that he thus reproached ** Nature, par- 

^^ Thoa gireit the ms his hide, the snail bis shell % 
The iiiTeiioiii'd wasp Tietorious guards his ceU : 

* D^Jntdi on the Literary Character, vol. i. p. 136. 


Bui, oh ! thoa bitter stepmother. Bud hard. 

To thv poor ftncdflM naked child, the bard. .' . 

In Dakea feeling and in achinc pride. 

He bears the unbroken blaat trom erery side.*' 

No blast pierced this haughty soul so sharply as the contumely of conde* 

One of the poet's remarks, when he first came to Edinburgh, has been 
handed down to us by Cromek. — It was, ** that between the men of rustic 
life and the polite world he observed little difference — that in the former, 
though mipolished by fashion and unenlightened by science, he had found 
much observation, and much intelligence — but a refined and accomplished 
woman was a thing almost new to him, and of which he had formed but a 
very inadequate idea." To be pleased, is the old and the best receipt how 
to please ; and there is abundant evidence that Bums's success, among the 
high-bom ladies of Edinburgh, was much greater than among the ** stately 
patricians," as he calls them, of his own sex. The vivid expression of one 
of them has almost become proverbial — that she never met with a man, 
" whose conversation so completely carried her off her feet," as Bums's. 
The late Duchess of G6rdon, who was remarkable for her own conversa- 
tional talent, as well as for her beauty and address, is supposed to be here 
referred to. But even here, he was destined to feel ere long something of 
the fickleness of fashion. He confessed to one of his old friends, ere the 
season was over, that some who had caressed him the most zealously, no 
longer seemed to know him, when he bowed in passing their carriages, 
and many more acknowledged his salute but coldly. 

It is but too true, that ere this season was over. Bums had formed con- 
nexions in Edinburgh which could not have been regarded with much ap« 
probation by the eminent literati, in whose society his debui had made so 
powerful an impression. But how much of the blame, if serious blame» 
indeed, there was in the matter, ought to attach to his own fastidious jea* 
lousy — ^how much to the mere caprice of human favour, we have scanty 
means of ascertaining : No doubt, both had their share ; and it is also suf- 
ficiently apparent that there were many points in Burns*s conversational 
habits which men, accustomed to the delicate observances of refined so" 
ciety, might be more willing to tolerate under the first excitement of per-- 
sonal curiosity, than from any very deliberate estimate of the claims of such 
a genius, under such circumstances developed. He by no means restricted 
his sarcastic observations on those whom he encountered in the world to* 
the confidence of his note-book ; but startled polite ears with tlie utterance 
of audacious epigrams, far too witty not to obtain general circulation in so 
small a society as that of the northern capital, far too bitter not to produce 
deep resentment, far too numerous not to spread feaj: almost as widely as 
admiration. Even when nothing was farther from his thoughts than to in- 
flict pain, his ardour oflen carried him headlong into sad scrapes ; witness, 
for example, the anecdote given by F*rofessor Walker, of his entering into 
a long discussion of the merits of the popular preachers of the day, at the> 
table of Dr. Blair, and enthusiastically avowing his low opinion of all the 
rest in comparison with Dr. Blair*s own colleague* and most formidable > 
rival — a man, certainly, endowed with extraordinary graces of voice and* 
manner, a generous and amiable strain of feeling, and a copious flow of 
language ; but having no pretensions either to the general accomplishmenta 

• Or, Robert Walker. 


fyir which Blair was honoured in a most accomplished society, or to the 
polished elegance which he first introduced into the eloquence of the Scot- 
tish pulpit. Mr. Walker well describes the unpleasing effects of such an 
taoapadt; the conversation during the rest of the evening, *< labouring un- 
der that compulsory effort which was unavoidable, while the thoughts of 
all were full of the only subject on which it was improper to speak." Burns 
•bowed his good sense by making no effort to repair this blunder ; but years 
afterwards, ne confessed that he could never recall it without exquisite 
pain. Mr. Walker properly says, it did honour to Dr. Blair that his kind- 
ness ' remained totally unaltered by this occurrence ; but the Professor 
would have found nothing to admire in tliat circumstance, had he not been 
well aware of the rarity of such good-nature among the gtnui irrUabile of 
authors, orators, and wits. 

A specimen (which some will think worse, some better) is thus recorded 
by Cromek : — " At a private breakfast, in a literary circle of Edinburgh, 
tbe conversatioil turned on the poetical merit and pathos of Grays Elegy, 
a poem of which he was enthusiastically fond. A clergyman present, re- 
markable for his love of paradox and for his eccentric notions upon every 
subject, distinguished himself by an injudicious and ill-timed attack on this 
exquisite poem, which Burns, with generous warmth for the reputation of 
Gray, manfully defended. As the gentleman's remarks were rather gene- 
ral than specific, Bums lu'ged him to bring forward the passages which he 
thought exceptionable. He made several attempts to quote the poem, but 
always in a blundering, inaccurate manner. Bums bore all this for a good 
while with his usual good-natured forbearance, till at length,, goaded by 
the fastidious criticisms and wretched quibblings of his opponent, he roused 
himself, and with an eye flashing contempt and indignation, and with great 
▼ehemence of gesticulation, he thus addressed the cold critic : — ' Sir, I now 
perceive a man may be an excellent judge of poetry by square and rule» 

and afler all be a d d blockhead.' " — Another of the instances may be 

mentioned, which shew the poet's bluntness of manner, and how true the 
remark aflerwards made by Mr. Ramsay is^ that in the game of society he 
did not know when to play on or off. While the second edition of his Poems 
was passing through the press. Bums was favoured with many critical sug- 
gestions and amendments ; to one of which only he attended. Blair, read- 
ing over with him, or hearing him recite (which he delighted at all times 
hi doing) his Htily Fair^ stopped him at the stanza— 

Now a* the congregation o*er 

If tilent expectation. 
For Rusad speelt the holj door 

Wi* tidings o* Salvation, — 

Nay, said the Doctor, read damnation. Bums improved the wit of this 
Terse, undoubtedly, by adopting the emendation; but he gave another 
strange specimen of want of tact^ when he insisted that Dr. Blair, one of 
the most scrupulous observers of clerical propriety, should permit him to 
acknowledge the obligation in a note. 

But to pass from these trifles, it needs no effort of imagination to con- 
ceive what the sensations of an isolated set of scholars (almost all either 
clergymen or professors) must have been in the presence of this big-boned» 
black-browed, brawny stranger, with his great flashing eyes, who, having 
ibrced his way among them from the pbugh-tail at a single stridei mani- 


fested, in the whole stninof his bearing and conversation, a most thorough 
conviction, that, in the society of the most eminent men of his nation, he 
was exactly where he was entitled to be ; hardly deigned to flatter them 
by exhibiting even an occasional symptom of being flattered by their no- 
tice ; by turns calmly measured himself against the most cultivated under- 
standings of his time in discussion ; overpowered the ban mots of the most 
celebrated convivialists by broad floods of merriment, impregnated with all 
the burning life of genius ; astounded bosoms habitually enveloped in the 
thrice-piled folds of social reserve, by compelling them to tremble — nay to 
tremble visibly — beneath the fearless touch of natural pathos ; and all this 
without indicating the smallest willingness to be ranked among those pro- 
fessi<xEial ministers of excitement, who are content to be paid in money and 
smiles for doing what the spectators and auditors would be ashamed of do- 
ing in their own persons, even if they had the power of doing it ; and,— 
last and probably worst of all, — who was known to be in the habit of en- 
livening societies which they would have scorned to approach, still more 
frequently than their owuy with eloquence no less magnificent ; with wit ia 
all likelihood still more daring ; oflen enough, as tlie superiors whom he 
fronted without alarm might have guessed from the beginning, and had^ 
ere long, no occasion to guess, with wit jx)inted at themselves. 

The lawyers of Edinburgh, in whose wider circles Burns figured at hia 
outset, with at least as much success as among the professional literati, 
were a very different race of men from these ; tliey would neither, I take 
it, have pardoned rudeness, nor been alarmed by wit. But being, in those 
days, with scarcely an exception, members of the landed aristocracy of the 
country, and forming by far the most influential body (as indeed they still 
do) in the society of Scotland, they were, perhaps, as proud a set of men 
as ever enjoyed the tranquil pleasures of unquestioned superiority. What 
their haughtiness, as a body, was, may be guessed, when we know that in- 
ferior birth was reckoned a fair and legitimate ground for excluding any 
man firom the bar. In one remarkable instance, about this very time, a 
man of very extraordinary talents and accomplishments was chiefly opposed 
in a long and painful struggle for admission, and, in reality, for no reasons 
but those I have been alluding to, by gentlemen who in the sequel stood 
at the very head of the Whig party in Edinburgh ; * and the same aristo* 
cratical prejudice has, within the memory of the present generation, kept 
more persons of eminent qualifications in the background, for a season, 
than any English reader would easily believe. To this body belonged 
nineteen out of twenty of those " patricians," whose stateliness Bums so 
long remembered and so bitterly resented. It might, perhaps, have been 
well for him had stateliness been the worst fault of their manners. Wine- 
bibbing appears to be in most regions a favourite indulgence with those 
whose brains and lungs arc subjected to the severe exercises of legal study 
and forensic practice. To this day, more traces of these old habits linger 
about the inns of court than in any other section of London. In Dubliu 
and Edinburgh, the barristers are even now eminently convival bodic« of 
men ; but among the Scotch lawyers of the time of Bums, tlie principle of 
jollity was indeed in its " high and palmy state." He partook largely iu 
those tavern scenes of audacious hilarity, which then soothed, as a matter 

* Mr. John Wild, son of a Tobacconist in the High Street, Edinburgh. lie came to be 
Profeuor of Civil law in that University ; but, in the end, was also vi instance of unhtppv * 

Lm OP ROttBT AUltHS. Ifrf 

rfoouratt tht arid labomi of the iwtliem nj lfci l g l» la ^rt^ The tat^ffr- 
ttb it oonr-a-dtjc nearlj ettinct every wheM t but it WM then in fllll 
vigour in Edinburgh, and there can be no doubt that Burns riipidly fluni- 
limriaed hinuelf with it during liis residence. He had, after ill, tasted but 
fwclr of ioch excesses while in Ayrshire. So little are we to considet 
his Seoidk Drmk^ and other jovial strains of the early period, as conreyih# 
any thing Uke a fiiir notion of his actual course of life, that ** Auld Nans? 
Tinnock," or <' Poosie Nancie," the Mauchline landlady, is known to hatd 
aspressed, amusingly enough, her surprise at the style in which she fbund 
lier name celebrated in the Kilmarnock edition, saying, *< Aat RobM 
Bums might be a very clever lad, but he certainly was rt ^dhiif as, to tbi 
best of her belief, he had never taken three half-mutchldns in her bOuse in 
all his life.** And b addition to Gilbert's testimony to the same purpOsOi 
we have on record that of Mr. Archibald Bruce, a gentleman of gfeat 
worth and discernment, that he had observed Bums closely during that 
period of his life, and seen him *< steadily resist such solicitations and al- 
utfements to excessive convivial enjoyment, as hardly any othef person tauM 
bttve withstood." — The tmfortunate Heron knew Burns well ; and himsetf 
dikigled laigely in some of the scenes to which he adverts, in the following 
atrang lang&ge i-^** The enticements of pleasure too often unman our vir^ 
tuous resolution, even while we wear the air of rejecting them with a sterti 
iMTow. We resist, and resist, and resist ; but, at last, suddenly turn, and 
passionately embtBce the encliantress. The Imcki of Edinbiurgh accoin<' 
pliabed, in regard to Bums, that in which the boon of Ayrshire had fhiled« 
After residing some months in Edinburgh, he began to estrange himself 
not altogether, but in some measure, from graver friends. ToO many of 
his hours were now spent at the tables of persons who delighted to urge 
oonviviality to drunkenness— in the tavern — and in the brothel." It would 
be idle mm to attempt passmg over these things in silence ; but it could 
serve no good purpose to dwell on them. During thh winter , Bums con- 
tinued to lodge with John Richmond, indeed, to share his bed ; and we 
have the authority of this, one of the earliest and kindest friends of the 
poet, fiir the statement, that while he did so, '* he kept good hours." He 
removed afterwards to the house of Mr. William Nicoll, one of the teachers 
of the High School of Edinburgh. Nicoll was a man of quick parts and 
ooDsiderable learning — who had risen from a rank as humble as BumS*s i 
from the beginning an enthusiastic admirer, and, ere long, a constant associ- 
ate of the poet, and a most dangerous associate ; for, with a warm heart, 
the man united an irascible temper, a contempt of the religious institutions 
of bis country, and an occasional propensity for the bottle. Of NicoU'a 
letters to Bums, and about him, I have seen many that have never been, 
and probably that never will be, printed — cumbrous and pedantic eiHssions, 
exhiwting nothing that one can imagine to have been pleasing to the poet« 
except a rapturous admiration of his genius. This man, neveftheless, was^ 
I auapect, very fkr fh>m being an uiidfiivourable specimen of the society to 
which Heron thus alludes :— '< He (the poet) iuffered himself to be sur* : 
rounded bv a race of miserable beings, who were proud to tell that they 
had been m company with Burns, and had seen Bums as loose and iss ' 
foolish as themselves. He was not yet irrecoverably lost to temperancO 
aad modeiation ; but he was already almost too much captivated with their ' 
wanton revels, to be ever more won l)ack to a faithful attachment to their 
more 6ot)er charms." Heron adds«-*'< He now also began to contract some* 



thing qf new arrogance in conyermtioiu Accustomed to be, among hit 
fcYourite associates, what is vulgarly, but expressively called, the cock of 
the company, he could scarcely refrain from indulging in similar freedom 
and dictatorial decision of talk, even in the ^yresence of pers(ms who could 
less patiently endure his presumption ;" * an account ex fade probable, and 
which sufficiently tallies with some hints in Mr. Dugald Steiwt's descrip- 
tion of the poet's manners, as he first observed him at Catrine, and with 
one or two anecdotes already cited frx)m Walker and Cromek. 

Of these failings, and indeed of all Bums's fieulings, it may be safely< as- 
serted, that, there was more in his history to account and apologize for 
them, than can be alleged in regard to almost any other great man's imper- 
fections. We have seen, how, even in his earliest days, the strong thirst 
of distinction glowed within him — ^how in his first and rudest rhymes he 

'* --^— to be great is chmrmiog ;** 

and we have also seen, that the display of talent in conversation was the 
first means of distinction that occurred to him. It was by that talent that 
he first attracted notice among his fellow peasants, and after he mingled 
with the first Scotsmen of his time, this talent was still that which appear- 
ed the most astonishing of all he possessed. What wonder that he should 
delight in exerting it where he could exert it the most freely — ^where there* 
was no check upon a tongue that had been accustomed to revel in the li- 
cense of village-mastery ? where every sally, however bold, was sure to be 
received with triumphant applause — ^where there were no claims to rival 
his no proud brows to convey rebuke, above all, perhaps, no grave eyes 
to convey regret ? 

But these, assuredly, were not the only feelings that influenced Bums : 
In his own letters, written during his stay in Edinburgh, we hate the best 
evidence to the contrary. He shrewdly suspected, from the very begin- 
ning, that the personal notice of the great and the illustrious was not to be 
as lasting as it was eager : he foresaw, that sooner or later he was destined 
to revert to societies less elevated above the pretensions of his birth ; and, 
though his jealous pride might induce him to record his suspicions in lan- 
guage rather too strong than too weak, it is quite impossible to read what 
he wrote- without believing, that a sincere distrust lay rankling at the roots 
of his heart, all the while that he appeared to be surrounded with an at- 
mosphere of joy and hope. On the loth of January 1787, we find him 
thus addressing his kind patroness, Mrs. Dunlop : — •** You are afraid I shall 
grow intoxicated with my prosperity as a poet. Alas ! Madam, I know 
myself and the world too well. 1 do not mean any airs o€ affected modesty ; 
I am willing to believe that my abilities deserved some notice ; but in a 
most enlightened, informed age and nation, when poetry is and has been 
the study oi men of the first natural genius, aided with all the powers of 
polite learning, polite books, and polite company — to be dragged forth to 
the full glare of learned and polite observation, with all my imperfections 
of awkward rusticity, and crude unpolished ideas, on my head, — I assuro 
you. Madam, I do not dissemble, when I tell you I tremble for the conse- 
quences. The novelty of a poet in my obscure situation, without any of 
those advantages which are reckoned necessary for that character, at least 

* Heron, p. 28. 


at this time of day» has raised a partial tide of public notice, which has 
borne me to a height where I am absolutely, feelingly certain, my abilitiea 
ire.imidequate to support me ; and too surely do I see that time, when the 
lame tide will leave me, and recede perhaps as far below the mark of 
truth. ... I mention this once for all, to disburden my mind, and I 
do not wish to hear or say any more about it. But — * When proud for- 
tune's ebbing tide recedes,* you will bear me witness, that when my bubble 
of fame was at the highest, I stood unintoxicated with the inebriating cup 
in my hand, looking forward with rueful resolve." — And about the same 
time, to Dr. Moore :— '* Tlie hope to be admired for ages is, in by far the 
greater part of those even who are authors of repute, an onsubstantial 
dream. For my part, my first ambition was, and still my strongest wish 
is, to please my compeers, the rustic inmates of the hamlet, while ever- 
changing language and manners shall allow nic to be relished and under- 
stood. I am very willing to admit that I have some poetical abilities ; and 
as few, if any writers, either moral or poetical, are intimately acquainted 
with the classes of mankind among whom I have chiefly mingled, I may 
have seen men and manners in a different phasis from what is conmion, 
which may assist originality of thought I scorn the affecta- 
tion of seeming modesty to cover self-conceit. That I have some merit, I 
do not deny ; but I see, witli frequent wringings of heart, that the novelty 
of my character, and the honest national prejudice of my countrymen, have 
borne me to a height altogether untenable to my abilities.*' — And lastly^ 
April the 23d, 1787, we have the following passage in a letter also to Dr. 
Moore : — " I leave Edinburgh in the course of ten days or a fortnight. I 
shall return to my rural shades, in all likelihood never more to quit tlienu 
I have formed many intimacies and friendships here, but I am afraid they are 
all of too tender a construction to bear carriage a hundred and fifty miles.** 
One word more on the subject which introduced these quotations : — Mr., 
rhigald Stewart, no doubt, hints at what was a common enough complaint 
among the elegant literati of Edinburgh, when he alludes, in his letter to 
Currie, to the " not very select society'* in which Burns indulged himself. 
But two points still remain somewhat doubtful ; namely, whether, show, 
and marvel of the season as he was, the << Ayrshire ploughman'* really had 
it in his power to live always in society which Mr. Stewart would have con- 
sidered as " very select 3" and secondly, whether, in so doing, he could 
have failed to chill the affection of those humble Ayrshire friends, who, hav- 
ing shared with him all that they possessed on his first arrival in the metro* 
polis, faithfully and fondly adhered to him, after the springtide of fashion- 
able favour «*id, as he foresaw it would do, " recede ;'* and, moreover, per-, 
haps to provoke, among the higher circles themselves, criticisms more dis- 
tasteful to his proud stomach, than any probable consequences of the course 
of conduct which he actually pursued. The second edition of Burns's 
poems was published early in March, by Creech ; there were no less than 
J 500 subscribers, many of whom paid more than the shop-price of the vo- 
lume. Although, therefore, the final settlement with the bookseller did not 
take place till nearly a year after. Bums now found himself in possession 
of a considerable sum of ready money ; and the first impulse of his mind 
was to visit some of tlie classic scenes of Scottish history and romance. He 
bad as yet seen but a small part of his own country, and this by no means 
among the most interesting of her districts, until, indeed, his own poetry 
made it equal, on that score, to any other. — " The oppellatiou of a Scottish 


iMUfd is by (kt my highest pride ; to continue to deserve It, is ray most ex« 
•lied ambition. Scottish scenes, and Scottish story, are the themes I 
ooiild wish to sing. I have no dearer aim than to have it in my power, 
unplagued with the routine of business, for which, Heaven knows, I am 
imfit enough, to make leisurely pilgrimages through Caledonia ; to sit on 
the fields of her battles, to wander on the romantic banks of her rivers, 
and to muse by the stately towers or venerable ruins, oqce the honoured 
abodes of her heroes. But these are Utopian views." * 

The magnificent scenery of the capital itself had filled him with extraor- 
dinary delight. In the spring mornings, he walked very often to the top of 
Arthur's Seat, and, lying prostrate on the turf, surveyed the rising of the 
iun out of the sea, in silent admiration ; his chosen companion on such oc« 
easions being that ardent lover of nature, and learned artist^ Mr. Alexander 
Nasmyth. It was to this gentleman, equally devoted to the fine arts, as to 
liberal opinions, that Bums sat for the portrait engraved to Creech's edi- 
tion, and which is here repeated. Indeed, it has been so oflen repeated, and 
has become so familiar, that to omit it now would be felt as a blank equal 
almost to the leaving out of one of the principal poems. The poet*s dress 
has also been chronicled, remarkably as he then appeared in the first h^v- 
day of his reputation, — ^blue coat and buff vest, with blue stripes, (the 
Whig-livery), very tight buckskin breeches, and tight jockey boots. 

The Braid hills, to the south pf Edinburgh, were also among his favourite 
morning walks ; and it was in some of these that Mr. Dugald Stewart tells 
us, ** he charmed him still more by his private conversation than he had 
ever done in company." " He was," adds the professor, " passionately fond 
of the beauties of nature, and I recollect once he told me, when I was ad- 
miring a distant prospect in one of our morning walks, that the sight of so 
many smoking cottages gave a pleasure to his mind which none could un- 
derstand who had not witnessed, like himself, the happiness and the worth 
which they contained." Burns was far too busy with society and observa- 
tion to find time for poetical composition, during his first residence in 
Edinburgh. Creech's edition included some pieces of great merit, which 
had not been previously printed ; but, with the exception of the Address to 
Bdinbwrgh^ all of them appear to have been written before he lefl Ayrshire. 
Several of them, indeed, were very early productions : Tlie most important 
additions were, Deaili and Doctor Honiboohy The Brigs of Ayr, T/te Ordi" 
nation^ and the Address to tfie unco Guid, In this edition also, When Guild' 
fifd gtdd our pilot stood, made its first appearance. 

The evening before he quitted Edinburgh, the poet addressed a let- 
ter to Dr. Blair, in which, taking a most respectful farewell of him, and 
expressing, in lively terras, his sense of gratitude for the kindness he had 
shown him, he thus recurs to his own views of his own past and future con- 
dition : ** I have oflen felt the embarrassment of my singular situation. 
However the meter- like novelty of my appearance in the world might at- 
tract notice, I knew vefy well, that my utmost merit was far unequal to 
the task of preserving that character when once the novelty was over. I 
have made up my mind, that abuse, or almost even neglect, will not sur- 
prise rae in my quarters." 

It ought not to be omitted, that our poet bestowed some of the first fruits 
of Creech's edition in the erection of a decent tombstone over the hitherto 

* Letter to JUis. DuDlop, Ddinburgh, 22d March 1787. 



neglected remains of his unfortunate predecessor, Robert Ferguson, in the 
Canongate churchyard. It seems also due to him here to insert his Address 
to Edinburgh, — so graphic and comprehensive, — as the proper record of 
the feelings engendered in his susceptible and grateful mind by the kind- 
ness shown to him, in his long visit, and under which feelings he was now 
about to quit it for a time. 


Em VA ! S^Wt dazfing seat ! 

An hail thv palaces and towers. 
Where once ooieath a monarch's feet 

Sat legislation's sovereign powers ! 
From marking wildly-scatterd flowers. 

As OD the Mnks of Apr I stray*d. 
And nnging, lone, the ungering hours, 

I ilultar ra th j honourM shaae. 

Here wealth still swells the golden tide, 

As busy trade his laboura pli&i ; 
There architecture's noble pride 

Bids elegance and splenuour rise ; 
Here justice, from her native skies. 

High wields her balance and her rod ; 
There learning, with his eagle eyes, 

Seeks science in her coy abode. 

Thy sons, Edina, social, kind. 

With open arms the stranger hail ; 
Their Tiews enlarged, their liberal mind, 

Ahetft the linow, rural vale ; 
Attentifie ct9I to sorrow's wail. 

Or modest merit's silent claim $ 
And nefCK maj their sources fail ! 

And never envy blot their name. 

Thr daughters bright thy walks adorn ! 

Gay as the gildea summer's sky. 
Sweet as the dewy mil :^- white thorn. 

Dear as die raptured thrill of joy ! 
Fair Burnet strikes th' adoring eye, 

Hcav'a's beauties on my fancy shine : 
I fee the sire of love on high^ 

And own Ms work inde^ divine ! 

There, watching hiffh the least alarma« 

Thy rough rude fortress ^eams afar : 
Like some bold vet'ran grey in arms. 

And mark'd with many a seamy scar : 
The pon'drous wall and massy bar, 

Onm -rising o'er the rujjgea rock : 
Have oft withstood assaihnff war. 

And oft rcpeird th' invader's shock. 

With awe-siruck thought and pitying teara. 

I view (hat noble, stately dome, 
Where Scotia* s kings of other yeurs. 

Famed heroeii, had their royal home. 
Alas ! how changed the times to come ! 

Their royal name low in the dust ; 
Their hapless race wild-wand*ring roam ! 

Tbo* rigid law cries out, 'twas just ! 

Wild beats my heart to trace your steps, 

M'*hose ancestors in days of yore. 
Thro' hostile ranks and ruin'd gaps 

Old ^cotia^s bloody Hon bote t 
E'en / who sing in rustic lore, 

Haply my sires have Uft their shed, 
And faced grim danger's loudest roar. 

Bold following where your fathers led ! 

Edtva ! Scoiia*s darling seat ! 

All hail thv palaces and tow'rs, 
Where once beneath a monarch's feet 

Sat legislation's sov'reign pow*rs ! 
From marking wildlv-scatter'd flowers, 

As on the iMmks ot Ayr I stray 'd, 
And singing, lone, the nng'ring nours, 

I shelter m thy honour'd shade. 


OMiTKMn. — Makes three teveral pilgrimagu in OxIedonia^^Lands from the Jtni of them^ 
aftet cm obfeiiee of$ix monthg, amonpit his friend* in the ** Amid Chy Biygiu" — FrW« 
honour in his own country — Falls in with many hind friends during thcM j^tprUsagn^ amd 
is familiar with the great, but never secures one effective patron — Aneedctu mnd SicteAct— 
JJnpers in Ediuhuryh amidst the ftesltpots, winter 17B7-6 — Upset in a hackney eoaek^ 
which produces a bruiud iimb, and mournful musings for six weeks — Is enrolled in the £r- 
eise — Another crisis, in which the Poet finds it necessary to implore even his friend Mro, 
Jhinlop mot to destrt him — Grovels over his publisher, but after settling with him 
JEdinburgh with £^00^^ Steps towards a more regular life. 

*^ Ramsay and famous Fergusoii, 
Gied Forth and Taj a lift aboon i 
Yarrow and Tweed to monie a tune 

Thro* Scotland rings, 
M^ile Irvine, liu^ar, Ayr, and Xraoa, 

Naebody sings.** 

On the 6th of May, Bums left Edinburgh, in company with Mr. Robert 
Atnslie, Writer to the Signet, the son of a proprietor in Berwickshire.— 
Among other changes " which fleeting time procureth," this amiable gen- 
tleman, whose youthful gaiety made him a chosen associate of Burns, is now 
chiefly known as the author of some Manuals of Devotion. — They had 
formed the design of perambulating the picturesque scenery of the south- 
em border, and in particular of visiting the localities celebrated by the 
old minstrels, of whose works Burns was a passionate admirer. 

This was long before the time when those fields of Scottish romance were 
to be made accessible to the curiosity of citizens by stage-coaches ; and 
Bums and his friend performed their tour on horseback ; the former being 
mounted on a favourite mare, whom he had named Jenny Geddes/ in ho- 
nour of the good woman who threw her stool at the Dean of Edinburgh's 
head on the 23d of July 1637, when the attempt was made to introduce a 
Scottish Liturgy into the service of St. Giles's. The merits of the trusty 
animal have been set forth by the poet in very expressive and humorous 
terms, in a letter to his friend Nicoll while on the road, and which will be 
found entire in the Correspondence. He writes : — " My auld ga*d gleyde 
o* a mecre has huchyalled up hill and down brae, as teuch and birnie as a 
Yera devil, wi* me. It's true she's as puir*s a sangmaker, and as hard's a 
kirk, and lipper-laipers when she takes the gate, like a lady's gentlewoman 
in a minuwae, or a hen on a het girdle ; but she's a yauld poutherin girron 
for a' tha(. When ance her ringbanes and pavies, her cruiks and cramps, 
are fairly soupled, she beets to, beets to, and aye the hindmost hour the 
lightest," &c. &c. 

Burns passed from Edinburgh to Berrywell, the residence of Mr. Ainslie's 
family, and visited successively Dunse, Coldstream, Kelso, Fleurs, and the 
niins of Roxburgh Castle, near n'hich a holly bush still marks the spot on 

LtFS OF ROfi&Rt BUftKS. Ixiil 

-Wtiich JaAMIII. df Scotland was killed by the bursting of a catmon. Jedburgh 
—where he admired the " charming romantic situation of the town, with gar- 
dens and orchards intermingled among the houses of a once magnificent ca- 

■ thedral (abbey):" and was struck, (as in the other towns of the same district), 
with the appearance of *< old rude grandure," and the idleness of decay ; 
Melrose, *' that far-famed glorious ruin/* Selkirk, Ettrick, and the braes of 
Yarrow. Having spent three' weeks in this district, of which it has been 
justly said, ** tliat every field has its battle, and every rivulet its song,*' 
Bums passed the Border, and visited Alnwick, Warkworth, Morpeth, New* 
castle, Hexham, Wardrue, and Carlisle. He then turned northwards, and 
rode by Annan and Dumfries to Dalswinton, where he examined Mr. 
Millers property, and was so much pleased with the soil, and tlie terms 
on which the landlord was willing to grant him a lease, that he resolved to 
return again in the course of the summer. 

The poet visited, in the course of his tour, Sir James Hall of Dunglas, 

. author of the well -known Essay on GoUiic Architecture^ &c. ; Sir Alexander 
and Lady Harriet Don, (sister to his patron. Lord Glencaim), at Newton- 
Don ; Mr. Brydone, the author of Travels in Sicily ; the amiable and 
learned Dr. Somerville of Jedburgh, the historian of Queen Anne, &c. ; and, 
mB usual, recorded in his journal his impressions as to their manners and 
characters. His reception was everywhere most flattering. The sketch 
of his tour is a very brief one. It runs thus : — 

«' Sajturday^ May 6. Left Edinburgh — Lammer-muir hills, miserably 
cireanr in general, but at times very picturesque. 

*' Lanson-edge, a glorious view of the Merse. Reach Benywell. . • 
The family-meeting with my compagnon de voyage^ very charming ; parti- 
cularly the sister. 

*« Sunday. Went to church at Dunse. Heard Dr. Bowmaker. 

** Monday. Coldstream — glorious river Tweed — clear and majestic^ 

'fine* bridge — dine at Coldstream with Mr. Ainslie and Mr. Foreman. Beat 
Mr. Foreman in a dispute about Voltaire. Drink tea at Lennel-House with 
Mr. and Mrs. Brydone. • • . Ueception extremely flattering. Sleep at 

- Coldstream. 

** Tuesday. Breakfast at Kelso — charming situation of the town — fine 
bridge over the Tweed. Enchanting views and prospects on both sides of 
the river, especially on the Scotch side. . . . Visit Roxburgh Palace 
^— fine situation of it. Ruins of Roxburgh Castle — a holly bush growing 
where James the Second was accidentally killed by the bursting of a can- 
non. A small old religious ruin and a fine old garden planted by the reli- 
gious, rooted out and destroyed by a Hottentot, a maitre d hotel of the 
I>uke*s ! — Climate and soil of Berwickshire, and even Roxburghshire, su- 
perior to A3rrshire — ^bad roads — turnip and sheep husbandry, their great 
improvements. . . . Low markets, consequently low lands — magnifi- 
cence of farmers and farm-houses. Come up the Teviot, and up the Jed 
to Jedburgh, to lie, and so wish myself good night. 

" Wedi^eaday. Breakfast with Mr. Fair. . . . Charming ronum'tic 
situation of Jedburgh, with gardens and orchards, intermingled among the 
houses and the ruins of a once magnificent cathedral. All the towns here 
Lave the appearance of old rude grandeur, but extremely idle. — J^d, a fine 
ranandc little river. Dined with Capt. Rutherford, . . . return to 
Jedburgh. Walked up the Jed with some ladies to be shown Love-lane» 
md Bhicldbmt two fiury scenes. Introduced to Mr. Potts, writer, and to 


Mr. SomervilW, the clergyman of the parish, a maoi and a gtatUaum, Imt 
aadly addicted to punning. 

• ••••••••••«! 

^ fy&wykf Saturdaif. Waa presented by the Magistrates with the fmt^ 
dom of the town. Took fiu^well of Jedburgh, with some melancholy sen- 

** Mimitilf^ Ma^ 14, IUm. Dine with the fanner's club— all gentlemen 
talking of lugh matters — each of them keeps a hunter fVom £§0 to £50 
vakie, and attends the fox-hunting club in the country. Go oat widi Mr. 
Ker, one of the dub, and a friend of Mr. Ainslie's, to sleep. In his mind 
and manners, Mr. Ker is astonishingly like my dear old friend Robert Muir 
— 'Every thing in his house elegant. He offers to accompany me hi my 
English tour. 

** Tuuday. Dine with Sir Alexander Don ; a very wet day. • . . 
. Sleep at Mr. Ker*s again, and set out next day for Melrose — ^visit Dryburgh, 
a fine old ruined abbey, by the way. Cross the Leader, and come up the 
Tweed to Melrose. Dine there, and visit that far-famed glorious ruin — 
Come to Selkirk up the banks of Ettrick. The whole country h^eabouts, 
k#th on Tweed and Ettrick, remarkably stony." 

He wrote no verses, as far as is known, during this tour, except a humor- 
ous Epistle to his bookseller, Creech, dated l^lkirk, ISdi May. In this 
he makes complimentary allusions to some of the men of letters who were 
used to meet at breakfiut in Creech's apartments in those days— whence 
the name of OieecA's Lme / and touches, too, briefly on some (^ the sce- 
nery he had visited. 

^ Up winpline ititely Tweed I*Te sped. 
And Eden scenes on crysUlJed, 
And Ettrick banks now raring ted. 

While tempests Uaw.*!-*^ 

Bums returned to Mauchline on the 8th of July. It is pleasing to imagine 
the delight with which he must have been received by tne ftmily after the 
absence of six months, in which his fortunes and prospects had uadergoiie 
so wonderfbl a change. He lefl them comparatively unknown, his tender- 
est feelings torn and wounded by the behaviour of the Armours, and so 
miserably poor, that he had been for some weeks obliged to skulk from the 
Sheriff's cfficers, to avoid the payment of a paltry debt* He returned, 
bis poetical fame established, the whole country ringmg with his praisesp 
ftom a capital in which he was known to have formed the wonder and de- 
Ugfat of tne polite and the learned ; if not rich, yet with more money al- 
ready than anv of his kindred had ever hoped to see him possess, and with 
prospects of future patronage and permanent elevation in. the scale of so- 
ciety, whidi might have da^ied steadier eyes than those of maternal and 
flraternal affection. The prophet had at last honour in his own country : 
but the haughty spirit that had preserved its balance in Edinburgh, was 
not likely to lose it at Mauchline ; and we have him writing firom Ms uM 
ekfjf biggin on the 18th of June, in terms as strongly expressive as any 
that ever came from his pen, of that jealous pride which formed the grouno- 
work of his character ; that dark suspiciousness of fortune, which & sub* 
aefuent course of his history too well justified ; that nervous intderance of 
e^odescension, and consummate scorn of meanness, whid attended him 
through Uie, and made the study oi his qpecjes, for which nature had gtvw 

Irim liicli tstraordioiurjr ^ualificationi^ th^ wm% tf nMit |^ ItaM m| 


0vtr couuiterbaiaDCed by the exquisite capacity far eDJoyment with which 
he was also endowed. There are few of his letters in which more of the 
dark traits <^ his spirit come to light than in the fi)llowing extract >^ 
^ I never^ my friend, thought mankind capable of any thing very gener 
rous ; but the stateliness of the patricians of Edinburgh, and the servili^ 
of my plebeian brethren, (who, perhaps, formerly eyed me askance), since I 
returned home, have nearly put me out of conceit altogether with my spe* 
des. I have bought a pocket-Milton, which I carry perpetually about me^ 
in order to study the sentiments, the dauntless magnanimity, the intrepid 
unjdelding independence, the desperate daring, and noble defiance of hardr 
ship, in that great personage — Satan. . . . The many ties of acquaintance 
and friendship I have, or think I have, in life — I have felt along the lines, 
and, d — n them, they are almost all of them of such frail texture, that I 
am sure they would not stand the breath of the least adverse breeze of 

Among those who now appeared sufficiently ready to oourt his society, 
were the family of Jean Armour. Bums's regard for this affectionate young 
woman had outlived his resentment of her father's disavowal of him in the 
preceding summer ; and from the time of this reconciliation, it is probable 
he looked forward to a permanent union with the mother of his children. 

Burns at least fancied himself to be busy with serious plans for his fu- 
ture establishment ; and was very naturally disposed to avail himself, as far 
as he could, of the opportunities of travel and observation, which an inter- 
val of leisure might present. Moreover, in spite of his gloomy language, a 
specimen of which has just been quoted, we are not to doubt that he de- 
rived much pleasure from witnessing the extensive popularity of his writ- 
ings, and from the flattering homage he was sure to receive in his own per- 
son, in the various districts of his native country ; nor can any one wonder 
that, after the state of high excitement in which he liad spent the winter 
and spring, he, fond as he was of his family, and eager to make them par- 
takers in all his good fortune, should have, just at this time, found himself 
incapable of sitting down contentedly for any considerable period together, 
in so humble and quiet a circle as that of Mossgiel. His appetite for wan- 
deriAg appears to have been only sharpened by his Border excursion. Afler 
remaining a few days at home, he returned to Edinburgh, and thence pro- 
ceeded on aootlier short tour, by way of Stirling, to Inverary, and so back 
rngBoOf by Dumbarton and Glasgow, to Mauchline. Of this second excur- 
iMon, no journal has been discovered ; nor do the extracts from his corres- 
pondence, printed by Dr. Curric, appear to be worthy of much notice. Ja 
one, he briefly describes the West Highlands as a country *' where savage 
streams tumble over savage mountains, thinly overspread with savage flocks, 
which starvingly support as savage inhabitants :*' and in another, he gives 
an account of Jenny Geddes running a race after dinner with a Highlander's 
pony — of his dancing and drinking till sunrise at a gentleman's house on 
Loch Lomond ; and of other simikir matters. — ** I have as yet," says he, 
^< fixed on nothing with respect to the serious business of life. I am, just 
as usual, a rhyming, mason-making, raking, aimless, idle fellow. However, 
I dudl aomewhere have a fium soon." 

In the course of this tour, Bums visited the motlier and sisters of his 
fiicnd, Gavin' Hamilton, then residing at Harvieston, in ClackmannanshireB 
m the immfidiatP neighbourhood of the magnificent scenery of Castle Camp- 

Hiiiijpj Ihg nti^ of Derw, Caatle Cai»pb^ called otberwtst ^ml Cbilil 

kM tML OF ftOflSRT fiUtlHl 

^Gloom^ ii grandly situated in a gorge of the Ochilli, cohitnihding ii 
extensive view ci Uie plain of Stirling. This ancie&t possession of the 
Argyll fiunily was» in sonw sortt a town-residence of those chieftains in the 
dajrs when Uie court was usually held at Stirling, Linlithgow, or Falkland. 
The castle was humt hy Mcmtrose, and has never heen repaired. The 
Cauldnm Linn and EumbUng Brigg of the Devon lie near Castle Camp* 
bellf on the verge of the plaLi. He was especially delighted with one of 
the young ladies ; and, according to his usual custom, celebrated her in 
• song, in which, in opposition to his general custom, there is nothing but 
the respectfulness of admiration. 

How fdeuant the baaka of tbe datf-winding Doron, 
With green ipreoding buihct, and flowers blooming finr | 

But the bonniest flower on the banks of the Devon 
Wu onoe m sweet bud on the braes of the Ayr. 

Mild be the son on this sweet bloshing flower. 

In the gaj roinr mom as it bathes in the dew! 
And gentle the nil of the soft vcmal shower. 

That steals on the evening each leaf to renew. 

O spare the dear blossom, je orient breezes. 

With diill hoarjr wing as je usher the dawn t 
And hi be thou distant, thou reptile that seises 

The Terdure and pride of the garden^and lawn ! 

Let Bourbon exult in his gaj gilded lilies. 
And England triumphant di^>laj her proud rose f 
. A fiurer than either adorns the green Valleys, 
Where Devon, sweet Devon, meandering flows. 

At Harviestonbank, also, the poet first became acquainted with Miss 
Chalmers, afterwards Mrs. Hay, to whom one of the most interesting se- 
ries of his letters is addressed. Indeed, with the exception of his letters to 
Mrs. Dunlop, there is, perhaps, no part of his correspondence which may 
be quoted so uniformly to his honour. It was on this expedition that, 
haying been visited wiUi a high flow of Jacobite indignation while viewing 
the neglected palace at Stirling, he was imprudent enough to write some 
verses bitterly vituperative of the reigning family on the window ci his 
inn. These verses were copied and talked of; and although the next time 
Bums passed through Stirlmg, he himself brdce the pane' of glass contain- 
ing them, they were remembered years afterwards to his disadvantage, and 
even danger. — As these verses have never appeared in any edition of his 
works hi&erto puUished in Britain, we present them to our readars iM m 
literary curiosity. 

Here onee in triumph Stuarts reisn'd, ' 

And laws for Scotia weU ordain*d ; 
But now unroof *d their palace stands ; 
Their soqicrc*8 swaj'd bj other hands. 


The ii^jured Stuart line is gone, 

A race outlandish filla the tnnme ;— 

An idiot race, to honour lost, 

Who know them best,' despise them most* 

The young ladies of Harvieston were, according to Dr. Currie, surprised 
with the calm manner in which Bums contemplated their fine scenery on 
Devon water; and the Doctor enters into a little dissertation on the si^ecty 
showing that a man of Bums's lively imagination might probably have rorm- 
#d antki p aliom which the xealitiii^oft& prospect mi^tntberdiaappgial* 


LI^£ OF ROBERT tVRlia. Ixtii 

TUt is possible enough ; but I suppose few will take it for granted that 
Burns surveyed ai^ scenes either oif beauty or of grandeur without emo- 
tion, merely because he did not choose to be ecstatic for the benefit of a 
company of young ladies. He was indeed very impatient of interrtqption 
on such occasions : riding one dark night near Carron» his companion teased 
him with noisy exclamations of delight and wonder, whenever an opening 
in the wood permitted them to see tlie magnificent glare of the furnaces ; 
*' Look, Bums ! Good Heaven ! look ! look ! what a glorious sight !*' — 
** Sir," said Bums, clapping spurs to Jenny Geddcs, " I would not look ! 
look f 'at your bidding, if it were tlie moutli of hell !" 

Bums ^ent the month of July at Mossgiel ; and Mr. Dugald Stewart, 
in a letter to Currie, gives some recollections of him as he then appeared : 
— '< Notwithstanding the various reports I heard during the preceding win- 
tcr of Bums's predilection for convivial, and not very select society, I 
should have concluded in favour of his habits of sobriety, from all of him 
that ever fell under my own observation. He told me indeed himself, that 
the weakness of his stomach was such as to deprive him entirely of any 
merit ih his temperance. I was, however, somewhat alarmed about the 
effect of his now comparatively sedentary and luxurious life, when he con- 
fessed to me, the first night he spent in my house af\cr his winter's cam- 
paign in town, that he had been much disturbed when in bed, by a palpi- 
tation at his heart, which, he said, was a complaint to which he had of late 
become subject. In the course of the same season I was led by curiosity 
to attend for an hour or two a Masonic Lodge in Mauchline, where Bums 
presided. He had occasion to make some short unpremeditated com- 
pliments to different individuals from whom he had no reason to expect a 
visit, and every thing he said was happily conceived, and forcibly as well 
an fluently expressed. His manner of speaking in public had evidently the 
marks of some practice in extempore elocution.'* 

In August, Hums revisited Stirlingshire, in company with Dr. Adair, of 
Harrowgate, and remained ten days at Harvieston. He was received with 
particulsur kindness at Ochtert3n-e, on the Teith, by Mr. Ramsay (a friend 
of Blacklock), whose beautiful retreat he enthusiastically admired. His 
host was among the last of those old Scottish Latinisis who began with Bu- 
chanan. Mr. Ramsay, among other eccentricities, had sprinkled the walla 
of his house witli Latin inscriptions, some of them highly elegant ; and 
these particularly interested Bums, who asked and obtained copies and 
translations of them. This amiable man (another Monkbams) was deaply 
read in Scottish antiquities, and the author of some learned essays on the 
elder poetry of his country. His conversation must have delighted any 
man of talents ; and Bums and he were mutually charmed with each other. 
Ramsay advised him strongly to turn his attention to the romantic drama, 
and proposed the Crentk Shq)herd as a model : he also urged him to write 
SeoUith Georgia^ observing that Thomson had by no means exhausted that 
field. He appears to have relished both hints. " But," says Mr. R. << to 
have executed either plan, steadiness and abstraction firom company were 
wanting." — Mr. Ramsay thus writes of Bums : — *' I have been in the com- 
pany of many men of genius, some of them poets ; but I never witnessed 
such flashes of intellectual brightness as from him, the impulse of the mo- 
ment, ^wrks of celestial fire. I never was more delighted, therefore, than 
with his company two days t^te-a-t^te. In a mixed company I should have 
made little of him; for, to use a gamester's phrase, he did not always know 

Ixviu LIf £ OF ROE£RT fiUANS. 

when to play off and when to play on. 'W^hen I asked him whether tht 
Edinburgh literati had mended his poems by their criticisms-—' Sir/ laid 
hcy ' those gentlemen remind me of some spinsters in my country, who spin 
their thread so fine that it h neither fit for weft nor woof.' " 

At Clackmannan Tower, the Poet*f jacobitism procured him a hearty 
welcome from the ancient lady of the place, who gloried in considering 
herself a lineal descendant of Robert Bruce. She bestowed on Bums knight* 
hood with the touch of the hero*s sword ; and delighted him by giving as 
|ier toast after dinner, Hopki uncotf away strangers ! — a she^erd'i cry 
when strange sheep mingle in the flock. At Dunfermline the poet betray* 
ed deep emotion, Dr. Adair tells us, on seeing the grave of the Bruce ; but, 
passing to another moqd on entering the adjoining church, he mounted the 
pulpit, and addressed his companions, who had, at his desire, ascended the 
euityMiool^ in a parody of the rebuke which he had himself undergone some 
time before at Mauchline. From Dunfermline the poet crossed the Frith rf 
Forth to Edinburgh ; and forthwith set out with his friend Nicoll on a more 
extensive tour than he had as yet undertaken, or was ever again to under- 
take. Some fragments of his journal have recently been discovered, and 
are now in my hands ; so that I may hope to add some interesting particu* 
lars to the accout of Dr. Currie. The travellers hired a post-chaiae io€ 
their expedition — the schoolmaster being, probably, no very skilful equet* 

** August 25th, 1787.— This day," says Bums, << I leave Edinburgh lor 
a tour, in company with my good friend, Mr. Nicoll, whose originaH^ of 
humour promises me much entertainment — lAnUtkffow* — A fertDe im- 
proved country is West Lothian. The more elegance and luxury among 
the fanners, I always observe, in equal proportion, the rudeness and stupi- 
dity of the peasantry. This remark 1 have made all over the Lothians, 
Merse, Roxburgh, &c. ; and for this, among other reasons, I think that 8 
man of romantic taste, ' a man of feeling,' will be better' pleased with the 
poverty, but intelligent minds of the peasantry of Ayrshire, (peasantry they 
yre all, below the Justice of Peace), than the opulence of a club of Merse 
fiurmers, when he, at tlie same time, considers the VandaKsm of their plough- 
folks, &c. I carry this idea so far, that an uninclosed, unimpiroved coun- 
try is to me actually more agreeable as a prospect, than ^ country culti- 
vated like a garden." 

It was hardly to be expected that Robert Bums should have estimated 
the wealth of nations on the principles of a political economist ; or that 
with him the greatest possible produce,— no matter how derived,— -was to 
be the paramount principle. But, where the greatness and hamtiness of « 
people are concerned, perhaps the inspirations of the poet may be as safely 
taken for a guide as the inductions of the political economist :«- 

From loeiiet like tbete old Scotia** grandeur iptinaii 

That makes her k>ved at home, revered abroad : 
Prinoei and lords are hut the breadi of kiiun, ' 

^^ An honest man's the noblest work of Oos I** 
And cerU*^ in fair virtue's heav*nl]r road. 

The cottage leaves the palace nr behind ; 
What is a lordHng's pomp I a eumbrous IomU 

Oisipiinng bft the wretch of human Idni, 
Studied m arts of hell, in wickedness refined; 

O Scotia ! my dear, my native soil I 

For whonr mr warmest widi to Heaven n icnt ^ 

l/Hm may thy hardy was of lunk toU, 

^ bkn wrtb bcsi|h| sad ptMs, ssa iwsK cMMBt I . 


AbA, O ! wmf HeftT*ii their rimple Mrtt prevent 

Fmn haxvajH oontagkNi, weik and tuc ! 
HmO) howe'er crowns and cortmttt be rent, 
A vlirfwni* populace miy rise the while, 
AtA tCaad a wall of fire anmnd their macfa»loved Itfe, 

Of Tinltthgpff the poet sap, " the town carries the appearance of rude, 
decftjedy idle grandeur— charmingly rural retired situation — the old Rojal 
Fkkee a tolerably fine but melancholy ruin — sweetly situated by the bnnk 
of A loch* Shown the room where the beautifiil ujured Mary Queen of 
Seots was bom* A pretty good old Gothic church — the infamous stool of 
repentance, in the old Romish way, on a lofly situation. What a poor 
pimping bnsineas is a Presbyterian place of worship ; dirty, narrow, and 
aqoalid* studc in a comer of old Popish grandeur, such as Linlithgow^ and 
BMch more Melrose ! Ceremony and show, if judiciously tlirown in, are ab- 
aoliitely necessary ibr the bulk of mankind, both in religious and ciril mat- 
ten " 

At Bannockbura he writes as follows : — ** Here no Scot can pass unin- 
tcreated. I fancy to myself that I see my gallant countrymen coming over 
the hil), and down upon the plunderers of their country, the murderers of 
their ftthers, noble, revenge and just hate glowing in every vein, striding 
more and iqore eagerly as they approach the oppressive, insulting, blood- 
Mnty fbe« I see them meet in glorious triumphant congratulation on the 
Yictorious field, exulting in their heroic royal leader, and rescued liberty 
and indqpendence."—- Here we have the germ of Bums*8 famous ode on the 
battle Of Bannockbum. 

At Tajrmouth, the Journal merely has — *' described in rhyme,^ This al« 
Ittdet to the << verses written with a pencil over the mantle-piece of the 
partcKir in the inn at Kenmorc ;'* some of which arc among his best purely 
Engliih heroics — 

^ Poetic ardours in my 1)Osom kwcII, 
I^ne wanderin^r by the hennit*8 mossy cell ; 
The Rweeping theatre of hanging woods ; 
The inceeiant roar of headlong-tumbling floods .... 
Here Pbesy might wake her heaven-uuffht lyre. 
And took through nature with creatiTe fire .... 
Here, to the wrongs of ^te half reconciled. 
Misfortune's lighten*d steps might wander wild ; 
And Disappointment, in these lonely bounds, 
Find balm to soothe her bitter rankung woundn : 
Here heart-struck Orief might heayenward stretch her scan. 
And injured Worth forget and pardon man.** 

Of Glenlyon we Iiave this memorandum : — " Druids' temple, three cir- 
dea of stones, the outermost sunk, the second has thirteen stones remain- 
ing, the innermost eight ; two large detached ones like a gate to the south- 
east — way prayen (mil" 

His notes on Dunkeld and Blair of Athole are as follows : — << DutikM 
—Breakfast with Dr. Stuart — ^Neil Gow plays ; a sliort, stout-built. High- 
land figure, with his greyish hair shed on his honest social brow — an inte- 
resting fiu^e, narking strong sense, kind openheartedness mixed with 
unmittrusting simplicity — ^visit his house — Margaret Gow. — Friday — 
ride up Tummel river to Blair. Fascally, a beautiful roniantic nest— wild 
* of the pass of Killikrankie — ^visit the gallant Lord Dimdee*s stone, 
-^up with the Duchess— easy and happy from the manners of 
that fimily— confirmed in my good opinion of mv friend Walker.-*iSSBiter« 
dbgH-Titit the scenes round Blair — fine, but spoilt with bad taste." 


Mr. Walker, who, as we have seen, formed Burns's acquaintance in 
Edinburgh through Blacklock, was at this period tutor in the family of 
Athole, and from him the following particulars of Bums's reception at the 
leat of his noble patron are derived : — << On reaching Blair, he sent me no- 
tice of his arrival (as I had been previously acquainted with him), and I 
hastened to meet him at the inn. The Duke, to whom he brought a letter 
of introduction, was from home ; but the Duchess, being informed of his ar« 
rival, gave him an invitation to sup and sleep at Athole House. He ac« 
oepted the invitation ; but, as the hour of supper was at some distance, 
begged I would in the interval be his guide through the grounds. It waa 
afaready growing dark ; yet the softened, though faint and uncertain, view 
of their beauties, which die moonlight afforded us, seemed exactly suited 
to the state of his feelings at the time. I had oflen, like others, experienced 
the pleasures which arise from the sublime or elegant landscape, but I ne- 
ver saw those feelings so intense as in Burns. When we reached a rustic . 
hut on the river Tilt, where it is overhimg by a woody precipice, from 
which there is a noble water-fall, he threw himself on the heathy seat, 
and gave himself up to a tender, abstracted, and voluptuous enthusiasm of 
imagination. It was with much difficulty I prevailed on him ^ qtdt thia 
spot, and to be introduced in proper time to supper. My curiosity was 
great to see how he would conduct himself in company so different from 
what he had been accustomed to. His manner was unembarrassed, plain, 
and firm. He appeared to have complete reliance on his own native good 
sense for directing his j}ehaviour. He seemed at once to perceive and to 
appreciate what was due to the company and to himself, and never to for- 
get a proper respect for the separate species of dignity bebnging to each* 
He did not arrogate conversation, but, when led into it, he spoke with ease, 
propriety, and manliness. He tried to exert his nihilities, because he knew 
it was ability alone gave him a title to be there. The Duke's fine young 
family attracted much of his admiration ; he drank their healths as hanut 
men and honnie lasses^ an idea which was much applauded by the company, 
and with which he has very felicitously closed his poem. Next day I took 
a ride with him through some of the most romantic parts of that neigh- 
bourhood, and was highly gratified by his conversation. ' As a specimen 
of his happiness of conception and strength of expression, I will meation a 
remark which he made on liis fellow-traveller, who was walking at tlie time 
a few paces before us. He was a man of a robust but clumsy person ; and 
while Bums was expressing to me the value he entertained for him, on 
account of his vigorous talents, although they were clouded at times by 
coarseness of manners ; ^* in short," he added, << his mind is like his body» 
he has a confounded strong in>-knee'd sort of a soul."— -Much attention was 
paid to Bums both before and after the Duke's return, of which he was 
perfectly sensible, witliout being vain ; and at his departure I recommended 
to him, as the most appropriate return he could make, to write some des- 
criptive verses on any of the scenes with which he had been so much de- 
]u;hted« After leaving Blair, he, by the Duke's advice, visited the FaUt rf 
Mruar^ and in a few days I received a letter from Inverness, with the verset 
enclosed." * 

At Blair, Bums first met with Mr. Graham of Fintray, a gentleman to 
whose kindness he was afterwards indebted on more than one important 

* Extract of a letter from Mr. Walkei:to Mr. Cuimingluun, dated Perth. 34th October^ 


occasion ; and Mr. Walker expresses great regret that he did not remain 
a day or two more, in which case he must have been introduced to Mr. 
Dmidas, the first Lord Melville, who was then Treasurer of the Navy, and 
had the chief management of the afiairs of Scotland This statesman was 
but little addicted to literature; still, had such an introduction taken 
place, he might probably have been induced to bestow that consideration 
on the claims of the poet, which, in the absence of any personal acquain- 
tance, Bums's works should have commanded at his himds. 

From Blair, Bums passed ** many miles through a wild country, among 
diflb grey with eternal snows, and gloomy savage glens, till he crossed the 
Spey ; and went down the stream dirough Strathspey, (so famous in Scot« 
liih music), Badenoch, &c. to Grant Castle, where he spent half a day with 
Sir James Grant ; crossed the country to fort George, but called by the 
way at Cawdor, the ancient seat of Macbetli, whpre he saw the identical 
bed in which, tradUion taysy King Duncan was murdered ; lastly, from Fort 
George to Inverness. From Inverness, he went along the Murray Frith to 
Hodiabers, taking Culloden Muir and Brodie House in his way. — 7%tir9- 
dfay* Came over Culloden Muir-*reflections on the field of battle — break- 
at Kilraick— old Mrs. Rose — sterling sense, warm heart, strong pas- 
honest pride — all to an uncommon degree — a true chieftain's wife, 
daughter of Clephane — Mrs. Rose junior, a little milder than the mother, 
perhaps owing to her being younger — two young ladies — ^Miss Rose sung 
two Gaelic songs — beautiful and lovely — Miss Sophy Brodie, not very 
beautiful, but most agreeable and amiable — both of them the gentlest, mild- 
eat, sweetest creatures on earth, and happiness b^ with Uiem ! Brodie. 
House to lie-— Mr. B. truly polite, but not quite the Highland cordiality.—- 
JPriday^ Cross the Findhom to Forres — famous stone at Forres — Mr. Bro* 
die tells me the muir where Shakspeare lays Macbeth's witch*meeting, is 
•till haunted — that the country folks won't pass by night — Elgin — ^vene- 
rable ruins of the abbey, a grander effect at first glance than Melrose, but 
nothing near so beautifuL — Cross Spey to Fochabers — ^fine palace, worthy 
cf the noble, the polite, the generous proprietor — the Duke makes me hap* 
pier than ever great man did ; noble, princely, yet mild, condescending, 
and aflbble— gay and kind. — The Duchess charming, witty, kind, and sen- 
aible— Xjod bless them."* 

Bums, who had been much noticed by this noble family when in Edin- 
burgh, happened to present himself at Gordon Castle, just at the dinner 
hour, and being invited to take a place at the table, did so> without for the 
moment adverting to the circumstance that his travelling companion had 
been left alone at the inn, in the adjacent village. On remembering this 
aooQ after dinner, he begged to be allowed to rejoin his friend ; and the 
Duke of Gordon, who now for the first time learned that he was not jour- 
neying alone, immediately proposed to send an invitation to Mr Nicoll tp 
come to the Castle. His Grace's messenger found the haughty school- 
master striding up and down before the inn door, in a state of high wrath 
and indignation, at what he considered Bums's neglect, and no apologies 
could s(^n his mood. He had already ordered horses, and the poet find- 
ing that he must choose between the ducal circle and his irritable associ- 
ate, at once left Gordon Castle, and repaired to the inn ; whence Nicoll 
mad he, in silence and mutual displeasure, pursued their joumey along the 

* Extnct tan JooniiL 


€SOMt of the Murray Frith. The abridgment of Burns^s visit at Gordon 
CS«atle» ** was not only," says Mr. Walker, << a mortifying disappointment, 
but in all probability a serious misfortune, as a longer stay among persons 
cf such influence, might have begot a permanent intimacy, and on their 
parts, an active concern for his future advancement.** * But this touches 
mi a delicate subject, which we shall not at present pause to consider. 

Pursuing his journey along the coast, the poet visited successively 
Nairn, Forres, Aberdeen, and Stonehive ; where one of his relations, James 
Bumess, writer in Montrose, met him by appointment, and conducted him 
Into the circle of his paternal kindred, among whom he spent two or three 
days. When William Bumess, his father, abandoned his native district, 
never to revisit it, he, as he used to tell his children, took a sorrowful fkre- 
well of his brother on the summit of the last hill from which the roof of 
their lowly home could be descried ; and the old man appears to have 
ever after kept up an aflPectionate correspondence with his family. It fell 
to the poet's lot to communicate his father's death to th^ Kincardineshire 
Idndred, and afWr that he seems to have maintained the same sort of cor- 
vespondence. He now formed a personal acquaintance with these good 
people, and in a letter to his brother Gilbert, we find him describing them 
in terms which show the lively interest he took in all their concerns. * 

** The rest of my stages," says he, " are not worth rehearsing : warm 
at I was from Ossion's country, where I had seen his very grave, what 
eared I for fishing towns and fertile carses ?*' He arrived once more in 
Auld Reekie, on tlie 16th of September, having travelled about six Inm- 
dred -miles in two*and-twenty days — greatly extended his acquaintance 
with his own country, and visited some of its most classical scenery — ob- 
served something of Highland manners, which must have been as interest- 
ing as they were novel to him — and strengthened considerably among the 
•lardy Jacobites of the North those political opinions which he at this pe- 
riod avowed. 

Of the few poems composed during this Highland tour, we have already 
Mentioned two or three. While standing by the Fall of Fycrs, near Loch 
Mesfy he wrote with his pencil the vigorous couplets — 

*'*' Among the heathy hiDs and rugged woodm 
The roaring Fyen pours his mossy floods,^ Stc 

When at Sir William Murray's of Ochtert3rre, he celebrated Miss Murray 
of Lintrose, commonly called " The Flower of Sutherland," in the Song— 

'' Blythe, blythe, and merry was she, 
Blythe was she bat and ben,'* &c 

And the verses On Scaring some Wild/owl on Loch Turit, — 

" Why, ye tenants of the lake, 
For me your wat*ry haunu foruke,** Ac 

were composed while imder the same roof. Tliesc last, except perhi^ 
Bruar Waier^ are the best that he added to his collection during the wan- 
derings of the summer. But in Burns's subsequent productions, we find 
many traces of the delight with which he had contemplated nature in these 
alpine regions. 

*^ General CoixsipoDdeiicc* 


The poet once more visited his family at Mossgiel, and Mr. Miller at 
Dalswinton, ere the winter set in ; and on more leisurely examination of 
that gentleman's estate, we find him writing as if he had all but decided 
to become his tenant on the farm of Elliesland. It was not, however, un« 
til he had i&r the third time visited Dumfriesshire, in March 1788| that A 
bargain was actually concluded. More than half of the intervening 
months were spent in Edinburgh, where Burns foimd, or fancied that hit 
presence was necessary fbr the satisfactory completion of his affairs with 
the booksellers. It seems to be clear enough that one great object was the 
society of his jovial intimates in the capital. Nor was he without thie 
amusement of a little romance to fill up what vacant hours they lefl him. 
He lodged that winter in Bristo Street, on purpose to be near a beautiful 
widow — the same to whom he addressed the song, 

*^ Clarinda, mistress of my soul,** &c. 

and a series of prose epistles, which have been separately published, and 
irhich present md^e instances of bad taste, bombastic language, and fulsome 
sentiriient, than could be produced from all his writings besides. 

At this time the publication called Johnsons Museum of Scottish Song 
was going on in Edinburgh ; and tb.e editor appears to have early prevailed on 
Bums to give him his assistance in tlie arrangement of his materials. Thouch 
Chreen grow the rashes is the only song, entirely his, which appears in tne 
first volume, published in 1787. many of the old ballads uicluded in that 
▼olume bear traces of his hand ; but in the second volume, which appeared 
in March 1788, we find no fewer than ^-^q songs by 4^ums ; two that have 
been already mentioned, * and three far better than them, viz. 77i0iim( 
MenzM bonny Mary; that grand l}Tic, 

'^ Farewell, ye dungeons dark and strong, 
The wretches dc:$tiny, 
3Iaq)herson*s time wiJl not be long 
On yonder gallows tree ;" 

both of which performances bespeak the recent impressions of his Highland 
visit ; and, lastly, Whistle and 1*11 come to you, my lad. Bums had been 
from his youth upwards an enthusiastic lover of the old minstrelsy and 
music of his country ; but he now studied both subjects with far better op- 
portunities and appliances than he could have commanded previously ; and 
it is from this time that we must date his ambition to transmit his own 
poetry to posterity, in eternal association with those exquisite airs which 
had hitherto, in far too many instrnces, been married to verses that did 
not deserve to be immortal. It is well known that from this time Burns 
composed very few pieces but songs ; and whether we ought or not to re- 
gret that such was die case, must depend on the estimate we make of his 
songs as compared with his other poems ; a point on which critics are to this 
hour divided, and on which their descendants are not very likely to agree. 
Mr. Walker, who is one of those that lament Bums's comparative derelic- 
tion of the species of composition which he most cultivated in the early 
days of his inspiration, suggests very sensibly, that if Bums had not taken 
to song-writing, he would probably have written little or nothing amidst 
the various temptations to company and dissipation which now and hence* 
forth surrounded him — to say nothing of the active duties of life in which 

• u cUrinds,'* and ^' How pleuant the banks of the clear winding Peroiu"* 



he WM at lengia about to be engaged. Bums was present, on the Slst of 
December, at a dinner to celebrate the birth-day of the unfortunate Prince 
Charles Edward Stuart, and produced on the occasion an ode, part of which 
Dr. Currie has preserved. The specimen will not induce any regret that 
the renuunder of the piece has been suppressed. It appears to be a mouth- 
ing rhapsody — ^far, far different indeed from the ChevaUer's Lament^ which 
the poet composed some months afterwards, with probably the tithe of 
die eflfort, while riding alone ** through a track of melancholy muirs be- 
tween Galloway and A3n-8hire, it being Sunday." * 

For six weeks of the time that Bums spent this year in Edinburgh, he 
was confined to his room, in consequence of an overturn in a hackney coach. 
** Here I am," he writes, ** under the care of a surgeon, with a bruised 
limb extended on a cushion, and the tints of my mind vying with the livid 
liorrors preceding a midnight thunder-storm. A drunken coachman was 
the cause of the first, and incomparably the lightest evil ; misfSrtune, bodi- 
ly constitution, hell, and myself, have formed a quadruple aiUance po gua^- 
rantee the other. I have taken tooth and nail to the Bible, and am got 
hfllf way through the five books of Moses, and half way in Joshua. It is 
really a glorious book. I sent for my bookbinder to-day, and ordered him 
to get an 8vo. Bible in sheets, the best paper and print in town, and bind * 
it with all the elegance of his craft." f — In another letter, which opens gaily 
enough, we find him reverting to the same prevailing darkness of moocL 
<' I can't say I am altogether at my ease when I see anywhere in my path 
that meagre, squalid, famine-faced spectre. Poverty, attended as he always 
is by iron-fitted Oppression, and leering Contempt. But I have sturdily 
withstood his buffetirgs many a hard-laboured day, and still my motto is / 
PARE. My worst enemy is tnoi-meme. There are just two creatures that 
I would envy — a horse in his wild state traversing the forests of Asia, or 
an oyster on some of the desert shores of Europe. The one has not a wish 
, without enjoyment; the other has neither wish nor fear." J — One more 
specimen may be sufficient. || <* These h^ve been six horrible weeks. 
Anguish and low spirits have made me unfit to read, write, or think. I have 
a hundred times wished that one could resign life as an officer does a com- 
mission ; for I would not take in any poor ignorant wretch by selling ouL 
Lately, I was a sixpenny private, and God knows a miserable soldier enough : 
now I march to the campaign a starving cadet, a little more conspicuously 
wretched. I am ashamed of all this ; for though I do not want bravery for 
the warfare of life, I could wish, like some other soldiers, to have as much 
fortitude or cunning as to dissemble or conceal my cowardice." 

#t seems impossible to doubt that Bums had in fact lingered in Edin- 
burgh, in the hope that, to use a vague but sufficiently expressive phrase, 
something would be done for him. He visited and revisited a farm, — talked 
•ad wrote about *' having a fortune at the plough-tail," and so forth ; but 
all the while nourished, and assuredly it would have been most strange if 
ha had not, the fond dream that the admiration of his country would ere 
kmg present* itself in some solid and tangible shape. His illness and con- 
Cnement gave him leisure to concentrate his imagination on the darker side 
af his prospects ; and the letters which we have quoted may teach those 
who envy the powers and the fame of genius, to pause for a moment over 

* Oenenl Correnxmdeooe, No. 46. 

IRdiqoes, p. 43. $ Ibid. p. 44. 

Gcoenl CorretpoodcDce, Nob 4a. 


the annals of literature, and think what superior capabilities of misery have 
been, in the great majority of cases, interwoven with the possession of 
those very talents, from which all but their possessors derive unmingled 
gratification. Bums*s distresses, however, were to be still farther aggravated* 
While still under the hands of his surgeon, he received intelligence from 
Mauchline that his intimacy with Jean Armour had once more exposed 
her to the reproaches of her family. The father sternly and at once turned 
her out of doors; and Bums, unable to walk across his room, had to write 
to his friends in Mauchline to procure shelter for his children, and for her 
whom he considered as — all but his wife. In a letter to Mrs. Dunlop» 
written on hearing of this new misfortune, he says, ^< * / wish I were dead, 
htti Tm no like to die* I fear I am something like — undone ; but I hope for 
the best. You must not desert mc. Your friendship I think I can count 
on, though I should date my letters from a marching regiment. Early in 
life, and eJl my life, I reckoned on a recruiting drum as my forlorn hope. Se« 
riously, though, life at present presents me with but a melancholy path^— 
But my limb will soon be sound, and I shall struggle on." * 

it seems to have been now that Burns at last screwed up his courage to 
mUeU the active interference in his behalf of tlie Earl of Glencairn. The 
letter is a brief one. Burns could ill endure this novel attitude, xmd he 
bushed at once to his request. *< I wish," says he, '^ to get into the excise* 
I am told your Lordship will easily procure me the grant from the com- 
niissioners ; and your lordship*s patronage and kindness, wliich have already 
rescued me from obscurity, wretchedness, and exile, embolden me to ask 
that interest. You have likewise put it in my power to save tlie little tie 
of ikwie, that sheltered an aged mother, two brothers, and three sistera 
from destruction. There, my lord, you have bound me over to the highest 

latitude. My heart sinks within me at the idea of applying to any 

other of The Great who have honoured mc with their countenance. I am 
ill qualified to dog the heels of greatness with the impertinence of solicita- 
tion ; and tremble nearly as much at the thought of the cold promise as of 
the cold denial." f It would be hard to think that this letter was coldly or 
negligently received ; on the contrary, we know that Burns's gratitude to 
Lord Glencairn lasted as long as his life. But the excise appointment 
which he coveted was not procured by any exertion of his hoble patron's 
influence. Mr. Alexander Wood, surgeon, (still affectionately remembered 
in Edinburgh as *< kind old Sandy Wood,") happening to hear Bums, while 
his patient, mention the object of his wishes, v/ent immediately, without 
dropping any hint of his inten^on, and communicated the state of the 
poet's case to Mr. Graham of Fin tray, one of the commissioners of excis^ 
who had met Burns at the Duke of A thole's in the autumn, and who im- 
mediately had the poet's name put on tlie roll. — <* I have chosen tliis, my 
dear friend," (tlius wrote Burns to Mrs. Dunlop), *< after mature delibera- 
tion. The question is not at what door of Fortune's palace shall we enter 
in ; but what doors does she open to us ? I was not likely to get any thing 
to do. I wanted un buty which is a dangerous, an unhappy situation. I got 
this without any hanging on or mortifying solicitation. It is immediate 
bread, and, though poor in comparison of the last eighteen months of my 
existence, 'tis luxury in comparison of all my preceding life. Besides, the 
commissioners are some of them my acquaintances, and all of them my 
firm friends.'* X 

* Bdiques, p. 48. f Geneial Correspondence; No. 40. $ Rdiquesy p. Mt 



Our poet seems to have kept up an angry correspondence during bis con- 
finement with his bookseller, Mr. Creech, whom he also abuses very heartily 
in his letters to his friends in Ayrshire. The publisher's accounts, however* 
when they were at last made up, must have given tlie impatient author a 
very agreeable surprise ; for, in his letter above quoted, to Lord Glencainiy 
we find him expressing his hopes that the gross profits of his book might 
amount to << better than ^€200," whereas, on the day of settling with Mr. 
Creech, he found himself in possession of £500, if not of £600. Mr. Ni- 
coll, the most intimate friend Burns had, writes to Mr John Lewarsy ex« 
cise officer at Dumfries, immediately on hearing of the poet's death, — *' He 
certainly told me that he received i: tiOO for the first Edinburgh edition, and 
£100 afterwards for the copyright." — Dr. Currie states the gross product 
of Creech's edition at £500, and Burns himself, in one of his printed let- 
ters, at £400 only. Nicoll hints, in the letter already referred to, that 
Bums had contracted debts while in Edinburgh, which he might not wish 
to avow on all occasions ; and if we arc to believe this — and» as is probablci 
the expense of printing the subscription edition, should, moreover, be de- 
ducted from the £700 stated by Mr. Nicoll — the apparent contradictions 
id these stories may be pretty nearly reconciled. There appears to be 
reason for thinking that Creech subsequently paid more than £100 for the 
cq)yright. If he did not, how came Bums to realize, as Currie states it 
at the end of his Memoir, " nearly £900 in all by his poems?" 

This supply came truly in the hour of need ; and it seems to have ele- 
vated his spirits greatly, and given him for the time a new stock of confi- 
dence ; for he now resumed immediately his purpose of taking Mr. Miller'i 
farm, retaining his excise commission in his pocket as a dernier resart^ to be 
made, use of only should some reverse of fortune come upon him. His first 
act, however, was to relieve his brotlier from his difficulties, by advancing 
£180 or £200, to assist him in the management of Mossgiel. '* I give my- ' 
self no airs on this," he generously says, in a letter to Dr. Moore, *< for It 
was mere selfishness on my part. 1 was conscious that the wrong scale of 
the balance was pretty heavily charged, and I thought that the throwing a 
little filial piety and fraternal affection into the scale in my fitvour, might 
help to smooth matters at the grattd reckoning.** * 

* Genei;Bl Con:e8pondence,«Ko.6& 


C&9KWf9> ^^Marriiim^AMmottneemeHitf fapolo^eticaljt of the event "^lUMork^-^Stcomu 
(1786) J Pbi ' M t J ' atJSBiuUmd^ on the Nitky in a romamtie vicinity, $i* milee from J}tm^He9~^ 
Tke Mutt waktfkd at coer, whiU the Poet mainiaine a varied and extendve Ktermy eom» 
ipa mde m ee with ail and tuiufry — Remarks upon the correepondmue — Sketch of hie jmtmh 
mad kabitt at ikie period by a brother poetf who ehows eauee against euceeu in farming-'-^ 
The W fd moatd cmytmetion of Ganger to Farmer — The notice of the equirewrehg, cmd the 
mtk ^mdmiring viaiiore, lead too uniformly to the uhra convivial lift'^Leatee ElHeeiand 
( 1791 ) to he exciseman in the town of jDumfriet, 

«( To nuke a btppy fireside clime 
For weans and wife — 
That*B the true pathos and sublime 
Of human life,** 

BuftHs, ai soon as his bruised limb was able for a journey, went to Moss* 
gUf md went through the ceremony of a Jus tice-of- Peace marriage with 
JeiD Armoor, in the writing-chambers of his friend Gavin Hamilton. He 
then crossed the country to Dalswinton, and concluded his bargain with 
Mr. Miller as to the farm of Ellicsland, on terms which must undoubtedly 
have been considered by both parties, as highly favourable to the poet; 
they were indeed fixed by two of Bums's own friends, who accompanied 
him fiir that purpose from Ayrshire. The lease was for four successive 
tennSy of nineteen years each, — in all seventy- six years ; the rent for the 
first three years and crops X'50 ; during the remainder of the ' period £70 
per annum. Mr. Miller bound himself to defray the expense of any plan* 
tattoos which Bums might please to make on die banks of the river ; and, 
the fiinn-house and offices being in a de]it])ldated condition, the new tenant 
was to receive £300 fiom the proprietor, for the erection of suitable build- 
ings. Bums entered on possession of his farm at Whitsuntide 1788, but 
the necessary rebuilding of the house prevented his removing Mrs. Bums 
thither until the season was far advanced. He had, moreover, to qualify 
himself far holding his excise commission by six weeks* attendance on the 
bnuness of that profession at Ayr. From these circumstances, he led all 
the summer a wandering and unsettled life,- and Dr. Currie mentions this 
atone of his chief misfortunes.' The poet, as he says, was continually rid- 
ing between A3nrshire and Dumfriesshire, and oflen spending a night on 
the road, ** sometimes fell into company, and forgot the resolutions he had 
formed." What these resolutions were, the poet himself shall tell us. On 
the third day of his residence at Elliesland, he thus writes to Mr. Ainslie : 
-»'* I have all along hitherto, in the warfare of hfe, been bred to amis, 
among the li^ht-horse, the piquet guards of fancy, a kind of hussars and 
Highlanders of the brain ; but I am firmly resolved to sell out of these giddy 
battalions. Cost what it will, I am determined to buy in among the grave 
aquadrons of heavy-armed thought, or the artillery corps of plodding con 


ixxviii tn^E OF ROdERT BUtlNS. 

trivance. • • • Were it not for the terrors of mj ticklish situation re* 
tpecting a family of children, I am decidedly of opinion that tUb step 1 have 
taken is vastly for my happiness." * 

To all his friends he expresses himself in terms of similar satisfaction in 
regard to his marriage. ** Your surmise, Madam/' he writes to Mrs. Dun« 
lop, ** is just. I am indeed a husband. I found a once much^loved, and 
still much-loved female, literally and truly cast out to the mercy of the 
naked elements, but as I enabled her to purchase a shelter ; and there is no 
sporting with a fellow-crcature*s happiness or misery. The most pJacid 
goodnature and sweetness of disposition ; a warm heart, gratefully devoted 
with all its powers to love me ; vigorous health and sprightly cheerfulness, 
let off to the best advantage by a more than commonly handsome figure ; 
these, I think, in a woman, may make a good wife, though she should ne- 
ver have read a page but the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, 

nor danced in a brighter assembly 'than a penny-pay wedding 

To jealousy or infidelity I am an equal stranger ; my preservative from the 
first, is the most thorough consciousness of her sentiments of honpur, and 
her. attachment to me ; my antidote against the last, is my long and deep- 
rooted affection for her. In housewife matters, of aptness to learn, and 
activity to execute, she is eminently mistress, and during my absence in 
Nithsdale, she is regularly and constantly an apprentice to my mother and 

sisters in their dairy, and other rural business You are ri^t, 

that a bachelor state would have ensured me more friends ; but fnm a 
cause you will easily guess, conscious peace in the enjoyment of my own 
mind, and unmistrusting confidence in approaching my God, would seldom 
have been of the number." f 

Some months later he tells Miss Chalmers that his marriage '' was noty 
perhaps, in consequence of the attachment of romance,*' — (he is addressing 
a voung lady), — '* but," he continues, '* I have no cause to repent it. If 
I have not got polite tattle, modish manners, and fashionable dress, I am noc 
tickened and disgi^ted with the multiform curse of boarding-school afiec- 
tation ; and I have got the handsomest figure, the sweetest temper, the 
soundest constitution, and the kindest heart in the country. Mrs. Bums 
believes as firmly as her creed, that I am leplus bel esprit ei iephu kmnite 
komme in the universe ; although she scarcely ever, in her life, except the 
Scriptures and the Ptolms of David in Metre, spent five minutes together 
on either prose or verse^I must except also a certain late publication of 
Scots poems, which she has perused very devoutly, and all the ballads of 
the country, as she has (O die partial lover, you will say), the finest 
woodnote-wild I ever heard." — It was during this honeymoon, as he calls 
it, while chiefly resident in a miserable hovel at EUiesland, j: and only 
occasionally spending a day or two in Ayrshire, that he wrote the beautiful 
song: II 

*' Of a* the airts the liind can blaw I dearly like the wett, 
For there the bonnie lassie lives, the lassie I lo*e best ; 
There wildwoods grow, and rivers row, and niony a hUl between { 
But day and night my fancy^s flight is ever wi* my Jean. 

O blaw, ve westlin winds, Uaw saft amang the leafy trees, 
AVr ffentie gale, frae muir and dale, bringname the laden bees. 
And bting tne lassie back" to me, that*s ave sae neat and dean.; 
Ae blink o* her wad banish care, sae lovdy is my Jean.** 

* Reliqaes, p. 6S. f See General Correspondence, No. (8; and ReUmics, p. 0(k 

$ Adiqaes, p. 70* H Ihid. p. 273^ 

tan OP ROBERT BURNS.. Ixxlk 

Ooe of burns's letters* written not long after this* contains a passage strong- 
I7 marked with his haughtiness of character. •< I have escaped," says he, 
** the fantastic caprice, the apish affectation, with all the other blessed 
boarding-school acquirements which are sometimes to be found aknong fk» 
nales or the upper ranks, but almost universally pervade the misses of the 
WDidd-be gentry." ♦ 

** A discerning reader,*' says Mr. Walker, " will perceive that the let- 
ters in which he announces his marriage to some of his most respected cor- 
Teipondents, are written in that state when the mind is pained by reflect- 
ing OD an unwelcome step, and finds relief to itself in seeking argumentf 
to justify the deed, and lessen its disadvantages in the opinion of others." f 
I confess I am not able to discern any traces of this kind of feeling in any 
of Bums's letters on this interesting and important occasion. The Rer. 
Hamilton Paul takes an original view of this business : — *' Much praisev** 
MtLjM he, " has been lavished on Bums for renewing his engagement with 
Jean when in the blaze of his fame. . . The praise is misplaced. We 
do not think a man entitled to credit or commendation for doing what the 
law could compel him to perform. Bums was in reality a married man* 
and it is truly ludicrous to hear him, aware as he must have been, of the in- 
disaoluble power of the obligation, though every document was destroyed, 
talking of himself as a bachelor." % There is no justice in these remaiks. 
It is very true, that, by a merciful fiction of the law of Scotland, the fe- 
male, in Miss Armour*s condition, who produces a written promise of mar- 
nage, is considered as having furnished evidence of an irregular marriage 
lianng taken place between her and her lover ; but in this case the femide 
herself had destroyed the document, and lived for many months not only 
not assuming, but rejecting the character of Bums's wife ; and had she, un- 
der such circumstances, attempted to establish a marriage, with no docu- 
ment in her hand, and widi no parole evidence to show that any such do- 
cmnmt had ever existed, to say nothing of proving its exact tenor, but 
that of her own father, it is clear that no ecclesiastical court in the world 
could have failed to decide against her. So far from Bums's having all 
along regarded her as his wife, it is extremely doubtful whether she had 
•rer for one moment considered him as actually her husband, imtil he de- 
clared the marriage of 1788. Burns did no more than justice as well as 
honour demanded ; but the act was one which no human tribunal could 
have compelled him to perform. 

To return to our story. Bums complains sadly of his solitary condition, 
when living in the only hovel that he found extant on his farm. << I am," 
says he, (September 9th) « busy with my harvest, but for all that most 
pleasurable part of life called social intercourse, I am here at the very el- 
bow of existence. The only things that are to be found in this country in 
any degree of perfection, are stupidity and canting. Prose they only know 
in graces, &c, and the value of these they estimate as they do th^ir plaid- 
ing webs, by the ell. As for the muses, they have as much idea of ft rhino- 
ceros as of a poet." And in another letter (September 16th) he says, 
** This hovel that I shelter in while occasionaUy here, is pervious to every 
Uast that blows, and every shower that falls, and I am only preserved 
from being chilled to death by being suffocated by smoke. You will be 
pleased to hear that I have laid aside idle eclat, and bind every day after 

* General CorreipondeDce, No^ 55. f Monison, voL L p. bocxyis. 

tf, Paori life of Bumi, p. 45. 


my reapers." His house, however, did not take much time in buildiiig $ 
nor haa he reason to complain of want of society long. He brou^t hb 
wife home to EUiesland about tlie end of November ; and few housekeepers 
•tart with a larger provision of young mouthy to feed than this couple. Mrs. 
Qums had lain in this autumn, for the second time, of twins, and I sup- 
pose ^ sonsy, smirking, dear-bought Bess,"* accompanied her younger bro- 
thers and sisters from Mossgiel. From that quarter also Bums brought a 
whole establishment of servants, male and female, who, of course, as was 
then the universal custom amongst the small farmers, both of the west and 
of the south of Scotland, partook, at the same table, of the same fare with 
their master and mistress. 

EUiesland is beautifully situated on the banks of the Nith, about six miles 
aibove Dumfries, exactly opposite to the house of Dalswinton, of those noble 
woods and gardens amidst which Burns*s landlord, the ingenious Mr. Fa- 
trick Miller, found relaxation from tiic scientific studies and researches in 
which he so greatly excelled. On tlic Dalswinton side, the river washes 
lawns and groves ; but over against these the bank rises into a long red 
9eaur, of considerable height, alon<; the verge of which, where the bare 
ihingle of the precipice all but overhan;7s the stream. Bums had his favoit* 
rite walk, and might now be seen striding alone, early and late, especially 
when the winds were loucl, and the waters below him swollen and turbu- 
lent. For he was one of those that enjoy nature most in the more serious 
and severe of her aspects ; and throughout his poetry, for one allusion 
fo the liveliness of spring, or the splendour of summer, it would be easy 
to point out twenty in which he records the solemn delight with which he 
contemplated the melancholy grandeur of autumn, or the savage gloom of 
winter ; and he has himself told us, that it was his custom ** to take a 
gloamin' shot at the muses/' 

The poet was accustomed to say, that the most happy period of his life 
was the first winter he s])ent at EUiesland, — for the first time under a roof 
of his own — with his wife and children about him — and in spite of oc- 
casional lapses into the aiclaiicholy which had haunted his youth, looking 
forward to a life of well-regulated, and not ill-rewarded, industry. It is 
known that he welcomed his wife to her rooftree at £lliesland in the song, 

'^ I hae a wife o* mine ain, 1*11 partake vi* naebody ; 
1*11 tak cuckold frac nane. ril gie cuckold to nacbody ; 
1 hao a penny to spend— there —thanks to naebodv ; 
1 hoe naething to lend— rU borrow frae naebody." 

In commentuig on tliis " little lively lucky song," as he well calls it, Mr. A. 
Cunningham says, " Burns liad built his house, he had committed his 
•eed-corn to the ground, he was in the prime, nay the morning of life — 
health, and strengtli, and agricultural skill were on his side — -his genius 
had been acknowledged by his country, and rewarded by a subscription, 
more extensive than any Scottish poet ever received before ; no wonder, 
therefore, that he broke out into voluntary song, expressive of his sense of 
importance and independence." 

Bums, in his letters of the year 1789, makes many apologies for doing 
but little in his poetical vocation ; his farm, without doubt, occupied much 
of his attention, but the want of social intercourse, of which he complained 
on his first arrival m Nithsdale, had by this time totally disappeared. On 

* PoETTCAi. Inventory to Mr. Aiken, Febmsiy ITW^i 


the contrary, his company wait courted eagerly, not only by his brother* 
farmers^ but by the neighbouring gentry of all classes ; and now, too, for 
the first time, he began to be visited continually in his own liouse by curi- 
ous travellers of all sorts, who did not consider, any more than the gene- 
rous poet himself, that an extensive practice of hospitality must cost more 
time than he ought to have had, and far more money than he ever hady at 
his disposal. Meantime, he was not wholly regardless of the muses ; for 
in addition to some pieces which we have already had occasion to notice, 
he contributed to this year's Muskum, The Tiiames Jiuws prmidly to the 
Sea ; Tite lazy mist haitgg^ S^c. ; The day retumSy my boxom bums ; Tam 
Glen^ (one of the best of his humorous songs) ; the splendid lyric. Go 
fitch to me a pint of tai»e, and My heart's in t/ie HielandSi (in both of which^ 
however, he adopted some lines of ancient songs to the same tunes) ; John 
Aiuiereon. in part also a rifacciamento ; the best of all his Bacchanalian 
' pieces, Willie brewed a peck o maiUt written in celebration of a festive meet- 
ing at the country residence, in Dumfriesshire, of his friend Mr. NicoU of 
the High School ; and lastly, that noblest of all his ballads, To Mary in 
Heaven, This celebrated poem was, it is on all hands admitted, composed 
• by Bums in September 1789, on the anniversary of the day on which he 
heard of the deatli of his early love, Mary Campbell ; but Mr. Cromek 
has thought fit to dress up the story with circumstances which did not oc- 
cur. Mrs. Bums, the only person who could appeal to personal recollec- 
tion on tliis occasion, and whose recollections of all circumstances con- 
nected with the history of her husbancfs poems, are represented as being 
remarkably distinct and vivid, gives what may at first appear a more pro- 
saic edition of the history. * According to her. Burns spent that day, 
though labouring under cold, in the usual work of his harvest, and appa- 
rently in excellent spirits. But us the twilight deepened, he appeared to 
grow ** very sad about something," and at length wandered out into the 
bam-yard, to which his wife, in her anxiety for his health, followed him, 
entreating him in vain to observe tliat frost had set in, and to return 
to the fireside. On being again and again requested to do so, he always 
promised compliance — but still remained where he was, striding up and 
down slowly, and contemplating the sky, which was singularly clear and 
starry. At last Mrs. Burns found him stretched on a mass of straw, with 
his eyes fixed on a beautiful planet ** that shone like another moon ;" and 
prevailed on him to come in. He immediately on entering the house, called 
lor his desk, and wrote exactly as they now stand, with all the ease of one 
copying from memory, the sublime and pathetic verses — 

*^ Thou lingering star with lessening ray. 

That lovest to greet the early mom. 
Again thou usher*st in the day 

Aly Mary from my soul was torn. 
O Alary, dear departed shade. 

Where is thy place of blissful rest ; 
See*st thou tliy lover lowly laid, 

nearest thou the groans tliat rend his breast ?^ &c 

The Motlierg Lament for her Son^ and Inscription in an Hermitage m 

Ntthidale^ were also written this year. From the time when Bums settled 

> himself in Dumfriesshire, he appears to have conducted with much care 

tlie extensive correspondence in wliich his celebrity had engaged him. The 

* I owe thfte particulars to Af r. 9I*Diannid, the ibk editor of die Oumfrin Courier, wofi 
^ Imnher of -die Umepled author of ^^ Lives of British StateamcD*"* 





Ixxxu LTtfi OF ROftfiRT BURNS. 

letters that passed between him and his brother Gilbert, afe amottg the 
most precious of the collection. That the brothers had entire knowledge 
of and confidence in each other, no one can doubt ; and the plain mamjr 
affectionate language in which they both write, is truly honourable to them^ 
and to the parents that reared them. << Dear Brother," writes Gilbert, 
January Ist, 1789, *< I have just finished my new-year*s-day breakfast in 
the usual form, which naturally makes me call to mind the days of former 
years, and the society in which we used to begin them ; and when I look 
at our family vicissitudes, * through the dark postern of time lonff elapsed,' 
I cannot help remarking to you, my dear brother, how good &e God of 
seasons is to us ; and that, however some clouds may seem to lour over 
the portion of time before us, we have great reason to hope that all will 
turn out well." 

It was on the same new-year*s-day that Bums himself addressed to Mrs. ^ 
Dunlop a letter, part of which is here transcribed. It is dated EUieslandy 
New-year-day morning, 1789, and certainly cannot be read too oflen :— 
** This, dear Madam, is a morning of wishes, and would to God that I 
came under the apostle Jameses description ! — the prayer rf a righteous man 
availeth much. In that case, madam, you should welcome in a year full a£ 
blessings ; every thing that obstructs or disturbs tranquillity and self-enjoy« 
ment, should be removed, and every pleasure that frail humanity can taste, 
should be yours. I own myself so little a Presbyterian, that I approve of 
set times and seasons of more than ordinary acts of devotion, for breaking 
in on that habituated routine of life and thought, which is so apt to reduce 
our existence to a kind of instinct, or even sometimes, and with some minds, 
to a state very little superior to mere machinery. This day, — the first 
Sunday of May, — a breezy, blue-skyed moon sometime about the begin- 
ning, and a hoary morning and calm sunny day about the end of autumn ; 
these, time out of mind, have been with me a kind of holiday. 

*< I believe I owe this to that glorious paper in the Spectator, ' The 
Vision of Mirza ;* a piece that struck my young fancy before I was capable 
of fixing an idea to a word of three syllables : * On the 5th day of the moon, 
which, according to the custom of my forefathers, I always heq) hofyy afVer 
having washed myself, and offered up my morning devotions, I ascended 
the high hill of Bagdat, in order to pass the rest of the day in meditation 
and prayer.' We know nothing, or next to nothing, of the substance or 
structure of our souls, so cannot account for those seeming caprices in 
them, that one should be particularly pleased with this thing, or struck 
with that, which, on minds of a different cast, makes no extraordinary im- 
pression. I have some favourite flowers in spring, among which are the 
mountain-daisy, the hare-bell, the fox-glove, the wild brier-rose, the bud- 
ding-birch, and the hoary hawthorn, that I view and hang over with par- 
ticular delight. 1 never hear the loud, solitary whistle of the curlew in a 
summer noon, or the wild mixing cadence of a troop of grey plover, in an 
autumnal morning, without feeling an elevation of soul like the enthusiasm 
of devotion or poetry. Tell me, my dear friend, to what can this be ow- 
ing ? Are we a piece of machinery, which, like the ^olian harp, passive, 
takes the impression of the passing accident ? Or do these workings argue 
something within us above the trodden clod ? I own myself partial to such 
proofs of those awful and important realities — a God that made all things 
-—man's immaterial and immortal nature--and a world of weal or woe be^ 
yond death and the ^ve." 

LIFE OP ROBEtlT hVR^S. kxxiit 

Pew, it is to be hoped, can read such things as these without delight ; 
Hone, surely, that taste the elevated pleasure they are calculated to in- 
qiire, can turn from tliem to the well-known issue of Bums*s history, with- 
out being afflicted. The '* golden days'* of Elliesland, as Dr. Currie justly 
Cidls them, were not destined to be many. Burns's farming speculations 
once more failed ; and he himself seems to have been aware that such was 
likely to be the case ere he had given the business many months* trial ; for, 
ere the autumn of 1788 was over, he applied to his patron, Mr. Graham of 
Fintray, for actual employment as an exciseman, and was accordingly ap- 
pointed to do duty, in that capacity, in the district where his lands were 
situated. His income, as a revenue ofHccr, was at first only £35 ; it by 
and by rose to VbO ; and sometimes was £70. These pounds were hardly 
tuned, since the duties of his new calling necessarily withdrew him very 
often from the farm, which needed his utmost attention, and exposed him, 
which was still worse, to innumerable temptations of the kind he was lease 
Bkely to resist 

I have now the satisfaction of prescntipg the reader with some particu- 
lars of this part of Hurns's history, derived from a source which every 
lover of Scotland and Scottisli poetry must be prepared to hear mentioned 
with respect. It happened that at the time when our poet went to Niths- 
dale, the father of Mr. Allan Cunningham was steward on the estate of 
Dalswinton : he was, as all who have read the writings of his sons will 
readily believe, a man of remarkable talents and attainments : he was a 
wise and good man ; a devout admirer of Burns's genius ; and one of those 
sober neighbours who in vain strove, by advice and warning, to arrest the 
poet in the downhill path, towards which a thousand seductions were per- 
petually drawing him. Mr. Allan Cunningliani was, of course, almost a 
child when he first saw Burns ; but, in what he has to say on this subject, 
we may be sure we are hearing the substance of his benevolent and saga- 
cious father's observations and reflections. His own boyish recollections 
of the poet*s personal appearance and demeanour will, however, be read 
with interest. •' I was very young," says Allan Cunningham, " when I 
first saw Bums. He came to see my father ; and their conversation turned 
partly on farming, partly on poetry, in both of which my father had taste 
and skill. Burns had just come to Nithsdale ; and I think he appeared a 
shade more swarthy tlian he does in Nasmytlf s picture, and at least ten years 
older tlian he really was at the time, liis face was deeply marked by 
thoUlght, and the habitual expression intensely melancholy. His frame was 
very muscular and well proportioned, though he had a short neck, and 
something of a ploughman's stoop : he was strong, and proud of his strength. 
I saw him one evening match himself with a number of masons ; and out 
of (ive-and-twenty practised hands, the most vigorous young men in tlie 
parish, there was only one that could lift the same weight as Bums. He 
liad a very manly face, and a very melancholy look ; but on the coming of 
those he esteemed, his looks brightened up, and his whole face beamed 
witli affection and genius. His voice was very musical. I once heard 
him read Tarn o Shunter. I think I hear him now. His fine manly voice 
followed all the undulations of the sense, and expressed as well as his ge- 
nius had done, the pathos and humour, the horrible and the awful, of that 
wonderful performance. As a man feels, so will he write ; and in propor- 
tion as he sympatliizes with his author, so will he read him with grace and 

'. .' 

\%x%lt Ut& OP ROBfiRT BUttyS. 

*< I said tliat Durns and my fatlicr conversed about poetry and ftrtnmg. 
The poet had newly taken possession of his farm of ElHesland,— tlie maMtii 
were busy building his house, — the applause of tlie world was with hiro« 
and a little of its money in his pocket* — in short, he had found a resting** 
place at last. He spoke with great delight about the excellence of hii 
farm, and particularly about the beauty of the situation. * Yes,* my father 
Raid, < the walks on the river bank are fine, and you will see fVom your win* 
dows some miles of the Nith; but you will also see several farms of fine 
rich Ao/m, * any one o£ which you might have had. You have made a' 
poet's choice, rather than a former's.' If Burns had much of a farmer's 
skill, he had little of a farmer's prudence and economy. I once inquired 
of James Corrie, a sagacious old farmer, whose ground marched with Ellieo* 
land, the cause of the poet's failure. * Faith,' said he, * how could he miia 
but fall, when his servants ate the bread as fast as it was baked ? I doa*i 
mean figuratively, I mean literally, ('onsider a little. At that time cloit 
economy was necessary to have enabled a man to clear twenty pounds a» 
year by ElHesland. Now, Burns's own handywork was out of the ques- 
tion ! he neither ploughed, nor sowed, nor reaped, at least like a hard- 
working farmer ; and then he had a bevy of servants i'rom Ayrshire. The 
lasses did nothing but bake bread, and the lads sat by the fireside, and ate 
it warm with ale. Waste of time and consumption o£ food would soon 
reach to twenty pounds a-year.' " 

** The truth of the cose," says Mr. Cunningham, in anotlier letter with 
which he has favoured me, " the truth is, that if Robert Burns liked hb 
thrm, it was more for tlie beauty of the situation than tor the labours which 
it demanded. He was too wayward to attend to the stated duties of a 
husbandman, and too impatient to wait till the ground returned in sain the 
cultivation he bestowed upon it. Tlie condition of a farmer, a Nithsdale 
one, I mean, was then very humble. His one*story house hfid a covering 
of straw, and a clay floor; the furniture wos from the hands of a country 
carpenter ; and, between the roof and floor, there seldom intervened a 
smoother ceiling than of rough rods and grassy turf — while a huge lang-settle 
of black oak for himself, and a carved arm>chair for his wife, were the only 
matters out of keeping with the homely looks of his residence. He took 
all his meals in his own kitchen, and presided regularly among his children 
and domestics. He performed family worship every evening.-^^xcept dur« 
tng the hurry of harvest, when that duty was perhaps limited to Saturday 
night. A few religious books, two or three favourite poets, the history of 
his country, and his Bible, oided him in forming the minds and manners of 
the family. To domestic education, Scotland owes as much as to the care 
of her clergy, and the excellence of her parish schools. 

** The picture out of doors was less interesting, 'llie ground from which 
the farmer sought support, was generally in a very moderate state of culti- 
vation. Tlie implements with which he tilled his land were primitive and 
clumsy, and his own knowledge of the management of crops exceedingly 
limited. He plodded on in the regular slothful routine of his ancestors ; 
he rooted out no bushes, he dug up no stones ; he drained not, neither did 
he enclose ; and weeds obtained their full share of the dung and the lime, 
which he bestowed more like a medicine than a meal on bis soil. His 
plough was the rude old Scotch one ; his harrows had as often teeth of 

* //o/iff in fist, rich meadow land, intervening between s ttream and the gencnU tltVillMl 


wtM M of iron ; his carts were heavy and low-wheeled, or were, more 
properly speaking, tunibler*carts, so called to distinguish them from trail* 
eartii both of which were in common use. On these rude carriages his 
Muiiire was taken to the field, and his crop brought home. The farmer 
kbnself corresponded in all respects with his imperfect instruments. His 
poverty secured him from risking costly experiments ; and his hatred of 
aifiOYaUon made him entrench himself behind a breast-work of old maxims 
and rustic saws, which he interpreted as oracles delivered against improve^ 
memL With ground in such condition, with tools so unHt, and with know- 
ledge so imperfect, he sometimes succeeded in wringing a few hundred 
pounds ScoU from the fumi lie occupied. Such was generally the state of 
agriculture when Burns came to Nithsdale. I know not how far his own 
skill was equal to the task of improvement — his trial was short and unfor- 
tunate. An important chnnge soon took place, by which he was not fated 
to profit ; he had not the ibresi<;ht to see its approach, nor, probably, the 
fortitude to await its coming. 

*• In the year 1790, much of the ground in Nithsdale was leased at seven, 
and ten, and fifleen shillings per acre ; and the fumier« in his person and 
his house, differed little from the peasants and mechanics around him. He 
would have thought Ifis daughter wedded in her degree, had she married a 
joiner or a mason ; and at kirk or market, all men beneath the rank of a 
•• portioner" of the soil mingled together, equals in appearance and impor- 
tance. But the war which soon commenced, gave a decided impulse to 
agriculture : the army and navy consumed largely : corn rose in demand ; 
die price augmented ; more land was called into cultivation : and, as leases 
expired, the proprietors improved the grounds, built better houses, enlarg- 
etl the rents ; and the farmer was soon borne on the wings of sudden wealth 
Aore his original condition. His house obtained a slated roof, sash-windows, 
csrpeted floors, plasteVed walls, and even began to exchange the hanks of 

Gm with which it was formerly hung, for paintings and |iiunofortes. He 
d aside his coat of home-made cloth ; he retired from his seat among his 
servants ; he — I am grieved to mention it — gave up family worship as a 
thing unfashionable, and became a kind of rmticef€tUlr$nun, who rode a blood 
horse, and galloped home on market nights at the peril of his own neck, and 
to the terror of every modest pedestrian. When a change like this took 
place, and a farmer could, with a do/.en year^^* industry, be able to purchase 
the land he rented — which many were, and many did — the same, or a still 
wort profitable cliange might have happened with res|>ect to Elliesland ; 
and Bums, had he stuck by his lease and his plough, would, in all human 
possibility, have found the independence which he sought, and sought in 
vain, from the coldness and parsimony of mankind.'* 

Mr. Cunningham sums up his reminiscences of Burns at KHiesland in 
these terms : — '•'• During the prosperity of his farn^, my father oftan said 
tiMit Bums conducted himself wisely, and like one anxious for his name as 
a nan, and his fame as a poet. He went to Dunscore Kirk on Sunday, 
tkoagh he expressed oflener than once his dislike to the stem Calvinism of 
that strict old divine, Mr. Kirkpatrick ; — he assisted in forming a reading 
dub ; and at weddings and house-heatings, and kirns, and other scenes of fes- 
tivity, he was a welcome guest, universally liked by the young and the old. 
But the failure of his farming projects, and the limited income with which 
be was compelled to support an increasing family and an expensive station 
in lifei preyed on his spirits ; and, during these fits of despair, he was will* 


ing too often to become the companion of the thoughtless and tlie gross. I 
am grieved to say, that besides leaving the book too much for the bowl, 
and grave and wise friends for lewd and reckless companions, he was also 
in the occasional practice of composing songs, in which he surpassed the 
licentiousness, as well as the wit and humour, of the old Scottish muse. 
These have unfortunately found their way to tlie press, and I am afraid 
they cannot be recalled. In conclusion, I may say, that few men have had 
so much of the poet about them, and few poets so much of the man ; — the 
man was probably less pure than he ougl\]t to have been, but the poet wai 
pure and bright to the last." 

The reader must be sufficiently prepared to hear, that from the time 
when he entered on his excise duties, the poet more and more neglected 
the concerns of his farm. Occasionally, he might be seen holding the 
plough, an exercise in which he excelled, and was proud of excelling, or 
stalking down his furrows, with tlie white sheet of grain wrapt about him, 
a " tenty seedsman ;'* but he was more commonly occupied in far different 
pursuits. *' I am now,'* says he, in one of his letters, '< a poor rascally 
ganger, condemned to gallop two hundred miles every week, to inspect 
dirty ponds and yeasty barrels." Both in verse and in prose he has recorded 
the feelings with which he first followed his new vocation. His jests on 
the subject are uniformly bitter. '' 1 have the same consolation," he telle 
Mr Ainslie, ** which I once heard a recruiting sergeant give to his audi- 
ence in the streets of Kilmarnock : ' Gentlemen, for your farther encourage- 
ment, I can assure you that ours is the most blackguard corps under the 
crown, and, consequently, with us an honest fellow has the surest chance 
of preferment.* " On one occasion, however, he takes a higher tone. " lliere 
is a certain stigma," says he to Bishop Geddes, ** in the name of Excise- 
man ; but I do not intend to borrow honour from any profession :" — whidl 
may perhaps remind the reader of Gibbon's lofly language, on finally quit- 
ting the learned and polished circles of London and Paris, for his Swiss re* 
tirement : <* I am too modest, or too proud, to rate my value by that of 
my associates." 

Bums, in his perpetual perambulations over the moors of Dumfriesshire, 
had every temptation to encounter, which bodily fatigue, the blandishments 
of hosts and hostesses, and the habitual manners of those who acted along 
with him in the duties of the excise, could present. He was, moreover, 
wherever he went, exposed to perils of his own, by the reputation which 
he had earned as a poet, and by his extraordinary powers of entertairnneni 
in conversation. From the castle to the cottage, every door flew open at 
his approach ; and the old system of hospitality, Uien flourishing, rendered 
it difficult for the most soberly inclined guest to rise from any man*8 board 
in the same trim that he sat down to it. The farmer, if Burns was seen 
passing, left his reapers, and trotted by the side of Jenny Geddes, until 
he could persuade the bard that the day was hot enough to demand an 
extra-libation. If he entered an inn at midnight, after all the inmates 
were in bed, the news of liis arrival circulated from the cellar to the garret; 
and ere ten minutes had elapsed, the landlord and ^ his guests were as- 
sembled round tlie ingle ; the largest punch-bowl was produced ; and 

'^ Be ours this night — who knows what comes to-morrow ?** 

was the language of every eye in the circle that welcomed him. The 
stateliest gentry of the county, whenever they had especial merriment in 


view, called in the wit and eloquence of Burns to enliven their carousals.* 
The famous song of The Whittle qf^ xcoriJi commemorates a scene of this 
Idndy more picturesque in some o^ its circumstances than every day oc- 
curred, yet strictly in character with the usual tenor of life among this jo- 
vial Bqmrtarcky. Three gentlemen of ancient descent, had met to deter- 
mine, by a solemn drinking match, who should possess tJie WhUtle, which 
a common ancestor of them all had earned ages before, in a Bacchanalian 
contest o£ the same sort with a noble toper from Denmark ; and the poet 
was summoned to watch over and celebrate the issue of the debate. 

^^ Then up roM the bard like a prophet in drink, 
Crai^jdarroch shall soar when creation xhall sink ; 
But i( thou would*Kt flourifJ) immortal in rhyme. 
Come, one bottle more, and have at the subume.** 

Kor, as has already been hinted, was he safe from temptations of this kind, 
«ven when he was at home, and most disposed to enjoy in quiet the socie- 
ty €£ his wife and children. Lion-gazers from all quarters beset him ; they 
and drank at his cost, and oden went away to criticise him and his 
as if they had done Bums and his black boiol f great honour in con- 
descending to be entertained for a single evening, with such company and 
such liquor. 

We have on record various glimpses of him, as he appeared while he 
was half-farmer, half-exciseman ; and some of these present him in atti- 
tudes and aspects, on which it would be pleasing to dwell. For example, 
tile circumstances under which the verses on The wounded Hare were 
written, are mentioned generally by the poet himself. James Thomson, 
■cm of the occupier of a farm adjoining Elliesland, told Allan Cunningham, 
that it was he who wounded the animal. <' Burns,'* said this person, <* was 
in the custom, when at home, of strolling by himself in the twilight every 
evening, along the Nith, and by the march between his land and ours. 
The hares often came and nibbled our wheat braird ; and once, in the 
gloaming, — it was in April, — I got a shot at one, and wounded her : she ran 
Ueeding by Burns, who was pacing up and down by himself, not far from 
nie. He started, and with a bitter curse, ordered me out of his sight, or 
he would throw me instantly into the Nith. And had I stayed. 111 war* 
rant he would have been as good as his word — though I was both young 
and strong." 

Among otlier curious travellers who found their way about this time to 
Elliesland, was Captain Grose, the celebrated antiquarian, whom Bums 
briefly describes as 

'^ A fine fat fodgel wight — 
Of stature short, but genius bright ;** 

and who has painted his own portrait, both with pen and pencil, at full 
length, in his OUo. This gentleman's taste and pursuits are ludicrously set 
forth in the copy of verses — 

* These particulars are from a letter of Darid Macculloch, Esc^., who, being at this period 
a very young man, a nassionate admirer of Bums^ and a capital amger of manv of his serious 
foogs, used often, in nis enthusiasm, to accompany the poet on his profescionaJ excursions. 

-f Bums*s famous black punch-bowl, of Inverary marble, was the nuptial gift of Mr. Ar- 
BMur, his father-in-law, who himself fashioned it. After passing through many hands, it is 
in exoeilent keeping, that of Alexander Uastie, Esq. ox Londoii. 


^ Rmt, liMd o* Cakes and blither 8coU, 
Fhie Maidenkirk to John O'Oroata, 
A cfaield*s amang ye takxn* notet,** &c. 

and, iiUer aUa^ his love of port is not forgotten. Grose and Bums had too 
much in common, not to become great friends. The poet^s accurate know« 
kdge of Scottish phraseology and customs, was of great use to the re* 
searches of the humourous antiquarian ; and, above Hdl, it is to their ac- 
quaintance that we owe Tom o* Sftanier, Bums told die story as he had 
heard it in Ayrshire, in a letter to the Captain, and was easily persuaded 
to venify it. The poem was the work of one day ; and Mrs. Burns well re- 
members the circumstances. He spent most of the day on his favourite walk 
by the river, where, in the afternoon, slie joined him with some of her 
children. '< He was busily engaged croonitig to himM^ and Mrs. Bums 
perceiving that her presence was an interruption, loitered behind with her 
little ones among the broom. Her attention was presently attracted by the 
strange and wild gesticulations of the bard, who, now at some distance, 
was offonized with an ungovemable access of joy. He was reciting very 
loud, and with the tears rolling down his cheeks, those animated verses 
which he had just conceived : — 

" Now Tam ! O Tarn ! had thc^ been queans, 
A' plump and strappin' in their teens ; 
Their sarkit, instead of creeshie flannen. 
Been cnaw-white 9cventeen-hunder *linen, — 
Thir breeks o* mine, mv onlir pair. 
That aoce were plush o gooa blue hair, 
I wad hae ffi*en them ofT njy hiirdies. 
For M blink o* the bonnie burdiea !** f 

To the last Burns was of opinion that 7am o* Shanier was the best of 
all his productions ; and although it does not always happen that poet and 
public come to the same conclusion on such points, I believe the decision in 
question has been all but unanimously approved of. The admirable execu- 
tion of the piece, so far as it goes, leaves nothing to w-ish for ; the only cri« 
ticism has been, that the catastrophe appears unworthy of the preparation. 
Burns lays the scene of this renuu'kablc performance almost on the spot 
where he was bom ; and all the terrific circumstances by which he has 
marked the progress of Tam's midnight journey, are drawn ffom local tra« 

'^ Rv this time he was croM the ford 
>Vhare in the snaw the chapman smoor*d, 
And past the birks and meikle atane, 
Whare drucken Charlie brak's neck-bane ; 
And through the whins, and by the cairn, 
Whare hunter's fand the murdered bairn ; 
And near the thom, aboon the well, * 
Mliare 3Iungo*s mither hang*d herseU.** 

None of these tragic memoranda were derived from imagination. Nor was 
Tam o* Shanter himself an imaginary character. Shanter is a farm close 
to Kirkoswald's, that , smuggling village, in which Burns, when nineteen 
years old, studied mensuration, and <' first became acquainted with scenes 
of swaggering riot.*' 'i'he then occupier of Shanter, by name Douglas 

• '* The manufacturer's term for a fine linen, woven on a reed of 1 700 divisions.'*— CrwwrAr. 

+ The above is quoted from a MS. Journal of Cromek. Wr. M^Diarmid confirms the 
atatemcnt, and adds, that the poet, having committed the verses to writing on the top oi hit 
9oi»dyke over the water, came into the house, and read them immediate! v m high triumph at 
ths flffiklc 


GnJiame, was, by all accounts, equally what the Tarn Wtho poet appears, 
<— a jolly> careless, rustic, who took much more interest in the contrabanj 
traffic of the coast, than the rotation of crops. Burns knew the man well ; 
and to his dying day, he, nothing loath, passed among his rural compeersi 
hy the name of Tani o' Shanter. 

A few words will bring us to the close of Burns's career at Elliesland* 
Mr. Ramsay of Ochtcrtyre, happening to pass through Nithsdale in 1790, 
met Burns riding rapidly near Closeburn. The poet was obliged to pursue 
his professional journey, but sent on Mr. Ramsay and his fellow-traveller 
to Elliesland, where he joined them as soon as his duty permitted him, 
saying, as he entered, ** I come, to use the words of Shakspeare, ittetaed 
m haste.'* Mr^ Ramsay was " much pleased with his uxor «Sa/>im/ qvalii^ 
and his modest mansion, so unlike the habitation of ordinary rustics." 
The evening was spent delightfully. A gentleman of dry temperament, 
who looked in accidentally, soon partook the contagion, and sat listen* 
ing to Bums with the tears running over his cheeks. " Poor Burns!" says. 
Mr. Ramsay, ** from that time I met him no more.*' 

The summer after, some English travellers, calling at Elliesland, were 
told that the poet was walking by the river. They proceeded in search ot 
him, and presently, " on a rock that projected into the stream, they saw 
a man employed in angling, of a singular appearance. He had a cap made 
of a fox's skin on his head ; a loose great-coat, fastened round him by a 
belt, from which depended an enormous Highland broadsword. It was 
Burns. He received them with great cordiality, and asked them to share 
his humble dinner." These travellers also classed the evening they spent 
at Elliesland with the brightest of their lives. 

Towards the close of 1791, the poet, finally despairing of his farm, de- 
termined to give up his lease, which the kindness of his landlord rendered 
easy of arrangement ; and procuring an appointment to the Dumfries divi- 
sion, which raised his salary from the revenue to £10 per annuiti, removed 
his family to the county town, in which he terminated his days. His con- 
duct as an excise officer had hitherto met with uniform approbation ; and 
he nourished warm hopes of being promoted, when he had thus avowedly 
devoted himself altogether to the service. He lefl Elliesland, however, 
with a heavy heart. The affection of his neighbours was rekindled in all its 
early fervour by the thoughts of parting with him ; and the roup of his 
farming-stock and other effects, was, in spite of whisky, a very melancholy 
scene. The competition for his chatties was eager, each being anxious to 
secure a memorandum of Burns's residence among them. It is pleasing to 
know, that among other " titles manifold" to their respect and gratitude, 
Bums had superintended the formation of a subscription library in the parish. 
His letters to the booksellers on this subject do him much honour : his 
choice of authors (which business was naturally left to his discretion) being 
in the highest degree judicious. 8uch institutions are now common, almost 
universal, indeed, in all the rural districts of southern Scotland : but it 
should never be forgotten that Burns was among the first, if not the very 
first, to set the example. ** He was so good," says Mr. Riddel, " as to 
take the whole management of this concern ; he was treasurer, librarian, 
and censor, to our little society, who will long have a grateful sense of his 
public spirit, and exertions for their improvement and information." Once, 
and only once, did Burns quit his residence at Elliesland to revisit Edin- 
burgh. His object was* to close accounts with Creech j that business ac 



■ • 

oompUiIiedy he returned immediately, and he never again saw the cafntal. 
He that writes to Mrs. Dunlop : — «* To a man who has a home, however 
humble and remote, if that home is, like mine, the scene <^ domestic corn- 
forty the bustle of Edinburgh will soon be a business of sickening disgust-* 

^ Vain pomp and glor of the woild, I hate job !** 

** When I must skulk into a comer, lest the rattling equipage of some gsp- 
ing blockhead should mangle me in the mire, I am tempted to exclaim, 
what merits had he had, or what demerits have I had, m some state of 
pre*existence, tliat he is ushered into this state of being with the sceptre 
of rule, and the key of riches in his puny fist, and I kicked into the world, 
the sport of folly or the victim of pride • • • . oflen as I have glided with 
humble stealth through the pomp of Prince's Street, it lias suggested itself 
to me as an improvement on the present human figure, that a man, in pro* 
portion to his own conceit of his consequence in the world, could have 

Ched out the longitude of his common size, as a snail pushes out his 
ns, or as we draw out a perspective.** 


CoxTBNT<:. — It more beset in tnwn than eounfjy — Hig early hiographm^ {Dr, Citrrie m^ csw 
cepttd)^ hiive coloured too thtrkhj under that head — Ti i» not correct to *peak of the poei aa 
Mavinp mttk into a toper, or n solitary drinker^ or ofhi» rerel* an other than oecanonaU <rr of 
their having iHtrrftii-d tnth the puttctttat dischnrce of his rjjicinl dntiea — lie it thnwn to 
have. /xrrN the aJfectiuKO/e and ItKloced huf.handy nlt'iouyh pm^smp fJliet impnted ; and tho 
couttant and nuttt nsniduong instructor nf his ihildien — Inipulsts if the Frencft RewUutioH 
— StfMptoms fffratrrniziiin — The atttntion of h'>» rfUciaf superiors is called to them-^Prat- 
ticafly no blow is infiictrti^ only the bud name — fntereslinp details of this period^-^GittM hia 
whole sohl to tony tnaking-^Preftrenee in i/iat for his uativt dialect^ with the Other attauU 
mntfactt^ at to that portion of hit intmortul luyt. 

" The King** mo&t humble ftervant, I 
Can scarcely spare a minute; 
But I am yours nt dinner-time. 
Or else the devil's in it." • 

Tub four principal biographers of our poet, Heron, Currie, Walker, and 
Irving, concur in the general statement, that his moral course from the 
time when he settled in Dumfries, was downwards. Heron knew more of 
the matter personally than any of the others, and his words are these :— 
** In Dumfries his dissipation became still more deeply habitual. He was 
here exposed more than in the country, to be solicited to share the riot 
of the dissolute and the idle. Foolish young men, such as ^vriters* ap« 
jHrentices, young surgeons, .merchants' clerks, and his brother excise* 
Biien» flocked eagerly about him, and from time to time pressed him to 
drink with them, that they might enjoy his wicked wit. The Caledonian 
Club, too, and the Dumfries and Galloway Hunt, had occasional meet« 
ings in Dumfries after Burns came to reside there, and the poet was of 
course invited to share their hospitality, and hesitated not to accept the 
invitation. The morals of the town were, in consequence of its becom« 
ing so much the scene of public amusement, not a little corrupted, and 
though a husband and a father, Burns did not escape suffering by the gene- 
ral contamination, in a manner which I forbear to describe. In the inter- 
vals between his different fits of intemperance, he suffered the keenest an- 
guish of remorse and horribly afflictive foresight. His Jean behaved with 
a degree of maternal and conjugal tenderness and prudence, which made 
him feel more bitterly the evils of his misconduct, though they could not 
reclaim him." — This picture, dark as it is, wants some distressing shades 
that mingle in the parallel one by Dr. Currie ; it wants nothing, however, 
of which truth demands the insertion. That Burns, dissipated, ere he vent 
to Dumfries, became still more dissipated in a town, than he had been in 
the country, is certain, . It may also be true, that his wife had her own 

* '* The above answer to an Uivitation was written extempore on a leaf torn from his £x« 
OM-lwok.^CromeA-'j MSS ^ 


particular causofi, sometimes, for dissatisfaction. But that Bums ever sunk 
into a toper — that he ever was addicrtcd to solitary drinking — that his bot- 
tle ever interfered with his dischartrc of his duties as an exciseman— or 
that, in spite of some transitory follies, he ever ceased to be a most affec- 
tionate husband — all these charges have been insinuated — and they are all 
fnhe. His intemperance was, as Heron says, injits; his aberrations of all 
kinds were occasional, not systematic ; they were all to himself the sources 
of exquisite misery in the retrospect ; they were the aberrations of a man 
whose moral sense was never deadened ; — of one who encountered more 
temptations from without and from within, than the immense majority of 
mankind, far from having to contend against, are even able to imagine ; — 
of one, finally, who prayed ibr pardon, wliere alone eifectual pardon could 
be found ;— «nd who died ere he had reached that term of life up to which 
the passions of many, who, their mortal career being regarded as a whole, 
are honoured as among the most virtuous of mankind, have proved too 
strong for the control of reason. We have already seen that the poet was 
careful of decorum in all things during the brief space of his prosperity at 
Elliesland, and that he became less so on many points, as the prospects of 
his farming speculation darkened around him. It seems to be equally certain, 
that he entertained high hopes of promotion in the excise at the period of 
his removal to Dumfries ; and that the comparative recklessness of his 
later con^luct there, was consequent on a certain overclouding of these pro- 
fessional expectations. The case is brcKully stated so by Walker and Paul ; 
and there are hints to tlic same eifect in the Jiarrative of Currie. The 
statement has no doubt been exaggerated, but it has its foundation in truth ; 
and by the kindness of Mr. Train, supervisor at Castle Douglas in Gallo- 
way, I shall presently be enabled to give some details which may tlirow 
light on this business. 

Burns was much patronised when in Edinburgh by the Honourable Henry 
Erskine, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, and other leading Whigs of 
the place — much more so, to their honour be it said, than by any o\' the 
influential adherents of the then administration. His landlord at Ellies- 
land, Mr. Miller of Dalswinton, his neighbour. Mr. lliddel of Friars- Carse* 
and most of the other gentlemen who showed him special attention, belong- 
ed to the same political party ; and, on his removal to Dumfries, it so hap- 
pened, that some of his immediate superiors in the revenue service of the 
district, and other persons of standing authority, into whose society he was 
thrown, entertained sentiments of the siimc desqription. Burns, whenever 
in his letters he talks seriously of political matters, uniformly describes his 
early jacobitism as mere '' matter of fancy." It may, however, be easily 
believed, tliat a fancy like his, long indulged in dreams of that sort, was 
well prepared to pass into certain otlier dreams, which likewise involved 
feelings of dissatisfaction with '' the existing order of things." Many of 
the old elements of political disaffection in Scotland, put on a new shape at 
tlie outbreaking of Uie French Kevolution ; and Jacobites became half jaco- 
bins, ere they were at all aware in what the doctrines of jacobinism were 
to end. The Whigs naturally regarded the first dawn of freedom in France 
with feelings of sympathy, delight, exultation. The general, the all but 
universal tone of feeling was favourable to 'the first assailants of the Bour- 
bon despotism ; and there were few who more ardently participated in the 
general sentiment of the day than Burns. The revulsion of feeling that 
took place in this country at lar^, when wanton atrocities began to stain 


the course of the French Revolution, and Burke lifted his powerful voice^ 
was great. Scenes more painful at the time, and more so even now in the 
tetrospecty than had for generations afflicted Scotland, were the conse* 
quences of the rancour into which party feelings on both sides now rose and 
fermented. Old and dear ties of friendship were torn in sunder ; society 
was for a tiipe shaken to its centre. In the most extravagant dreams of 
the Jacobites there had always been much to command respect, high chi- 
valrous devotion, reverence for old affections, ancestral loyalty, and the 
generosity of romance. In the new species of hostility, every thing seemed 
mean as well as perilous ; it was scorned even more than hated. The very 
name stained whatever it came near ; and men that had known and loved 
each other from boyhood, stood aloof, if this influence intei*fe,red, as if it 
had been some loathsome pestilence. 

There was a great deal of stately Toryism at this time in the town of 
Dumfries, which was the favourite winter retreat of many of the best gen- 
tlemen's families of the south of Scotland. Feelings that worked more 
violently in Edinburgh than 'in London, acquired additional energy stiil, in 
this provincial capital. All men's eyes were upon Burns. He was the 
standing marvel of the place ; his toasts, his jokes, his epigrams, his songs, 
were tlie daily food of conversation and scandal ; and he, open and care- 
less, and thinking he did no great harm in saying and singing what many 
of his superiors had not the least objection to hear and applaud, soon be- 
gan to be considered among the local admirers and disciples of King George 
the Third and his minister, as the most dangerous of all the apostles of se- 
dition, — and to be shunned accordingly. ^ 

The records of the Excise-Office are silent concerning the suspicions 
which the Commissioners of the time certainly took up in regard to Burnt 
as a political offender — according to the phraseology of the tempestuous 
period, a democrat. In that department, as then conducted, I am assured 
that nothing could have been more unlike the usual course of things, than 
that one syllable should have been set down in writing on such a subject, 
unless the case had been one of extremities. That an inquiry was insti- 
tuted, we know from Burns's own letters — but what the exact termination 
of the inquiry was, will never, in all probability, be ascertained. Accord- 
ing to the tradition of the neighbourhood. Burns, inter alia, gave great of- 
fence by demurring in a large mixed company to the proposed toast, •* the 
health of William Pitt ;*' and left tlie room in indignation, because the so- 
ciety rejected what he wished to substitute, namely, " the health of a 
greater and a better man, George Washington." 1 suppose the warmest 
admirer of Mr. Pitt's talents and politics would hardly venture now-a-days 
to dissent substantially from Burns's estimate of the comparative merits of 
tliese two great men. The name of Washington, at all events, when con- 
temporary passions shall have finally sunk into the peace of the grave, will 
unquestionably have its place in the first rank of heroic virtue, — a station 
which demands the exhibition of victory pure and unstained over tempta- 
tions and trials extraordinary, in kind as well as strength. But at the time 
when Bums, being a servant of Mr. Pitt's government, was guilty of this 
indiscretion, it is obvious that a great deal ** more was meant than reached 
the car." In the poet's own correspondence, we have traces of another oc- 
currence of the same sort. Bums thus writes to a gentleman at whose 
table he had dined the day before : — ** I was, I know, drunk last night, but 
I am sober this morning. From the expressions Captain ■ ■■ ■ made use 

*ȴ L1F2 0? ROBERT BURN*S. 

of to me, liad I had nobody's welfare to care for but my own, we should 
certftbly have come, according to the manner of the world, to the necet- 
fity of murdering one another about the busincts* The words were such 
as generai]y> I believe, end in a brace of pistols ; but J am still pleased to 
think that I did not ruin the peace and welfare of a wife and children in 
a drunken squabble. Farther, you know that the report of certain political 
opinions being mine; has already once before brought me to the brink of 
destruction. I dread last night's business may be interpreted in the same 
way. You, I beg, will take care to prevent it. I tax your wish for Mrs. 
Bums*s welfare with the task of waiting on every gentleman who was pre- 
lent to state this to him ; and, as you ple&se, show this letter. What, af- 
ter all, was the obnoxious toast ? May our success in the present war be equal 
to the justice of our cause — a toast that the most outrageous frenzy of loyalty 
cannot object to." — Bums, no question, was guilty o£ unpoliteness as well 
as indiscretion, in offering any such toasts as these in mixed company ; but 
that such toasts should have been considered as attaching any grave sus- 
picion to his character as a loyal subject, is a circumstance which can only 
be accounted for by reference to the exaggerated state of political feelings 
on all matters, and among all descriptions of men, at that melancholy pe- 
riod of disaffection, distrust, and disunion. Who, at any other period than 
that lamentable time, would ever have dreamed of erecting the drinking* 
or declining to drink, the health of a particular minister, or the approving, 
or disapproving, of a particular measure of government, into the test of a 
man's loyalty ^to his King ? 

Burns, eager of temper, loud of tone, and wiUi declamation and sarcasm 
equally at command, was, we may easily believe, the most hated of human 
beings, because the most dreaded, among the provincial champions of the 
administration of which he thought fit to disapprove. But that he ever, in 
his most ardent moods, upheld the principles of those whose applause of 
the French Revolution was but the mask of revolutionary designs at home, 
afler these principles had been really developed by those that maintained 
them, and understood by him, it may be saJfely denied. There is not, in 
all his correspondence, one syllable to give countenance to such a charge. 
His indiscretion, however, did not always confine itself to words ; and 
though an incident now about to be recorded, belongs to the year 1792» 
before the French war broke out, there is reason to believe that it formed 
the main subject of the inquiry which the Excise Commissioners thought 
* themselves called upon to institute touching the politics of our poet. 

At that period a great deal of contraband traffic, chiefly from the Isle of 
Man, was going on along the coasts of Galloway and A)Tshirc, and the 
whole o£ the revenue officers from Gretna to Dumfries, were placed under 
the orders of a superintendent residing in Annan, who exerted himself 
zealously in intercepting the descent of the smuggling vessels. On the 
27th o£ February, a suspicious-looking brig was discovered in the Solway 
Frith, and Burns was one of the party whom the superintendent conducted 
to watch her motions. She got into shallow water the day afterwards, and 
the officers were enabled to discover that her crew were numerous, armed, 
and not likely to yield without a struggle. Lewars, a brother exciseman, 
an intimate friend of our poet, was accordingly sent to Dumfries for a 
guard of dragoons ; the superintendent, Mr. Crawford, proceeded himself 
on a similar errand to Ecclefechan, and Bums was left witli some men un- 
der bis orders, to watch the brig, and prevent landing or escape. From 


dii private Journal of one of the excisemen, (now in my hands), it appeara 
that Bums manifested considerable impatience while thus occupied* being 
left for many hours in a wet salt-marsh, with a force which he knew to be 
inadequate for the purpose it was meant to fulfil. One of his oomradet 
liearing him abuse his firiend Lewars in particular, for being slow about his 
journey, the man answered, that he also wished the devil had him for bit 
paint, and that Bums, in the meantime, would do well to indite a song upon 
the sluggard : Bums said nothing ; but after taking a few strides by himself 
Ipnong the reeds and shingle, rejoined his party, and chanted to them thia 
well-known ditty : — 

** The de*a cam* flddline thro* tht town. 
And danced awa* wi* tne Exdaeman ; 
And ilk auld wife crjM, ^ Auld Mahoun, 

* We wiah you luck o* the prize, man. 

Cnoaua.— ^ Well mak* our maut^ and brew our drink, 
^ We*II dance and ting and rejoice, man ; 
* And monj thanks to the muckle black dt^ 
^ That danc*d awa* wi* the Exciseman. 

* There*s threesome reels, and foursome reels, 

* Thcre*8 hornpipes and strathspeys, man ; 

^ But the ae best dance e*er cam* to our Ian*, 
« Was the deil*s awa* wi* the Exciseman.* ** 

Lewars arrived shortly afterwards with his dragoons ; and Bums, putting 
himself at their head, waded, sword in hand, to the brig, and was the first to 
board her. The crew lost heart, and submitted, though their numbers were 
greater than those of the assailing force. The vessel was condemned, and, 
with all her arms and stores, sold by auction next day at Dumfries : upon 
which occasion Bums, whose behaviour had been highly commended, 
thought fit to purchase four carronades, by way of trophy. But his glee 
went a step farther ; — ^he sent the guns, with a letter, to the French Con- 
vention, requesting that body to accept of them as a mark of his admiration 
and respect, llie present, and its accompaniment, were intercepted at the 
custom-house at Dover ; and here, there appears to be little room to doubt, 
was the principal circumstance that drew on Bums the notice of his jealous 
superiors. We were not, it is true, at war with France ; but every one 
knew and felt that we were to be so ere long ; and nobody can pretend 
that Bums was not guilty, on this occasion, of a most absurd and presump- 
tuous breach of decorum. When he leamed the impression that had been 
created by his conduct, and its probable consequences, he wrote to his pa- 
tron, Mr. Graham of Fin tray, the following letter, dated December 1792 : 

« Sir,-*! have been surprised, confounded, and distracted by Mr. Mit- 
chell, the collector, telling me that he has received an order from your 
board to inquire into my political conduct, and blaming me as a person 
disaffected to government. Sir, you are a husband and a father. You 
know what you would feel to see the much-loved wife of your bosom, and 
your helpless, prattling little ones turned adrifl into the world, degraded 
and disgraced, from a situation in which they had been respectable and re- 
apected, and left almost without the necessary support of a miserable exist- 
ence. Alas ! Sir, must I think that such soon will be my lot ? and from the 
damned dark insinuations of hellish, groundless envy too ? I believe, Sir, I 
ipay aver it, and jn the sight of Omniscience, that I would pot tell a dcli« 

tevi LIFE OF tlOBERt fiUftNS. 

berate falsehood,* no, not though even worse horrors, if worse tan te» thin 
tliose I have mentioned, hung over my head. And I saj that the allega* 
lion, whatever villain has made it, is a lie. To the British ConstitutUMif 
on revolution principles, next, after my God, I am most devoutlv attach«d« 
You, Sir, have been much and generously my friencL Heaven knows how 
warmly I have felt the obligation, and how gratefully I have thanked you. 
Fortune, Sir, has made you powerful, and me impotent ; has given you pa- 
tronage, and me dependence. I would not, for my single self, call on your 
humanity : were such my insular, unconnected situation, I would disperse 
the tear that now swells in my eye ; I could brave misfortune ; I could fkoe 
ruin ; at the worst, < death's thousand doors stand open.' But, good God I 
the tender concerns tliat I have mentioned, the claims and ties that I see 
at Uiis moment, and feel around me, how they unnerve courage and wither 
resolution ! To your patronage, as a man of some genius, you have allowed 
me a claim ; and your esteem, as an honest man, I know is my due. To 
these, Sir, permit me to appeal. By these may I adjure you to save me 
from that misery which threatens to overwhelm nic ; and which, with my 
latest breath, I will say 1 have not deserved !'* 

On the 2d of January, (a week or two al tcrwards), we find him writing to 
Mrs, Dunlop in these terms : — *• Mr. C. can be of little service to me at 
present ; at least, 1 should be sliy of applying. I cannot probably be set- 
tled as a supervisor for several years. 1 n)ust wait tlie rotation of lists, 
&'C. Besides, some envious malicious devil has raised a little demur on my 
political principles, and I wish to let that niattcT settle before 1 offer my- 
self too much in tlie eye of my superiors. 1 have set henceforth a se;U on 
my lips, as to these unlucky politics ; but to you I must breailie my senti- 
ments. In this, as in every thing else, I shall show the undisguised emo- 
tions of my soul. War, 1 deprecate : misery and ruin to thousands arc in 
the blast that announces the destructive demon. But " 

" The remainder of this letter," says Cromek, " has been torn away by 
some barbarous hand.'' — There can be little doubt that it was torn away by 
one of the kindeot hands in the world, that of Mrs. Dunlop herself, and 
from the most praise-worth motive. 

The exact result of the Excise Board's investigation is hidden, as lias 
been said above, in obscurity ; nor is it at all likely that the cloud will be 
withdrawn hereafler. A general impression, however, appears to have 
gone forth, that the affair terminated in something which Burns himselt 
considered as tantamount to tlie destruction of all hope of future promo- 
tion in his profession ; and it has been insinuated by almost every one of 
his biographers, that the crushing of these hopes operated unhappily, even 
fatally, on the tone of his mind, and, in consequence, on the habits of his 
life. In a word, the early deatli of Bums has been (by implication at least) 
ascribed mainly to the circumstances in question. Even Sir Walter Soott 
has distinctly intimated his acquiescence in this prevalent notion. *' The 
political predilections," says he, *' for they could hardly be termed princi- 
ples, of Bums, were entirely determined by his feelings. At his first ap- 
pearance, he felt, or affected, a propensity to Jacobitism. Indeed, a youth 
of his warm imagination in Scotland thirty years ago, could hardly esci^ 
. this bias. The side of Charles Edward was that, not surely of sound sense 
and sober reason, but of romantic gallantry and high achievement. The 
inadequacy of the means by which that prince attempted to regain the 
oroim forfeited by his fathers; the Strang and ahnost poetical adventurai 


which he underwent, — the Scottish martial character, honoured hi hit vic^ 
tories, and degraded and crushed in his defeat, — the tales of the veterana 
who had followed his adventurous standard, were all calculated to impreei 
upon the mind of a poet a warm interest in the cause of the House of 
Stuart. Yet the impression was not of a very serious cast ; for Bums him** 
self acknowledges in one of his letters, (Reliques, p. 240), that * to tell 
the matter of fact, except when my passions were heated by some acci- 
dental cause, my Jacobitism was merely by way of vive la bagaJtdle,* The 
same enthusiastic ardour of disposition swayed Burns in his choice of poli- 
tical tenets, when the country was agitated by revolutionary principles. 
That the poet should have chosen the side on which high talents were 
most likely to procure celebrity ; that he to whom the fastidious distinc- 
tions of society were aln-ays odious, should have listened with complin 
tence to the voice of French philosophy, which denounced them as Usui^ 
{Mitions on the rights of man, was precisely the thing to be expected. Yet 
we cannot but think, that if his superiors in the Excise department htti 
tried the experiment of soothing rather than irritating his feelings, ihejr 
might have spared themselves the disgrace of rendering desperate the pos- 
sessor of such uncommon talents. For it is btU too certain^ that from tht 
moment his hopes of promotion were utterly blasted, his tendency to dii- 
sipation hurried him precipitately into those excesses which shortened hit 
life. We doubt not, that in that awful period of national discord, he had 
done and said enough to deter, in ordinary cases, the servants of govera- 
nent from countenancing an avowed partizan of faction. But this partizatt 
was Bums ! Surely the experiment of lenity might have been tried, and 
perhaps successfully. The conduct of Mr. Graham of Fintray, our poet*t 
only shield against actual dismission and consequent ruin, reflects the high- 
est credit on that gentleman." 

In the general strain of sentiment in this passage, who can refuse to 
concur ? but I am bound to say, that after a careful examination of all the 
documents, printed and MS., to which I have had access, I have great 
doubts as to some of the principal facts assumed in this eloquent state- 
ment« I have before me, for example, a letter of Mr. Findlater, formerly 
Collector at Glasgow, who was, at the period in question, Bums*s imme- 
diate superior in the Dumfries district, in which that very respectable per- 
son distinctly says : — " 1 may venture to assert, that when Bums was ac- 
cused of a leaning to democracy, and an inquiry into his conduct took 
place, he was subjected, in consequence thereof, to no more than perhant 
n verbal or private caution to be more circumspect in future. Neither do 
I believe his promotion was thereby affected, as has been stated. That, 
liad he lived, would, I have every reason to think, have gone on in thfe 
Wioal routine. His good and steady friend Mr. Graham would have attended 
to this. What cause, therefore, was there for depression of spirits on thift 
Mconnt ? or how should he have been hurried thereby to a premature 
grave ? /never saw his spirit fail till he was borne down by the pressure 
of disease and bodily weakness ; and even then it would occasionally revitc^ 
vnd like an expiring lamp, emit bright flashes to the last." 

When the war had fairly broken out, a battalion of volunteers was fbrm- 
«d in Dumfries, and Burns was an original member of the corps. It it 
Ycry true that his accession was objected to by some of his neighboura ; 
tet these were over- ruled by the gentlemen who took the lead in the huA^ 
IMtty Md the poet toon became^ as might have been espected^ the gfMl^ 


est pogsible fkvoarite with his brothers in arms. His cotniiilUiding offid6r» 
Colonel De Pejrster, attests his zealous discharge of his duties as a mem* 
ber of the corps ; and their attachment to him was on the increase to the 
last. He was their laureate, and in that capacity did more good service to 
the government of the country, at a crisis of the darkest aJarm and dan- 
ger, than perhaps any one person of his rank and station, with the ex* 
ception of Dibdin, had the power or the inclination to render. << Bums,** 
says Allan Cunningham, *< was a zealous lover of his country, and has 

stamped his patriotic feelings in many a lasting verse }lis poor and 

Jtonesi Sodger laid hold at once on the public feeling, and it was everr* 
where sung with an enthusiasm which only began to abate when Campbell's 
£xile of Erin and Wounded Hussar were published. Dumfries, whidi 
sent so many of her sons to the wars, rung with it from port to port ; and 
the poet, wherever he went, heard it echoing from house and hall. I wish 
this exquisite and useful song, with SeoU wha hoe wC < Wailace bUdy — the 
Song of DeaJthy and Dots luiugJUy Gaul Invasion Threaty — all lyrics which 
enforce a love of country, and a martial enthusiasm into men's breasts, had 
obtained some reward for the poet. His perishable conversation was re* 
membered by the rich to his prejudice — his imperishable lyrics were re- 
warded only by the admiration and tears of his fellow peasants." 

Lastly, whatever the rebuke of the Excise Board amounted to— (Mr. 
James Gray, at that time schoolmaster in Dumfries, and seeing ;nuch of 
Bums both as the teacher of his children, and as a personal friend and as- 
sociate of literary taste and talent, is the only person who gives any thing 
like an exact statement : and according to him. Bums was admonished 
** that it was his business to act, not to think") — in whatever language the 
censure was clothed, the Excise Board did nothing from which Bums had 
any cause to suppose that his hopes of ultimate promotion were extinguish- 
ed. Nay, if he had taken up such a notion, rightly or erroneously, Mr. 
Findlater, who had him constantly under his eye, and who enjoyed all hit 
confidence, and who enjoyed then, as he still enjoys, the utmost confidence 
of the Board, must have known the fact to be so. Such, I cannot help 
thinking, is the fair view of the case : at all events, we know that Burns, 
the year before he died, was permitted to oc^ as a Supervisor; a thing not 
likely to have occurred had there been any resolution against promoting 
him in his proper order to a permanent situation of that superior rank. 

On the whole, then, I am of opinion that the Excise Board have been 
dealt with harshly, when men of eminence have talked of their conduct to 
Burns as affixing disgrace to them. It appears that Bums, being guiltT 
unquestionably of great indiscretion and indeconun both of word and deed» 
was admonished in a private manner, that at such a period of national dis- 
traction, it behoved a public. officer, gifted with talents and necessarily with 
influence like his, very carefully to abstain from conduct which, now that 
passions have had time to cool, no sane man will say became his situation : 
that Bums's subsequent conduct effaced the unfavourable impression create 
ed in the minds of his superiors ; and that he had begun to taste the fruits 
of their recovered approbation and confidence, ere his career was closed by 
illness and death. These Commissioners of Excise were themselves sub* 
ordinate officers of the govemment, and strictly responsible for those un* 
der them. That they did try the experiment of lenity to a certain extent, 
mppeaan to be made, out ; that they could have been justified in trying it to a 
ftrtber extent, is at the least doubtfuL But with regard to the govenuneot 


ti the cdttntry itself, I must say I think it is much more di£ScuIt to defend 
them. Mr. Pitt's ministry gave Dibdin a pension of iS200 a-year for writ- 
ing his Sea Songs ; and one cannot help remembering, that when Bums did 
begin to excite the ardour and patriotism of his countrymen by such songn 
as Mr. Cunningham has been alluding to, there were persons who had 
every opportunity of representing to the Premier the claims of a greater 
than Dibdin. Lenity, indulgence, to whatever length carried in such 
quarters as these, would have been at once safe and graceful. What the 
minor politicians of the day thought of Burns*s poetry I know not ; but 
Mr. Pitt himself appreciated it as highly as any man. << I can think of 
no verse," said the great Minister, when Burns was no more — " I can think 
of no verse since Shakspeare*s, that has so much the appearance of com- 
ing sweetly from nature." * 

Had Bums put forth some newspaper squibs upon Lepaiix or Camot, or 
a smart pamphlet " On the State of the Country," he might have been 
more attended to in his lifetime. It is common to say, '* what is every- 
body's business is nobody's business ;" but one may be pardoned for think- 
ing that in snch cases as this, that which the general voice of the countiy 
does admit to be everybody's business, comes in fact to be the business of 
those whom the«nation intrusts with national concerns. 

To return to Sir Walter Scott's reviewal — it seems that he has some* 
what overstated the political indiscretions of which Burns was actuallj 
guilty. Let us hear the counter-statement of Mr. Gray, f who, as has al- 
ready been mentioned, enjoyed Burns*s intimacy and confidence during his 
residence in Dumfries. — No one who ever knew anything of that excellent 
man, will for a moment suspect him of giving any other than what he be- 
lieves to be true. 

** Bums (says he) was enthusiastically fond of liberty, and a lover of the 
popular part of our constitution ; but he saw and admired the just and de- 
licate proportions of the political fabric, and nothing could be farther from 
his aim than to level with the dust the venerable pile reared by the labours 
and the wisdom of ages. That provision of the constitution, however, by 
which it is made to contain a self-correcting principle, obtained no incon- 
siderable share of his admiration : he was, therefore, a zealous advocate of 
constitutional reform. The necessity of tliis he often supported in conver- 
sation with all the energy of an irresistible eloquence ; but there is no evi- 
dence that he ever went farther. He was a member of no political club. 
At the time when, in certain societies, the mad cry of revolution was rais- 
ed from one end of the kingdom to the other, his voice was never heard in 
their debates, nor did he ever support their opinions in writing, or corre- 
spond with' them in any form whatever. Though limited to an income 
which any other man would have considered poverty, he refused £50 a- 
year offered to him for a weekly article, by the proprietors of an opposition 
paper ; and two reasons, equally honourable to him, induced him to reject 
this proposaL His independent spirit spumed indignantly the idea of be- 

* I am assured. that Mr. Pitt used these words at the table of the Ute Loid liveipoolt 
soon after Bums's death. How that event might come to be a mUund topic of oooveisatioa 
aitfaat table, will be seen in the sequeL 

-t* Mr. Gray removed from the school of Dumixies to the High School of Edinbuxgfat in 
whidi eminent seminary he for many years laboured with distinguished success. He then be- 
cnM Pro fe ssor of Latin in the Institution at Belfast ; he afterwards entoed into holy atdtn^ 
and died a few years since in the £ast Indiesi u offidatiDg chapLUn to thft CompsDj ia itm 
wrwnAmtT oif IWadfiii 


coming the hireling of a party ; and whatever may have been lus opinioii 
of the men and measures that then prevailed, he did not think tt right to 
fetter the operatlonn of that government by which he was employed*** 

The satcment about tl)e newspaper, refers to Mr. Perry of the Morning 
Chronicle, who, at the suggestion of Mr. Miller of Dalswinton, made the 
proposal referred to, and received for answer a letter which mav be seen 
jn the General Correspondence of our poet, and the tenor of which is in 
Accordance with what Mr. Gray has said. Mr. Perry afterwards pressed 
Bums to settle in London as a regular writer for his paper, and the poet 
declined to do so, alleging that, however small, his Excise appointment 
was a certainty, which, in justice to his family, he could not think of aban • 
doning. * 

Burns, after the Excise inquiry, took care, no doubt, to avoid similar 
■crapes ; but be had no reluctance to meddle largely and zealously in the 
squabbles of county politics and contested elections ; and thus, by merely 
•spousing, on all occasions, the cause of the Whig candidates, kept up very 
•ffectually the spleen which the Tories had originally conceived on tolera* 
bly legitimate grounds. One of the most celebrated of these effusions wal 
written on a desperately contested election for the Dumfries district of 
boroughs, between Sir James Johnstone of Westerhall, and Mr. Miller th« 
younger of Dalswinton ; Burns, of course, maintaining the caulb of hii pa* 
tron*8 family. Tliere is much humour in it : — 



1. There were five carlinci in the south, thejr fell upon a scheme^ 
To send a Isd to Lunnun town to bring them tidings hune, 
Nor only bring them tidings hame, but do their errands there. 
And aiblins gowd and honour baith might be that laddie*t thtft. 

2. There was Maggy by the banks o* Nith, f a dame w* ptide entii|li« 
And Manor} o' the Monylodis, ± a carline auld and teugh ; 

And blinkin Bess o* Annandale, § that dwelt near 8olway-dde, 

t. To fend a lad to Lunnun town, they met upon a day. 

And many a knu^ht and mony a laird their errand fain wad gae. 

But nae ane could their fancy please ; O ne*er a ane but tway. 

i. The firrt he was a belted knight, ** bred o* a border dan. 
And he wad gae to Limnun town, might nae man him withatan% 
And he wad do their errands wcel, and meikle he wad say. 
And ilka ane at Lunnun court would bid to him gude day. 

bk Hie next came in a sodger youths -ff and spak wi* modest gnwe, 
And he wad gae to Lunnun town, if sae their pleasure wai ; 
He wadna hecht them courtlv gifts, nor meikle speodi pretend. 
But he wad hecht an honest neart, wad ne*er desert a friend. 

8. Now, wham to chooiie and wham refuse, at strife thir omUbcs Mf 
For some had gentle folks to please, and some wad please thtmseD. 

7> Then out spak mim-mou*d Meg o* Nith, and she spak up wi* pride^ 
^\nd she wad send tlie soducr youth, whatever might bedde ; 
For the auld guidman o* Lunnun Xt ^o^^ "he didna cate s pin ; 
But she wad send the sodger youth to greet his eldest son. jg 

* This li stated on the authority of Major Miller. 

iDanMei. ± Lacfamaben. i Amum. KlihiiittlMb 

taqubtr. ^ *• Sir J. Johnstooe. tt MiAw MIto, 

^ Oforge HI. 9S The WncfSr WflS. 


i. Thm vp cmrang Ben e* Annandale, and a deadly atth abe*i t«Mi, 
Tliat aha wad vota the border knight, though aha should Tote htr lana ; 
y«r far-aff fowli hae feathers flur> and foou o* change are fain { 
Bui I haa tried the border knight, and Fll try him yet again. 

9. 8aja bUek Joan frae Crichton PeeU a cariine stoor and gpm^ 
The auld guidman, and the young guidman, for mc may sink or awim ; 
For Ibola will freat o* right or wning, while knaven laugh them to aeon ; 
But tbf iodgey*a irienda nae blawn the beat, so he ahaU bear the horn. 

lA. Then whisky Jean apak ower her drink. Ye weel ken. kimmen a*. 
The auld guidman o* Lunnun court, he*a backus been at toe wa* i 
And mony a friend that kiss*t his cup, i» now a freroit wight, 
But it*8 ne*er be said o* whisky Jean— 1*11 send the border knight. 

11. Then slow raise Marjory o* the liochs, and wrinkled waa her brow, _ ^ 

Her ancient weed wan rusi^t ^y, her auld Scots bluid was true ; ' *" 

There*s some great folkH bet hght by me, — 1 set aa light by them ; 
But I will sen to Lunnun toun wham 1 like best at name. 

19. Sae how this weighty plea may end, nae mortal wight con tell, 
God grant the King and ilka man may look weel to himselL 

The above is far the best humoured of these productions. The election 
to which it refers was carried in Major Miller's favour, but afler a levert 
contest, and at a very heavy expense. 

These political conflicts .were not to be mingled in with impunity by the 
chosen laureate, wit, and orator of the district. lie himself, in an uopub^ 
liahed piece, speaks of the terror excited by 

" _— — Rumii*s venom, when 

He dipH in gall unniix*d his eager pen. 

And iH)urs his vengeance in the burning line;** 

and represents his victims, on one of these electioneering occasions, ai 
leading a choral shout that 

^^ . He for Ins heresies in church and state, 

flight richly merit .Muii*:t and Palmer's late.** 

But what rendered him more and more the object of aversion to one set of 
people, was sure to connect him more strongly with the passions^ and, un« 
fortunately for himself and ior us, witli the pleasures of the other ; and wo 
have, among many confessions to the same purpose, the following, which I 
quote as the shortest, in one of the poet's letters from Dumfries to Mrs. 
Dunlon. •* I am better, but not quite free of my complaint (he refers to 
the palpitation of heart.) You must not think, us you seem to insinuate* 
that in my way of life I want exercise. Of that I have enough ; but occa* 
sional hard drmking is the devil to me.** He knew well what he was doing 
whenever he mingled in such debaucheries : he had, long ere this, describ* 
ed himself as parting <* with a slice of his constitution" every time he waa 
guilty of such excess. 

This brings us back to a subject on which it can give no one pleasure to 

•* Dr. Currie," says Gilbert Burns, " knowing the events of the latter 
years of rov brother's life, only from the reports which had been propagat* 
ed, and thinking it necessary, lest the candour of his work should be called 
in question, to state the substance of these reports, has given a very exag* 
geratedTiew of the failings of my brother's life at that period, which is cer- 
tainly to be regretted.** — •* 1 love Dr. Currie,'* says tlie Rev. James Gray, 
already more than once referred to, but I love tlie memory of Burns more* 


and no consideration shall deter me from a bold declaration of the truth* 
The poet of Tke CoUars Saturday Nighi, who felt all the charms of the 
hmnble piety and virtue which he sung, is charged, (in Dr. Currie's Nar« 
ntive), with vices which would reduce him to a level with the most degrad- 
ed of his species. As I knew him during that period of his life emphati- 
cally called his evil days, lam enabled to speak from my cvm cbservatUnu 
It is not my intention to extenuate his errors, because they were combined 
with genius ; on that account, they were only the mate dangerous, be- 
cause the more seductive, and deserve the more severe reprehension ; but 
I shall likewise claim that nothing may be said in malice even against him. 
It came under my own view professionally, that he superin- 
tended the education of his children with a degree of care that I have ne- 
ver seen surpassed by any parent in any rank of life whatever. In the bo- 
som of his family he spent many a delightful hour in directing the studies 
of his eldest son, a boy of uncommon talents. I have frequently found him 
explaining to this youth, then not more tlian nine years of age, the Eng- 
lish poets, from Shakspeare to Gray, or storing his mind with, examples of 
heroic virtue, as they live in the pages of our most celebrated English his* 
torians. I would ask any person of common candour, if employments like . 
these are consistent with habitual drunkenness ? 

** It is not denied that he sometimes mingled with society unworthy of him. 
He was of a social and convivial nature. He was courted by all classes of 
men for the fascinating powers of his conversation, but over his social scene 
uncontrolled passion never presided. Over the social bowl, his wit flashed 
for hours together, penetrating whatever it struck, like the fire from hea- 
ven ; but even in the hour of thoughtless gaity and merriment, 1 never 
knew it tainted by indecency. It was playful or caustic by turns, foUow* 
ing an allusion through all its windings ; astonishing by its rapidity, or . 
amusing by its wild originality, and grotesque, yet natural combinations, 
but never, within my observation, disgusting by its grossness. In his 
morning hours, I never saw him like one suffering from the effects of last 
night*s intemperance. He appeared then clear and unclouded. He was 
the eloquent advocate of humanity, justice, and political freedom. From 
his paintings, virtue appeared more lovely, and piety assumed a more ce- 
lestial mien. While his keen eye was pregnant with fancy and feeling, 
and his voice attuned to die very passion which he wished to communicate, 
it would hardly have been possible to conceive any being more interesting 
and delightful. 1 may likewise add, that to the very end of his life, reading 
was his &vourite amusement. I have never known any man so intimately 
acquainted with the elegant English authors. He seemed to have the 
poets by heart. The prose authors he could quote either in their own 
words, or clothe their ideas in language more beautiful than their own. 
Nor was there ever any decay in any ot* the powers of his mind. To the 
last day of his life, his judgment, his memory, his imagination, were fresh 
and vigorous, as when he composed T/te Cottars Saturday Night. The 
truth is, that Bums was seldom intoxicated. The drunkard soon becomes 
besotted, and is shunned even by the convivial. Had he been so, he could 
not long have continued the idol of every party. It will be freely confes- 
sed, that the hour of enjoyment was often prolonged beyond the limit 
marked by prudence ; but what man will venture to affirm, that in situa- 
tions where he was conscious of giving so much pleasiure^ he could at all 
times have listened to her voice ? 


^ The men with whom he generally associated, were not of the West 
order. He nmnbered among his intimate friends, manj of the most respec- 
table inhabitants of Dumfries and the vicinity. Several of those were at* 
tadied to him by ties that the hand (^calumny, busy as it was, could ne- 
▼er snap asunder. They admired the poet for his genius, and loved the 
nan for the candour, generosity, and kindness of his nature. His early 
friends clung to him through good and bad report, with a zeal and fidelity 
that prove their disbelief of the malicious stories circulated to his disad- 
vant^e. Among them were some of the most distinguished characters in 
this country, and not a few females, eminent for delicacy, taste, and genius. 
They were proud of his friendship, and cherished him to the last moment 
of his existence. He was endeared to them even by his misfortunes, and 
they still retain for his memory that affectionate veneration which virtue 
alone inspires.'* 

Part of Mr. Gray*s letter is omitted, only because it touches on subjects, 
as to which Mr. Findlater's statement must be considered as of not merely 
sufficient, but the very highest authority. 

** My connexion with Robert Bums," says that most respectable man, 
** commenced immediately after his admission into the Excise, and con- 
tinued to the hour of his death. * In all that time, the superintendence of 
his behaviour, as an officer of the revenue, was a branch of my especial pro- 
vince, and it may be supposed that I would not be an inattentive observer 
of the general conduct of a man and a poet, so celebrated by his country- 
men. In the former capacity, he was exemplary in his attention ; and 
was even jealous of the least imputation on his vigilance : as a proof of 
which, it may not be foreign to the subject to quote a part of a letter from 
him to myself, in a case of only seeming inattention. — *■ I know. Sir, and re- 
gret deeply, that this business glances with a malign aspect on my charac- 
ter as an officer ; but, as I am really innocent in the affair, and as the gentle- 
man is known to be an illicit dealer, and particularly as this is the single in- 
stance of the least shadow of carelessnes or impropriety in my conduct as 
an officer, I shall be peculiarly unfortunate if my character shall fall a sa- 
crifice to the dark manoeuvres of a smuggler.' — This of itself affords more 
than a presumption of his attention to business, as it cannot be supposed he 
would have written in such a style to me, but from the impulse of a consci- 
ous rectitude in this department of his duty. Indeed, it was not till near 
the latter end of his days that there was any falling off in this respect ; and 
this was amply accounted for in the pressure of disease and accumulating 
infirmities. 1 will further avow, that 1 never saw him, which was very fre- 
quently while he lived at EUiesland, and still more so, almost every day, 
after he removed to Dumfries, but in hours of business he was quite him- 
self, and capable of discharging the duties of his office ; nor was he ever 
known to drink by himself, or seen to indulge in the use of liquor in a fore- 
noon. ... 1 have seen Bums in all his various phases, in his convivial 
moments, in his sober moods, and in the bosom of his family ; indeed, I 
believe I saw. more of him than any other individual had occasion to see, 
after he became an Excise officer, and I never beheld any thing like the 
gross enormities with which he is now charged : That when set down in 
an evening with a few friends whom he liked, he was apt to prolong the 
social hour beyond the bounds wh.ich prudence would dictate, is unques* 

* 31r. FindUtcr watched by Bums the night before he died. 


, #Hnbla t but in hit ftmily, I will renture to say, he wis newei leim other* 
wise than attentive and affectionate to a high degree.*' 
• These statements are entitled to every consideration : they come flt>ni 
men altogether incapable, for any pjirpose, of wilfully stating that which 
they know to be untrue. 

To whatever Bums*s excesses amounted, they were, it is obvious, and 
that frequently, the subject of rebuke and remonstrance even from his own 
dearest friends. That such reprimands should have been received at times 
with a strange mixture of remorse and indignation, none that have consi- 
dered the nervous susceptibility and haughtiness of Bums's character can 
hear with surprise. But this was only when the good advice was oral. No 
one knew better than he how to answer the written homilies of such per- 
sons as were most likely to take the freedom of admonishing him on points 
of such delicacy ; nor is there any thing in all his correspondence more 
amusing than his reply to a certain solemn lecture of William NicoU. . • 
** O thou, wisest among the wise, meridian blaze of prudence, full moon 
of discretion, and chief of many counsellors ! how infinitely is thy puddle* 
h/saded, rattle-headed, wrong-headed, round-headed slave indebted to thy 
supereminent goodness, that from the luminous path of thy own right-lined 
rectitude thou lookest benignly down on an erring wretch, of whom the 
zig-zag wanderings defy all the powers of calculation, from the simple co- 
pulation of units, up to the hidden mysteries of fluxions ! May one feeble 
ray of that light of wisdom which darts from thy sensorium, straight as the 
arrow of heaven, and bright as the meteor of inspiration, may it be my 
portion, so that I may be less unworthy of the face and favour of that fa- 
ther of proverbs and master of maxims, that antipod of folly, and magnet 
among the sages, the wise and witty Willy NicoU ! Amen ! amen ! Yea, 
so be it! 
• ** For me ! I am a beast, a reptile, and know nothing !" &c. &c. &c. 

To how many that have moralized over the life and death of Burns, 
might not such a Tu quogue be addressed ! 

The strongest argument in favour of those who denounce the statements 
of Heron, Currie, and their fellow biographers, concerning the habits of the 
poet, during the latter years of his career, as culpably and egregiously ex- 
aggerated, still remains to be considered. On the whole, Burns gave sa- 
tii&ction by his manner of executing the duties of his station in the reve- 
nue service ; he, moreover, as Mr. Gray tells us, (and upon this ground 
Mr. Gray could not possibly be mistaken), took a lively interest in the edu- 
cation of his children, and spent more hours in their private tuition than 
fathers who have more leisure than his excisemanship lefl him, are often 
in the custom of so bestowing. — <* He was a kind and attentive father, and 
took p^^ delight in spending his evenings in the cultivation of the minds 
of his diJBdren. Their education was the grand object of his life, and he 
did not, like most parents, think it sufficient to send them to public schoois ; 
he was their private instructor, and even at that early age, bestowed great 
pains in training their minds to habits of thought and reflection, and in 
keeping them pure from every fofm of vice. This he considered ah a sa- 
cred duty, and never, to the period of his last ilhiess, relaxed in his dili- 
gence. With his eldest son, a boy of not more than nine years of age, he 
had read many of the favourite poets, and some of the best historians in 
our language ; and what is more remarkable, gave him considerable aid in 
ahe study of Latm. This boy attended the Grammar School of Dumfries, 


wi scan attracted mv notice by the strengUi of his talents and tlie 
of his ambition. Before he had been a year at school^ I thought it ri^it 
to advance him a form, and he began to read Caesar, and gave me transla^ 
lions pf that author of such beauty as I confess surprised me. On inquiryt 
I found that his father made him turn over his dictionary, till he was able 
to translate to him the passage in such a way that he could gather the au* 
tbor*8 meaning, and that it was to him he owed that polished and forcible 
English with which I was so greatly struck. I have mentioned this inci«» 
dent merely to show what minute attention he |)aid to this important 
branch of parental duty." * Lastly, although to all men*s regret he wrote* 
afler his removal to Dumfriesshire, only one poetical piece of considerabla 
length, ( Tarn o* ShaiUer)^ his epistolary correspondence, and his songs to 
Johnson^s Museum, and to the collection of Mr. (leorge Thomson, furnish 
undeniable proof that, in whatever Jits of dissipation lie unhappily indulge 
ed, he never could possibly have sunk into any thing like that habitual 
grossness of manners and sottish degradation of mind, which the writers in 
question have not hesitated to hold up to the commiseration o^ mankindi 

Of his letters written at Elliesland and Dumfries, nearly three octavo 
volumes have been already printed by Currie and Cromek ; and it would 
be easy to swell the collection to double this extent. Enough, however, 
has been published to enable every reader to judge for himself of the cha- 
racter of Burns*s style of epistolary composition. The severest criticism 
bestowed on it has been, that it is too elaborate — that, however natural 
the feelings, the expression is frequently more studied and artificial than 
belongs to that species of composition. Be this remark altogether just in 
point of taste, or otherwise, the fact on which it is founded, fumishea 
strength to our present position. The poet produced in these years a great 
body of elaborate prose- writing. 

We have already had occasion to notice some of his contributions to 
Johnson's Museum. He continued to the last month of his life to take a 
lively interest in that work ; and besides writing for it some dozens of ex- 
cellent original songs, his diligence in collecting ancient pieces hitherto 
unpublished, and his taste and skill in eking out fragments, were largely, 
and most happily exerted, all along, for its benefit. Mr. Cromek saw 
among Johnson's papers, no fewer than 184 of the pieces which enter into 
the collection, in Burns's handwriting. 

His connexion with the more important work of Mr. Thomson commenc- 
ed in September 1792 ; and Mr. Gray justly says, that whoever considers 
his correspondence with the editor, and the collection itself, must be satis- 
fied, that from that time till the commencement of his last illness, not 
many days ever passed over his head without the production of some new 
stanzas mr its pages. Besides old materials, for the most part embellished 
with lines, if not verses of his own, and a whole body of hints, suggestions, 
and criticisms, Bums gave Mr. Thomson about sixty original songs. The 
songs in this collection are by many eminent critics placed decidedly at 
the head of all our poet's performances : it is by none disputed that very 
many of them are worthy of his most felicitous inspiration. He bestowed 
much more care on them than on his contributions to the Museum ; and 
the taste and feeling of the editor secured the work against any intrusions 
of that over-warm element which was too apt to mingle in his amatory ef- 

• Letter fTom the Rev. Jamet Qnj to Mr. Gilbert Bumi. See his Edition, voL J. Ap^ 
pcndix, Nob ▼. 



iriiionf. Burns knew that he was now engaged on a work destined for the 
ejre and ear of refinement ; he laboured throughout, under the salutary feel- 
iogf '< virginibiis puerisque canto ;" and the consequences have been hap- 
pr indeed for his own fame — for the literary taste, and the national music, 
of Scotland ; and, what is of far higher importance, the moral and national 
feelings of his countrymen. 

In almost all these productions — certainly in all that deserve to be placed 
in the first rank of his compositions — Burns made use of his native dialect. 
He did so, too, in opposition to the advice of almost all the lettered cor- 
respondents he had — more especially of Dr. Moore, who, in his own novels, 
never ventured on more than a few casual specimens of Scottish colloquy 
—following therein the example of his illustrious predecessor Smollett ; 
and not foreseeing that a triumph over English prejudice, which Smollett 
might have achieved, had he pleased to make the effort, was destined to be 
the prize of Bums*s perseverance in obeying the dictates of native taste 
and judgment. Our poet received such suggestions, for the most part, in 
silence — not choosing to argue with others on a matter which concerned 
only his own feelings ; but in writing to Mr. Tliomson, he had no occasion 
either to conceal or disguise his sentiments. ** These English songs," 
says he, " gravel me to death. 1 have not that command of the language 
that I have of my native tongue ;"* and again, " so miich for namby* 
pamby. I may, after all, try my hand at it in Scots verse. There I am al- 
ways most at home." f — He, besides, would have considered it as a sort of 
national crime to do any thing that must tend to divorce the music of his 
native land from her peculiar idiom. The " genius loci" was never wor- 
shipped more fervently than by Burns. *< I am such an enthusiast," says 
he, ** that in the course of my several peregrinations through Scotland, I 
made a pilgrimage to the individual spot from which every song took its 
rise, Lodiaber and the Braes ofBallenden excepted. So far as the locality, 
either from the title of the air or the tenor of the song, could be ascer- 
tained, I have paid my devotions at the particular shrine of every Scottish 
Muse." With such feelings, he was not likely to touch with an irreverent 
hand the old fabric of our uational song, or to meditate a lyrical revolution 
for the pleasure of strangers. ♦* There is," says he, J " a naivete, a pas- 
toral simplicity in a slight intermixture of Scots words and phraseology, 
which is more in unison (at least to my taste, and I will add, to every ge- 
nuine Caledonian taste), with the simple pathos or rustic sprightliness of 
our native music, than any English verses whatever. One hint more let 
me give you : — Whatever Mr. Pleyel does, let him not alter one ioia of 
the original airs ; 1 mean in the song department ; but let our Scottish na- 
tional music preserve its native features. They are, I own, frequently 
wild and irreducible to the more modem rules ; but on that very eccentri- 
city, perhaps, depends a great part of their effect." § 

Of the delight with which Bums laboured for Mr. Thomson's Collection, 
his letters contain some lively descriptions. *< You cannot imagine," says 
he, 7th April 1793, *< how much this business has added to my enjoy- 
ments. What with my early attachment to ballads, your book and ballad- 

* Correfpondence with Mr. Thomson, jp. 111. + Ibid. p. 80. % Ibid. p. 88. 

§ It may amuse the reader to hear, that m spite of all Bums*a success in the use of his native 
didect, even an eminently spirited bookseller to whom the manuscript of Waverley was sub. 
mitted, hesitated for some time about pubtiabing it, on account of the Scots diabfae interwo* 
VCD ID the notel « 


ndking are now as completely my hobbyhorse as ever fortification 
Uncle Toby*8 ; so 111 e'en canter it away till I come to the limit of my 
race, (God grant I may take the right side of the winning-post), and theii» 
cheerfully looking back on the honest folks with whom I have been hap* 
py« I shall say or sing, * Sae merry as we a' hae been,* and raising my last 
looks to the whole human race, the last words of the voice of Cotla shaU 
be * Good night, and joy be wi' you, a*.* " * 

** Until I am complete master of a tune in my own singing, such as it is» 
I can never," says Burns, " compose for it. My way is this : I consider 
the poetic sentiment correspondent to my idea of the musical expressioot 
— then choose my theme, — compose one stanza. When that is composed^ 
which is generally the most difficult part of the business, I walk out, sit 
down now and then, — look out for objects in nature round me that are in 
unison or harmony with the cogitations of my fancy, and workings of my 
bosom, — humming every now and then the air, with the verses I have fram« 
ed. When I feel my muse beginning to jade, I retire to the solitary fire- 
side of my study, and there commit my effusions to paper ; swinging at in* 
tervals on the hind legs of ,my elbow-chair, by way of calling forth my own 
critical strictures, as my pen goes. Seriousl3% this, at home, is almost in^ 
variably my way. — What cursed egotism I" f 

In this correspondence with Mr. Thomson, and in Cromek's later publi- 
cation, the reader will find a world of interesting details about the particu- 
lar circumstances under which these immortal songs were severally writ- 
ten. They are all, or almost all, in fact, part and parcel of the poet's per- 
sonal history. No man ever made his muse more completely the compa- 
nion of his own individual life. A new flood of light has just been poured 
on the same subject, in Mr. Allan Cunningham's '* Collection of Scottish 
Songs ;*' unless, therefore, I were to transcribe volumes, and all popular 
Tolumes too, it is impossible to go into the details of this part of the poet*s 
history. The reader must be contented with a few general memoranda ; 

<« Do you think that the sober gin-horse routine of existence could in- 
spire a man with life, and love, and joy, — could fire him with enthusiasm, 
or melt him with pathos equal to the genius of your book ? No, no. W' hen- 
ever I want to be more tlian ordinary in song — to be in some degree equal 
to your divine airs — do you imagine I fast and pray for the celestial ema- 
nation ? Tout au cofUraire, 1 have a glorious recipe, the very one that for 
his own use was invented by the Divinity of healing and poetry, when erst 
he piped to the flocks of Admetus, — I put myself on a regimen of admir- 
ing a fine woman." % 

** I can assure you I was never more in earnest. — Conjugal love is a pas- 
sion which I deeply feel, and highly venerate ; but, somehow, it does not 
make such a figure in poesy as that other species of the passion, 

" Where love is liberty, and nature law." 

Musically speaking, the first is an instrument, of which the gamut is scanty 
and confined, but the tones inexpressibly sweet ; while the last has powers 
equal to all the intellectual modulations of the human soul. Still I am a 
very poet in my enthusiasm of the passion. The welfare and happiness of 
the beloved object is the first and inviolate sentiment that pervades my 

* Correspondence with Mr. Thomson, p. 57* f ^^^^- P* 119* t ^^^ P* 17^ 


tool ; and — ^whatever pleasures I might wish for, or whatever na>iiiret they 
might give me — yet, if they interfere with that first principle} it is having 
these pleasures at a dishonest price ; and justice forbids, and generosity 
disdains the purchase." * 

Of all Burns*s love songs, the best, in his own opinion, was that which 

*^ Vestreen I had a pint o* wine, 
A place where boay saw na*.** 

Mr. Cunningham says, ** if the poet thought so, I am sorry for it ;*' while 
the Reverend Hamilton Paul fully concurs in the author's own estimate df 

There is in the same collection a love song, which unites the sufiragesi 
and ever will do so, of all men. It has furnished Byron with a mottOi 
and Scott has said that that motto is " worth a thousand romances.*' 

*^ Hud we ne%*er loved sae kindly. 
Had we never loved nae hlindlj, 
Never met — or never parted, 
We had ne*er been broken-hearted.** 

There are traditions which connect Burns with the heroines of these be- 
witching songs. 

I envy no one the task of inquiring minutely in how far these traditions 
rest on the foundation of truth. They refer at worst to occasional errors. 
** Many insinuations," suys Mr. Gray, ** have been made against the poet*s 
character as a husband, but without the slightest proof; and I might pass 
from the charge with tliat neglect which it merits ; but* I am happy to say 
that I have in exculpation the direct evidence of Mrs. Bums herself, who, 
among many amiable and respectable qualities, ranks a veneration for the 
memory of her departed husband, whom she never names but in terms of 
the profoundest respect and the deepest regret, to lament his misfortunes, 
or to extol his kindnesses to herself, not as the momentary overflowings of 
the heart in a season of penitence ibr offences generously forgiven, but an 
habitual tenderness, which ended only with his life. I place this evidence, 
which I am proud to bring forward on her own authority, against a thou- 
sand anonymous calumnies." f 

Among the effusions, not amatory, which our poet contributed to Mr. 
T]iomson*8 Collection, the famous song of Bannockbum holds the first place. 
We have already seen in how lively a manner Burns*s feelings were kindled 
when he visited that glorious field. According to tradition, the tune play- 
ed when Bruce led his troops to the charge, was " Hey tuttie tattie ;" 
and it was humming this old air as he rode by himself through Glenken, a 
wild district in Galloway, during a tcrrilic storm of wind and rain, that the 
poet composed his immortal lyric in its first and noblest form. This is one 
more instance of his delight in the sterner aspects of nature. 

*' Come, winter, with thine angry howl. 
And raging bend the naked tree — *' 


** There is hardly," says he in one of his letters, ** there is scarcely any 
earthly object gives me more — I do not know if I should call it pleasure 

* Govrespandflnce with Mr. Thomion, n. 191. ^ ' "Lit 

t Letter In Oilben Banis*t Edidoo, vol L Apptsdix, p. 437. . ' . : ,,.?^ 


tIFfi OF ROfiERT fiOll.VS, cix 

—bat something which exalts me, sometliing which enraptures me — than 
to walk in the sheltered side of a wood in a cloudy winter day, and hear the 
stormy wind howling among the trees, and raving over the plain. It is mj 
best season for devotion : my mind is wrapt up in a kind of enthusiasm to 
iHwn, who, to use the pompous language of the Hebrew Bard, * walks on 
the wings of the wind.' " — To the laist, his best poetry was produced amidst 
scenes of solemn desolation. 



Cavtnnt.'^^Th%poef$ wnortal period approache$ — Hi$ peadiar ttrnperameni-^Sgw^iomi of 
prtmature old ago^-^Tkeot moi diminished by narrow eireunudaneeif by ckaprimfrom nepieett 
emd by the <Uatk of a Davyhter — The poet mieeeM pnblie patronaye : and even ihefairfrwie 
ofkU omn yeniu§~-4he apprf*priation ofwftieh i$ debated for the caeuiets who yielded to him 
merdy the aheil — Hie magnanimity when death ie at hand; hie interviewe, eonvert<UionM, 
mnd addreesu ae m dying man — Die§, SI«f July 1796 — Pnblie funend^ at whi^ many ai" 
tendf and amonyet the rett thefutttre Premier of England, who had tteadily refnaed to of- 
knowledge the poet, living—- Hie family munificently provided^ by the pmblie—Analyeis of 
eharaeter — Hie integrity, religious state, and genius'^ Strictures upon him and his writinga 
by Scott, Campbell, Byron, and others. 

^ I dread thee, Fate, relentless and severe, 
M'ith all a poet's, husband's, father's fear.** 

Wb are drawing near the close of this great poet*8 mortal career ; and I 
would fain hope the details of the last chapter may have prepared the hu- 
mane reader to contemplate it with sentiments of sorrow, pure and unde- 
based with any considerable intermixture of less genial feelings. 

For some years before Bums was lost to his country, it is sufficiently 
plain that he had been, on political grounds, on object of suspicion and dis- 
trust to a large portion of the population that had most opportimity of ob- 
serving him. Hie mean subalterns of party had, it is very easy to suppose^ 
delighted in decrying him on pretexts, good, bad, and indifferent, equally — 
to their superiors ; and hence, who will not willingly believe it? the tem- 
porary and local prevalence of those extravagantly injurious reports, the 
essence of which Dr. Currie, no doubt, thought it his duty, as a biographer, 
to extract and circulate. 

A gentleman of that county, whose name I have already more than once 
hid occasion to refer to, has often told me, that he was seldom more grie- 
ved, than when riding into Dumfries one fine summer *s evening, about this 
time, to attend a county ball, he saw Burns walking alone, on the shady 
aide of the principal street of the town, while the opposite side was gay 
with successive groups of gentlemen and ladies, all drawn together for the 
festivities of the night, not one of whom. appeared willing to recognize him* 
'l*he horseman dismounted and joined Bums, who, on his proposing to him 
to cross the street, said, '< Nay, nay, my young friend, — that's all over 
now ;" and quoted, after a pause, some verses of Lady Grizzel Baillie'a 
pathetic ballad, — 

** His bonnet stood ance fit' fidr oo his brow, 
Hbauld ane look*d better than monv ane's ntw; 
But now he lets't wear ony way it will hing. 
And casts himscU dowie upon the com-bing. 

LtfE OP ROBSRT fiURt^S.' «ki 

** O were we young, as we ance hte been, 
We tud hae been gidloping doun on ym greeny 
And linking it ower the li^white lea, — 
And werena my heart Ught I wad die,"* 

It was little in Burns^s character to let his feelings on certain subjects, es« 
cape in this fashion. He, immediately afler citing these verses, assumed 
the sprighUiness of his most pleasing manner ; and takjjpg his young friend 
home with him, entertained him very agreeably until the hour of the ball 
arrived, with a bowl of his usual potation, and Bonnie Jean*s singing of 
some verses which he had recently composed. 

The untimely death of one who, had he lived to any thing like the usual 
term of human existence, might have done so much to increase his fame 
as a poet, and to purify and dignify his character as a man, was, it is too 
probable, hastened by his own intemperances and imprudences: but it 
seems to be extremely improbable, that, even if his manhood had been a 
course of saintlike virtue in all respects, the irritable and nervous bodily 
constitution which he inherited from his father, shaken as it was by the 
toils and miseries of his ill-starred youth, could have sustained, to any 
thing like the psalmist's <* allotted span,'* the exhausting excitements of an 
intensely poetical temperament. Since the first pages of this narrative were 
sent to the press, I have heard from an old acquaintance of the bard, who 
oflen shared his bed with him at Mossgiel, that even at that early period, 
when intemperance assuredly had had nothing to do with the matter, those 
ominous symptoms of radical disorder in the digestive system, the *' palpi- 
tation and suffocation*' of which Gilbert speaks, were so regularly bis noc- 
turnal visitants, that it was his custom to have a great tub of cold water 
by his bedside, into which he usually plunged more than once in the coarse 
of the night, thereby procuring instant, though but shortlived relief. On 
a frame thus originally constructed, and thus early tried with most se- 
vere afflictions, external and internal, what must not have been, under any 
subsequent course of circumstances, the effect of that exquisite sensibi- 
hty of mind, but for which the world would never have heard any thing 
either of the sins, or the sorrows, or the poetry of Burns ! 

** The fates and characters of the rhyming tribe," * (thus writes the 
poet himself), '* oflen employ my thoughts when I am disposed to be me- 
lancholy. Tliere is not, among all the martyrologies that ever were pen* 
ned, so rueful a narrative as the lives of the poets. — In the comparative 
Tiew of wretches, the criterion is not wliat they are doomed to suffer, but 
how they are formed to bear. Take a being of our kind, give him a stronger 
imagination and a more delicate sensibility, which between tliem will ever 
engender a more ungovernable set of passions, than are the usual lot of 
man ; implant in him an irresistible impulse to some idle vagary, such as, 
arranging wild flowers in fantastical nosegays, tracing the grasshopper to 
his haunt by his chirping song, watching the frisks of the little minnows 
in the sunny pool, or hunting after the intrigues of butterflies — in short, 
send him adrifl after some pursuit which shall eternally mislead him from 
the paths of lucre, and yet curse him with .a keener relish than any man 
living for the pleasures that lucre can purchase ; lastly, fill up the measure 
of his woes by bestowing on him a spuming sense of his own dignity, and 
you have created a wight nearly as miserable as a poet" 

* Letter to Miss Chalmen in 1799. 


In these few short sentences, as it appears to me, Buims haS traced his own 
character far better than any one else has done it since — But with this lot 
what pleasures were not mingled ? — ** To you, Madam," he proceeds, " I 
need not recount the fairy pleasures the muse bestows to counterbalance 
this catalogue of evils. Bewitching poetry is like bewitching woman ; she 
hai in all ages been accused of misleading mankind from the counsels of 
wisdom and the paths of prudence, involving them in difficulties, baiting 
them with poverty, branding them with infamy, and plunging them in the 
whirling vortex of ruin ; yet, where is the man but must own that all our 
happiness on earth is not worthy the name — that even the holy hermit's 
solitary prospect of pardisiacal bliss is but the glitter of a northern sun» ris- 
tog over a frozen region, compared with the many pleasures, the nameless 
raptures, that we owe to the lovely Queen of the heart of man J" 

It is common to say of those who over-indulge themselves in material 
stimulants, that they live fast ; what wonder that the career of the poet's 
thick-coming fancies should, in the immense majority of cases, be rapid 

That Burns lived fast, in both senses of the phrase, we have abundant 
evidence from himself; and that the more earthly motion was somewhat ac- 
celerated as it approached the close, we may believe, without finding it at all 
necessary to mingle anger with our sorrow. << Even in his earliest poems/' 
•s Mr. Wordswortli says, in a beautiful passage of his letter to Mr. Gray, 
** through the veil of assumed habits and pretended qualities, enough of 
the real man appears to show, that he was conscious of sufficient cause to 
dread his own passions, and to bewail his errors ! We have rejected as false 
sometimes in the latter, and of necessity as false in the spirit, many of the 
testimonies that others have borne against him : — but, by his own hand — 
an words the import of which cannot be mistaken — it has been recorded 
that the order of his life but faintly corresponded with the clearness of his 
views. It is probable that he would have proved a still f^rcater poet if, by 
Strength of reason, he could have controlled the propensities which his sen- 
sibility engendered ; but he would have been a poet of a d liferent class : 
and certain it is, had that desirable restraint been eurly established, many 
peculiar beauties which enrich his verses could never have existed, and 
many accessary influences, which contribute greatly to their effect, would 
have been wanting. For instance, the momentous truth of the passage-— 

'^ One point must still be fi^eatly dark. 

The moring why they do it : 
And just as lamely can ye mark, 

How far perhaps they rue iu 

Then gently scan your brother man, 

Still genUier sister woman — 
Though they may gang a kennin* wrang s 

To step aside is human,*' 

Cduld not possibly have been conveyed with such pathetic force by any 
poet that ever lived, speaking in his own voice ; unless it were felt that, 
like Bums, he was a man who preached from the text of his own errors ; 
tnd whose wisdom, beautiful as a flower that might have risen from seed 
•own from above, was in fact a scion from the root of personal suffering." 

In how far the <* thoughtless follies" of the poet did actually hasten his 
end, it is needless to conjecture. They had their share, unquestionably, 
filong with other influences which it would be inhuman to dmucterise as 


mere fo]lie8--^uch, for example, as that general depression of spirits which 
haunted him from his youth, and, in all likelihood, sat more heavily on 
such a being as Burns than a man of plain common sense might guess,— or 
even a casual expression of discouraging tendency from uie persons on 
whose good-will all hopes of substantial advancement in the scale of world* 
ly promotion depended, — or that partial exclusion from the species ci so- 
ciety our poet had been accustomed to adorn and delight, which, from 
however inadequate causes, certainly did occur during some of the latter 
years of his life. — All such sorrows as these must have acted with twofold 
tyranny upon Burns ; harassing, in the first place, one of the most sensitive 
minds that ever filled a human bosom, and, alas ! by consequence, tempting 
to additional excesses. How he struggled against the tide of his miseiy, let 
the following letter speak. — It was written February 25, 1794, and addres- 
sed to Mr. Alexander Cunningham, an eccentric being, but generous and 
faithful in his friendship to Burns, and, when Burns was no more, to his 
family. — " Canst thou minister," says the poet, " to a mind diseased ? 
Canst thou speak peace and rest to a soul tost on a sea of troubles, without 
one friendly star to guide her course, and dreading that the next surge may 
overwhelm her ? Canst thou give to a frame, tremblingly alive as the tor- 
tures of suspense, the stability and hardihood of the rock that braves the 
blast ? If thou canst not do the least of these, why would'st thou disturb 
me in my miseries, with thy inquiries afler me ? For these two months I 
have not been able to lift a pen. My constitution and frame were ab ori* 
giney blasted with a deep incurable taint of hypochondria, whica poisons^ my 
existence. Of late a number of domestic vexations, and some pecuniary 
share in the ruin of these •♦♦•• times — losses which, though trifiing, were 
yet what I could ill bear, have so irritated me, that my feelings at times 
could only be envied by a reprobate spirit listening to the sentence that 
dooms it to perdition. Are you deep in the language of consolation ? I 
have exhausted in reflection every topic of comfort. A heart at ease would 
have been charmed with my sentiments and reasonings ; but as to myself, I 
was like Judas Iscariot preaching the gospel ; he might melt and mould 
the hearts of those around him^ but his own kept its native incorrigibility. 
Still there are two great pillars that bear us up, amid the wreck of misfor- 
tune and misery. The one is composed of the different modifications of a 
certain noble, stubborn something in man, known by tlie names of courage» 
fortitude, magnanimity. The other is made up o£ those feelings and sen- 
timents, which, however the sceptic may deny, or the enthusiast disfigure 
them, are yet, I am convinced, original and component parts of the human 
•oul ; those senses of the mindy if I may be allowed the expression, which 
connect us with, and link us to those awful obscure realities — an all-power- 
ful and equally beneficent God — and a world to come, beyond death and 
the grave. The first gives the nerve of combat, while a ray of hope beams 
on the field ; — the last pours the balm of comfort into the wounds which 
time can never cure. 

*< I do not remember, my dear Cunningham, that you and I ever talked 
on the subject of religion at all. I know some who laugh at it, as the trick 
of the crafty few, to lead the undisceming many ; or at most as an uncer* 
tain obscurity, which mankind can never know any thing of, and with which 
they are fools if they give themselves much to do. Nor would I quarrel 
with a man for his irreligion, any more than I would for his want of a mu- 

ileal oar. I would regret that be was shut out from what, to me and t9 


adT Ldte OP tl6fifiRT BUllKS. 

•dien, were such tuperlative sourcee of enjoyment. It is in tl^ point otneWi 
mnd for this reason, that I will deeply imbue the mind of every child of 
mine with religion. If my son should happen to be a man of feding, sen- 
timent, and taste, I shall tnus add largel;)r to his enjoyments. Let me flatter 
myself that this sweet little fellow irho is just now running about my desk, 
wUl be a man of a melting, ardent, glowing heart ; and an imagination, de* 
lighted with the (Nunter, and rapt with the poet. Let me figure him, 
wandering out in a sweet evening, to inhale the balmy gales, and enjoy the 
growing luxuriance of the spring ; himself the while in the blooming youth 
of life. He looks abroad on all nature, and through nature up to nature's 
God. His soul, by swifl, delighted degrees, is rapt above this sublunary 
sphere, until he can be silent no longer, and bursts out into the glorious 
enthusiasm of Thomson, 

^ Thflse, at thej change. Almighty Father, these 
Ate hut the Taried OocL — The rolling year 
la ftiU of Thee ;* 

and so on, in all the spirit and ardour of that charming hjrmn^^-These are 
no ideal pleasures ; they are real delights ; and I ask what of the delights 
among the sons of men are superior, not to say, equal to them? And they 
have this precious, vast addition, that conscious virtue stamps them for her 
own ; and lays hold on them to bring herself into the presence of a witness- 
ing, judging, and approving God." 

They who have been told that Burns was ever a degraded being — ^who 
have permitted themselves to believe that his only consolations were those 
of " the opiate guilt applies to grief,*' will do well to pause over this noble 
letter and judge for themselves. The enemy under which he was destined 
to sink, had already beaten in the outworks of his constitution when these 
lines were penned. The reader has already had occasion to observe, that 
Burns had in those closing years of his life to struggle almost continually 
with pecuniary difficulties, than which nothing could have been more like- 
ly to pour bitterness intolerable into the cup of his existence. His lively 
unagination exaggerated to itself every real evil ; and this among, and per- 
haps above, all the rest ; at least, in many of his letters we find hun alluding 
to the probability of his being arrested for debts, which we now know to 
have been of very trivial amount at the worst, which we also know he him- 
self lived to discharge* to the utmost farthing, and in regard to which it ia 
impossible to doubt that his personal friends in Dumfries would have at all 
times been ready to prevent the law taking its ultimate course. This last 
consideration, however, was one which would have given slender relief to 
Bums. How he shrunk with horror and loathing from the sense of pecu- 
nianr obligation, no matter to whom, we have had abundant indications al- 

The following extract from one of his letters to Mr. Macmurdo, dated 
December 1793, will speak for itself: — " Sir, it is said that we take the 
greatest liberties with our greatest friends, and I pay myself a very high 
compliment in the manner in which 1 am going to apply the remark. I 
have owed you money longer than ever I owed it to any man«^Here is 
Ker*s account, and here are six guineas ; and now, I don't owe a shilling 
to man, or woman either. But for these danmed dirty, dog's-eared little 
pages, (bank-notes), I had done myself the honour to have waited on 
you long ago. Independent of the obligations your hoi^tality.baa Uu| 


flie Undei^» the Consciousness of your superiority in the rank of man and 
gentleman of itself was fully as much as 1 could ever make head against ; 
but to owe you money too, was more than I could face. 

The question naturally arises : Bums was all this while pouring out his 
beautiful songs for the Museum of Johnson and the greater work of Thom- 
son ; how did he happen to derive no pecuniary advantages from this con- 
tinual exertion of his genius in a form of composition so eminently calcu- 
lated for popularity ? Nor, indeed, is it an easy matter to answer -this very 
obvious question. The poet himself, in a letter to Mr. Carfrae, dated 
1789, speaks thus : — ** The profits of the labours of a man of genius are, I 
bope, as honourable as any profits whatever ; and Mr. Mylne*s relations 
•re most justly entitled to that honest harvest which fate has denied him- 
self to reap." And yet, so far from looking to Mr. Johnson for any pecu- 
niary remuneration for the very laborious part he took in his work, it ap- 
pears from a passage in Cromek's Reliques, that the poet asked a single 
copy of the Museum to give to a fair friend, by'way of a great favour to 
bimself — and that that copy and his own were really all he ever received 
at the hands of the publisher. Of the secret history of Johnson and his 
book I know nothing ; but the Correspondence of Burns with Mr. Thomson 
contains curious enough details concerning his connexion with that gentle- 
man's more important undertaking. At the outset, September 1792, we 
find Mr. Thomson saying, ** We will esteem your poetical assistance a 
particular favour, besides paying any reasonable price you shall please to 
demand for it. Profit is quite a secondary consideration with us, and we 
are resolved to save neither pains nor expense on the publication." To 
which Bums replies immediately, ** As to any remuneration, you may think 
my songs either above or below price ; for they shall absolutely be the one 
or the other. In the honest enthusiasm with which I embark in your un- 
dertaking, to talk of money, wages, fee, hire, &c. would be downright pros- 
titution of soul. A proof of each of the songs that I compose or amend I 
shall receive as a favour. In the rustic phrase of the season, Gutie speed 
ike taarkJ* The next time we meet with any hint as to money matters in 
the Correspondence is in a letter of Mr. Thomson, 1st July 1793, where 
be says, ** I cannot express how much I am obliged to you for the exqui- 
site new songs you are sending me ; but thanks, my friend, are a poor re- 
turn for what you have done : as I shall be benefited by the publication, 
Tou must suffer me to enclose a small mark of my gratitude, and to repeat 
It afterwards when I find it convenient. Do not return it, for, by Heaven, 
if you do, our correspondence is at an end." To which letter (it inclosed 
Mb) Bums thus replies : — ** I assure you, my dear Sir, that you truly hurt 
me with your pecuniary parcel. It degrades me in ray own eyes. How- 
ever, to return it would savour of affectation ; but as to any more traffic of 
that debtor and creditor kind, I swear by that honour which crowns the 
upright statue of Robert Burns's integrity — on the least motion of it, I 
will indignantly spurn the by-past transaction, and from that moment com- 
mence entire stranger to you. Burns's character for generosity of senti- 
ment and independence of mind will, I trust, long outlive any of his wants 
which the cold unfeeling ore can supply : at least, I will take care that 
such a character he shall deserve.*' — In November 1 794, we find Mr. Thom- 
son writing to Burns, '* Do not, I beseech you, return any books." — In May 
1795, *' You really make me blush when you tell me you have not merited 
the drawing from pie i" (this was a drawing of The Cottar's Saturday Nighi^ 


by Allan) ; << I do not think I can ever repay you, or sufficiently esteem 
and respect you, for the Hberal and kind manner in which you have enter- 
ed into the spirit of my undertaking, which could not have been perfected 
without you. So I beg you would not make a fool of me again by speak- 
ing of obligation." In February 1796, we have Bums acknowledging a 

«* handsome elegant present to ^Irs. B ," which was u worsted shawl. 

Lastly, on the 12th July of the same year, (that is, little more than a week 
before Burns died), he writes to Mr. Thomson in these terms : — ^" After 
all my boasted independence, cursed necessity compels me to implore you 
for five pounds. A cruel of a haberdasher, to whom I owe an ac- 
count, taking it into his head that I am dying, has commenced a process, 
and will infallibly put me into jail. Do^ for God*s sake, send me that 
sum, and that by return oi' post. Forgive me this earnestness ; but the hor- 
rors of a jail have put me half distsacted. — I do not ask this gratuitously ; 
for, upon returning health, I hereby promise and engage to furnish you 
with five pounds worth of the neatest song genius you have seen." To 
which Mr. Thomson replies — " Ever since I received your melancholy let- 
ter by Mrs. Hyslop, I have been ruminating in what manner I could en* 
deavour to alleviate your sufferings. Again and again I thought of a pe- 
cuniary offer ; but the recollection of one of your letters on this subject, 
and the fear of offending your independent spirit, checked my resolution. 
I thank you heartily, therefore, for the frankness of your letter of the 1 2th, 
and with great pleasure enclose a draft for the very sum I proposed send- 
ing. Would I were Chancellor of the Exchequer but one day for your 

sake ! Pray, my good Sir, is it not possible for you to muster a volume 

of poetry ? Do not shun this method of obtaining the value of 

your labour ; remember Pope published the Iliadhy subscription. Think 
of this, my dear Burns, and do not think me intrusive with my advice.'* 

Such are the details of this matter, as recorded in the correspondence 
of the two individuals concerned. Some time after Burns s death, Mr. 
Thomson was attacked on account of his behaviour to the poet, in a novel 
called Nubilia. In Professor Walker's Memoirs of Burns, which appeared 
in 1816, Mr. Thomson took the opportunity of defending himself thus : — 

♦* I have been attacked with much bitterness, and accused of not endea- 
vouring to remunerate Burns for the songs which he wrote for my collec- 
tion ; although there is, the clearest evidence of the contrary, both in the 
printed correspondence between the poet and me, and in the public testi- 
mony of Dr. Currie. My assailant, too, without knowing any thing of the 
matter, states, that I had enriched myself by the labours of Burns ; and, 
of course, that ray want of generosity was inexcusable. Now, the fact is, 
that notwithstanding the united labours of all the men of genius who have 
enriched my collection, I am not even yet compensated for the precious 
time consumed by me in poring over nnisty volumes, and in corresponding 
with every amateur and poet by whose means I expected to make any va- 
luable additions to our national music and song ; — for the exertion and mo- 
ney it cost me to obtain accompaniments from the greatest masters of har- 
mony in Vienna; — and for the sums paid to engravers, printers, and others. 
On this subject, the testimony of Mr. Preston in London, a man of un- 
questionable and well-known character, who has printed the music for 
every copy of my work, may be more satisfactory than any thing I can 
say: In August 1809, he wrote me as follows : < I am concerned at the 
V^y umrarrantable attack which has been wade upon jrou \xj the autbof 


of NutHia ; nothing could be more unjust than to say you had enriched 
yourself by Bums's labours ; for the whole concern, though it includes the 
labours of Haydn, has scarcely afforded a compensation for the various ex- 
penses, and for the time employed on the work. When a work obtains 
any celebrity, publishers are generally supposed to derive a profit ten times 
beyond the reality ; the sale is greatly magnified, and the expenses are not 
in the least taken into consideration. It is truly vexatious to be so grossly 
and scandalously abused for conduct, the very reverse of which has been 
numifest through the whole transaction.' — Were I the sordid man that the 
anonymous author calls me, I had a most inviting opportunity to profit 
much more than I did by the lyrics of our great bard. He had written 
above fifty songs expressly for my work ; they were in my possession un- 
published at his death ; I had the right and the power of retaining them 
till I should be ready to publish them ; but when I was informed that an 
edition of the poet's works was projected for the benefit of his family, I put 
them in immediate possession of the whole of his songs, as well as letters, 
and thus enabled Dr. Currie to complete the four volumes which were sold 
for the family's behoof to Messrs. Cadell and Davies. And I have the sa- 
tis&ction of knowing, that the most zealous friends of the family, Mr. Cun- 
ningbame, Mr. Syme, and Dr. Currie, and the poet's own brother, consi- 
dered my sacrifice of the prior right of publishing tlie songs, as no ungrate- 
ful return for the disinterested and liberal conduct of the poet. Accord- 
ingly, Mr. Gilbert Burns, in a letter to me, which alone might suffice for 
an answer to all the novelist's abuse, thus expresses himself : — ' If ever 
I come to Edinburgh, I will certainly call on a person whose handsome con- 
duct to my brother's family has secured my esteem, and confirmed me in 
the opinion, that musical taste and talents have a close connexion with the 
harmony of tlie moral feelings.* Nothing is farther from my thoughts 
than to claim any merit for what I did. 1 never would have said a word 
an the subject, but for the harsh and groundless accusation which has been 
brought forward, either by ignorance or animosity, and which I have long 
suffered to remain unnoticed, from my great dislike to any public ap- 

This statement of Mr. Thomson supersedes the necessity of any addi- 
tional remarks, (writes Professor Walker). When the public is satisfied; 
when the relations of Burns arc grateful ; and, above all, when the delicate 
mind of Mr. Thomson is at peace with itself in contemplating his conduct, 
there can be no necessity for a nameless novelist to contradict them. 

So far, Mr. Walker : — Why Burns, who was of opinion, when he wrote 
his letter to Mr. Carfrae, that '< no profits are more honourable than those 
c^the labours of a man of genius," and whose own notions of independence 
had sustained no shock in the receipt of hundreds of pounds from Creech, 
should have spurned the suggestion of pecuniary recompense from Thom- 
son, it is no easy matter to explain : nor do I profess to understand why Mr. 
Thomson took so little pains - to argue the matter in limine with the poet, 
and convince him, that the time which he himself considered as fairly en- 
titled to be paid for by a common bookseller, ought of right to be valued 
and acknowledged on similar terms by the editor and proprietor of a book 
containing both songs and music. They order these things differently 
now : a living lyric poet whom none will place in a higher rank than Bums, 
has long, it is understood, been in the habit of receiving about as much 
money annually for an annual handful of songs, as was ever oaid to our 
bard for the whole body of his writings. 


Of the increasing irritability of our poet's temperament, amidst those trou * 
bles, external and internal, that preceded his last illness, his letters furnish 
proofs, to dwell on which could only inflict unnecessary pain. Let one ex* 
ample suffice. — ** Sunday closes a period of our curst revenue business, 
and may probably keep me employed with my pen until noon. Fine em- 
ployment for a poet's pen ! Here I sit, altogether Novemberish, a d 
melange of fretfulness and melancholy ; not enough of the one to rouse roe 
to passion, nor of the other to repose me in torpor ; my soul flouncing and 
fluttering round her tenement, like a wild finch, caught amid the horrors 
of winter, and newly thrust into a cage. Well, I am persuaded that it 
was of me the Hebrew sage prophesied, when he foretold—* And behold, 
on whatsoever this man doth set his heart, it shall not prosper !* Pray that 
wisdom and bliss be more frequent visitors of U. B." 

Towards the close of 1795 Burns was, as has been previously mention- 
ed, employed as an acting Supervisor of Excise. This was apparently a 
step to a permanent situation of that higher and more lucrative class ; and 
from thence, there was every reason to believe, the kind patronage of Mr. 
Graham might elevate him yet farther. These hopes, however, were mingl- 
ed and darkened with sorrow. For four months of that year his youngest 
child lingered through an illness of which every week promised to be the 
last ; and she was finally cut off when the poet, who had watched her with 
anxious tenderness, was from home on professional business. This was a 
severe blow, and his own nerves, though as yet he had not taken any seri- 
ous alarm about his ailments, were ill fitted to withstand it. 

" There had need," he writes to Mrs. Dunlop, 15th December, " there 
had much need be many pleasures annexed to the states of husband and 
father, for God knows, they have many peculiar cares. I cannot describe 
to you the anxious, sleepless hours these ties frequently give me. I see a 
train of helpless little folks ; me and my exertions all their stay ; and on 
what a brittle thread does the life of man hang ! If I am nipt off at the 
command of fate, even in all the vigour of manhood as I am, such things 
happen every day — gracious God ! what would become of my little flock ! 
'Tis here that I envy your people of fortune. — A father on his death-bed, 
taking an everlasting leave of his children, has indeed woe enough ; but 
the man of competent fortune leaves his sons and daughters independency 
and friends ; while I — but I shall run distracted if I think any longer on 
the subject." 

To the same lady, on the 29th of the month, he, after mentioning his 
supervisorship, and saying that at last his political sins seemed to be for- 
given him — goes on in this ominous tone — *' What a transient business is 
life ! Very lately I was a boy ; but t'other day a young man ; and I already 
begin to feel the rigid fibre and stiffening joints of old age coming fast over 
my frame." We may trace the melancholy sequel in the few following 

*' S\8t January 1796. — I have lately drunk deep of the cup of afflic- 
tion. The autumn robbed me of my only daughter and darling child, and 
that at a distance too, and so rapidly, as to put it out of my power to pay 
the last duties to her. I had scarcely begun to recover from that shock, 
when I became myself the victim of a most severe rheumatic fever, and 
long the die spun doubtful ; until, after many weeks of a sick-bed, it seems 
to have turned up life, and I am beginning to crawl across my room, and 
once indeed have been before my own door in the street. 


** When pleaiare faidiiatei the mental tight, ' 
Affliction purifies the risual iet. 
Region haiis the drear, the untned night» 
That shttti, for erer diuta ! life*! doubtful daj.** 

But a few dBjs after this, Bums was so exceedingly imprudent as to join 
a festive circle at a tavern dinner, where he remained till about three in the 
morning. The weather was severe, and he, being much intoxicated, took 
no precaution in thus exposing his debilitated frame to its influence. It 
has been said, that he fell asleep upon the snow on his way home. It 
11 certain, that next morning he was sensible of an icy numbness through 
all his joints^that his rheumatism returned with tenfold force upon him — 
and that from that unhappy hour, his mind brooded ominously on the fatal 
issue. The course of medicine to which he submitted was violent ; con- 
finement, accustomed as he had been to much bodily exercise, preyed 
miserably on all his powers ; he drooped visibly, and all the hopes of his 
friends, that health wbuld return with summer, were destined to disap* 

** AthJune 1796.* — I am in such miserable health as to be utterly inca- 
pable of showing my loyalty in any way. Rackt as I am with rheuma- 
tisms, I meet every face with a greeting like that of Balak and Balaam,-— 
< Come curse me Jacob ; and come defy me Israel.' *' 

*< 1th July, — I fear the voice of the Bard will soon be heard among you 
DO more. — For these eight or ten months I have been ailing, sometimes 
bed-fast and sometimes not ; but these last three months I have been tor- 
tured with an excruciating rheumatism which has reduced me to nearly the 
last stage. You actually would not know me if you saw me — pale, emaci- 
ated, and so feeble, as occasionally to need help from my chair. — My spirits 
fled ! fled ! But I can no more on the subject." 

This last letter was addressed to Mr. Cunningham of Edinburgh, from 
the small village of Brow on the Solway Frith, about ten miles from Dum- 
fries, to which the poet removed about the end of June ; " the medical 
folks," as he says, " having told him that his last and only chance was 
bathing, country quarters, and riding." In separating himself' by their ad- 
vice from his family for these purposes, he carried with him a heavy bur- 
den of care. ** The duce of the matter," he writes, '< is this ; when an ex- 
ciseman is off duty, his salary is reduced. What way, in the name of thrift, 
shall I maintain myself and keep a horse in country quarters on £S5 ?*! 
He implored his friends in Edinburgh, to make interest with the Board to 
grant him his full salary ; if they do not, I must lay my account with an 
exit truly en poete — if I die not of disease, I must perish with hunger." 

Mrs. Riddell of Glenriddel, a beautiful and very accomplished woman, 
to whom many of Burns's most interesting letters, in the latter years of his 
life, were addressed, happened to be in the neighbourhood of Brow when 
Bums reached his bathing quarters, and exerted herself to make him as 
comfortable as circumstances permitted. Having sent her carriage for his 
conveyance, the poet visited her on the 5th July ; and she has, in a letter 
published by Dr. Currie, thus described his appearance and conversation 
on that occasion : — 

'< I was struck with his appearance on entering the room. The stamp 
of death was impressed on his features. He seemed already touching the 
brink of eternity. His first salutation was, ' Well, Madam, have you any 

;« The birth^y of Gsoige III. 


commands for the other world ?' I replied that it seemed a doubtful case 
which of us should be there soonest, and that I hoped he would yet live to 
write my epitaph. (I was then in a poor state of health.) He looked in my 
face with an air of great kindness, and expressed his concern at seeing me 
look so ill, with his accustomed sensibility. At table he ate little or no- 
thing, and he complained of having entirely lost the tone of his stomach. 
We had a long and serious conversation about his present situation, and 
the approaching termination of all his earthly prospects. He spoke of his 
death without any of tlie ostentation of philosophy, but with firmness as 
well as feeling — as an event likely to happen very soon, and which gave 
him concern chiefly from leaving his four children so young and unprotect- 
edf and his wife in so interesting a situation — in the hourly expectation of 
lying-in of a fifth. He mentioned, with seeming pride and satisfaction, 
^le promising genius of his eldest son, and the flattering marks of appro- 
bation he had received from his teachers, and dwelt particularly on his 
hopes of that boy's future conduct and merit. His anxiety for his family 
seemed to hang heavy upon him, and the more perhaps from the reflection 
that he had not done them all the justice he was so well qualified to do. 
Passing from this subject, he showed great concern about the care of his lite- 
rary fame, and particularly the publication of his posthumous works. He 
said he was well aware that his death would occasion some noise, and that 
every scrap of his writings would be revived against him to the injury of his 
future reputation : that letters and verses written with unguarded and im- 
proper freedom, and which he earnestly wished to have buried in oblivion, 
would be handed about by idle vanity or malevolence, when no dread of his 
resentment would restrain them, or prevent the censures of shrill-tongued 
malice, or the insidious sarcasms of envy, from pouring forth all their ve- 
nom to blast his fame. He lamented that he had written many epigrams 
on persons against whom he entertained no enmity, and whose characters 
he should be sorry to wound ; and many indifferent poetical pieces, which 
he feared would now, with all their imperfections on their head, be thrust 
upon the world. On this account he deeply regretted having deferred to 
put his papers into a state of arrangement, as he was now quite incapable of 
the exertion. — The conversation was kept up with great evenness and ani- 
mation on his side. I have seldom seen his mind greater or more collected. 
There was frequently a considerable degree of vivacity in his sallies, and 
t^iey would probably have had a greater share, had not the concern and 
dejection I could not disguise, damped the spirit of pleasantry he seemed 
not unwilling to indulge. — We parted about sun-set on the evening of that 
day (the 5th of July 1796) ; the next day I saw him again, and we parted 
to meet no more !'* 

I do not know the exact date of the following letter to Mrs Bums : — 
" Brow, Thursday. — My dearest Love, I delayed writing until I could 
tell you what effect sea-bathing was likely to produce. It would be injus- 
tice to deny that it has eased my pains, and I think has strengthened me • 
but my appetite is still extremely bad. No flesh nor fish can I swallow . 
porridge and milk are the only things I can taste. I am very happy to 
hear, by Miss Jess Lewars, that you are all well. My very best and kind- 
est compliments to her and to all the children. Twill see you on Sunday. 
Your affectionate husband, R. B." 

There is a very affecting letter to Gilbert, dated the 7th, in which the 
poet says, " I am dangerously ill, and not likely to get better God keep 


my wife and children." On the 12th« he wrote the letter to Mr. Georgt 
Thomson* above quoted, requesting £5 ; and, on the same day, he penned 
also the following — the last letter that he ever wrote*-to his friend Mrs. 

<< Madam, I have written you so oflen, without receiving any answer, 
that I would not trouble you again, but for the circumstances in which I 
am. An illness which has long hung about me, in all probability will speed- 
ily send me beyond that bourne wlience no traveller returns* Your friend- 
ship, with which for many years you honoured me, was a friendship 
dearest to my soul. Your conversation, and especially your correspondence, 
were at once highly entertaining and instructive. With what pleasure did 
I use to break up the seal ! The remembrance yet adds one pulse more to 
my poor palpitating heart. Farewell ! ! !'* 

1 give the following anecdote in the words of Mr. M*Diarmid :•— 
^ Rousseau, we all know, when dying, wished to be carried into the open 
air, that he might obtain a parting look of the glorious orb of day. A night 
or two before Bums left Brow, he drank tea with Mrs. Craig, widow of th^ 
minister of Ruthwell. His altered appearance excited much silent sympa- 
thy ; and the evening being beautiful, and the sun shining brightly through- 
the casement. Miss Craig (now Mrs. Henry Duncan), was afraid the light 
might be too much for him, and rose with the view of letting down the win- 
dow blinds. Burns immediately guessed what she meant ; and, regarding 
the young lady with a look of great benignity, said, * Thank you, my dear, 
for your kind attention ; but, oh, let him shine ; he will not shine long for 

On the 18th, despairing of any benefit from the sea, our poet came back 
to Dumfries. Mr. Allan Cunningham, who saw him arrive '* visibly chang- 
ed in his looks, being with difficulty able to stand upright, and reach his 
own door," has given a striking picture, in one of his essays, of the state of 
popular feeling in the town during the short space which intervened between 
his return and his death. — *< Dumfries was like a besieged place. It was 
known he was dying, and the anxiety, not of the rich and learned only, but 
of the mechanics and peasants, exceeded all belief. Wherever two of 
three people stood together, their talk was of Burns, and of him alone. 
They spoke of his history — of his person — of his works — of his family — of 
his fai^e — and of his untimely and approaching fate, with a m armth and an 
enthusiasm which will ever endear Dumfries to my remembrance. All that 
he said or was saying — the opinions of the physicians, (and Maxwell was a 
kind and a skilful one), were eagerly caughc up and reported from street to 
street, and from house to house." 

<* His good humour," Cunningham adds, << was unruffled, and his wit ne- 
ver forsook him. He looked to one of his fellow volunteers with a smile^ 
as he stood by the bed-side with his eyes wet, and said, * John, don't let 
the awkward squad fire over me.' He repressed with a smile the hopes of 
his friends, and told them he had lived long enough. As his life drew near 
a close, the eager yet decorous solicitude of his fellow townsmen increased* 
It is the practice of the young men of Dumfries to meet in the streets 
during the hours of remission from labour, and by these means I had an 
opportunity of witnessing the general solicitude of all ranks and of all ages. 
His differences with them on some important points were forgotten and for* 

* I take the opportunitv of once more acknowledging^ my great obligations to thif gcntlo* 
iDftD, who i», I uDdcrstana, connected t>y hit maniage with the fiunily of the poet 



mren ; they thought only of his genius— -of the delight his compositions 
Ead diflfused — and they talked of him with the same awe as of some depart- 
ing sjurit, whose voice was to gladden them no more." * 

** A tremour now pervaded his frame/' says Dr. Currie, on the authority 
of the physician who attended him ; ** his tongue was parched; and his mind 
sunk into delirium, when not roused by conversation. On the second and 
third day the fever increased, and his strength diminished.*' On the fourth, 
July 21st 1796, Robert Bums died. 

*< I went to see him laid out for the grave," says Mr. Allan Cunning- 
ham ; ** several elder people were with me. He lay in a plain unadorned 
coffin, with a linen sheet drawn over his face ; and on the bed, and around 
the body, herbs and flowers were thickly strewn, according to the usage of 
the country. He was wasted somewhat by long illness ; but death had not 
increased the swarthy hue of his face, which was uncommonly dark and 
deeply marked — his broad and open brow was pale and serene, and around 
it his sable hair lay in masses, slightly touched with grey. The room 
where he lay was plain and neat, and die simplicity of the poet's humble 
dwelling pressed the presence of death more closely on the heart than if 
his bier had been embellished by vanity, and covered with the blazonry of 
high ancestry and rank. We stood and gazed on him in silence for the 
space of several minutes — we went, and others succeeded us — not a whis- 
per was heard. This was several days afler his death." 

On the 25th of July, the remains of the poet were removed to the Trades 
Hall, where they lay in state until the next rooming. The volunteers of 
Dumfries were determined to inter their illustrious comrade (as indeed he 
had anticipated) with military honours. The chief persons of the town and 
neighbourhood resolved to make part of the procession ; and not a few tra- 
velled from great distances to witness the solemnity. The streets were 
lined by the Fencible Infantry of Angusshirc, and the Cavalry of the Cinque 
Forts, then quarted at Dumfries, whose commander. Lord Hawksbury, (af- 
terwards Earl of Liverpool), although he had always declined a personal 
introduction to the poet, f officiated as one of the chief mourners. *< The 
multitude who accompanied Burns to the grave, went step by step," says 
Cunningham, *' with the chief mourners. They might amount to ten or 
twelve thousand. Not a word was heard .... It was an impressive and 
mournful sight to see men of all ranks and persuasions and opmions ming- 
ling as brothers, and stepping side by side down the streets of Dumfries, 
wiUi the remains of him who had sung of their loves and jojrs and domes* 
tic endearments, with a truth and a tenderness which none perhaps have 
since equalled. I could, indeed, have wished the military part of the pro- 
cession away. The scarlet and gold — the banners displayed — the mea- 
sured step, and the military array — with the sounds of martial instruments 
of music, had no share in increasing the solemnity of the burial scene ; and 
had no connexion with the poet. I looked on it then, and I consider it 
now, as an idle ostentation, a piece of superfluous state which might have 
been spared, more especially as his neglected, and traduced, and insulted 
spirit had experienced no kindness in the body from those lofly people who 

are now proud of being numbered as his coevals and countrymen 

I found myself at the brink of the poet's grave, into which he was about to 
descend for ever. There was a pause among the mourners, as if loath to 

* In die London Mafudne, 1824 Artide, *' Robert Buns and Lord Bnoo.* 
t tk> l|r. ^Toiehsy fiAtned Jdt. At'IMannid. 



part with his remains ; and when he was at last lowered, and the first sho- 
velful of earth sounded on his coffin lid, I looked up and saw tears ou many 
cheeks where tears were not usual. The volunteers justified the fears of 
their comrade, by three ragged and straggling volleys. The earth was 
heaped up, the green sod laid over him, and the multitude stood gai* 
ing on the grave for some minutes* space, and then melted silently away* 
The day was a fine one, the sun was almost without a cloud, and not a 
drop of rain fell from dawn to twilight. I notice this, not from any con- . 
currcnce in the common superstition, that < happy is the corpse which the 
rain rains on/ but to confute the pious fraud of a religious Magazine^ 
which made Heaven express its wrath, at the interment of a profane poet» 
in thunder, in lightning, and in rain/' 

During the funeral solemnity, Mrs. Burns was seized with the pains of 
labour, and gave birth to a posthumous son, who quickly followed his fii* 
tlier to the grave. Mr. Cunningham describes the appearance of the fa* 
mily, when they at last emerged from their home of sorrow : — " A weep« 
ing widow and four helpless sons ; they came into tlie streets in their mourn- 
ings, and public sympathy was awakened afresh. I shall never forget the 
looks of his boys, and the compassion which they excited. The poet's life 
had not been without errors, and such errors, too, as a wife is slow in for« 
giving ; but he was honoured then, and is honoured now, by the unaliena* 
ble atfection of his wife, and the world repays her prudence and her love 
by its regard and esteem." 

Immediately afler the poet's death, a subscription was opened for the 
benefit of his family ; Mr. Miller of Dalswinton, Dr. Maxwell, Mr. Syme» 
Mr. Cunningham, and Mr. M'Murdo, becoming trustees for the application 
of the money. Many names from other parts of Scotland appeared in the 
lists, and not a few from England, especially London and Liverpool. Seven 
hundred pounds were in this way collected ; an additional sum was for- 
warded from India ; and the profits of Dr. Currie's Life and Edition of 
Burns were also considerable. The result has been, that the sons of the 
poet received an excellent education, and that Mrs. Burns has continuedl 
to reside, enjoying a decent independence, in the house where the poet 
died, situated in what is now, by the authority of the Magistrates of Dum- 
fries, called Burns' Street. 

** Of the (four surviving) sons of the poet," says their uncle Gilbert in 
1 S20, *< Robert, the eldest, is placed as a clerk in the Stamp Office, Lon* 
don, (Mr. Burns still remains in that establishment), Francis Wallace, the 
second, died in 1S03 ; William Nicoll, the third, went to Madras in 1811 ; 
and James Glencairn, tlie youngest, to Bengal in 1812, both as cadets in 
the Honourable Company's service/' These young gentlemen have all, it 
is believed, conducted themselves through life in a manner highly honour- 
able to themselves, and to the name which they bear. One of them, 
(James), as soon as his circumstances permitted, settled a liberal annuity 
on his estimable mother, which she still survives to enjoy. 

The great poet himself, whose name is enough to ennoble hb children*! 
children, was, to the eternal disgrace of his country, suffered to live and 
die in penury, and, as far as such a creature could be degraded by any ex- 
ternal circumstances, in degradation. Who can open the page of Bums* 
and remember without a blush, that the author of such verses, the human 
being whose breast glowed with such feelings, was doomed to earn mere 
bread for his children by casting up the stock of publicans* cellarii and rid* 


/ / • * 


ing over moors and mosses in quest of smuggling stills ? The subscription 
fi»r his poems was, for the time, large and liberal, and perhaps absolves the 
gentry of Scotland as individuals ; but that some strong movement of in- 
dignation did not spread over the whole kingdom, when it was known that 
Robert Burns, after being caressed and liattered by the noblest and most 
learned of his countrymen, was about to be established as a common ganger 
among the wilds of Nithsdale — and that, after he was so established, no 
interference from a higher quarter arrested that unworthy career : — these 
are circumstances which must continue to bear heavily on the memory of 
that generation of Scotsmen, and especially of tliose who then adminis- 
tered the public patronage of Scotland. 

In defence, or at least in palliation, of this national crime, two false ar- 
guments, the one resting on iacts grossly exaggerated, the other having no 
foundation whatever either on knowledge or on wisdom, have been rashly 
•et up, and arrogantly as well as ignorantly maintained. To the one, 
namely, that public patronage would have been wrongfully bestowed on the 
Poet, because the Exciseman was a political partizan, it is hoped the de- 
tails embodied in this narrative have supplied a sufficient answer : had the 
matter been as bad as the boldest critics have ever ventured to insinuate. 
Sir Walter Scott's answer would still have remained — " this partizan was 
Burns." The other argument is a still more heartless, as well as absurd 
one ; to wit, that from the moral character and habits of the man, no pa- 
tronage, however liberal, could have influenced and controlled his conduct, 
80 as to work lasting and effective improvement, and lengthen his life by 
raising it more nearly to the elevation of his genius. This is indeed a can- 
did and a generous method of judging ! Are imprudence and intemperance, 
then, found to increase usually in proportion as the worldly circumstances 
df men are easy ? Is not the very opposite of this doctrine acknowledged 
by almost all that have ever tried the reverses of Fortune's wheel them- 
selves — by all that have contemplated, from an elevation not too high for 
sympathy, the usual course of manners, when theii^ fellow creatures either 
encounter or live in constant apprehension of 

^' The tlioumind ills that rise where money fails, 
l>cbts, threats, and duiiK, bills, bailitfs, writs, and jails ?*' 

To such mean miseries tlie latter years of Bums's life were exposed, not 
less than his early youth, and after what natural buoyancy of animal spirits 
he ever possessed, had sunk under the influence of time, which, surely 
bringing experience, fails seldom to bring care also and sorrow, to spirits 
more mercurial than his ; and in what bitterness of heart he submitted to 
his fate, let his own burning words once more tell us. " Take," says he, 
writing to one who never ceased to be his friend — " take these two guineas, 
and place them over against that «>►■•♦>»♦ account of yours, which has gag- 
ged my mouth these five or six months ! I can as little write good things 
as apologies to the man I owe money to. O, the supreme curse of mak- 
ing three guineas do the business of five ! Poverty ! thou half-sister of 
death, thou cousin-german of hell ! Oppressed by thee, the man of senti- 
ment, whose heart glows with indcjiendence, and melts with sensibiUty, 
inly pines under the neglect, or writhes in bitterness of soul, under the 
contumely of arrogant, unfeeling wealth. Oppressed by thee, the son of 
genius, whose ill-starred ambition plants hiui at the tables of the fashion-, 
M^ and polite^ must see^ in suffering silence, his remark neglected, and 


his person despiBed, while shallow greatness, in his idiot attempts at wit, 
shall meet with countenance and applause. Nor is it only the family of 
worth that have reason to complain of tliee ; the children of folly and vice, 
though, in common with thee, the offspring of evil, smart equally under 
tiiy rod. The man of unfortunate disposition and neglected education, is 
condemned as a fool for his dissipation, despised and shunned as a needy 
wretch, when his follies, as usual, bring him to want ; and when his neces- 
sities drive him to dishonest practices, he is abhorred as a miscreant, and 
perishes by the justice of his country. But far otherwise is the lot of the 
man of family and fortune. His early follies and extravagance, are spirit 
and fire ; his consequent wants, are the embarrassments of an honest 
fellow ; and when, to remedy the matter, he has gained a legal commis- 
sion to plunder distant provinces, or massacre peaceful nations, he returns, 
perhaps, laden with the spoils of rapine and murder ; lives wicked and 
respected, and dies a ♦•*^»** and a lord I — Nay, worst of all, alas for 
helpless woman ! the needy prostitute, who has shivered at the corner of 
the street, waiting to earn the wages of casual prostitution, is left neglect- 
ed and insulted, ridden down by the chariot wheels of the coroneted rip, 
hurrying on to the guilty assignation ; she, who, without the same neces- 
sities to plead, riots nightly in the same guilty trade. — Well : divines may 
say of it what they please, but execretion is to the mind, what phlebotomy 
is to the body ; the vital sluices of both are wonderfully relieved by their 
respective evacuations." * 

In such evacuations of indignant spleen the proud heart of many an un- 
fortunate genius, besides this, has found or sought relief: and to other 
more dangerous indulgences, the affliction of such sensitive spirits had of- 
ten, ere his time, condescended. The list is a long and a painful one ; and 
it includes some names that can claim but a scanty share in the apology of 
Burns. Addison himself, the elegant, the philosophical, the religious Ad- 
dison, must be numbered with tliese offenders: — Jonson, Cotton, Prior, 
Parnell, Otway, Savage, all sinned in the same sort, and the transgressions 
of them all have been leniently dealt with, in comparison with those of one 
whose genius was probably greater than any of theirs ; his appetites more 
fervid, his temptations more abundant, his repentance more severe. The 
beautiful genius of Collins sunk under similar contaminations ; and those 
who have from dullness of head, or sourness of heart, joined in the too ge- 
neral clamour against Burns, may learn a lesson of candour, of mercy, and 
of justice, from the language in which one of the best of men, and loftiest 
of moralists, has commented on frailties that hurried a kindred spirit to a 
like untimely grave. 

" In a long continuance of poverty, and long habits of dissipation," says 
Johnson, ** it cannot be expected that any character should be exactly uni- 
form. That this man, wise and virtuous as he was, passed always unen- 
tangled through the snares of life, it would be prejudice and temerity to 
affirm : but it may be said that he at least preserved the source of action 
unpolluted, that his principles were never shaken, that his distinctions of 
right and wrong were never confounded, and that his faults had nothing of 
malignity or design, but proceeded from some unexpected pressure or ca- 
sual temptation. Such was the fate of Collins, with whom I once de- 
listed to converse, and whom I yet remember with tenderness.". 

, f Letter to Mr« F«t«r liiU, bgolijeUer, Edinbur^, (Jcncud CoRe«pondaicf ^ p. 326^ 

etkVi LIfB OF ROfiERT BURNfd. 

Burns wai an honest man : after all his struggles^ he owed no man A 
ahilling when he died His heart was always warm and his hand open. 
** His charities/' says Mr. Gray, << were great beyond his means ;** and I 
have to thank Mr. Allan Cunningham for the following anecdote, for which 
I am sure every reader will thank him too. Mr. Maxwell of Teraughty* 
an old, austere, sarcastic gentleman, who cared nothing about poetry, used 
to say when the Excise-books of the district were produced at the meet- 
ings of the Justices, — '< Bring me Bums's journal : it always does me good 
to aee it, for it shows that an honest officer may carry a kind heart about 
with him." 

Of his religious principles, we are bound to judge by what he has told 
himself in his more serious moments. He sometimes doubted with the 
aorrow, what in the main, and above all, in the end, he believed with the 
ftrvour of a poet. " It occasionally haunts me/* says he in one of his let- 
ters,-.-" the dark suspicion, that immortality may be only too good news to 
be true ;" and here, as on many points besides, how much did his method of 
thinking, (I fear I must add of acting), resemble that of a noble poet more 
recently lost to us. *' I am no bigot to infidelity," said I^rd Byron, " and 
did not expect that because I doubted the immortality of man, I should be 
charged with denying the existence of a God. It was the comparative in- 
aignificance of ourselves and our world, when placed in comparison with 
the mighty whole, of which it is an atom, that first led me to imagine that 
our pretensions to immortality might be overrated." I dare not pretend 
to quote the sequel from memory, but the effect was, that Byron, like 
Burns, complained of << the early discipline of Scotch Calvinism," and 
the natural gloom of a melancholy heart, as having between them engen- 
dered *' a hypochondriacal dinease,'' which occasionally visited and depres- 
aed him through life. In the opposite scale, we are, in justice to Bums, 
to place many pages which breathe the ardour, nay the exultation of fiuth» 
and the humble sincerity of Christian hope ; and; as the poet himself has 
warned us, it well befits us 

*^ At the balance to be mute.** 

Let US avoid, in the name of Religion herself, the fatal error of those who 
would rashly swell the catalogue of the enemies of religion. ** A sally of 
levity," says once more Dr. Johnson, <' an indecent jest, an unreasonable 
objection, are sufficient, in the opinion of some men, to efface a name 
from the lists of Christianity, to exclude a soul from everlasting life. Such 
men are so watchful to censure, that they have seldom much care to look 
for favourable interpretations of ambiguities, or to know how soon any 
step of inadvertency has been expiated by sorrow and retractation, but let 
fly their fulminations without mercy or prudence against slight offences or 
casual temerities, against crimes never committed, or immediately repent- 
ed. The zealot should recollect, that he is labouring, by this ^equencv 
of excommunication, against his own cause, and voluntarily adding strengtK 
to the enemies of truth. It must always be the condition of a great part 
of mankind, to reject and embrace tenets upon the authority of those whom 
they think wiser than themselves, and therefore the addition of every name 
to infidelity) in some degree invalidates that argument upon which the re- 
ligion of midUtudes is necessarily founded." * In conclusion, let me adopt 

* lift of Sir TbomssBrowas, 

tff fi OF ROfiERT BURMS; ^ ' ^ CMVii 


die beautiful sentiment of that illustrious moral poet of our own timey 
whose generous defence of Bums will be remembered while the lan- 
guage lasts; — 

" I^et no mean hope your souls enikve-> 
Be independent, generous, brave ; 
Your** roET *^ such example gave, 

And such revere, . 
But be admonished by his grave, 

And think and fear.^* 

It is possible, perhaps for some it may be easy, to imagine a charactiP 
of a much higher cast than that of Burns, developed, too, under circuin* 
stances in many respects not unlike those of his history — the character of a 
roan of lowly birth, and powerful genius, elevated by that philosophy whidi 
is alone pure and divine, far above all those annoyances of terrestrial spleen 
and passion, which mixed from the beginning with the workings of his in- 
spiration, and in the end were able to eat deep into the great heart whidi 
they had long tormented. Such a being would have received, no quel- 
tton, a species of devout reverence, 1 mean when the grave had closed on 
him, to which the warmest admirers of our poet can advance no preten- 
sions for their unfortunate favourite ; but could such a being have delight-, 
ed his species— could he even have instructed them like Bums ? Ought 
we not to be thankful for every new variety of form and circumstance, in 
and under which the ennobling energies of true and lofly genius are found 
addressing themselves to the common brethren of the race ? Would we 
have none but Mil tons and Cowpers in poetry — but Brownes and South- 
ey^ in prose ? Alas ! if it were so, to how large a portion of the species 
would all the gifls of all the muses remain for ever a fountain shut up and 
a book sealed ! Were the doctrine of intellectual excommunication to be 
thus expounded and enforced, how small the library that would remain to 
kindle the fancy, to draw out and refine the feelings, to enlighten the head 
by expanding the heart of man ! From Aristophanes to Byron, how broad 
the sweep, how woeful the desolation ! 

In the absence of that vehement sympathy with humanity as it is, its 
sorrows and its joys as they are, we might have had a great man, perhaps 
a great poet, but we could have had no Burns. It is very noble to despise 
the accidents of fortune ; but what moral homily conceming these, could 
have equalled that which Burns*s poetry, considered alongside of Burns's 
history, and the history of his fame, presents ! It is very noble to be above 
the allurements of pleasure ; but who preaches so effectually against them, 
as he who sets forth in immortal verse his own intense 83rmpathy with those 
that yield, and in verse and in prose, in action and in passion, in life and 
in death, the dangers and the miseries of yielding ? 

It requires a graver audacity of hypocrisy than falls to the share of most 
men, to declaim against Burns's sensibility to the tangible cares and toils 
of his earthly condition ; there are more who venture on broad denuncia- 
tions of his sympathy with the joys of sense and passion. To these, the 
great moral poet already quoted speaks in the following noble passage—- 
and must he speak in vain ? ** Permit me," says he, " to remind you, tluit it 
is the privilege of poetic genius to patch, under certain restrictions of which 
perhaps at the time of its being exerted it is but dimly consciouSi a 

* Woidfworth*iftdd(fiitotfasioDsafBttnS|OaTiiiiioghUgTSTtial89l» 

ewriii Ltf£ OF ROBERT BURNS. 

fpirit of pleasure wherever it can be found,-— in the Walks of nature, and 
in the business of men. — The poet, trusting to primary instincts, luxuriates 
among the felicities of love and wine, and is enraptured while he describes 
the fairer aspects of war ; nor does he shrink from the company of the pas- 
sion of love though immoderate — from convivial pleasure though intempe- 
rate-— nor from the presence of war though savage, and recognised as the 
hand-maid of desolation. Frequently and admirably has Burns given way 
to these impulses of nature ; both with reference to himself, and in describ- 
ing the condition of otliers. Who, but some impenetrable dunce or narrow- 
minded puritant in works of art, ever read without delight the picture 
which he has drawn of the convivial exaltation of the rustic adventurer, 
Ttm o' Shanter ? The poet fears not to tell the reader in the outset, that 
hif hero was a desperate and sottish drunl<:ard, whose excesses were fre- 
quent as his opportunities. This reprobate sits down to his cups, while 
the storm is roaring, and heaven and earth are in confusion ; — the night is 
driven on by song and tumultuous noise — laughter and jest thicken as the 
beverage improves upon the palate — conjugal fidelity archly bends to the 
■enrice of general benevolence — selfishness is not absent, but wearing the 
milk of social cordiality — and, while these various elements of humanity 
tre blended into one proud and happy composition of elated spirits, the 
•nger of the tempest without doors only heightens and sets oif the enjoy- 
ment within. — I pity him who cannot perceive that, in all this, though 
there was no moral purpose, there is a moral effect. 

^' Kings may be blest, but Tarn wis glorious. 
O'er a* the ill* o' life victorious.*' 

** What a lesson do these words convey of charitable indulgence for the 
Yicious habits of the principal actor in this scene, and of those who resem- 
ble him ! — Men who to the rigidly virtuous are objects almost of loath- 
ing, atid whom therefore they cannot serve ! The poet, penetrating the 
unsightly and disgusting surfaces of things, has unveiled with exquisite 
skill the finer ties of imagination and feeling, that oflen bind these beings 
to practices productive of much unhappiness to themselves, and to those 
whom it is their duty to cherish ; — and, as far as he puts the reader into 
possession of this intelligent sympathy, he qualifies him for exercising a 
salutary influence over the minds of those who are thus deplorably de- 
ceived.** ♦ 

That some men in every age will comfort themselves in the practice of 
certain vices, by reference to particular passages both in the history and 
in the poetry of Bums, there is all reason to fear ; but surely the general 
influence of both is calculated, and has been found, to produce far different 
effects. The universal popularity which his writings have all along enjoy- 
ed among one of the most virtuous of nations, is of itself, as it would seem, 
t decisive circumstance. Search Scotland over, from the Pentland to the 
Soiway, and there is not a cottage -Imt so poor and wretched as to be with- 
out its Bible ; and hardly one that, on the same shelf, and next to it, does 
not possess a Burns. Have the people degenerated since their adoption 
of this new manual ? Has their attachment to the Book of Books declined? 
Are their hearts less firmly bound, than were their fathers*, to the old fiuth 
md the old virtues ? I believe, he that knows the most of the countrjr will 

* WoiUiworth*! jbctter to Grs/, p. 94 

un ot aoBBST burns. 

be the refuliest to answer all these questions, as everj loYer of geniui and 
▼irtua would desire to hear them answered. 

On one point there can be no controversy ; the poetry of Bums has hid 
mpst powerful influence in reviving and strengthening the national feelings 
of his countrymen. Amidst penury and labour, his youth fed on the ciU 
minstrelsy and traditional glories of his nation, and his genius divined* 
that what he felt so deeply must belong to a spirit that might lie smothered 
around him, but could not be extinguished. The political circumstances 
of Scotland were, and had been, such as to starve the flame of patriotism; 
the popular literature had striven, and not in vain, to make itself Eng^iish ; 
and, above all, a new and a cold system of speculative philosophy had be* 
gun to spread widely among us. A peasant appeared, and set himself to 
check the creeping pestilence of this indifference. Whatever genius has 
since then been devoted to the illustration of the national manners, and 
sustaining thereby of the national feelings of the people, there can be np 
doubt that Bums will ever be remembered as the founder, and» alas 1 in 
hia own person as the martyr, of this reformation. 

That what is now-a-days called, by solitary eminence, the wealih of tbi 
nation, had been on the increase ever since our incorporation with a greater 
and wealthier state — ^nay, that the laws had been improving, and, above all» 
the administration of the laws, it would be mere bigotry to dispute. It 
may also be conceded easily, that the national mind had been rapidly clear- 
ing itself of many injurious prejudices — that the people, as a people, ha4 
been gradually and surely advancing in knowledge and wisdom, as well af 
in wealth and security. But all this good had not been accomplished with* 
out rode work. If the improvement were valuable, it had been purchased 
dearly. " The spring fire," Allan Cunningham says beautifully somewhere* 
** which destroys the furze, makes an end also of the nests of a tJiA^igy^^ 
song-birds ; and he who goes a-trouting with lime leaves Uttle of life in the 
stream." We were getting fast ashamed of many precious and beautifill 
things, only for that they were old and our own. 

It has already been remarked, how even Smollett, who began with a 
nat'^?"^^ tragedy, and one of the noblest of national lyrics, never dared to 
make use of the dialect of his own country ; and how Moore, another most 
enthusiastic Scotsman, followed in this respect, as in others, the example 
of Smollett, and over and over again counselled Bums to do the like. But 
a still more striking sign of the times is to be found in the style adopted 
by both of these novelists, especially the great master of the art, in their 
representations of the manners and characters of their own countrymen* 
Li Humphry Clinker, the last and best of Smollett's tales, there are some 
tnaits of a^better kind — but, taking his works as a whole, the impression it 
ocmreys is certainly a painful, a disgusting one. The Scotsmen of theee 
authors, are the Jockeys and Archies of farce — 

Time out of mind the Southrons* mirthmakers— 

the best of them grotesque combinations of simplicity and hypocrisy, pride 
and meanness. When such men, high-spu-ited Scottish gentlemen, posses- 
led of learning and talents, and, one of them at least, of splendid gentuiy 
felt, or fancied, the necessity of making such submissions to the prejudices of 
the dominant nation, and did so without exciting a murmur among their owji 
countrymen, we may form some notion of the boldness of Bums's ezperi- 

menti and on contrastiiig the sUite of thi^ then w^ what is befive ne 


Boiff it will o6*t no eflbrt to appreciate the nature and cdoae^iieBeai of tlur 
Yictofy in which our poet led the wajr^ by achievements never in their kind 
to be surpaised. " Bams^" tayt Mr. CampbeU* «* has given the elixir vit« 
t^ his dialect ;" — he gave it to more than his dialect. ** He wm,** says a 
writer, in whose language a brother poet will be recognised—-** he was in 
many respects bom at a happy time ; happy for a man of genius like him, 
but fatal and hopeless to the more common mind. A whole world of life 
lay before Bums, whose inmost recesses, and darkest nooks, and sunniest 
eminences, he had familiarly trodden from his childhood. All that world 
he felt could be made his own. No conqueror had overrun its fertile pro- 
vinces, and it was for him to be crowned supreme over all the 

*• Ljric lingen of that higfa-aool'd land.' 

^nie crown that he has won can never be removed fh)m his head. Much 
ii jret lefi for other poets, even among that life where his spirit delighted 
to work; but he has built monuments on all the high places, and they who 
fellow can only hope to leave behind them some fiur humbler memorials." * 

Dr. Currie says, that ** ifjiction be the soul of poetry, as some assert. 
Bums can have small pretensions to the name of poet." The success of 
Bums, the influence of his verse, would alone be enough to overturn all 
the sjTStems of a thousand definers ; but the Doctor has obviously taken 
Jldion in fiur too limited a sense. There are indeed but few of Burns's 
pieces in which he is found creating beings and circumstances, both alike 
alien from his own person and experience, and then by the power of ima- 
gination, divining and expressing what forms life and passion would assume 
with, and under these. — But there are some ; there is quite enough to sa- 
tisfy every reader of HaUowe'en^ the Jolfy Beggart^ and Tarn o' ShafUtr^ 
ifo say nothing of various particular songs, such as Bruce*s Address, Mae» 
vherson^s Lament^ &c.), that Bums, if he pleased, might have been as large* 
If and as successfully an inventor in this way, as he is in another walk, 
perhaps not so inferior to this as many people may have accustomed them- 
selves to believe ; in the art, namely, of recombining and new-combining, 
varying, embellishing, and fixing and transmitting the elements of a most 
picturesque experience, and most vivid feelings. < 

Lord Bjrron, in his letter on Pope, treats with high and just omtempt 
the laborious trifling which has been expended on distinguishing by au*- 
drawn lines and technical slang- words, the elements and materials of poe* 
tical exertion ; and, among other things, expresses his scom of the attempts 
that have been made to class Bums among minor poets, merely because he 
has put forth few large pieces, and still fewer of what is called the purely 
imaginative character. Fight who will about words and forms, ^* Bums s 
rank," says he, '' is in the first class of his art ;" and, I believe, the world 
at large are now-a-days well prepared to prefer a line from such a pen as 
Byron*s on any such subject as this, to the most luculent dissertation that 
ever perplexed the brains of writer and of reader. /Sbilto, ergo sum, says 
the metaphysician ; the critic may safely parody the saying, and assert 
that that is poetry of the highest order, which exerts influence of the most 
powerful order on the hearts and minds of mankind. 

Bums has been appreciated duly, and he has had the fortune to be prais* 
ed eloquentlyi by almost every poet who has come after him. To aocu* 

Lltll OP ROBERT BURNS. ctt^t 

BUdftte all iiM hit been aald of hmi» even hj men like himielf, of die first 
order, would fill a volume — and a noble monument, no quettkm, tbat vo-' 
lame would be — the noblest, except what he has left us in his own im- 
mcwtal verses, which — ^were some dross removed, and the rest arranged ia- 
a chronological order — ^would I believe form, to the intelligent, a more per* 
feet and vivid history of his life than will ever be composed out of all the 
materials in the world besides. 

** The impression of his genius," says Campbell, << is deep and univer- 
sal ; and viewing him merely as a poet, there is scarcely another regret 
connected with his name, than that his productions, with all their merit, 
fall short of the talents which he possessed. That he never attempted any 
great work of fiction, may be partly traced to the cast of his genius, and 
partly to his circumstances, and defective education. His poetical tempe- 
rament was that of fitful transports, rather than steady inspiration. What- 
ever he might have written, was likely to have been firaught with passion* 
There is always enough of interest in life to cherish the feelings of genius ; 
but it requires knowledge to enlarge and enrich the imagination. Of that 
knowledge which unrolls the diversities of human manners, adventures, 
and characters, to a poet's study, he could have no great share ; although 
he stamped the little treasure which he possessed in the mintage of sove- 
reign genius.*' * 

** Notwithstanding," says Sir Walter Scott, <' the spirit of many of his 
lyrics, and the exquisite sweetness and simplicity of others, we cannot but 
deeply regret that so much of his time and talents was frittered away in 
compiling and composing for musical collections. There is suflicient evi- 
dence, that even the genius of Bums could not support him in the monoton- 
ous task of writing love verses, on heaving bosoms and sparkling eyes, and 
twisting them into such rhythmical forms as might suit the capricious evo- 
lutions of Scotch reels and strathspeys. Besides, this constant waste of 
his power and fancy in small and insignificant compositions, must neces- 
sarily have had no little ^fiect in deterring him from undertaking any grave 
or important task. Let no one suppose that we undervalue the songs of 
Bums. When his soul was intent on suiting a favourite air to words hu- 
morous or tender, as the subject demanded, no poet of our tongue ever 
displayed higher skill in marrying melody to immortal verse. But the 
writing of a series of songs for large musical collections, degenerated into 
a slavish labour which no talents could support, led to negligence, and, 
above all, diverted the poet from his grand plan of dramatic composition. 
To produce a work of this kind, neither, perhaps, a regular tragedy nor 
comedy, but something partaking of the nature of both, seems to have been 
long the cherished wish of Burns. He had even fixed on the subject* 
which was an adventure in low life, said to have happened to Robert BrucOy 
whOe wandering in danger and disguise, afler being defeated by the English. 
The Scottish dialect would have rendered such a piece totally unfit for the 
stage ; but those who recoHect the masculine and lofly tone of martial spirit 
which glows in the poem of Bannockbum, will sigh to think what the cha- 
racter of the gallant Bruce might have proved under the hand of Bums. It 
would undoubtedly have wanted that tinge of chivalrous feeling which the 
manners of the age, no less than the disposition of the monarch, demanded ; 
but this deficiency would have been more than supplied by a bard who 
could havQ drawn irpm his own perceptions, the unbendip^ eoer^ qf % 

czxxii LIFfi OP ROB£RT BORNS. 

hero sustaining the dewrtion of friends, the perBecutioa of eneiniety «id 
the utmost malice of diswtrous fortune. Theioene, tooi being putlj kid 
in humble life, admitted that display of broad humour and exquisite pathos, 
with which he could, interchangeably and at pleasure, adorn his cottage 
views. Xor was the assemblage of familiar sentiments incompatible in 
Bums, with tliose of the most e^calted dignity. In the inimitable tale ot 
Tarn o* ShaTiter, he has lefl us sufficient evidence of his abilities to com- 
bine the ludicrous with the awful, and even the horrible. No poety with 
the exception of Shakspcare, ever possessed the power of exciting the most 
varied and discordant emotions with such rapid transitions. His humour- 
ous description of death in the poem on J}r. Hornbook borders on the ter- 
rific, and the witches* dance in the kirk of Alloa is at once ludicrous and 
horrible. Deeply must we then regret those avocations which diverted a 
fancy so varied and so vigorous, joined with language and expression suited 
to ail its changes, from leaving a more substantial monument to his owa 
fiune, and to the honour of his country.*' 

The cantata of the Joify JBeggarSf which was not printed at all until some 
time after the poet*8 death, and has not been included in the editions of his 
works until within these few years, cannot be con<udered as it 4eserves, with- 
out strongly heightening our regret that Bums never lived to execute his 
meditated arama. That extraordinary sketch, coupled with his later ly- 
rics in a higher vein, is enough to show that in him we had a master capa- 
ble of placing the musical drama on a level with the lofUest of our classi- 
cal forms. Sepgars JBusIiy and Beggars Opera, sink into tameness in the 
comparison ; and indeed, without profanity to the name of Shakspeare, it 
may be said, that out of such materials, even his genius could hardly have 
constructed a piece in which imagination could have more spleiulidly pre- 
dominated over the outward shows of things — in which the sympathy- 
awakening power of poetry could have been displayed more triumphantly 
under circumstances of the greatest difficulty. — That remarkable perform- 
ance, by the way, was an early production of the Mauchline period. I 
know nothing but the Tarn o* S/tanter that is calculated to convey so hi^ 
an impression of what Bums might have done. 

As to Burns's want of education and knowledge, Mr. Campbell may not 
have considered, but he must admit, that whatever Burns*s opportunities 
had been at the time when he produced his first poems, such a man as he 
was not likely to be a hard reader, (which he certainly was), and a constant 
observer of men and manners, in a much wider circle of society than al- 
most any other great poet has ever moved in, from three-and- twenty to 
eight-and-thirty, without having thoroughly removed any pretext for au- 
guring unfavourably on that score, of what he might have l^een expected 
to produce in the more elaborate departments of his art, had his life been 
spared to tlie usual limits of humanity. In another way, however, I can- 
not help suspecting that Bums s enlarged knowledge, both of men and books, 
produced an unfavourable effect, rather than otherwise, on the exertions, 
audi as they were, of his later years. His generous spirit was open to the 
impression of every kind of excellence ; his lively imagination, bending its 
own vigour to whatever it touched, made him admire even what other peo- 
ple try to read in vain ; and after travelling, as he did, over the general 
surfiice of our literature, he qipears to have been somewhat startled at the 
consideration of what he himself had, in comparative ignanace, adventur- 

rd| and to have been more intimidftted than encouragea b^ the retrospectt 



In most of the new departments in which he made some trial of his strength, 
(such* for example, as the moral epistle in Pope's vein, the heroic satire, 
Ac), he appears to have soon lost heart, and paused. There is indeed one 
magnificent exception in Tarn o* Shanter — a piece which no one can under- 
stand without believing, that had Bums pursued that vralk, and poured out 
his stores oi traditionary lore, embellished with his extraordinary powers 
of description of all kinds, we might have had from his hand a series of na- 
tional tales, uniting the quaint simplicity, sly humour, and irresistible pathos 
of another Chaucer, with the strong and graceful versification, and mascu- 
line wit and sense of another Dryden. 

This was a sort of feeling that must have in time subsided But let us 

not waste words in regretting what might have been, where so much is.— 
Bums, short and painful as were his years, has lefl behind him a volume 
in which there is inspiration for every fancy, and music for every mood ; 
which lives, and will live in strength and vigour — " to soothe," as a gene- 
rous lover of genius has said — " the sorrows of how many a lover, to in- 
flame the patriotism of how many a soldier, to fan tlic fires of how many a 
genius, to disperse the gloom of solitude, appease the agonies of pain, en- 
courage virtue, and show vice its ugliness ;" • — a volume, in which, centuries 
hence, as now, wherever a Scotsman may wander, he will find the dearest 
consolation of his exile. — Already has 


Glory without end 

Scattered the clouds away ; and on that name attend 
The tears and praiaes of all time.*' -t> 

Tlie mortal remains of the poet rest in Dumfries churchyard. For nine- 
teen years they were covered by the plain and humble tombstone placed 
over them by his widow, bearing the inscription simply of his name. But 
a splendid mausoleum having been erected by public subscription on the 
most elevated site which the churchyard presented, the remains were so- 
lemnly transferred thidier on the 8th June 1815; the original tombstone 
having been sunk under the bottom of the mausoleum. This shrine of the 
poet is annually visited by many pilgrims. The inscription it bears is given 
below. Another splendid monumental edifice has also been erected to 
his memory on a commanding situation at the foot of the Carrick hills ir* 
Ayrshire, in the immediate vicinity of the old cottage where die poet was 
born ; and such is the unceasing, nay daily increasing veneration of his 
admiring countrymen, that a third one, of singular beauty of design, is 
now in progress, upon a striking projection of that most picturesque emi- 
nence — the Gallon Hill of Edinburgh. — The cut annexed to p. cxxxvL 
exhibits a view, necessarily but an imperfect one, of the monument last 

* Seetiie Ceoiara LitemrUof Sir Egtrton Bnrdni, voL ii p. 65. 
t Leid^7loo*sGllildH•n)ld,Gtelloiv.80L 













ABTB roencA tam praeclaei fotsmtei 












MOm jumn anno men ncoooav 




The many poetical effusions the Peot's death gave rise Co, presents a 
wide field for selection. — The elegiac verses by Mr. Roscoe of Livei^gQl 
have been preferred, as die most fitting sequel to his eventful life. 



RSAm high thy bleak nugesdc hills, 

Thy shelterM valleys proudly spread, 
And, 8coTiA, pour thy thousand rills, 

And wave thy heaths with blossoms red ; 
But. ah ! what poet now shall tread 

Tny airy heights, thy woodland reign, 
Since he, the sweetest bard, is dead. 

That ever breathed the soothing strain ! 

As green thv towering pines may grow. 

As clear tny streams may speed along. 
As bright thv summer suns may glow. 

As ^tily cnarm thy feathery throng ; 
Bat now, unheeded is the song. 

And dull and lifeless all around. 
For his wild harp lies aU unstrung. 

And cold the hand that waked its sound. 

What though thy vigorous offspring rise, 

In arts, in arms, thy sons excel ; 
Tbo* beautv in thy daughters* eyes. 

And health in every Mature dwell ? 
Yet who shall now their praises tell. 

In strains impassioned, fond, and free, 
Since he no more the song shall swell 

To love, and liberty, and thee ? 

With step-dame eye and iVown severe 

His haplns youth why didst thou view ? 
For aU thy joys to him were dear. 

And all ms vows to thee were due ; 
Nor greater bliss his bosom knew. 

In opening youth's delightful prime. 
Than when tnv favouring ear he drew 

To listen to his chaunted rhyme. 

Thy lonely wastes and frowning skies 

1 o him were aU with rapture frau^^t ; 
He heard with ioy the tempest rise 

That waked him to subhmer thought ; 
And oft thy winding deUs he sou^t, [fume. 

Where wild-flowers pourM theu rathe per- 
And with sincere devotion brought 

To tbre the iuinmet*s eadicit bloook 

But ah ! no fbnd maternal smile 

His improtected youth enjoy*d, 
His limbs inurM to early toil, 

His days with early hardships tried $ 
And more to mark the gloomy void. 

And bid him feel his misery. 
Before his infant eyes would glide 

Day-dreams of immortality. 

Vet, not by cold neglect depress*d. 

With sinewy arm he tum*d the sdl. 
Sunk with the evening sun to rest. 

And met at mom his earliest snule. 
Waked by his rustic pipe, meanwhile 

The powers of fimcv came along. 
And sooth*d his lengthened hours of toil, 

With native wit and sprightly song. 

—Ah ! days of bliss, too swifUv fled. 

When vigorous health fitom labour springSi 
And bland contentment smooths the b«l, 

And sleep his ready opiate brings ; 
And hovermg round on airy wings 

Float the light forms of young desire, 
That of unutterable things 

The soft and shadowy nope inspire. 

Now spells of mightier power prepare. 

Bid brighter phantoms round him dance t 
Let Flattoy sjiread her viewless snare. 

And Fame attract his vagrant glance ; 
Let sprightlv Pleasure too advance, 

Unveil*d fier eyes, undasp'd her zone. 
Till, lost in love's delirious trance. 

He scorns the joys his youth has known. 

Let Friendship pour her brightest blaze, 

Expanding all the bloom of soul; 
And Mirth concentre aU her rays. 

And point them from the sparUing bowl ; 
And let the careless moments roll 

In social pleasure uneonfined. 
And confidence that spams control 

Unlock the inmoet sprinfi of mind s 


TTTiwi ilMiiif* JJlh ijilinflniii iIm, 
OtSeMDM bidj bs fknoi'd llaitiDg 

Bajotid the ptmunt'i humblci jojii, 
And freed from euh libotioiu itiife. 

Then let him leun the blio to nriie 
Th*l Haiti the iodm ot poliih'd life. 

Than whibt his throbbing Tdna best U^ 

With ereiy impulK of deheht, 
Duh Aom hu lipe the cup of joy. 

And ihtodd the iceae in ihidts of night ; 
Aod let Deroii, with wizard liEht, 

Diictoae the turning ^ulf below, 
Aod pour inrpiiint on Ju* tighl 

H(t ipeetttd illi and ihapea of woe : 

And tbow bncalh a dieerlen >hed. 

With eamwing heut ud etreunii 

Id iilKit gM where droop* her head 

■treuninc erea, 

gr of hii eadj juri i 

And let hii infaati' lendat oIm 
Hit fbnd parental Mccdar dtila. 

And bid him hear io W>nle> 
A huiband'i and a tather'a name. 

'Til done, the powerful charm ineeeeda ; 

Hi* high reluctant apirit beoda ; 
Id bittemsu of muI he bleeda, 

Nor longer wiih hii fate conlenda. 
An Idiot laagh the welkin lenda 

A> ^iui thu< degraded liei ; 
Till piifing Heiren the veil exiendt 

That ihniudi the I'oet'i ardent ejes. 

_ , . . valleyi pioudlj iprad, 
And, Scotia, pour tliji thouaand lilli, 

And wave Ihy heatha with blonom* ted ; 
But nerer more shall poet tread 

Thj airr heighli, (far woodland reign, 
Since he, the gweeteit bard, it dead. 

That era brealbad the aoothing ataiik 

•• . 






Trb att^tidn of the public seems to be much occupied tt preMil widi 
the loss it has recently sustained in the death of the Caledonian poet, Kd- 
bOrt Burns ; a loss calculated to be severely felt throughout the litefirv 
^i^iMrld, as well as lamented in the narrower sphere of private ilrie&dship. It 
was not therefore probable that such an event shoiud be long onattendtC 
with the accustomed profusion of posthumous anecdotes and memoirs which 
are usually circulated immediately after the death of every rare and cele* 
hrated personage : I had however conceived no intention of appropriating 
to myself the privilege of criticising Bums*8 writings and character, or i 
anticipating on the province of a biographer. 

Conscious indeed of my own inability to do justice to such a subject, I 
should have continued wholly silent, had misrepresentation and calumny 
been less industrious ; but a regard to truth, no less dian afBection for thb 
memory of a friend, must now justify my offering to the public a few at 
least of those observations which an intimate acquaintance with Bums, and 
the frequent opportunities I have had of observing equally his happy qua^ 
lities and his failings for several years past, have enabled me to comma* 

It will actually be an injustice done to Bums's character, not only by 
future generations and foreign countries, but even by his native Scotland^ 
and perhaps a number of his contemporaries, that he is generally talked of, 
and considered, with reference to his poetical talents onfy : for the fact is» 
even allowing his great and original genius its due tribute of admiration, 
that poetry (I appeal to all who have had the advantage of being person- 
ally acquainted with him) was actually not hh forte. Many others, per^ 
haps, may have ascended to prouder heights in the region of Parnassus, 
but none certainly ever outshone Bums in the charms— the sorcery, I 

• lCn:iUddeU luiew the poet wcU s the had CTiry opportimity for obMnratioo of wl^ 
«A M of what wM nid of him and done toward* him. Her baantifUUy writtta JE^.-Menihr Mt ctadML 
^^wMwaUieeiiiFidaiMlfeDcrallTciiMialidattlMttmc. U hia bi«i ineiitad ^1>r. Cmle talrie aeeS 
•dUkmi^MtBterMtlnf ftomtoekoaee, and nthofitatlTe finon the writ«r» aceuxMe iB&cmattefti wthm 
^MWftminpitiirtHysHiaaffcBihwi^ _ 



would almost call it» of fiucinating convenatioDv the nnintaiieoiif do* 
quence of locial argument, or the unstudied poignancy of brilliant repar- 
tee ; nor was any man, I believe, ever gifted wiu a larger portion of the 
* vkrida vii amad.* His personal endowments were perfectly correqxm- 
dent to the qualifications of his mind : his form was manly ; his action, 
energy itself; devoid in great measure perhaps of those graces, of that 
polish, acquired only in the refinement of societies where in early life he 
could have no opportunities of mixing ; but where, such was the irresist- 
ible power of attraction that encircled him, though his appearance and 
manners were always peculiar, he never fiuled to delight and to excel* 
His figure seemed to bear testimony to his earlier destination and employ- 
ments. It seemed rather mouldea by nature for the rough exercises of 
Agriculture, than the gentler cultivation of the Belles Lettres. His fea- 
tures were stamped with the hardy character of independence, ,and the 
firmness of conscious, though not arrogant, pre-eminence ; the animated 
expressions of countenance were almost peculiar to himself; the rapid 
lightnings of his eye were always the harbingers of some flash of genius, 
whether they darted the fiery glances of insulted and incGgnant superiori- 
ty, or beamed witli the impassioned sentiment of fervent and impetuous 
affections. His voice alone could improve upon the magic of his eye : so- 
norous, replete with the finest modulations, it alternately captivated the 
car with the melody of poetic numbers, the perspicuity of nervous reason- 
ing, or the ardent sallies of enthusiastic patriotism. The keenness of sa- 
tire was, I am almost at a loss whether to say, his forte or his foible ; for 
though nature had endowed him with a portion of the most pointed excellence 
in that dangerous talent, he suffered it too often to be the vehicle of personal, 
and sometimes unfounded, animosities. It was not always that sportiveness 
of humour, that ** unwary pleasantry," which Sterne has depicted with touches 
io conciliatory ; but the darts of ridicule were frequently directed as the ca- 

Clce of the instant suggested, or as the altercations of parties and of persons 
ppened to kindle the restlessness of his spirit into interest or aversion* 
This, however, was not invariably the case ; his wit, (which is no unusual mat- 
ter indeed), had always the start of his judgment, and would lead him into 
the indulgence of raillery uniformly acute, but often unaccompanied with 
the least desire to wound. The suppression of an arch and full-pointed bon 
mot, from a dread of offending its object, the sage of Zurich very properly 
classes as a virtue on/y to be tought for in the Calendar ^ SauUi ; if ^so. 
Bums must not be too severely dealt with for being rather deficient in it. 
He paid for his mischievous wit as dearly as any one could do. ** 'Twas no 
extravagant arithmetic,*' to say of him, as was said of Yorick, that ** for 
every ten jokes he got a hundred enemies ;*' but much allowance will be 
made by a candid mind for the splenetic warmth of a spirit whom ** dis- 
tress had spited with the world," and which, unbounded in its intellectual 
sallies and pursuits, continually experienced the curbs imposed by the way- 
wardness of his fortune. The vivacity of his wishes and temper was indeed 
checked by almost habitual disappointmenU, which sat heavy on a heart 
that acknowledged the ruling passion of independence, without having ever 
been placed beyond the grasp of penury. His soul was never languid or 
inactive, and his genius was extinguished only with the last spark of re- 
treating life. His passions rendered him, according as they disclosed them- 
■eWes m affection or antipathy, an object of enthusiastic attachment, or of 
decided enmity ; for he possessed none of that negative insipidity of cha> 


ncteri whose love might be regarded with indifference, or whose resent- 
raent could be considered with contempt In this, it should seem, the 
temper of his associates took the tincture from his own ; for he acknowledg- 
ed in the universe but two classes of objects, those of adoration the most 
fervent, or of aversion the most uncontrolable ; and it has been frequently 
a reproach to him, that, unsusceptible of indifference, often hating, where 
he ought only to have despised, he alternately opened his heart and poured 
forth the treasures of his understanding to such as were incapable of ap- 
preciating the homage ; and elevated to the privileges of an adversary, some 
who were unqualified in all respects for the honour of a contest so distin- 

It is said that the celebrated Dr. Johnson professed to " love a good 
hater** — a temperament that would have singularly adapted him to cherish 
a prepossession in favour of our bard, who perhaps fell but little short even 
of the surly Doctor in this qualification, as long as the disposition to ill-will 
continued ; but the warmth of his passions was fortunately corrected by 
their versatility. He was seldom, indeed never, implacable in his resent- 
ments, and sometimes, it has been alleged, not inviolably faithful in his 
engagements of friendship. Much indeed has been said about his incon- 
stancy and caprice ; but I am inclined to believe, that tliey originated less 
in a levity of sentiment, than from an extreme impetuosity of feeling, 
which rendered him prompt to take umbrage ; and his sensations of pique, 
where he fancied he had discovered the traces of neglect, scorn, or unkind- 
ness, took their measure of asperity from the overflowings of the opposite 
sentiment which preceded them, and which seldom failed to regain its as- 
cendancy in his bosom on the return of calmer reflection. He was candid 
and manly in the avowal of his errors, and his avowal was a reparatiamm 
His nsXvweJierti never forsaking him for a moment, the value of a frank 
acknowledgment was enhanced tenfold towards a generous mind, from its 
never being attended with servility. His mind, organized only for the 
stronger and more acute operations of the passions, was impracticable to 
the efforts of superciliousness that would have depressed it into humility, 
and equally superior to the encroachments of venal suggestions that might 
have led him into the mazes of hypocrisy. 

It has been observed, that he was far from averse to the incense of 
flattery, and could receive it tempered with less delicacy than might 
have been expected, as he seldom transgressed extravagantly in that 
way himself; where he paid a compliment, it might indeed claim the 
power of intoxication, as approbation from him was always an honest tri- 
bute from the warmth and sincerity of his heart. It has been sometimes 
represented, by those who it should seem had a view to depreciate, though 
they could not hope wholly to obscure that native brilliancy, which the 
powers of this extraordinary man had invariably bestowed on every thing 
that came from his lips or pen, that the history of the Ayrshire ploughboy 
was an ingenious fiction, fabricated for the purposes of obtaining the inte- 
rests of the great, and enhancing the merits of what in reality required no 
foiL The Cotter's Saturday Night, Tam o* Shanter, and the Mountain 
Daisy, besides a number of later productions, where the maturity of his 
genius will be readily traced, and which will be given to the public aj 
soon as his friends have collected and arranged them, speak sufficiently for 
themselves ; and had they fallen from a hand more dignified in the ranks 
«f society than that of a peasant^ they bad perhaps bestowed as unusual a 


mee therey ueren in th» humbler ihade of roitic uupir»ti<» ftwn wbaace 
tter rttlly tpmiig. 

To the obicure iceiie of Buras's education, and to the laboriouB, though 
honourable station of rural industry, in which his parentage enroDed him, 
•fanott erenr inhabitant of the south of Scotland can give testimony. Hit 
only sunrirmg brother, Gilbert Bums, now guides the ploughshare of hit 
ibre&thers in Ayrshire, at a farm near Maudbline ; * and our poet's eldest 
aon (a lad of nine years of age, whose early dispositions already prove him 
Id be in some measure the inheritor of his father's talents as well as indi- 
mioe) has been destined by his family to the humble employments of the 

That Bums had received no classical education, and was acquainted 
with the Greek and Roman authors only through the medium of transla* 
tions, is a fact of which all who were in the habits of conversing with him, 
might readily be convinced. I have indeed seldom observed him to be at 
a loss in conversation, unless where the dead languages and their writers 
have been the subjects of discussion. When I have pressed him to tell me 
why he never applied himself to acquire the Latin, in particular, a lan- 
guage which his happy memory would have so soon enabled him to be mas- 
ter of, he used only to reply with a smile, that he had ahready leamt all the 
Latin he desired to 'know, and that was Omnia mncU amor ; a sentence 
that, from his writings and most favourite pursuits, it should undoubtedly 
aeem that he was most thoroughly versed in ; but I really believe his clas- 
tic erudition extended little, if any, farther. 

The penchant Bums had uniformly acknowledged for the festive plea- 
turet of the table, and towards the fairer and softer objects of nature's 
. creation, has been the rallying point from whence the attacks of his cen- 
sors have been uniformly directed ; and to these, it must be confessed, he 
shewed himself no stoic. His poetical pieces blend with altemate happi- 
ness of description, the frolic spirit of the flowing bowl, or melt the heart 
• to the tender and impassioned sentiments in which brauty always taught 
. him to pour forth his own. But who would wish to reprove the feelings he 
.hat consecrated with such lively touches of nature? And where is the 
rugged moralist who will persuade us so far to *' chill the genial current 
of the soul,** as to regret that Ovid ever celebrated his Corinnay or that 
'Anacreon sung beneath his vine ? 

I will not however undertake to be the apologist of the irregularidet 
eren of a man of genius, though I believe it is as certain that genius never 
was f^ from irregularities, as that their absolution may in a great met* 
sure be justly claimed, since it is perfectly evident that the world had ooo« 
tinned very stationary in its intellectual acquirements, had it never ^en 
birth to any but men of plain sense. Evenness of conduct, and a due re- 
gard to the decorums of the world, have been so rarely seen to move hand 
in hand with genius, that some have gone as far as to say, though there I 
cannot wholly acquiesce, that they are even incompatible'; besides, the 
ftailtiet that catt their shade over the splendour of superior merit, are 
nore conspicuously glaring than where they are the attendimts of mere medi- 

* Th« frt0 of iliii wordij man it notioed at p. 302, where wOl be fisond » dsMrved tnbate 
SDhblMnorj, (|brhe.too,alaal ii gone), fiom the pen of a friend. 

t no pita of hnmnm the poet^ eldeet ion a manofacturer waa given up. Ha hat boen 
jiMidksiit of tlMpabBeoffiees (the Stamp-Office) in London, when he eontiniMa ta fill 
I w | ij ii i % a iii ctsbl i sitastkw. Bii stnking likenaM to the pott feas bin oftn if« 


Ocrity. It is only on the gem we are disturbed to see the dust ; the pebble 
may be soiled, and we never regard it The eccentric intuitions of genius 
too oflen yield the soul to the wild effervescence of desires, always un- 
bounded, and sometimes equally dangerous to the repose of others as &tal 
to its own. No wonder then if virtue herself be sometimes lost in the blaz« 
of kindling animation, or that the calm monitions of reason are not inva- 
riably found sufficient to fetter an imaginatio? which scorns the narrow 
limits and restrictions that would chain it to the level of ordinary minds. 
The child of nature, the child of sensibility, unschooled in the rigid pre- 
cepts of philosophy, too often unable to control the passions which proved 
a source of frequent errors and misfortunes to him, Burrw"* made his own 
artless apology in language more impressive than all the argumentatory 
vindications in the world could do, in one of his own poems, where he de- 
lineates the gradual expansion of his mind to the lessons of the ** tutelary 
muse/' who concludes an address to her pupil, almost unique for simplicity 
and beautiful poetry, with these lines : 

*^ I taw thy puke's maddening ^Axy 
Wild send thee pleasure's devious way ; 
Misled by Fancy's meteor ray. 

By passion driven ; 
But yet the light that led astray. 

Was light from heaven /'* • 

I have already transgressed beyond the bounds I haa proposed to my- 
self, on first committing this sketch to paper, which comprehends what at 
least I have been led to deem the leading features of Bums's mind and cha- 
nu;ter : a literary critique I do not aim at ; mine is wholly fulfilled, if in 
these pages I have been able to delineate any of those strong traits that 
distinguished him, — of those talents which raised him from the plough, 
where he passed the bleak morning of his life, weaving his rude wreaths 
of poesy with the wild field-flowers that sprang around his cottage, to that 
enviable eminence of literary fame, where Scotland will long cherish his 
memory with delight and gratitude ; and proudly remember, that beneath 
her cold sky a genius was ripened, without care or culture, that would have 
done honour to climes more favourable to those luxuriances — that warmth 
of colouring and fancy in which he so eminently excelled. 

From several paragraphs I have noticed in the public prints, ever since 
the idea of sending this sketch to some one of them was formed, 1 find pri- 
vate animosities have not yet subsided, and that en^y has not yet exhaust- 
ed all her shafts. I still trust, however, that honest fame will be perma- 
nently affixed to Burns*s character, which 1 think it will be found he has 
merited by the candid and impartial among his countr3rmen. And where 
a recollection of the imprudences that sullied his brighter qualifications in- 
terpose, let the imperfection of all human excellence be remembered at 
the same time, leaving those inconsistencies, which alternately exalted his 
nature into the seraph, and sunk it again into the man, to the tribunal 
which alone can investigate the lab3rrindis of the human heart^- 

*^ Where they alike in trembling hope repoic^ 
—The bosom of his father and his God," 

Gkat*s ELxay. 
Jbmaniak^ /iugutt 7, 1796. 


The Avowing trifles are not the production of the poet, who, with aO 
the advantages of learned art, and, perhaps, amid the elegancies and idle- 
ness of upper life, looks down for a rural theme, with an eye to Theocritut 
or Virgil. To the author of this, these and other celebrated names their 
countrymen are, at least in tlieir original language, afomUcdH shut 191, and 
a book wealed. Unacquainted with the necessary requisites for commencing 
poet by rule, he sings the sentiments and manners he felt and saw in him- 
self and rustic compeers around him, in his and their native language*^* 
Though a rhymer from his earliest years, at least from the earliest impulse 
of the softer passions, it was not till very lately that the applause, perhaps 
the partiality, of friendship, wakened his vanity so for as to make him think 
any thing of his worth showing ; and none of the following works were com- 
posed with a view to tlie press. To amuse himself with the little creatiom 
of his own fancy, amid the toil and fatigues of a laborious life ; to transcribe 
the various feelings, the loves, the griefs, the hopes, the fears, in his own 
breast ; to find some kind of counterpoise to the struggles of a world, al- 
ways an alien scene, a task uncouth to the poetical mind — these were 
his motives for courting the Muses, and in these he found poetry to be 
its own reward* 

Now that he appears in the public character of an author, be does it 
with fear and trembling. So dear is fame to the rhyming tribe, that even 
he, an obscure, nameless bard, shrinks aghast at the thought of being 
branded as — An impertinent blockhead, obtruding his nonsense on the 
world ; and, because he can make a shift to jingle a few doggerel Scotch 
rhymes together, lookmg upon himself as a poet of no small consequencei 

It is an observation of that celebrated poet, Shcnstone, whose divine ele- 

E*es do honour to our language, our nation, and our species, that *' HumUUy 
iB depressed many a genius to a hermit, but never raised one to fame !" 
If any critic catches at the word genius^ the author tells him once for all, 
that he certainly looks upon himself as possessed of some poetic abilitiety 
otherwise his publishing in the manner he has done, would be a manoeuvre 
below the worst character, which, he hopes, his worst enemy will «ver 
give him. But to the genius of a Ramsay, or the glorious dawnings of the 
poor, unfortunate Fergusson, he, with equal unaffected sincerity, declares, 
that, even in his highest pulse of vanity, he has not the most distant pre- 
tensions. These two justly admired Scotch poets he has ofVen had in hia 
Se in the following pieces ; but rather with a view to kindle at their flama^ 
in fiir servile ■twt»a»i/w- 


PttttAdB TO THB FIftST EDltlOM. 

To hit •ubfcriberty the author returns his most sincere thanks : Not the 
uercenarj bow orer a counter, but the heart*throbbing gratitude of the 
bardt conscious how much he owes to benevolence and friendship for gra- 
tifying him, if he deserves it, in that dearest wish of every poetic bosom- 
to be distinguished. He begs his readers, particularly the learned and the 
polite, who may honour him with a perusal, that they will make every al- 
lowance for educatioD and circumstances of life ; but if, after a fkir, can- 
did, and impartial criticism, he shall stand convicted of dullness and non- 
sense, let hmi he done by as he would in that case do by others — let him 
be coodsnnedi without mercy, to contenpt and oblivion. 





My Lords and Gentlemen, 

A Scottish Bard, proud of the name, and whose highest ambition is to 
ting in his Comitry's service — ^where shall he so properly look for patron- 
age as to the illustrious names of his Native Land ; those who bear the ho- 
nours and inherit the virtues of their Ancestors ? The Poetic Genius of 
my Country found me, as the prophetic bard Elijah did Elisha — at the 
plough ; and threw her inspiring mantle over me. She bade me sing the 
loves, the joys, the rural scenes and rural pleasures of my native soil, in m;^ 
native tongue ; I turned my wild, artless notes, as she inspired. — She whis- 
pered me to come to this ancient Metropolis of Caledonia, and lay my 
Songs under your honoured protection : I now obey her dictates. 

Though much indebted to your goodness, I do not approach you, my 
Lords and Gentlemen, in the usual style of dedication, to thank you for 
past favours ; that path is so hackneyed by prostituted learning, that ho- 
nest rusticity is ashamed of it. Nor do I present this Address with the 
venal soul of a servile Author, looking for a continuation of those favours : 
I was bred to the Plough, and am independent. I come to claim the coir 
mon Scottish name with you, my illustrious Countrymen ; and to tell ...c 
world that I glory in the title. I come to congratulate my Country, that 
the blood of her ancient heroes still runs uncontaminated ; and that from 
your courage, knowledge, and public-spirit, she may expect protection, 
wealth, and liberty. In the last place, I come to prefer my warmest wishes 
to the Great Fountain of Honour, the Monarch of the Universe, for your 
welfare and happiness. 

When you go forth to awaken the Echoes, in the ancient and favourite 
amusement of your forefathers, may Pleasure ever be of your party ; and 
may Social Joy await your return : When harassed in courts or camps 


with the jo^tllngs of bad men and bad measures, may the honest consci- 
% ousness of injured worth attend your return to your Native Seats ; and 

may Domestic Happiness, with a smiling welcome, meet you at your gates ! 
May corruption shrmk at your kindling indignant glance ; and may tyranny 
in Uie Ruler, and licendousness in the People, equally find an inexorable 

I have the honour to be, 
With the sinceres^ gratitude, 
and highest respect. 

My Lords and Gentlemen, 
Tour most devoted humble servant, 


Edinbuii^gh, ) 
April 4, 1787. f 

.*%* % 

t^' - ^. 









■ • 




TwAt is that pUce o* SootlancTs itb. 
That Imui ikm name o' Anld King OAU 
"Ppop a bouiia daj ia June, 
ythta wtariag thro' the afternoon, 
Twa doga that were na thrang at hame, 
Fofgather'd ance upon a time. 

The firrt ni name they ca*d him Ctuar, 
Waa keepit for hia Honour's pleasure : 
Hia hair, his sixe, his mouth, his higa, 
Show'd he was naoe o' Scotland's dog« ; 
But whalpit some place far abroad, 
"Where sailors gang to fish ibr cod. 

His locked, lettered, hraw hroM collar 
Show'd him the gentleman and scholar : 
But tho* he was o* high degree. 
The 6ent a pride na pride bad he ; 
But wad hae spent an hour caresatin', 
£v*n with a tinkler gipsey's messiii*. 
At kirk or market, mill or cmiddie, 
Nae Uwted tyke, tho* e'er sac duddie, 
But he wad stan't, as glad to sec him. 
And stroan't on stanes an* hillocks wi' him. 

The tidier was a pkxighman's collie, 
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie, 
"Wha for his friend an* comrade had him. 
And in his freaks had Luath ca'd him. 
After some Aog in Highland sang,* 
Was made lang syne — Lcnrd knows how lang. 

He was a gash an* faithfu* tyke, 
As erer lap a ahengh or dyke. 
His honest, oonsie, baws*nt face. 
Aye gat him friends in ilka plaoe. 
His breast was white, his towiie back 
Weel clad wi* ooat o' glossy block ; 
His gawde tail, wi* npwanl curl, 
Hnng o*er hia hordiea wi* a ewurL 

• CiidMiUlBl dog to <MaB^ naftf. 

NMdoabI but they were fiua o* ither, 
An' nnoo padc an' thick thwithcr ; 
Vi' aocial noise whylce snuffM and HMwIdt } 
Whyles mice and mowdieworta thmr hoiHdl; 
Whyles soour'd awa in lang evauniea^ 
An* worry*d itber in diTerdka ; 
Until wT daffin weary grow% 
Upon a knowe they eat them iow% 
And there began a kag digi^ria^ 
About the lordM o* /Aia ermiiiM^ 

I've often wonder'd honest Zuath, 
What sort o' life poor dogs like yoa hare ; 
An* when the gentry's life I aaw. 
What way poor bodies lived are. 

Our Laird gets in his racked rente, 
Hi« coals, his kaiu, and a' hia atents : 
Ho rut* when he likes himsd* ; 
His flunkies aiinver at the beU ; 
He ra*s his coach, he ca's hia hoTM ; 
He draws a bonnie silken poreea 
As hn^r'n my toil, whare, thro* the eteeka, 
The yeUow letter'd Geordie 

J- a 

Frae mom to e*en its nought bat toQio^ 
At baking, roasting, fi7ing, boiling ; 
An* tho* the gentry fast are stechin'. 
Yet ev*n the ha* fUk fill their pechaa 
Wi' sauce, ragouts, and sic like traahtri% 
That's little short o* downright waatriei 
Our Whipper-in, wee blastit wonner. 
Poor worthleee rif^ it eata a dinner. 
Better than ony tenant man 
His Honour hie itt a' the Ian* : 
An* what poor oot-lolk pit their paiaeh imp 
I own its past my comprehension. 


Trowth, Caraar, whyles they're fiMh't 
A cotter howkin in a sheugh, 
Wi* dirty stanes biggin a dyke, 
Baring a quarry, and sic like, 
Himself, a wife, he thus sustains^ 
A smytrie o* wee duddie weana, 
An* nought bat hia ban' darg , to keep 
Them right and t%ht la thadk aa* iifeb 




Am* wbon ditjr ntit wT nir dkuten^ 
liki lo« o' k«l^ ar wut of iBMlcn, 
T« BAHt wid tliink, s ww touch Uagar» 
Am' thc7 BUUiB tttam o* etnld amd huo^; 
Bmty bo«r it cones, I iicT«r keii*d fet, 
TlMjr^rt BMMtly woodcrfii* coatentad ; 
Am* bvirdly ducb* tn' derer hisMt, 
An bnd in ve a way at thia ii. 


Bot thca to tea ham j«*re neglcekit, 
IIo«r hnflTd, and cuff*d, and dismpeekit ! 
L d, man, oar gtntrj can at little 
For dehren^ dit^en, amd aac cattle ; 
They gaiif at nocjr bjr poor ib*k» 
Aa I wad by a atinkinf brock. 

iNre BO|ie*d on oar Laird't eonrt day 
Am' moay a time my heart'a been wae, 
p9or tenant hodiet, teant o' cath. 
How they mann thole a fiictor*a math ; 
He*ll etamp^m' threaten, cone an' twaar, 
He*U apprehend them, poind their gear ; 
mule they mann elan*, wi* aapeet homble. 
Am' hear it a*, an' liar an* tremble ! 

I tee how iblk lire that hae richet ; 
But eurdy poor iblk maun be wrctchet. 


They're nae tea wretehed*t ane wid think ; 
Tho' eonttaatly on poortith't brink : 
They'n tae aoeuttomed wi' the tight. 
The view o*t gi*et them little fright. 

Then chance an* fortune an tae guided, 
They*n ayo in leet or mair provided ; 
An* tho* utign'd wi' doee employment, 
A Mink o' rett't a tweet enjoyment. 

The deareat comfbrt o* their live*. 
Their grothie weant an' fiuthfu* wivai ; 
The prattlin Uiinga an juit their pride 
That tweeCena a* their fire-tide. 

An' whylea twalpennie worth o' nappy 
Can mak the bodiet unoo happy ; 
They lay aaide their private caret, 
To mind the Kirk and State af&un : 
They'll talk o' patronage and priettt^ 
yrv kindling fiuy in their brnitt. 
Or tell what new tazation't comio'. 
And larlie at the fidk in Lon'on. 

At Week fac'd Hallowmat retumi^ 
They get the jovial, rantin' kirne, 
'When rurai VJk^ o' every ttation. 
Unite in common recreation : 
Love Uinkt, Wit dapt, an* eodal Bfirth, 
Foifttt then't Can upo* the earth. 

That merry day the year begins 
They bar the door on firotty wiodt ; 
Tha nappy redo wi* mantling ream 

Tha hmtin' pipe, and ineatliia* miltp 
An handed round wi' right gnid ndU : 
The oantie aold fclkt creckin' 
The yonng ante rantin' thro' the 
My heart hat been aae fiun to aci 
That I for joy hae barkit wi' them. 

StiO if t own tma that ya haa aaid» 
8ic game it now own aften piay'd. 
Then't monie a creditable atoek 
O* dceentt honeet, foweont fo'k. 
An riven ont baith root and branch. 
Some ratcal't pridefii' greed to quench, 
Wha thinkt to knit himtelf tha foMer 
In lavoun wi' eoroe gentle maater, 
Wha aiUint thrang a paiiiamentin** 
For Britain't gnid hit tanl indentin'— • 

Haith, bd, ye little ken about it: 
For ^ritaiVf ^mrf/— gnid fiuth, I dodH ill 
Say, rather, gaun at PrtmitrM lead him. 
An* tayin' aye or ne?» they bad him : 
At operat an' playt parading^ 
Bfor^^tging, gambling, matquendiag ; 
Or may be, in a frtdic daft. 
To Hagm or CaUdt takca a waft^ 
To mak a tour, and tak a whirls 
To learn htm ton and eee tha wori* 

There, at Fidma, or VermSOa^ 
He rive* hit fiither't auld entailt ! 
Or by Madrid he takea the rout^ 
To thrum guitan and feeht wi' nowt ; 
Or down Italian vitta ttartlet, 
Wh — re-hnnthig among grovea o' myrtlce : 
Then boutet drumly German water. 
To mik himtel' look fitir and fiitter. 
An' dear the coniequential eorrowt. 
Love gift* of Carnival tignoraa. 
For BrUaiiCa guid ! — for her dettruction ! 
Wi* diwipation, foud, an* foetunu 


Hech man ! dear tin ! it that die gate 
They watte tae mony a bnw attate ! 
An we tte foughten an' harait'd 
For gear to gang that gate at latt ! 

O would they ttey aback frae conrte. 
An* pleate thenndvet wi* oountn qporti^ 
It wad for every ane be better. 
The Laird, the Tenant, an' the Cotter ! 
For thae frank, rantin', ramblin* billiety 
Fient haet o' them't iO^heartrd foUowa ; 
Except for braakin' o' dieir dmmer. 
Or tpeakin' lightly o' their limmer. 
Or thootin' o' a han or moor^^odc. 
The ne'er a bit they'n ill to poor folk. 

But will ya teU me, Matter CWaor, 
Sun great folk*k lifo'a a lifo o' pleMnn! 
Naa nuU or hunger o'er am ateer thea^ 

Tbt Ttr^ thought 0*1 and m Inr ihiiii 

■; »■ 




L-hI, ttatt, Hrfft yi b«t wlqFfat wlnit I 
The gcotiM yi wwl M*«r tttry 'tn. 

It's trnt, tlMjr ntid am itanre or fw«il» 
Thro' winter's euJd or siountr's hett ; 
They're turn siir wtrk to emo the 
An' fiU auld ift wi* gripn an' gnaca 
But human hodim are aie SboIs, 
For a' thrir coU«gM an* seboola, 
That when nas real ilk ^tryHex them, 
Thejr mak enow themselves to vex thtm. 
An' aye the less they hae to start them, 
la Uke |>roportion la* will hurt them ; 
A eoontry Mlow at the pleugh. 
His acrss till'd, he's right eneugh ; 
A country girl at her wheel. 
Her diaens done, she's unco wed ; 
But Gentlemen, an* Ladies warst, 
Wr cy'ndown want o* wark are curst. 
They hiiter, lounging, lank, an* laiy 
Tho* dcil hact ails them, yet uneasy 
Tlkeir days insipid, dull, an* tasteless [ 
Their nighte unquiet, lang, an* restleMs ; 
An* er'n their sports, their balll, an* raoc% 
Their gaUopin* through public places. 
There's sic parade, sic pomp^ an' art. 
The Joy can scarcely reach the heart. 
The men cast out in party matches, 
Then sowther a' in deep debauches : 
Ati, night they're mad wi' drink an wh-ring, 
Neiat day their life is past endnrii^. 
The ladies arm-in-arm in dusten, 
As great and gradoua a* aa sbters ; 
Bat hotf their abeent thoughts o' ither. 
They're a' run deils an' jads thegithar. 
Whyles o'er the wee bit cup ana platic^ 
Thry sip the scandal potioa pretty ; 
Or lee lang nights, wi' crabbit leuks 
Pote owre the devil's pictni'd benka; 
Stake on a chance a furmer'a stackyard, 
Aa* cheat like ony unhang*d bUckguanL 

There's some exception, man tn* woman ; 
But this is Gentry's life in common. 

By this the son was out o' nght : 
An' darker gloaming brought the night : 
The bom-dock humm'd wi' la^ draw ; 
The kye stood rowtin' i' the loaa : 
When up they gat an shook their logi^ 
Beioic'd they were na wum but dogt / 
And each took aff hia several way, 
Basdv'd to meet aoaw ither day. 


CMehlm strong drink, untU he wlakt 
ThstTs sinkiBf In demdr { 

An* limiOT ffuid CO BraSto binki, 
Tktr* pwt wi' friiCiRir «Hf I 





kb 0106 no 




Ln dthor poeCa nise « firaeai, 

'Boot Tines, and winea, and druakea Saeehug^ 

An' erabbit aames an' storfea wrack as, 

An' grate onr lug, 
laingthejoice Sentibewren. nuk aa^ 

In glass or jqg. 

O Thou, myMiuef gnid auld &ofdl Drink 
Whether thro' wimpling worms thou jink. 
Or, richly brown, ream o'er the brink» 

In gkirioiis fiwm, 
Inspire me, till I lisp and wink. 

To sing thy naaM, 

Let husky Wheat the hangha adorn, 
And Aite set up their owaie hora. 
An' Pease and Beans at e'en or mora, 

Fsrlumt the plain, 
Leeie me on thee^ John BarU^eom^ 

Thoa kiiy o' grun ! 

On thee aft Scotland chowa her cood, 
la aonple soooes, the wail o* feod ! 
Or tumUia' ia the boUiag flood. 

Wi' kail aa' beef; 
Bat whea thou pours thy stroag heart's bkMM^ 

There thoa ahiaes chiet 

Fond fills the wam^ aa' keepa oa Kvia*; 
Tho* Ufe'k a gift no worth neeivia'. 
When heavy dragg'd wi' piae and grievia* ; 

But oil'd by thec^ 
The wheds o' life gae dowa-hOl, acrievm', 

Wi* rattlia* glee. 

Thoa dear* the head o* doited Lear ; 
Thoa eheera the heart o' droopiag Care ; 

Thoa atriaga dw aervea o* LaJbour aair; 

At^ weary toil; 
llioa evea brightena dark Dsi^ 

Wi' gkiomy smile. 

Aft^ dad ia massy silver weed, 
Wi* Qeadea thoa erecte thy head; 
Yet hoBibly kiad ia tiaie o* aeed. 

The poor maa'a wiac^ 
Si wee drap parriteh, or hia bread, 


Thoa art the fife o* poblie haoate ; 
Bat thee^ what were oar feba aad raate? 
Bv^ godly m eat iB ga o* the sauate, 

By thee iaspir'd. 
When gapiag they beuege the teats. 

Are doaUy fir'd. 

., -i 


aight we get the com ia» 
thoa raaaa the hora ia ! 
a New-year aoraiag 
In DOC or hlekiff 


inp ipMtiiil liani in, 
Aa* gvttjr niclur ! 



WImb Vakan gic« lut heHowt brtath. 
An* pkmifhoien gather wi* their gn'^^h, 
O nee ! to ice the tin an* freath 

r the li^Qcet raiip ! 
Then Bvrmtwm " comtB on hke death 
t At i-y'r)* chau}>. 

Naa mercy, then, for aim or sttvl ; 
The brawDir, bainie, plnufj^hmin chiel*, 
Bri«ga hani otrrehipb wi* Nturdy wheel, 

Th«* stniof farehaniiner» 
TiU bkick ad* ttiiddif rin|( an* reel 

Wi* difuoroe clamour. 

When aldrliB weaniea aee the 1if;ht« 
Tbou maks the go>iip« clatter bright, 
Uow fumlin* ciiiCi their dearies flight, 

Wae worth the name ! 
Ifae bovlrdie grta a lorial night, 

Or pUck frit tltetiL 

When f h o u ra anger at a plr^a, 
An' ju«k aa vnd aa wud can Ik*, 
How eaiy can the barlty bree 

Cement the quarrel ; 
lt'« aye the cheape«t Uwjrer'M ftv. 

To taste the barrel. 

AUke ! that e'er mf Miiw hi« ren^m 
To wyte her rtnmtrymon wi* trrntun ; 
But munr dailv weet their wea«oii 

Wi* liquors nice, 
An* hanlly, in a wintn*** Hi-smon, 

E'er npicr her price. 

Wae worth that hnndy, burning traith, 
Pell wiurre n* nmnie a pain an* bra«>h ! 
TwiiiM immie a pwr, duylt, ilninken hash, 

O* fwlf hi-. d:tv« ; 
An* icoils beside, anM .^nttlMnd*!* cinh 

To her warst f.!e% 

Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland well I 
Ye chief, to you my tale I t!*l], 
Fdot placklcss devih like mysel* ! 

It setH yon ill, 
HT bitter, dearthfu* wine* to mell. 

Or foreign gill. 

May gravels round his blather wrench, 
An* gouta torment him inch by inch, 
Wha twists his gmntle wi' a glonch 

O* ao«r disdain* 
Ont owre a glasa o^ tthtMkjf pmmth 

Wi* honest men. 

O WhiMkyf aool o* playa an* pranks ! 
Aeeept a Bardie's hnmble thanks ! 
When wantiDg ther^ what tuuri sM ennki 

Ara wy paw* Tttwa ! 

rtttlf i' tlieir nnb 
At ithcr'a -— • 

Thee, FerinhA / O sadly kit I 
Seotland, lament frae coast to eoast ! 
Now colic grips, and harkin hoast,- 

31ay kill us a* ; 
For loyal Forbra' chartered boast 

Is ta*en awa* ! 

Tliae rur^t horse leeches o* th* Excise, 
Wha mak the WftMy SUlU their prize ! 
Haud up thy ban*, Deil ! ance, twice, thrice ! 

There, seize the blinkers ! 
An* bake them up in hrun«tane pies 

For poor d — ^n*d drinkersi 

Fortune ! if thou'U but gle me btlll 
Hale breeks a ftiroDe,.au* \yiii»ky piU, 
An* rowth o* rhyioe to rave at Mill, 

T'lk a' the rest, 
' An' deal*t about as thy blind skill 

Direct* tbt-e best. 

•jisiM<fi^^w»^%fvM«4lir MMiunltli- 





IN Ti:r 


Dearest of nistllhtion ! liMt an4 be t 

iio* art thou )o*t ! Pamttff un J/i//sn. 


Yk Iri«h I.oniss Yc Kn'.'^bt* nn* Stjulrcn, 
Wha rrprtrtnt our hru^lu nu* ^lurvv, 
And douccly manage utur oiralrs 

In parliament, 
To you a simple Poets prayers 

Are humbly sent. 

Alas ! my roupet Muse is beanie ! 
Your honours* hearts wi* grief *twad pierce 
To see her sittin* on her a — 

Low i* the dust, 
An* screichin* ont prosaic verse. 

An* like to brust ! 

Tell them wha hoe the chief direction, 
Softland an* me*« in great oflliction, 
£*er sin* they laid that cnrst restriction 

On Aquaviia , 
An* rouse them up tor strong conriction 

An* more their pity. 

•This was wrft^btfoee the aetansnt tbt Scotch 
DbtiUerlts, of sesskn 1786| Itar vhtch Oe o tlsn d an4 

tbt Author iftttia Mr aon fBrtsfVU ttiHDto 



St-.r.d frtitli. .in* tcTI yon pHmler Youth, 
Till' luMictt, upc'ii, n>ik«Nl truth : 
Tell him o* uiiuu aiiil SculiuiKrA ilrouili, 

IIi*t sHMvantii hiiniblu : 
The nuu'k'.c tlt-vil blaw y« u'jutii. 

I; \o (1:n>cii.I*'c ! 

D:iL»!* ony prc;it nun j^lunch an* f;!om»» ! 
Spejk mit, an' never t-i^li vi.ur timiiib : 
Let ]){i»i3i du' {K'li^iun-i vink or tonni 

Wi' tucni uiid j;r.uit 'cm ; 
If hunc^llv thev cjn:ia cmnis 

9 ' 

VxT b.'lUT WJi'it V:ii. 

In Ciitii'iiiv' vot«\s vrui wne n.i KU«k : 
N«iw >tinil uj» ti;ji»t!y l.y yt>ur tirU ; 
Ne'er cliu' vt.'.ir lu ■, .m ti.r'i.* vjuir l»:nk, 

An* iittin ail' hiw ; 
Lut r.iiro your arm, an' t.ll \tmr <"iavii 

IiL'foi'c tl.v,'Ui a' 

r.:i:it ?><-i';l.u;il rrittiji'j mvix* hiT t'liri^^Ic ; 
Jli-r nmrclikla >i«im> :m ttwrn's m wiii-'flc ; 
An' <l-uin'il I'xciMiiicn i;) .1 bisV.i*, 

S. !/!:.* .1 .-1.//, 
Tfit::;!j iTnrjt i-ruo.iirr: 1.1% • a nin-".-!, 

<Jr I i;ii;i:i -li.ll. 

TI-:in on t'.:' litii'.T !i niil i n-M •: lu-r, 
A I' .M'k'^ii.irfl Siiui :i r 1: -.if In I.m; m.:". 
An' tiiick-ioi-t !»'..u, .1 i'!i';lii'' N i!, 

(' Mu jjinin;; ji>;iit 
I'iiklivj licT puuili a* \i.\x\i as w Ukt.T 

Or.t* kiiid ci)i;i. 

Ih t'.iic, till* lu'/irx t'ne innn' (»' .S.*(v/, 
l>ur li'vl • Lis I cut'"* l»'.»ii<l ri^n;^ lu»t, 
'1 -.» "x-c lij'* i>'Hir Aii!h«'r*> /i-»i 

An' |ilt;i.ili'i'i! u' her !• ii>.:i::'»' «;rt»jf 

}'»• ;; i:lou ■. !\i'..i\ i-'i 

\\\^ ! I'aj l)iir a i;;;ir'«'.'*s \v:";iir, 
T 1 1 lit- I ll«H III, re J-rt i»' si^lit I 
Ll.1 I i»»«I:1 I i.Jvt' .'ttonf'.-oi.'fi'iirf fi.'litf 

1 iic!i.*.i v)mc »Jik-«jrcKH I \va«l iliaw ti;4ht, 

An' tie ^luiu! hir»o Mcl!. 

Goil llr«H your llonnur!*, can yc vuo't. 
Till.' kiii<i, atiii!, oaiiile C'lilin C''^'(-'ti 
An' n»» j'tt WMnr.iv to \mjr !;vt, 

An f;ir tiiAii hear it, 
An* tfl! tlicin wV a {Mtrii t hejt, 

Vc wiaua U-ar it ! ' 

Some <>* VMi r.irrlv Urn the l^iWss 
To rduntl thr petit d an' |iun!-e, 
An' \vi' iheUJiic ciaUM- on rl.i'i^'; 

To nuk huran^uen ; 
Then echo thro* Saiat Srqihen'* ^v,l'^ 

Auhi Scutland*!! wrangn. 

DempnteTt a true bbie S**ot V'^ warrnn ; 
Thee, aith-dctcMinj;, cliaxte KUkerrum* 

.An* that i^liL-gablKt Hi>{1i1ttiiil Airafi, 

Th(* Uird o* iirakmm {• 

An' ancy a chip thal'^ damn'd auldCirraB, 

Danda* hi* name. 

J'lrfhhif, a Kpcnkif Norland billie; 
True C'liiuttinlft, J'/iuifrirk box Uajf t 
All LictujMOiu-f iim bauld Hir WUlit ; 

Au mony ithcn. 
Whom auld I)i>ni(tothi'iie« or Tully 

M ight own ii«r brithcn. 

Ariiu*i», mv Ixivi* ! exiTt \our mettle. 

• ■ m " 

To ^ut an id Scotimul back htrr Mettle g 
Or tttith ! I'll wad uiy near pieiigh-peCtlct 

Ye'll Kev't or Ung, 
Shell teacli yun» wi* a rit-kin* whittk'y 

Aiiithcr aaug. 

Th'.s \vhi!i.> s'tie*(t boeu in canu*roua mood« 
j Ilcr l,ust Mihtin lir*d her bliild ; 
I (licil na they never niiir do jruidf 
I Pliy'd bur that pliakic!) 

I An' now bile** like to riii rt-d-wud 

Ab..ut her Wbuky. 

An' L — d if ance they pit her tilTtt 
Her tarua |H:tci(:iiit hhe'U hilt, 
I Au' durk an* pii^tul ut h:*r Ult, 

Slie'U tak the Urcets, 
! Au* rtn her uliittiu to the Iiilt, 

r the titM »he meets ! 

For (m — il nakp, Sir* ! apeak her fmiTi 
An* ktraik her rannie wi* the hair. 
An* to the atncklc hmi«e repuiri 
I V/i* instant t|)eeil» 

' An* strive, wi* a* vour wit au* lear, 

T'l jjel re'.ncaih 

Yon iil-ton:;M'd tinkler, Charlie For, 
Miv r.innl vou wi' his jeern an' inockf : 
I'm: gic hunt het, nu' h,.artv rooks ! 

L'en cowe the caddit 
An* xnd him to hi« niring box 

Au* vportiu* lady. 

To]\ yon c:niil bhild o* auld J3oi'konHoek\ 

I'll be h)h debt twa tnaahhim bannocks, 

Au' drink hi» health in auld Aaiue Tiiinockt,f 

Mne ti^iei a week, 
If he iwme scheme, like tea and winoock9» 

Wad kindly seek. 

C)uld he some counityfatioH broach, 
rU phfl^re my aith in gniil braid Scotch, 
He need ua fear tlieir fjul repniach 

Nur erudition, 
Yon nuxtie>maxtic queer hotrh-potch» 

The Cuaiitiutu 

Auld Scotland has a raucle toi^ue ; 
She's just a devil wi' a rung ; 

• biT Ailum KvrgUKU. 

• The premit Duks of Montros^-^IROO.) 
t A worthy oM Hoatns 01' the Aiithiit's lu Jl/aaeft- 
AiM. where be •omcfimci itudlei Pulinet orcr a |U« 


gukl auld Scoich Drink. 



To tak th«r part, 

■he ilMNild bettrungi 
She*]! no dMcrt. 

An' Boify ye ehoeen Fiv § amd Forty, 
M17 itUl yov Mithcr't heart rapport ye : 
Then, tho' a Minuter groir dorty, 

An' Uek your plaoe» 
Ye*n anap yonr fingen, poor an* h«urty, 

Before hit fiice. 

God Men your Hononn a* yonr dayi. 
Wi' MMipii 0* kail and brati o* claiKe» 
In spite o' a* the thieriih kaca 

That haunt St Jamie* ! 
Your humhle poet ainfpi an* praj-N 

While Itah bis name is. 


Let half-stanr'd sUvca, in wanner iJuea 
See future wineis rich cluiit*riiig rise ; 
Thdr lot auld Scotland ne'er envies 

But blithe and frisky, 
She eyes her freeborn martial boys. 

Tak aff their Whi»kv. 


What tho' their Phoebus kinder warms 
While fragranee blooms and beaut)- charmn ! 
When wretches lange, in fami«h*d swarui», 

The scented groves, 
Or hounded forth, diithonour arms 

In hungry droves 

Their gun's a burden on their shouther ; 
They downa bide the stink o* pouther ; 
Their bauldest thought's a hank'ring s wither 

To Stan* or rin. 
Tin akelp— « shot — they're aS; a' throwther, 

To save their skin. 

But bring a SootMman frae his hill, 
Clap in his cheek a Highland gill, 
Say, auch ia royal G*org€*9 will, 

An* there's the foe. 
He has nae thooght but how to kill 

Twa at a bknr. 

Nae eanld, fiunt-hearted donbtings tease him ; 
Daath eomea, with fiearieaa eye he sees him ; 
Wi* Wttidy band a welcome gies him ; 

An' when he &*s 
His latest draoght 0* brrathin* lea'es him 

In Clint hnnaa. 

Sages their solemn een may ateekf 
An' raise a phikisophio reek, 
An* physically causes seek. 

In dime an* season ; 
Bot ten me WhUky^M name in Greek. 

I'U teU the reason. 

Soeldamd, my anM, r ca p e c t e d Mither ! 
Tho* wbyka ye moiatify your leather, 

Tn whara yt iU» flo'cnpi 0* 

Ye nae your 

{Fntiam Md WkUkg gang thai 




A robe of swming trotti and trust 

Hid crsfty ObMnrstlon 1 
And tscret nuM with poiian*d< 

The dirlc of DeAunatInn : 
A nwak that Ulce the |{or|{cC iho«*d 

Dye-Tarying on the pigeoo t 
And for a mantle larae and broad. 

He wrapt him in BeUg^on. 

Hlfpocriiy^4a moit. 


Uros a simmer Sunday mom, 

Wlien Nature's fiico is £ur, 
I walked forth to view the com. 

An* sDuff the callar air. 
The riding sun owre Galtton muin, 

Wi' glorious lij^ht was glintin* ; 
The liaretf were hirplin' down the furs, 

The Uv'mclu they were cbantin' 

Fu' sweet that day. 

As lightjfomely I glowr'd abroad 

To see a scene sae gay. 
Three hiisie*, early at the road. 

Cam nkelpin* up the way ; 
Twa had manteeles o' dolefu' black. 

But ane wi* ly4rt lining ; 
The third that gaed a wee a-badc. 

Was in the faahion shining, 

Fu* gay that day. 

The twa appear'd like sisters twin. 

In festure, form, an* daes : 
Their visage wither'd, lang, an' thin. 

An' sour as ony slaes ; 
The Mircf came up, hap-stap-an'-Ioup, 

As Ught as ony lammie. 
An' wi' a curchie low did stoop. 

As soon as e'er she saw me, 

Fu' kind that day. 

Wi bannet aff, quoth I, < Sweet laaa, 

I think ye seem to ken me ; 
I'm sure I've seen that bonnie £ioe. 

But yet I canna name ye.* 
Quo' she, an* laughin' as she spak. 

An' tak's me by the hands, 
** Ye, for my aake, ha*e gi'en the feck 

Of a' the ten commands 

A screed some day. 

* Hofy /Wrb aeommoo nhfiie in Che 
Iwd for a saGnHiBHilal oaeaiioBt 


*' My nam* w PtM— ymir eronit davi 

The nearest frieiid y« ha*e ; 
As* this it StiperttiHoH hen. 

An* thftt*t Hifpoeriti/. 
Tri faun to — — Hoijf Fair, 

To »pend an hour in daflin* ; 
Gm ye* 1 1 f^o there, yon ruukled pair. 

We will get £unout hnghin* 

At them this day." 

Quoth I, < With a* my heart 1*11 do*t ; 

rU fet my Sunday'* rark on, 
An* meet ynu on the holy upot ; 

Faith we*iie hue fine remarkin* !* 
Then I gaed hame at cmirdie time. 

An* ioon I made mr ready ; 
For roads were clad, frae tide to side, 

Wi' monie a weary body, 

In droves that day. 

Here farmers gash, in ridin' graith 

Gaed hoddin* by their cotters : 
Their swsnkien younj^, in hraw hraiiUcIaith 

Are sprintfin* o*er the jo'ttem. 
The laMH% fikelpin* barefoot, thrang. 

In siljFt An' N^rleta glitter ; 
Wi' tntti'tnitk eherte in monie a whang. 

An' furls bak*d wi' butter, 

Fn' crniop that day. 

When by the plate we set our nose, 

Weel heaped up wi' ha'pence, 
A greedy glowr Black Bonnet throws, 

An* we maun draw our tipptnee. 
Then in we go to see the show. 

On ev*ry side they're gathcrin*, 
Some carrying deals, some chairs an* stools. 

An* some are busy bletherin', 

Right load that day. 

Here stands a shed to fend the ■how*n9 

An* screen onr conntra Gentry, 
There, racer Jeu, an* twa-three whora» 

Are bKnkin' at the entry. 
Here sits a raw of tittlin* jadei, 

Wi* hear in* breast and bare neck. 
An* there a batch of wabster lada, 

Blackgnardin* frae K ck. 

For/vn this day. 

Here some are thinkin* on their aini^ 

An* some upo* tfanr cJaea ; 
Ane cunert feet tkat lyi'd hu shins, 

Anither sigha aa* prays ; 
On this hand sits n chosen swatch, 

Wi* screw'd up grace-proad £ices ; 
On that a set o' chaps at watch, 

Thrang winkin* on the laaies 

To chain tim dqr> 


O happy ia the man an* Hmk ! 

Nae wonder that it pride him ! 
Wha's ain dear Uss, that he lik« bei^ 

Comes dinkin* down b«ido himl 
Wi* arm repoa'd on the ehair>bid^ 

He sweetly dooa oonpoae him ! 
Which, by d igi e m, iUm ronnd hm 

An's loof upon her iMoom 

Cokenn'd that day* 


Now a* the c ong regation o*er 

Is silent expectatkm ; 
For speels the holy door 

Wi' tidings o* damnation. 
Should Humir, wt in ancient days, 

'Mang sons o' God present hiniy 
The vera sight o* *s free, 

To's ain bet hame had sent him 

Wi* fright that day; 


Hear how he rlean the points o' faith 

Wi' ratUin* an* thumpiu' ! 
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath, 

He's Htampin* an* he's jumpin' ' 
His lengthen*d chin, his tum'd-up snoatt 

His eldritch squeel and gestures. 
Oh, how they fire the heart devout. 

Like cantharidian plasters, 

On sic a day ! 


But hark ! the iemt has chang'd its voice ; 

There's peace and rest nae langer : 
For a' the rtaijwdgtM rise, 

They canna sit for anger. 

opens out his cauld harangues 

On practioe and on morals ; 
An* aff the godly pour in thraogs, 
To gie the jars an* barrels 

A lift that day. 


What signifies his barren shine 

Of moral pow'rs and reason } 
His English style, an' gesture fine. 

Are a* clean out o* season. 
Like Socraim or Antomme, 

Or some auld pagan Heathen, 
The moral man he does define. 

But ne'er a word o' &ith in 

That's right that day 


In guid time oomes an antidote 
Against aic poison'd nostrum : 

For , frse the watei-fit. 

Ascends the holy rostrum : 

See, up he's got the word o' God, 
Ab* meek an* mim haa viewed ity 



Whik Cbminofi-JtAM lutf ta'tn the road. 
Ad* ail^ an* up th« Cowgate,* 

Fatty fust, that daj. 


neirt the guard relierae, 

An' orthodoxy raiblee* 
Tho* in hie heart he weel belieree. 

And think* it auld wives* hb)m : 
Bat, fiuth ;. the birkie wants a manse 

So eanniljr ha hums them ; 
Altho' his carnal wit and sense 

Like haffiins-ways o'crcomes him 

At times that day. 


Now but an' ben, the change-houat fi]]% 

Wi' yill-canp commentators : 
Here*8 crying o«t for bskes and gills, 

And there the |>int stoup dattera; 
While thick an' tiirang, an* luud an* lang, 

Wi' logic, an* wi* Scripture, 
They raise a din, that in the end, 

Is like to breed a rupture 

O* wrath that day. 


Lecfe mi M Drink ! it gi*es us mair 

Tliaa either School or CoUcg* : 
It kioiha wit^ it waukens lair, 

It pangs ua foa o* knowledge. 
Be*t whidqr giU* or penn^ wheep, 

Or ony s tr o n g e r potion, 
It never foili^ oo drinking deep. 

To kittle up our notion 

By night or day. 


The lada an* lasses, blythely bent 

To mind baith saul an* body. 
Sit round the table weel content, 

An' steer about the toddy. 
On this ane's dress, an* that ase's leuk, 

They*re makin* observations ; 
While some are cosie i* the neuk, 

An' forming assignations 

To meet some day. 


Bnt now the L — d's ain trumpet touts, 

Till a' the hills are rairin', 
An' echoes back return the ahouts : 

Black is na spairin* : 

Hia piercing words, like Highland swordi^ 

Divide the joints an' marrow ; 
His talk o' Hell, where devils dwell, 

Oar very sauls does harrow f 

Wi* fright that day. 

A vast, unbottom'd bonndlees pit, 
Fill'd fou o* lowin' brunstane. 

• A stxeet lo called, which faoet the tgni in 
j Shakespeare^ Hamlet 

Wha's ragin* flame an* icorchin* heat, 
Wdd melt the harde»t whun-ataoe ! 

The hdif a>Jcep itort up wi' fear. 
An* think they hear it roaxin*. 

When presently it rlot-a appear, 
'Twos but iwuie neighbuur snorin* 
Attleep that day. 

*T\rad bo owre lang a tale to tell 

How monie stori&i past. 
An* how they crowdod to the yill. 

When they were a* dismist : 
How drink gaed round, in cogs, an* caups, 

Amang the furms an' benches ; 
An* cheese an' bread, frae women*s laps. 

Was dealt about in lunches 

An* dawds that day. 


In comet a gaucie, ganh guidwifo, 

An* sits down by the fire, 
Syne draws her kebbuck an' her knife^ 

The losses they are ahyer. 
The auld (ruidmen, about the gract^ 

Frae aide to side they bother. 
Till some ahe by his bonnet lays. 

An' gi'et them't like a tether, 

Fu' lang that day^ 


Waesncks ! for him that gets nae lais, 

Or lasses that hae naething ! 
Sma' need has he to say a grace 

Or melvie his braw claidiing ! 
O wives be mindfu* ance yoursel* 

How bonnie lads ye wanted. 
An' dinna for a kebbuck-heel. 

Let lanes be affironted 

On sic a day ! 


Now Clinkumhdlt wi' rattlin' tow, 

Begins to jow an' croon ; * 

Some swagger hame, the best they dow, 

Some wait the afternoon. 
At slups the billies halt a blink, 

Till lasses strip their shoon : 
Wi* faith an* hope, an* lovu an' drink, 

They're a* in famous tune. 

For crack that day. 

How monie hearts this day converts 

O' sinners and o* lasses ! 
Their hearts o' Rtanc, gin night, are gane 

As saft as ony fle^li in. 
There's some are fnu o* love divine ; 

Thci'e'a some ore fou o' hrantly ; 
An' mooy jobs that day hegifi. 

!^Iay end in liougliniugandttT 

iSoiac iihcr dav. 




So5is books are lies frae end to end, 
And some great lies were never pennM : 
Ev'n Alinijiters, they hac bt>en kenn*d» 

In lioly rapture, 
A rousing whid, at times, to vend, 

Aad. nail't \vi* Scripture. 

Put thiH tliat I am gaun to toll, 
\\*>iich lately on s night liefell. 
Is just Ob truc*s the Dc*i]j< in hell 

Or Dublin city : 
That c*o' he nearer comes ourwl* 

*S a muckle pity. 

The Clachan yiil had made me cantVy 
I was nae fou, but just had plenty ; 
I 6tacher*d whilus, but yet took tent aye 

To free the ditcheH ; 
An* hillocks, stanea, an* bushes, kcnn*d aye 

Fra£ ghaists an* witchi'^. 

The rising nuwn began to glow'r 
The distant Cumnock hills out-owre ; 
To count her horns, wi* a* my power, 

I set mysel' ; 
But whether she had three or four, 

I couldna tell. 

I was come round about the hill. 
And todlin down on Wille's null. 
Setting my staff wi* a* my skill. 

To keep me sicker ; 
Tho' leeward whyles, against my will, 

I took a bicker. 

I there wi* SomeUiiny did forgather, 

That put me in an eerie swither t 

An* awfu* scythe, out-owre ae shouther, 

Clear-dangling, hang ; 
A three-taed leister on the ither. 

Lay, hirge and lang. 

Its itature aeem'd lang Scotch ells twa, 
The queerest shape that e*er I saw, 
For fient a wame it had ava ; 

And then, its shanks. 
They were as thin, as sharp, an* sma* 

As cheeks o* branks. 

* Guid-een,*quo*I ; ' Friend ! hac ycbeenmawin*, 
"When ither folk are busy sawin* ?' *_ 
It seem'd to mak' a kind o* stan*. 

But naething spak : 
At length, says I, < Friend, where ye gann, 

Will ye go back V 

It spak right howe, — < My name if Deaths 
Bat be na fley'd.'~Qaoth I, < Guid faith, 
Ye're maybe come to stap my breath ; 

Bnt tent me, biUie : 



I red ye weel, Uk em e* akaith. 

See there*! ft gully!' 

< Guidman,* quo* he, * put up your whitd^ 
Tm no de8ign*d to try its mettle ; 

But if I did, I wad be kittle 

To be mislearM, 

I wadna mind it, no, that spittle 

Out owre my beard. 

< Woel, wecl !* says I, « a bargain be*t ; 
Come, gie*s your hand, an* sae we*re gree*t ; 
We'll ease our shanks an* tak a seat, 

Come gie*8 your newa ; 
This while * ye luc been niuny a gate, 

At mony a house* 

< Ay, ay !' quo* he, a:i* shook his head, 
' Its cun a lang, lun'^ time indeed 

Siu* I br;.-tn to nick the thread. 

An* choke the breath: 

Folk maun do hometiiini^ for their bread, 

Au* sae maun Dtath. 

* Sax thousand ycjrs are nearhand fled 

Siu* I was to the butchinf; bred. 

An* mony a scheme in vaiu's been laid, 

'i\> htap or scar me ; 
Till aue Iloruhook *s f tuen up the tnde. 

An' faith, he*ll winr 

' Ye ken Jttck Ilornbookt V the Clachan, 
Deil mak his king*s hood in a spleuchan ! 
He*s grown sae wcel acquaint wi* JBuckau i 

An' ither chaps, 
The weans baud out their fingers laughin* 

An* pouk my hips. 

' See, here's » scythe, and there's ft dart. 
They hae pierc'd mony a gallant heart : 
But Doctor Hornbook, wi* his art 

And cursed skill, 
Haa made them baith no worth a f t, 

Damn'd kact they'll kilU 

* *Twaa but yestreen, nae £urther gaen, 

I threw ft noble throw at ane ; 

Wi' less, I'm suiu, I've hundreda slain ; 

But deil-ma-core, 
It just play'd dirl on the bane, 

But did nae niair. 

< Hornbook was by, wi' ready art. 
And had sae fortified the part. 
That when I looked to my dart, 

It was sae blunt, 
Fient haet o*t wad hae pierc'd the heart 

Of ft kail-runt. 

' I drew my scythe in sic ft fury. 

* An epidemioal fever was then raging In that eounfrib 
t This gcntienun. Dr. Hortdoottn, proftssiaoalnf 
a brother of the Sovanign Order of the FerttlaiWl 
by intuition and insplratk»« is at once an ApoCliaeanb 
SuifsoD, and Physidan. 

t Bumaafls Domastte Madieinflk 





I aMrlim^ eoaplt wT 1117 Korrj^ . 

WithHood the diock ; 
1 Bii^l M wid bae tried a qiurrjr 

O' hard wkia rodu 

* Et'b ihm ha eanna get attended, 
Ahlio* tbeir ftct he ne'er had ken'd it, 
jMt ■ in a kail-Uade, and eend it, 

Aa icon's he tmelb't, 
Baith their diaeaie, and what will mend it, 

At once he tella't 

* An* then a' doctors' saws and whittles, 
Of a* dimensions, shapes, an* mettles, 
A' kinds o* boxes, mugs, an' bottles 

He's sure to hae ; 
Thair Latin namea u fast he rattles 


* Calces o* fiisails, earths, and trees ; 
True Sal-marinum o* the seas ; 
TIm Farina of beans and pease. 

He has't in plmty ; 
Aqna-fiootis what yon please. 

He can content ye. 

* Fdfbye soma new, uneommoo weapons, 
Urinus &»ritns of capons ; 

Or Mite-bom sharings, filings, scrapings ; 

DistUl'd per $t ; 
8al-alkali o* Midge-tail dippins. 

An* monymae.' 

* Wae« me for Johnnf Ged^s HoU * now ;* 
Qno* I, < If that the news be tme 1 

His braw calf-ward where gowans grew, 

Sae white an* bonnie, 

Nae doubt they'll rive it wi* the plough ; 

They*ll ruin Johnny /* 

The creature grain'd an eldritch laugh. 
An' says, * Ye need na yoke the pleugh, 
Kirit-yards will soon be till'd eneugh, 

Tak ye nae fear ; 
They'll a* be trench'd wi mony a sheugh 

In twa-thne year. 

* Whare I kill'd ane a fiur strae death, 
9r loss o* bkM)d or want o* breath. 
This night I'm free to tak my aith. 

That HomboiA** skiU 
Has dad a score i* their last elaith. 

By drap an* pilL 

* An honcat Wabster to his trade, 

Vhase wife's twa nievea were scarce weel bred^ 
Gat tippence-worth to mend her head. 

When it was sair ; 
The wife slade eannie to her bed. 

But ne'er spik mair. 

« A coontra Laird had ta'ea the batts, 
Or soma enrmurring in his guts. 

ffia only aoa for Blonhook sets. 

An' pays hun wdl } 

The lad, for twa guid gimmer nets, 

Was laird hinMel'. 

' A bonnie lass, ye ken her name. 

Some iUobrewn drink had hor'd her wame ; 

She trusts henel*, to hide the shame. 

In HontbooJCt care ; 
Ham sent her aff to her lang hame, 

To hide it there. 

< That's just a swatch o* Hornbook* t way ; 
Thus goes he on from day to day. 
Thus does he poison, kill, an* slay, 

An's wed pud for't ; 
Yet stopa me o* my lawfu* prey, 

Wi* hU damn'd dirt 

« But hark ! I*U tell you of a plot. 
Though dinna ye be speaking o*t ; 
ril nail the self- conceited sot. 

As dead's a herrin* ; 
Neiat time we meet, 1*11 wad a gront, 

He gets his fairin* !* 

But just as he began to tell. 

The auld kirk-hammer strak the bell. 

Some wee short hour ayont the twal^ 

Which raii'd us baith * 
I took the way that pleased mysel*. 

And sae did Ihath, 



Iksceibed to J. B- 

-, £jiQ. Aye. 

• ThapiT»dta«* 

The dimple Bard, rough at the rustic plough. 
Learning his tuneful trade from every hough ; 
The chanting linnet, or the mellow thrush, 
Hailing the setting sun, sweet, in the green 

thorn bush : 
The Noariog lark, the perching red-breast shrill. 
Or deep-toned plovers, grey, wild whistling o'er 

the hill ; 
Shell he, nurst in the Peasant*s lowly shed, 
To hardy independence bravely bred. 
By early Poverty to hardship sted'd, 
And train*d to anna in stem MisfortuM*s 

Shall he be guilty of their hirding crimes^ 
The servile, mercenary Swiss of rhymes ? 
Or labour hard the panegyric dose. 
With dl the vend soul dP dedicating Prose? 
No ! though his artless strdns he rudely sings. 
And throws his hand unoouthly o*er the strings. 
He glows with all the spirit of the Bard, 
Fame, honest feme, his great, hia dear reward. 
Still, if some Patron's generous care he trace. 
Skilled in the secret, to bestow with grace ; - 
When B befriends his humbla name^ 

I And handa tha rnatic atrypgcr up to £un% 




Witb iMtrt-ftH Utfon liif frataAil boMMn 

Tht godlikfl bliM, to ghrt alou cxodt. 

*Twu wlien the itacln g«t on their winter 

And thack tnd npe secure tbe toil-won cnp : 
Potatoe binfca ire inagged up fne tkaith 
Of coming Winter's biting, frosty bretth ; 
The bees, njoicing o'er their simmer toils, 
Unnumber'd buds an' flowers* delidous vpoSk, 
Seal'd up with frugal care in maasire waxen 

Are doom'd bv man, that tynnt o'er the weak, 
The death o derils, smoor'd wi* brimstone 

The thundering guns are heard on er'ry wde, 
Tlie wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide ; 
The feather *d field-mates, bound by Nature's tic» 
Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie : 
( What warm, poetic heart, but inly bluedis 
And execrates man's savage, ruthless dccdv) ! 
Nae mair the flow*r in field or meadow upringa : 
Nae mair the grove wi* air\' concert rin'fs 
Except, perhaps, the Robin's whiHtliug ^lec. 
Proud o* the height o* some bit half-lang tree : 
The hoary moms precede the sunny (U\'s 
Mild, calm, serene, wide spreads the noontide 

While thick the gossamour waves wanton in 

the rays. 
*Twas in that season, when a simple bard, 
Unknown and poor, simplicity's reward, 
Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr, 
By whim inspired, or haply prest wi' care, 
He left his bed, and took his wayward route, 
And down by Simpion**'^ wheel 'd the left 

(Whether impell'd by all-directing Fale 
To witness what I after shall narrate ; 
Or whether rapt in meditation high. 
He wander'd out he knew not where nor why), 
The drowsy X>ini^eo»-c2ocA,f had number'd two. 
And WaUae* tower f had sworn the £ict was 

The tide-swoln Firth, with sullen-sounding 

Thro* the still night daih'd hoarse along the 

An else was hnsh'd as Nature's closed e*e ; 
The silent moon shone high o'er tow'r and tree : 
The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam. 
Crept, gently-crusting, e'er the glittering stream. 

When, lo ! on either hand the llst'ning bard. 
The clanging sough of whistling wings he 

heard ; 
Two dusky forms dart thro' the midnight air, 
Swift aa the Ga \ drives on the wheeling hare ; 


A noted tavern St the .^Mtf A^ end. 

lite two sc«epUs. 

The fos^irk, or ftleon. 

Ane on th* AM Brig Us dry ikape tiprtii% 
The ither flatten o'er the ririmppUrt .* 
Our warlike Rhymer instantly descry'd 
The Sprites that ownihitBrig§afAfr WMMib 
(That Bards are aeeood-aighted is wmjJkM, 
An' ken the lingo of the sp'ritnal folk ; • 
Fays, Spunkies, Kelpies, a' they ean ezplaiB dwa^ 
And ev'n the vera deik they brawly ken thwii) 
Atdd Brig appear'd of ancient Pieidsh raei^ 
The very wrinkles Gothic in his free : 
He seem'd aa he wi' Time had waxatl'd laag* 
Yet tonghly doure, he bade an uneo bang. 
New Brig was buskit in a braw new eoat. 
That he, at LcnCon^ frae ane Adama got ; 
In*s hand five taper staves as smooth's a bend* 
Wi* virls and whiriygigums at the head. 
The Goth was stallung round with uaaom 

Spying the time-worn flaws in every arch ; 
It chanc'd his new-come neebor took his c*c^ 
And e'en a vex'd an' angry heart had he ! 
Wi* thievelem sneer to see each modish mieot 
He, down the water, gies him thus gaide*i»^ 


I doubt na*, frien*, ye'll think ye're nae ahiip* 

Ance ye were streekit o'er icwt bank to bank! 
But gin ye be a brig as auld aa me, 
Tho* faith that day I doubt yell new ate ; 
There'll l>r, if that day come, 1*11 wad a boddlib 
Some fewer whigmalMries in your noddle. 


Auld Vandal, >-e but show your little mmmt 
Just much about it wi* your scanty aenae ; 
Will your poor narrow foot-path <^ a street. 
Where tu'a wheel-barrows tremble when d^f 

Your ruin'd formless bulk, o' stane an* lima. 
Compare wi' bonnie Brigt o' modem time ? 
There's men o* taste would tak' the Dtimh 

Tho' they should cast the very sark and wenm. 
Ere they would grate their feelings wi* the ritV 
Of »ic an ugly Gothic hulk as you. 


Conceited gou'k ! puflTd up wi' windy pridt ! 
This roonie a year I've stood the flood an tidi | 
An* tho* wi' crazy eild I'm sair forfiurn, 
ril be e.tBrig wlien ye're a shapeless cairn ! 
As )'et ye little ken id>out the nutter. 
But twa-three winters will inform ye better. 
When heavy, dark, continued, a*-day rains, 
Wi* deefiening delngeit o'erflow the plains ; • 
When from tlic hills where hpriogs the bravi* 

iug CotV, 
Or stately Lugur^M mo«y fountains boil. 
Or where the GreeniKk winds his moorliad 

Or hauntc<f Carpal | draws his feeble souree^ 

• A noted ford, Ju%t above the Auld Brig, 
t The banks of Cirr/Mi ^'(S^ is ouc of the fewplHV 




AfMt*d hf bliMt'iiag vlndt tad tpoCtiiig thowet. 
In BMMiy « torrent down his Mft-bioo row« ; 
VUle cruhing ieb, borne on the roeriog speat, 
Swtepe dunt, an* milb, lui* brigs, a* to the 

|r||te • 

Aad fimn GUmbmek^ down to the Jiaittm hiy,f 
Anld Ajpr ta juet one kngthcn*d tombliog lea ; 
Then down ye'U burly deii nor ye never riiic ! 
And daah the gnmlie Jaupe up to the pouring 

A Icaion ladly taaehing, to your coat. 
That Architecture** noble art i» \mt ! 


Fine Arckiiecturt, trowth, I need* must aay*t 

The I>-4l be th^nkit that weVe tint the gate 

Gaunt, ghaitly, gaivt-alluring edificec. 
Hanging with threat'ning jut, like precipices ; 
0*«r-arching, mouldy, glouni-iunpiring covea, 
Suppocting rooiii fiuitafctic, atony gruvi« ; 
Windows aod doors, in naiueicvs tciilpture 

l^th order, symmetry, or taste ubulu^l ; 
Forms like tome brdlain »tatuur}-'ii drrani, 
The cras'd creations uf mi^iiided whim ; 
Forms might be worshipped oo the bfnded ! 

And still the second dread eomthatui In; free. 
Their likeness is not found on earth, in air, or 

Mansions that would divgrace the building ta:)to 
Of any numon, reptile, bird, or beast ; 
Fit only for a doited Monkish race, 
Or frosty maids forsworn the dear embrace, 
Or eui6 of later times, wha held the notion 
That sullen gloom wan HteHioi; true devotion ; 
Fancies that our guid Bru^h denies prot«>ctioD, 
And soon msy the)- expiic, unblest with re- 
surrection ! 

ALLH bkic. 
O ye, my dear-reroembcrM ancient yeallngs, 
Were ye but here to ^hire my wounded feelings ! 
Ye worthy ProveseMt an' mony a Bailie^ 
Wha in the paths o* righte<>ni»nc!tH did toil aye ; 
Ye dainty I}eacoH$, an ye dunce Conrcnvrs, 
To whom our modern* are but caubey- 

rleanent ; 
Ye godly Omncih wha hse blent this town ; 
Ye godly Brrthren of the Macred gown, 
Wha meekly gae your hurdit* to the tmiten ; 
And (what would now be strange) ye yodJy 

\Vriter$ : 
A* ye douce folk Tve borne aboon the broo, 
Were ye but here, what would ye say or do ! 
How would \uur spirits groan in deep vex^ 

To see each melancholy alteration ; 

In Um Weit of Seotlsnd, where thoie fluicy.tcsrlnff b»> 
tML known by ths name of OhaiMttt still oononue 
ptrdnadously to inhsbiL 

• Ths somas of the river Ayr. 

t AflBaUlaitarPlMi«bo?ettMlH|ek#j. 

And sgonisiug, cu^H! the time and place 

When ye begat the base, degenerate noe ! 

Nae lan;rcr Rev'rend Men, their country*a 

j>h ry. 
In plaiu hruid Scots huld forth a plain braid 

story ! 
Nae lojiger thrifty Citizens, an* douce. 
Meet owre a pint, or in the Council house : 
But staumrelt corky-hcsdcd, graceless Gentry, 
The herryment and ruin of the country ; 
Men, three ports made by tailors and by bar- 
Wha waste your well-hain*d gear on d ' d 
netr Briyt and Harbour* / 

h'rw luiiG. 
Now hau.I >oa there ! fur fisith ye*ve said 

And muekle niair thsn ye can niak to through, 
As for your Piii>»thoud, I shall say but little, 
Corbies and CUrtjjf are a shot right kittle : 
But, under favour u* yuur langer beard, 
Abuhe o* Magistrates might weel be spared : 
To liken them to your uuld warld squad, 
1 must needs say cuuiparikonn are odd. 
In JLyft Wag-witB nue muir can hoe a handle 
To mouth * a Citiscn,* a term o* Mraudal : 
Noe ntuir the Council waddles down the 

In sll the pomp uf ignorant conceit ; 
Men wha grew wiite piig^iu* owre hops an* 

Or gather*d lib*ral viewH in Bonds and Seisin*. 
If haply Knowledge, on a random tramp. 
Had shored them with a glimmer of hi» lamp, 
And would to Common^wose, for once betrayed 

Plain dull Stui>idity stcpt kindly in to aid 


Vf\iat farther cli^hm3claver might been said. 
What bloody wars, if Sprites had blood to 

Xo man can tell ; but all before thnr sight, 
A fdiry train n]t|>ear'd in order bright : 
Adown the glittVing utream they featly danced : 
Bright to the moon their various dresses 

glanced : 
They footed o'er the wat'ry glass so neat. 
The infant ii*o hcarcc bent beneath their feet : 
While arts of Min«trel«y among them rung. 
And Houl-eniiobiing barids heroic ditties sung. 
O had yi*Luuchlint* thairm-ioApiring sage. 
Been there to hear thin hravenly band engage, 
When thro' hi* dear ^tratktpeys they bore 

with Highland rage ; 
Or when they struck old Scotia*s melting airs, 
The lover's raptured joys or bleeding cares ; 
How would his HighUnd lug been nobl*r fir*d. 
And even his matchless hand with finer touch 

inapir'd ! 

• A wtU known pcrfonner of Seottldi murie on the 



No guefiA could tell what iontrumeiit appetr'd, 
But uU tlie soul of Muiiic*s telf was heard ; 
H!irnioniou9i concert run^ ia every part. 
While Mimplc melo<ly poiirM moving on the 

The Geniuii of the stream in front appears, 
A venerable chief ailvanced in yeuni ; 
His hoary head with water-lilies crown'd, 
His manly 1^ with garter tani;le bound. 
Next came the loveliest pair in all the ring. 
Sweet Female Beauty hand in liand with 

Spring ; 
Tlien, crowa'd with flow'r^' hay, came Rural 

And Summer, with his fervid-fteaming eye : 
AU-cheering Plenty, with her fluwii^ horn. 
Led yellow Autumn wreath*d with nudiiing 

com ; 
Tlien Winter** time-bleached locks did hoary 

By Hospitality with cluudlon brow ; 
Next foIlowM Courage with hiii martial stride, 
From where the Feal wild-woody coverts hide ; 
Benevolence, with mild beniernant air, 
A female form, came from the tow*rs of Stair: 
Learning and Worth in equal nieaKure« trode 
From simple Citrine, their long-l(>v*d abode : 
Last, white-rob*d Peace, crowu*d with a luizel 

To rustic Agriculture dul liequeith 
The broken iron instruments of death : 
At sight of whom our Sprites forgat their Lviid- 

linn wrath. 


For fcnse they little owe to Frugal Haav'n— 
To please the Mob they hiile the liule fi%'n. 

KiLMARKOcK Wshwtcrs, fidge an* claw. 

An* pour your creoiihie nations ; 
An* ye wha leather rax an* draw. 

Of a* denominitiou'*. 
Swith to the lAiiyh Kirk, ane an* a', 

An* there tak up your stations ; 
Then aff to Debbie* $ in a raw, 

An* pour divine lihatiuiu 

Fcr joy this day. 


Curnt ('ommon-srn"c, that imp o* hell, 
("am in wi' M.ii^-^ie Lauder;* 

B;it () ai't liiadt' her v."!!, 

An* R sair miset'd her ; 

This day, M* takm the tUil. 

An' he's the boy will blaud bcr ! 

• Alluding to a sn>l!inc ballad which was mada « 
the admiaioo oftht latt HCfOVOd tBd worthy Mr. U 



Ht'U clap 1 ihangtm m bar tail. 
An* set the bairns to daud btr 

Wi* dirt this day. 

Alak haste an* turn king David owrt, 

An* lilt wi* holy eUngor; 
O* double verse come gie us four, 

An* skirl op the Bugor : 
This day the Kirk kicks up a stourc, 

Nae mair the knavet shall wnqf htr^ 
For heres}* is in her powcr» 

And gloriously she'll whanf hnr 

Wi* pith this day. 

Come let a projier text be read. 

An' touch it aif wi* ▼igour, ' 
How graceless Ham * leugh at his Dad, 

Which made Canaa/t a niger ; 
Or Phineas f drovt the monkring blad% 

Wi* whore-abhorring rigour ; 
Or Ztpjxnrah, \ the scaaldiag jade^ 

Wan like a bluidy tiger 

r the in that day. 


There, try his mettle oo the crecd» 

An* bind him down wi* cantioi^ 
That Stipend is a carnal weed, 

He taks but for the fashion ; 
An* gie him o*er the flock to fted, 

An* punish each tranegre ari on ; 
Especial, ram$ that croea the breed, 

Gie them sufficient threahin*. 

Spare them naa day. 


Now auld Kilmarnock, cock thy tail. 

An* toss thy horns fii* eaaty ; 
Xae mair thou*lt rowt out-owre the dale 

BtTause thy pasture*s scanty ; 
For lapfu*s large o* goapd kail 

Shall fill thy crib in plenty. 
An* runiM o* j^racc, the pick and walib 

No gi*en by way o* dainty. 

But ilka day. 


Nae mair by BabiVt ttrtamg we'll Wffj^ 

To think upon our ^ion ; 
An* hing our fiddles up to sleep, 

Like haby-clouts a-dryin* ; 
Come, screw the pegs with tune/ii* cheeps 

An* owre the thairma be tr)-in* ; 
Oh, r.ire ! tu s»e our rlbucks whcep, 

An* a like lanlMails flyin* 

Fu* lt:st tl:;s day. 

Lanf: Pfitrcn'tpe, wi* rod o* aim, 
llss sliured the Kirk*s undoin*. 

• Genesis, ch. ix. ver. fft. 
t Numbscs, dk asv. vst.l^ 
i Kxodui, eh. It, ?«• I9i 



Ai klrif JPImipiel, liir £nftini» 

H« provw to iti rnia : 
Oar Fitraii. iMniat bmii ! GUneuimp 

Ht mw mbchwf ww brawin* ; 
Aa* like ft fodlf cleet bftini, 

Ht*i walM ttf oat ft tm$ aat» 

Aa' iouid thti day. 



llftnngne nae nair, 

B«t tlnk yoor gab §ot ever ; 
Or tiy the wicked town of Ayr, 

For there they'll think yon clever ; 
OTi aae reflectioa on yimr lear. 

Ye may eommenee a »haver ; 
Or to the NttUrtoM repair, 

Aa* torn ft earper weaver 

Aff hand thii day. 


•ad yon were jot t a match, 

We never had de twa drone* ; 
MM HonU did the Laiph Kirk watch, 

Jnet like a winkin' baodrons : 
Ab* tye he eateh'd the tither wretch. 
To firy ilMBi in hia caodrom : 

BOW hia honour maun detach, 
Wi* ft* hia brimstone iquadronis 

Fast, fut, this day. 

I anld Orthodoxy** fae^ 
fte's iwingein' through the city ; 
Hirk how the nine-tail*d cat she pkys ! 

I vow it*s unco pretty : 
Then, Learning, wi* his Grceki«h face, 

OniBts out some Latin ditty : 
Aa* Common sense is gaun, she says, 
To mak to JamU Seahie 

Her plaint this day. 

B«l diere*s Morality hinuel*, 

Endvacing a* opinioos ; 
BiWf how he giea the tither yell» 

Be t w een hu twa companions ; 
8m^ how abe pads the skin an* fell, 

Aa ant were peelin* onioiu ! 
How ther»--4hey*re padced aiT to hell, 

An* banish'd our dominions. 

Henceforth this day. 


O happy day ! rejoice, rejoice ! 

Come bouse about tiie porter ! 
llonfi^'s demure decoys 

8bau here noe mair find quarter s 
11^ » R 9 are the boys, 

That heresy can torture : 
TlMf^ gie her on a rape a hoyae, 

Aa cows her measure shorter 

By the head aooie day* 

btnf Ao tiilMr motehkiA lii| 

To every Ntw Lig^ * moUnr^s iodt 
From this time forth, ConlbsioB : 

If mair they deave us wi* their din, 
Or Patronage intrusion, 

We'll light a spunk, an* ev'ry akin, 
Well rin them aff in fusion 

Like oil, sooie day. 


TO THE REV. MR. — - 

On hl« Text, Malacki, ch. Iv. vcr. f. " And thee 
■hall go fixth, and grow up, like cai.tb8 of the stall.* 

Right Sir ! j'our text 1*11 prove it true. 

Though Heretics may laugh ; 
For instance ; there** yoursel' just now, 

God knows, an unco Calf/ 

An* should some Patron be so kind. 

As ble« you wi' a kirk, 
I dnubt nae, 5>ir, but then we*ll find, 

Ye*re still as great a Stirk, 

Diit, if the Lover*«i raptur*d hour 

Shall evKr be %'our lot, 
Forbid it, every heavenly Power, 

You e*er should be a Stot I 

Tho*, when some kind, connubial Dear, 

Your but-and-ben adom«, 
The like ban been that you may wear 

A noble head of horng. 

And in ^-our lug, most reverend James, 

To hear you roar and rowte, 
Few men o* seniie will doubt your claims 

To rank amang the nowte, 


And when ye* re number*d wi* the dead, 

Belo^' a gra»y hillock, % 
Wi* justice they may mark your head— 

* Here lies a famous BuBoek /* 


<tf g»*»*»<»<l#XWl<l#Ol#i» 

O Prince ! O Chief of many thmned Power**, 
That led th' embattled Seraphim to war.— Jfltf on. 


O TRou ! whatever title suit thee, 

Auld Homie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie, 
Wha in yon cavern grim an* sootie, 

aos*d under hatches, 
Spairges about the brunstane cootie. 

To scand poor wretchea ! 

Hear me, auld Hangie, for a wee, 
Ab* let poor damned bodies be ; 

• JVins £4ffftf is a esnt phnw totheWastoT SeoU 
la tte r tho se Trilijloii s <g™]'"',,^; y '*VP'* Taylor gf 



Tm lurt tttoia* pleuure it cts gie, 

£*eo to a dcil. 

To ikelp an* acaud poor dogt like me, 

Aa* hear ua aqueel ! 

Great ia thy pow*r, an* great thy £iiim ; 
Far kend and noted ia thy name ; 
An* tho' yon lowin* heugh's thy hame, 

Thou traveb far ; 
An* liuth ! thott** neither log nor lame, 

Nor blate nor scaur. 

Whylea, ranging like a roarin* lion, 
For prey, a' holes and corners tryin* ; 
Whyles on the strong-wing'd tempest flyln*, 

Tirling the kirks ; 
Whyles^ in the human bosom pryin*. 

Unseen thou lurks. 

I*Te heard my reverend Crannic.say, 
In lanely glens you like to stray ; 
Or where auld min*d castles gray, 

Nod to the moon. 
Ye fright the nightly iirand*rer*a way, 

Wi* eldritch croon. 

'When twilight did my Orawtie anmmon. 
To say her prayers, douoe honest woman ! 
Aft yont the dyke she's heard you bummin* ! 

Wi* eerie drone ; 
Or, mstlin*, thro* the boortries oomin*, 

Wi* heavy groan. 

At dreary, windy, winter night, 
The stare shot down wi* sklentin' light, 
Wi* you, mysel*, I gat a fright, 

Ayont the lough ; 
Ye, like Avsh-bush, stood in sight, 

Wi* waving sough. 

The cudgel in my nieve did shake, 
Each bristrd hair stood like a stake. 
When wi* an eldritch stour, quaick— quaick— 

Amang the springs, 
Awa ye sqaatter*d, like a drake. 

On whistling wings. 

Let Warlock* grim, an* wither*d hagf. 
Tell how wi* you on ragweed nags. 
They akim the muirs, and dizzy crags, 

Wi* wicked Kpeed ; 
And in kirk-yards renew their leagueo, 

Owrc howkit deud. 

Thence couutra wives, wi* toil au* paiu, 
May plunge an* plunge the kirn in vain ; 
For, oh ! the yellow treasure's U*en 

By witching skill ; 
An* dawtit, twal-pint Hawkie** gane 

As yell*a the Bi\l 

Thence mystie knots mak great abuse. 
On young Guidmcn, fond, keen, an' cronie 
When the bett wark-lume i* the house, 

By ciatrip wit| 


li instant made no worth a 1oo«f^ 

Just at the bit. 

When thowef disaolva the tnawy boord^ 
An* float the jinglin* icy-boord, 
Then WaUri^m hannt the faord, 

Bf your directbn, 
An* nighted Trav'Ilers are allured 

To their destruction. 

An* aft your moas-traTenmg S/mmkiu 
Decoy the wight that late and drunk ta ; 
The Ueeiin*, curst, mischievous monkeyi 

Delude his ejres. 
Till in aOBe miry skmgh he sunk is. 

Ne'er mair to rii 

When JlfatOMi* mystie word an* girip, 
In storms an* tempests raise you up. 
Some cock or cat your rage maun stop^ 

Or, strange to tall ! 
The youngest Brother ye wid whip 


Lang sjme, in JEAh*s bomie ytrd. 
When youthfu* lovers first wen pMr*d, 
An* all the soul of lov« they shard. 

The n^ptor'd hovr. 
Sweet on the fragrant flowery awatid 

In shady bower: 

Then you, ye anld, snitf^lnwing dog ! 
Ye came to INmulise tnco^, 
An* played on n«an a cursed brogue, 

(Black be your fit*!) 
An* gied the infant worid a shog, 

*Maist ruined a*. 

D*ye mind that day, when in a tnu^ 
Wi* reekit duds, and reestit gizi, 
Ye did present )'our smoutie phis 

*Mang better folk. 
An* sklented on the man of Uz 

Your npitefu* joke ? 

An* how ye gat him i' your thrall, 
An* brak him out u* house an* haU, 
While i)cab« and blotches did him gaH, 

Wi* bitter claw. 
An* lowsed his ill tongued wicked Scawl, 

Was want ava ? 

But a* your doings to rehearse. 
Your wily snares an* fcchtin* fierce, 
Sin* tliat day Michael * did you piero, 

Down to this time. 
Wad ding a Lallan tongue, or Erse, 

In prose or rhyme. 

An* now, aukl Cloott, I ken ye're thiokia' 
A certain Bardie's rantin*, drinkin*, 
Some luckless hour will send him linkin*. 

To your black pit ; 

• Vide MUtoo^ book vi. 

SaU fAith ! bell tarn A corner, jinkin*. 

And cheat you yet. 

Bat, fu% ye weel, auld Nlckie-lieM! 
O wad ye tak a thought and men* ! ^ 
Ye ublina might — I dinna ken — 

Still hae a stake^ 
Tm wae to think upon yon den, 

Even for your sake ! 







Aa MailUf an* her lamb< ihoijitlMT, 
Were ae day nibbiini^ on t1:e trthei-, 
Upon her cloot nhe roo^t a bitch. 
An* owre ahe war»Ied in the (titcli ; 
There, groaninfCt dying, ^hu did ]l<>, 
W)^n Hughoc* he cauiv doytin by. 

Wi* glowrin* een, and lifted hni/A, 
Poor Hnghoe like a itatne %rux\ : 
He law her dayi wf re near-hand orulL'il, 
But, wae*8 my heart ! he could na nit^nd it ! 
He gaped wide, but naethin*^ »n.'ik ! 
At length poor Mailie vilence brak. 

* O thon, whane lamentable f.iri* 
Appear* to mourn my waefu' c-i!« ! 
My dying tmrdt attentive hear, 
An* bear them to my ]\Ij*itrr diMr. 

* Tell him, if e'er attain lie keep 
Aa muckle gear as buy u ^h(^eI>, 
O, bid him never tie them mair 
Wi' wicked Btring!i o* hemp or hair ! 
But ca* them out to park or hill. 
An* let them wander nt their will : 
So min^M|flock incrc>i«e, an* grow 
To i^^^Hfembs, an* pack^i u' woo' ! 



WM a master kin'. 
An* aye was gnid to me an* mine : 
An* now my dying chaige I gie him. 
My helplets lamba I trust them wi* him. 

* O bid him nave their harm*jp«« lives, 
Frae doga, an* toda, an* butchers' knives ! 
Bnt gie them guid cow milk their lill. 
Till they be fit to fend themsel' ; 
An* tent them duly, e*en an* morn, 
Wi* teata o* hay an* rips o* corn. 

* An* may they never learn Uie gaeti 
Of ithcr viie, wanrestfu* peti! 

To alink thro* Blapj^ an* reave an* iteal. 

At vtacks o* pea«e, or stocks o* kaiU 

So may they, like their great forbears, 

For muny a year come thro* the sheers : 

So wivi>s u'ill gie them bits o* bread, 

An' bilrn** gre»?t for them when they're dead. 

* My p<Mn tiwp-Iamb^ my wn an* heir, 
! O bill him broe«l him np wi* care ! 

I All* if he live to lie a !>oa?«t, 
To pit «>nie bavins in \x\% hretat ! 
An* warn him, what I winna name. 
To stay citntcnt wi' vom'm at hame : 
An* no to rin an* wear his c]oot% 
L:ke itli'.T inen-elcvj, gnii'eless, brutes. 

* An* iici<t nr.y /.-'JfrtV, «illy t^iinc, 
CJui*! krep tluv iV;ie .i u-tlu-r iffritig ! 
Ot may thn« ncVr fiiri::.itlier np 
Wi' oiiy blastit m:<nrlan(l toop : 
But nyc kwp mind to mmip an* mell 
^\'i* s^heop o' credit like thysel' ! 

* An' now, my bairns, wi' my la*t breath, 
1 lea'o niv blo^*«in' wi* you l).iith : 

An' when you think upo' your mither. 
Mind to l>e kin' to ano anither. 

* Now, honest Hughoc^ dinna fail 
To tell my master a' my talc ; 

An* bid him burn this curwd tether. 
An', for thy pain^ thou'bc get my blether.' 

This said, poor Mailie tum'd her head, 
And du«ed her een nniang the dead. 


^f W W^^Wrt^. Mwlw*^^MMM#. 


Lament in rhyme, lament in prose, 
^Vi* M.iut toars trickling down your nose; 
Our bardie's fate w at a close, 

I'ast a* remead ; 
Th« sad cane-stano o* his woes ; 

Poor Mailit*t dead ! 

It's no tlie lo«« o* warl's gear. 
That could sae bitter draw the tear. 
Or mak our bardie, dowie, wear 

The mourning weed : 
He's lost a friend and neebor dear, 

In McdHe dead. 

, Thro' a* the town she trotted by him ; 
A lang half-mile she could descry him ; 
AVi* kindly bleat, when she did spy him. 

She ran wi* speed ; 
A friend mair faithfu* ne'er cam nigh him. 

Than Mailie dead. 

I wat she was a sheep o* aenae, 
An' could behare herael' wi* menae : 
I'll •aT*t, the nerer brak a fenoe, 

ThrQ* thicriili gmlt 



Our bardie, lanely,' keeps the «penoo 

Sin* Mailie'B dead. 

Or, if he wandert up the howe, 
Her living image in her yoire, 
Comes bleating to him owre the knowe, 

For bits o* bread ; 
An* down the briny pearls rowe 

For Mailie dead. 

She wa« nae get o* moorland tipit, 
"Wi* tawted ket, an* hairy hips : 
For her forbears were brought in ships 

Frae yont the Tweed ! 
A bonnier ^eesA ne*er cross'd the clips 

Than Mailie dead. 

"Wae worth the man wha first did shape 
That vile, wanchancie thing — a rape ! 
It maks guid feUows girn an* gape, 

Wi* chokin* dread ; 
An* Robin*» bonnet wave wi* crape. 

For Mailie dead. 

O, a* ye bards on bonnie Doon ! 
An' wha on Ayr your chaunters tune ! 
Come, join the roelancholious croon 

O* R6birC$ reed ! 
His heart will never get aboon 

His Mailie dead« 

TO J. S. 


Friendship ! mjrsteriout cement of the soul ! 
Sweet'ner of life, and lolder of society ! 
I owe thee much ! Biair. 

-, the sleest, pankie thief. 

Dear S 

That e'er attempted stealth or rief. 
Ye surely hae «ome warlock-breef 

Owre human hearts ; 
For ne'er a bosom yet was prief 

Against your arts. 

For me, I Bwear by sun an* moon, 
And every star that blinks abooo, 
Ye'vc cost me twenty pair o*. shooo, 

Just gaun to see you : 
And every ither pair that's done, 

Mair taen I'm wi* you. 

That auld capricious carlin, Nature, 
To roak amends for scrimpit stature. 
She's turn'd you aff, a human creature 

On her Jirst plan, 
Aud in her freaksi, on every feature. 

She's wrote, the Man, 

Just now I've taen the fit o* rhyme. 
My barmie noddle*s working prime. 
My fancy yerkit up sublime 

Wi* haaty fnmnMiD i 

Hae ye A leinm moment^a tiipc" 

To heir whalli Mttia' ? 

Some rhyme t neebor*! name to laah ; 
Some rhyme (vain thought ! ) for needfd* caah^ 
Some rhyme to court the conntra clash. 

An' raise a din ; 
For me an aim I never £uh ; 

I rhyme for fun. 

The star that rules my luckless lot. 
Has fitted me the russet coat. 
An' damned my fortune to the groat : 

But in requit. 
Has bless'd me wi' a random shot 

O' countra wit. 

This while my notion's taen a sklent, 
To try my fete in guid black prent ; 
But still the mair Fni that way bent, 

Something cries * Hoolie ( 
I red you, honest man, tak tent ! 

Ye'll shaw your foDy. 

* There's ither poets, much your betters. 
Far seen in Greek, deep men o' letters, 
Hae thought they had ensured their debtors*^ 

A' future ages ; 
Now moths deform in shapeless tetters, 

Their unknown pages. 

Then fiireweel hopes o' laurel-bough% 
To garland my poetic brows ! 
Henceforth I'll rove where busy ploughs 

Are whistling dirang. 
An* teach the lauely heights an* howes 

My rustic sang. 

ril wander on, with tentless heed 
How never-halting moments speed. 
Till fite shall snap the brittle thread ; 

Then, all unknown, 
I'll lay me with th' inglorious dead, 

Forgot and gone ! 

But why o* death begin a tale ? 
Just now we're living, sound an' hale, 
Then top and maintop crowd the sail. 

Heave eare o'er side 
And large, before enjoyment's gale. 

Let's tak' the tide. 

This life, sae far's I understand. 
Is a' enchanted fairy land. 
Where pleasure is Uie magic wand. 

That, wieMed right, 
Maks hours like minutes, hand, in hand. 

Dance by fu' light. 

The magic-wand then let us wield ; 
For ance that five-an'-forty's speel'd. 
See crazy, weary, joyless eild, 

Wi* wrinkled face. 
Comes hostin', hirplin', owre the field, 

Wi' crcepin' pace. 



Whn aaet S/&*« iqf ttiiri BMr ^ gloiiBb*, 
Thai frmml racaat 

Ab* fiuvwcel dMT 


The joy of jojri ! 

O Life ! ham pletnat in Uiy moraing^ 
Young Fancy*! rayi the kiili adornuig ! 
CokUptuiing Ciution'a lenon wwrning, 

We friak away, 
Like acliooUboyay at the expected warnings 

To joy and play. 

We wander there, we wander here^ 
We eye the roae upcrn the brier, 
Uamindfiil that the thorn ta near, 

Amang the leavei : 
And though the pony wonnd appear. 

Short while it grierea. 

Some, lucky, find a flowery apat, 
Vor which they nerer toiled nor awat. 
They drink the aweet and eat the fiu. 

But care or pain ; 
And haply eye the barren hut 

With high diadain. 

WitK ateady aim, aome Fortune chale ; 
Keen hope does every ainew brace : 
Thro' fiuJr, thro* fiwl, they urge the raoe^ 

Anaeiae the prey: 
Then cannier in some cosie place. 

They doae the (2ay. 

An* others, like your humble aenran*. 
Poor wighta ! nae rules nor roads obaenrin' ; 
To right or left, eternal swenrin*. 

They aig-aag on ; 
Till curat wi* age, obscure an* atarrin'. 

They aften groan. 

Alas ! what bitter toil an* straining— 
But truce with peerish poor complaining ! 
la Fortune's fickle JLtma waning ? 

E'en kt h*r gang ! 
Beneath what light she has remaining, 

Let*s sing our aang. 

My pen I here fling to the door, 
And kneel, ' Ye pow*rs !* and warm implore 
* Tho' I should wander terra o'er. 

In all her climeib 
Grant me but this, I ask no more. 

Aye rowth o* rhymeat 

' Gie dreeping roasts to countra lairdsy 
Tin icicles hing frae their beards : 
Oie fine braw daes to fine life-guarda, 

An* maids of honour } 
An* yill an* whisky gie to cairds, 

Until they aoonner. 

' A title, Dtmptter merits it ; 
A|«iitr|ieto WmtFiUi 

wwliii to MOM U-yfK^4 fk, 
In eent par eaal 
Bat gbi Bt naly it«liag wit^ 

An Fbi c oB tt B fc 

< While ye an pleated ta keep me hala^ 
m ait down o*er my acanty mealy 
Ba't iwrfer ftroae or wmdin kaif, 

Wi* eheerfn' Amo, 
Aa kng'a the moaea dinna fiul 

To aay the greee.* 

An anziooB e*e I nerer throwa 
Bdiint my lug, or by my noae ; 
I jook beneath miafivtnne's blows. 

As weel'a I may : 
Sworn foe to aorrow, care, an' praaa^ 

I rhyme away. 

O ye donee kSkf that live by role^ 
OraTe, tiddesa-bkwded, calm and oool, 
Compar'd wi* yoo— O fixd ! fixd ! fool ! 

How mneh unlike ! 
Yoor hearts are jnst a atanding pool. 

Your liTea, a dyke ! 

' Nae hair-brain*d sentimental tranaa 
In yenr un]etter*d nanwleas fiuxa ; 
In arioso trills and gracea 

Ye never atray, 
Bat ^ToeuttMO^ aolemn basses 

Ye hum away. 

Ye are sae praoe, nae doubt ye*re vise, 
Nae iierly tho* ye do deapiae 
The haimm seaimm, ram-atam boya, 

The rattlin* squad : 
I see you upward caat your eyea — , 

— Ye ken the road«— 

Whilst I— but I ahall hand me there — 
Wi* you m scarce gang ony w*«rs— 
Then, JamU, I shall aay nae mair, 

But quat my aaag. 
Content wi* yon to mak a pair, 

Where er I gang. 



Thoughts, voids, and deeds, the statute 

But sutdy drMHU iperene*er indteCed 

bUonea wMh 


ron rcMllngp In the pubUe papers, the Law r taif »Oit» 
with the other pvade of June 4, I7M, the aMhor 
wsfl no sooner dropt asleep, than he lonaninod hinu 
•eirtramported to the bfrth-day lercat aadte Us 
dreaming fiuiqr* made the foUowing ^diWrcsfcl 

GuxD-MonxiN* to your Majetty ! 

May hearen augment your blisses^ 
On erery new hirth'dajf ve see, 

A humble poet wishes ! 
My bardahip iiere, at your kne^ 

On no • da;r M this iei 



li ittft tft ineokdi M|k to M^ 

8v int Ikk dbgr. 

I «e ys'i* mmpiiBWrtii fhna^ 

Bjr mooy a lord aa* M]r» 
• God Mnre the Kuv !* *■ a cndBM 

That's vneo aaij aaid aja ; 

Themte, too» a Tcnal gaas, 

In' ihyoMO wtel tora'd an* rmfy. 

Wad gar yoa trow yv na*cr do wraag^ 
Bat aja uaerriaf iteadiry 



Forma! bdbra a flMiiareh*t fiMo^ 

£▼*« Iftarv I wiaaa flatter ; 
For MiUiar aeiHioiiy poat» nor plaof^ 

Aai I four haaafale debtor: 
So noa icflcctMMi oo jfovr jproeCy 

Yo«r kiofdiip to beepiftter; 
Thcra'e aaonie waar ben o* the rao^ 

An* aDdiM ana been better 

Than jon this day* 

*TSs very tme^ my oov'reign king, 

ily sJoU mar we^ba doabted : 
Bat fiKts are cAieb niat winna ding. 

An* dowaa be diipated : 
Tear royal nrsty beneath yoor wing^ 

le e*en right reft an' doatod, 
Ab^ aov the third part o' the string. 

An' Icsiy oriU gang aboat it 

Than did ae day. 

Far be't firae me that I aspire 

To blame yoor IcgMbtioo, 
Or sBy» fs wisdom want, or fir^ 

Ta nue diia mighty nation ! 
Bat, frith! I mneUa doobt, my Sirtf 

Ye Ye trwlBd ministration 
To chaps, wha, in a bam or byre^ 

Wad better liU*d their station 

Than courts yon day. 

An* now yc've gien aoM JfMimn peace, 

Hit broken dhtns to plaister ; 
Tonr sair tawtion does her fleox, 

Tin she has scarce a teeter; 
For me^ thank God, my Nfii's a iiasf^ 

Nae hargain wearing iMter, 
Or, fidth! I fear, that wi* the geese^ 

I shortiy boost to Mstore 

r the craft some dajr. 

Fm no mistroBtiflV Wmi* PiU^ 

When taics he enlaiges, 
CAn* WUt§ a tme gaid fUlow*s geCr 

A noma not enry spaiigcs). 

That ha intsndi to pay yoor debt| 

An* k««n a* ]roar cbti|fi| 

BaL findmh ! kl wmmtbm M 

* a_ * 4 B_ o a^ 

Abffidga yoar aaaam aaram 

Aa* baato thk dm& 




Aa' may ye las Owra pti oals 

Bot sinee Vm here. Ill no mglBe^ 

la loyal, trae afiectiooy 
To pay yoar Qws r a , with dao 

liy Mty an' sal^JselsM 

Thia gieat bfraM^f* 


Va^Mtjt^t Moti JBxtdkmt f 

While noblss strire to please ye^ 
Win yo accept a compJiment 

A etmple poet gies yo? 
Thae bonnie baimdme^ Hesr*n haa kBl» 

Stitt higher may tliqr heme ye^ 
In UiH, tin frte soma day ia seni^ 

For ever to idease ye 

riae care out ^Bjm 


For yoOy yoang potentate o Waki^ 

I tril yoar Ulghmtn fiuihr, 
Doom Pleasare'b stream, wi^ swelEng siiK 

Vm tanM yo're driTing rarely ; 
Bot some day yo may gnaw yoar aaiK 

An' cone yoar folly sairiy. 
That e'er ye brak Diona'a pale% 

Or rattled dke wi' CktvUM, 

By aight or day. 

Yet aft a ragged covte's been known 

To msk a noble oteer .* 
80, ye may doocelT All a throne^ 

For a* their dish-mapdavcr : 
There, him * at Agimiemart wha shoa^ 

Few better were or araver % 
An* yet wi* fanny q a e e r Sir JU8,f 

Hearaaan uneoshafer 

For moniea day 


For yoo, right rev tend Osaobwf^ 

Naue seta the !■■<■ tiwai awaster, 
Altho* a ribbaa at yoar log 

Wad been a drew completer : 
Aa ye disoam yon panghty dog 

That bears the keys of Peter, 
Then, swith! an' got a wifi to hag^ 

Or, trouth, ye*n etain tho adtia 

Some hMklom dqfd 


Yoong royal Tarry JBnd^ I learay 
Ye*ve ktdy come athwart htf ; 

• King Henry T, 


A gtunoufl paHt^^ vtnfi M tiern, 
Werl ri}^*d for Vvuu' btrtrr I 

Bot fint himip mit, thtt ilw*!! ducern 
Your hfmeoeal cluirter, 

Thra liMve abourd jronr gntpple airn. 
An* lorjpi apo* her qnarfer, ^ 

Cmim full due daj. 

Te, lastly, bonaw bkMMMm a\ 

Ye n>yal lames dainty* 
Heav*ii mak yoa Kuid as wvd as braw, 

An* gM yuu lads a-plenty : 
But sDcvr nae Britiak boffB awa*, 

For kings are unco scant aye ; 
An* German grntles are but «ina\ 

Tbey*re better jiist than wamiaye 
On onie day. 


Qod blew yoa a* ! eonsider now, 

Ye*re unco muckh danlet ; 
Bat, ere the er>iirse o* lilb be thro*. 

It msy be bitter santet ( 
An* I hue seeii their tnggh fon. 

That %-et hoe tarroVt at it ; 
Bat or the dap was dooe^ I troiTy 

The laggen they hae olautet 

Ftt* dean that day. 


BUAN riiurt.f 

Tkk sun had chieed the winter day, 
The curlers qoat their roaring pky. 
An' hunger*d maukin ta*en her wav 

To kail-yards %reen, 
While CuthlflH aiaws ilk step betray 

Whaie she has been. 

The thre»>hcr*8 wmry JUmpin^rM 
Tlie ke-lang day had tired me : 
And. whan the day had elosed his e*e, 

Far i' the rat, 
Ben i* the ipeme*, right pensifdiey 

Igaed to rest. 

There, lanely, by the ingle-cheek, 
I aat and ey'd tha sptw iug rotk, 
That hird wi' hoi pt nirnling smeek, 

The aaU day biggin' ; 
An' heard the rettei rattona aqoeak 

Aboat the riggin'. 

All in ihia atttitk Mkty dim^ 
I backward mosM on WMlid tiin% 
How I had tpanft By yoothfh* prime, 

An* done nae-thing. 

• Alluding to tfai wm^mym anoaat of a cntaln 
^J|M% a tsan orCMaa^flNr thadMteiBtdiTUam 

But stringin* blethers up in niyflU 

For foula to sing. 

If^ I to guid advice hot harkit, 
I might, by this, hae led a market* 
Or strutted in a bank and darliit 

My eakh aeeonot : 
While here^ half-mad, half-fed, half-sarkit, 

Is a* th' amount. 

I started, muttering, blockhead ! coof ! 
And hedv*d on high uiy waukit kio^ 
To swear by a* yon starry roof. 

Or some rash aith. 
That I, hcncefortli, would be rkyme-proof 

Tai my last breath^ 

When click ! the string the sneck did draw } 
An* jee ! the door gaad to tho wa* ; 
An* by my ingle^knre I aaw. 

Now blecnn bright* 
A tight outlandish Hizxie bmw, 

GHOe fiiU in sight. 

Ye need na doubt, I held my whbht 
The in&nt aith half-form'd was crush't ; 
I gk>wr*d as eerie*s I'd been dusht 

In some wiM glen ; 
When sweet, lika owdeat worth, she bhiah't, 

And ileppca ban. 

Green, slender, latMad koOi^-b^mgkaf 
Were twisted graoelii* round her brcMra ; 
I took her for aome SoMiah Mmm^ 

By that same token ; 
An* come to atop those reckless vows^ 

Wonhl soon been broken. 

A < hair-brain*d, santiniBtal tnee* 
Was strongly marked in her free; 
A wildly-witty, rustie grKe 

Shorn foil upon her ; 
Her eye, ev'n tum*d on empty spaca^ 

BeaBi*d haan with hoaonr 

Down flow'd her robob a tartan sheen. 
Till half a leg was scrimply seen ; 
And such a leg ! my boonie Jean 

Sae straught, sae taper, tight, and 



Her maniU Uigt, of graaniah hot, 
My garing wonder chiemr dfvw ; 
Deep Ug& and Madsi, boU-aiafling, Upwr 

AhMtra grand; 
And teem'd tomy ■Btoaiah*d view, 

A treff Anovn land. 

Here, nTers in tfaa sen wore kil t 
There^ mountains to the akieft mn 
Here» tumbliiig biUowa mark'd iha 

Thm^ diitint iImim Art*a loA^ 



Here Dcnm pourM Aovrn his tar-fetcVd floods ; 
There, well-fed Intine statclv thuds : 
Auld hermit Ai^r staw thro* h:;* woimIs, 

On to the shore ; 
And many a lesser torrent scuds, 

With sc'cining roar. 

Low, in a sandy valley spread, 
An ancient borough reurM her head ; 
Still, as in Scottish story read, 

She hnasts a race. 
To every nohler virtue hrcd, 

And jiolish'd grace. 

By stately towV or palare fair, 
Or ruins pendent in the air, 
Bold stems of heroes, here and there, 

1 could discern ; 
Some seem'd to mu««, some ncenrd to dare, 
* With f;;ature stern. 

My heart did glowing transport feel. 
To see a race * heroic wheel. 
And brandish round the deep-ily'd steel 

In stunlv blows ; 
While back-recoiling seem'd to reel 

Their suthrun fin-s. 

His Country's SAvxouii.f mark him well I 
Bold Richardton* \ heroic swell ; 
The chief on Sark § who gloriuu^i fell, 

in high command ; 
And he whom ruthless futes expel 

His native land. 

There, where a sceptred Plcthh sliade I| 
Stalk'd round his axhes lowly laid, 
I mark'd a martial race pourtray'd 

la colours i»trong ; 
Bold, soldicr-featurM, undixmuyM 

They strode along. 

Thro* many a wild, romantic grove,^ 
Near many a hermit-fan«;y'd cove, 
(Fit haunts for friendship or for love 

In musing mood), 
An cigtd Judge^ I saw him ruvc. 

Dispensing good. 

With deep-struck reverential awe,** 
The learned tirt and son I naw, 
To Nature's God and Nature*!!; law 

Thev jjave 


Kir iore 

• The Wallaces. \ William Wallico. 

X Adam Wallace, of Richanltoii, itxiMii tu the un- 
mortal preserver of Scottish indciiciidciiue. 

I Wallace, Laird of Craigic, wn«>wa.s»ecrn«l iniHtin- 
nuind, under DougUx Karl of Orinowd, at the t'<inii>ii<( 
battle on the banks of Sark. foii^hc annn IHH. Tliat 
glorious victory was prlnci|ialiy owing to thf judiciouK 
conduct and intrepid valour of the callant Laird of 
Craigie. who died of his wouDdR after the action. 

II Cotius, King of the Picts. fh>m whom the diotrict 
of Kyle is laid to take its name, lies burled, as tradi- 
tioo says, near the ftmily-aeat of Um Montt^omerics of 
Coilsfleld. where his burial-place is still sliuwn. 

^ Barskimming, the ssat ot the late Lord Justice. 

•• Catrine, the scat of the late Doctor, and present 
PiofCMor Stewart. 

This, ail its source aud end io draw, 

That| to adore. 

BrydoiCi brave ward • I well could spy, 
Beneath old 6'cof«a'«-«miIing eye j 
Who call'd on Fame, low standing by» 

To hand him on. 
Where many a patriot-name on high, 

And hero ahone. 


With musing-^eep, astonish *d stare, 
I view'd the heav'niy-seeming /air ; 
A whisp'ring throb did witness bear. 

Of kindred sweet. 
When with an elder sister's air 

She did me greet. 

* All hail ! my own inspired bard I 
In mc thy native muse regard ; 

Nor longer mourn thy fate is hard, 

Thus poorly low, 

I come to give thee such reward 

As we bestow. 

* Know, the great peniug of this land 
Ilan many a light, aerial band, 

Who, all beneath his high command. 


As arts or arms they under*tind, 

Tlieir labours ply. 

* Tiiey Scotia's race among them share ; 
iSomc tire the ttoldier on to dare ; 

Some rouite the patriot up to hare 

Corruption's heart ; 

Some teach the hard, a darling care, 

The tuneful art. 

* '^lon^r swellinT floods of recking gore, 
They, anient, kin«llii>g spirits pour ; 

Or, 'mid tiie vcual senate's roar. 

They, sightleas, stand, 

To mend the honest patriot-lore. 

And grace the hand. 

* And when the hard, or hoary sage, 
Chfirm vr instruet the future ugj, 
They hind tJie wild poetic rage 

III enei-gy. 
Or point the inconclusive page 

I'ull on the eve. 


* Hence Ivflarton, the h'ave aud young; 
Heticc JJemjmttr^s zeal-in'>pireil ton"ue • 
Ilcuec sweet hoi'muuious lieattlc >UMg 

His ••AIin.>trcl lays;'* 
Or tore, with noble ardour t<tung. 

The sceptic 4 bays. 

* To Imvcr orders arc assign'd 
The humbler ranks of human-kind. 

* Cokmd FuUartoo. 



Rard, the Wring Hind, 
The ArtiMn; 

M Tuions they're incli&'d. 
The Yarknis nun. 

* When yeOov wavet the heavy gniOt 
The threet'niiig ftorm tome ttrcmgly rein ; 
Some tcaeh to neliormte the phiii» 

With tillage duU ; 
And aome iattrnct the ahepherd-traiii, ' 

BUthe o*er the hilL 

* Some hint the lorer'a harmleM wile ; 
Some grace the maiden's artlew amile ; 
Some aoothe the Ub*rer*s weary toil. 

For humble gain*, 
And make hb cottage aceues beguile 

His cares and pains. 

' Some bounded to a district-space^ 
Explore at Urge man** in£int race, 
To mark the emfaryotic trace 

Of rustic Bard ; 
And careful note each op'ning grace, 

A guide and guard. 

* 0/ these am I — Coiln my name ; 
And tills district as mine I cl^m, 
Where once the Campbdls, chie& of fume, 

Held ruling pow*r : 
I mark'd thy embryo tuneful flame. 

Thy natal hour. 

< With future hope, I oft would gaze, 
Food on thy little early ways. 

Thy mdely candl'd, chiming phrase. 

In uncouth rhymes, 

Fired at the aimple^ artless bys 

Of other times. 

< I saw thee seek the aoonding shore. 
Delighted with the dadiing roar ; 

Or when the north hia Htm store 

Drove thro* the sky, 

I saw grim Nature's visage hoar 

Stmck thy young eye. 

* Or when the deep-green mantled earth 
Warm cherish*d ev*ry flow'ret's birth, 
Aad joy and mnaic pooring forth 

la ev*ry groves 
I saw thee eye the general mirth 

With boondlasB love; 

* When ripen*d fielda, and aiore 
Call'd forth the reaper*a matling noise^ 
I aaw thee leave their ev'ning joys. 

And kmely stalk, 
To vent thy bosom'a swdling riae 

In penaive waDc 

* When ywthfnl love^ warm-Uoahiqg, itnuig, 
Kaan-ahivering ahot diy nervta akmg» 

Thoia aeeaiti^ gratalnl to thy tongue, 

Tk* adond /roMSb 

I taught thee how t<i paur in song. 

To lootlte thy flame. 

< I saw thy pulse's maddening play. 
Wild send thee Pleasure's devioua way, 
Bfisled by Fancy's meteor ray. 

By Passion driven ; 
But yet the Vffht that led astray 

Was li^ tnm heaven. 

* I taught thy mannem-painting strains. 
The loves, the \rays of ftirople swaina 
Till now, o'er all my wide domains 

Thy hme extends ; 
And some, the pride of Coila*s plains. 

Become thy friendSi 

< TIiou cAnst not learn, nor can I show. 
To paint with Thomsom*s landscape glow ; 
Or wake the bosom-melting throe. 

With Sktmsiom's art ; 
Or pour, with Grojr* the moving flow 

Warm on the heart. 

< Vet all beneath th' unrivaird 
The lowly dairy sweetly blows : 

Tho' large the forest's monarch throws 

His army shade. 

Yet green the juicy hawthorn grows, 

Adown the glade. 

< Then never mnrmnr nor repine ; 
Strive in thy humUe sphere to shine ; 
And trust me» not PoUmI^s mine. 

Nor king's regard, 
Can give a bliss o'ermatching thine, 

K rustic Bard* 

' To give my eonnsds all in oo^ 
Thy toMfnl flame atill careful fiui ; 
Preserve Uu dignity o/Mmu, 

With aool craet ; 
And trust the Uuimrsai plan 


* And wear thou <A«t/...ahe aolenn 
And boond the IToffjr ronnd my head ; 
The polish'd leaves, and berries red. 

Did matling j^ ; 
And, like A paasing thoogiit, ahe fled 

la light away. 



msodms make a rali^ 





•om Quit iPMr «M dIgM 


O Tx wba are nt gsid yminel, 

Sae pioos an* ne holy, 
Ye*ire nought to do but mark and tell 

Your nedNiur** fiiutt and folly ! 
Whaae life ia like a wecl gaun millf 

Sapply*d wL' store o* water. 
The heapit happer** ebbing still. 

And atill the clap plays clatter. 

Hear me, ye venerable core, 

Am eouniel for poor mortaK 
That frequent pass douoe Wisdom*a door 

For glaikit FoUy*a portak ; 
I, for their thoughtlen, cardcM eakei^ 

Would here propone defenceti 
Their donsie tricks, their black mirtakci, 

Their foilings and mischances. 

Ye see your state wi* theirs compared, 

An* shudder at the niflfer, 
But cast a moment's feir regard. 

What maka the mighty difier f 
Discount what scant occasion gave, 

That purity ye pride in. 
An' (what's aft mair than a* the live) 

Yonr better art o* hiding. 

Think, when your castigated pnbe 

Gies now and then a wallop. 
What ragings must his veins eoovulse, 

That still eternal gallop : 
m^* wind and tide fktr i* yoor tail. 

Right on ye send yonr sea-way ; 
But in the teeth o* baith to aai]» 

It maka an unco leo-way. 


See social life and glee att down. 

All joyous and unthinking. 
Till, quite transmogrified, ^ey*ra grown 

Debauchery and drinking : 
O would they stay to ealenlate 

Th* eternal conseqoenoea ; 
Or your more dreaded hell to stale, 

Damaation of eciMBMa I 

Ye high, exalted, virtuous dames, 

Ty*d up in godly laces. 
Before ye gie poor/ra«lf|r name^ 

Suppose a change o* cases ; 
A dear lov'd lad, convenienoe snug, 

A treacherooa inclination 
But, let me whisper i* yoor hig, 

Yf 're aiUiai dm temptitioii. 


Th» gently tein yonr brodMr Ban^ 

Still geate mtae woman ; 
Tim* they mar gang a kennin wnmg. 

To step aside k hnnian i 
One point mnak atiU bt grady daik» 

The moving wAf they do it ; 
And jttrt IB lamely ean ye raariEf 

How fer perbi^ they me it. 


Who made ibe heart, "tia A iknM 

Decidedly can try ni^ 
He knows each chocd — ita variona totm, 

Each ipring — ita varidoa bias : 
Then at the balance let*a be mole^ 

We never can adjust it; 
What's dome we partly may eonqpnte^ 

Bat know not what*s remaitd. 


An honest man's the noblest woik of God^^Apfc 

t thrawn hia heel ? 

Has auld K 

Or great M' 

Or R ■ \ again grown weal 

To preach an' read f 
* Na, waur than a* !* cries ilka ehiel, 

« rnmSsmaon'adandl 

K — >- lang may grant an' gnme^ 

An* sigh, an' sab, an* greet her lane^ 
An* deed her bairna, man, wife^ md nrwni 

In mourning weed ; 
To death, she*s dearly paid the kane^ 

Tarn Samson'a dead 

The brethren of the mystie ievtl. 
May hing their head ia woefu' bevel. 
While by their nose the teara will revil^ 

Likeony bead! 
Death'a gien the lodge an unco devel. 

Tarn Sameon'a dead ! 

When winter mufllea op his dotkp 
And binds the mire like a rods ; 
When to the lochs the cnrlen lock, 

Wi* gleeeome speed ; 
Wha win they station at the eaek 9 

Tam Samson'a dead ! 

He waa the king o' a' the core. 
To guard, or draw, or wick a bora. 

• When thb worthy old y'"'tyi wsnt ont hat 
muirfowl season, he suppossa it ma to hsu hi Osstaafla 
phnse, 'thehstof his fisldsr wd cntesssdaaw- 
dant wish to die and he buried ia the auiin. Oa lUi 
hint tlMMttior compose d Ms ^y and e pttsph. 

t A esftaia prsadisr, a Beet fhvomlte with ttw w^ 
lion. nd«theOniination,8C«uaIL 

^ AaoUMrnsMher, an equal tevoorits with the fnr* 
whowmatdiutiniaaiJhii. For him lee aim tfM Ol. 



Or ap tlie rink, like JcAm rotr, 

In time o* need ; 

Bat now \m lagi on de«th'e Ao^-motk, 

Tarn StmeoB*! doid ! 

Now safe the stately aawmont sail, 
jbid trouts bidropp'd wi* erimton hail. 
And eels weel kenn'd ibr sodple tally 

And ftot lor greed, 
Since dark in death's >bA-eritel we wail, 

Tam Samson dead ! 

Bejoioe, ye birring paitrieks a* ; 
Te oootie moorcocks, eroosely craw ; 
Ye ""■w^**, cock your fbd fti* braw, 

Withonten diead i 
Your mortal 6e is now awa*, 

Tam Samson's dead • 

That waefii* mom be erer moom'd. 
Saw him in ahootin' graith adom*d, 
While pointera ronnd impatient bom'd, 

Free couples freed ! 
Bsly odi ! he gaed and ne'er retum'd ! 

Tam Samson's dead ! 

In vain anld age his body batten ; 
Tm vain the gout his ancles fetters ; 
&i vain the boms came down like waters, 

An acre braid ! 
Vow ffv'ry anld wiftb greetin', clatters, 

Tam Samaon's dead ! . 

OwvB BMMiy A weary hag he limpit, 
An' aye the tither shot he thumpit, 
Till oowiid death behind him jumpit^ 

Wi* deadly feide ; 
VoiW he preolaims wi* tout o' trumpet, 

Tam Samson's dead ! 

Whan at his heart he felt the dagger, 
He reel'd his wonted bottle-swagger, 
Bat yet he drew the mortal trifi^r 

Wi* weel-aim'd heed ; 
* L dt §cm !' he ery'd, an* owre did stagger ; 

Tam Samson's dead I 

Bk hoiry hsnter moom'd a brither ; 
Bk T'«'^"P'* yoath bemoan'd a &ther ; 
Yon anld grey stane, am«ng the heather, 

Blarks out his head. 
Where BumM has wrote, in rhyming blether, 

Tam Samson*$ dead I 

There low he lies, in lasting rest : 
Perhaps upon his mould*ring breast 
Some spitefu' muirfowl bigs her nest. 

To hatch an* breed ; 
Alas ! nae mair he'll them molest ! 

Tam Samaon's dead ! 

When August wmds the heather wave, 
And sportsmen wander by yon grave. 
Three voUeya let kia roem'ry crave 

O' ]poathcr an* lead. 

Till Echo answer frae her cave, 

Tam Samsuo's dead ! 

Heav'n rest his saul, whare'er be be ! 
Is th' wish o* raony mae than nu* : 
He had twa fauts, or may he thrive, 

Yet what rcincad ? 
Ae aodal, honest man, want wc : 

Tam Samson's dead ! 


Tam Samson's weeUwom clay here lies, 
Ye canting sealots, spare him ! 

If honest worth in heaven rise, 
Ye'll mend or ye won near him. 


Go, Fame, and canter like a filly 
Thro' a' the streets an* neuks o' Killie,' 
Tell every social, honest billie. 

To cease his gi'ievin'. 
For yet onskaith'd by death's gleg gullie, 

Tam Sammma Uvin\ 


[Thb following poem will, by many readen, be wen 
enough understood ; but for the sake of tbow who 
are unsoquahited with the mannenand traditions of 
the country where the scene U cast, notes are added, 
to give some account of the principal channs and 
speUs of that night, so big with prophecy to the pea- 
santry in the West of Scotland. The paufon of pry- 
ing into fUturlty makes a striking part of the history 
of human natiire in its rude state, in all ages and 
nations: and it may be some entertainment to a 
philosqphio mind, if any such should honour the 
author with a perusal, to see the remains of it a 
mong the more unenlightened in our own.] 

Yes I let the ridi deride, the proud disdain. 
The dmple pleasures of the lowly train ; 
To me more dear, congenial to my heart. 
One natlTe charm, than all the gloss of art 




UroK that night, when faitiea light, 
On Cassilis Downang ^ dance. 

Or owre the lays, in aplendid blase. 
On sprightly coursers )irance ; 

Or for Colean the route iu ta'eu, 
Beneath the moon's pale lieaini ! 

• Killie is a phrsM the country folks someUnm u>.e 
for KilinamocK. 

t is thoiipht to be a night when witches. deviU, and 
other mischief-making beings, arc all abntad on their 
baneful midnlpht crrandu; pArticiilarly those ncrial 
pei)plc, the Fairies, arc said on tliat night to hoU a 
grand annivcrury. 

t Certain little romantic, rookr, grem hills, in the 
neighbourhood of Uw ancient seat of the Earls of C 



There, up tbe eove,^ to itrty an* rove 
Anung the rocki and fttreamt, 

To sport that night 


Amang the bonnie winding banks 

Where 2>ooi» rins, wimplin', clear, 
Where Baucsf ance rul'd the martial ranks, 

An' shook his Car rick spear, 
Some merry, friendly, couuua folks, 

Together did convene, 
To burn their nits, an* poit their stocks, 

An* baud their Hullowttn 

Fu* bliilio chat night, 


The lasses feat, an* cleanly neat, 

Mair braw than when their fine ; 
Their faces blithe, fu* sweetly kythe, 

Hearts leal, an* warm, au' kin' : 
The lads sae trig, wi' wuuer-lMibii, 

Weel knotted on their gartvn, 
6om« unco blate, an* bomu wi* ga'>!t| 

Gar lasses' hearts gang startin* 

SVhyles fa»t at night 


Then first and foremost, thro' the kail, 

Their stoclu \ maun a' be sought ance ; 
They steek their een, an* graip an* wale, 

For muckle anes and straught anea. 
Poor hav'rel Will fvll aff the dnft. 

An' wandcr'd thro* the botr-kailf 
An' pou't, for want o* better shift, 

A runt was like a sow-tail, 

Sae bow't that night. 


7*hen, straught or crooked, yird or nane, 

They roar an* cr)' a* throu'ther ; 
The vera wee things, todlin*, rin 

Wi* stocks out-owre their shouther ; 
An* gif the CMgtoc*9 sweet or sour, 

Wi* joctelegs they taste them ; 
Syne coaiely, aboon the door, 

Wi* cannie eare, they*ve plac*d them 
To lie that night. 

* A noted cavern near Colean-houae, called The 
Cove of Colesn ; whldi, as Cassllis Downans, is fsmed 
in oountiy story for being a Csvourite haunt for fsiries. 

t The famotis Dunily St that name, the ancestors of 
Rosaar, the great deliverer of his oountry« were Earls 
of Carrick. 

t Ihe fint egfemo o y of Halkmeen, is palUng eaeh 
a stock, or plant of kail They roust go out, hind in 
band, with eyes shut, and pull the flrst thev meet 
with 1 Its betog big or little, straight, or crooked, i« 
prophetic of the sixe and shape of the griind object of 
all their speUs— the husband or wife. If any ytrrf, or 
earth, stkx to the root, that is toeher, or fortune ; and 
the taste of the ew^oc, thays the heart of the stem, is 
Indicative of the natural temper and dii|ioiitioo. — 
Lastly, the stems, or, to give them tlieir ordinary ap- 
BtUaoon, the runU, are placed somewhere at»ve the 
Mid of the door { and the Christian names of the peo. 
nU whom dunee tarings into the house, art, aoeording 
to thi priority of pkeuf tiM nNi<f« tiM names in ques- 

The laaMi ataw frae *mang them a* 

To pou their atottt o* cam ; * 
But Rab slips out, and jinks about, 

Behint the mudde thorn : 
He grippet Nelly bard an* fi»t; 

I^ud skirl'd a* the laawa; 
But her tap-pickU maiit was lost, 

When kiuttlin' in the &uafr-housef 

Wi' him that night 


The auld guid wife's wceNlloordet niit^ 

Are round an* round divided. 
And monie lads and lasaes* fates, 

Are there that night decided : 
Some kindle, couthy, aide by side, 

An* burn tbegither trimly ; 
Some start awa* wi* saucy pride, 

Au* jump out-owre the chimlia 

Fu* bigh that night 


Jean slips in twa wi* tends e*e ; 

Wha 'twas, she wadna tell ; 
But this is Jock, an* this is me. 

She savs in to hersel* : 
He bleex*d owre her, and she owre him« 

As they wad never mair park ; 
Till fuff ! he started up the lum, 

An* Jean had e'en a sair heart 

To see't that night 


Poor Willie, wi* his boio-kail runt. 

Was brunt wi' primaie Blallie ; 
An* Mallie, nae doubt, took the dnmt. 

To be conipar'd to Willie : 
Mall's nit lap out wi* pridefii* fling, 

An* her ain fit it brunt it ; 
While Willie lap, and swoor by jVny, 

*Twas just the way he wanted 

to be that night. 


Nell had the fause-house in her min'. 
She pits hersel* an* Rob in ; 

In loving bleeze they sweetly join. 
Till white in ase thcy*rc sobbin' : 

Nell's heart was dancin* at the Tiew, 
She whisper'd Rob to look fbr*t : 

• They go to the barn-yard, and pull eaeh, at thrst 
several thnn, a stalk of oats. If the thhrd stalk wants 
the top-piekie, that is. the grain at the top of the stalk, 
the pariy in question willooiDe to the marriagt-bad 
any thing but a maid. 

t When the com is in a doubtfUl state, by being loo 

Km, or wet, the stack-builder, by means of old ti»> 
, dkc. makes a largo apartment in his staok, withaa 
opening in the side which is fliirast eaposed to Um 
wind ; this he caliii » fause-houae. 

OuruinR the nuts is a favourite charm. Theynama 

the lad and iau to each particular nut, as they lay them 
in the fire, and accordingly as they bum quietly 


thsr, or start from beside one another, tbs eouissint 
isms oC tlM aourtibip will ba. 



Umeen ditt nifht. 

Bat Mirrai nt bdunt their bidc% 

Hw* tlnaghti on Andrew Bell ; 
8ki Wm them gtihin* at their craeki, 

And ilipe ont bv henel* : 
8ke thro' the yard the nearert takt, 

An' to the kihi the goea then, 
An' darirlina graipit for the bauln, 

And in the Uum c/we* throw* then. 

Right fear*t that night 

An* aye the win*t, an* aye ithe swat, 

I wat ahe made nae jaukin ; 
Till aomething held within the pat, 

Goid L— -d ! hot »he vtm quakin* ! 
Bat whether *twai the Deil hiinael', 

Or whether 'twas a lutuk-^n, 
Or whether it was Andrew Bell, 

She did na wait on talk in' 

To ii|»ear that night 

Wea Jenny to her Gr^unie mvs, 

'* Will ye go wi* nie, gniuiiie ? 
I*II ecrf lAe apple f at the phut, 

I gat frae unck: Johnie :" 
She ftiff*t her pipe wi* die u lunt, 

In wrath »he was sae irap'rib*, 
She notic't na, an oiile bniut 

Her braw new wuntet aprun 

Out thru' (Lit nighL 

** Ye little bkelpie-Iiiiinicr's t'aix ! 

How daur yc try uc sportin*, 
Aa eeek the foul Thief ony place. 

For him to apae your fortune : 
Kae doubt but ye nuiy get a »iyhl ! 

Great caute ye hae tu fear it ; 
For monie a ape haN gotten a fright. 

An' liv'd an* di'd deletret 

On sic a night. 


" Ae hairat afure the Sherra^rooor, 

I mind 't aa weel'a yeatrevn, 
I was a gilpey then, I'm »urc 

I waa na past fyftcen : 

• Whoever would, with looDtMi, try diit ipell, mutt 
alrietlyolMenretheiedirectkint: .SinUout, all akme, 
lothe HIm, and, darUinir. ttnww Into the poI a clue of 
Uneyam: wind it in a new due off the old one: amt, 
towardi the latter end, lomethinK will hold the thread, 
dmnand wAa ham4» f I. e. who h«ilds ? an amwer will 
be returned firom the kiln-pot, by naming the Chris- 
tlaQ and timame of your future npouacu 

t Take a candle, and ffo alone to a looUng •glaw { 
oat an apple befote it. and tome traditions lay, you , 
AooM comb your hair all the time: the Cms of your! 
•ai^uffa] companion, to be, will be lecn in Iha tfaiiL m I 
IfpaipimoTflryowilKmWcrt i 

The aimmer had been eauM an* wal. 

An' atuff waa unco green ; 
An' ave a rantin kirn we gat. 

An joat on MaOowee* 

It fell that night. 


** Our stibblc-rig was Rub M'Graeot 

A clever, sturdy fallow ; 
He's sin gat Eppie Sim wi' wean, 

That lir'd in Achmacalla : 
He gat kemp-Metdt* 1 mind it weel, 

An' he made unco light u't ; 
But mony a day was by kinuel', 

He was cae sairly frighted 

That vera night.* 


Than up gat fechtin' Jamie Fleck, 

An' he swoor by his conscience. 
That he could now kemp-aeed a peck ; 

For it waa a* but nonsense ! 
The auk] gnid-man raught down the pock. 

An' out a handfu' gied him ; 
Syne bad him slip frae *mang the folk, 

Sometime wheia nae ane see'd him. 

An* try't that night 

He marchea thro* amang the stadct* 

Tho' he was somethii^ sturtin, 
Hie ffraip he for a harrow taks, 

An' haurls at his curpin : 
An* ev'ry now an' then he saya» 

" Hemp-seed I saw thee. 
An' her that ia to be my laaa. 

Come after me, and draw thee. 

As &st this night" 


He whistl'd up Lord Lennox' march. 

To keep his courage cheery ; 
Altbo* his hair bq^an to arch. 

He was sae fley'd an' eerie : 
Till preti'ntly he hears a aqueak. 

An' then a grane an' gruntle ; 
He by his shouthcr gae a kedc. 

An* tumbl'd wi' a wintle 

Out-owre that night 


He roar*J a horrid murder about* 

In dreadfb* desperation ! 
Ao* yuuDg an' auld cam rinnin* out, 

To hear the sad narration : 

• Steal out unperceiTcd. and low a handftol of bemp. 
wed: harrowhif! it with any thing you can convenient, 
ly draw mtUar you. Reprayiow and then, • Heropased 
I Mw thcv: hemp-weed I ssw theet and him <or her) 
u^ ,*■ to be my tTu«.k>ve. come after me and pou 
tn«c. Look over your left idioulder, and you will mo 
the appearance of the perMm invoked, in the attitude 
of pulling hemp. Some traditions lay, « come after 
me. and shaw thee.' that Is, show thpslf : in whkli 
caw it simply appears. Others omU the hanoite 

TU "Mr ■>»» hllcliin Jmd M'Cnv, 
Or cruuuiiic Mernn Humphie, 

Till itnp ! fill tiallsl thn' thnii i' j 
An' will wu it byt Grumphit 

Bin fiin vut la ihg born htc gaiM, 

Td Vila (Ant ndtfi «' imUiii^i * 
But for to nti the d«l W I4M, 

She pit but little fiiih in : 
fihe sifl the herd ■ pickle niti, 

Tn watch, whilu for the ion ilie kCo, 
In hopei tu n Tim Kippttn 

Thit Ten night. 

She tunii the key wi" cunie Ihraw, 

An' own: the threthoJd venture*; 
Dat fint nn Riwnie giei 1 ca', 

Syne bauldly in ilie enten ; 
A Totlom rattled up the va'. 

An' ihe cry'di L — d prewrre her ! 
An' ran ihra' iniddeD-hote an' a'. 

An' pray'd wi' Keai and A^ivourt 

Fu' fan that night. 

Tbey hoy'l out Will, wi' aair advle* i 

Then hecht him lome fine traw ane; 
It ehanc'd Hie atoci he/addom'd Ibrict,^ 

Wa« limnicr-pr^it fbt tbrawin' j 
He taki a iwirlle auld ni«*-oik| 

For KHne black, grauuma culin | 

Till •kin 

1 biypei n 



A wautun widow Lnsie ivai, 

A> aatj u a kiltlen ; 
But Ocl> 1 thai aight, initiig the (hawa, 

She got a (earfii* icItliD' '. 
She thru' tb« whiui. an' by the caiin. 


Whyla own a linn the buraia pla]>ii 

At thro' the glen it wimpl't; 
Wbylei rouDd a rocky icar it Krayi ( 

Whylc* in * wiel it dinpl't ; 
Whyln gUllct'd to tha nightly nn 

Wi' bickeiing, daocinc danW ; 
Whylea eookil nndernouh dw biHa, 

Below the tptvadin; baid. 

UnMcn thM night, 


Anang the brackens «< tbc hm, 

Betu-een her an' the moon. 

The dril, or cbe an aoilet qaey, 

" E up an- gie a croon : 

Lenie'i lirwt maiit lap the hool ; 
er lairrack-height ihe jompit, 
lilt afit,an'iiilliai>«)I 
t-ewn the lugt >he plmopit, 

Wi' a plunge tint Blgbt, 

Tbe Uggla three* are ranged, 
Jul ev'rv time gnat care i> u'en, 

TDHe'thm duly changed: 
Auld uncle John, wha w«lluck'a joya 
Sin' Mar't-^ear did dnire, 
icauK he gat the IDom-di<h thrice, 
lie beav'd ikem on the fin, 

In Tncti that n%kL 

Iieap an cbeerjr ; 
i' fragrant luot. 

Fu' blithe that night. 







A Ouid iVev. Year I wish tbee, Maggie ! 
Hae, there's a ripp to thy auld baggie : 
Tho' tboa*t boiro-backit, now, aa' knaggi^ 

I'm Been the da^t 
Thou could haa gaen like ooie staggie 

Out-owre the lay. 

Tho* DOW thoQ*t dowie, stiff, an' eraiy, 
An* thf auld hide's as white's a daisjr, 
I're seen thee dappl't, sleek, au' glaizie, 

A bonnie gray : 
He should been tight that duur't to raize thee, 

Anee in a day. 

Thou anoe was i* the foremost rank, ■ 
AJlBy buirdJy, steeve, an* swank. 
An* set weel down a shapely shank 

As e'er tred yird ; 
An' could hae flown out-owre a stank, 

Like onie bird. , 

It's now some nine-an'-twenty year, 
Sin* thou was my guid fiither** lueere ; 
He gied me thee, o' tocher clear, 

An' fifty mark ; 
Tho' it was sma', *twas weel-won gear, 

An* thou was stark. 

When first I gaed to woo my Jenny, 
Ye then was trottin* wi* your minnie : 
Tho* ye was trickie, slee, an' fiinnie. 

Ye ne'er was donsie. 
But hamdy, tawie, quiet, an* eannie. 

An' unco sonsie. 

That day, ye pranc'd wi* muckle pride, 
When ye bure haroe my bonnie bride : 
An' sweet an' giacefu' fche did ride, 

Wi* maideu air ! 
JTjrfe Steweart I could bragged wide. 

For aic a pair. 

Tho* now )-e dow but hoyte an* hobble, 
An* wintle like a samount -coble. 
That day ye was a jinker noble, 

Fer heels an* win' ! 
An' ran them till they a' did wauUe, 

Far, far behin*. 

Wlicn thou an' I were young and skeigh. 
An' stable-meaU at fairs were dreigh, 
Huw thou wad prsoce, sn* snore, an* hkreigh, 

Ah* tak the road ! 
Town's bodies ran, an* Rtood abcigh. 

An* ca*t thei'. mad. 

When thou wu corn't, an' I was mellow, 
We took the road ayo like a swallow : 
At Brooeee thou had De*er a fellow. 

For pith an* speed ; 
But ey*ry tail thou pay't them hollow, 

Whare'er thou gaed. 

The sma*, droop>romprt, hunter cattle, 
BCigbt aiblina waur*t thee for a brattle ; 
But sax Scotch miles thou try*t their mettle, 

An* gar*t them whaiale : 
Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle 

O* saugh or haael. 

Thou was a nohie JUtie4an\ 
As e'er in tug or tow was drawn ; 
Aft thee an* I, in aught hours gaun, 

On guid Blarch weather. 
Hoe tum*d sax rood beside our ban*, 

For days thegither. 

Thou never braindg*t, an* fetch*t, an' fliikit. 
But thy auld tail thou wad hae whiskit, 
An* bprcad abreed thy weel-fill'd brisket, 

Wi* pith an* pow'r. 
Till spritty knowes wad rair*t an* ri«ket, 

An' slypet owre. 

Mlien frosts lay lang, an' snaws were deep, 
An* threaten*d labour back to keep, 
I gied thy cog a wee bit heap 

Aboon die timmer : 
I keD*d my Maggie wadna sleep 

For that, or simmer. 

In cart or car thou never reestit ; 
The steyest brae thou wad hae &c*t it ; 
Thou never lap, and sten't, and breastit, 

Then stood to blaw ; 
But just thy step a wee thing hastit. 

Thou snoov*t awa. 

My pletigh ia now thv bairn-time a* : 
Four gallant brutes aa e er did draw ; 
Forbye sax mae, I've sell't awa, 

That thou hast nurst : 
They drew me thretteen puod an* twat 

The vera warst. 

Mnnie a nair daurk we twa hae wrought. 
An' wi* the weary warl* fought ! 
An* monie an anxious day, I thought 

We wad be beat ! 
Yet here to crazy age we're brought, 

Wi' somethii^ yet. 

And think na, my auld, trusty senrau*. 
That now perhaps tliou's le^s deservin'. 
An' thy atdd days may end in storvin'. 

For my laatybn, 
A heapit stimpart, I'll reserve ane 

Laid by fiir you. 

We've worn to crasy years thegither ; 
We'U tqyto abovi wi* wt Mithar ; 



Wi* tentia iBiK rU fit iV ledifr, 

To •ome kain'd rig^ 

'Whare ye may nbUy raz your leather, 

Wi* Bma' fatigue. 



Wek, *Ieekit, cowVin*, tiin*rous beaitie, 
O, what a panic's in thy breaade ! 
Thou need na' start awa aae hasty, 

Wi' bickering brattle ! 
I wad be laith to rin an* chase thee, 

Wi* murd*ring po/lb / 

]*in truly !>orry man's dominion 
I lax broken Nature*s social union. 
An* justifies that ill opinion 

Which makes thee atartle 
At me, thy poor earth-born companion 

An* fclloW'THortal ! 

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thiere ; 
What then ? poor beastie, thou man lire ! 
A daimen icktr in a tArave 

*S a sma* request : 
1*11 get a blessin* wi* the lave. 

An* never mbn*t ! 

Thy wee bit bousie, too, in ruin ! 
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin' ! 
An* naething, now, to big a new aiie, 

O* fciggage green ! 
An* bleak December's winds enMuin*, 

Baith sncU an' keen ! 

Thou saw the fields laid bare an* waste, 
An* weary winter comin' fast. 
An* coiie here, beneath the blast. 

Thou thought to dwell. 
Till crash ! the cruel eouiier past 

Out thro* thy cell. 

That wee bit heap o* leaves an* stibble. 
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble ! 
Now thou's tum'd out, for a* thy tronble. 

But house or bald. 
To thole the winter's sleety dribble, 

An* cranreuch cauld ! 

But, Mou$U, thou art no thy lane, 
In proving forestpht may be vain : 
The beat laid schemes o* mice an' men^ 

Gang aft agley, 
An* lea*e us noaght but grief an pain, 

For promb'd joy. 

Mil tbo« art bleat, compar'd wi* me f 
The prtKHt Qoij toncheth thee : 

But, Oeh! IbMkwiri Mil Bjr /■ 

On praapecta drear : 

An* forward, thoagh I canoa aae, 

I pim wa* Jkar. 



Poor nakad wraldics, wtaansoa^cr you 
That bide the paldnff of thb pWIess I ' 
How shall your housMMS hearts, and 
Your kMpTd and windoVd n 
From seasons such aa these I 



Whin biting BwretUy fell and doore. 
Sharp ahivera through the leafleaa bow'r ; .. 
When PhahuM gi'ea a short-liv*d glower 

Far Bonth the lilt, 
Dim<Kiark*niiig through the flaky ahow'r 

Or whirling drift : 

Ae night the aCorm the ateeplea rocked. 
Poor labour aweet in aleep waa loekad. 
While buma, wi* anawy wreaths npHshokedy 

WUd-eddyiag awiri. 
Or through the mining outlet booked, 

I>own headlong hurl. 

List'ning, the doora an* wionoekf imtde^ 
I thought me on the ourie cattle, 
Or silly sheep, wha bide thia brattle 

O' winter war. 
And throi^h the drift, deep-lairii^ aprattle^ 

Beneath a acar. 

Ilk happing bird, wee. helpleaa thing, 
That in the meity month o* spring. 
Delighted me to bear thee sing. 

What comea o* thee ? 
Wliare wilt thoa oow'r thy cluttering wii^ 

An* close thy e'e? 

£v*n you on mnrd*ring errands toil'd, 
Lone from your savage homea ezil'd. 
The blood- atain*d rooat, and sheep-cote apoil'd^ 

My heart forgets, 
While pitileaa the tempest wild 

Sore on you beata. 

Now Phaebtt in her midnight reign. 
Dark muffled, view'd the dreary plain ; 
Still crowding thoughts, a pensive train. 

Rose in my soul. 
When on my ear thi;* plaintive strain. 

Slow, solemn 

* Blow, blow, ye winds, with hearia goat ! 
And frerze, ye bitter-biting froat ; 
Descend, ye chilly, tiniothcriug snows ; 
Not all your rage, as now, united, showi 

More hard unkindneas, unrelenting, 

Vengeful malice unrepentingy 



Than hetven-niiiBiiiiM mm on brotlwr man 
See stern Opprevion'e in>n gript 
Or mad Ambition** gorf nand. 
Sending, like blood-hounds from the slipy 
Woe, Want, and Murder o*er a land ! 
Even in the peaceful rural vale, 
Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale. 
How pampered Luxury, Flatt'ry by her side. 
The parasite empoisoning her car, 
With all the servile wretches in the rear. 
Looks o'er proud property, extended wide ; 
And eyes the simple rustic hind, 

Whose toil upholds the glittVing show, 
A creature of another kind. 
Some courser subfctauce, unrefined. 
Placed for her lordly use thus far, thus vile, 
Where, where is Lave*s fond, tender throe, 
With lordly Honour** lofty bruw. 
The powers you proudly own ? 
Is there, beneath Love*s noble name. 
Can harbour, dark, the selluh aim, 

To bless himwlf alone ! 
Mark maiden-innocence a prey 

To love-prstending snares. 
This boasting Honour turns away. 
Shunning salt Pity*s rising ^way, 
BegardleM of the tears, and unavailing pray*rs ! 
Perhaps, this hour, in Mis'ry's squalid nest. 
She strains your infant to her joyless breast. 
And with a mother's fears shrinks at the rock- 
ing blast ! 
Oh ye ! who, sunk in beds of down. 
Feel not a want but what yourselveH create, 
Think« for a moment, on his wretched £&te, 
Whom friends and fortune quite disown ! 
ni-satisfy'd keen Nature's clam'rous call, 
Stretch*d on his straw he lays himself to 
While thro* the ru^ed roof and chinky wall. 
Chin o'er his lumbers piles the drifty heap ! 
Think on the dungeon's grim confine, 
Where guilt and poor mUfortune pine ! 
Guilt, erring niun, relenting view ! 
But shall thy legal rage pursue 
The wretch, already crushed low 
By cruel Fortune** undeaervc<l blow ? 
Affliction** sons are brothers in distress, 
A brother to relieve, how exquisite the 

I heard nae mair, fur Chanticleer 

Shook off the pouthery snaw, 
And haird the uiorning with a cheer, 

A cottage -rousing craw. 

But deep thi* truth inipresscfl my mind — 

Thro' all hiii work;* abroad, 
The heart benevolent and kind 

The most resembles God. 



While winds firae aff Ben^Lamtmd blinr» 
And bar the doors wi* driving enaw, 

And bing us owra the ingle, 
I set me down to pasa the time^ 
And spin a verse or twa o* rhyme, 

In hamely westlan* jingle. 
White frosty winds Uaw in the drif^ 

Ben to the chimla lug, 
I grudge a wee the great folk's gift. 
That live sae bien and snug : 
I tent less, and want leas 
Their roomy fireside ; 
But hanker and canker. 
To see their corsed pride. 


Its hardly in a body*s pow'r 
To keep at times frae being sour. 
To see how things are shar'd ; 
How best o' chiels are whiles in want. 
While coofi on countless thousands rant. 

An* ken na how to wair't : 
But, Davie, lad, ne'er fash your head. 

Tho* we hae little gear. 
We're fit to win our daily bread. 
As lang's we're hale and fier : 
< Mair speir na, nor fear na'f 
Auld age ne'er mind a kg. 
The last o't, the warst o't, 
1% only for to beg. 


To lie in kilns and bams at e'en, 
Wlien banes are craz'd and bluid is thin. 

Is doubtless, great distress ! 
Yet then, content could make us Uest ; 
£v'n then sometimes we'd snatch a taste 

Of truest happiness. 
The honest heart that's firee frae a* 

Intended fraud or guile, 
However fortune kick the ba'. 
Has aye some cause to smile ; 
And mind still, you'll find s^ 

A comfort this nae sma' : 
Nnc mair then, we'll care then, 
Nae farther can we &*. 


Wliat though, like commoners of air. 
We wauder out we know not where. 

But either house or hall ? 
Yet nature's charms, the hills and woodi. 
The sweeping vales, and foaming floodiy 

Are free alike to all. 
In days when daisies deck the ground. 

And blackbirds whistle dear, 

• David Sillar, one of the chib at Taiballan, aat 
author of a volume of poems in tbt S«oCtiali diMfl* 

t Ramsay. 



With luHitei jof our Wrti wiH bound. 
To !iee the coming year : 

On hraea when ve pleaw^ then. 
We'll sit tnd aowth a tune ; 
Syne rhyme till't, we'll time tilft. 
And tiog't when we hae done. 

It*s no in titles nor in rank ; 
It*s no in wealth like Lnn'on bank, 

To purchase peace and rest ; 
It*s no in making muckle mair : 
It's no in books ; it*s no in lear, 

To mak us truly blest ! 
If happiness hae not her seat 
And centre in the breast. 
We may be wise, or rich, or great, 
But never can be blest : 

Nae treasures, nor pleasures, 

Ckrald make us liappy lang ; 
The heart ay*es the part aye, 
That makes us right or wring. 

Think ye that sic as you and I, 
Wha drudge and drive through wet an* dry, 

Wi* never-ceasing toil ; 
Think ye, are we less blest than they, 
Wha scarcely tent us in their way. 

As hardly worth their while ? 
Alas ! how oft in haughty mood, 
God*s creatures they oppress ! 
Or dse, neglecting a* that's guid, 
They riot in excess ? 

Baith careless and fiearless 

Of either heav'n or hell ; 
Esteeming and deeming 
It's a' an idle tale ! 

Then let us cheerfu* acquiesce ; 
Nor make our scanty pleasures less. 

By pining at our state ; 
And, even should misfortunes come, 
I here wha sit, hae met wi* some^ 

An*s thank^* for them yet. 
They gie the wit of age to youth ; 
They let us ken ourseT ; 
They make us see the naked truth, 
llie real guid and ilU 
Tho* loases and crosses. 

Be lessons right severe^ 
There's wit there, yell get there, 
Ye'll find nae other where. 

But tent me. Dame, aoe o* hearts ! 
(To say aught else wad wring the carter 

And flatt'ry I detest) 
This life has joys for yon and I ; 
And joys that riches ne'er could boy ; 

And joys the very beat 
There's a' th* pUantn$ o* <Ae hearty 

The lover an* the frien' ; 
Ya hae your Mtg, your deareit ptrt| 

It warnlt mo^ it ctiarmi AM, 
To mention but her fMune ; 

It heats me, it beets me, 
And sets me a' on flame ! 


O all ye Powers who rule above ! 
O Thou whose very self art, /ore / 

Thou knowest my words sincere ! 
The life-blood streaming thro' my heart, 
Or my more dear immortal pait, 

Is not more fonilly dear ! 
When heart-corroding care and grief 

Deprive my soul of rest. 
Her dear idea brings relief 
And solace to my breast. 
Thou Beinpf All-seeing, 

O hear my fervent pray'r ; 
Still take her and make her 
Tkp ntost peculiar care ! 


An hail, ye tender feelings dear ! 
The smile o£ love, the firiendly tear, 

The sympathetic glow ; 
Long since, this world's thomv ways 
Had numbered out my weary day*. 

Had it not been for you ! 
Fate still has blest me with a friend. 

In every care and ill ; 
And oft a more endearinj^ band, 
A tie more tender still. 
It %htenB, it brightens 
The tenebrific scene. 
To meet with, and greet with 
My Davie or my Jean, 


O. how that name inspires my style ! 
Hie words come skelpin* rank and flle» 

Amaist before I ken ! 
The ready measure rina as fine. 
As Phctbue and the fiunons Aiiie 

Were glowrin' owre my pen. 
My spaviet Pegatue will limp, 

Till anoe he's fairly bet ; 
And tlttn he'll hiltch, and stilt, md jamp^ 
An* rin an* unco fit : 

But lest then, the beist then. 
Should rue his hasty ride, 
I'll light now, and dight now 
His sweaty wixen'd hide. 



Alas t how oft does Goodness wotaid ttsrif, 
And ssrset ^^^MioM prove the spring of woe 

O TBou pde orb, that aOent ihtoef, 
Whilf c«t«UDtroubled laoruk rififl 


Thoa MOt A witleh tbtt inly pine*, 
Aikd wanders here to wail and weep ! 

inUi woe I nightly vigils keep. 

Beneath thy wan unwarming beam ; 

And mourn, in lamentation deep, 
How life and love are all a dream. 

I joylen view thy rays adorn 

The £untly-marki>d distant hill : 
I joyless view thy trembling horn. 

Reflected in the gurgling rill : 
My fondly-fluttering heart be still ! 

Thou busy power, RcmembrAnre, cense ! 
Ah ! must the agonizing thrill 

For ever bar returning peaee ! 


No idly-feign*d poetic pains. 

My sad, ]ove>lorn lamentiogt daim ; 
No shepherd*s pipe— Areadian strains ; 

No frUed tortures, quaint and tame : 
The plighted fiuth ; the mutual flame ; 

The oft-attested Powers above ; 
The promUed Father* 9 tender name ; 

These were the pledges of my love ! 


Encircled in her clasping arms. 

How have the raptur*d moments flown ! 
How have I wish*d for Fortune's charms, 

For her dear sake, and hers alone ! 
And must I think it ? is she gone. 

My secret heart's exulting boast ? 
And does she heedless hear my groan ? 

And is she ever, ever lost ! 


Oh ! can she bear m Itase a heart, 

So lost to honour, lost to truth. 
As from the fondest lover part, 

The plighted hunband of her youth ! 
Alas ! life's path may 1k> un>uiooth ! 

Her way may lie thru* mu^h distress ! 
Tlien, who her piin;;!i and pains will MX)th? 

Her torrows share and moke thera less ? 


Ye winged hours tlmt oVr u.i past, 

Enraptur'd more, the more enj:»yM, 
Your dear remembrance in mv breast. 

My fondly-treosur'd thoughts employ *d. 
That breast, how dreary nuw, and void, 

For her too scanty once of room ! 
Ev'n ev'ry ray of hope destroy'd, 

And not a wish to giU the gloom ! 

The mom that warns th* approaching day, 

Awakes me up to toil and woe : 
I see the hours in long array, 

That I must sufier, lingering, slow. 
Full many a pang, and roanv a throe, 

lUvn ifCO&ctioD*t direful train, 

Must wring my soul, ere Phcsbus, low. 
Shall kiss the distant, Wi'stem main. 

And when my nightly couch I \t\\ 

Sore-harasif'd out with cire auci grief. 
My toiUlieat nerve*, and tfar-wt>rn !•>«•, 

Keep watching* with the nii^htiy thief: 
Or if 1 slumber, fancy, chief, 

Reigns liHvrKanl-wilfl. in sure afrii<;ht : 
Ev*u day, :ill-ln*t«-r, brlii,i;s rdi.'f, 

Friuu such a huriur>l)rcathing uight. 


O ! thou hri;:ht qnccn, w'lo oVr x\*'e 

Now liiichcHt nri.ijn'st, with l»ouudI«r<^ htrny I 
Oft has thy hilcnt-ninrkin:; j^'lince 

Observed us, fondly waudcriiig, ^tray : 
The time, unheeded, sped away. 

While love's luxurious pul«e !>cat high, 
Beneath thy silver-gleaming ray. 

To murk the nmtual-kiudling eye. 


Oh ! scenes in strong remembrance set ! 

Scenes, never, never, to return ! 
Scenes, if in stupor I forget. 

Again I feel, again I burn ! 
From ev'ry joy and pleasure torn, 

Life's weary vale 1*11 wander thro* ; 
And hopeless, comfortless, 1*11 mourn 

A faithless woman's broken vow. 




Oppress'o with grief, oppress'd with care> 
A burden more than I can bear, 

I sit me down and sigh : 
O life ! thou art a galUng load. 
Along a ruugh, a weary road, 

To wretches such as I ! 
Dim backward as I cast my view, 
What sick'ning scenes appear ! 
What sorrows yet may pierce me thro*| 
Too justly I may fear ! 
Still caring, despairing. 

Must be my bitter doom ; 
My woes here shaH close ne'er. 
Cut with the closing tomb ! 


Happy ye sons of busy life. 
Who, equal to the bustling strife, 

No other view regard ! 
Ev'n when the wished eiuTs deny*d, 
Yet while the busy meang are ply'c^ 

They bring their own reward : 
Whilst I, a hope-abandon*d wight^ 

UnfitttMl with an aim. 
Meet ev'r>' sad returning night. 

And joykn mora the sune j 



Yotl, bustling, and justling* 
i^oi^et each grief and pain ', 

I, litUean, yet restless, 
Find ev*ry prospect vaiu. 

How blest the solitary** lot, 
Who, all-forgettinif, all-forpof, 

Within his humble cell. 
The cavern wild with tangling roots, 
Sits o'er his nen'ly-^ather'd fruiti. 

Beside his crystal well ! 
Or, haply, to bis ev'iiing tliought, 

By unfrequi^uted stream. 
The ways of men arc diNtaiit bi-ought, 
A faint collected : 
WJuIl* prai>in'r, and raisiiip 

His thimghcs tu Lcav*n uu high; 
As wand'ring, nieamrrinff, 
He views thu buleiiui sky. 

Than I, no lonely hermit placed 
Where never human footstep traoed^ 

Lefls fit to play the part ; 
The lucky moment to improve, 
Andjuit to stop, andJHSi to move, 

With self-respecting art : 
But nh ! those pleasures, loves, and joys. 

Which I too keenly taste, 
The Solitary can dexpise. 
Can want, and yet be blest .' 
He needs not, he heeds nol^ 

Or human love or hate, 
WhiUt I here must cry here, 
At perfidy ingrate 1 


Oh ! enviable, early daj-s, 

When dancing thoughtlesa pleasure's mase, 

To care, to guilt unknown ! 
How ill-exchan^ged for riper timcH, 
To feel the follies, or the crimes, 

Of others, or my own ! 
Ye tiny elves that guiltless spor^ 

Like linnets in the bush, 
Ye little know the ilia ye court. 
When manhood is your wish ! 
The losses, the crosses, 

That aetive man engage .' 
The feara all, the tears all. 
Of ditki declining agt I 


A DiaOE. 


Tm wintry west extends his blast, 

And bail and rain does blaw ; 
Or, the stormy north sends drhdng forth 

The blinding aleet and maw : 
While tnmbHng brown, the bam oomei down^ 

And rom lirae bank to bne j 


And bird and beast in cttfart net 
And poBs the heartlen day. 

" The sweeping bhHt, the aky o' 

The joyless winter-day, 
Let others fear, to me more dear 

Than all the pride of May : 
The tempest's howl, it sootUei my tool. 

My griefii it seems to join. 
The leaikM trees my fancy pleaae^ 

Their fate resembles mine ! 

Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty icheiiit 

These woes of mine fulfil, 
Here, firm, I reit, they muMt be best. 

Because they are TAy Will 1 
Then all I want (O, do thou grant 

Til is one request of mine ! ) 
Since to enjoy thou dost deny. 

Assist me to rtsiyu. 





Let not ambitkm mock their ussftal toiU 
Hidr homely joys, and destiny otavure i 

Not mndeur hear, with s divlalnful smile, 
Ine short and simple anuals of the poor (friy. 

Mr ]ov*d, my honoured, much 
No mercenary bard his homage payi : 
With honeat pride I scorn each sdfish tndt 
My dearest meed, a friend's esteem and 
To you I sing, in simple Seotti$h lays, 

The knrly train in life*s sequestered aeeoe; 

Th« native fiselinga Strang, tha guilataH 

^»y» ;. [been ; 

What Aitken in a cottage would hcra 

Ah ! tho' his worth unknown, fiu* happier tbef% 

I weeni 


November chill bUws loud wi* angry aongfi ; 
The short*ning winter-day is near a dose; 
The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh ; 
The blackening trains o' crawa to tlnir 
The toil-worn Cotter frae his labour goci, 

ThU night his weekly moil is at an e«d, 
CoDecti his spadef, his mattocki^ and kk 
Hoping the mom in ease and rest to spaM^ 
And weary, o*er the moor, hia course doea 
ham«ward bend. 


* DTi Yowif . 



At kng^ lib londr eoC appaan in ritv, 
BfBMth the dicmr of aa igMl tree ; 

Th* czptelut wm Airngt^ toddliB, itachMr 

tkra* [aa* glee. 

To meet their Dad, wi* fliditeria' mnae 

Hie wee bit iof le, falinkin' boaaily, 

Hie dean hcarth-etane, hie thriftie wi/k'$ 
— ii|f j 

The liepiBf infiuit prattUiig on hie knee» 
Doce a* hie weary carking cares bcgvile* 
And makee him quite finrget hie labour an* hie 

Beljre the dder baime come drappiog in« 

At eenrioe out, amaog the £vmere nmn'y 
Some ca' the pkugh, eome herd, eome tentie 
A canoie errand to a necbor town ; 
Their ddeet hope, their Jmny, woman 
In youthfii* Uoom, love apeiUin* in her e*e, 
CSence hame^ perhape, tn ehow a bra* new 

Or depoeit her eair-won penny-fee, 
1!a hdp her pimtedear, if they in henJehip be. 


Wi* joy unleign'd brothers end eistere meet, 

An* each far other** wedfiwc kindly epiere: 
The eodel honn^ ewift-wing*d, unnodc'd 

Eech telle the nncoe that he eece or hears ; 
The perents, pertiel, rye their hopeful yeers ; 

Anticipation fbrwerd points the riew. 
TIm meCAer, wi' her needle en' her sheers, 

Gere anld dare look amaist es weel*s the 

Thttftiker mixes a* wi* admonition due. 

Their master's an* their mistrees*s command, 

The yonnkers a' are wemed to obey ; 
Aad mud their laboure wi* en credent bend. 
And ne*er, tho' out o* sight, to jeak or play : 
" An* O ! be sore to £eer the Lokd alway ! 

An* mind yonr duty, duly, mom an* night ! 
Lset in temptetion*s path ye gang eetray. 
Implore hie counsel and assisting might : 
TWy aerer sought in Tain that eooght the 
Lord aright !* 


Bat harii ! a rap comee gently to the door ; 

Jmtnjff wha kens the meaning o* the eeme, 
Tdle how a neebor lad cam o'er the nmor. 

To do eome errands, and couToy her heme. 
The wily mother seee the coneeioiM flame 

Sparkle in j€imif$9*t, tad flueh her chedc ; 
anziooa care^ inquirse 

While Juu^ hafflins ie afraid to epeak ; 
Will plcae*d the mother bum it*t hm wild, 


VP kindly welcome Juinjf bringe him ben *, 
A etrampb youth ; he take the mother's eye ; 
Blithe JtmM^ eece the visit's no ill te'cn; 
The fiUher cracks of hoceee, pleugbs, and 
kye. [joy. 

The youngster's artless heart o'enows wT 
But blate and laithfu', eearce can wed 
The neother, wi* a woman's wiles, can spy 
What mekes the youth eee baihla' an* eee 
Wed ^eee'd to think her hain't reepeeted like 

O happy lore ! where lore like this le fiNmd ! 
O heart-fclt rapturee ! blim beyond com- 
Ftc paced modi thie weary moHal roumdf 

And ssge experienee bids me this declare— • 
< If Hear'n a draught of hearenly pleeenre 

One cerdid in thie mdanchdy Tale, * 
*Tb when a youthful, loring, mod ee t pair. 
In other's arms breathe out the tender tele, 
Beneath the milk-white thorn that eeente the 
CT'ning gale.* 

Ie there^ in human form, that bears a 

Awfctch! avillain! ket to lore and truth! 
That can, widi etudied, sly, enenaring art. 

Betray eweet Jinmy't unsoepceting youth ? 
Curse on hie peijur'd arte! dissembling emoeth! 
Are honour, Tirtae, conecience all esil'd ? 
b there no pity, no relenting ruth. 

Points to the persnts fimdling o'er their 
Then paints the ruin'd maid, and their distiae- 
tion wild? 

Btat now the eupper crowne their suaple 
Thehalesomeporrildk, chief o'JbeKd'f food : 
The sowpe thdr only Mawkit doce eflbrd. 
That 'yont the hallan snugly chowe her 
cood : 
The dame brings forth in complimentd mood. 
To grsce the lad, her weeUiain'd kebbuck 
An' aft he's prest, an' aft he ca's it guid ; 
The frugd wifie, garruloue, will tdl. 
How 'twas a towmond auld, sin' lint was i' the 

The cheerfu* sapper done^ wT eeriooe fS^e, 

They, round the ingle^ fiirm a drde wide ; 
The sire turns o'er, wi* petriarchd graoi^ 

The big Aa'-^fUk, ance hie &ther'a pride : 
Hie bonnet xcT'rendy ie laid aeide^ 

Hie lyart haffete wearing thin aa' boa : 
Those etniaa tint onci did fwwt la Zka 


Ite wain t portiott Wid& jodiciotit etn ; 
And ' LA tw levnkip Goo !* he nyt, with 
■oleinA tir. 


They chAot their artlcM notn in simple guise ; 

They tune their heirts, by fkr the noblest 

tim : [rise ; 

Perhaps 2>Kii4/ee*« wiU warbling mestures 

Or plaiotire jliartyr$, worthy of the name ; 

Or noble £lpn beets the heav'n-ward flame. 

The sweetest far of Seotia*i holy lays : 
Compared with these, Italian trills are time ; 
The tickrd ears no heart- felt rapturesraise ; 
Nae unison hae they with our Creator's ^Ruse. 

The priest-like father reads the sacred pagr. 
How Abrom was the friend o/God on high ; 
Or, JIfoars bade eternal war&re wage 

With AmaUIC$ ungracious progeny ; 
Or how the royal hard did groaning lie [ire ; 
Beneath the stroke of HcavVa irenging 
Or, Job* 9 pathetic pUint, and wailing cry ; 
Or rapt laaiak't wild, seraphfe fire ; 
Or other holy seers that tune the saered lyre. 


Perhaps the Chriftian voittme b the theme. 

How guiltless blood for guilty man was 

shed ; [name. 

How Ne, who bore in Heaven the second 

Had not on earth whereon to by hb head ; 

How hb first followers and servants sped ; 

The precepts sage they wrote to many a 
HowACfWholoneinPsfsioebanbhed, [bnd: 
Saw in the snn a mighty angel t>Und ; 
And heard great Bab*hm*$ doom pronounced by 
Hcaren's command. 

Then kneeling down to Hjeavim*s ztunal 

KiKO, [F»y» • 

The jotnf, the faiker, and the ku$band 

Hope * springs tinlting on triumphant wing,* 

That tkuM they all shall meet in future 

There ever hmk in uncreated rays, [days : 

No moc« to sigh or shed the bitter tear. 
Together hymning their Creator's praise» 
In such society, yet still more dear ; 
While circling time moires round in an eternal 


Compared with this, how poor Religion's pride, 

In all the pomp of method, aiui of art. 
When men dispUy to congreg a tions wida^ 

Derotion^s er'ry grace, except the heart I 
The PowV, inceiuMdt the pagMnt will desert. 

The pompous strain, the sacerdotal etok ; 
But haply, in some cottage &r apart, 

May hear, well-pleased^ the language of the 
And in hb hook of lift the inmalei poor enniL 


Then homeward all take off their ieY*ral wqr % 

The youngling cotti^^em retire to reet : 
The parent pair their srcrrf komagt pay^ • 

And proflfer up to Heaven the waim riqm e >» 
That He who tx)^^* the raven's cUm'rous : 

And derks the lily fair in flow*ry prida^ 
Would, in the way his wiiidom sees the 

For them and tor their little ones provide ) 
But chiefly in their hearts with jfrnce diirim 


From scenes like tliew old Seotia*9 
That makes her loved at home, 
abroad: ' 
Princes and lords are hut the breath of ki^fi, 
** An honebt nuui's the noblest woA. df 
And cerfea, in fair virtue's heav'nly roadf 

The cottage leaves the palaeo tu bdliai{ 
What b a k>rdling*s pomp ! a cnmbrona lotd* 
Disguisiug oft the wretch of human Unit 
Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refined ! 


O Scotia ! my dear, my native soil ! 
For whom my warmest wiok to H< 
Long may thv hardy sons of rvstie toil. 
Be Uest with health, and peaee, and 
And, O ! may Haav'n their simplt livei 
From Luxury's contagion, weak and Wb I 
Then, howe'er crown* and eoreneCt be VH^ 
A virtwmo poptdaeo may rise the wUll^ 
And stand a wah of fire aronnd their 


O Tkou / who pour'd the patriotie tidi^ 
That atraam'd thro' WaOaet't 
Who dared to nobly stem tyrannic pridi^ 
Or nobly die, the aecond glorioas party 
(The patriot's God, peculiarly thou act, 

Hb firiend, inspirer, guardian, and icwni !) 
O never, never, Scotia'a realm desert ; 
But still iht patriot and the j»atrMe 
In bright successiou raise, her ocnamcaft 

* FopiTi Wbidsof FoicMf 


A nuoi. 

Wbxv chin Kovembei'a snriy bUH 
Made fields and Ibraali ban^ 

One ev'niii^ as I wandered hkk 
Akog the ba*s «C ^1 


I 9Dj*d a mtn, wIiom i|^ step 
wem'd w«aiy, worn with ctre ; 

Hb face wai furrow'd o*er with yean, 
And hoary wa« hu hair. 

Young »tran{^r, whither wandVcft thou ? 

B^n th« rev'rend *a^ ; 
DoiM tliirat of wealth thy »top couKtraioi 

Or youthful ple.i*«ure*it rage ? 
Oft haplvt preiit with cami and woef. 

Too noon thou h3«t hegan 
To wander forth, with me, to utourn 

The miierien of man ! 

The lun that overhang* yon moon, 

Out-spreading far and wide, 
Where hundriHls l«il>our to oupport 

A haughty lordliog'w prido ; 
Tyt leen you weary winter-sun 

Twice ftM-ty times return ; 
Aad e«**ry time hat added proofi. 

That man wm made to mourn. 

O man ! wliile in thy early yean, 

H*w prodigal of time ! 
Mia-apending all thy precious houn ; 

Thy glorioua youthful prime ! 
Abnriiala fidliai take tha away ; 

Licentious passions hum ; 
Vhich tenfold foroo gives Nature's law. 

That man was made to mourn. 

Lotk not alom on yoathftil prime, 

Or ina»hood*B actiro might ; 
Man then is unefiil to his kind, 

Supported is his right : 
But see him ou the edga of life. 

With carea and sorrown worn, 
1k«i ago and want. Oh ! ill.matcli*d pair ! 

Show roan was made to mourn. 


A few Mim fevouritca of fate, 

Ib plMsmvB's lap carat ; 
Yet, think not all the rieh and gi-eat 

An likewist truly bhiit. 
Bat, Oh ! what erowd* in every laml, 

Are wretched and forlorn ; 
Thro* weary life thi'< le-«on Ifirn, 

That man was made to mourn. 


Many and sharp the nuinVouM UN, 

Inwoven with our frame ! 
More pointed still we make nur»elv(>s, 

Begret, remorse, and sLime ! 
And man, whose hmv'n -erected fare 

The smiles of love ailorn, 
Man's inhumanity to man 

Makvi couutlcbs thoiMindi moom ! 


See yonder poor, o*erlahour*d wight, 

So abject, mean, and vile^ 
Mlio begx a brother of the earth 

To give him leave to toil ; 
And see his lordly ^eZ/oir-arorm 

The poor petition spurn. 
Unmindful', tho* a weeping wife 

And helplea offspring mourn. 


If I'm design'd yon lordling*s slave- 
By Nature's law design'd. 

Why #as an independent wish 
E'er planted in my mind ? 

If not, why am I subject to 
His cruelty or scorn ? 

Or why has man the will and pow*r 
To make his fellow mourn ? 


Yet, let not this too much, my son. 

Disturb thy youthful breast : 
This partial yiew of human-kind 

Is surely not the last ! 
The poor, oppressed, honest man, 

Had never, sure, been born. 
Had there not been some racompense 

To comfort those that mourn ! 

O Death ! the poor man's dearest firiendt 

The kindest and the best ! 
Welcome the hour my aged limbs 

Are laid with thee at rest ! 
The great, the wealthy, fear thy blow. 

From pomp and ph^Mure torn ; 
But, Oh ! a bleKt relief to those 

That, weary-laden, mourn ! 




O TiioiT unknown, Almighty Cau« 

Of all my hope and fear ! 
In wliooe drfnd prevnce, ere an hour, 

Porhnpii I mn»t appcnr ! 

If I have wander'd in those paths 

Of life I ought to shun ; 
A^ somttkiitff^ loudly, in mif breast. 

Remonstrates I have done ; 


Thou know'st that Thou hast formed 
With passions wiki and strong ; 

And liHt'uing to their witching voicf 
Ha9 ot'tco led me wrong. 



Where liumtii wtaimeu hat come thort, 

Oifrailiy sfeept aeide^ 
Do thon, AIL Good I far rach thou art, 

In shades of darkaeas hide. 


Where with inUmiiam I have err*dy 

No other pies I have, 
But, Thorn art good ; and goodneu itiU 

Delighttth to fbrgive. 



Why am I loath to leave this earthly scene ? 
Have I BO found it full of pleasing charms ? 
Some drops of joy with draughts of ill be- 
Some gleams of sundiine 'mid renewed 
Is it departing pangs my soul alarms ; 

Or death 8 unlovely, dreary, dark abode ? 
For guilt, for guilt, my terrors are in arms ; 
I tremble tu approach an augry Gou, 
And justly smart beneath his sin-avenging rod. 

Fain would I wy, < Furgive my foul oflfence !* 

Fain promise never more to disobey ; 
But, should my Author health again dis- 
Again I might desert fnir virtue's way ; 
Again in folly's path might go astray ; 

Again exalt the brute and sink the man ; 
Then how should 1 for heavenly mercy pray, 
Who act so counter hcuvcnly mercy's plun ? 
Who sin so oft have niourn'd, yet to teiuptutiun 

O Thou, great Governor of <lI1 IhjIow I 

If I may dare a lilted e>-c to Tlice, 
Thy nod can make the teiiijiest ceaw to 
Or still the tumult of the raging sea ; 
With that controlling pow*r avd^t ev'n me. 
Those headlong ^rious pas»iuus to con- 
For all unfit I foel my pow'rs to be. 

To rale their torrent in th* allowed line ! 
O aid me with thy help, OmnipoteKce Divine ! 




O THOU dread Pow'r, who reigii*it above, 
I knoir thoB wilt bm hear, 

When for thli MBi dr pMM lad hnrc^ 
I make my prayer sincere. 


The hoarjr aire — the mortd alrbki^ 
Long, long be pleaaed to Wfnt% 

To bless his little filial flmk, 
And show what good mM !!«• 


She, who her lovdy oferinf eyes 

With tender hopes and foin, 
O bless her with a mother's joys. 

But spare a mother's tears ! 


Their hope, their stay, their darling yotttl^ 
In manhood's dawning blush ; 

Bless him, thou God of love and tnithf 
Up to a parent's wish ! 


The beauteous, neraph aister-band, 

With earnest tears I pray. 
Thou know'st the snares on ev'ry hand. 

Guide thou their steps alway ! 


When soon or late they reach that coist. 

O'er lifo's rough ocean driv'n. 
May they rqoice, no wand'rer loit, 

A family in Hcav'n ! 


Thi: man, in life wherever placed. 

Hath happiness in Ntore, 
Who walks not in the wicked's way, 

Nor learns their guilty lore ! 

Nor from the sent of scornful pride 

Casts forth his eyes abroad, 
But with humility and awe 

Still walks before hia Qod. 

That man ahall flourish like the trees 
Which by the Ktreamlets grow ; 

The fruitful top is spread on high. 
And firm the root below. 

But he whose blossom buds in guilt 
Shall to the ground be cast^ 

And, like the rootless stobble, toat 
Before the sweeping blast. 

For why? that God the good adore 
Hath giv'n them peace and rest, 

But hath decreed that wicked men 
Shall ne'er be truly Uest. 



tME mufv&x or tiolkvt avguisb. 

t VBou Great Being ! what thou art 

SupuMi BM lo latuw : 
Z li ton am I, that knowii to thea 

An aU thy wocka below. 

thf cnatnre here before thee ttaodt. 
All wretched and dbtreet ; 

Tat mn thoee 3b that wring my aoul 
Obey thy high beheet. 

Svre thou. Almighty, cantt not act 

Firom cruelty or wrath ! 
Of firee my weary eyes from tears. 

Or dote themfiut in death! 

Bnt if I mart afflicted be. 
To rait iome wiie dengn ; 

Then man my eoul with firm reeolTee, 
To bear and not repine. 



O THOU, the fint, the greatest Friend 

Of all the hnman not ! 
Whoee itroog right hand hat ever been 

Their itay and dwelling place ! 

Before the moontaini heaved their headi 

Beneath thy forming hand, 
Before this pond'rona globe itaelf 

Aroee at thy command ; 

That powV which nit'd, and ttiU upholds' 

This universal frame, 
Fhim countless, nnbeginning time. 

Was ever still the same. 

Those mighty periods of years, 

Which seem to us so vast, 
. Appear no more before thy sight, 
Than yesterday that's past. 

Thou gav*st the word : Thy creature, man, 

Is to existence brought : 
Again thou say'nt, * Ye sons of men. 

Return ye into nought !* 

Thou layest them, with all their cares. 

In everlacting sleep ; 
At with a flood thou tak'iit them off 

With overwhelming sweep. 

They flourish like the morning flowV, 

In beauty's pride array'd ; 
Bat long ere night cut down, it liet 

All withered and decay'd. 


on TUftvura on wnwu wim trs rMO«% 
AnuL, 1786. 

Wkk, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r, 
Thoa*s met me in an evil hour ; 
For I maun crash amang the stoore 

Thy slender stem ; 
To wpan thee now is past my pow'r, 

Thou bonnie gem. 

Alas ! it*s no thy neebor sweet. 
The bonny Xori, companion meet . 
Bending thee *mang the dewy wcet ! 

Wi' spreckl'd breast, 
yrhea upward-springing, blithe, to greet 

The purpling 

Cauld blew Uie bitter-biting north 
Upon thy earl/^ humble, birth ; 
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth 

Amid the storm. 
Scarce rear*d above the parent earth 

Thy tender form. 

The flaunting flow*n our gardens yield. 
High shelt'riag woods and wa*» maun ahicld ; 
But thou beneath the random bield 

O* clod or stane, 
Adorns the Imtie ttUMt'^eUy 

Pnseen, alane. 

There, in thy scanty mantle dad. 
Thy soawie bosom sun-ward spread. 
Thou lifts thy unassuming head 

In humble guise ; 
But now the ihare upteAn thy bed. 

And low thou lica ! 

Such is the fate of artless Maid, 
Sweet ^overrt of the runl shade ! 
By love's simplicity betray*d. 

And guileless trust, 
TiU she, Uke thee, all soilM, is Uid 

Low i' the dust. 


Such is the late of simple lUrd, 
On life's rough ocean luckless starr*d, 
Unskilful he to note the card 

Of prudent lore. 
Till billows rage, and gules blow hard. 

And whelm him o*er ! 

Such fate to tuffering worth is giv'n. 
Who long with wants and woes has striv*n. 
By human pride or cunnii^ driv*n 

Ttt nii»*ry*« brink. 
Till wrench*d of every stsy but Heaven^ 

lie, ruin'd, sink ! 

Ev*n tiiou who mnonrift the Daisy's fol^ 
That fate it t/tin* — no distant date: 






FkU ott thy blooaiy 

EnsiiiB T&A YDDNOiinttn 

— -> rae. 


ALL haU! inmrablt kri ! 

Tht mightMit fmirinifiiU ! 
Thy enwl, woe-dtliglittd tiiia» 
Tht BiBMtin of gnef and paioi 

A luUen welcome^ all ! 
With atent-RMilT'cl, deiptiniif aya^ 

I na ateh ainMd dart ; 
Far OBa hM cat my cfaorMt tit, 
Atd quhran ia my htart. 
Then low luf » aiod powiBy» 

Tha iteiw BO ntra I draad ; 
The* thiek'niDf and blaeka'iBf* 
Bowad my dtvotad hatd. 

And dion grim powvr, hy life ahhorr'd, 
While life aplaaMTf can a§brd» 
Oh! hear a wntdi'a prayer ; 
No more I ihrink anaU d, afraid ; 
I eowt, I bw thy friadly aid» 
To dom |£ia aeana of earn ! 
When ehaH my aoal* ia alaat patei^ 

Raeagn life*a jepfaw day ; 
lly wear 
CoU mmiyvmff in tba day? 
No fear mora^ no tear moftb 
To atam my Kfelem feoa ; 
EadtNMdt tad grmped 
~ Witfaa my teid twhaat ! 


WITH BIATni*8 FOnU, Afl A inw^TBAm*! OUT, 

4AV. 1» 1787. 

AoAiv tit ailaat whteb of time 

Thdr annual nmpd have drir'n* 
And yom tho* aaarea ia aiaidaa prinM^ 

An eo modi aeartr Hasr'a. 

No filb havt I fram ladiaa 

'na iafeat ymr to hail ; 
I land yoa aatn dum ladSa boaali 

la £dmim*$ limpla talt. 

Oar eez with gaila and feidilam lora 

b diaif'd^ V^^f» *^ ^'^> 
Bat amy, dear amid, aaeh lovm prota 
Aa Mite Mjll to yoa ! 

I LAiro haa thoa|^ my 

A aomethiaf to hcfo laat yo% 
Umi' it ehoold aenra aai td 

Than jart a Uad mamtai 
Bat how the aahjatt-tiMom 

Let time aad alamea determiati ^ 
Ferhaaa it may tarn oat a 

IViii^ tara oat 1 

Ya*n try the warld aooa, aiy M 

And, Andnw dear, balievo mi^ . 
Ye*H find mankind an uneo aqadb 

And mudde they may grieta yai 
For eare and tronhle eat year 

E'ca whan your oad*e atniarf | 
An a* yoar riewa may eome to 

Where er'iy nenre ia etraiand. 

m BO aay, men are TillainB a* { 

The rml, harden*d widceil, 
Wha hae aaa ehtek hot humaa Inri 

Are to a few reatricted t 
Bvt odu mankind art anoo artik^ 

An* little to bt tnuted; 

If aey tht wavering balaaot aUH 
Ita rarely right a^iiMiMi i 


Yet they wha fe* infertune'e alilfe 

Their fete we ehodd na ceneBi% 
For atiU di* t avwrteaf emf of Hfe 

They equally may answer; 
A man may hae an honeet heart, 

Tho' poortith hooriy >tire hfaa; 
A man may tak a neebor'a part^ 

Yet hat aat coal to apare him. 


Aye five aff haa' yoor itory teO^ 

When wi' a boeom crony ; 
Bot etiU keep eomethfaig to yoandT 

Ye eeareely tdl to oay. 
Goneed yoorad* m wtdli ye eta 

Firat criticd diaeection ; 
Bot kedc thro* every other maat 

Wi' iharpaa'd aly inapeetaoa. 

TIm atered lowto* wtal-plac'd \m% 

Lnzariantly indnlge it ; 
But never tanpt th' iBkii rom, 

Tho* aatdkiag dmold divu%t III 
I wave the quantam o' the 82% 

The haiard of oaaoealiag } 
Bot odi ! it hardena a* wMua* 

And pelrifim tht fealiaf ! 


To eatdi daam Fortaaa'a gald« 


|4ai fiA« fttr liv trVf wiU 
lliat't jnraM oy liooonr ; 

Not fcr to hidt it in a badges 
Nor for a train-attendant ; 

B«t for tha gloriona privilega 



Hie fear o* heU'a a hangman's whip 

To hand tha wretch in ofdar ; 
Bat where ya feel your Aomomt grip, 

Let that aye be your border x 
Its iUghtett tottcheBy inatant panae— 

Debar a* tide pretences ; 
And reaolntely keep its Uw% 

Uncaring eoaseqnenoes. 

The great Creator to rerere^ 

Must sura become the crtaturt ; 
But still the preaching cant forbear, 

And enr'n the rigid feature : 
Tet ne'er with wits profene to range, 

Be complaisance extended ; 
An Atheist's laugh's a poor exchange 

For Deity ofinded ! 

When ranting round in pleasure's nog. 

Religion may be blinded ; 
Or, if she gie a ramdom ting. 

It may be little minded : 
But when on life we're tempest-dri^'n, 

A conscience but a canker — 
A eorrespondence fix*d wi* Heav'n, 

Is sure a noble oaehor* 

Adieu, dear, amiable vouth ! 

Your heart can ne er be wanting : 
May prudence, fortitude, and truth. 

Erect your brow undaunting ! 
In ploughman phrase, ' God send you ^wed,' 

Still daily to grow wiser ; 
A«m1 may you better reck the recb, 

Than ever did th* adviser ! 



A* TE wha live by soups o* drink, 
A* ye wha live by crambo-cliuk, 
A' ye wha live and never think, 

Come nuini n wi* me ! 
Our M2Ke'« gi*en us a* a jink, 

An* owre the sea. 

Lament him a* ye rantin core, 
Wha dearly like a random-«plore, 
Hae mair ball join the merry roart 


For now ha*!B ta'co anitherahon, 

An' owre the 

The bonnie lassies wed may wiss him, 
And in their desr petitions place him i 
The widows, wives, an* a* may bless him, 

Wi* tearfo' e*e ; 
For wed I wat they*Il sairly miss him. 

That's owre the 

O Fortune, they ha*e room to grumble ! 
Hadst thou ta'en aff some drowsy bummd* 
Wha can do nought but fyke an* fumblsb 

*Twwl been nae plea 
But he was gleg aa ony wumUe, 

That's owre tha sea. 

Auld, cantie Kyk may weepers wcw, 
An* stain them wi' the aautf aant tear ; 
Twill mak* her poor auld heart, I fear. 

In flinders flee ; 
He was her hmreat monie a year, 

That*a owre the aea« 

He s;w misfortnne'a canld nor^wati 
Lang mustering up a bitter blast ; 
A jillet brak* his heart at last, 

HI may aha be ! 
So, took a birth afore the maat. 

An' own tha 

To tremble under Fortnne'a rummook, 
On scarce a bellyfo' o' drummoek, 
Wi* his proud, independent stomach 

Gould ill agree; 
So, row't his hurdiea in a kamimoe i. 

An* owre the aea. 

He ne'er waa gi*en to great miaguiding, 
Yet coin hu pouches wad na bide in ; 
Wi* him it ne*er waa under hiding t 

He dealt it free : 
The muse was a* that he took pride in. 

That's owre the 

Jamaica ho^Kes, use him weel. 
An* hap him in a coxie bid ; 
Ye'li find him aye a dainty chid. 

And fu' o* glee : 
He wailna wrang'd the veradcil, 

That's owre the sea. 

Fareweel, my rhyme-composing hillie t 
Your imtivo will was right ill-willie ; 
Hut uiuv \e flonrifrh like a liiv, 

Now bonnilic ; 
I'll toast ye in my hindmost gillie, 

Tho' owre the sea. 


Fair fa' your honest, aonsie face. 
Great chieftain o' the poddin-race 1 



Aboon them a' ye tak your place, 

Painch, tri|M;} or thairm 
Weel are ye wordy of a grace 

As laDg*« my arm. 

The groaning trencher there ye fill. 
Your hurdiea like a distant hill, 
Your pin wad help to mend a mill 

In time o* need, 
While thro' your pores the dews distil 

Like amber bead. 

His kni£e see rustic labour dight, 
An* cut you up wi* ready slight, 
Trenching your gushing entrails bright, 

^ Like onie ditch ; 

And then, O what a glorious sight, 

Warm-reekin', rich ! 

Then horn for horn they stretch an* strive, 
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive. 
Till a* their weel-awall'd kytes belyve 

Are bent like drums ; 
Then auld guidman, maist like to ryve, 

JBethankit hums. 

Is there that o*er his French ragout. 
Or olio that wad staw a sow. 
Or fricassee wad mak her spew 

Wi' perfect sconner, 
Looks down wi* sneering, scomfu* view, 

On sic a dinner ? 

Poor devil ! see him owre his trash, 
As feckless as a wither'd rash, 
His spindle-ahank a guid whip-lash, 

His nieve a nit ; 
Thro* bloody flood or field to dash, 

O how unfit ! 

But mark the rustic, haggis-fed^ 
The trembling earth resounds his tread, 
Clap in his walie nieve a blade, 

He*U make it whissle ; 
An* legs, an* arms, an heads will sued. 

Like taps o* thrissle. 

Ye Pow*rs wha mak mankind your care, 
And dish them out their bill o* fare, 
Auld Scotland wants na skinking ware 

That jaups in luggies ; 
But, if y« wish her gratefu* prayV, 

Gie her a Haggis I 



Expect na, Sir, in this narration, 
A fleechin, fleth'rio dedication, 
To rcKwe you up, an* ca* you guid. 
An' sprung o* greit an' nohle bluiJ, 
Because ye're surnamed like his grace, 
Perhaps related to the race ; 

Then when I*m tired — and Rie arc ye, 
Wi* mony a fulsome, sinfu* lie. 
Set up a face, how I stop shurt. 
For fear your modesty be hurt. 

This may do — maun do. Sir, wi' them wbt 
Maun please the great folk for a wamefu* i 
For me ! sae laigh I ncedna bow. 
For, Lord be thankit, / can plough ; 
And when I downa yoke a naig, 
Then, Lord be thankit, / can beg ; 
Sae I shall say, and that's nae flatt'rin', 
It's just stc pioet an* sic patron. 

The Poet, some guid angel help him. 
Or else, I fear some ill ane skelp him ; 
He may do weel for a* he*s done yet. 
But only he's no just begun yet. 

The Patron, ( Sir, ye maun forgie me^ 
I winna lie, come what will o* me) 
On ev'ry hand it will allowed be, 
He's just — nae better than he should be. 

I readily and freely grant. 
He downa see a poor man want ; 
What's no his ain he winna tak it. 
What ance he says he winna break it ; 
Ought he can lend he'll no refuse* 
Till aft his goodness is abused ; 
And rascals whyles that do him wrang, 
Ev'n thatt he does na mind it lang ; 
As master, landlord, husband, fiither 
He does na fail his part in either. 

But then, nae thanks to him for a* that % 
Nae godly symptom ye can ca* that ; 
It's naething but a milder feature. 
Of our poor, sinfu' corrupt nature : 
Ye* 11 get the best o* moral works, 
'i\Iang black Grentoos and pagan Turks, 
Or hunters wild on Ponotaxi, 
Wha never heard of orthodoxy. 
That he's the poor man's friend in need. 
The gentleman in word and deed, 
It*s no thro* terror of danmation ; 
It's just a carnal inclination. 

Morality, thou deadly bane. 
Thy tens o* thousands thou hast skin ! 
Vain is his hope, whose stay and trust is 
In moral mercy, truth, and justice ' 

No — stretch a point to catch a plack ; 
-Abuiie a brother to his brick ; 
Stcil thro' a winnock frae a wh— re. 
But point the rake that taks the door : 
Be to tltf poor like onie whunstane. 
And baud their noses to the grunstane ; 
Ply ev*ry art o* legal thieving ; 
No matter, stick to sound believing. 

Learn thrcp mile pray'r*, an* half-mile graee% 
Wi' \vcel-««j)ix»id looves, an' lang wry f.iccs ; 
Grunt up a j-olt-ran, lengthen'd groan, 
And daxDu a' parties but your own ; 




rO wtfrait tlMB, ye*rt me daeeSTcr, 
A tlMdy, ■tardy, ttaiiiich 

O ye wb4 lesre the fpiiogi of Cahinf 
Vat pamUt ibA» of your ain ddvin ! 
To WHO of heresy aod error, 
To'U iome day tqaeel in quaking terror ! 
When rengeanoe draws the sword in wrath, 
And in the fire throws the sheath ; 
When rntn, with his sweeping 6esoiii, 
Jnst frets till Heaven commission gies him : 
-While o'er the harp pale Misery moans, 
And strikes the everndeep'ning tones, 
Still kmder shrieks, and heavier groans ! 

Yoor pardon, Sir, for this digression, 
I naist iorgat my dedication ; 
Bit when divinity oome« crowi me, 
Mj roidcn still are sure to lose me. 

So, Sir, ye see 'twas nae daft vapour, 
Bsft I maturely thought it proper. 
When a* my works 1 did review. 
To dedicate them. Sir, to You .* 
Bteauae (ye need na tak it ill) 
I thought them something like yoursel'. 

Then patronise them wi' your favour, 
And yoor petitioner shall ever — 
I had amaist said ever pray. 
But that's a word I need na say : 
For prayin* I hae little skill o't ; 
rm oaith dead-sweer, an* wretched ill o't ; 
But I'se repeat each poor man's pray*rt 
That kens or hears about you, Sir — 

** May ne'er misfortune's gowling bark. 
Howl thro' the dwelling o' the Clerk I 
May ne'er his gen'rous, honest heart. 
For that same grn'rous spirit smart ! 

Hay K *s far hoDOur'd name 

Lang beet his hymeneal flame, 
Till H. s , at lea«t a dixen, 

Are firae her nuptial labours risen : 
Five bonnie lassies round their table, 
And seven braw fellows, stout an' able 
To serve their king and country weel. 
By word, or pen, or pointed steel ! 
May health and peace, with mutual raji. 
Shine on the evening o' his days ; 
• Till his wee curlie John*M ier-oe, 
When ebbing life nae mair shall flow. 
The last, sad, mournful rites bestow !" 

I will not wind a long conclusion, 
Wi' complimentary effusion ; 
But whiUt your wishes aod endeavours 
Are blest with Fortune's smiles and &vours, 
I am, dear Sir, with seal most fervent. 
Your much indebted, humble servant. 

But if (which Pow'rs above prevent !) 
That iron-hearted carl. Want, 
Attended in his grim advances. 
By sad mistikes, and black mischanccty 

Whila hopci, and ioyi, aad plaMuna iy hbh 

Make you M poor a dof M I tm, 

Yoor hmmbU ttrvemt £ea do mon ; 

For who woold hnmUy serve the poor ! 

But, by a poor man's hopes in Heavm ! 

While recAectkm's powvr is given. 

If, in the vile of hnmbU lile. 

The victim sad of fortune's strife, 

I, thro' the tender gashing tear. 

Should reeogniie my moifer dear. 

If friendless, low, we meet together. 

Then, Sir, your hand— my /nentf amd hroAer t 




Ha ! whare ye gann, ye crowlin* 
Your impudence p rotects jrou sairly : 
I canna say bat ye stmnt rardy, 

Owregauwand lace; 
Tho' foith, I fear ye dine but sparely 


Ye ugly, creepin', blastit wonner. 
Detested, shunn'd by aaunt an* sinner. 
How dare jrou set jrour fit npon her, 

Sae fine a kuly ! 
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner. 

On aoBM poor body. 

Swith, in some beggar's haflet sqnattle ; 
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and spratde 
Wi' ither kindred, jumpin' cattle^ 

In shoals and nations; 
Whare horn nor home ne'er dare nnsettle 

Yoor thick plantations. 

Now hand you there^ ye're oat o' eigh^ 
Below the fatt'rils, snug and tight : 
Na, foith ye yet ! ye'U no be right 

Till ^'ve got oa it. 
The vera tapmoet, tow'nng he^ht 

O' Jfut't bOMMf . 

My sooth ! right banid ye oet yoor aoie onl^ 
As plump and grey as ony groaet ; 

for eome rank, mercurial rooet, 

Or fell, red siBoddam« 
I'd gi'e you sic a hearty doee o't. 

Wad drees yoor droddam ! 

1 wad na been surprised to vpf 
You on an auld wife's flannen toy ; 
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy, 

On's wylieooat ; 
But Miss's fine Lunardie I f&e. 

How dare ye do't ! 

O, Jenny f dinna toes your head. 
An' set your beauties a' abroad ! 
Ye little ken what cursed speed 



ThM wink* und Jinffer-ends, I dread, 

Ar« notice takin* ! 

O wad Bome power the giftie gie ua 
To see otirieh ae othere eee n* I 
It wad frae monie a blunder free as* 

And fiodith notion : 
yfhaX airs in dreia an* gait wad lea*e us, 

And ev*n Derotion ! 


Edina ! Scotia* e darling aeat ! 

All hail thy palaces and towera, 
Where once beneath a monarch's feet 

Sat legislation*! aovereign paw*r» ! 
From marking wildljr-icatter'd flow*ri, 

Aa on the banks of Ayr I stray*d, 
And singing, lone, the ling'ring hours, 

J shelter in thy honoured shade. 

Here wealth still swells the golden tide. 

As busy trade his labours plies ; 
There architecture's noble pride 

Bids elegance and splendour rise ; 
Here juaticts from her native skies, 

High wields her balance and her rod ; 
There learning, with his eagle eyes, 

Seeks science in her coy abode. 


Thy sons, Edina, social, kind. 

With open arms the stranger hail ; 
Their views enlarged, their liberal mind, 

Above the narrow, rural rale ; 
Attentive still to sorrow's wail. 

Or modest merit'a silent claim ; 
And never may their sources fail ! 

And never envy blot their name. 

Thy daughters bright thy walks adorn ! 

Gay as the gilded summer sky. 
Sweet as the dewy milk>white thorn. 

Dear as the raptured thrill of joy ! 
Fair Burnet strikes th* adoring eye. 

Heaven s beauties on my &ney shine : 
I see the sire of love on kight 

And own hu work indeed divine ! 


There, watching high the least alarms. 

Thy rough rude fortress gleams a£ur ; 
Like some bold veteran, grey in arms. 

And mark'd with many a seamy scar : 
The pon*drous wall and massy bar. 

Grim-rising o*er the rugged rock ; 
Have oft witbitood assailing war, 

And oft repdl'd (he inrider*! ihock* 


With awe-struck thought, and pitying tearsy 

I view that nobk, statdy dome. 
Where Seotia*M kings of other years. 

Famed heroes, had their royal home. 
Alas ! how changed the times to come ! 

Their royal name low in the dust ! 
Their hapless race wi]d-wand*rittg roam ! 

Tho* rigid law cries ont^ 'twia just ! 


Wild beats my heart to trace yovr ttepe. 

Whose ancestor! in days of jan. 
Thro* hostile ranks and min*d gapa 

Old Scoiia*» bloody lion bore i 
E'en / who sing in rustie lore, 

Haply my »ire$ have left thair ahadf 
And fioed grim danger's loudeat roar, 

Bold-following where yomr fiithers kd ! 

EoixA ! Scotia*M darling seat ! 

All hail thy palaoea and tow'ra, 
\l'here oure beneath a moiiarch*s feet 

Sat lrgislation*s sov'reign pow'ra ! 
From marking wildly-scatter d flow*r% 

As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd. 
And singing, lone, the ling'ring hoiu% 

I shelter'd in thy honour'd shade. 



While briers an* woodbines boddiiy P*>Bf 
An* paitricks acraichin lond at e*en. 
An* morning pooasie whiddin aeen. 

Inspire my mnse^ 
This freedom in an unknown frien' 

I pray excuse. 

On &sten-eea we had a rockin*, 
To ca* the crack and weave our stockin* ; 
And there waa mnckle fan and jokin*. 

Ye need ua doubt : 
At length we had a hearty yokin* 

At aang about. 

There was ae eany amang the rest, 
Aboon them a' it pleased me best. 
That some kind husband had addrest 

To some sweet wife : 
It thirl'd the heart-strings thro* the breas^ 

A' to the life. 

I've scarce heard ooght described sae-wed. 
What gen'rons, manly bosoms feel ; 
Thought I, < Can this be Pope, or Steele, 

They tald me 'twu an odd kind chiel 

About Muirkirkm 

It pat me fidgin-fiun to hear't. 
And iM aboiil kin dicrt I ipkr^ 



Tlion a* that Vjtiit hiui itmiiii declared 

He had i'ii^i'ii«. 

That naae exi-uird It, feir mob near*t, 

It wtm ue fine. 

That wt him to a pint of ah, 
An* either doucse or tneny tale. 
Or rhymes an* vanj^ii hc*d made himael*} 

Or witty catches, 
'Tureen Inverness and Teviotdale^ 

He had few matclies. 

Then up 1 gat, an* swoor an aith, 
Tho* I should pawn my pleugh an* graith, 
Or die a cadger pownie's death. 

At some dyke back, 
A pint on* gill I*d gie them baith 

To hear your crack. 

But. first an* foremost, I should tell, 
Amaiit as soon as I could spell, 
1 to the crambO'jingU ivll, 

Tho' ru<Ie and rough, 
Yet crooning to a body*s sel* 

Does weel eneugh. 

I am noe poti^ in a senitc, 
But just a rhgmer, like, by chance, 
An* hae to learning nae pretence. 

Yet, what the matter ? 
Whene'er my um^c does on me glance, 

I jingle at her. 

Your critic folk may cock their nose. 
And suy, * How can you e*er propose^ 
Yun wha ken hardly vene frae pnMf, 

To mak a umg ?* 
But, by your leaves, my learned foes, 

Ye*re may be wrang. 

What's a* your jargon o* your schools, 
Ynur Latin names fur horns an* stools ; 
If honest nature made you /iWs, 

What sairs your gramrnarx ? 
Ye'd better taeu up spades and shook, 

Or knappin-hammers. 

A set o* dull conoeited hashes. 
Confuse their brains in college clashes ! 
They gang iu stirks, and come out asses, 

Phun truth to speak ; 
An* syne they think to dimb Parnassus 

By dint o* Greek ! 

Gie me ae spark o' Nature's fire ! 
That's a' the learning I desire ; 
ThM tho' I drudge Siro* dub an' mire 

At plengh or etrt, 
My mrne^ thoogh hamely in attire. 

May touch the heart. 

O for a Ppnnk o' AHan't glee. 
Or Ferguaon*», the bauld and slee. 
Or bright Lapraik*», my friend to bs^ 


That would be Icar cn<>ugh fi)r tat f 

If I cook! get it. 

Now, Sir, If y« hae fnends enow, 
Tho' real friends, I b'lieve are few. 
Yet, if your eatalogne be fim, 

I'se no insist, 
But gif ye want ae friend that*s true, 

I'm on your list. 

I winna blaw about mysel ; 
As ill I like my &ults to tell ; 
But friends, and folk that wish me well, 

They sometimes roose me ; 
Tho' I maun own, as monie still 

As far abuje me. 

There's sc wee font they whyles lay to ms, 
I like the Ume» — Guid fbrgie me ! 
For monie a plack they wheedle frae me. 

At dance or fiiir ; 
.Afay be some itfier thin*/ they gie me 

They weel can K)Nire. 

liiit MtuiehUne race, or Mavchliuc fair, 
I sliuuld bo })ruu«l tt» meet you there ; 
We'»e gie at* night's di^ichar^ to c^ie, 

If we forgather. 
An' hae a sriap o' rh^lmng^ware 

Wi* ane anither. 

The four-gill chap, we'se gsr him clatter. 
An* kirsen him wi' reekin* water ; 
Syne we*ll sit down an* tak our whitter. 

To cheer our heart ; 
An' faith we'se be ar^^uainted better 

Before we part. 

Awa ye selfish warly race, 
Wha think that bavins, sense, an' graee, 
Ev'n love and friendship, shooki give place 

To eatek the plaei / 
I dinna likv to see yoar free^ 

Nor hear foar craek. 

But ye whom social pleasure charms, 
Wliose hearts the tide of kindness warms, 
WIto hoki your being on tha term^ 

< Each aid tha othen,* 
Come to my bowl, eoaia to oiy arms. 

My fiiandi, any brochws ! 

But, to conclude my lang apittle, 
As my auld pen's worn to the grisde ; 
Twa lines frae yon wad gar ma fksle^ 

Who am, most fervent, 
While I can either sing, or whissle, 

Yoor friettd and aenraat. 




▲rmiL 21, 1785. 

While Dew-ea*d ky« root it the slake, 
An* powniei reek in pleugli or brake. 
This hour on e*cnin*s edge I take, 

To own I'm debtor 
To honeeUhearted auld Lapraik 

For hi* kind letter. 

Foijedcet lair, with wcnry lege, 
Rattlin* the eom out-owre the rige, 
Or dealing thro' amang the naigs 

Their ten houri bilt, 
My awkart moae sair pleads and begs, 

I would na write. 

The tapetleis ramfieeil'd hiaie, 
She*« saft at beat, and aomothing laiy. 
Quo* ahe, < Ye ken, we've been lae buajr, 

Thia month an' mair. 
That trottth my head is grown right dinie, 

An' aomething aair.* 

Her dowff ocnasa pat me mad ; 
* Coiucience,' says I, < ye thowless jad ! 
ru write, an' that a hMrty bland, 

Thia Tera night ; 
So dinna ye affront yonr trade. 

But liiyme it right. 

* Shall baukl Lapndky the king o* hMrta, 
Tho* mankind were a pack o* eartes, 
Roose you aae weel for yonr deserts, 

In terms sae friendly. 
Yet ye'n neglect to shaw yonr parts. 

An' thank him kindly !* 

Sae I gat paper in a blink. 
An* down gaed atmmpU in the ink : 
Quoth I, * Before I sleep a wink, 

I row 1*11 close it ; 
An* if ye winna msk' it clink. 

By Jove ru prose it!' 

Sae I've begvn to scrawl, but whether 
Id rhyme, or prose, or buth thegither. 
Or some hotch-potch that's rightly neither. 

Let time mak proof; 
But I shall scribble down some blether 

Just clean aff looi^ 


My worthy friend, ne'er grudge an* carp 
Tho* fortune nae you hard an' sharp ; 
Come, kittle up your moorioJidf Aaxp 

Wi' glecsome touch ? 
^e'er mind how Fortune waft and wttrp ; 

She's but a b-toh. 

She's gien me monie a jirt and flcg. 
Sin* I could itriddle owre a rig ; 
Bot, by the L-^l^ tho' I ahookl bq;, 

m langh, an* iing^ ia* ahake mj kg » 

As lang's I dow ! 

Now eoBMS the ms and twentieth simmer, 
rve seen the bod npo* the timmer. 
Still persecuted by the limmer, 

Frae year to ynr ; 
But yet, despite the kittle kinunrr^ 

/, IMt, am here; 

Do ye envy the city Oent, 
Behint a kist to lie and sklen^ 
Or purse-prond, big wi* cent, per 

And mncUe 
In some bit brugh to lepi es tut 


Or is't the panghty foodal thane^ 
Wi' ruffled sark and glancin* cane, 
Wha thinks himself nse sheep-shank haii% 

Bot kirdly stelks, 
While caps an' bonnets iff are taen, ^^ 

Aa by he walla ? 

* O Thou wha gics ns each guid gift ! 
Qie me o' wit and sense a lift. 
Then turn me, if TlUm please, adrift 

Thro* Scotland wide : 
Wi* cite nor lairds I wadna shift. 

In a' their pride !' 

Were this the churier of our state, 
* On pain o* hell be rich and great,* 
Damnation then wouM be cmr fate. 

Beyond remead; 
Bat, thanks to Heav'n ! that*a no the gale 

We learn our creed. 

For thus the n^al mandate ran, 
When first the human race began, 
' The social, friendly, htrnest man, 

Whate*er he be, 
'Ti« he fulfils srrtai Nctur**a jdath 

An' none but he P 

O mandate glorioua and divine ! 
The ra^pad followers o* the Nine, 
Poor, thoughtless devib ! yet may ahina 

In glorious light. 
While sordid sons of Mammon'a line 

Are dark aa night 

Tho' here they aenpe, an' squecie, an* fjviA^ 
Their worthlem nieve^' o' a aoul 
May in some future carcaae howl 

The forest's fright ; 
Or in some day-detestiog owl 

May shun the light 

Then may Lapraik and Bwm» ariae^ 
To reach their native, kindred skies, 
And ting their pleasures, hopes^ and joyib 

In some mild sphei% 
Still closer knit in friendship's tics, 

£aeh itasiiftf vear. 


TO W. S. 




t OAT your letter, winmiie WUUt : 
Wi* fntaAi' hftart I thank yov bnwiie ; 
TW I maiiB mfU I wad be iflly; 

An' nneo rain, 
Shoold I beliere^ my coaxin' biUie, 

Yonr flattetin' atraia. 

But Tie bclieTe fa kindly meant it, 
I and be laitk to think ye hii 

Iranie aatirey 

ye hinted 

On my poor motie ; 
Tho* in aie phraiain* terms ye*?e penn*d i^ 

I scarce cxcuae ye. 

Uy aenaea wad be in a creel, 
Bkonld I but dare a hop* to sped, 
Wr MUm or wi* GUbertfidd, 

The braes of &me ; 
Or PcryMon, the writer chiel, 

A deathleaa name. 

(O FtrguMon I thy glorioua parts 
in snitsd law*B dry, musty arts ! 
Ify corse upon your whunstane hearts, 

Ye E'nbrugh Gentry ! 
TIm tithe o* what ye waste at cartes. 

Wad stow'd his pantry !) 

Yet when a tale comes i* my head. 
Or laases gic my heart a screed. 
As whyks they're like to be ray dead, 

I kittle vp my mafic reed ; 

Itgiea me ease. 

Anld CoUa now may fidge fa* £un, , 
8ha*a gotten poeta o* her ain, 
Gbiala wha their chanters winna hain. 

Bat tune their lays, 
Tin echoes a' resound again 

Her weel-aang praise. 

Nae poet thought her worth his whiles 
To set her name in measured style ; 
She lay like lome unkenncd of isle 

Beside Newf-Hothndf 
Or whare wild-meetii^ ooeana boil 

BMOttth MofftOan, 

Ramsay an* famooa Ferpwaon 
Oied Forth an* Tay a lift aboon ; 
Yarrow an* Tweed to monie a tune, 

Owre Scotland ring% 
While Jrwtn, Lvgar^ Ayr, an* Doom, 

Nae body sings. 

Th' JMm, Tiber, Thames, an' Seine, 
CnUft aweet in monie a tunefa' line ! 
Bat^ Willie, set your fit to mine, 

An' cock yoar citi^ 

We'll gar our iircama and bumSes iLiile 

Up wi* the best. 

We*ll sing auld CoOa's plains an* fells, 
Her moors red> brown wi' heather bells. 
Her banks an* braes, her dens an' dells. 

Where gk)rious WaUae$ 
Aft bure the gree, as story tells, 

Frae aouthem billica* 

At WaOaee* name what ScoUiah blood 
Bot boils up in a apring^tide flood 1 
Oft hare our fcarleaa £uhers strode 

By Wallaes' side, 
Stin pressing onward, red-wat shod. 

Or glorious died. 

O aweet are Coila*s hanghs an' wood% 
When lintwhites chant among the bods, 
An' jinldn hares, in amoroua whids. 

Their lores enjoy. 
While thro* the braes the cushat crooda 

With wailfa' cry ! 

Ev'n winter bleak haa charma to me 
When winds rave thro' the naked tree ; 
Or firoat on hiUa of OehiUrte 

Are hoary grey; 
Or Uindmg drifts wild-furious flee^ 

Dark'ning the day ! 

O Nahirt I a* thy shows an' forma 
To feeling, p^aire hearta hae charms ! 
Whether die aommer kindly wanna 

Wi' life an* light. 
Or winter howla, in gnsty storms. 

The lang, dark night ! 

The Muse, nae poet erer fend her. 
Till by himsel he leam'd to wander, 
Adown aome trotting bum'a meander. 

An' no think lang ; 
O sweet, to stray, an' penaiTe ponder 

A heartfelt aang ! 

The warly race may drudge and drire^ 
Hog-ahouthcr, jundie^ stretch, an' strire^ 
Let me feir Nahar^s fece describe. 

And I, wi' pleaaure^ 
83kall let the busy, grumbling hive 

Bum o'er their treaaare. 

Fareweel, ' my rhyme-«ompoaing brithcr T 
We've been owre laug unkenn d to ithcr : 
Now let ua lay oor heads thegither, 

In love fraternal : 
Biay Envy wallop in a tether, 

BUck fiend, infernal ! 

While highlandmen hate tolb and 
White moorlan' hoda like guid fet 
While terra firma on her axia 

Diurnal tuma. 
Count on a friend, in feith and practice^ 

iA Bobeii Bitms^ 



ter memoiy's no worth a preen ; 
I bad unaitt forgotten deaoy 
Te bide me write you wbat they meta 

By this iie«!4^Ai;* 

*Bont which onr kgrdt lae aft hae bMB 

Maiat like to fight. 

In days when mankind were bnt caUant 
At gramwuar, loffie, an* sic talents, 
They took nae paina their speech to baleat% 

Or nlss to gi*i^ 
Bat tpak their thoogbts in plain braid liUam^ 

Like yon or me. 

la tbae aald times, they tbovght the 
Just like a sark, or pair a iboon. 
Wore by d egrees ^ till her last rooo, 

Oaed peat their viavii^ 
An* shortly after she was dooe^ 

They gat a new aati 

This past lor eertaio, andbpnted ; 
It ne*er cam i* their hnds to donbC it, 
Till chieb gat up an* wad eonfbte it. 

An* ea*d it wra^ ; 
An* mackle din there waa abont it, 

Baith fend an' lang. 

Some kgrdM, wcel leam'd vpo' the beah^ 
Wsd threap auM folk the thine misteak; 
For 'twa* the auld moon tnm d a neuk. 

An* out o* Mghtf 
An' backlins-comin', to the lenkf 

She grew mair bright 

This was deny'd, it was afirm*d ; 
The k«rd» and Jioeb were alarm'd ; 
The fcT'md grey-beards rar*d an* atorm*d^ 

That beaidlem hMidiee. 
Should Aink they bader ware Mfiwm'd 

Than their anid dadiJBfc 

Frae lem to mair it gaad to sticks ; 
Frae words an' aitha to efenrs an* nicks ; 
An* monie a fidfew |^ hb lielcH 

wi* hearty emnt ; 
An* some^ to learn them §ar their tricks, 

Were hang*d an* brint 

This game was play*d in monie land% 
An' aM-ligkt caddies bare sic hands. 
That £uth, the yonnnlers took the saiid% 

wi* nimble shanka. 
Till lairds forbade, by strict commands. 

Sic bluidy pranks. 

Bat u§ic-lighi herds gat sic a eows^ 
Folk thoQght them min'd atick-an*-etowe^ 
Till now amaist on er'ry knowe^ 

Ye*ll find ana plae'd; 

• SeeHols^pbH 

An* fOBii^ dMir nmVgkt iur tVMr, 

Just qnito barefre'd. 

Nae doubt the mdd4iflii Jloeh are bicalin' } 
Their aealous herds ars Tex*d an' sweataa' ; 
Bflysel, L^t9 eran seen them gicaiin 

Wi* gimin' spits^ 
To hear the moon see sad^ lie'd on 

By word an* write. 

But shortly they will eowe the hnuia ! 
Some aMld4ight herds in neebor towne 
Are mind't, in things they ca* haBocmt, 

To tdc* a flight. 

An' staya month amang the 


nam nght* 

Quid obeenration they wiH gie them ; 
An* when the auU moon*« gaun to ]ea*e 
The hindmoat shaiid, tlMy*n fctch it wi* 

Just i* their poad^ 
An* when the nm-Mgkt biUiee sea theeo, 

I think they'U crooch ! 

See, ya obaenra that a* thb datlar 
Is naething bnt a * aMonahine matter;* 
But tha' dnU prosa4blk Latin splattar 

In logic taUa, 
I hope^ we bardiii ken aome better 

Than mind siebmkiai 



O nouoH, mde^ ready-witted lUnkiae^ 
The wale o* coeka lor fun and drinkin* ! 
There's moay godly fidks ars thinkin*, 

Your rfuHwi * an' tricka 
Win send yoo, KorahJike, a^inkin', 

Straight to auld Ni^*8. 

Ye ha*e see monie cracks an* eanta 
And in tout wicked, dnicken rants, 
Ya mak' a deril o* the sannts. 

An* fin them ton ; 
And then their &fling% flaws, an' wants, 

Are a* seen thro*. 

Hypocrisy, in mercy spare it ! 
That hohr robe^ O dinna tear it ! 
^trtt for their sakea wha aften wear it^ 

Bot yonr corst wit^ when it eomea near it^ 

RiYes*taff their back. 

Think, wicked ainner, wha ye*re skaidii^y 
It*s just the hlme-gown badge an' daithing 
O* munts ; tak that, ye We them naethiiy 

To ken them by, 


Vrm ooy imrfg«Btfite lictUioi 

Like 3ron or L 

IVe wnt y<m here tome rhyming ware, 
A' thet I bargain'd for en' mair ; 
Stm, when you hae an hour to Bpare,' 

I will expect 
Yon MM^y* ye*n aen't wl* cannie care. 

And DO neglect. 

Tho' fidth, ima' heart hae I to sing ! 
My mnie dofw learoely ipread her wing ! 
IVe play*d myid a bouiie apring. 

An* danc*d my fill ! 
rd better gwn and aair'd the king 

At Bunker's Hitt. 

^TwMM ae night latdy in my fun, 

I gaed a nmng wi' the gun, 

An* broi^t a paiiridk to the grun, 

A boonie hen, 
Aod| aa the twilight wm b^gun, 

TluMiht nane wad ken. 

The poor wee thing waa little hurt ; 
I ttraikit it a wee far eport^ 
Ne'er thinkiQ' dkey wad hth me lbr*t ; 

Bttty deil-ma care ! 
Somebody teUa the jMocAer-oovrf 

The hale affiur. 

Some anld ua*d hands had ta'en a note, 
That lie a hen had got a ahot ; 
I waa luipected for the plot ; 

I Boom*d to lie ; 
So frt lb* wbUk o' my gioat^ 

An pay*t the/e*. 

But, by my gun, o* guns the wale, 
An* by my pouther an* my hail. 
An* by my hfcn, an* by ha tail, 

J row an' awear ! 
Thi ^ome ahall pay o*er moor an* dale. 

For thai, nieit year. 

As floon*8 the dockia' time it by, 
An* the wee pouts begun to cry, 
h — d, I*8e hae aportin* by aa* by. 

For my gowd guinea : 
Tho* I shottkl herd the huekskin kye 

For'fey in Virginia. 

Trowth, they had meikle for to blame ! 
*Twa]i neither broken wing nor limb. 
But twa-three drapa about the wame. 

Scarce thro' the foathan} 
An* baith a ydlow George to claim. 

An' thole their Uethcnl 

It pit^ me aye as mairs a hare ; 
So I can rhyme nor write nae mair, 
But pennjfwortks again in £iir, 

When time's expedient : 
licanwhile I am, respected Sir, 

Your most obedient. 



ov mTH-eiDc 

Thou wham chance may hither lead. 
Be thou dad in maset weed. 
Be thou dedct in rilken stole. 
Grave these counsels on thy souL 

• A naff he had promlied the AuUmt, 

ia but a day at moat. 
Sprung from niyh^ in darknesa lost ; 
Hope not auoihme erery hour, 
Fear not clouds will always lour. 

As youth and lore with sprightly dance, 
Beneath thy morning star advance, 
Pleasure with her siren air 
May delude the thoughtless pair ; 
Let prudence bless enjoyment's cup. 
Then raptur'd sip, and aip it up. 

As thy day grows warm and high, 
Life's meridian flaming nigh. 
Dost thou spurn the hnmUe rale ? 
Life's proud summits wouldst thou scale ? 
Check thy climbing step, eUte, 
Evils lurk in felon wait : 
Dangers, eogle-piuion'd, bold, 
Soar around each cli£^ hold. 
While cheerful peace, with linnet aong, 
Chants die kw^ ddls among. 

As the shades of ev'ning closer 
Beck'ning thee to long repose : 
As life itwlf becomea disease. 
Seek the chimney-neuk of ease. 
There ruminate with sober thought. 
On an thou'st seen, and heard, and wrought 
And teaeh the sportive younker's round. 
Saws of esperienoe, sage Mid aouad. 
Say, man's true, gcmiine estimate, 
The grand criterion of hia &te, 
Is not. Art thou high er Ww f 
Did thy fortune ebb or flofw? 
Did many talents gild diy apan ? 
Or frugal nature gmdge tiKe one ? 
Tell them, and press it on their mind. 
As thou thyaelf must shortly find. 
The smile or fivwn of awfol Heav'n, 
To virtue or to vice is giv'n. 
Say, to be just, and kind, and wiae^ 
There solid self-enjoyment lies ; 
That foolish, sdfid^ feithless ways. 
Lead to the wretched, vile, and base. 

Thus resign'd and quiet, creep 
To the bed ci lasting sleep ; 
Sleep, whence thou shalt ne'er awak% 
Night, where dawn shall never break. 
Till future life, future no more. 
To light and ioy the good restore, 
To light and yj vakaowu bcfote. 


Stranger, go ! Hetv*n he tby guide I 
Qaod the beadsman of Nitb-«de. 



Dweller in yon dungeon dark» 
Hauginan of creation ! mark 
Who ia widow-weeds appean. 
Laden with unhonoured yean, 
NooHing with care a bursting pnne^ 
Baited with many a deadly curae ! 


View the withered beldam's face— 

Cin tliy keen inspection trace 

Aught of humanity's sweet meltii^ grtoe? 

Not that eye, 'tis rheum o'erflowa, 

Pity's flood there never rose 

S<?e those hands, ne'er stretched to wm, 

H.iods that took — ^but never gave. 

Keeper of Mammon's iron chest, 

Lo, there she goes, unpitied, and unblest ; 

She goes, but not to reahns of everlaatiog tnt ! 

Plunderer of armies, lift thine eya, 
{ A while forbear, ye tort'ring fiends), 
Seesc thou whose step nnwilQng hither benda ? 
No fallen angel, hurl'd from upper akiei ; , 
'Tik thy trusty quondam nuUep 
Doonrd to sliare thy fiery fate^ 
She, tardy, hell-ward pliei. 


And are they of no more aToil, 
Ten thousand glitt'ring pounds a-year ? 
In other worlds can Mammon fail^ 
Omnipotent as he is here ? 
O, bitter mock'ry of the pompous hietf 
While down the wretched vital part is driven ! 
The cave-lodg'd beggar, with a conacienoe cletr» 
IHxpires in rags, uaknovn, and goca to HeaT*ii. 

Haul ihee hime Id Ue blade Myfi% 

OV bvrclwoii Kitoy 

And like ttodc-llsh come o*er hia ttuddie 

Wi« thy anld sdes ! 

He'8gane»he*tgaae! be*B free vi tora» 
The ae best fWloir e'er wai bom ! 
Thee, Matthew, Nature's tel shall mourn 

By wood and wild, 
Where, haply, Pity strays forlorn, 

Frae man exil'd* 

Ye hills, near neebon o* tlie atuv^ 
That proudly cock your cresting caimt ! 
Ye difis, the haunts of sailing yearns, 

Where echo slumbcn ! 
Come join, jre Nature's sturdiest bairns, 

My wailing numbers; 

Mourn ilka grove the cushat kens ! 
Ye haz'lly shawt and briery dens ! 
Ye bumies, wimplin down your glens, 

Wi' toddlm' din. 
Or foaming Strang, wi' hasty stens, 

Frae lin to Un. 

]VIoum little harebells o'er the lee ; 
Ye stately fox-gloves iair to see ; 
Ye woodbines, hanging bonnilie 

In scented bow'rs ; 
Ye rosea on your thorny tree. 

The first o* flow'n. 

At dawn, when ev'ry gnmf blade 
Droops with a diamond at hb head. 
At ev'n, when beans their firagranoe shad, 

r th* rustling gale. 
Ye rn'M^g'"" whiddin thro' the glade. 

Gome join my waiL 






Dot now hh radiant couise b run. 

For Matthew's eourjc was bright I 
His soul was like the f lorious sii^ 

A matdiiess, Hcaii^y light I 

O DxATH ! thon tyrant Mi and W^oify 
The mciUe devil wi awoodit 

Mourn ye wee ao u giteia o* the wood ; 
Ye grouse that crap the heather bud ; 
Ye curlews calliag thro* a dnd ; 

Ye whistling plover ; 
And monm, ye whirring paitrick brood ; 

He'a gaoe for ever ! 

Monm, 80«ly eoofei, and apedded teak; 
Ye fisher herons, watching eda ; 
Ye duck and drake, wi' airy whede 

Greling the lake ; 
Ye bitterns, tiU the magmire neli^ 


Monm, clam'riag eniki at daw •* dqp^ 
'Mang fields •* flow*ri«f dmtt ^Kfi 
And when ye wing yonr anawd way 

Tell thao far warlds, wha lies ia day. 

Wham va dspknb 

Ye houlel% ftae yonr iry ba(W*r, 
In some anld tree^ or eldritek t»w*iv 
What time the moon, wi' aiknt stowr, 

SHi vp kir kH% 





Wail tKro* tU dffiry audaiflit Imw ' 

Till wukrifc mfln I 

O Ann, iant^ lulliy and pkiat ! 
Oft ha.f y9 bflud mw eintf ■feniiN s 
Bat BOW, wliAt cbe nr bm remtiM 

Bat talM of woo ; 
An* frae my con tbe drappug raim 

Maun ever flow. 

Moorn, fpring, thon darling of the fear ! 
nk cowalip cup shall kep a toar : 
Hum, ■mmer, while each corny qicar 

Sboota up its 1iead» 
^7 nf > pWB, flow'ry traate shear. 

For him that's dead ! 

Thoo, autumn, wi' thy yellow hair, 
In frief thy eallow mantle tear ! 
Thou, winter, hurling thro* the air 

The roariiy hba^ 
Wide o*cr the naked world dedare 

The worth we*Te ket ! 

Mourn him* thou lun, great eouroe of light ! 
Hbum, tmpwee of the ailait night ! 
And yoo, ye twinkling etamies bright, 

My Blatthew monm! 
For throng your orbe he's ta'en his flighty 

Ne*er to return. 

O SeitiUnom / the man, die brother ! 
And art thou gooe, and gone for ever ! 
And hast thou cross'd that unknown river, 

Life's dreaiy bound ! 
Like thee^ where shall I find another, 

The world around I 

Go to your scnlptur'd tombs, ye Great, 
In a' the tinsel trash o* sUte ! 
But by the honest turf 1*11 wait. 

Thou man of worth! 
And weep the ae beet fellow's fate 

E'er lay in earth. 


StoVi pasaeager ! my atory's brief; 

And truth I ehall relate^ man : 
I teU nae common tale o' grief^ 

For Blatthew was a great man. 

If thoa uncom m on merit Imst, 
Yet spum'd at fortnne'a door, 

A kwk of pity hither cast^ 
For Matthew was a poor man. 

If thou a noble eodger art. 

That passest by this grave, man ; ' 
There moulders here a gallant hearty 

For Matthew waa a brave man. 

had won thy 


If thou at friendship's laerBd ea% 
Wad lift itaelf resign, man ; 

Thy sympathetie tear maun h\ 
For Matthew waa a kind man. 

If thoa art stanneh without a 
Like the unchanpng blue, 

This waa a kinsman o* thy ain. 
For Blatthew waa a true man. 

If thon hast frit, and fun, and fire^ 
And ne'er guid wine did fiear. 

This was thy billie, dam, and sire. 
For Blatthew was a queer man. 

If ony whiggish whingin sot. 
To blame poer Bla£diew dare, 

Bl«r dool and aorrow be hie lot. 
For Blatthew waa a rare man. 

)f then OB veot their worioi and wqri^ 

Omni Aivir vwoBUMii If bi| iMBi i 



Now Katnre hangs her mantle green 

On every bloomtng tree. 
And spreads her eheels o* daisies white 

Out o'er the gnusy lea : 
Now Phodras cheers the crystal streams, 

And glads the axure skies ; 
But nought can glad the weary wight 

That £ut in durance lies. 

Now lav'rocks wake the merry mom. 

Aloft on dewy wing ; 
The merl^ in his noontide bow'r, 

Blskee woodland echoes ring ; 
The mavis mild wi' many a aole^ 

Sings drowsy day to rest : 
lailove and freedom they rgoioe, 

Wi' care nor thrall opprest. 

Now bkioms the lily by the bank. 

The primroee down the brae ; 
The hawthorn's boddii^ in the glen, 

And milk-white ie the alae : 
The meanest hind in fiur Scotland, 

May rove their aweete amang ; 
But I, the Queen of a' Scotland, 

Blann lie in prison Strang. 

I waa the Queen o* bonnie France^ 

Where happy I hae been; 
Fn* lightly raiae I in die mom, 

Aa blithe lay down at e'en : 
And Fm die eovereign of Seotiatt^ 

And moBT a traitor there ; 
Tot here I he in ftnigB hui$^ 



But M for tW, tlioa fiJie womm. 

My ■uler uid my hit, 
Grim rcngciiioc^ ytt» ihall whet a iword 

That thro' thy aool shall gae : 
The weeping blood in woman*! brettt 

Was nerer known to thee ; 
Nor th' balm that drape on wounds of woe 

Frse woman's pitying e'e. 

My son ! my son ! miy kinder stars 

Upon thy fortune shine ; 
And may those pleasures gild thy reign. 

That neer wad blink on mine ! 
God keep thee frae thy mother's £ies^ 

Or turn their hearts to thee ; 
And where thou meet'st thy mother's friend, 

Remember him fur me ! 

O ! MMin, to me, may summer-suns 

Nae mair light up the morn ! 
Nae mair, to me, the autumn winda 

Wave o'er the yellow corn ! 
And in the narrow house o' death 

Let winter round me rave ; 
And the neat flow'rs that deck the spring. 

Bloom on my peaceful grave. 



Lati crippled of an arm, and now a leg, 
About td beg a past fur leave to beg ; 
Dull, listless, teasM, dejected, and depnfst, 
(Nature is adverse to a cripple';* rejtt) ; 
Will generous Graham list to hi« poet'* wall ? 
(It soothes poor miser\', hearkening to lipr 

And hear him curse the light he first survey M, 
And doubly curse the luckless rhyming trade ? 

Thou, Nature, partial Nature, I arraign ; 
Of thy caprice maternal I complain. 
The lion and the bnll thy care have found. 
One shakes the forest, and one spurns the 

ground : 
Thou giv'st the ass his hide, the snail his shell. 
Til' envenom'd wasp, victorious, guards his cell. 
Thy minions, kings defend, control, devour. 
In all th' omnipotcnce'of rule and power.— 
Foxes and statesmen, subtile wiles ensure ; 
The cit and polecat stink, and are secure ; 
Toads with their poison, doctors with their 

drug, [snug. 

The priest and hedge-hog, in their robes are 
£v*n silly woman has her warlike arts, [darts. 
Her tongue and e}'es, her dreaded spear and 

But Oh ! thou bitter step-mother and hard. 
To thy poor, fenceless, naked child-i^hc Bard ! 
A thing nnteachable in world's skill, 
And half an idiot too^ more helpl^ still. 
No heels to bear him from the opening dun ; 
|io cUwf tQ di^, his hated si^ht to vhuo ; 

No horns, but those \>y lucldea Hyum 
And those, alas ! not Amalthea*B horn : 
No nerves olfactory. Mammon's trusty ear. 
Clad in rich dulness' comfortable fur, 
In naked feeling, and in achin'; pride. 
He bears th' unbroken blast from every tide i 
Vampyre booksellers drain him to the heart* 
And scorpion critics cureless venom dart. 

Critics — appall'd, I vcatare on the name^ 
TluMe cut-thruat Imndits in the paths of fiimt J 
Bloody dissectors, worse than ten Monroes ; 
He hacks to teach, they mangle to expose. 

His heart by causeless, wanton malice wrc^p 
By blockheads' daring into nuulness stung ; 
His well-won lia)'s, than life itself more dicart 
By miscreants turn, who ne'er one ^nrig ami 

wear ; 
Foil'd, bleeding, tortur'd. in the nncqoal atrift^ 
The hapless poet flounders on through life, 
Till fle<l eacli hope thst onre his bosom find, 
And fled each muse that glorious onee in^irrfy 
Low sunk in sijualid, unpinti^cted age, 
Dead, even resentment, tor hin injured pag% 
He heeds or fe?U no more the ruthlcM er^8*t 

rage ! 

So, by some hcd^e, the generous itMd 4t- 

For half-Htarv'd snirling curs a dainty feast ; 
By toil and famine wore to skin and 
Lies sen<H;le»<) of each tuning bitch's 

dulnotv ! portion of the truly blest ! 
Ctlm Rhelter'd haven of eternal rest ! 
Thy sons ne'er madden in tlie 
Of fortune's \to\tir front, or torrid 
If mantling high she fiiU the golden cup, 
With sober Kelti<ih eaw they sip it up ; [i 
Conscious the bounteous meed they wdl 
Tliey only wonder * Home felks' do not 
The grave sage hem thus easy picks his firof» ' 
And thinks the mallard a sad worthless dog. 
When disappointment snap* the due of hops^ 
And thro' diM^ttrous night they darkling gro|% 
With deaf emlurance i^luggislUy they bear. 
And just conclude * that fools are fertune's cstt>* 
So, heavy, pasnivc to the tempest's shocks. 
Strong on the sign-post stands the stupid oix. • 

Not so the idle muses' mad-cap train. 
Not such the workings of their mimn siint 

brain ; 
In equanimity they never dwell. 
By turnt in soiriug heaven, or vanlted hdL 

1 dread thco, fate, rclentlcfs and severe, ' 
With all a poet's, hu^lland^ father's fear ; 
Already one strong hold of hope is lost, 
Gleneaim, the truly nohle, lies in dust ; 
(Fled, like the sun oclips'd as noon appear^ 
And left us darkling in a world of tears) : 
O ! hear my ardent, grateful, selfish pray'r! 
Fintraj my other st^v, lonj bid? nA 9fUt I 



Thro* a long life liU liope^ and wisliei crown. 
And bright in cloudleM nkiei hui sun go down ! 
May hiits domestic smooth his private path ; 
Give energ)' to life ; and soothe his latest breath, 
With many a tilial tear circling the bed of 
death ! 


The wind blew hollow frae the hills, 

By fits the 8un*s departing beam 
Ltdc'd on the fiidinf? yellow woods 

That wav*d o'er Lugar's winding stream : 
BcMBth m eraigy steep, a bard, . 

Ladan with years and meikle pain. 
In load lament bewail'd hin lord, 

Whom dcaUi had all untimely ta*en. 

He letnM him to an ancient aik, 

Whose trunk was mould*ring down with 

His looka were Ueiched white wi* time, 
His hoary eheek was wet wi* tears ! 

And as he toach'd his trembling harp. 
And as he tun*d his doleful sang, 

The winds, lamenting thro* their caves, 
To echo bore the notes alaog. 


«• Ye seatter'd birds that faintly sing, 

The relics of the vernal quire ! 
Ye woods that shed on a* the winds 

The hoDoora of the «^ year ! 
A few short months, and glad and gay, 

Again yell charm thi* ear and e*e ; 
But nooht in all revolving time 

Can gladness bring again to me. 

'* I am m bending aged tree, 

That long has stood the wind and rain ; 
Bnt BOW hm come a cruel h\^u 

And my last hald of earth is ^.inc : 
Nae leaf o* mine shall greet the Kpriiii;, 

Nae aimmer sun exalt my bloom ; 
Bot I mmin lie before the Htorm, 

And ithers plant them in my room. 

•• IVe seen sae mony changefu' ypan. 

On earth I am tf stranger grown ; 
I wander in the ways of men, 

ftlake vnknowing and unkno^'u : 
Unheaxd, nnpitied, unrJicvcd, 

I bear alane my ladi* o* rare. 
For iQent, low, on beds of dnst, 

I^V that would my sorrows n\\an> 

** And last, (the sum uf a* my griefs) .' 

My noble master lie;* in cUy ; 
The fiow*r amang our barons bold, 

Uia country's pride, hi^ c(iuntr\-*B stay : 
In weary being now I pine. 

For a* the laJfe of life is dcail, 
And hope has left ray ageil ken. 

On forward wing ibr ever fled. 

*' Awake thy last sad voice, my harp ! 

The voice of woe and wiU despair ! 
Awake, resound thy latest lay. 

Then sleep in silence evcrmair ! 
And thou, my lost, best, only friend. 

That fillest an untimely tomb. 
Accept this tribute from the bard 

Thou brought from fortune's mirkest gloom 

" In povertj's low barren vale. 

Thick mists, obscure, involved me round ; 
Tho' oh I tum*d the wistfnl eye, 

Nae ray of fiime was to be found : 
Thou found'st me like the morning sun 

That melts the fogt in limpid air, 
The friendlcMS bard and rustic song. 

Became alike thy fostering care. 

** O ! why has worth so short a date ? 

While villains ripen grey with time ! 
Must thou, the noble, gen'rons, great. 

Fall in bold manhood's hardy prime ! 
Why did I live to see that day? 

A day to me so full of woe ! 
O ! had I met the mortal shafl 

Which laid my benefactor low ! 

** The bridq^room may forget the bride 

Was made his wedded wife y e str e en ; 
The monarch may foi^t the crown 

That on his head an hour has been ; ■ 
The mother may forget the child 

That smiles sae sweetly on her knee ; 
Bnt I'll remember thee, Gleneum, 

And a* that thou hast done for me !** 



Ti!or, yv\\o thy honour as thy God rever'st, 
AVho, rnvi' thy miiufi reproach, nought earthly 

To thee thi» votive offering I impart, 
" The tearful tiibutc of a broken heart." 
Tlie friend thou valucd'st, I the pahtm lov'd ; 
His worth, his honour, all the world ^iprov'd. 
We'll mourn till we too go as he is gone* 
And ti^nd the dreary path to that dark 




or Bmwnyis and of Bcgilis ftill is this Bake. 

Gatsfn HMHtak 


Whfn chapman billies leave the 
And drouthy mwborsi neebors mett, 


At markflt-dayt are wearing Ute, 
An* IbUc begin to tak the gate ; 
While we ut bouting at the nappy. 
An' gettin* Ibu and unco happy, 
We think na on the lang Sonta miles. 
The moated, waten, i»!apitv and ttiUrs 
That lie between ut and our hauie, 
Whare titt our tulky tollen dame, 
Oatherinf; her browt like gathering ttorm, 
Nuning her wrath to keep it warm. 

This truth fand honest Tarn o* ShanUr, 
A« he frae Ayr ae night did canter, 
( Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town turpattet, 
For honett men and bonny Imet). 

O 7am / had'tt thou but been tae wite. 
At ta'en thy ain wife Kate*t advice ! 
She tauld thee weel thou was a akellun, 
A blethering, blutteriag, drunken blellum ; 
That frae November till October, 
Ae market^y thou waa na tober ; 
That ilka melder, wi' the miller. 
Thou sat at lang at thou had tiller ; 
That evVy naig wa» ca'd a «hoe on. 
The tmith and thee gat roaring fou on ; 
That at the L — d*>t houte, ev'n on Sunday, 
Thou drank wi* Kirkton Jean till Monday. 
She prophcsy'd, that late or toon, 
Thuu would lie found deep drown'd in I}oon ; 
f)r catch'd wi' warlockt in the mirk. 
By AUowaij* auld haunted kirk. 

Ah, gentle damet ! it gara me greet, 
To think how raony countelt tweet. 
How mony lengthen'd sage advicet. 
The husband firae the wi^ despite^ ! 

But to our tale : Ae market night. 
Tarn had got planted unco right ; 
Fttt by an ingle, bleexing finely, 
Wi* reaming twata, that drank divinely ; 
And at hit dbow, aoutcr Johnny, 
Hit ancient, tnttty, drouthy crony ; 
Tarn Io*ed him like a vera brither ; 
They had been fou for weeka thegither. 
The night drave on wi* tai^ an* clatter ; 
And a>-e the ale waa growing better : 
The landlady and Teun grew gracioua, 
Wi* favours, tccret, tweet, and preckma ; 
The bouter tauld hit queerest atoriet ; 
The landlord*!! laugh waa ready chorus : 
The ttorm without might rair and ruatlc, 
Tam did na mind the storm a whittle. 

Care, rood to tee a man sae happy, 
K'vn drown'd himself amang the nappy ; 
At beet flee hame wi' lades o' treasure^ 
The minutet wing*d their way wi* pleasore : 
Kingt may be blest, but Tam was glorious, 
O'er a' the ills o' life victorious ! 

Bnt pleasures are like poppies spread, 
You seise the flow*r, its bkMin is shed ! 
Or like the snow-falls in the river, 
A moment white — then melta for ercr $ 

Or like the boKalis raoe. 
That flit ere >'ou can point tlieir place ; 
Or like the rainbow's lovely form 
Evanishing amid the storm. — 
Nae man can tether time or tide ; 
The huiir appn»uciie« Tam maun ride ; 
That liuur, o* night*a black arch the keywi 
Tliat dreary hour he mounts his beast in ; 
And hie a night he take the road in. 
As ne'er poor tinner was abroad in. 

The wind blew as *twud blawn its last ; 
The rattliu' iihowers rose ou the blast : 
The tpeedy gleams the darkness swallow'd ; 
Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bd]ow*d ;. 
That night, a child might understand, 
The deil had butinesa on hia hand. 

Weel raonntod on hit grey mare, Mey^» 
A better nc\'er lifted leg— 
Tam tkelpit on thro* dub and mire, 
Detpiting wind, and rain, and fire ; 
Whiles holding fast his guid Uue bonnet ; 
Whiles crooning o'er some auld Sooto 
Whiles glow*ring round wi* prudent 
Lett bogles catch him unawares ; 
Kirk'Alloway wat drawing night 
Whare ghoittt and houlett nightly cty» 

By thit time he was crott the ford, 
Whaie in the snaw the chapman smoor^d ; 
And past the birks and meUcle staae» 
AVhare drunken Chariie brak 's neck-bane ; 
And thro' the whins, and by the cairn, 
Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn ; 
And near the thorn, aboon the well, 
Whare Munpo*i mither haiq;ed herseL— 
Before him J}oon pours all hit floods ; 
The douUing storm roars thro* die wtMds ; 
The lightnings flash from pole to pole ; 
Near and more near the thunders roll ; 
When, glimmering thro* the groaning trees, 
Kirk^AUoway seem'd in a bleese ; 
Thro* ilka bore the beams were glandogi 
And kmd resounded mirth and dancing*— ' 

Inspiring bold Jakn Barleycorn ! 
What dangers thon canst make na aeora ! 
Wi* tippenny, w« fear nae evil ; 
Wi' usquebae we'll fiwe the deviL—- 
The swata sae ream'd in ruiaiii** noddkt 
Fair play, he cared na dnls a boddle. 
But Magyie stood right aair ■siWish*d, 
Till, by the heel and hand admoaish*d» 
She ventured forward on the light ; 
And, vow ! Titm saw an unco sight ! 
Warlocks and witches in a danoe ; 
Nae ootillioa brent new firae /Vtmee, 
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and nelsy 
Put life and mettle in their heels. 
A winnook-bunker in the eaat; 
There sat auld Nick, in shape o* beast ; 
A towiie tyke» black, grim, and large. 
To gie them mnsie was his charge : 
He screw*d his pipes and girt them ddii, 
TiU roof and raftera m* did dirL^ 




Cottnt itood rouuJ lILe op^n preues 
ThMt ibawM the dead in their last drastn ; 
Aad by tome devilish cantrip aUf^ht, 
Eaeh in its cauld Iiand held a l^hty— 
Bf which heroic Tarn was able 
To note upon the haly table* 
A murderer's Imne* in gibbet aims ; 
Twa span-lang, wee, iinchristen*d bairns : 
A thief, new-iMitted frac a rape, 
Wi* his last gaup his (rab did fpipe ; 
Tlve tomaluwk", wV blude red-rusted ; 
Kre sc^'mitarn wi* luimliT crii*te<l ; 
A garter, whirii a \n\)e had ittrangled ; 
A knife, a father** tiimat liad inaiigl«d, 
Whom bin aiii kod o* lite bereft, 
The grey hairs yet htack to the heft ; 
Wi' mair o' horrible and awfii* 
Which ev*n to name wad be unlaWfu*. 

As Tammie ;ilowrM, ainazM and curious, 
The mirth and fun grew fjst and furitniik : 
The piper loud and louder blew : 
The dancers quick and quicker ticw ; 
They reerd, they hct, they cro)«'d, they deekit, 
Tin ilka carlin Kwst and reekit, 
And coost her dnddie.i to ttii* wark. 
And linket at it in her sark ! 

Now 7ViM, O Tttm ! had tbi'v been queans 
A* plump an* trapping, in their teens ; 
Thor sarks, instead o' creu»Iiic flanneu, 
Been snaw-white seventeen liuoder linen ! 
Thir breeks o* uiine, my only pair, 
Hiat ance were plush, o* guid blue hair, 
I wad hae gi*en them aff my hurdies I 
Bor ae blink o* the bonnie burdica ! 

But wither*d beldama, auki and droll, 
Bigwoodie hags wad spean m foal, 
Lowping and flinging on a crunimock, 
Z wooder didna turn thy stomach. 

Bat Tarn kenn*d what was what fu* bnwliet 
There was ae winsome wench and walie, 
That night enlisted in the core, 

iLang after kenn'd on Carriek shore ! 
W mony a beast to dead ahe shot. 
And perishM mony a bonnie boat. 
And shook baith meikle com and bear. 
And kept the country side in fear). 
Her cutty-sark, o' Paisley ham, 
That while a lassie she had worn, 
la longitude though sorely scanty, 
It was her best, and ahe was vauntie.— 
Ah ! little kenn*d thy reverend grannie, 
That sark she coft for her wee Nannie, 
Wi* twa pund Sootf, ('twas a* her riches)^ 
Wad ever grac'd a dance of witches I 

But here my muse her wing mann ooor ; 
Sic flights are far beyond her pow'r ; 
To sing how NannU lap and flang, 
(A sonple jade she was and Strang) 
Aod how Tarn, stood, like ane bewitch*d, 
And thought hit very een corich'd : 

Even S^tan gloWrM, tnd fidg'd fu* fidn, 
And hotch'd and blew wi' might and miia « 
Till first ae caper, syne anither, 
Tam tint his reason a* the^ther. 
And roars out, ** Weel done, Cutty-aaik !** 
And in an instant all was dark ; 
And scarcely had he Moffgit rallied. 
When out the hellish legion sallied. 

As lK->e^ bizz out wi* angry fyke, 
When plundering herds assail their byke ; 
A<« open pusMc*M mortal fiies, 
When, pop ! she starts before their nose ; 
As eager runs the market mnrd, 
Wlieii " Cateh the thief!" reMmnds aloud ; 
i>o Maggie runs, the witches fellow, 
Wi* monie an eldritch screech and hollow. 

Ah, T&m! Ah, Tarn! thou*ll get thy fairi% 
In hell they'll ruast thee like a herrin ! 
In vain thv Kate awaits thv comin ! 
Ao^e soon will be a woefu* woman ! 
Xow, do thy iipeedy utmost, Meg, 
And win the key-stane * of the brig ; 
There at them thou thy tail may toss, 
A running stream they dare na croxs. 
Hut ere the key-Ktane she could moke, 
The fient a tale »hc liad to shake ! 
F(ir iVcfMnie, far before the rest. 
Hard upon noble Magpie prest. 
And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle ; 
But little wist she Maggie't mettle^ 
Ae spring brought aff her master hale, 
liut left behind her ain grey tail : 
The carlin claught her by the rump. 
And left poor Maggie scarce m stump. 

Now, wha this tale o* truth shall read, 
nk man and mother's son take heed : 
Whene'er to drink you are inclin'd. 
Or cutty-sarks run in your mind. 
Think ye may buy the joys o'er dear. 
Remember Tam o* ShaiUT't mtrc. 



Ikhcmax man ! curse on thy barb'roos art, 
And blasted be thy murder-aiming eye : 
May never pity soothe thee with a sigh* 

Nor ever pleasure glad thy cruel heart ! 

Go live, poor wanderer of the wood and field. 
The bitter little that of life remains : 

* It b a well known fact, that witehes, or any cril 
■piritt, have no power to follow a poor wight any Ur. 
ther than the midUle of the next runnini{ •tream.— It 
may be proper likewbs to ttsntion to the bsni nh lisd 
traveller, that when he fidh in with Aofto, whittsver 
danger may be in hb goinff forwai^, tbsrt b mttCb 
more bamrd in taming back. 


Ko mem Um thkhMiag Imkai aad Tcrdint 

To thee ihaU bome^ or food, or pottliiM yield. , 

Seek, mangled wretch, tome place of wonted 

No more of rat, hot now tby dying bed ! 

The sheltering ruahea whittling o*er thy head » 
The cold earth with thy bloody boaom prett. 

Oft at by winding Nith, I moting wait 
The eober eve, or hail the checriul dawn, 
1*11 miM thee sporting o*er the dewy lawn. 

And cone the ruffiaa*a aim, tpd mmm thy 
hAplcii iatf. 



Whilx Tirgin Spring, by Eden's flood. 

Unfolds her toider mantle green. 
Or pranks the sod in frolic mood. 

Or tunes Eolian strains between : 

While Summer, with m matron grace. 
Retreats to DryburgVs cooling shade, 

Yet oft, delighted, stops to trace 
The progress of the spiky blade ; 

While Autumn, benefiictor kind. 

By Tweed erects his aged head. 
And sees, with self-approring mind, 

Each creatnre on his bounty feed : 

While maniac Winter rages o*er 

The hills whence cUane Yarrow flows. 

Rousing the turbid torrent's roar. 
Or sweeping, wild, a waste of snows : 

So kng, sweet Poet of the year. 

Shall bloom that wreath thou well hast won ; 
While Scotia, with exulting tear. 

Proclaims that Thoicbox was her son. 



Hxax souter John in death does sleep ; 

To hell, if he's gaoe thither, 
Satan, gie him thy gear to keep. 

Hell baud it weel 


BxLow thir atanes lie Jamie*a banes : 

O Death, its my opinion. 
Thou ne'er took such a Ueth'ria bitch 

Into thy darit dominion ! 


Hicjacet wee Jokmt^ 

Wiiox'iiE thou art, O reader, know. 
That death has murder'd Johnny ! 

.\n' here his body lies fii' low— 
Fur taulf he ne'er had ony. 


O TK whove cheek the tear of pity stains. 
Draw near with pious rev'renoe and tMiail 

Here lie the loving husband's dear remmu^ 
The tender fiither and the gen'roos friend* 

The pitying heart that felt for human woe ; 
The dauntless heart that fear'd no humia 
The frirad of man, to vice alone a foe ; 
** For ev'n his fiiilhigs leaned to TirtM*t 

FOR R. A. Esq. 

Kkow thou, O stranger to tht fiuoe 
Of this much lor'd, much honourM naoM • 
(For none that knew him need be told) 
A warmer heart death ne'er made oqU» 

FOR G. H. Esq. 

Thk poor man weeps — here 
Whom canting wretches blam'd : 

But with wmeh a§ kg, where'er he bc^ 
May I be taved or i f ■ rf / 


Is there a whim-inspired £m1, 
Owre fiut for thought, owre hot Car rak^ 
Owro Uate to seek, owre proud to snool. 

Let him draw near ; 
And owre this gramy heap sing dool, 

And drap a tear. 

Is there a bard of rustic soqg, 
Who» noteleai^ steala the crowds among, 

• floMiMi, 



Tktt WMUjr Out ant tiirai«^ 

O, paai not I17 ! 

Boty with a firmtovfiBeluig strong, 

Here heave a tigh. 

Is there a man, whose judgment dear, 
CSui others teach the course to steer, 
Tot mna, himself, life** mad career, 

Wild as the wave ; 
Hero piiie and, through the starting tear, 

Survey this grave. 

The poor mhabitant bulow, 
Waa quick to feam and wise to know, 
Mad kaenlj frit the friendly glow. 

And aofter fiamty 
BbI thooghtleas follies laid him low, 

And stain'd his name ! 

Raader, attend — whether thy soul 
8Mn fraeyli flights beyond the pole^ 
Ofr dlrirling gn:dbs this earthly hole. 

In low pursuit ; 
eantious, tdf'-etmtrti^ 
la wiidom*s root 




BsAm, Land o* Cakes, and brither Scots, 
Ytm Maidenkirk to Johnny Groat's ; 
If there's a hila in a' your coats, 

I rede you tent it : 
A duald^i amang you, taking notes, 

And, fiutl^ he'U prent it 

If in yonr bounds yz chance to light 
Upon a fine, fiit, fbdgel wight, 
O stature short, but genius bright. 

That's he, mark weel— 
And wow ! be has an unco slight 

O' cauk aud keeL 

By some auld, houlet-haunted biggin,* 
Or kirk, deserted by its liggin, 
It*t ten to ane ye*ll find him snu^ in 

Some eldritch i)iirt, 
Wi' deils, they say, L — d safe*^ ! colleaguin' 

At some black art. — 

Ilk ghaist that haunts auld ha* or chamer, 
Te gipaey-gaog that deal in glamor, 
jkad yoa deep-read in hell's black grammar. 

Warlocks and witches ; 
Tan qaaka at his oonjuring hammer, 

1 e m^night bitches. 

Ifa tanld he was a sodger bred, 
jkad ant wad rather fii*n than fled ; 

o WtolriiABtiqattieiof SootlBBd. 

Bat now he'i quat the oude Uadsb 

And dog-skin waBeli 

And ta*en the Amtiquarian trodt^ 

I think they call it ' 

He has a fbuth 0' auld nick nackets : 
Rusty airn caps and jinglin* jackets,* 
Wad had the Lothians three in tacketa, 

A towmont guid : 
And parritch pats, and auld saut-backet^ 

Before the Flood. 

Of Eve*s first fire he has a cinder ; 
Auld Tubal Cain'a fire-ahool and frnder ; 
That which distinguished the gender 

O' Balaam's ass ; 
A broom-stick o* the witch of Endor, 

' Weel shod wf 

Forbye^ hell shape yon afl', fii* |^ 
The cut of Adam's phUibeg ; 
The knife that nicket Abers craig. 

Hell prove yon nuyt 
It was a fimlding jocteleg. 

Or lang-kail guliie*— 

But wad ye see him in hie glee, 
For meikle glee and fiin has h^ 
Then set him down, and twa or three 

Guid follows wi' him ; 
And port, O port / Shine thou a wea^ 

And then ye'U sea him! 

Now, by the pow'rs o' verse and pron ! 
Thou art a dainty chiel, O Grose ! — 
Whoe'er o* thee shall ill auppose^ 

They sair misea* thee ; 
I'd take the rascal bv the nose. 

Wad say. Shame fr' thae ! 



Beauteous rose-bud, young and gay* 
Hlooming on thy cjily May, 
Never inay'st thou, lovely flow'r. 
Chilly slu'ink in sleety hhow'r ! 
Never Boreas' hoary path, 
' Never Eurus' pois*nou« breath. 
Never baleful stellar lights 
Taint thee with untimely blights ! 
Never, never reptile thieif 
Riot on thy virgin leaf! 
Nor even Sol too fiercelv view 
Thy bosom blushing still with dew ! 

May'st thou long» sweet crimson geOj 
Richly deck thy native atem ; 

• Vide kis treatise on Andent Armour ami Waqpcm* 


Tin ■ome evening, tober, etIiB» 
Dropping dew% and breathing balm. 
While all anmnd the woodland ring% 
And ev*ry bird thy requiom ainga; 
Thou, amid the dirgeful aound. 
Shed thv dying honoura round, 
And resign to parent earth 
The lordieat form ahe e*er ga?e birth. 




Sad thy tale, thou idle page, 

And rueful thy alarms r 
Death tears the brother of her lore 

From laabella'a arma. 

Sweetly deck'd with pearly dew 

The morning rose may blow ; 
But, cold successive noontide blaata 

May lay ita beauties low. 

Fair on Isabella's morn 

The sun propitious amil*d ; 
But, long ere noon, succeeding clooda 

Succeeding hopea b^uil*d. 

Fate oft tears the bosom chords 

That nature finest strung : 
So Isabella's heart was form*d. 

And so that heart was rung. 

Dread Omnipotence^ alone, 

Gm heal the wound he gave ; 
Can point the brimful grie^wom eyes 

To sceues beyond the g^ave. 

Virtuous blossoms there shall blow. 

And fear uo withering blast ; 
There Isubella's spotless worth 

Shall happy be at last. 

Dry-withering, WKrte my fiMBUBf 
And drink my cryiUl 



Mr Lord, I know your noble ear 

Woe ne*er assails in Viiin ; 
Embolden*d thus, I b^ youMl hear 

Your humble slave complain, 
How anucy Phoebus* scorching beams, 

In flaming summer-pride. 

The lightly-jumpin glowrin troiil% 

That thro* my w^era play. 
If, in their random, wantmi qpoat% 

They near the margin stray ; 
If, hapless chance ! they Uxtget ]aa§, 

Tax scorching up so shallow. 
They're left the whitening staii 

In gasping death to wallow. 

Last day I grat, wi* spite and taen» 

As poet B— — came by. 
That, to a bard I should be seen, 

Wi* half my channel dry : 
A panq;yric rhyme, I ween. 

Even as I was he shor*d me : 
But had I in my glory been. 

He, kneeling, wad ador*d me. 

Here, foaming down the shelvy rocks, 

In twisting strength I rin ; 
There, high my boUing torrent 

Wild-roaring o'er a linn : 
Enjoying large each spiii^ and well 

As nature gave them me, 
I am, although I say't mysel. 

Worth gaun a mile to see. 

* Bruar Falls, in Athole, are excscdingly picturesque 
and beautiful ; but their eflbct Is much impaired by the 
want of tceei aBd ibnilM* 

Woold then my noUe master 

To grant my highest wishes, 
He*ll £ade my banks wi* tow*ring treei^ 

And bonnie spreadii^ bnahes ; 
Delighted doubly then, my Lord» 

You'll wander oa my bank% 
And listen mony a grateful bird 

Return you tuneftil thanka. 

The sober laverock, warbling wiklf 

Shall to the skies aspire ; 
The gowdspink, music's gayest child. 

Shall sweetly join the choir : 
The blackbird strong, the lintwhite detft 

The mavis wild and mellow ; 
The robin pensive autumn dieer. 

In all her locks of yellow. 

This ton, a covert shall ensure. 

To shield them from the storm ; 
And coward maukin sleep secure^ 

Low in her grassy form. 
Ht-re shall the shepherd make his let^ 

To Aveavc his crown of flowers ; 
Or find a shelt'ring safe retreat. 

From prune descending ahowen. 

And here, by sweet endearing atealthy 

Shall meet the loving pair. 
Despising worlds with all thdur wealth 

As empty idle care : 
The duw'rs shall vie in all their ehame 

The hour of heav'ii to gnoe^ 
And birka extend their firagranl aoH 

To tcrem tho dov cmbnMi 



8mm mnang bard inaj itrgjry 
Mad tvt the wnokiny, devf lawn, 

And mialj monntaiii, grcf ; 
Off by the reaper's nightly betin, 

IGld chcqncriDg through the tivee, 
Bsf* to my darkly danhiog ttreamt 

Hoane ■wdling on the breeie. 

LaC lofty fin, and aiihea cool, 

My lowly banki o*enpread. 
And riew, deep-bending in the pool. 

Their ahadowi* watery bed ! 
LaC fragrant birku in wootlbinei drest, 

My craggy eliffii adorn ; 
And, fcr the little aon^ter't neit. 

The eloae embow'riog thorn. 

80 may old Scotia*s darling hope. 

Your little angel band, 
flaring, like their fjthem, up to prop 

Their honour*d native hnd ! 
80 may thro* Albion's farthest ken. 

To aoeial-flowiog glaMcv, 
Tka graee be — ** Athole's lioant men. 

And Athole*» bonoie las»c» !** 





Wht, ye tenants of the lake. 
For me your watery haunt funake? 
Tell me, fisllow-creatoies, why 
At my presence thus you fly ? 
Why disturb your social joys, 
Pltrcnt, filial, kindred tie* f — 
Common friend tu you and me, 
Kature*8 gifb to all arc free : 
Paaeeful keep your dimpling wave, 
Busy feed, or wanton lave ; 
Or, beneath the sheltering rock. 
Bide the surging bilIoar*a shock. 

Conscious, bluxbing for our race, 
Soon, too soon, your fears I trace. 
Man, your proud usurping fue, 
WoukI be lord of all below ; 
Plumes himself in Freedom's pridc) 
Tyrant stern to all beside. 

The eagle, from the d'tSy brow. 
Marking j-ou his prey below. 
In hia breut no pity dwells, 
Strai^ necessity compela. 
Bat man, to whom alone is giv'a 
A ray direct from pitying heiav*ii, 
Ofarioaa in hb heart hnmane— 
Aal crMtwnti fcr hia plcMure alain. 

In these aavage, liquid plains^ 
Only known to wand*ring awiia^ 
Where the mossy rivlet sti>iyB ( 
Far from human hannts and ways ; 
All on nature ywi depend. 
And lifie's poor aeaaon peaceful tpnd» 

Or, if man*s anperior might. 
Dare invade your native right, 
On the lofty ether borne, 
Man with all his pow*rs yovL scorn : 
Swiftly aeek, on clanging wings, 
Other lakes and other springs } 
And the foe you cannot brave, 
Spom at least to be his slave. 




Adxieikc Nature in her wildest grace. 
These northern scenes with weary feet I trace ; 
O'er nuny a winding dak^ and painful steep, 
Th* abodes of covey'd grouse and timid aheip^ 
My savage journey, curious, I pursue. 
Till fam'd BreadaJbane opens to my view— - 
The meeting clifs each deep-aunk glen divides. 
The woods, wild-scatter'd, clothe their ample 

Th* outstretching lake, embosom*d 'moag the 

The eye with ii*onder and amaaement fiUs ; 
The Tay meand*ring sweet in infant pride. 
The palace ri«ing on his verdant side. 
The lawns wood-fringed in Natures native taste | 
The hillocks dropt in Nature's careless haste ! 
The arches striding o*er the new-bom stream ; 
The village, glittering in the moontide beam-* 

Poetic ardours in mv bosom swell. 
Lone wandering by the hermit's mosay eell : 
The sweeping theatre of iiaoging woods ; 
The incessant roar of headioog tumblinf 

Here Poesy might wake her heav'n-taoght ]yr% 
And look through nature with creative fire ; 
Here, to the wrongs of fate half recoucil'd. 
Misfortune's lighten'd* steps might wander 
wild ; 
I And disappointment, in these lonely bounds, 
I Find balm to noothe her bitter rankling wounds : 
Here heart-struck Grief might heaven •ward 

stretch her scan. 
And injur'd worth forget and pardon man. 



Among the heathy hilli and raprged woods 
The roaring Fyers pours hii mowy floods ; 
Till full he dashes on the rocky mounds, 
Where, thro* a shapeless breach, his stream 

As high in air tl^ bursting torrents flow. 
As deep recoiling surges foam below. 
Prone down the ruck the whitening sheet de- 
And viewless echo*s ear, astonish'd, rends. 
Dim-seen, through rising mists, and ceaseless 

The hoary cavern, wide-surrounding lowers. 
Still thro* the gap the struggling river toils. 
And still below, the horrid caldron boils— 







Sweet Flow*rct, pledge o* meikle lovc^ 

And ward o' mony a prayer, 
What heart o* stane wad thou na roovei 

Sae helpless, sweet, and fair ! 

Kovemlier lurples o*er the lea, 

Chill on thy lovely form ; 
And gunc, alus ! the ahelt'ring tre^ 

Should shield thee firae the storm* 

3Iay He who gives the rain to pour. 

And wings the blast to blaw. 
Protect thee frae the driving shower, 

The bitter frost and snaw ! 

May Hx, the friend of woe and want, 
^Vho heals life*s various stounds. 

Protect and guard the mother plant, 
And heal her cruel wounds ! 

But hte she flourish*d, rooted fast. 

Fair ou the summer morn : 
Now feebly bends she in the blast. 

Unsheltered and forlorn. 

Blest he thy bloom, thou lovely gem, 

Uniicath'd by ruffian hand 1 
And from thee many a parent stem 

Arise to deck our land ! 

As tlie autliemiRproff history of the Whistle Is #■- 
rious, I ihall here give it— In the train of Anne of 
Denmark, when she came to Scoclsnd with our James 
the Sixth, there esme over alio a Dan^Ah eentlemaa of 
^ganric stature and great prowe«* and a matEhlisB 
ihatnpion of Haochuiu He had a little etXKiy 'Whirtla 
which nt the winnienoenient of the orcicx he laid on 
Uic titblr, ami whoever was Imc able to blow it. erciy 
body el«e txiiiij* disabled by tlic potency of the bottle;, 
was to carry off UtcAVhintle as a trophy of victoty. 
The Daiiv produced credentials of his vtrCorles withow 
n bJji^lc (U'loat, at tlio courts of CopenhMen, Stock* 
holm. Mowuw, Warsaw, and sevcmi or the petty 
courts in Germany ; and challen|;ed the Scots Baedm* 
naiian* to the altenative of tryi^ his wo wets, or oka 
of aekoowlcdging thdr inferiority. After many owiw 
throws on the part of the Scou. the Dane was eneouB* 
tered by Sir Robert Lawrie of M axwetton, aneastor of 
the prtMcnt worthy baronet of that name i who, after 
three days and three nif(hts* hard contest, ld(t Ite 
Scandinavian under the table, 


Sir Walter, son to Sir Robert before mentioned, tH 
terwards lost the Whiitle to Walter Riddel, of Glen. 
riddel, who had married a sister of Sir Walter's. OB 
Friday, the ICth of October 1790, at Frlars^^arse, tto 
WhiKtle wa» once more contended for, as related in tbo 
ballad, by the present Sir Robert Lawrie of Maawil- 
ton; Robert Riddel, Esq. of Glenriddel, lineal de- 
scendant and representative of Walter Riddel, who 
woo the Whistle, and in whoso family it had eoatf- 
nued : and Alcajuider Ferguson, Em. of Craigdarrocn, 
likewise dewended of the great Sir Robert t which ksl 
gentleman carried offtbe hani>won hooouis of tho ML 

I siKo o^t "Whistle, a Whutle of worth, 
I sing of a Whistle, die pride of the Norih, 
Waa brought to the court of our good Scottiili 

And long with this Whistle all Scotland ahdl 


Old Loda,* still rueiog the arm of Finga], 
The god of the bottle aeoda down from hii 

« This Whistle's yovr ehalleoge, to ScotlaaA 

get o'er, 
And drink them to hell. Sir ! or ne'er 

more !" 

Old poets have snng, and old chronicles taOp 
What championa ventur'd, what chsmpioai 

The son of great Loda was conqueror still, 
And blew on the Whistle his requiem shrill. 

Till Robert, the lord of the Cairn and tl« 
Unmatch*d at the bottle, unconqoer*d in wir» 
He drank his poor god-ship as dieep as the sei^ 
No tide of the Baltic e'er drunker than he. 

Thus Robert, victorioni, the trophy hn 
Which now in his lunue has for agea remain'd } 

• Set Oiilan*s Caiie-thaa. 



TO thfw aobb dMilttMb and diof bitbloodl, 
ecmtieit igain have raiiew*d« 

Three jorout good MUmt, with heirtt clear 

of flaw; 
GnBfdmocht n fiunona ftr wit, worth, and 

And tmaty G&mriddel, m ikilTd ia old coins ; 
Aad pOaat Sir Robert, deep read in old winai, 

Ckaifdarroch began, with a tongue imooth 
Sinriog Glaoriddel to yiehl ap the ipoil ; 
Or dee he would muater the headi of the clan, 
And once man, in claret, try which was the 

'^ Bf the goda of the oocientK,*' Glenriddel 
** Before I lurrender ao glorious a priac, 
ni oonjnre the ghost of the great Rorie More,* 
, And bumper hk horn with him txienty times 
o er* 

Sr Robert, a ooUier, no speech would pre- 

But hn ne'er turn*d his bark on his fue — or his 

8nd, TosB down the Whistle, the prize of the 

in daret, he*d die or he*d yield. 

To the board of Glenriddel our heroes repair, 
80 noted for drownii^ of sorrow and care ; 
Bnt for wine and for welcome not more known 

to fame. 
Than the sense, wit, and taster of a sweet lovely 


A bard waa selected to witness the fray. 
And IsD fritnre ages the feats of the day ; 
A bard who detested all Budnc»it aiid spleen, 
And wifih*d that Parnauua a viaeyurd hail 

The dinner being ovrr, the claret they ply, 
And every new cork is a new bpriog ot juy ; 
In the bands of old friendship and kindred so 

And the bands grew the tighter the more they 
were wet. 

Gay pleasure ran not as bumpers ran o*er ; 
Bright Phoebus ne'er witness*d so joyous a core. 
And vowed that to leave them he waa quite 

Tin QFOthia hinted he*d see them next mom. 

Six bottles a-piece had well wore ont the 
When gallant Sir Robert, to finish the fight. 

« SatMoMiA Tour to tbf UetoUafc 

Tim*d o'er in one bnmpar a hottie of red. 
And swore 'twaa the way that their anccstort 

Then worthy Glenriddel, so cautious and 
No longer the waiian, ungodly, would wage ; 
A high-mling Elder to wiUlow in wine ! 
He left the foul business to folks less divine. 

The galknt Sir Robert fought hard to the 

end; j 

But who can with £ite and quart bumpers coi^ 

Though fote said — a hero should perish in light ; 
So uprose bright Phcebus — and down fell the 


Next uprose our bard, like a prophet in 
drink : — 
** Craigdarroch, thou 'It soar when creation 

shall sink ; 
But if thou would flourish immortal in rhyme. 
Come— one l>ottle more— and hsve at the sub- 
lime ! 

'* Thy line, that have struggled for Freedom 
with Brui*^ 
Miall heroes and patriots ever prodnee ; 
So thine be the Uurel, and mine be the bay ; 
The field thou hast won, by yon bright god of 

day !" 


A BROTHXa roxT. f 

I'm three times doubly o'er jroor debtor, 
For your auhUfarrcnt, frien'ly letter ; 
Till)' I uidiin Biy't, I doubt ye flatter. 

Ye speak so fair : 
For my puir, Niily, rhymin' clatter. 

Some leas maun sair. 

Hale be your lu'srt, hale be your fiddle ; 
T^an:; may your elbuck jink and diddle, .1 
To cheer you through the weary widdle 

O' war'ly cares. 
Till bairns' bairns kindly cuddle 

Your auld grey hairk 

But Davie, lad, I'm red 3re're glaildt ; 
I'm tauld the Muse ye hae negleekit ; 
An* gif it's sae, ye sod be lickit 

Until ye fyke ; 
Sic hana aa yon and ne'er be fiukit. 

Be hain't wha lika. 

1. J J?!fi*P^"l^ the poems at Oevid SUIar, pn^ 




For me, Tin on Panumu brink, 

Rivin' the words to g«r them clink ; 

Whylen daex't wi* love, whyles daes*t wi* drink* 

Wi* jads or roaaooe ; 
An* whyles, but aye owre late, I think, 

Braw sober leawns. 

Of a* the thooghtless sons o* man, 
Common* me to the bardie clan ; 
Except it be some idle plan 

O' rhymin* clink. 
The devil-haet, that I and ban. 

They erer think. 

Nae thought, nae view, nae scheme of livin* ; 
Nae cares to gie ur joy or grievin* : 
But ju»t the pouchie put the nieve in, 

An* while ought's there, 
Then, hiltie, skiltie, we gae scrievin*. 

An* fash nae mair. 

Leeze me on rhyme ! it's a3re a treasure, 
My chief, amaist my only pleasure, 
At hame, a-fiel*, at wark or leisure, 

The Muse, poor hiatie ! 
Tho' rough an* foploch be her measure, 

She's seldom lax}-. 

Hand to the Muse, my dainty Davie : 
The warl' may play yon monj a abavie ; 
But for the Muse, she'll never leave ye, 

Tho' e'er sae poor, 
Na, cren tho* lim|nn* wi' the spavie 

Frae door tae door. 


I MIND it weel in early date, 

When I was beordlcs*, young, and bhrte, 

An' first could thmh the bam, 
Or baud a yokin o* the pleugh. 
Ad' thu* forfbughten sair eneugh. 

Yet uneo proud to learn—- 
M'hen first amang the yellow com 

A man I reckon'd waa. 
And wi' the lave ilk merry mom 
Could rank my rig and l as s 
Still shearing, and clearing 
The tither stooked raw, 
Wi* daivers, an' haivera, 
Wearily the day awa. 


E'en then a wiah, I mind ita pow'r, 
A wiah that to my latcat boor 

Shall stMogiy beave my breast. 
That I for poor auld ScotUnd's sake. 
Some usefii' plan or book oonld make, 

Or sing a sang, at least. 
The rough burr-thiatle, spnadiiv ^»^ 

I tum'd dM 

An' spared the aymbol 
NoBitkm, ooBtatk»» 

Bf y envy e'er could raiae, 
A S<»t still, but bkt HilU 
I knew sae higher prnat. 


Bat still the elements o* sang 

In formleaa jumble, right an' np|» 

Wild floated in my brain : 
*Till on that har*st I said befon, 
My partner in the meny cora, 

8lie Toaa*d the forming atrain : 
I see her yet, the sonaie qnean» 

That lighted up her jingle. 
Her witching smile, her pauky e'en 
That gart my heart-strings tii^ : 
I filed, inspired. 

At every kindling keek, 
But bashii^, and dashing, 
I feared aye to apeak.* 



Thx lamp of day, with iU-preaaging glares 
IXm, cloudy, sunk beneiih the westNa wav»; 

Th* inconstant blast bowl'd thro' the darkeniof 
And hollow whistled in the roeky cave. 

Lone aa I wander'd by each cliff ai)d dell. 
Once the loved haunts of Scotia's royal 
train ;f 
Or mnsed where limpid streams once ha]low'd» 
Or mould ring rains mark the sacnd £uie.$ 

Th* increising blast roar'd round the beetliif 
The clouds, awift-wing*d, flew o*cr the starry 


The groaning treea untimely abed their locka. 
And ahoodng meteors caught the startled eye. 

The paly moon rose in die livid east. 
And 'mong the clifi disclosed a stately fom. 

In weeda of woe that frantic beat bar bnHt, 
And miz*d ber wailinga with the raviag 

Wild to my heart the filial pulses glow, 

*Twas Caledonia's trophied shield I view*d ; 

Her form majestic dnx^'d in pensive woe^ 
The lightning of bar eye in tean imbued. 

• The mder will And some enkaatloa of thU 

The^Ktaf^ Park at HdftooMngm. 




Bcrencd tLat ipear, redoubtable in war, 
Reclined that bantter, ent in fields imfurl'd, 

That like a deathful meteor gleam'd afar. 
And braved the mighty monarch* of the 
world. — 

** My patriot ROD fill* an untimely fprave !*' 

With accents wild and lifted arms she cried ; 
** Low lies the hand that ofc was stretch'd to 
Low lies the heart that swelled with honest 

** A weeping country joins a widow's tear. 
The helpless poor mix with the orphan's cry ; 

Hie drooping art» around their patron's bier. 
And grateful science heives tlie heartfelt sigh. 

" I saw my sons resume their ancient fire ; 

I saw fur Freedom's blossoms richly blow ! 
Bat, ah ! how hope is born but to expire ! 

Relentless fiite has laid the guardian low.» 

" My patriot fills, but shall he lie unsung, 
While empty greatness saves a worthless 

No ; every Muse shall join her tuneful tongue, 
And future ages hear his growing fame. 

" And I frill join a mother's tender cares, 
Thro' future times to make his virtnos Isat, 

That distant yean may boast of other Blaiit" — 
She said, tad yamsh'd with the sweeping 



OxcE fondly lov'd, and still remember *d dear, 
Sweet early object of my youthful vows. 

Accept thin mark of frirndHhip, warm, sincere, 
Friendship ! 'tis all cold duty noiv allows. — 

And when you read the simple artless rhymes. 
One friendly sigh for hini, he asks no more, 

Who distant burns in flaming torrid climes. 
Or haply lies beneath th' Atlantic roar. 




WuEH lyart leaves bortrow the yird. 

Or wavering like the Bauckie-bird,f 

Bedim cauld Boreas' blast ; 

• The alrl mentioned in the letter to Dr. Mootfi 
t Tbt old ircotcb iiaqnt for thf BtU 

When hiihtanes drive tvi* bitter slytf^ 
And infint frmts begin to bite. 
In hoar}' crauvuch drest ; 
Ae night at e'en a merry core, 
O* randie, gangrel bodir*. 
In Poosie-Nansie's held the ^plore. 
To drink their orra dudrlicN : 
Wi* quaffing and laughing. 

They ranted and they sang ; 
Wi' jumping and thumping. 
The very girdle rang. 

First, niest the fire, in auld red rags, 
Ane sat, weel brsc'd wi' mealy bags, 

And knapsack a* in order ; 
His doxy lay within his arm, 
Wi' usquebae an* blankets warm- 
She blinket on her sodger : 
An' aye he gies the tousie drab 

The tither skelpin' kiss. 
While she held up her greedy gab 
Just like an a'mous dish. 
Ilk smack did crack still. 

Just like a cadger's whip, 
Then staggering and swaggering 
He roar'd this ditty up— 




I AM a son of Mars who have been in many 

And show my cuts and scars wherever I come ; 
This here was for a wench, and that other in n 

When wclcombg the French at the sound of 

the drum. 

Lai de dandle, Stc 


My 'prenticeship I past where my leader 

breath'd his last. 
When the bloody die was cast on the heights of 

Abram ; 
I served out my trade when the galUnt game 

was play'd. 
And thp Moro low was laid at the sound of the 


Lai de daudle, lee* 


I lastly was with Curtis, among the floBting 

And there I left for witness an arm and a limb ; 
Yet let my country need me, with Elliot to 

head me, 
rd clatter my stumps at the sound of the drum. 

Lai de daudle, ttc 

And now tho* I must beg with t woodaft im 

and leg, 
And mpny % tatter*d riif bulging 0TcriD|rb«ii^ 


ftai ti litppy with my trallct, my lottle lad 

my callet, 
At wlien 1 us*d in learlet to follow t dram. 

Lai de daudle, kc, 


What tho* with hotry luokt, I mint stand the 

Winter sboGkn, 
Beneath the woods ami rocks often times for a 

When the tother bog I sell, and the tother 

bottle tell, 
1 could meet a troop of hell, at the soond of 

the drum. 

Lol de daudle, Itc. 


Re ended ; and the kebars sheuk, 

Aboon the chorus roar ; 
While frighted rattans backward Ieuk« 

And seek the benmost bore ; 
A f«iry fiddler frae the neuky 

He skirl'd out encore ! 
But up arose the martial chnck. 

And laid the loud uproai; 


ThHi#-" Soldier Liddlt.' 

I OUCK was a maid, tho* I cannot tell when. 
And still my delight is in proper yonng men ; 
Some one of a troop of dragoons wu my daddie, 
Vo wonder Fm fond of a sodger laddie. 

Sing, Lai de lal, &C. 


The first of my lores was t swaggering blade, 
To rattle the thundering drum was his trade ; 
lib leg was so tight, and his cheek was so 

Transported I was with my sodger laddie. 

Sing, Lai (k lal, Stc 


But the godly old chaplain left him in the lurch, 
The sword I forsook for the sake of the churchy 
He ventur'd the soul, and I risked the body, 
*Twas then I prov'd false to my sodger laddie. 

Sin^, Lai de lal, &c. 


Full soon I grew sick of my sanctified sot, 
The regiment at large for a husband I got ; 
From the gilded spontoon to the fifo I was 

I asked no more but a sodger hddie. 

Sing, Lal de lal, && 


But the peace it reduc*d me to beg in despair, 
Till T met my old b(»y at Cunoingham fAir | 

His rag reffinuniai they flattctf'd so gtndy» 
My heart it njoio'd at my sodger loi^ie. 

Sing, Lal de lal, tec. 


And now I hsva liv*d.— I know not how bdg« 

And still I can join in a cup or a song ; 

But whilst with both hands I can hold the glMl 

Here's to thee, my hero, my sodger laddie. 

Sing, Lal de Ld, kc. 


Then nieit ontspak a raucle etrlirt« 
Wha kent sae weel to deck the sCerlingf 
For monie a pursie she had hooked. 
And had in mony a well been ducked. 
Her dove had been a Highland laddie, 
But weary fa* the waefu* woodie ! 
Wi* sighs and sobs she thus began 
To wul bet braw John Highlandi 


2^iiif^' O laP y« were dead* 

A HiGRLAVD lad my bnre was bom, 
Tht Lalland lews ha hsU in aooni ; 
But he stiU was fidthfu' to his daily 
My gallant braw John Highlandmsn. 


Sing, hey my braw John Highlandmaa ! 
Sing, ho my braw John Htghlandmaa ! 
There's not a lad in a' the Ian' 
Was nutch for my John Highlsndman, 


With his philibeg an' tartan platd, 
An' gude claymore down by his side^ 
The ladies hearts he did trepan. 
My gallant braw John Highlandman, 

Sing, hey, lee. 


We rannd a' firom Tweed to Spey, 
An* Ur d like lords and ladies gay ; 
For a Lalland focc he feared none. 
My gallant braw John Highlandman* 

Sing, hey, &c 

They banish'd hhn beyond the sea, 
But ere the bud was on the tree, 
Adown my cheeks the pearls ran. 
Embracing my John Highlandman. 

Sing, hey, Ice 


But, oh ! they tatch'd him at the Ust| 
And bound him in a dongeoa £ist ^ 


Siiig^hey, See. 

And BOW A widow, I most BMNm 
The pkavH thtt wiU ne'er RCam ; 
Xb oomfort but a beerty can, 
Vhen I think on John Highlandnm. 

Sing^ beyy lea 


A pigmy icnper, wi* hit fiddle, 
irtn utd at tiyvts end fiiin to driddk^ 
Her itnppin lunb and gauty middle 

He reachM nae higher» 
Had hcltd hie heartie like a riddle, 

An* blawn't on fire. 

Wi' hand on hannch, an* upward e'e^ 
He croon'd hie gamnt, one* two, three. 
Then in an Arioeo key. 

The wee AjfoIIo 
Set off wi* Allegretto glee 

His giga mIo. 


Whims ome dM lw« nPt" 

Ln me ryke up to dight that tear. 
An' go wi me to be my dear. 
An' then your every eare and fisar 
May whiatie owre the lave e't. 


I am a fiddler to my trade, 
An' a' the tunea that e'er I play'd. 
The aweetaat atiU to wi£e or maid, 
Waa whittle owre the lave o't. 


At kima and weddiqga we'ae be there, 
An' O ! aae niody'a we will hrt ; 
We'll bouae about till Daddie Care 
Singa whiatie owre the lave o't. 
lam, Ice. 


8ae merrily the banea we'll pyke, 
An' sun ounela about the dyke. 
An' at our leiaure, when we like. 
We'll whiatie owre the lare o't. 
lam, &C. 

Bat bleaa me wi' your heaven o' charma» 
And while I kittle hair on thairma, 
Mmagtr, eauldj an a aick harma. 
May whiatie ovm the lave o't. 
I am, fcc. 

Her charma had atmck i^atardy OM| 

Aa weelaapoor Gntenper; 
He take the fiddler by the beard, 

And drawa a maty nqner— 
He awoor by a* waa awearing worth. 

To apeet him like a pliver, 
Unleaa he wonld from that time figrth, 

Relinquiah her fiw ever. 

Wi' ghaady e*e, poor tweedle dee 

Upon hu hunkera bended. 
And pray'd for grace wi' ruefd' &oa^ 

And aae the quarrel ended. 
But though hia little heart did grieve. 

When round the tinkler preat her, 
He feign'd to snirtle in Lis sleeve. 

When thus the caird addreas'd her. 


T^nie— *' Clout the Caldron.* 


Mt bonnie loss, I work in braaa, 

A tinkler ia my utation ; 
I've traveli'd round all Christian ground 

In this my occupation. 
I've ta'en the gold, I've been enroll'd 

In many a noble aquadron : 
But vain they search'd, when off I march^ 

To go and dout the cauldron* 

I've ta'en the gold, %tb 



Deapiae that ahrimp, that 

Wi' a hia noiae an' caprin*. 
An' tak' a ahare wi' thoae that bear 

The budget an' the apron. 
An' &y that atowp, my &ith and houp^ 

An' by that dear Keilbagie,* 
If e'er ye want, or meet wr aeaat. 

May I ne'er weet my cnigie. 

An' by that atovp^ Ik. 


The caird prevail'd — the nnblnahiog fiur 

In hia embracea annk. 
Partly wi' love o'eroome aae aair. 

An' partly ahe waa dnmk.^ 
Sir Violino, with an air 

That ahow'd a man of apnnk, 
Wlah'd tntiaon between the pair. 

An' made the bottle clunk 

To their health that night 

But hurchin Cupid ahot a abaft 

That play'd a dame a ahavie. 
The fiddler rak'd her fore an aft, 

Bchint the chicken cavie. 
Her lord, a wight o' Homer'a * craft, 

Tho* limping with the apavie, 

* A peculiar lort of whiikjr io oalkd, agrsat ftvoov- 
ite with PoMte-Nande^ clubs. 

• HomarisaUoifedtobetheoUBit 



He lirplM up, tnd Up like daft, 
An' ihorM them Daintie Davie 

O boot that night 

He was a care-defying blade 

As ever Bacchus listed, 
Though Fortune sair upon him laid, 

His heart she ever mias'd it. 
He had no wish but — to be glad. 

Nor want but — ^when he thirsted ; 
He hated nought but^to be sad, 

And thus the Muse suggested, 

His sang that ni^t. 


Tune^» ForsT that, anr $f that* 

I AM a bard of no regard, 

Wi* gentle folks, an* a' that ; 
But Homer-Jikef the glowran byke, 

Frae town to town I dra\7 that. 


For a* that, an* a that ; 

An* twice as meikle^s a* that ; 
IVe lost but ane, Tve twa behin', 

I've wife enough for a* that. 


I never drank the Muse's stank, 

CasUlia*H burn, an' a* that ; 
But there it streams, and richly reams. 

My Helicon 1 ca' that. 

For a* that, &c. 

Great love I bear to a* the fair. 

Their humble slave, an' a' that ; 
But lordly will, I hold it still 
A mortal sin to thraw that. 

For a' that, Sec. 


In raptures sweet, this hour we meet, 

Wi' mutual love an* a* that ; 
But for how lang theflie may ttamff. 

Let inclination law that. 

For a* that, kc, 


Their tricks and craft have put me daft, 
They've ta'cn me in, an* a' that ; 

But clear your decks, und here's the s«x / 
I like the jads for a' that. 

" For a' that, an' a* tint, 

• An* twice an nioikle's a* that; 
My (loarest bluitl, to do them guid, 
Thrv're welcome till't for a' that. 


So sung the bard — and Nansie's wa's 
Shook with a thunder of applause, 
Re-echo*d from each mouth ; 

They toomM ihttr poeki, la' pnr&'d iUr did^ 
They scarcely left to oo'er Mr foAi, 
To quench their lowan drouth. 

Then owre again, the jovial thnng, 

The poet did request, 
To loose his pack an* wile a aug, 
A ballad o* the best : 
He rising, rgoidng, 

Between his twa JMoroib^ 
Looks round him, an* found thm 
Impatient £00: the ehoras. ' 




Skx I the amdcing bowl before ui, 

Mark our jovial ragged ring ! 
Round and round take np the ebonu. 

And in raptures let ua aing. 


A fig fior those by law protected! 

Liberty'a a glorious feast ! 
Courts for cowards were erected. 

Churches built to please the prieiC 


What is title ? what is treasure ? 

What is reputatioii'a can ? 
If we lead a liib of pleasure, 

'Tia no matter how or when / 
Afig, &c 


With the ready trick and £d>]e. 
Round we wander all the day ; 

And at night, in bam or stably 
Hug our doxies on the hay. 
A fig, Sec. 

Does the train-attended corrJo^f 

Through the country lighter rove ? 
Does the sober bed of marriage 
Witnesa brighter scenes of love ? 
Afig, Ik. 


Life is an a voribncm. 

We regard not how it goea ; 
Let them cant about dewmm 

Who have characters to lose. 
Afig, fcc 

Here's to the budgets, bags, and walleCi ! 

Here's to all the wandering train ! 
Here's our ragged bnU$ and eafiete / 

One and all cry out. Amen ! 

A fig for those by law pr o tec te d ! 

Liberty's a glorious feast ! 
Courts for cowards were eceetad^ 

Charohae boflt to pkiit the priiil* 



Oktbodox, orthodoSf wha btlicre in John 
Let me louad ta alarm to yo«ir comcieoce ; 
Tlwr«*t ft heretic blaet hftt been Uawn in the 
That what h no lenie mmt be noniensie. 

Dr. Mae, f Dr. Mac, ytm ftbouM stretch on a 

To itrike evil doen wi* terror ; 
To join £uth and aemie upon ony pretence, 

Is heretic^ damnable error. 

Tovm of Ayr, town of Ayr, it was mad, I de- 

To meddle wP mischief a-brewinf ; 
IVovost John is still deaf to the church's relief^ 

And orator Bob ( is its ruin. 

jyrymple mild, $ D*rymple mild, tho* your 

heart's like a child, 
*" And your li& like the new driven snaw, 
Yet that winna sare ye, auld Satan must hare 


For preaching tltat three's one an*'twa. 

Bumble John,^ Ramble John, mount the steps 
wi* a grosn, 
Cry the book is wi* heresy crammM ; 
Then lug out yonr ladk, «ieal brimstone like 
And roar erery note of the damn*d. 

Kmper James, |{ Simper James, leave the fair 
Killie dames, 
There's a holier chace in your view ; 
rn lay on your head, that the pack yell soon 
Par puppies like yon there's but few. 

Singet Sawney,** Singet Sawney, are yt herd- 
ing the penny, 

tJncooscious what evils await ; 
Wi' a jump, yell, ami howl, alarm every soul. 

For the foul thief is just at your gate* 

DMMy AuM,tf Daddy Auld, there's a tod in 

the fauld, 

A tod meikle waiir than the clerk ; 

The* ye can do little kkaith, >V11 be in at the 

Ami if ye canna bite ye may bark. 

_ • This poem wai written a short time after ttie pub- 
Iwlkw of Mr. M<Ciirs Esny. *^ 

iMr. M* \U i R-.C A — n. 
Dr. D — c. 5 Mr. I 

He, N^— <-y. •• Mr, 

h Mr. A— d, 

A— — n« 
5 Mr. R-— JL 

Davie Bluster,* Davie Bluster, if ^r • dUt 
ye do muster. 
The corps is no nice of recmits ; 
Yet to worth lets be just, ro)'al blood ye might 
If the a» was tlic king of the brutes. 

Jamie GooHe,f Jamie Goosey ye ha'e made but 
toom roose* 
In hunting tlie wicked lientenant ; 
But the Doctor's your mark, for the L d's 
haly ark ; 
He has cooper *d and cawd a wrang pin ia'L 

Pbet Willie, \ Poet WiUie, gie the Doctor a 

Wi* your liberty's chain and your wit ; 
0*er Pegasus' side ye ne'er laiil a stride. 

Ye but smelt, uuui, the place where he sh-L 

Andro Gouk, 5 Aodru Gouk, }'e may slander 
the liook. 
And the book not the waur let me tell ye ; 
Ye are rich, and look big, but lay b)' hat and 
And ye'U hac a calfs head o' sma' value. 

Barr Steetiic, | Barr Stecnie, what mean ye ? 
what mean ^-e ? 

If ye'U meddle nae mair wi' the matter, 
Ye may ha'e some pretence to bavins and sense, 

Wi* people wha ken ye nae better. 

Irvine side,** Irvine ride, wi' your turkcy-codc 
Of nunhiiod hut sma' is ^-our share ; 
Yc've the figure, 'tis true, even your iaes will 
And your friends tlicy dare grant you naa 

Muirland Jock.ff Bluirland Jock, when the 
L-~d makes a rock 

To cniMh Common Scnw for her sins, 
If ill manners were wit, there's no mortal so lit 

To confound the poor Doctor at ance. 

Holy Will, \\ Holy Will, there was wit i' yoor 
When ye pilfer'd the alms o* the poor ; 
The timmer is scant, when ye're u'en for a 
Wha should swing in a rape fur an hour. 

Calvin's sons, Calvin's sons, reice )*otur sp'ritcal 
Ammunition ye never can need ; 
Your hearts are the stuffy will be powther 
enough, . 

And your skulls are storehouses o* lead. 

• Mr. G . O e. < Mr. Y e, C- 

j Mr. I» », A-r. ^ Dr. A. M II. 

fMr. 8»— Y— *, D—r, ••Mr. 
tMr.i»— -0. 




Fod dttrtti^ wT your pricrt-ikdp- 
iag tnmii 
Why d««ert ye your oiild nttive tbire ; 
Tour miwe i« a gip»ic> t'ea tho* she wer« tipnci 
She could ca* u« nae watir than ve an. 


O A* ye pious godly floeki, 
Weel fed on pasture** orthodox. 
Wha DOW will keep you frae the fox, ' 

Or worrying tykeCy 
Or wha will tent the waifa and crocks. 

About the dykes I 

The twa best herds in a* the wast. 
That e'er ga*e gospel horn a blast, 
These five-and-twenty simmers past, 

O! dooltotell, 
Ha*e had a bitter black out-cast 

Atween themseL 

O, M y, man, and worthy R— II, 

How could you raise so vile a bustle, 
Ye'll see how new-light herds will whistle, 

An' think it fine ! 
The Lord's cause ne'er gat sic a twistlc, 

Sin* I ha*e min*. 

O,' Sirs ! whiM*«r wad hae expeckit, 

Your duty ye wad sae negleckit. 

Ye wha were ne'er by laird respecklt. 

To wear tluB pUud, 
But by the brutes themselves eleckit. 

To be their guide. 

What flock wi* M ^y*s flock could rank, 

Sat hale and hearty every shank, 
Nae poison'd soor Arminian stank, 

He let them taste, • 
Frae Calvin's well, aye clear they drank, 

O sic a feast ! 

The thummart, wil*-eat, brock, and tod, 
Weel kend his voice thro' a' the wood, 
He smelt their ilka hole and road, 

Baith out and in. 
And weel he lik'd to shed their bluid. 

And sell their skin. 

What hectl like R U teH'd his tale. 

His voice was heard thro' muir and dale, 
He kend the Lord's sheep, ilka tail. 

O'er a* the height 
And saw gin they were sick tft hale. 

At the first sight. 

He fine a mangy sheep could lemb, 
Or nobly fling the gospel dnb. 

• Thb pises was among the flnt of our Anthei's pro* 
dncttooi wMch lit subsnlttad to tht pubUe; and was 
by a dUputf bstwffB VnotHmgfvami, 

And MW-Hgbt hni» eodd nic^ ^raK 

Or pay their skin; 

Could shake them o'er the bumiag dnb^ 

Or heave them in. 

Sic twar-O! do I Uve to ste't. 
Sic £unous twa should disagrcet, 
An* names, like villain, hvpocrits^ 

nk itber gi'en. 
While new-light herds wi* laughin* aptte, 

Say netthar's lidn' ! 

A' ye wha tent the goipd iknid. 

There's D n, deep, and P ■ s, than], 

But chiefly thou, apottle A — d 

We trust in thee. 
That thoa wilt work them, hot and ctaM, 

Till they agree. 

Consider, Sirs,' how we're beset. 
There's scarce a new herd that we get, 
But comes frae 'manjr that cursed set, 

I winna name, 
I hope frae heav'n to see them yet 

In fiery fljme. 

D e has been lang cor fSie, 

M* 11 has wraught us roeikle wae, 

And that curs'd rascal ca'd M*- 

And baith tht 
That aft ha'e made u« black and bUe, 

Wi' vengcfu* paws. 

Auld W w lang has hatch'd mischiei^ 

We thought aye death wad bring rdic^ 
But he has gotten, to our grief, 

Ane to succeed hiniy 
A chield wha'U soundly buff our beef; 

I meikle dread him. 

And mony a ane that I could tell, 
Wha fain would openly rebel, 
Forby turn-coats amanf^ ounel. 

There S — h for aae, 
I doubt he's bat a grey •nick quill, 

And that ve'll fin'. 


O ! a' ye flockn n'er a' the hills. 

By mosses, meadows, moors, and fcUs, 

Come join your counsel and your skills^ 

To cow the lairds. 
And get the brutes the power themteley 

To choose their btfdf. 

Then Orthodoxy yet may prance. 
And learning in a woody dance, 
And that fell cur ca'd Common Sent, 

That bites sat aair» 
Be banish'd o'er the sea to France : 

Let him bark thtrt* 

Then Shaw's and Dalrympb's tkiqMBei^ 


]I*Q— e*f pa^Mtie ninlv warn. 

And gnid M< ^b, 

Wi* S— th, wka thro* tiM hetrt am gbuioe, 

Miy a* pack a£ 


Cu&a*D be tha man* the poorest wretch in life, 
The cnmching varaal to the tyrant wife, 
Who haa DO will but by her high perminion ; 
Who haa not lixpeooe but in her poawnion ; 
Who muft to her his dear friend** wcret tell ; ' 
Who dreada a curtain lecture wone than hell. 
Were auch the wiiie had fallen to my part, 
Td break her apirit, or I'd break her heart ; 
Td charm her with the magic of a iiwitch, 
rd kiai her maidt, and kick the perverse b — ^h. 


Fo& lords or kings I dinna mourn. 
E'en let them die — for that they're born ! 
Bat, oh, prodigious to reflect, 
A Towmonit Sirs, is gane to wreck ! 
O JS^ty-eigkt^ in thy sma' spai-e 
What dire events ha'e taken place ! 
Of what enjoyments thou hast reft us ! 
In what a pickle thou hast left us ! 

The Spanish empire's tint ahead. 
An* my auld teethless Bawtie's dead ; ^ 
The tooJaie's teugh 'tween Pitt an* Fox, 
An* our guidwife** wee birdy cocks ; 
The tane ia game, a bluidy devil. 
But to the ken-birdt unco civil ; 
The tither*s dour, haa nae sic brceilin*, 
Bot better stuff ne*er claw'd a midden ! 

Ye ministers, come mount the pulpit, 
An* cry till ye be hearse an* nipit ; 
For Sight^'tipkt he wish'd you weel. 
An* gied you a* baith gear an' meal ; 
E*cn mony a plack, an* mony a peck, 
Ye ken yoursela, for little feck ! 

Ye bonnie lasses dight your o«>n. 
For some o* you hae tint a frien' : 
In JSigki^-eigkty ye ken, was ta'eti 
What ye*ll ne*cr hae to gi'e agaiu. 

Gbeerve the very nowt an* sheep. 
How dowff an* dowie now they creep ; 
Nay, even tha yirth itsel* does cry. 
For Embro* wrils are grutten dr\'. 

O Si^^iy-^ine thon's U)it a bairn, 
An' no owre auld, I hope, to learn ! 
Thoa bevdless boy, I pray tak* cart, 
Thot DOW has got thy daddy's chair, 

Nae hand-cnff'd. misdM, haff^hackl'd JUgmi, 
But, like himsel*, a full free agent. 
Be sure ye fiiDow out the plan 
Nae waur than he did, honest man ! 
As meikle better as you can. 

January 1, 1789. 



Wr cam na here to view vonr warks 


In hopes to be mair wise. 
But ouly, lest we gang to hell, 

It may be nae surprise : 
But when we tirl'd at your door, 

Your porter douglit na hear us ; 
Sae may, ithould we to hell's yetti come, 

Yuur billy Satan suir us ! 




He who of R — k — n sanj?, lies stiff and dead, 
And a green grassy hillock hides his head ; 
Aks ! alas ! a devilish change indeed ! 

At a meeting of the DuMraiRa*sinaa VoU'XTEias, 
held to commemorate the atuiivcrsary of Rodnky's 
victory. AfvU 12th 1782, BuaNs was called upon 
for a Soog, instead of whidi be dslivered the follow, 
ing Linkm: 

Instead of a song, boys, I'll give you a toast. 
Here's the memory of thoae on the twelfth that 

we lost ;— 
That we lost, did I say, nay, by heav'n ! that we 

For their fame it shall last while the world goea 

The next in succession, 1*11 give you the King, 
Whoe'er would betray him on high may he swing; 
^nd hercN the grand fabfic, our free Consti- 
As built on the base of the great Revolution ; 
And longer with Politics not to be cramm'd. 
Be Anarchy curs'd, and be Tyranny damn'd ; 
And who would to Liberty e*er prove disloyaJ, 
May his son be a hangmau, and he his fint triaL 




TflicKEST night o*erhuigi my dweDiog ! 

Howling tempests o*er me rave ! 
Turbid torrents, wintry swelling. 

Still surround my lonely cave ! 

Cr}'Hta] streamlets gently flowing, 

Duoy haunts of baiie mankind. 
Western brceses, softly blowing, 

Suit not my distracted mind. 

In the cause of right engafifed. 

Wrongs injurious to redieM, 
Honour's war wu strongly wugcil, 

})ut the heavens deny*d succcm. 

Ruin's wheel has driven n'er us 

Nut a hope that dare attend. 
The wide world is all before u*—' 

But a world without a friend !* 


Clakinda, mistress of my soul. 

The measur*d time b run ! 
The wretch beneath the dreary pole, 

So marks his latest sun. 

To what dark cave of froien night 

Shall poor Sylvander hie ; 
Depriv'd of thee, his life and light. 

The sun of all his joy. 

We part, — hut by these prccioiU} drops, 

That fill thy lovely eyes ! 
No other Ii;;ht »hall guide my steps, 

Till thy bright beams ariiw. 

She, the fair sun of all her sex. 
His blest my glorious day : 

And shall a glimmering planet fix 
My worship to iu ray ? 


As I stood by yon roofless tower, 

Where the wa*-flower scents the dewy air, 
Where th* howlet mourns in her ivy bower. 

And tells the midnight moon Ler care. 

The winds were laid, the air was still. 
The stars they shot alang the sky ; 

The fox was howling on the hill. 
And the distant echoing glens reply. 

« Strathallan, it Is presumed, was one of the follow- 
ers of the young Chevalier, and is supposed to be lying 
concealed in some esve of the Highlands, after the 
battle of Culloden. This song was written before the 

The streim tdown its haidly path. 
Was rushing bv the niin'd wa*s. 

Hasting to join tlw awei^pbg Nitli,* 
Whase diitant mring wwSIm and fli*s. 

The canki bine north was streaming ibrtk 
Her lights, wi* hissing eerie din ; 

Athort the lift they start and shift, 
Like fortune's fisvoun, tint as win. 

By heedless chance I tam*d mine eyei»f 
And, by the moon-beam, shook, to lee 

A stem and stalwart ghust arise, 
Attir'd as minstrels wont to be. 

Had I a statue been o* stane^ 
His darin look had daunted me ; 

And on his bonnet grav*d was plain. 
The sacred pusie^Liberty ! 

And frae his harp sic strains did flow. 

Might roused the slumb*ring dead to hear ; 

But oh, it was a tale of woe. 
As ever met a Briton*s ear ! 

He sang wi* joy his former day, 
He weeping wail'd his latter times ; 

But what he said it was nae play, 
I winna ventur't in my rhymea.}; 





Rkvcrkd defender of beauteous Stnart, 
Of Stuart, a name once respected, 

A name, which to love was the mark of • 
But now *tls despised and neglected : 

* Variation. To Join yon river on the StnUi. 

t Variation. Now looking over firth and fkuld« 
Her horn the iiale-fawd Cynthia reac'd ; 
When, lo, in /orm of mlni^rd auM, 
A Kteni and stalwart ghaist appeai'd. 

* This poem, an imperfect copy of which was priafe- 
ed in Joluison's Mukcum, it here aiven ftom the poeft 
MS. with his last oorrectloiM. The scenery so findy 
described is taken from nature. The poet is supposed 
to bs musing by nL^ht on the banks or the river Cln. 
lien, and by the rums of Lincluden*Abbey, fbundsd la 
the twelfth century, in the reign of Makom IV. of 
whose present situauon the reader may find some ae- 
count in Pennantfs Tour in Scotland, or Grose's Aart- 
quitles of that division of the island. Such a time aad 
such a place are well fitted for holding cop v er se wtth 
aerial beings. Though this poem has a political Mas, 
yet It may be presumed that no reader or taste, wha^ 
ever his opinions may be, wmikl forgive it betag omtt- 
ted. Our poet* s prudence mippressed the soog of iJU 
berty, perhaps fortunately for his reputatioo. It tmf 
be quesUoDed whether, even in the rcsouiecs of \m 
genius, a strsin of poetry could have basa fouad «e»> 
tby of the grandeur aad solenmlty of this prepanttob 


Hm' ■QMcrtiing like moistore eoogbbes in my 

Iiil Ml M0 mUdcem me didoyal ; 
A fMT Wmdi\rm wind'rer may well daim • 

if that waiid*rar were royaL 

Iff fclKfre, that name have nrerM on a throoe ; 

Mf frdien have £U1en to right it ; 
TImbb fidien would ftpurn their dq^enerate ion. 

Thai same ahould lie icoffingly slight it. 

StiU ia prayera for King George I moat heartily 
Th» Queen and the rent of the gentr\', 
Ba dMy wi»e, be they foolifih, ia nothing of 
TiMir tit]«*i avow*d by the coantr}-. 

why of that cpocha make such a fuM, 

Bll hy a l tj f , truce ! we*re on dangerous ground, 
Who knours how the Cuhiona may alter, 

TIm doctrine, to-day, that is lo^'alty sound, 
T»4D0rrow may bring us a halter. 

I aeod \na a trifle, a head of a bard, 
A tnfle scarce worthy your care ; 
B«t accept it, good Sir, as a mark of regard, 
as a boint's dying prayer. 

Now liie*8 chilly evcniug dim shades on your 

And ushers the long dreary night t 
Bttt you, like the star that athwart gilds the fcky. 

Your course to the latest m bright. 

My muse jilted mc here, and tume<l a cor- 
ner on ne, and I have not got again into her 
good graces. Do uie the justice tn l>elieve me 
meere in my grateful remembrance of the many 
dvilitaco you have honoured me with since I 
came to Edinburgh, and in assuring you that I 
hurt the hooonr to be, 

Revered Sir, 
Your obliged and very humble Servant, 

Edikborgb, 1787. 





Kdib eir« Fve read yonr paper throoghf 
Aai MAt to me, 'twas really new ! 
How guaend ye, sir, what maist I wanted ? 
Wi Moajr • day Tve graia*d and ganiit«4> 

To ken what French mimdiicf was browin* } 

Or what the dtumlie Durch were doin* ; 

That vile doup skelper, Emperor Joseph^ 

If Venua yet had got his nuse off; 

Or how the coUieshankie works 

Atween the Russian and the Tutks ; 

Or if the Swede, before he halt, 

WouM pby anither Charles the Twalt ! 

If Denmark, ony body spak o*t ; 

Or Polaml, wha had now the tack o*t $ 

How cut-throat Prussian blades weae hii^ia 

How libbet Italy was singin ; 

If Spaniard, Portuguese, or Swiss, 

Were saying or takin ought amiss : 

Or how our merry lads at hame. 

In Britain's court kept up the game : 

How nn-ol Grar^e, the Lord leuk o*er htm ! 

Was manasfiug St. Stephen's quorum ; 

If sleckit Chatham Will was livin. 

Or glaikit Charlie got his uieve in ; 

How daildic Burke the plea was cotdcin. 

If Warren IIoHtingH* neck was yeukin ; 

How cesses, stents, and fees were raxed, 

Or if bare a — yet were taxed ; 

The news o* princes dukes, and earls, 

IMmps, sharpurs, batvds, and opera-girls ; 

If that doft Buckie, Gcordie Wales, 

Wa^ threMhib still at hizaien* tails. 

Or if he was growin oughtliuii dou«er, 

Aiiu no a perfect kiotra cooler.-— 

A* thit and mair I never heard of; 

And, but lor you, I might despair'd of. 

So gratefu*, back your news I send you. 

And pray, a* guid things msy attend you ! 

Ellislaxd, Monday Moroing, 1790. 



Hail Poehie ! thou nymph reserved ! 

In chase o* thee, what crowds hae swerved 

Frae common sense, or sunk enervcd 

*Mang heaps o' clavers ; 
And och ! o*er aft thy joes hae starved, 

'Mid a* thy fiivours ! 

Say, Lanie, why thy train amang. 
While loud the trump's heroic dang. 
And sock or buskin skelp alang 

To death or marrii^; 
Scarce ane has tried the shepherd-sang 

But wi' miscarriage ? 

In Homer's craft Jock ^fdton thrives ; 
Eschylus* pen Will Shakespeare drives ; 
Wee Pope, the kourlin, 'till him rivca 

Horatkn fame ; 
In thy sweet lang, Barhsuld, sonrives 

Even Sappho's flaggMb 



tint tlirt, Theocritoi, wha matchn ? 
They're no herd*t b*lUta. Maro*« catcbe* ; 
Squire Pope but buske hia >kinliii patches 

O* heathen tatten : 
I paw by hunden, namelees wretches* 

That ape their betters. 

In this braw sfre o* wit an lear. 

Will nane the Shepherd's whistle mair 

Blaw sweetly in its native air 

And rural f^oe ; 
And wi* the far- famed Grecian »hare 

A rival place ? 

Yes ! there is ane ; a Scottish callan ! 
There's ane ; come forrit, honest Allan ! 
Tliuu need na juuk behint the halian, 

A chiel su clever ; 
The teeth o' time may f^naw Tamtallan, 

But thou's for ever* 

Thou paints auM nature to the nines. 

In thy sweet dlrdouian lines ; 

Nae guwden stream thro* mvrtln twines. 

Where Philomel, 
While nightly Lrectcs wrecp the vines. 

Her griefs will tell ! 

In (Towany g1f>ns thy burnie straxit, 
Where lM>onie lassies bleach their claes ; 
Or trots by hazelly shawn or braes, 

Wi' hawthorns gray. 
Where blackbirds join the shepherd's lays 

At clow o* day. 

Thy rural loves are nature's sel ; 
Nae bombast ipateH o* nonaenie swell ; 
Nae snap conceits, but that sweet spell 

O' witchin* love. 
That charm tliat can the strongest quell, 

The sternest move. 




This day. Time winds th* exhausted chain, 
To run the twelvemonths* length again : 
I see the old bald>pated fellow. 
With ardent eyes, complexion sallow. 
Adjust the unimpair'd machine, 
To wheel the equal, dull routine. 

The ahnetit lever, minor heir, 

In vuiu assail him with their prayer. 

Deaf as my friend he sees them press, 

Nor makes the hour one moment less. 

Will you (the Major's with the hounds, 

The happy tenants share his rounds ; 

CoiU's fair Rachel's care to-day,* 

And blooming Keith's engaged with Gray) ; 

• Thit young Isdy was drawing a picturs uf CoUi 
tiom the Vision, ms page t9> 

From hoiiiewiie cares a ninute borrow— 

— That grandchild's cap will do fio-morruw* 

And join with noe a moraliaing, 

This day's propitioas tn be wise in. 

Fimt, what did yesternight deliver ; 

*< Another year is gone fur ever.** 

And what is this day's strong suggettioa f 

** The passing moment's all we rest on !** 

Rest on — for what ! What do we here ? 

Or why regard the passing }'ear ? 

Will timo, amut'd with proverbM lore. 

Add to our date one minute more ? 

A few days may — a few years most— 

Repose us in the silent dust. 

Then, is it wise to damp our bliss ! 

Yes, all such reasonings are amiss ! 

The voice of nature loudly cries. 

And many a message from the skies, 

That something in us never dies : 

That on this frail, uncertain state. 

Hang matters of eternal weight ; 

That future-life in worlds unknown 

Must take its hue from this alone : 

Whether as heavenly gk>ry bright. 

Or dark aa miser)'*s woeful night — 

Since then, my honour'd first of friends, 

On this poor being all depends : 

Let us th' important nov emplo)'. 

And live as those who never die. 

Tho* you, with days and honours crowo'd* 

Witness that filial circle round, 

(A sight life's sorrows to repulse^ 

A sight pale envy to convulse) 

Others now daim your chief regard — 

Yourself, yon wait your bright reward. 







To Crochallaa came 
The old cockM hat, the grey surtout, the sant; 
His bristling beard just rishig in its might, 
'Twas four long nights and days to shaving 

His uncombed grizxly locks wild-staring» 

A head fi>r thought profound and clear, 

match'd ; 
Yety'tbo* his caustic wit was bitin;:, rode. 
His heart was warm, benevolent and good. 

* Mr. SmcIHe, and our poet, were both iiwmbmof 
adublnEdlBtmiih, uQdsr tht namf of CiocMlM 


BURNS' wore:s. 




Tbov of Ml independent mindr 

Vitii loal TCtoIved, with m>u1 resigned ; 

Pnpand powerU proudest frown to brar^ 

Who wilt not be, nor have a slave ; 

Viitiit akme who dost revere, 

Thj own reproach alone dost fear, 

this shrine, and worship here. 




Ke WMK9, y9 warUers of the wood, no more. 
Nor pov yoar descant grating on my ear : 
T%oa joong-ejred Spring thy charms I can- 
not bear; 

lion wrieooM were to me grim Winter's wild- 

Boir em ye ^ease, ye flowers, with all your 
To blour xmm the sod that wraps my firiend : 
"Eaw on I to the tuneful strain attend ? 
That ateiin pours round th* untimely tomb 
whore Riddel lies.* 

Toi^ pOV» yo warblers, pour the notes of woe, 
And lOOUie the Virtues weeping on this bier ; 
ThoKaa of Worth, and has not left his peer, 

li in his ' narrow house* for ever darkly low. 

Spring, again with joy shall others greet ; 
maftf of my loss wUl only meet. 




How oold if that bosom which folly onoe fir*d, 
How polo is that cheek where thie rouge late- 
ly glisten *d ; 
Bow diint that tongue which the echoes of^ 

How dull is that ear which to flattery so 

Rtddel. Eiq. of Frki'f Cane, a very wor. 
; and one to whom our bard thought 
many obUgattonii 

If sorrow and anguish thor exit awut. 

From friendship and dearest afieetion re- 

How doubly severer, Elia, thy fiite. 

Thou diedst unwept, as thou livedst nnloTed. 

Loves, graces, and virtues, I call not on you ; 

So idiy, grave, and distant, ye shed not a 
tear : 
But come, all ye o£bpring of folly so true, 

And flowers let us cull for Eliju's cold bier. 

We'll search through the garden for each silly 
We*ll roam through the forest fer each idle 
But chiefly the nettle, so typical, shower. 
For none e*er approOfch d her but rued the 
rash deed. 

We*ll sculpture the marble, we*U measure the 
Here Vanity strums on her idiot lyre ; 
There Veea indignation shall dart on her prey. 
Which spuming contempt shall redeem tcom 
his ire. 


HxEK lies, now a prey to insulting neglect. 
What once was a butterfly gay in life's 

Want only of wisdom denied her respect. 
Want only of goodness denied her esteem. 



Sir, as your mandate did request 

I send yon here a faithfu* list. 

My horsn, servants, carts, and graith. 

To which I*m free to tak my aith. 

Imprimis, then, for carriage cattle, 

I hae fuur brutes o* gallant mettle, 

A« ever drew before a pettle. 

Afy hand-afure^* a guid auld has been. 

And wight and wilfu* a* his days seen ; 

My han<L-a-ftin,\ a guid brown filly, 

Wha afl has borne me safe froe Killie ; \ 

* The fore-hone on the left-handf hi the ploogh. 
The hindmost on the IsfMuoid^ In the wa^u 
minaiiiock. ^ 




And your &uld borough mony • tinMi 
In days when riding was nae crime : 
My/ur-o-Atn,* ft guid> grey beait, 
As e'er in tug or tow was traced : 
The fourth, a HigbUind Donald hasty, 
A d-mn*d red-wud, Kilbumie blastie. 
For-by a cowte, of cowtes the wale, 
As ever ran before a tail ; 
An* he be spared to be a beast. 
He'll draw me fifteen pund at least. 

Wheel carriages I hae but few, 
Three carts, and twa are feckly new. 
An auld wheel-barrow, mair for token, 
Ae leg and baith the trams are broken ; 
I made a poker o* the spindle. 
And my auld mither brunt the trundle. 
For men, I*ve three mischievous boys^ 
Run-deils for rantin and for noise ; 
A gadsman ane, a thresher t'other. 
Wee Davoc bauds the nowt in fother. 
I rule them, as I ought, discreetly, 
And often labour them completely, 
And aye on Sundays duly nightly, 
I on the questions tairge them'tightly, 
*TiU, feith ; wee Davoc*8 grown sae gleg, 
(Tho* scarcely langer than my 1^) 
He*II screed you aff effectual eaUingf 
As fast as ony in the dwalling. 

I've nane in female servant station. 
Lord keep me aye free a' temptation ! 
I hae nae wife, and that my bliss is, 
And ye hae laid nae tax on misses ; 
For weans I'm mair than weel contented, 
Heaven sent me ane mair than I wanted : 
My sonsie, smirking, dear-bought Bess, 
She stares the daddie in her filce, 
Enough of ought ye like but grace. 
But her, my bonny, sweet, wee lady, 
I've said enough for her already, 
And if ye tax her or her mither, 
By the L — d ye'se get them a' thegither ! 

And now, remember, Mr. Aiken, 
Nae kind of license out I'm taking. 
Thro' dirt and dub for life I'U paulle. 
Ere I sae dear pay for a saddle ; 
I've sturdy stnmpe, the Lord be thankit ! 
And a* my gates on foot I'll shank it. 

This lint wi' my ain hand I've wrote it, 
The day and date as under notet ; 
Then know all ye whom it opncems, 
iSubscrip.u huic, 


• The hindmost on the r%ht-band, in tibe pk)ugh. 



f BinTH-DAT, 

4th November, 179J. 

Old Winter with his frosty beard. 
Thus once to Jove his prayer preferr'd ; 
" What have I done of all the year. 
To bear this hated doom severe ? 
My cheerless sons no pleasure know ; 
Night's horrid car dn^ dreary, slow : 
My dismal months no joys are crowning, 
But spleeny English hanging, drowning. 

Now, Jove, for once be mighty civil ; 

To omnterbalance all this evil ; 

Give me, and I've no more to say. 

Give me Maria's natal dav ! 

That brilliant gift will so enrich me. 

Spring, Summer, Autumn cannot match me :*' 

'* 'Tis done !" says Jove ; so end)i my story, 

And Winter once rejoiced in glory. 


Oh wert thou in the cauld bla»t. 

On yonder lea, on yonder Ica, 
My plaidie to the angry airt, 

I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter tbee : 
Or did misfortune's bitter storms 

Around thte blaw, around thee blaw, 
Thy bield should be my bosum. 

To share it a*, to share it a'. 

Or were I in the wildest waste, 

Sae black and bare, sue blick and bar^ 
The desert were a paradise, 

If thou wert there, if then wert there. 
Or were I monarch o* the glol)e, 

Wi' thee to reigii, wi' thee to reign ; 
The brightest jewel iu iny crown 

Wad be my queen, wad lie my queen. 



, or DUM FKUS ; 


Thine be the volumes, Jessy fair, 
And with them take the poet's prayer ; 
That fate may in her fairest page, 
With every kindliest, best presage 
Of future bliss, enrol thy name : 
With native worth, and spotless fame. 
And wakeful caution, still aware 
Of ill — but chief, man's felon snare ; 
All blameless juysi on earth we find. 
And all the treasures of the mind — 
These be thy guardian and reward ; 
So prayi tfaj fiuthful ickad, the bard. 






miimv ox THB 25th jakuaat, 1793 thb 


SiVO oo« iwcct thruith, upon ih» Iraflen boag1i» 
SiBg on» im'eet bird, I Ii<%ten to thy ttniji. 
Sec ^;ed Winter *mid his lurly reign. 

At thy biythe oirol dears hi« furroirwl brow. 

60 in lone poverty** dominion dretr. 

Sits meek content with light unsnxious heart, 
Wdkwme* the rapid moments, bids them part, 

Kor oaks if they bring augUt to hope or fear. 

I thank thee, Anthor of this opening day ! 

Thou whose bright sun now gilds yon oricDt 

Riches denied, thy boon was purer joys, 
^SHiat wealth could nerer give nor take away ! 

Tet come, thou child of poi'rrty and care. 
The mite high heaven bestowed, that mite with 
thee ril share. 


TO MR. S Z) 

DECEMSER, 1705. 

No more of your guests, he the}' titl4^d or not. 
And cookery the first in the nation : 

Who is proof to thy pi'nmnil ronvcr»e and wit, 
Is proof to all other temptation. 

TO MR. S-.E. 


O HAn the malt tliy strength of mind, 
Or hops the flavour of thy wit ; 

*Twere drink for first of huumi kind, 
A gift that e*en for S — e were fit. 

Jerusalem Tavern, Dumfries. 



Friend of the port, tried and leal, 
Wha, wanting thee, nught licg or steal ; 
Alake, alake, the nicikle dcil, 

Wi* a* hl» witches 
Are at i% ^elpiu* ! jig and red, 

Iq my poor poochcti 

T, modcady, fa* iuu wad hint it, 
That one pound one, I sairly want it ; 
If wi* th« hinie down ye send it. 

It wouU be kind ; 
And while my heart wi* life-blood duntcd 

rd bear't in mind. 

So may the auld j'ear gang out moaning 
To sec the new come laden, groaning, 
Wi' double plenty o*er the loaning 

To thee and thine ; 
Domestic peace and comforts crowning 

The hail design. 


Yk*ve heard this while how IVe been licket* 
And by fell death was nearly nicket : 
Grim loon ! he gat me by the fecket. 

And aair roe sheuk ; 
But, by guid luck, I lap a wicket. 

And turn*d a neuk. 

But by that hedth, Tve got a share o't. 
And by that life Vm promised mair o*t. 
My hale and weel TU tak* a care o*t 

A tentier way : 
Then farewell folly, hide and hair o*t. 

Fur auce and aye. 


The friend whom wild from wisdom's way, 
The fumes of wine infuriate send ; 

(Not moony madness more astray) 
Who but deplores that hapless friend ? 

Wine was th' insensate frensied part. 
Ah why should I such scenes outlive ! 

Scenes so abhorrent to my heart ! 
*Tii thiue to pity and forgive. 


addressed to colonel DB FETSTim, 

DI7MFR.IE8, 1796. 

My honoured colonel, deep I feel 
Your int«Test in the poet's weal ; 
Ah ! how sma' heart hae I to speel 

The steep Pamaasus, 
Surrounded thus by bolus pill. 

And potion glasses. 

O what a cauty world were it. 

Would pain and care, and sickness spare it : 

And fortune, favour, worth, and merit, 

As they deserve ; 
(And aye a' rowth, roast beef and claret ; 

8yi» whft woaU flant) ? 



DtBM lile, tho* fiction out may trick lier. 
And in pute gem* and inppery deck her ; 
Oh ! flickerii^, fteble, and nnsicker 

i*v» found her ttin. 
Ay* wavering like the willovr wicker, 

'Tween good and ill. 

Then that curst carmagnole, auld Satan, 
Watchet like batidrona by a rattan, 
Our sinfu* muI to get a daut on 

Wi* felon ire ; 
S}'ne, whip ! hia tail ye*ll ne*cr cant aaut on, 

He'a aff like fire. 

Ah Nick ! ah Nick, it is na fair. 
First »howiog us the tempting ware. 
Bright wines and bonnie lapses rjre. 

To put us daft ; 
Syne weave unseen thy spider's snare 

O heirs darnnM waft« 

Poor man, the flic, aft biazes by, 
And aft as chance he comes thee nigh. 
Thy auld damn*d elbow yeuks wi* joy, 

And hellish pleasure ; 
Already in thy £uicy*s eye. 

Thy sicker treasure. 

Soon heeU o'er gowdic ! in he gangs. 
And like a sheep-head on a tangx. 
Thy girning laugh enjoys his pangs 

And murdering wrestle, 
As dangling in the wind he hangs 

A gibbet's tassel 

But lest you tliink I am uncivil, 

To plague you with this draunting drivel. 

Abjuring a* intentions evil, 

I quat my pen ; 
The Lord preser\'e u^ irae the devil ! 

Amen! amen! 


Mr curse upon your venom'd stang, 
That shoots my tortur'd gums alang ; 
And thro* my lugs gies mony a twang, 

Wi* gnawing vengeance ; 
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang, 

Like racking engines ! 

When fevers bum, or ague freezes. 
Rheumatics gnaw, or cholic squeeses ; 
Our neighbour's sj-mpathy may ease us, 

Wi* pitying moan ; 
But thee — thou hell o* a diseases, 

Aye mocks our groan ! 

Adown my beard the slavers trickle ; 
I throw the wee stools o*er the meikle, 
As round the fire the gigleis keckle, 

To tee me loup ; 
While raving mad, I wish a heckle 

Were in their doop. 

O* a* the nnm'rooi human dooli, 
111 har*sts, daft bargains, euUy Uoolt, 
Or worthy friends raked i' the moola. 

Sad sight to see ! 
The tricks o* knaves or fiuh o* fools. 

Thou bcar'st the 

Where*er that place be, priests ca* hell. 
Whence a* the tones o* mis*ry yell, 
And ranked plagues their numbers tell. 

In dreadfu* raw, 
Thou, Tooth-acre, surely bear*st the bcQ, 

Amang them a' ! 

O thou grim minchief-makiog chiel. 
That gars the notes o* discord squeel, 
*Tiil daft mankind aft dance a reel 

In gore a shoe-thick ;«- 
Gie a' the faes o* Scotland's weel 

A towmood's Tooth-Adtf, 


cp rixTJiv, 


I CAT.T. no goddesH to inspire my strains, 
A fabled Musr may suit a bard that feigns ; 
Fnend of my life ! my ardent spirit bums. 
And all the tribute of my heart returns. 
For boons acconlcd, goodness e\'er new, 
The gift still dearer as the giver you. 

Thou orb of day ! thou other paler light ! 
And all ye many sparkling star^ of night ; 
If aught that giver from my mind efEu« ; 
If 1 that givcr*8 bounty e'er disgrace ; 
Then roll to me, along your wandering sphere^ 
Only to number out a villain's years ! 


An honest man here lies at rent. 
As e'er God with his image ble«t. 
The friend of man, the fnend of truth ; 
The fnend of age, and guide of youth : 
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm'd. 
Few heads with knowledge so inform'd : 
If there's another world, he lives in bliss ; 
If there is none, he made the best of this. 



O Thoit, who kindly dost provide 

For ev'ry creature's want ! 
We bless thee, God of nature wide^ 

For all thy goodness lent ; 



if it 





ov inrtiBiiJTT. 

miffiUad, euMt tnl? taD ; 

wini hoffitm mBlBiiift 
hMl ilao known toowdl! 



, behold tbi %, 
ia Um •uuiy ray ; 
•weep o*cr tite TaUey, 
ffoetnte on tite eUjr. 

Hmt tiki iMoMmIi dMfili 

TaDiflff o*er lui little joys I 

Ifaplf Pirf! npref tiM 

To tMli pirtte of ^ ddea. 

Dearijr bought the 
Finer fNlnin can 

Chonli tiint TUirata I 
Thrill the dee p eit 



coMvof XD Aim unAnen xr Bvnvff «o 
MAmn OF THS Bouati ov TAsnra 


HAD Bcsif BoamAmLT smsBSAmm 

Waxir death*! dark atream I lirry o'er ; 

A time that loralf ehaU eene ; 
In hearen itHl^ m aik no moi% 





J^Mi HU RiUQUsa, PmUUk§d in 1808, 


[TxiMilribntiooa were poured eo eopioaaly upon Dr. Carrie that uleetioa bienMndnlf, aaiko 
pit arfli aeveral intereitinf pieoee both in proee and rerae, which would have done honour to 
li» pMlfa memory : Bat beiidee these there were other pieeee extant^ wUflh did not oomo 
Ae Doctor*! notice : AH of them, both of the rejected and dieeofwed dawription, haro 
been collected and published by Mr. Cromek, whose penonal def tion to the Foel^ and 
to the poetry of his country, rendered him a most aesidnona ooDoetar. The ■^■*^**f' 
of poetry so collected and published by Cromek, are given harOi Tki additttnil 
ipi —w ^nde nc e , taken from the Rdiquee and his mora lUcent pubBoBlin^ '* Mill 
tiA 8oogs»** win each appear in the proper phux.] 



nooxaiLLSx, smvnuBas. 

AiriA cknekie jRedkiVs * sair distrest^ 
Diva dnape her anee weal bnmiik*! 
Mii Jiy kit bonie boakit nest 

Can yield ava, 
Hwdnbwbird that she loe*s beet, 


• Idlnlyuiihi 

O Winie waa a witty wight, 
And had o* thinca an nnoo* dight ; 
Anld Reekie ay ha kaepit t^ht, 

But now they'll bosk her like a fright^ 

Willie*a awa ! 


The sti&it o* them a* he bow'd, 
Thebanldest o' them a' heoow'd ; 
They dnrit nae mair than he aOow'd, 

That waa a law : 
We*Te kMt a biikii wael woeth gowd, 





Ko'.v gawkies, taw|)lo!t, ^owkt anil fjols*, 
Fr:ic c(>Ut^e« and bairdin^ Hchools 
May aprout like limmer puddock-»tool< 

In glen or nhuw ; 
He wlia could brush them down to mooh 

Willie*t awa ! 


The breth*ren o' the Commerce-Chaumer * 
May mourn their loss wi* doolfu* clamour ; 
He was a dictbnar and grammar 

Amai^f them a* ; 
I fear they'll now mak mony a atammer 

Willie's awa ! 

Nae mair wa sae his leree door 
Philosophera and Poets pour,t 
And toothy critics by tht soora 

In bloody raw ! 
The adjuUnt o' a* the core 

WilUe*s twa ! 

Iilow worthy G y *^ latin ^ue, 

T r's and G *s modest graee ; 

M<K e» S 1, such a brace 

As Rome ne'er saw ; 
They a' maun meet some ither place, 

Willie's awa ! 

Poor Bums— «*en Scotch drink canna quickeoy 
He cheeps like some bewildered chiekeo, 
Scar'd frae it's mionie and the deckin 

By hoodie-craw ; 
Griefs gien his heart an unco kickin, 

Willie's awa ! 

Now ev*ry sour-mon*d grinin* blellam, 
And Calvin's fock, are fit to fell him ; 
And self-conceited critic skellnm 

His quill may draw ; 
He wha could brawlie wavd their bdlum 

Willie's awa ! 


Up wimpling stately Tweed Pre sped. 
And Eden scenes on crystal Jed, 
And Ettriok banks now roaring red 

While tempests blaw ; 
But every joy and pleasure's fled 

Willie's awa ! 

l^Iay I be nlander's common speech ; 
A text for in£uny to preach ; 

• The Chamber of Commtroe of Edinbuigli of wfaleh 
Mr. C. WM S«?T«ury. 

t Many literary i:«itleinen wcfs aseuslomed to mast 
at Mr. CTMch*! houw at bceakCMt. Bums oilea met 
with them thef e, when he ealled, and hence the name 

And ]a«tt\% ttreeklt out to hteaeh 

In winter snaw ; 
When I for^t thee ! Wit.lis Crkkck, 

Tho* &r awa \ 


May never wicked fortune touile htm ! 
May never wicked men bamboosle him ' 
Until a pow as auld's Methusalem ! 

He canty daw ! 
Then to the h1e«sed, New Jerusalem 

Fleet wing awa ! 



'VtiQ NiciioLsoK was a good bay mare^ 
As ever trode on airn ; 
But now she's floating down the Nith* 
And past the Mouth o* Cairn. 

Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare, 
Aiid rode thro* thick and thin ; 
But now she> floating down the Nith, 
And wanting even the skin. 

P^ Nicholson was a good bay mare, 
And ance she bore a priett ; 
But now she's flcuiting down the Nith, 
For Solway fish a feast. 

Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare, 
Aiid the priest he rode her sair : 
And much oppressed and bruised sthe was ; 
*-As priest-rid cattle are, &c. Sec 



[la a letter to Mrs. Dunlop, the poet says :.«The nib. 
ieet is LiaRSTY t You know, my honoursd fHmd 
how dear the theme Is to me. I dettfn it an irrcgu* 
Jar Ode for General Washington's birth-day. After 
having mentlooed the demersey of other RliMdons 
1 oome to Scotland thus] : 

Thxi, Caledonia, thy wild heaths among. 
Thee, &med for martial deed and sacred song, 

To thee I turn with swimmiu:; ryes ; 
Where is that soul of freedom fled ? 
Immingled with the iniglity (load ! 

Beneath that hallowed tarf where Wallace 

• Mamret Nicholson, the rosidae,whoiwviiitaticas 
Tsry mudi alarmed George the Third for liiii life, la 

namtaf tbdr steeds, the poet and his fnend Nkol Msm 
to have had • nccftrsnce. in the w*y of doiiw honour, 
of epuise, for &e worthies who had used frssdon widl 
both priest and kiiy. 



Httr it not, Wallacc, in tliy bed of death ! 

Ye babbling winds, in lilence sweep ; 

Disturb not ye the hero's sleep, 
Kor give the coward secret breath.— 

Is thb the power in freedom** war 

That wont to bid the battle rage ? 
Behold that eye which »hot iromortal hate. 

Crushing the despot* s proudest bearing. 
That arm which, nerved with thundering fate. 

Braved usurpation's boUlMt daring ! 
One quenched in darknom like the sinking star. 
And one the palsied arm of tottering, powerlew 


O THOU Great Being ! what thou art 

Surpasses me to know ; 
Yet sure I am, that known to thee 

Are all thy works below. 

Thy creature here before thee stands, 

All wretched and diittrest ; 
Yet sure thow ills that wring my soul 

Obey thy high behest. 

Sure Thou, Almighty, canst not act 

From crueltv or wrath : 
O, free my weary eyes from tears. 

Or close them fast in death ! 

Bat if I muxt afflicted be. 

To ruit some wise desiign ; 
Then man my soul with firm resolves 

To bear and nut repine ! 


Wrkv faintixg fits, and other alahmikg 


O THor nnknown, Almighty Cause 

Of all my hope and fear ! 
In whose dread presence, ere an hour. 

Perhaps I must appear. 

If I hxve wanderM in those paths 

Of life I ought to shun ; 
As immeihinff, loudly, in my breast, 

Remonstrates I have done ; 

Thou know*st that Thou hast formed me 

With passions wild and strong ; 
And listening to their witching voice 

Has often led me wrong. 

yfhtft homan weakneu has eome ■hortj 
Or fmiitf itcpt tsidi^ 

Do Thou, AU Good! for meli llioa irt. 
In shades of darkness hide. 

Where with inUntitm I have crr'd, 

No other plea I have. 
But, Thou art good ; and goodncM still 

Delighteth to forgive. 



Wjir am I loth to leave this earthly scene ! 

Have I so found it full of pleasing charms ! 
Some drops of joy with draughts of ill be- 
tween : 

Some gleams of sunshine *mid renewii^p 
Is it departing pangs my soul alarms ? 

Or death's unlovely, dreary, dark abode ? 
For guilt, for guilt, my tcrront are in arms ; 

I tremble to approach an angry Goo, 
And justly Mnirt beneath his sin-avenging rod. 

Fain would I say, ' Forgive my foul offisnoe I* 

Fain promise never more to disobey ; 
But, should my author health again dispense, 

Again I might desert fiir virtue's way ; 
Again in folly's path might go astray ; 

Again exalt the brute and sink the man ; 
Then how should I for heavenly mercy pray, 

Who aut so counter heivcnly mercy's phm ? 
\V\\o sin M oft have mourn'd yet to temptation 

Tliou, great governor of all below ! 

If I may dare a lifted eye to Thee, 
Thy nod can make the tempest cease to blow^ 

Or Ktill the tumult of the raging sea ; 
With that controling pow'r assist ev*n me, 

Those headlong furious passions to confine ; 
For all unfit I feel my powers to be. 

To rule their torrent in th* allowed line, 
0, aid mc with thy help, Omnipottnce Divuuf 


" 'TIs thig, my friend, that itreaka our morning 

bright ; 
*Tis thist that gilds the horror of onr night ! 
Wlien wealth forsakes us, and when friends are 

Wlien friends are faithless, or when foes pnrsoe ; 
*Tix thit that wards the blow, or stills the smarty 
Disarms affliction, or repels its dart : 
Within the breast bids purest raptures rise, 
Bids smiling coiucience spread her doodkm 






Sept. \2th, 1785. 

GuiD speed an' furder to you JoKoy, 
Gttid health, hale han\ an* weather bony ; 
Now when ye're nickan down fu* camiy 

The staff o* bread. 
May ye ne'er want a stoup o' brany 

To clear your head. 

May Boreas never thresh your rig», 
Nor kick your ricklea aff their lega, 
Sendin* the atuff o'er muir» an' liajjga 

Like drivin* wrack ; 
But may the tapmaat grain that wag^ 

Come to the lack. 

I'm bixiie too, an' ukclpin* at it, 
])ut bitter, daudin thon-eni hae wat iti 
Sar my auld ttumpie fien I gat it 

Wi' muckle wark, 
An* took my jocteleg • an' whatt it, 

Like onv dark. 


It's now twa month that I'm your debtor, 
For vour braw, nameU»»*, dateless letter, 
Abusiu' me for harsh ill nature 

On holy men, 
While dcil a hair your*l ye're better, 

But mair profane. 

But let the kirk-folk rinc: their bells, 
Let's sing about our noble veU ; 
AVe'll cry nae jads frae heathen hills 

To help, or roose na. 
But browster wives f an* whisky stills. 

They are the musct. 

Your friendship Sir, I winna quat it, 

An* if ye mak* objections at it, 

Then han' in nieve some day we'll knot it| 

An* witness take. 
An* when wi* Usquabac we've wat it 

It winna break. 

But if the beast and branks he rpar'd 
Till kye lie gaun without the herd. 
An* a' the vittel in the yard, 

An' theekit right, 
I mean your ingle-side to guard 

Ae winter night. 

Then mu^e-inspirin* aqua-vita 

ShaU make w baith sae blythe an' witty, 

Till ye forget ye're auld an* gatty, 

An* be as cantv 
Ai ye were nine year less than thrett)*, 

Sweet ane-an'-twenty. 

Bot atooki ire cowpit • «i' iImUm^ 
An* now the sioa keeks in ihe wctt 
Then I maun rin tmang the rest 

An* quat my chanter ; 
Sae I subscribe myael in haste, 

Your's, Rab the Ranter* 

TO Tin 



Sept. Mik, 1785. 

While at the stook the shearers cow*r 
To shun the bitter blaudiu »how*r. 
Or in golravagef rinnin scow'r 

To pass the timCf 
To you I dedicate the hour 

In idle rhxme. 

My musie, tir'd wi' mony a sonnet 

On gown, an' ban*, an* douse black tionoeC» 

Is grown right eerie now she's done it, 

Le«t they shou'd blame ha. 
An' rouse their holy thunder on it 

' An'l anathem her. 

I own 'twas ra!«h, an* rather hardy. 
That I, a. simple, countra bardic, 
Shou'd meddle wi' a pack sae sturdy, 

Wha, if they ken mt. 
Can ea^, wi' a single wonlie. 

Louse h-11 npon me. 

But I gae mad at their grimaces. 
Their sighan, canUn, grace-proud Ue», 
Their three-mile prayers, an hauf-mile grace% 
I Their razan conscience 

Whaws greed, revenge, an' pride disgraces 

Waur nor their nonsense. 

There's Gaun, \ roiska't waur than a beaatii 
Wha has mair honor in his breast 
Than mony scores as guid's the priest 

Wha sae abus't him. 
An' may a bard no crack his je»t 

What way they've uac't hi 

See him, J the poor man's friend in need, 
The gentleman in word an' deed. 
An' shall his fame an' honour bleea 

By worthless skellamsy 
An' not a muse erect her head 

To cowe the bidlums ? 


• /oe<«/<r— a knlfl^ 
t Bnwtttr wIvrfwAlelMHM wivea, 

• Cowprf— Tumbled over. 

t 9M/rai«^— Running in a confused, disonwrlf 
manner, llkn boys when leaving school. 

* Osvin Hamilton, Ktq. 

II llie |ioec has Introduced the two first lines of thM 
stansa into the tiediuation of his works 10 Mr* Hamlli 



O Pdpe, bad I ihy ittire*t darts 
To gie tht meals their dcterta, 
Td rip their rotten, hoUow hearts, 

Their jo|;gliii' hocns-pocns arts 

To cheat the crowd. 

God knows, l*m no the thing I shoa*d be. 
Nor am I er'n the thing I coa*d be. 
But twenty timas, I rather wou'd be 

An atheist dean. 
Than nnder goipd ooloors hid be 

Just for a screen. 

An honest man may like a glass, 
An honest man may like a lass. 
Bat mean rairenge, an* malice fause 

He*ll stiU disdain. 
An' then cry leal for gospel laws, 

Like some we ken. 

They take rdigion in their month ; 
They talk o* mercy, grace, an' troth. 
For what ? to gie their malace tkouth 

On some puir wigb^ 
An* bunt him down, o*er right an' ruth, 

To ruin ttreight. 

An hail, religion ! maid divine ! 
Pardon a mnse sae mean as mine, 
Who in her roogh imperfect line 

Tiios daurv to name thee 
To stigmatise falie friends of thine 

Can ne'er de£une thee. 

Tho' blotch't an* foul wi* mooy a stain. 

An' Ur unworthy of thy train. 

With trembling voice I tune my strain 

To join with thoH.*, 
Who boldly dare thy cause maintain 

In spite of foes : 

In spite 0* crowds, in spite o' molNi, 
In s|Mte of undermining jobs. 
In spite o* dark banditti stabs 

At worth an* merit, 
By seonndrels, even wi' holy robes. 

But hellish spirit 

O Ayr, my dear, my native ground, 
Withm thy prcsbyterial bound 
A candid lib'ral band is found 

Of public teachers. 
As men, as Christians too renown'd 

An' manly preachers. 

Sir, in that circle you are nam*d ; 
Sir, in that circle you are fam'd ; 
An' some, by whom your doctrine's blain'd, 

(Which gies you honor) 
Sven Sir, by them your heart's esteem'd. 

An' winning-manner. 

Ptedon this freedom I have ta*en, 
An* if impertinent Tvc been, 

Impute it not^ good Sir, in ane 

Whase heart ne'er wrang'd ye. 
But to liis utmost would befriend 

Ought that belang'd ye. 



MoigavUUf Majf S, 1780. 
I HOLD it. Sir, my bounden duty 
To warn you bow that Master Tootie, 

Aliasi Laiid M'Gaun,* 
Was here to hire yon lad away 
'Bout whom ye spak the tither day. 

An' wad hae don't aff ban' : 
But lest he learn the callan tricks, 

As foith I mnckle doubt him, 
Like scrapin' out auld Crummie's n**'^, 
An' tellin' lies about them ; 
As lieve then I'd have then. 

Your clerkship he should sair. 
If sae be, ye may be 
Not fitted otherwhere. 

Altho' I aay't, he's gleg enough. 

An* 'bout a house that's rude an' rough, 

The boy might learn to swear; 
But then wi' you, hell be sae taught. 
An* get sic fair example stranght, 

I hae ns ony fear. • 
Ye'Ii C3tccliijw him every quirk. 

An' shore him weel wi' hdl; 

An* gar him follow to the kirk 

— Ay when ye gang younel. 
U ye then, maun be then 

Froe hame this comin FKday, 
Tlien ])Iea<<e Sir, to lea'e Sir, 
The orders wi* your lady. 

5f y word of honour I hae gien. 

In I^aisley John's, that night at e'en. 

To meet the WarlcTs 
To try to get the twa to gree. 
An* name the aides f an' the fee. 

In legal mode an* form : 
I ken he weel a Sniek can draw. 

When simple bodies let 1dm j 
An* if a Devil be at a', 

In faith he's sure to get him. 
To phrase jrou an' praise you. 

Ye ken your Laureat scorns : 
The pray'r still, you share ■till, 
Of grateful Minstul Bvens. 

•Master Tootie then Uved in MauchUne; a dealer 
in Cows. Itwasbisoommonpnctieetocatthenicka 
or markings from the horns of cattle, to diMuiss their 
age. — He was an artftU trkk-oontriTinf chsneter; 
hence he is called a Sntek'drawer. In the msc^ 
" ^'«'*« *? /A? J^r he ityks that M«uit pcrsooife 

•• Addreu to the DeU,* he sty] 

an auld, niet^nuHH^ dof f 

1 t The JMe^^SSmmm 




My goow-qnin too ra^ k to tdl •& 




SiE, o'er * gill I gat your card, 

I trow it made me proud ; 
Set wha taka notice o* the bard ! 

I lap and cry'd fu' loud. 

Now deil-ma-care about their jaw. 

The tenaeless, gawky million ; 
111 cock my nose aboon them a\ 

Tm rooa'd by Craigen-Gillaa ! 

'Twas noble, Sir ; 'twas like yourteU 

To grant your high protection : 
A great man's amilc, ye ken fu* wtS^ 

Is ay a blest infection. 

Tho*, by his • banes wha in a tab 

Match'd Macedonian Sandy ! 
On my ain legs thro* dirt and dub, 

I independent stand ay.— 

And when those legs to gude, wirm kiOf 

Vl^* welcome canna bear me ; 
A lee dyke-Aide, a «ybuw-to.iI, 

And barlcy-sconc shall cheer me. 

Heaven spare you laii^ to kiss the bretfll 

O* mony flow'ry siiiiniei's ! 
And blcM your bonie lasbcs baitb, 

I'm tald they're loosome kimmtrt ! 

And God bless yoang Duaatkin*! lairdy 

The bloKSom of our gentry I 
And may he wear an auld man*t bcodi 

A credit to his countr}'. 

Bestowed on y«nr MiTEat, tht PotI | 
Wouki to God I had OBt like a bitm of li» Mb 
And then oil the worU, Sir» ihonU kiovill 



(xxteupoee links ok eztdexno ▲ 

Silisland, Monday Etening, 

YouE news and review, Sir, I've read through 
and throiigh. Sir, 

With little admiring or blaming : 
The papers are barren of honu>-newe or foitigni 

No murders or rapes worth the naming. 

Our friends the reviewers, those chippen and 

Are judges of mortar and stone, Sir | 
Bnt of meett or unmmtt in a fabric campfd9t 

ril boldly prononnoe they Are none^ Sir* 



Health to the Blaxwelh* ▼et'na Ghkf 1 
Health, ay onioar'd by eirt or grkf t 
Inapii'd, I tiini*d FateTf tybO ka( 

Thii natoi flion» 
I aee thy lift ia atoff o' pM, 


Thb day thou iMt« threaaeort eterM, 
And I can tell that bonntaoqa HeavM 
(The aacoiid aiglit. yt ken, ia girea 

To ilka Poet) 
On thee a tack o' aeren timea aerea 

WiU yet beatoir it 

If enviona backieB new wi' 

Thy lengthcB*d day* on thia Uest mamw. 

May deMlation'a lang-teeth'd harrow, 

Nine milea aa Immht, 
Rake thcnit like Sodom and Gomorrahy 


But for thy frienda, and tlicy are mooj, 
Baith honest men and laaaca boaicb 
May eouthie fortune, kind and eaanie* 

Inaodal glce^ 
Wi* mominga Uythe and e'eninga fanny 

Bleaa tbfln tnd thaa. 

Farwecl, anU birkie 1 LordbtMMr7% 
And then the Deil be danma alaar y 
Your friaada ay love, yonr foaa ay foar f% 

For BM, akaiDi fi* ■% 
If neiat wf baart I dinna wear yo 

While Bvmmtkqrti^ 



'TwAa where the birch aad aouidIa|r ^^^ 
are ply*d. 
The noisy domicile of pedant pride ; 
Where ignorance her aarkaaJEg Taicrar throwi^ 
And cruelty directo the thickening blowa| 

• Mr. Maxwril, of Tcrranahty, near D«aaM|fc 
ThU b the J. P. who, at the BMbe OoofftL eBHiiM 

BunuTsteyortst theyriiewwl liiatAr, vMlalMaMQl 
up to the law, could rccooelle his duty erttk 
t^ > AtthgTaarihwian In had a hagtr 



ft tSmib Sir Abtee the gNtt» 
UtA Ui ytdagogic powen date, 
^Di Mfnu csMf of itite mol w to mOUDlf 
Aii tJi fSkit te—bling vowdh to iccomt ■ 

Knt cnterM A, a gnTC, Inroad, ■oloiui wiglit, 
Bit ah ! ddbnn'd. dithonnt to the aicht ! 
Hk twilled head look*d backward on hb waj, 
Aad. flagnat from the acourge he grunted ai I 

Rdoetaat, E ttalk'd in ; with piteona raee 
The joitling tears ran down hii honest &oe ! 
That name, that well-wom name, and all hia 

Fib he wmeadeii ai the tjrrant'i throne ! 
The pedant itiflei keen the Roman aound. 
Hot all hia m ongr d diphthongs can compound ; 
And next the title fiDUowiog dose Kehind, 
lift to thfl aaaelcHb ghastly wretch aisiga'd. 

The eobwd>*d godiie dome resounded, Y f 
In mllen rengeance, I, disdain*d reply : 
The pedant swung his felon cudgel round. 
And kaod^'d the groaning Towd to the ground ! 

In rueful apprdtension enterM O, 
The wailing minstrel of despairing woe ; 
Th* Inquisitor of Spain, the most expert, 
iGght uere have learnt new mysterie* of hin art: 
80 grim, defisrm'd, with horrors entering U, 
Hie deaxust friend and brother scarcely knew ! 

Aa trambling U stood staring all u^hast. 
Thn pedant in his left hand clutch*d him fast. 
In hdpless infrmts* tears he dipp'd bis right, 
~ I'd him aw, and kick*d him from his sight 



A Limn, upright, pert, tart, tripping wight. 
And atin his precious self his dear delight : 
Ifho Wvti his own smart shadow in the streets, 
Batter than e*cr the fiurest she he meets. 
A aun of finhion too, he made his tour, 
l4BB*d wbf la hagatdU^ et vive V amour ; 
80 tnrell'd monlues thdr grimace improve, 
Pididi their grin, nay sigh for ladies* loTe. 
Xndi specious kire but little understood ; 
Tinwiriiig oft outshines the solid wood : 
Ka nlid seaae by inches you must tell, 
Bnt mete hn cunning by the oM Soote dl ; 
Bis meddling vanity, a busy fiend, 
81UI making work his sdfish craft must 


BT JGHir M<CAJUntl. 

Iab biid of night, what lorrow ealli tfiM forth, 
Tb TFwt diy ptoiate thw ia t|M 

Is it some falaal that gathers in the north, 
Threat*ning to nip the verdure of thy bow'r ? 

la it, sad owl, that autumn strips the diade, 
And leaves thee here, unshdter'd and forkim ? 

Or fear that wmter will thy nest invade ? 
Or friendless melancholy bids thee monm f 

Shut out, bme bird, from dl the frnther*d trun. 
To tdl thy sorrows to th* unheeding gloom 

No friend to |Hty when thou dost oompUin, 
Grief all thy thought, and sditude thy home. 

Sing on sad mourner ! I will bless thy strain, 
And pleas*d in sorrow listen to thy song : 

Sini^ on sad mourner ! to the night complain, 
Wliile the lone echo wafts thy notes dong. 

Is bnuty less, when down the glowing cheek 
Sad, piteous tears in native sorrows fiill ? 

Less kind the heart when ai^uish bids it break? 
Less happy he who listo to pity's call ? 

Ah no, sad owl ! nor is thy voice less sweet. 
That sadness tunes it, and that grief is thtf e ; 

That spring's gay noto, unskill*d, thou eaost 
That sorrow bids thee to the gloom repair : 

Nor that the treble song ste r s of the day. 

Are quite estranged, aad bird of night ! from 

Nor that the thrush deserte the evening spray. 
When darkness calla thee from thy 

Trom mme old towV, thy mdanchdy dome. 
While the gray walls and desert solitudes 

Betum each note, responsive to the gloom 
Of ivied eoverto and surrounding woods ; 

There hooting ; I wUl list more pleia*d to thei^ 
Than ever lover to the nightii^jale ; 

Or drooping wretch, oppress*d with misery, 
Lending his ear to some rffpd^rfiiFg tale. 


tx THX coaaT or asasioii; 
Ttane-'* GUUersnUa.*' 

Loin AnvocATX, RoMaT DirirftAfl. 

Hx dench*d his pamphlete in hn fist. 

He quoted and he hinted. 
Tin in a declamation-mist. 

His argument he tint it : 
He gaped finr't, he graped for't^ 

He fisnd it was awa, man ; 
But what hia eommon sense cam« ihirl 

Ht dwd o«t wi* liw, 

t I 

• t 


Me. HixftT Eeskixs. 

CelV»ctMl Iltrry ttood twee, 

Then opeD*d out hn arm, man ; 
His lordship ut wi* ruefuV*^* 

And ey'd the gathering storm, man : 
Like wiD(cl-driv*n hail it did assail. 

Or torrents owre a lin, man ; 
The Bench sae wise lift np their ejea, 

Half-waoken'd wi* the dm, man. 




That there is falsehood in his looks 

I roust and will deny : 
They say their master is a knave— 

And sore they do not lie. 



(a faeodt on eobik adaxb). 

You*RE welcome to Despots, Domoarier ; 
Yoirn; welcome to Despots, Dumourier. — 
How does Dampiere do? 
Aye, and Doumonville too ? 
AVhy did tliey not come along widi yoo, Du- 
mourier ? 

I will fi^ht France with yon, Dumourier,— 
I will fif^ht France with you, Dumonrier :— 
I win fi:;ht France with you, 
I will take my chance with you ; 
By my snul I'll dance a douce wiUi you, Dumoo- 

Then let us fight about, Dnmouiltf % 

Then let us fight about, Dumouiisr} 

Then let us fight about, 

*Till fi:«edom*s spark is out, 

Then we'll be d-mned no doabt DiiiiMmilll 


[The Poet paid a vMt on bors^baek to Qvllalti 
he was at table hU Hiaed was turned oat to — 
an endomire, but wandered, probaMy in < 

better pasture, into an adMning onei It 

pounded by onler of the luiyor--3«lMna Israi of «f* 
flee expired next day:«The Muse thus daUvMoA 
herself on the occaaioal : 

Was e*er puir poet sae befitted. 
The maister drunk — the horse wvim«u.wi> , 
Puir harmless beast ! take thoe nao cBrs^ 
Thon*lt be a horse, when he^ bm tDtk^mKfmi)^ 


WITH A rouxD OP swurr* 

O could I give thee Indiana wealtbt 

As I tliis trifle send ; ' 
Why then the joy of both would be. 

To share it with a friend. 

But golden sands neVr yet bare graced 

The Heliconian stream ; 
Then take what gold can nerer buy. 

An honest Bard's esteem. 

• It is almoft needless to observe that the asm if 
RoMn AdHrt begins thus :— 

You're wcloome to Paxlon, Robhi Adair \ 
You're wcleome to Paxton, Robin Adairi— 
How does Johnny Mackcrell do } 
Aye, and Luke Chudencr too } 
Why did they not eome alo^vtlh yoo, 

irnitNS' WOKES. 

AbJ aU the tiviibliae tc 

Fhit CBtR*d A, ft Knrt, broid, *■ 

Aad fl^ut bom the ■ 

Relutuil, E KUIk'd ic 
The jnillLng tsftn r>n clff 
Hut ntne, iLit wcl]-wi 

DicEirftTi] on bift 'nj, 
oui^c he gniated oi .' 

H-itfa pltMnia Tire 
hii hsncM fue 1 
nitiie, ftud aU hii 

Pftla he (Brmdcn U th« tfnnt'i thiaae ! 
The pedftDt uiflfi kern the Rumui inund, 
Not ftU hii DuragnL diphthnni:? ran compoQ 
Asd Hit the title fDllowin; dm Ivhiod. 
I4l to the "■-"'™| ghftui)' irnlvh uugn'ii 

The eobmb'd gotUic dome nwiunded, Y 
In niUen Teiifetiic*> I| dnJjtii>''t reply ; 
The pediDt lirnDg hli filun fud^cL munit, 
Aad knoek'd the gnMoine Tonti tg (he groi 

la roefat ippreheiMnn rnlrrM O, 

A* tremUiDi{ V etood ■tirini; all 
He padiat io hie kfl hud clutrh'< 
Ib belpleal inbalt' IMn he dipp'd 
Buta d him at, ftud kick'd him Ir 

It tuluma itripi the ihftdti 
chore, unthrlttr'd ind fnrlorn.' 

nihacholy bidi ih« mQUra .' 

ir fur thit V, 
Or frieadlci 

Shut eul, lone bird, frani ill iht (rither'd tnin. 

Tn till thy eoirnm to ih' unhndin; clotiin 
Net friecid to pity when thou dont eompLiin, 

Grief •]] thy thought, lod ulitude thy home. 

Sng iHi nd laaumer ! I will bleM thy nraia, 

Sinic on Hd nmiTBrr ^ to the Di|;ht compliin. 
While the Looe ei:ho trofu thy ootet iloog. 

lit, lodlhit irirrii there t 
lotn, uukill'd, than caon 

thee to the gloom ftp*ir : 

li thee fram thy rtrerie^^ 


rr the fiir 

A man of fuhion too, he made hii lour, 
lan'd «K la bapatttlt, tt rtrc J' onoiir 
80 InTtll'd monkica their grimace impror 
PoUah their grin, my ligh for laiiiet' Iotb. 


«lid w 

nvotring oft outihiof 

HU aolid ■eniB — by inchea you mut teii. 

Bat mete hia cunning by the old Scoti til ; 

Hii inH''''"g vanity, I buay fiend, 

SliU miking work hii wIGih txtA unit ma 


lu Urd of Bight, what tonoi* ctlb thn fbtth, 
T* nal thy pliiati thn ia tU Blidiu|bt 

Rt eleoch'd hia pamphlata in hi* t», ^^^^H 

HeqootidaiidheUBtH, ^H^^^^H 

Hii arjnmcBt he tint it ^^^^^^^^^| 

He nP^ ^'t< I" V9^ *^^ ^^^^^^^H 

Ht bad it waiawiimnt ^^^^^^H 

But what hii oamns ihi emt ihli^ ^^M 

ih. MiXBT EmjII 

Canectrd Hirty •Ian) artt, 

Th(n open'd out hii mrm, ma 
Hh lordibip Ht wi' nicfuV''i 

And ry'd the gnllirriBf: ttora 
Like viDd-driv'n kail it did *ni 

Or tumnti own ( lio, luu ; 
The Bemtk nM WIM lift Bp tb« 

Hilf-wiulun'd wi' tlw din, n 

That Ihtrc !■ £ilKtHMd ia 
I rauil iBd wiU d«i)> : 

And Hre llier do DM Ui 




a danit vitt ysn. Do- 

I wilt li^ht France wllti ynn, 

I will Acht Fnnee with )i>ii, 

I will Izht Prince with yon, 

1 will uke my chtnre with yau ; 

Bj' Dif ami I'll duMtiduit* with ]roa,DuWB- 

Tbn let m fight ibml, Dnoduki , 
Tbm kt in fight ibout. D 
Thn let Bi fight ■bml, 
'Till fncdon'i fA m ml 
Then we'll be d-onwd oe < 


:Th> Port paid ■ tUI na bonrtwH to CMlAi wHU 

« (Wtonin. bill wuHtond, pntaHr )■ IBM tl 
better BWiue, Into *n rIMiiIiw obii It ■■■ M. 
nwKM bT onler of Ih> tfiTycit— whaa mi tf « 
he RE4nii nnl day:— Tlie Miua ttM fall ■ Mi* 

bcneir on the ocot'Ouiil : 

Wu e'er puir poet aae befitted, 

Fuir hu-mieH btiu ! tike thie am ^a, 
Thos'ltbealuiie, when bA ■»• ma!r-{BqM')» 


O ronld I girt the* Indii'i Weillh, 

BbE gnlclen nodi ni 

The Heliconian > 
Then tdie whit pi\ 

Hdw doa jDhnnT Muknell iki r 

»«» and Luhi Gudrntf too T 
h,M IhiyoM noe iloivwU 






Tba* Bom hid aot the tdvtQtafres of m clov- 
■W idiicttion, or of any decree of AcquaiDtance 
wMl the Greek or Roman writers in their ori> 
nul dreiSy hat appeared in the history of Lis 
fife. He acquired indeed some knciwlcilp:'* of tlic 
French lanf^uagei but it doc-s not appear that he 
erer much conTenant in French litoraturo, 
n there any evidence of his havini; derived 
auf of his poetical stories from that source. 
l¥ith the English danics he became well ac- 
ipainted in the course of his life, and the eflfectH 
it this acquaintance are observable in his latter 
prodnctious ; but the character and style of his 
poetry were formed very early, and the model 
which he followed, in as far as he can be said to 
have had one, is to be sought for in the works 
of the poets who have written in the Scottish 
dialect — in the works of 6ucli of them more est- 
peeially, as are familiar to the i>easantry of Scut- 
Itad. Some observations on thcM may fm-m a 
proper introduction to a more particular exami- 
nation of the poetry of BurnM. The studios of 
the editor in this direction are imleetl vorv ru- 
cent and very imperfect. It would havo b.'cn 
laprodaBt for him to have entered on thisi sub- 
jfOt at all, but for the kinclncM of Mr. U.iii:<^iy 
of Ochtertyre, whoK a^istance he is proud to 
aduowledge, and to whom the reader must a.<^ 
cribe whatever it of any value in the followir.p^ 
ifliperfect sketch of literary compobicions in the 
Seottiah idiom. 

It is a circumstance not a little curious, ami 
which does not seem to be satisfactorily explain- 
ed) that in the thirteenth century the lan'.^u-ii^o 
of the two Britii»h nations, if at all difiVrent, 
differed only in dialect, the Gaelic in the one, 
liko the Welch and Armoric in the other, bein^ 
confineii to the mountainous di<<ti-ict<(. * The 
English under the Edwards, and the Scots under 
WiJlace and Bruce, spoke the same lant^Kigc. 
We may observe also, in Scotland the liiii- 
tory ascends to a period nearly as remote as in 
Ea^and. Barbour and Blind Harry, James the 
FSnt» Dunbar, Douglas, and Lindsay, who liv- 

* BUtarieai Essays m Scottish Soni, p. iO, by Mr. 

ed in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth 
tiiries, were coeval with the fathers of poetry in 
Ensrlund ; and in the opinion of Mr. Wharton, 
iiot inferior to them in genius or in composition. 
Thouijh the hnjju.tre of the two countries gra- 
dually deviafcd from each other during; this pe- 
ridJ, yet the dit&rence on the whole was not 
couiiider.ibic ; nor perhaps greater than between 
the d-lTereut dialects of the different parts of 
£u;:lan>l in our own time. 

At tlie death ot' James the Fifth, in IMS, the 
lanqua;;«* of Scotlind was in a flourishing condi- 
tion, waotin<r only writers in prosp equal to those 
in verse. Two ciniiinstanrc)*. propitious on the 
whole, operated ti) provent this. The first was 
the passion of the Seots far composition in Laifm 
tin ; and the ttecond, the accession of James the 
Sixth to the Er!;;l->h throne. It may easily be 
inngined, th it i( Buchanan had devoted his ad- 
mirable talents even iu part, to the cultivation of 
his native ton^u.;, a* was done by the revivers of 
letter< in Italy, he would have left com|iositions 
in that lati:;u:ii(e which mi^ht have excited other 
men of fC(>riius to have fallowed his example,f> 
ami ^ive dur.itinn to the lan';;ua£^e ituc'tu The 
union of the two crowns in the person of James, 
overthrew ail reasonulde cx])ectation of this kind. 
That inonareli, seated on the English throne, 
would no ion(;er U* addresxcd in tlic rude dia- 
lect in which the Scottish clergy had so often 
in<u]ti'd his dignity. lie encoura'^ed Latin or 
En;Ji.<<!i only, Iwith of wliich he prided himself 
on wiitir.i; wilh purity, though he himyelf never 
could acutiire the En:;li!«h pronunciation, but 
•spuke with a .Si'otti>h idiom and intonation to 
the Ki-t. Seotsmen of tilents declined writing in 
their native latisjuaire. which thev knew was not 
acceptable to their learnnl and {>eilant;c mo- 
narch ; and at a time wlien ir.i*ional prejudice 
and enmity prevniied to a great <le^ree, they dis- 
dained to siudy the nieities of the English tongue, 
though of so much easier acquisition than a 
dead language. Lord Stirling and Drummond 
of Ilawthornden, the only Scotsmen who wrote 

t e- C' The Authonof the l^//cur Poctarum Scot9m 
rum, 4^1 


poetry in tlio'-c timrs, were exceptions. Tbey 
studietl the 1anrruu;;c of England, and composed 
in it with pro(-i!>ion and elegance. They were 
howcvor the List of their cuuntrvroen who dc* 
K r\'c<l to be cousidercd as poot<> in that cehtury. 
The niuiH.'H of Scotl.tnri sunk iuto silence, and 
dill not agnin nibe their vuices for a p^^riod of 
eighty yo.ri.. 

T>> w hjit CkIusc^ are we to attribute this ex- 
trcmu (lejircf'-ion uniong a people comparatively 
learned, otitcrpriMiog, and inj;^enious? Shall 
we impute it to the fmaticism of the covenan- 
ters, or tn tlio tyranny of the house of Stuart 
after their restnral ion t.) the throne? Doubt- 
lc«H these ciuse^ oparattd, but they seem un- 
eijiiiil to Recount for the rtT:ct. In Enj^hnd m- 
niilar (iiotr.ietions und oppre.vsionii t(»uk place, yet 
piiftry flourished there in a renviikable degree. 
Duriu:; this period, Cowley, and Waller, and 
Drvden sun;;, and ^liiton rai.->e\Ihif »tiaiu of un- 
p.iralleL'd grandeur. To tlr* cauM.'H already 
niiMiiioned, another \nuit be atidc-d, in nccjuut- 
iii^ fur the torpor of Scutrlsh literature — the 
Wuiit of a proper vehicle for Uieu of genius to 
employ, 'ihc civil Wiu.H hail fiij;;itened away 
the Latin nuiKs, and no ttamiiird had lieen es- 
tablished of thi! J-cotiish tonj;u'', wiiic-h was de- 
viatiiig t>till faithcr from the pure ICn^iiih idiom. 

Tl-.e revival of literature in Scotland may be 
dated from the establinhniont of the union, or 
rather from the extinction of the rebellion iu 
171 J. The nations iK-ing finally incorjiorated, 
it was clciixly feen thnt their tongues must in 
the end incorporate also ; or rather imleeii that 
the Si-ottish language uiusit d..'geDcratc into a 
provincial idium, to be uvoiurd by those who 
would aim at distinction in letters, or rise to 
en licence in the united le,';islaturu. 

Smni after this, a band of men of genius ap- 
pcaroil, who studied the English clotnics and 
imitated their beantie;* in the same manner us 
thev ^tluued the chL-injcs of (ireece and Rome. 
Tliey had admirable niodeU of composition late- 
ly pi e-sented to them by the writers of the reign 
of Queen .Anne ; particularly in the periodical 
paper* |)ublixhed by Steele, Addi.>«on, and their 
a-HH-iated friends, which circulated widely 
through Scutlonda and uilTuKd every where a 
t.-i«t..' for punty of style and nentiment, and for 
critical dixpii'cition. At loni^th, the Scottish 
writiTs succeeded in En^lmhcouipoKitioo, and a 
ut.iou wxs formed of the literary talents as well 
as of ti)e Kifii^laturcH of the two nations. On 
thin occiHioa the poetH took the lead. While 
Ileniy Ilon;e,^ Dr. Wallace, and their learned 
aMdciatc!*, were only laying in their intellectual 
ftote.4. and studying ti> «*lear them^lves of their 
8c'>tti!>h idioinv, Thompson, Mallet, and Hamil- 
ton of Bangour, had made their appearance be- 
fore the public, and been enrolled on the list of 
English ]M}et«. The writers in prose followed 
— a nunurouB and powerful band, and poured 
their ample stores into the general stream of Bri- 

• Lord Xaims. 

tish literature. Scotland pow tiic d ber fear Mv 
versities before the accession of James to At 
English throne. Immediately before th« aaiooy 
she acquired her parochial schoola. These ti» 
tablishmeuts combining happily together, OMrie 
the eleiAents of knowledge of easy aequisitiiiiy 
and presented a direct path, by which the wt~ 
dent student might be carried along into tbe f«- 
cesses of science or learning. As civil bnib 
ceased, and faction and prejudice gradually died 
away, a wider field \va% opened to literary amfci"' 
tion, and the induence of the Scottish inetilM- 
tions for instruction, on the productions of At 
press, became mnie and more appaqent. 

It seems indeed probable, that the establUi* 
mcnt of the parochial schools produced 
on the rural niu^e of Sc«>tland also, which 
not hitherto been sui^pccted, and w^hich, thM|gh 
less splendid in their nature, ar^not hot 
to be regarded as trivial, whether we coi 
the happiness or the morals of the people. 

There is some reu<4)n to believe, that the 
original inhabitants of the British isles posseMCd 
a ])eculiar and interesting species of moeicy 
which being banished from the plains by the 
successive invasions of tiie Saxons, Danes, and 
Normans, was ])re^erved with the native neet 
in the wilds of Ireland and in the mountains id 
Scotland and Wales. I'lio Irl-ih, the Scotdsh* 
and the Wehsh music, dii'fer indeed from cadi 
other, but the difference nnv )»c considered as 
in dialect only, and probably produced by Aa 
influence of time, like the diff)?r(>nt dialects id 
their common lanj^uge. If tnit conjecture ha 
true, the Scottish music nnist be more immi 
diately of a Highland ori>xin, and the Lowlaad 
tunes, though now of a character somewhat di^ 
tinct, must have df*scended from the mountaiaB 
in remote ages. Whatever credit may be gifen 
to conjectures, evidently involved in great na* 
certainty, there can he. nn rloubt that the Seo^ 
tish peasantry have iH'en long in possession of a 
number of songs ind l)allads composed in thrfr 
native dialect, and sung to their native maelBi 
The subjects of the>c compositions were such as 
most interested the sim]dc inhabitants, and hi 
the succession of time varied probably as tfia 
condition of society varied. During the 
ration and the hostility of the two nations, 
songs and ballads, as far as our imperfect 
ments enable us to judge, were chiefly warlike ; 
such as the Ilmmtii of Cheviot^ and the J9aMii 
of Harlaw, After the anion of the two croirai^ 
when a certain degree of peace and tranqoilHtf 
took place, the rural muse of ScotUnd breathed 
in softer accents. ** In the want of real tTH 
dence respecting the history of our songs," wtjt 
Ramsay of Ochtertyre, ** reconrse may be had 
to conjecture. One would be disposed to thinly 
that ^e most beautiful of the Scottbh tonel 
were clothed with new words aflter the uaieB 
of the crowns. The inhabitants of the bordsfi^ 
who had formerly been warriors from choiea^ 
and hnabaadmea from neecssity, either qaitlsA 
tha cOQBtrj, or ware tnasfefnad into real ilMf- 


iMrlib ctif in their cireumaUnoea, and ntitfied 
with their lot. Some tparlu of that spirit of 
<hnr alry for which they are celebrated by Froie- 
«rt» remained Mifficient to inspire eleratioa of 
•■tinent and gallantry towards the £iir sex. 
Vht fiuniliarity and kindness which had long 
whiiited between the gentry and the peasantry, 
«o«Id not all at once be obliterated, and this 
Msnezion tended to sweeten rural life. In this 
of innocence, ease, and tranquillity of 
I, the love of poetry and music would still 
lintain its ground, though it would naturally 
imc a form congenial to the more peaceful 
of sopiety. The minstrels, whose metrical 
used once to rouse the borderers like the 
tninpet's sound, had been, by an order of the 
Ligialature ( 1579), classed with roguM and va- 
fiboads, and attempted to be suppressed. Knox 
aad his dtsdples influenced the Scottish parlia- 
atnty but contended in vain with her rural 
Bwse. Amidst our Arcadian vales, probably 
«B the banks of the Tweed, or some of its tri- 
butary streams, one or more original geniuses 
■lay have arisen who were destined to give a 
■ew turn to the taHe of their countrymen. 
They would see that the events and pursuits 
which chequer private life were the proper sub- 
jiols fer popular poetry. Love, which had fbr- 
■Mriy h<jd a divided sway with glory and am- 
bitioii, became now the roaster-passion of the 
mmL To portray in lively and delicate coloura, 
Aough with a hasty hand, the hopes and fears 
that agiute the breast of the luve-sick swain, 
OT forlorn maiden, afford ample scope to the 
rnral poet. Love-songs, of which Tibullus 
lumself would not have been ashamed, might 
be composed by an uneducated rustic with a 
dight tincture of letters ; or if in these songs 
the character of the rustic be sometimes assum- 
ed* the truth of character, and t'ne language of 
aatore, are pre^rved. With unafGected sim- 
alicity and tendemes*, topics are urged, most 
likely to soften the heart of a cnid and coy 
mis^ess, or to regain a fickle lover. Even in 
aiich as are of a melancholy cast, a ray of hope 
breaks through, and dispels the deep and settled 
gkom which characterizes the sweetest of the 
Highland luinagt, or vocal airs. Nor are these 
aongs all plaintive; many of them are lively 
and humorous, and some appear to us coarse 
and indelicate. They seem, however, genuine 
descriptions of the manuers of an enei^tic and 
sequestered people in their hours of mirth and 
festivity, though in their portraits some objects 
are brought into open view, which more fasti- 
dious painters would have thrown into shade. 

** As those rural poets aung for amusement, 
■ot for gain, their effusions seldom exceeded a 
leve-song, or a ballad of satire or humour, 
which, like the words of the elder minstrels, 
were seldom committed to writing, but trea- 
eertd up in the memory of their friends and 
iMighbours. Neither known to the learned nor 
patronised by the great, these rustic bards lived 
ud died in obecurit)- ; vid by a itruge fatality, 

their storvt and even their very names have 
been forgotten. When proper modeb for pas- 
toral aongs were produced, there would be no 
want of imitators. To succeed in this species 
of composition, soundness of understanding and 
sensibility of heart were more requisite than 
flights of imagination or pomp of numbcra. 
Great changes have certainly taken place in 
Scottish K>ng* writing, though we cannot trace 
the steps of this change ; and few of the pieces 
admired in Queen Msry*s time are now to be 
discovered in modern collections. It is possible, 
thoui^h not probable, that the music may have 
remained nearly the sanur, though the words to 
the tunes were entirely new-modelled." 

These conjectures are highly ingenious. It 
cannot, however, be presumed, that the stite of 
ease and tranquillity described by Mr. Ramsay 
took place among the Scottish peasantry imtne- 
diately on the union of the crowns, or indeed 
during the greater part of the seventeenth cen- 
tury. The Scottish nation, through all ranks, 
was deeply agitated by the civil wars, and the 
religioua peraecutions which aucoeeded each 
other in that disastrous period ; it was not till 
after the revolution in 169S, and the subsequent 
establishment of their beloved ftirm of church 
government, that the peasantry of the Lowlands 
enjoyed comparative repose ; and it is since that 
period that a great number of the most admired 
Scottish songs have been produced, though the 
tunes to which they are sung, are in general of 
much greater antiquity. It is not unreasonable 
to suppose, that the peace and security derived 
from the Revolution, and the Union, produced 
a fovourable change on the rustic poetry of 
Scotland ; and it can scarcely be doubted, that 
the institution of parish schools in 1696, by 
which a certain degree of instruction was dif- 
fused universally among the peasantry, contri- 
buted to this happy effect. 

Soon after this appeared Allan Ramsay, the 
Scottish Theocritus. He was bom on the high 
mountains that divide Clydesdale and Annan- 
dale, in a small hamlet by the banks of Glengo- 
nar, a stream which descends into the Clyde. 
The ruins of this hamlet are still shown to the 
inquiring traveller. He was the son of a pea- 
sant, and probably received such instruction as 
his parish-school bestowed, and the poverty of 
his parents admitted. Ramsay made his ap- 
pearance in Edinburgh, in the beginning of the 
present century, in the humble character of an 
apprentice to a barber ; he was then fouiteen or 
fifteen years of age. By degrees he acquired 
notice tor his social disposition, and his talent 
for the composition of verses in the Scottish 
idiom ; and, changing his profession for that of 
a bookseller, he became intimate with many of 
the literary, as well as the gay and fashionable 
characters of his time. * Having published a 

• " He TTfu coeval with Joseph Mitchell, and his 
dxxboftmtiU wiU, who, about 17' 9i published a very 
poor miscellany, to which Dti Young, the author of 



voloBM o£ poems of hit own in ITSI* which 
was £iTourab1y received, he undertook to make 
a collection of ancient Scottinh poems, under the 
title of the Eter^Grttn^ and was afterwards 
encouraged to present to the world a collection 
of Scottish soDj^ '* From what sources he 
procured them," sa)-s Ramsay of Ochtertyre, 
** whether from tradition or manuscript, is un- 
certain. As in the Ever" Green he made some 
rash attempts to improve on the originals of his 
ancient poems, he probably used still greater 
freedom with the songs and ballads. The truth 
cannot, however, be known on this point, till 
manuscripts of the songs printed by him, more 
ancient than the present century, shall be pro- 
duced, or access be obtained to his own papers, 
if they are still in existence. To several tunes 
which either wanted words, or had words that 
were improper or imperfect, he or his friends 
adapted verses worthy of the melodies they ac- 
companied, worthy indeed of the golden age. 
These verses were perfectly intelligible to every 
rustic, yet justly admired by persons of taste, 
who regarded them as the genuine offipring of 
the pastoral muse. In some respects Ramsay 
had advantages not possessed by poets writing 
in the Scottish dialect in our da)'s« Songs in 
the dialect of Cumberland or Lancashire, could 
never be popular, because these dialects have 
never been spoken by persons of fashion. But 
till the middle of the present centur}', every 
Scotsman, from the peer to the peasant, spoke 
a truly Doric language. It is true the English 
moralists and poets were by this time read by 
every permn of condition, and considered as the 
standards for polite composition. But, as na- 
tional prejudices were still strong, the busy, the 
learned, the gay, and the fair continued to speak 
their native dialect, and that with an elegance 
and p«»ignancy uf which Scotsmen of the present 
day cun have no just notion. I am old enough 
to have conversed with Mr. Spittal, ofLeuchat, 
.1 scholar anH a man uf fashion, who survived 
hII the members of the Union Parliament, in 
which he harl a seat. His pronunciation and 
phrasrology differed as much from the common 
diiilcrt, ns the language of St. Jameses from that 
«'f Thames Street. Had we retained a court 
and parliament of our own, the tongues of the 
two sister kingdoms would indeed have diffirred 
like the Castilian and Portuguese ; but each 
would have its own classics, not in a single 
branch, but in the whole circle of literature. 

** Ramsay associated with the men of wit 
and faMhiun of his day, and several of them at- 
ttrinpted to write poetry in his manner. Per* 
sons too idle or too dissipated to think of oom- 
pottitions that required ranch exertion, inoeeeded 
very happily in making tender sonnets to £i- 
votirite tunes in compliment to their mistreaaet, 
and transforming themaelvea into impaaaioned 

shepherds, caught the hogaagt of the dbanetm 
they assumed. Thus, aboat tihs year ITSlt 
Robert Crawford of Auchinamet, wrote tlw 
modem aong of TWedsuis,* which has 
so much admired. In 17iS, Sir Gilbert 
the first of our lawyers who both spoke 
wrote English elegantly, composed, in the dia* 
racter of a love-sick swain, a beautiful soo^ 
b<^nning. My tJteep I neglecUdt I htt mi^ 
sheep-hook^ on the marriage of hia mistreasv 
Miss Forbes, with Ronald Crtwfurd. Ao4 
about twelve years afterwards, the sister of Sir 
Gilbert wrote the ancient words to the tunt of 
the Flowers of the Forestff and anpposed to a^ 
lude to the battle of Flowdeo. In spite of tlw 
double rhj-me, it is a sweet, and though in son* 
parts allegorical, a natural expression of natiooil 
sorrow. The more modern worda to the aam* 
tune, beginning, I have setn the tmUing of for* 
tune beguiUng, xirere written long before by Mnu 
Cockburo, a woman of great wit, who outlivsA 
all the first group of literati of the present ceo- 
tury, all of whom were very fond of her. I wtm 
delighted with her compou) , thougn when I saw 
her, she was very old. Much did sh*e know 
that is now* lost.** 

lu addition to theiie iustanccs of Scottish 
songs, produced in the earlier part of the pre* 
sent century, may be mentioned the ballad at 
Hardiknuie, by Lady Wardlaw ; the bollsd ef 
William and Margaret ; and the aong cntitlsd 
the Hirks of Invermay, by Mallet ; the lovt* 
song, beginning, For ever. Fortune, wUt thorn 
prove, prt>ducrd by the youthful mitse of Thoin^ 
son ; and the exquisite pathetic ballad, the Bran 
of Yarrow, by Hamilton of Bangour. On tht 
revival of letters in Scotland, sulMcquent to tb» 
Union, a very general taste seems to have pn» 
vailed for the national songs and music. '* For 
many years,** says Mr. Ilamsay, ** the singiof 
of songs wss the great delight of the higher ana 
middle order of the people, as well as of th« 
peasantry ; and though a taste for Italian musie 
has interfered with this amuacincnt, it is stlU 
very prevalent. Between forty and fifty yean 
ago, the common people were not only exceed- 
ingly fond of songs snd ballads, but of metricil 
hiatory. Often have 1, in my cheerful mom of 
youth, listened to them with delight, whoi 
reading or reciting the exploits of Wallace tod 
Bmce against the Southrons. Lord Uailsa 
was wont to call Blind Harry their BibU^ \m 
being their great favourite uixt tlie Scriptures. 
When, thereifbrf, one in the vale of life fislt the 
first emotion of genius he wanted not models 
net generis. But thougU the seeds of poetry 
were scattered with a plentiful hand among ths 
Scottish peasantry, the product was prahaUy 
like that of pears aitd apples — of a thousand 
that sprung up, nine huiMlred and fif^ are sa 
bad as to set the teeth on edge ; forty-fivs or 

he Night ThoughU, prefixed a copy of verses.** I * Beginning, What beauties dote Flora diselo— / 
Extract of a Utttrfrvm Mr Ramioy of (khltrtyre I t .»eglnniD|f, / have heard a lilting at awr -— - 
UiheJUitor. _ \milkHti 



an paMtble and unefnl ; tnd the rest of 
ta aqvitite flaTOur. Allan Ramsay and Burna 
•N wudingt of this last description. They had 
tiMi. example of the elder Scottish poets ; thry 
Wire not without the aid of the best English 
writers ; and, what was of still more import- 
•aee, they were no strangers to the book of na- 
tnre, and to the book of God.'* 

From this general view, it is apparent that 
Allan Ramsay may be considered as in a great 
aeaaare the reviver of the rural poetry of his 
fountry. His collection of ancient Scottish 
poems onder the name of The Ectr-grten^ his 
collection of Scottish nongs and his own poems, 
the principal of which is the Gentle Shepherd^ 
lunre been universally read among the peasantr)- 
Ol hia country, and have in some degree super* 
••dad the adventures of Bruce and Wallace, as 
noorded by Barbour and Blind Harry. Burns 
WM well acquainted with all of these* He had 
•lao before him the poems of Fergusson in the 
Scottish dialect, which have been produced in 
Mr own times, and of which it will be neces- 
Urr tu give a short account. 

Fergusson was born of parents who had it in 
Hwir power to procure him a liberal education, 
% circumstance, however, which in Scotland, 
impliea no very high rank in society. From a 
W«l written and apparently authentic account 
flf hia life, we learn that he spent six years at 
tfM schools of Edinburgh and Dundee, and se- 
veral years at the universities of Edinburgh and 
St. Andrew's. It appears that he was at one 
thne destined for the Scottish church ; but as 
lie advanced towards manhood, he renounced 
that intention, and at Edinburgh eutered the 
offce of an attorney. Fcrgus»on had sensibility 
of mind, a warm and generous heart, and ta- 
IsBts for society, of the most attractive kind. 
To such a man no situation could be more dan> 
gerous than that in which he was placed. The 
tzoeases into which he was led, impaired his 
ftcble constitution, and he sunk under them in 
the month of October, 1774, in his 23d or2ith 
year. Burns was not acquainted with the 
poems of this youthful genius when he himself 
began to write poetry ; and when he first saw 
than, he had renounced the muses. But while 
he reaided in the tdwti of Irvine, meeting with 
JFkrgntion'M Scottiih JPoemx, he informs us that 
he " strung his lyre anew with emulating vi- 
coor.** Touched by the sympathy originating 
U kindred genius, and in the forebodings of si- 
nilar fortune, Bums regarded Fergusson with 
• partial and an affectionate admiration. Over | 
his grave he erected a monument, as has al« 
leady been mentioned ; and his poems he has 
in several instances made the subjects of his 

From this account of the Scottish poems 
IpiowB to Bums, those who are acquainted 
with them will see they are chiefly humorous 
or pathetic ; and under one or other of these 
<iesriptioBe MMt of hia own poems will cUts. 
Ln m mmftn him with hia predecesaon un- 

der each of these points of view, and close cor 
examination with a few general obscrratiooa. 

It has frequently been observed, that Scot- 
land has produced, comparatively speaking, few 
writers who have excelled in humour. But this 
observation is true only when applied to those 
who have continued to reside in their own coun- 
try, and have confined themselves to composi- 
tion in pure English ; and in tliew circum- 
stances it admits of an easy explanation. The 
Scottish poets, who have written in the dialect 
of Scotland, have Iieen at all times remarkable 
for dwelling on subjects of humour, in which 
indeed some of them have excelled. It would 
be easy to show, that the dialect of Scotland 
having become provincial, is now scarcely suit- 
ed to the more elevated kinds of poetry. If we 
may believe that the poem of Chritt'u Kirk of 
the Grene was written by James the First of 
Scotland, this accomplished monarch, who had 
received an Engliish eiducation under Henry the 
Fourth, and who bore arms under his gallant 
successor, gave the model on which the greater 
part of the humorous productions of the mstic 
muse of Scotland had been formed. Chritti* 
Kirk of the Grene was reprinted by Ramsay, 
somewhat modernixefl in the orthography, and 
two cantos were added l>v him, in which he at- 
tempts to carry on the design. Hence the poem 
of King James is usually printed in Ramsay'a 
works. The royal bard describes, in the first 
canto, a rustic dance, and afterwards a conten- 
tion in archery, ending in an affray. Ramsay 
relates the restoration of concord, and the re- 
newal of the rural sports with the humours of a 
country wedding. Though each of the poets 
describes the manners of his respective age, yet 
in the whole piece there is a very sufficient uni- 
formity ; a striking proof of the identity of cha- 
racter in the S«'ottisli peasantry at the two pe- 
riods, distant from each other three hundied 
yeary. It in an honourable distiuction to this 
body of men, that their character and nianneis, 
very little emb«lli«»hed, have been found tu be 
susceptible of an amusing and interesting spe- 
cies of poetry ; and it mu»t appear not a little 
curious, that the single nation of modern Eu- 
rope which possesses an original ptictry, should 
have received the model, followed by their rus- 
tic bards, from the monarch on the throne. 

The two additional (vintos to Chrittit Kirk 
of the Grene, written by Ramsay, though ob- 
jectionable in point of delicacy, are among the 
happiest of his productions. His chief excel- 
lence indeed, lay in the description of rural cha- 
racters, incidents, and scenery ; for he did not 
possess any very high po wet's either of imagina- 
tion or of understanding. He was well ac- 
quainted with the peasantry of Scotland, their 
lives and opinions. The subject was in a great 
measure new ; his talents were equal to the 
subject, and he has shown that it may be hap- 
pily adapted to pastoral poetry. In his Gentle 
Shepherd, the characters are delineations from 
nature^ the deacriptive parts are in the genuino 




tlyle of bMitiftd limplieity, tiw pftMoiu and 
affectioiit of rand life are finely portrayed, and 
the heart ia pleaaingly interested in the happi- 
neia that ia beatuweJ in innocence and Tirtuc. 
Throughout the whole there ia an air of reality 
which the moat careleM reader cannot but per- 
ctive; and in fact no poem ever perhapa ac- 
quired so high a reputation, in which truth re- 
ceiTcd ao little embelliahment from the imagina- 
tion. In his pa&toral aonga, and hia rural tales, 
Ramaay appears to leas advantage, indeed, but 
atill with conaiderable attraction. The story of 
the Monk and the MiUer't Wife, though some- 
what licentious, may roiik with the happiest 
productions of Prior or La Fontaine. But when 
he attempts subjects from higher life, and aims 
at pure English composition, he is feeble and 
uninteresting, and seldom even reaches medio- 
crity. Neither are hia familiar epiatlea and 
elegies in the Scottijih dialect entitled to much 
approbation. Though Fergu»9on had higher 
powers of imagination than Ramaay, his genius 
was not of the highest order ; nor did his learn- 
ing, which waa considerable, improve his ge- 
nius. His poems written in pure English, in 
which he often follows classical models, though 
superior to the Englibh poems of Ramaay, sel- 
dom rise above mediocrity ; but in those com- 
pooed in the Scottish dialect he is often very 
auccesafuU He was, in general, however, less 
happy than Ramaay in the subjecta of hia muse. 
Aa he spent the greater part of hia life in Edin- 
burgh, and wrote for his amusement in the in- 
tervals of busineaa or diaaipation, his Scottish 
poems are chiefly founded on the incidenta of a 
town life, which, though they are not ausoepti- 
ble of humour, do not admit of those delinea- 
tiona of scenery and manners, which vivify the 
rural poetry of Ramsay, and which so agreeably 
amuae the fancy and interest the heart. The 
town eclogues of Ferguason, if we may so deno- 
minate them, are however £uthful to nature, 
and often distinguished by a very happy vein of 
humour. His poems entitled The liuj't UaySf 
The King*9 Birih-day in EditUturyltf Lcith 
JRacet, and The Hallow Fair, will ju&tify this 
character. In these, particularly in the lost, he 
imitated Christie Kirk of the Grcne, as Ram- 
aay had done before him. Hi« Addreu to the 
J'ron-kirk £eU is an exquisite piece of humour, 
which Burna has scarcely excelled. In appre- 
ciating the genius of FerguxMmf it ou'^ht to be 
recollected, that his poems are the carelefcs effu- 
sions of an irregular though amiable young man, 
who wrote fur the periodical papers of the day, 
and who died in early youth. Had hia life been 
prolonged under happier circuui»tances of for- 
tune, he would probably have ri<icn to much 
higher reputation. He might have excelled in 
rural poetry, for though hia professed pofetorals 
on the established Sicilian model, are stale and 
uninteresting. The Fartner'e It^U,* which 

The fsnnei'f flrMida. 


may be eonsidered aa a Scottish paatoral, k tho 
happiest of all his productions, end certainljr 
was the archetype of the Cotter*i Satutdap 
Night, FerguBson, and more especially Bur]i% 
have shown, that the character and mannert 9t 
the peasantry of ScotUmd, of the present tiaM% 
nre as well adapted to poetry, as in the days of 
Hamsay, or of the author of Christie Kirk nf 
the Grene, 

The humour of Burns w of a richer vein than 
that of Ramsay or Fergusson, both of whom, lo 
he himself informs us, he had ** frequently in hit 
eve, but rather with a view to kindle at thiir 
flame, thau to servile imitation.'* His descrip- 
tive powers, whether the objects on which thef 
are employed be comic or serious, animate, or 
inanimate, are of the highestt order. — A aup^ ' 
riority of thia kind ia est»ential to every apeeiet 
of poetical ezoollence. In one of his eariiar 
poems his plan seems to be to inculcate a lesaon 
of contentment on the lower classes of soctetyy 
by showing that their superiors are neithtr 
much better nor happier than themselves ; oad 
this he chooses to execute in the form of a dia- 
logue between two dogs. He introduces this 
dialogue by an account of the persona and cha- 
racters of the speakers. The first, whom ho 
has named Gesor, ia a dog of condition :— 

" His locked, letterM, braw brass collar. 
Showed him the gentleman and scholar.** 

High-bred though he ia, he ia howevor (nil il 
condescension : 

" At kiik or market, mill or smiddie, 
Nae uwted tyke, tho* e*er aae duddieb 
But he wad stao't, as glad to ace hinif 
jin* stroan*t on ttanes on* hiUoek* an* HmJ' 

The other, X«af/i, is a <* plougman*t-odUii»" 
but a cur of a good heart and a aound vadw- 


'* Hit honest, sonsie, baws*nt face, 
Aye gat him friends in ilka place ; 
His breast was white, his towsie baek 
Weel clad wi* coat o* glossy black ; 
His gawcie tail, wi* upward curl. 
Hung o'er his hurdies wC a sufirL'* 

Never were ttea dogs so exquisitely delineat* 
eil. Their gambols, before they sit down to 
moralize, are described with an equal d^jee of 
happiness ; and through the whole dialogue* 
the character, as well as the difnrcnt condition 
of the two speakers, is kept in iriew. Tho 
speech of Luath, in which he enumerates tho 
comforts of the poor, gives the following ao- 
count of their merriment on the first day of tho 
year : 


That merry day the year bcgina, 
They bar the door on frosty 


Tb* laptm pifw» acid Hnmihin' milU 
An lundid imnd <ri' rijiht guid-w>U ; 
Th* cantf aiild liilki crvkiii' cthdw. 
Tb« ]roon( ««t rantin' ihm' (he hoine- 
Ht ittit hu b«n ue fiin u hc them, 
7%al Ifurjoy liac 6or*i< "i' '*«»■" 

Of •!■ llu inliMl) who hare nKirilind o 
MAn >Sun NDc* the dayn of ^Ewp, th* dug 
■rau bst taCiiled to thii privilvsVi ■« veLt '~~ 
kn Hjptriot ugicily, u froio hin being, 
thiD my other, the fntDil ind umcMte ut 
Tin diip of Buriu, cmpting in Ibcir ulei 
asntliiiag, in daunrigfat dug*. Tlu ' 
top" u> coulully k(|il llcbn our ejct, 
lb* eoalrut bclimii Iheit form ind chinetcr 

bfightoH th* huoiour, ud rJtepeiH (h< impm- 
(ion oF ihc poet'e wiiice, Thuvgh in thii poc7n 
iha cliicf eicellencc may lie rnimidnrd u hu- 
nuur, ytt fmt UlenW aredi.|iljyed iii id eoni- 
pBHlwD ; the happieit |hhi 

miRljl ii 
rvei, tliat the 

(he humit 
The \l 

of Bur 

1 uf PerguiH,,, 
n htmMLf with the nuMen of En|>. 
liih puetcy, wLiMe loo^ige he fceqiuntly u- 

Ot the onioD of teniternen and humour, ex. 
unplei ■<» be liiund in The Dtath and Dgi 
Wadt nfpf-r M-titi — ' ' " 
Kt^Yiur; Mur->i-3 .••aiuai.t 
Magfit, *ad in aiaj otlier of bi 
praJM of whidi;f ii « favourite uiiijert wi 
Burni. To tbit he dedivuM hit poem 
SaUk Driai. After menliublDg iU cheer! 
indiMDc* in ■ variety of •iiuitioiu, lie deecrih 
with lunguUr lireiineH aod power of fjncy, 
■tiinulatlng rfiecti on the bldckimilh trocki 
■t fait brge : 

Tit amid FaTKi 

.a. The 

with iht hi(h*r 

cs may ba fbuod 

the poem ntitlnl Dtatk nd Or. Harnboai, 

d in aJniiat crery atanu of tba Aidna (o 

Oi* Dol, one of the happicit of bia prodaetiooi. 

After nproaefain; thii terrible being with all 

" doiag^' and miadeadt, in the ttiiitie of 

. he paaael Ihniugh a lerica of Sooltiih 

I at timei isM a high 

of poetry ; he eondudei tfaia iddreH, it- 

I in a tana of ireal bmiliarilv. iHit alto> 

a tbt bl- 

D happiTf 

Bat, fan ye mtl, aold Xiekie-bi 

O «*d yt tdc a thought an' mn 

Ye libliDa might — 1 dinoa keu- 

StiU ha'e a atall 

Hnmanr and Wndtrncn 
iutiTmixed. that it ia in, 

Fer^uaua vrote a dialogne between the 
Cnuncay and the Plaimtlant,.' of Edinborffa. 
Thii piobahiy (uggeated to Buru hii diilD(ii* 
betveen the Old and New Bridge imt tho riier 
Ayr. The nature of aueh nibJKta rrquirta that 
theyahall be treated humonnialy, and FerKUHoa 
ipted iiolhing beyond ihia. Though 

t Cau. 

t and the Plaim 

1 bik ti 

attempt ii nudo tu pcnoni^r th« 

lialoEoe between the Bnj 
pre^'d by carr." or " ii 
il left bia 


T«{ Ayr. 
if a winter niRht, to tlw mouili uf Ilia 

ruthiiig aiiunil of the influx uf llw li'le. 
I alter iniiliiighc. The Diingruii-clwk 
rutk two, jinil llw hhiwI hjd Inn ro- 

by Walia,« T.iw<T. Allele na. huiihr.1. 
oon (hoou brightly, hihI 

" elinpin:! .ugh" of wingi uuiriKg through tlie 
air, and i-jittdiiy he imveiTn two Iw n-a mii'il, 

theonenntbeUld, themhcriNI ibe New llti'ii^e. 

Thcae genii enter into a compariann uf (be r«- 

riievtivrediGcHi over which tbtyurnide. and af.<lis at i-> uaual brtwvcn the oU anl you.,g. 

" Scotland, my auld. re^peeled mitfaer ! 

enniprc modrrn rhararim and imnnen with 

Though whjlei ye moiuify your teilher. 

(huw of pjt timua. Tliry diHer, iia may U' ta- 

Till when y«i .it. on erajw o' he.ther, 



pected, and taont and icold each other in broad 
Scotch. This convenation, which is certainly 
hamorooi, may be considered as a proper busi- 
neia of the poem. As the debate runs high, and 
threatens serious consequences, all at once it is 
interrupted by a neir scene of wonders : 

.'* all before their sight 

A fiiiry train appearM in order bright ; 
Adown the glitterini; stream they featly danced ; 
Bright to the moon their various drosws glanced ; 
They footed o*vr the watVy glass so neat. 
The infant ice scarce l>ent beneath their feet ; 
While arts of minstrelsy among them rung, 
And soul-ennobled Bards heroic ditties sung. 


** The Genius of the Stream in front appears, 
A venerable chief, advanced in years ; 
His hoary head with water-lilien crown*d. 
His manly leg with garter tangle bound.'* 

Next follow a number of other allegorical be- 
ings, among whom are the four seasons, Rural 
Joy, Plenty, Hospitality, and Courage. 

" Benevolence, with mild benignant air, 
A female form, came from the tow'rs of Stair : 
Learning and Worth in equal measures trode. 
From timple Catrinc, their loner-loved abode : 
Last, white-robed Peace, crown'd with a hazel 

To rustic Agriculture did bequeath 
The broken iron instrument of Death ; 
At sight of whom our Sprites furgat their kin- 
dling wrath.** 

This poem, irregular and imper^t aa it is, 
displays various and powerful talents, and may 
serve to illustrate tliepenius of Burns. In par- 
ticular, it affords a striking instance of his being 
carried beyond his original purpose by the pow- 
eis of imagination. 

In Fergusson*s poem, the Plainstnnet and 
Cauteway contrast the characters of the differ- 
ent persons who walked up«m them. Burns 
probably conceived, that, by a dialogue between 
the Old and New Bridge, he might form a hu- 
morous contrast between ancient and* modem 
manners in the town of Ayr. Such a dialogue 
could only be supposed to pass in the stillnesn of 
night ; and this led our poet into a description 
of a midnight scene, which excited in a high 
d^ree the powers of his imagination. During 
the whole dialogue the scenery is present to his 
fancy, and at length it suggests to him a fairy 
dance of aerial beings, under the beams of the 
moon, by which the wrath of the Genii of the 
3rig8 of Ayr is appeased. 

Incong^ous as the dif&rent parts of this poem 
are, it is not an incongruity that displeases ; and 
we have only to regret that the poet did not be- 
stow a little pains in making the figures more 
correct, and in smoothing the versification. 

The epbtlet of BaroS| io which may be ior 

eluded his Dedieatum io G. EL Etq, diaeovw, 
like his other writings, the powers of a superior 
understanding. They display deep insight ia|o 
human nature, a gay and happy strain of rcflee- 
tion, great independence of sentiment, and ge- 
nerobity of heart. The Halloween of Bums tm 
free from every objection. It is interesting not 
merely from its humorous description of manneri» 
but as it records the spells and charms used oa 
the celebration of a ftwtival, now, even in Scot- 
land, falling into neglect, but which was onot 
observed over the greater part of Britain and 
Ireland. These charms are supposed to afford 
nn insight into futurity, especially on the sub- 
ject of marriage, the most interesting event of 
rural life. In the Hallowunj a female, in per* 
forming one of the spells, has occasion to go oat 
by moonlight to dip her shift-sleeve into a stream 
running toward* the South. It was not ne- 
cessary for Burns to give a description of thie 
stream. But it was the character of hu ardent 
mind to pour forth not merely what the occaaioA 
required, but what it admitted ; and the temp- 
tation to describe so beautiful a natural obj^ 
by moonlight, was not to be resisted— 

" Whylcs owre a linn the bnmie plajrs, 
As through the glen it wimpPt ; 
Whyles round the rocky scar it strays; 

Whylei in a wiel it dimpl't ; 
Whyles glitter *d to the nightly rayt, 

Wi' bickering dancing dazzle ; 
Whyles cookit underneath the brae% 
Beneath the spreading hazel. 

Unseen that night. 

Those who understand the Scottish dialed 
will allow this to be one of the finest instoncea 
of description which the records of poetry afford. 

In pastoral, or, to speak more correctly, in 
rural poetry of a serious nature, Burns excelled 
equally as in that of a humorous kind, and, nsiog 
less of the Scottish dialect in his serious poems, 
he becomes more generally intelligible. It is dif- 
ficult to decide whether the Addr§u to a Mourn 
whose nest was turned vp with the plough, thoaild 
l)e considered as serious or comic. Be this ta 
it may, the poem is one of the happiest and 
moMt finished of his productions. If we smile 
at the " bickering brattle** of this little flying 
animal, it is a smile of tenderness and pity. 
The descriptive part is sdmirable : the moral re- 
flections beautiful, and arising directly out of the 
occasion ; and in the conclusion there is a deep 
melancholy, a sentiment of doubt and dread, 
that arises to the sublime. The Address to a 
Mountain Daisy, turned down with the plough^ 
is a poem of the same nature, though somewhat 
inferior in point of originality, as well as in the 
interest produced. To extract out of incidente 
so common, and seemingly so trivial as theaei 
fiio fine a train of Mintiment and imagery, is the 
surest proof, as well as the most brilliant triumph, 
of original genius. The Vision^ in two cantos, 
from which a beautiful extract is taken by Mr 



M«ek«niie, in the 97th number of the Ziounper, 
ii t poem of great and various excellence. The 
opening, in which the poet describes his otirn 
lute of mind, ivtiring in the evening, wearied, 
from thr luhoure of the day, to moralize on his 
conduct and prospects is truly interesting. The 
chamber, if we may so term it, in which he lits 
down to muse, is an exquisite painting : — 

'* There, lanely, by the ingle cheek, 
I sat and eyed the spewing reck, 
That fiird wi' hoost-pruvnking smeck 

That auld clay biggin ; 
An* heard the restless rattons squeak 

About the riggin." 

To reconcile to our imagination the entrance 
of an aerial being into a mansion of this kind, 
required the powers of Burns — he, however, suc- 
ceeds. Coila enters, and her countenance, atti- 
tude, and dress, unlike tho^e of other spiritual 
beings, are dititinctly portrayed. To the painting 
on her mantle, on which is depicted the most 
Striking scenery, as well as the oiurtt distinguished 
characters, of hi H native country, some exceptions 
may be made. The mantle of Coilo, like the dip 
of ThyrsM,* and the shield of Achill«*s, w too 
much crowded with figures, and »ome of the ob- 
jects represented upon it are scarcely lulmi^H^iile, 
according to the principles of desliin. Tiie jje- 
nerous temperament of Bums led l.iui into tlu'>o 
exuberances. In his second edition he enlar<(t>d 
the number of figures originally introduceJI, that 
he might include objects to w'ttich he wa<» at- 
tached by sentiments of affection, gratitude, or 
patriotism. Tlie second Dnarty or canto of this 
poem, in which Coila describes her own nature 
and occupations, particularly her superintendence 
of his infant genius and in which fahe reconciles 
him to the character of a bard, is an elevated and 
•olemn strain of poetry, ranking in all respecU, 
excepting the harmony of numbers with the 
higher productious of the English muse. The 
concluding stanza, compariKl with that already 
quoted, will show to what a height Burns rises 
in this poem, from the point at which he set 
out: — 

*' And wear thou l/iis — she solemn said. 
And bound the hoVi/ round my head ^ 
The polished leaves, and berries red, 

Did rustling play ; 
And, like a paning thought, she fled 

In light away." 

In rarious poemM Burns has exhibited the pic- 
ture of a mind under the deep impressions of 
real sorrow. The Lament, the Ode to Ruitij 
J)e8pondc'nrf/, nnd Winter, a Dirue^ are of this 
character. In the first uf these poems the eighth 
tCanza, which dc«cril»«s w. hlf^jjle-*-* night from 
anguish of mind, is ])artirularly striking. Burns 
often indulged in tha:<u nicLincholy views of the 

• Se« the first ii/y^iiMi of Theocritus, 

nature and condiUon of man, wludi ire eo eon- 
genial to the temperament of aemibility. The 
poem entitled Man was made to Mourn, afbrds 
an instance of this kind, and The Winter Nipht 
is of the same description. The last is highly 
characteristic, both of the temper of mind, and 
of the condition of Burns. It begins with a 
description of a dreadful storm on a night in 
winter. The poet represents himself as lying in 
bed, and listening to its howling. In this situ- 
ation, he naturally turns his thoughts to the 
ourie * Cattle, and the stffy f Sheep^ exposed to 
all the violence of the tempest. Having lament- 
ed their fate, he proceeds in the following :•— 

** Bk happing bird — wee helpless thing ! 
That in the merry months o* spring. 
Delighted me to hear thee sing, 

What comes o' thee ? 
Wharc wilt thou cow'r thy chittering wing, 

An' close thy e'e? 

Other reflections of the same nature occur to 
his mind ; and as the n>idaight moon, ** muf- 
fled with clouds," ca^ts her dreary light on his 
window, thoughts of a darker and more me- 
Imrholy nature crowd upon him. In this state 
of mind, he heani a voire pouring through the 
t:;iooi!i, a solotuu and plaintive strain of reflec- 
tion. The mourner compares the fury of the 
fii.ituMts wirh i!j It of jiMii to his brother man, 
und titids tiu' forn:cr light in the balance. 

*' See stern ()})Mre>sion's iron grip. 

Or m td Ambition's gory hand, 
Seiuiio;^, like l»!:>Ofl-h<»nnds from the slip. 

Woe, want, and murder, o'er the land.** 

He pui>ues tlii" tr.iin of reflection through a 
variety of partirularn, i:i tlie course of which he 
introduces the foilowiiig animated apostropiie :-~- 

" O ye I who sunk in Iwns of down, 

Feel not a want but what yourselves create, 

Think, for a moment, on his wretched fate. 

Whom friends and fortune quite disown ! 
Ill-«ati8fy*d keen Nature's clam'rous call, 

Stretc-h'd on his straw he lays him down to 
While thro' the ragged roof and chinky wall. 

Chill o'er his slumbers piles the drifty heap.** 

The strain of sentiment which runs through 
this poem is noble, though the execution it un- 
equal, and the versification is defective. 

Among the serious poems of Burns, The 
Cotter'i Saturday Night is perhaps entitled to 
the first rank. TJie Farmer^ s Ingle of Fergus^ 
son evidently suggested the plan of this poem, 
as has been already mentioned ; but after the 
]>lan was formed. Burns trusted entirely to hit 

* Ourir, out.Iyiog. OvritfCSs/<^, Cattle that an UB. 
housed all winter. 

t smy \t in this, as in other plaee^ a (enn of oom 
panion and endcaraMot. 



own |>owers for the execution. Fergtunon's 
poem ii certainly very beautiful. It has all the 
ehorms which depend on rural characters and 
manners happily portrnyud, and exhibited under 
circumstances hi^^hly grateful to the imagination. 
The Fanntr's Ingle biigin^ with describing the 
l^tum of evening. The toil* of the day are over, 
and the farmer retires to his comfortable fire- 
side. The rt'ci'ption whit-h he and hi« men-ser- 
yants receive from the careful house-wife, is 
))lea&ingly dencrihed. After their supper is over, 
they begin to talk on the rural events of the day. 

** 'Tk)ut kirk and market I'ke their tales gae on, 
How Jock wooM Jennt/ hero to l>e his bride ; 

Aud there how lifarion for a bastard son, 
Upon the cutty-jtool was forced to ride, 

The waofu' fcauld o* our MiSf John to bide. 

Tl:r ** Cnid.une** \* r.fxt intnulnced as forming 
a rirclc round the firo, in the midst «f \wr grand- 
children, and whili' hho spins from the rock, 
and the f.p"«ndle plays on htr ** ru-mot lap," she 
i» relatinc: to the voun<i one** tale» of witches and 
ghosts. The poet e\claini>, 

** O mock na thi« my friend's ! be.t rather mourn, 
Ye in lifc*>* brawcut spring wi* reaston clear, 

Wi* eild our idle fancies a' return, 

And dim our dolefu* days wi* baimly fear; 

The mind's aye cradFd when the ffrave is near." 

In the meantime the farmer, wearied with the 
fatigues of the day, stretches himxelf at length 
on the ^tttlcy a sort of rustic couch, which ex- 
tendi* ou one fciiie of the fire, ami the cat and 
house-dog leap upon it to rt-ceivi> his care!>wit. 
Here, rc*ring at his caw, he given hU directions 
to hin men-servants for the »»ucc(.*edi(i:r dav. 
The houxe-wifu follows his example, and gives 
her orders to the maidens, liy de<;rees tliu oil 
in the cruise l>cginH to fail ; the fire runs low ; 
sK'ep steals on his rustic group ; and they n:ove 
off to enjoy their peaceful slumbers. The j-ocl 
concludes by bestowing his bW^ing on the 
** husbandman and nil his tribe." 

This is an original and truly interesting pas- 
toral. It possesses every thing required in this 
species of composition. We might have p«rha|>s 
aoid, every thing that it admits, had not Burns 
written his Cotter* m Satvrday Night. 

The cottager returning from his lalxiurs, has 
no servants to accompany him, to partake of his 
fare, or to receive his instructions. The circle 
which he joins, is composed of his wife and chil> 
dren only ; and if it admits of less variety, it af- 
fords an opportunity for representing scenes that 
mure strongly interest the affefttior.s. The 
younger children running to meet him, and 
clambering round his knee ; the elder, returning 
from their weekly labours with the neighbouring 
farmers, dutifully depositing their little gains 
with their parents, and receiving theii father's 
bleising and instructicM ; the incidents of the 
(oortibip of Jeon^y their ddnt daughter, " wo- 

man grown,** are circomtttneet of the noel ia- 
tereeting kind, which are moat ha|»pily deliaeU- 
ed ; and after their fmgal lopper, the rtpreeea- 
tation of these humbler cottagera forming % wider 
circJe ronnd their hearth, and nnidng in the 
worship of God, is a picture the most deeply •£> 
fectiog of any which the rural muse haa erer 
presented to the view. Bums was admirably 
adapted to this delineation. Like all men of 
genius he was of the temperament of devotion, 
and the powers of memory co-operated in thii 
instance with the sensibility of hi* heart, and 
the fervour of hia imagination. Tht Cotter^i 
Saturday yight is tender and moral, it ia ao- 
lemn and devotional, and rises at length in • 
strain of grandeur and sublimity, which modem 
poetry has not surpassed. The noble sentimenta 
of patriotism with which it concludes, corres- 
]>ond with the rest of the poem. In no age or 
country have the pastoral muses breathed tuch 
elevated accents if the Messiah of Pope be ex- 
cepted, which is indeed a pastoral in form only. 
It is to be regretted that Bums did not employ 
his genius on other subjects of the same nature, 
which the manners and customs of the Scottish 
peasantry would have amply supplied. Sneh 
poetry is not to be estimated by the degree of 
pleasure which it bestows ; it sinks deeply into 
the heart, and is calculated, fiir beyond any other 
human means, for giving permanence to the 
scenes and the characters it so exquiaitely de* 

Before we conclude, it will be proper to of- 
fer a few obf^ervations on the lyric production* 
of Burns. His compositions of this kind art 
chiefly songs, generally in the Scottish dialect, 
and nJways after the model of the Scottish tonga* 
on the general character and moral influence of 
u-hieh, sonie ob^*! vations have already been of- 
ii're.I. We iniy liazird a few more particular 

Of the li;-»toric or heroic ballads of Scotland 
it is unticeosarv to t>i>eak. Burns has no where 
imitated tlieni, a circumsrance to be r^retted^ 
biiiec in thin tinui-ioH of composition, from its ad- 
njitt-ttr tile more terrible, as well as the softer 
graces of poetry, he was eminently qualified to 
hnw rxivllod. The Scottish songs which ser- 
ved a** a mi:del to Bums, are almost without 
exeeptioii pj»tortl, or rather rural. Such of 
thfiti as are romic, frequently treat of a mttie 
courtship, or a co^mtry wedding ; or they de- 
scribe the (iitfcrences of opinion which arise in 
marrietl life. Burns has imitated this speciesi 
and surpassed his models. The song beginning 
" Husband, husband, cease your strife,** may be 
cited in support of this observation.* Hia other 

* The dialogues between husbands and their wivai 
which form the sutt)ects <^ the Scottish songs, are al- 
mutit all ludicrous and satirical, and in these oontests 
the lady is generally victorious. From the ooUcctiooa 
of Mr. Pinkerton, we find that the comic museofSooC* 
land delighted in sudi re p r e s e ntations from very early 
times, inherrudednunatieeObcts, •• well lalllMf 
nistic songs* 



eomie tongi are of equal merit In tlie rural 
nogi of Scotlaodt whether huiuorous or ten- 
dcr, the lentiments are given to particular cha- 
rtcterty and very generally, the incidents are 
nfiHTed to particular scenery. This last cir- 
cumstance may he considered as a distinguibh- 
iag feature of the Scottish sont;^, and on it a 
eonsiderable part of their attraction depends. 
* On all occasions the Kentiuient;*, of whatever 
nature, are delivered in the character of the per- 
son principally interested. It* love be describe^l, 
it is not as it is observed, but as it is felt ; and 
the passion is delineated under a p-irticular il%- 
|>ect. Neither is it the fiercer impulxes of de- 
tire that are expressed, as in the celebiated ode 
of Sappho, the model of so many modern song:* ; 
Iwit those gentler emotions of tenderness und af- 
ftetioa, which do not entirely absorb the lover ; 
Iwit permit him to associate his emotions with 
the charms of external nature, and breathe the 
aeoents of purity and innocence, as well as of 
lore. In these respects the love-songs of Scot- 
land are honourably distinguished from the 
moat admired classical compositions of the same 
kind; and by such associations, a variety as 
WtU as livelinetw, is given to the repre>cntation 
of this pasaioD, which are not to be found in 
tiM poetry of Greece or Rome, or perhaps of 
any other nation. Many of the love-songs of 
Scotland describe scenes of rural courtship ; 
many may be considered as invocations from 
lovers to their mistresses. On such occasions 
a degree of interest and realily is given to the 
■entiment, by the spot destined to these happy 
interviews being particularized. The lovers 
perhaps meet at the JSusJi aboon Traquairt or 
on the Bankt of Juttrick ; the nymphs are in- 
yoked to wander among the wilds of lioslin or 
the Woods of Jnvermay, Nor is the s|>ot mere- 
ly pointed out ; the scenery is often described 
as well as the character, so as to represent a ; 
complete picture to the fancy. * Thus the 

• One or two examples may illustrate this obwrva- 
tloo. A Scottish song, written about a hundred years ! 
ago, begins thus:— 

•• On Ettrick Bank«, on a summed niRht 
At gloaming, when the sheep drove luune 
I met my lawie, braw and tis;ht. 
Come wading barefoot a' her lane. 

My heart grew light, I ran, I flang 

My armii about her iily.neck. 
And kissed and clasped there fu' lang— 

My words they were na mony feck." 

The lover, who is a Highlander, goes on to relate 
the language he employed with his Lowland maid to 
win her heart, and to persuade her to fly with him to 
the Highland hillii, there to share his fortune. The 
sentiments are in themselves beautirul. But we feel 
them with double force, while we conceive that they 
were addressed by a lover to his mistress, ^hom he 
met all alone on a summer's evenini;, by the banks of 
a beautiful stream, which some of us have nctually 
seen, and which all of lu can paint to our imagination. 
Let us take another example. It is now a nymph that 
Here how the cxprenes herself— 

How blythe each mom was I to lee ! 
91y iwam oome o'er the billl 

maxim of Horace, vt ptctura poctit, is faitKfuU 
ly oWrved by these rustic bardit, who are guid- 
ed by the Home impulse of nature and sensibility 
which influenced the father of epic poetry, on 
whos« example the precept of the Roman poet 
was perhaps founder!. By this means the ima- 
gihatiun ii* employed to interest the feelings. 
When we do not conceive distinctly, we do not 
sympathize deeply in any human alfection ; and 
we conceive nothing in the alMttract. Abstrac- 
tion, M) UHeful in moraN, and so esieutial in 
science, must be abandoned when the heart Is 
to be subduefl by the powers of poetry or of 
eloquence. The bards of a ruder condition of 
itocicty paint individual objects ; and henoe» 
amoni; other causes, the easy access they obtain 
to the heart. Generalization is the voice of 
poets, whoM! learning overpowers their genins ; 
of poets of a refined and scientific ag^ 

The dramatic style which prevails so mnch 
in the Scottish songs, whue it contributes great- 
ly to the interest they excite, also showa that 
they have originated among a people in the ear- 
lier stages of society. Where this form of com- 
position appears in songs of a modern date, it 
indicates that they have been written after the 
ancient model.* 

The Scottish songs are of very uneqaal poe- 
tical merit, and this inequality often extends to 
the different parts of the same song. Those that 
are humorous, or characteristic of mannera, 
have in general the merit of copying nature ; 
those that are serious are tender and often 
sweetly interesting, but seldom exhibit high 
powers of imagination, which indeed do not 


He skint the bum, and flew to me, 
1 met him with good will." 

Here is another picture drawn by the pencil of Na- 
ture?. \V(* see a shepherdess standing by the side of a 
brook, watching her lover, as he descends the opposite 
hill. He bounds lightly along : he appttMch'^s nearer 
and nearer; he leaps the brook, and flies into her 
arms. lu the recollection of these circumstances, the 
surrounding scenery becomes endeared to the fair 
mourner, and khe bursts ii:to the following exclama* 
lion :— 

** O the broom, the bonnie bonnie broom. 
The broom of the Cowden-knowcs ! 
I wish I were with mv dear swain, 
Witli his pipe a:id his ewes;" 

Thus the individual spot of this hippy Interview la 
pointed out, and the picture is eompleteo. 

* That the dramatic form of writing characterises 
productions of an early, or what amounts to the same, 
of a rude .stage of society, may be illustrated by a re. 
ference to the most ancient compositions that we know 
of, the Hebrew scriptures, and the writings of Homer. 
The form of dialogue is adopted In the old Scottish 
ballads, even in narration, whenever the situations de. 
scribed become interesting. This sometimes produces 
a very striking effect, of which an Instance maybe 
given from the baliail of Kdom o' Gordon^ a composi- 
tion apparently of the sixteenth century. The story 
of the ballad is shortly this:— I'he Castle of Rhodes, 
in the ab>(>uee of its ford, is attacked bv the robber 
l-:dum Gordon. The lady stands on her defence, beats 
otf the assailants, Hud wounds Gordon, who in his rage 
orders the castle to be set on fire. That his orders are 
eanrieii into efl^ we learn from the expostulation of 
the Jady, who is reprejentod ai standing on the battlt* 



daily fiad a place m thia apecies of compoaitum. 
The alliance of the words of the Scottish aonga 
with the music has in some instances given to 
the former a popularity, which otherwise they 
would never have obtained. 

The association of the words and the music 
of these songs with the more beautiful parts of 
the scenery of Scotland, contributes to the same 
effect. It has given them not merely popularity* 
but permanence ; it has imparted to the works 
of man some portion of the durability of the 
works of nature. If, from our imperfect expe- 
rience uf the past, we may judge with any con- 
fidence respecting the future, songs of this de- 
scription are of all others the least likely to die. 
In the changes of language they may no doubt 
suffer change ; but the associated strain of sen- 
timent and of music will perhaps survive, while 
the clear stream sweeps down the vale of Yar- 
row, or the yellow broom waves on the Giwden- 

The first attempts of Bums in song- writing 
were not very successful. His habitual inatten- 
tion to the exactness of rhymes, and to the har- 
mony of numbers, arising prnbubly from the 
models on which his versification was formed, 
were faultA likely to appear to more advantage 
in this species of computfitiun, than in any 
other ; and we may also remark, that the 
strength of his imagination, and the exuberance 
of his sensibility, were with difficulty restrained 
within the limits of gcntleneM, delicacy and 
tenderness, which seem to be assigned to the 
love-songs of his nation. Bums wis better 
adapted by nature for following in such compo- 
sitions the model of the Grecian than of the 
Scottish muse. By study and practice he how- 
ever surmounted all these obstacles. In his 
earlier songs there is some ruggedness ; but this 
gradually disappears in his successive efforts; 
and some of his later compositions of this kind 
may be compareo* in polished delicacy, with the 
finest songs in our language, while in the elo- 
quence of sensibility they surpass them all. 

The songs of Bums, like the models he fol- 
lowed and excelled, are often dramatic, and for 
the greater part amatory ; and the beauties of 
rural nature are every where associated with 
the passions and emotions of the mind. Dis- 

nents snd remonstrating on this barbsrity. She is in. 

" O then bespake her little ion, 

Sate on his nourioe luiee ; 
Says ' mither dear, gi' owre this house* 

For the reck it smithers me.' 
«• i wad gie a* my aowd, my chlUe, 

Sae wad 1 a' my fee, 
For ae blast o' the wcstlin wind. 

To blaw the re«lc frae thoe." 

The cireumstsnUality of the Scottish love-songs, 
and the dramatic form which prevails to generally in 
them, probably ariset from their being the desecndants 
and suocMsors of the ancient ballads. In the beautiful 
modern song of Afary of Ctutle-Cary, the drsmatie 
form has a very happy dfeet. The same may be said 
ot Donald mdFiora^ and ComiuwicrmpmUk, by 

daining to copy the works of othen, lit has noty 
like some poets of great name, admitted into his 
descriptions exotic imagery. The Undsespes 
he has painted, and the objects with which ibtf 
are embellished, are, in every single instanos^ 
such as are to be found in his own ooontry. la 
a mountainous nf^m, especially when it is 
comparatively rude and naked, the most beaati- 
ful scenery will always be found in the valleys^ 
and on the banks of the wooded streams. Stieh 
scenery is peculiarly interesting at the doss of a 
summer day. As we advance northwards, tht 
number of the days of sommer, indeed, dimi- 
nishes ; but from thw cause, as well as finom the 
mildness of the temperature, the attraction in- 
creases, and the summer night beanncs sUU 
more beautifuL The greater obliquity of tha 
sun's path in the ecliptic^ prolongs the grateful 
season of twilight to the midnight hours, and 
the shades of the evening seefn to mingle with 
the morning's dawn. The rural poets of Soot* 
land, as may be expected, associate in their 
songs the expression of passion, with the moat 
beautiful of their scenery, in the fairest seasoa 
of the year, and generally in those hours of the 
evening when the beauties of nature are moat 

To all these adventitious circumstances, urn 
which so much of the tBect of poetry depends^ 
great attention is paid by Burns. Thcrs it 
scarcely a single song of his in which particolsr 
scenery is not described, or allusions made to 
natural objects, remarkable for beauty or intt* 
rest ; and though hia descriptions are not so full 
as are sometimes met with in the older Scottish 
songs, they are in the highest degree appropriate 
and interesting. Instances in proof of this 
might be quotwi from the Lea Rig, Hiphlamd 
Mary, the Soldier'a lUturnt Logan Watett 
from that beautiful pastoral, Bonnie Jean, and 
a great number of others. Occasionally the 
force of his genius carries him beyond the usual 
boundaries of Scottish song, and the natural 
objecta introduced have more of the character 
of sublimity. An instance of this kind is no- 
ticed by Mr. Syme^ and many others might be 

<* Had I a cave on some wild, distant shore. 
Where the winds howl to the wave's doshiflf 
There would I weep my woss^ 
There seek my lost repose, 
Till grief my eyes should dose 
Ne'er to wake more.** 

In one song, the scene of which is laid in a 
winter night, the " wan moon'* is described m 
** setting behind the white waves ;** in another, 
the ** storms" are apostrophised, and command- 
ed to " rest in the cave of their slumbers.'* On 
several occasions, the genius of Bums losss sight 
entirdy of his archetypes, and rises into a strsia 
of uniform sublimity. Instances of this kind 
appear ia Libtrty, a Fit i<m, and » hit tW9 



war-MOgt, Bnun to hU iroopt, tod the Song 
tf Ihm, Theie Utt are of a description of 
which we hair« no other in onr langaage. The 
auBtial songB of onr nation are not military, but 
MTal. If we were to leek a comparison of 
these aongB of Bums with others of a similar 
Batnre, we most have recourse to the poetry of 
ancient Greece, or of modern Gaul. 

Bums has made an important addition to the 
tongs of Scotland. In his compositions, the 
poetry equals and sometimes surpasses the mu- 
lie. He has enlarged the poetical scenery of his 
covntrv. Many of her rivers and mouo tains, 
ibrmeriy unknown to the muse, are now conse- 
crated by his immortal verse. The Doon, the 
Lngar, the Ayr, the Nith, and the Cluden, will 
in ftiture, like the Yarrow, the Tweed, and the 
Tay, be considered as classic streams, and their 
borders will be trode with new and superior 

The greater part of the 8on(^ of Burns were 
written after he removed into the county of 
Dumfries. Influenced, perhaps, by habits 
Cuined in early life, he usually composed while 
walking in the open air. When ent^nged in 
writing these songs, hi» favourite walks were 
on the banks of the Nith, or of the Cluden, 
particularly near the ruins of Lincluden Abbey ; 
and this beautiful scenery he has very happily 
described under various aspects, as it appears 
dnring the softness and serenity of evening, and 
during the stillness and solemnit)' of the moon- 
light night. 

There is no species of poetry, the productions 
of the drama not excepted, so much calculated 
to influence the morals, as well as the hftppiness 
of a people, as those popular verses which are 
associated with the national oirs, and which 
being learnt in the years of infancy, make a 
deep impression on the heart before the evolu- 
tion of the powers of the understanding. The 
eompositions of Burns, of this kind, now pre- 
sented in a collected form to the world, make a 
most important addition to the popular songs of 
his nation. Like all his other writings, they 
exhibit independence of sentiment ; they are 
peculiarly calculated to increase those tics which 
bind generous hearts to their native soil, and to 
the domestic circle of their infancv: and to 
cherish those sensibilities which, under due re- 
striction, form the purest happiness of our na- 
ture. If in his unguarded moments he com- 
posed some songs on which this praise cannot 
be bestowed, let us hope that they will speedily 
be forgotten. In several inNtances, where Scot- 
tish airs were allied to words ohjectionable in 
point of delicacy. Bums has substituted others 
of a purer character. On such occasions, with- 
out changing the subject, he has changed the 
eentiments. A proof of this may be seen in the 
air of John Anderson my Joe, which is now 
vaited to words that breathe a strain of conjugal 
tfoderness, that is as highly moral as it is ex- 
^dtifcely affecting. 
FfW oircvmftaiioea ceaU iibrd a more strik- 

ing proof of the strength of Bums's genius, than 
the genersl circulation of his poems in England, 
notwithstanding the dialect in which the great- 
er part are written, and which might be sup- 
posed to render them here uncouth or obscure. 
In some instances he has used this dialect on 
subjects of a sublime nature ; but in general he 
confines it to sentiments or description of a 
tender or humorous kind ; and, where he rises 
into elevation of thought, he assumes a purer 
English style. The singular faculty he pos- 
sessed of mingling in the same poem humorous 
sentiments and descriptions, with imagery of a 
sublime and terrific nature, enabled him to use 
this variety of dialect on some occasions with 
striking effect. His poem of 7am o* Shanter 
afibrds an instance of this. There be passes 
from a scene of the lowest humour, to situations 
of the most awful and terrible kind. He is a 
musician that runs from the lowest to the 
hii^hc^t of his kevH ; and the use of the Scottish 
dialect enables him to add two additional notes 
to the bottom of his scale. 

Great efforts have been made by the inhabi- 
tants of Scotland, of the superior ranks, to ap- 
proximate in their s|)ecch to the pure English 
standard ; and this has made it difficult to write 
in the S<'otti«h dialect, without exciting in them 
some feelings of di>igust, which in England are 
scarcely felt. An Englishman who understands 
the meaning of the Scottish words, is not of- 
fended, nay, on certain subjects, he is perhaps 
pleased with the rustic dialect, as he may be 
with the Doric Greek of Theocritus. 
« But a Scotchman inhabiting his own coun- 
tr}% if a man of education, and more especially 
if a literary character, has banisherl such words 
from his writings, and has attempted to banish 
them from his speech ; and being accustomed 
to hear them from the vulgar daily, does not 
easily admit of their use in ppetr}', which re- 
quires a style elevated and ornamental. A dis- 
like of this kind is, however, accidental, not na- 
tural. It is of the sp<>cies of dii^ust which we 
fed at seeing u female of high birth in the dress 
of a rustic ; which, if she be leally young and 
beautiful, a little hubit will enable us to over- 
come. A lady who assumes such a dress putt 
her l>eaiity, indeed, to a severer trial. She re- 
jects — she, indeed, opposies the influence of fa- 
shion ; she, possibly, abandons the grace of 
elegant and tiowing drap<M-y ; hut her native 
charms remain, the mine striking, perhaps, be- 
cause the less adorned ; and to these she trusts 
for fixing her empire on those affections over 
which fjishion bus no swny. If she succeeds, a 
new association aviso;*. I'he dress of the beau- 
tiftil rustic becomes itself beautiful, and estab- 
lishes a new fashion fur the young and the gay. 
And when, in after ages, the contemplative ob- 
server shall view her picture in the gaileiy that 
contains the portraits of the beauties of succes- 
sive centuries, each in the dress of her respec- 
tive day, her drapery will not deviate, more 
thaii that of her rival^ from the standard of hi| 



tftitei and lie will give the palm to her who ex- 
ods in the lioeamenta of nature. 

Burnt wrote professedly for the peasantry of 
his country, and by them their native dialect is 
universally relished. To a numerous class of 
the natives of Scotland of another description* 
it may also be considered as attractive in a dif- 
ferent point of view. KHtran<Ted from their 
native soil, and spread over foreii^ lands, the 
idiom of their country unite* with the senti- 
ments and the description!) on which it is em- 
ployed, to recall to their minds the interesting 
scenes of infiuicy and youth — to awaken many 
pleasing, many, tender recollections. Literary 
men, residing at Edinburgh or Aberdeen, can- 
not judge on this point for one hundred and 
fifty thousand of their expatriated countrymen. 

To the use of the Scottish dialect in one spe- 
cies of poetry, the composition of songs, the taste 
of the public has been for some time reconciled. 
The dialect in question ezcelR, as has already 
been observed, in the copiousness and exactness 
of its terms for natural objects ; and in pastoral 
or rural songs, it gives a Doric simplicity, which 
is very generally approved. Neither does the 
Ttgrtt seem well founded which some persons of 
taste have expressed, that Bums used this dia^ 
lect in so many other of his compositions. Hit 
declared purpose was to paint the manners of 
rustic life among his " humble compeers,** and 
it is not easy to conceive, that thu could have 
been done with equal humour and effiM:t,"if lir 
had not adopted their idiom. There are boiq& 
indeed, who will think the subject too loir Ml 
poetry. Persons of this sickly taste will finH 
their delicacies consulted in many a polite and 
learned author ; let them not seek for gratific** 
tion in the rough and vigorous lines, in the uo- 
bridled humour, or in the overpowering seoai- 
Inlity of this bard of nature. 

To determine the comparative merit of Bums 
would be no et^ task. Many persons after- 
wards distingniahed in literature, have been 
bom in aa hamUe a aitnation of life ; bat it 
wooid be diAcBlt to tad any other who whilt 

eaming his nbaittence by daily labooTy kH 
written verses which have attracted and fm 
tained universal attention, and which aro UUtf 
to give the author a permanent and distingniA" 
ed place among the followers of the muses. H 
he is deficient in grace, he ia distuDguished ht 
etae an well as energy ; and thAe are indie»- 
tions of the higher order of geniua. The fotlMT 
uf epic poetry exhibits one of his heroes 
celling in strength, another in 
form his perfect warrior, these attribatct 
muibined. Every species of intelleetual 
liority admits, perhaps, of a similar arraiif»- 
ment. One writer exeeb in fi)rce -another m 
ease; he is superior to them both, in 
both these qualities are united. Of He 
himself it may be said, that like hta own Aehil* 
lea, he surpasses his competitors in mobili^ m 
well as atrength. 

The force of Bums lay in the powers of kii 
understanding, and in the sensibili^ of lui 
heart; and these will be found to infnaa tka 
living principle into all the works of geoiM 
which seem destined to inunortality. Hta aan- 
sibility had an uncommon range. He was *• 
live to every species of emotion. He ia one 
of the few poets that can be mentioned, who 
have at once excelled in humour, in ti iidiii lii, 
and in sublimity ; a praise unknown to the ■»• 
dents, and which in modem times ia only doo 
to AriostOy to Shakspeare, and perhaps to Yot- 
tnre. To compare the writings of the FTrnttkli 
peasant with the woria of these giants in lil«- 
atore, might appear presumptuous ; yet it mitf 
be asserted that he has displayed the fut ^ 
Heradet, How near he might have approM^ 
ed them by proper culture, with lengthoii 
years, and under happier a n^ eai^ it is not ht 
us to calculate. But while we run overtko 
melancholy story of his life, it ia impopible aot 
to heave a sigh at the upenty of lua finrtnnt ; 
and as we survey the records of hia mind, it ii 
easy to ase, that out of such matoriak bavo bMi 
reared the feircat and tho moat dunbla at Ai 
mooniiMnti of gMuuh 


Thx poetrj of Burns has been refisrred to as one of the causes whidi 
prerented the Scottish language from fidling into disuse. It was beginning 
to be discontinued as vulgar, even as the medium of oral communicatioii ; 
and an obvious consequence of that state of the public taste was, that the 
Scottish songSy sweetly pathetic and expressive as many of them are, were 
not fashionable, but rather studiously avoided. The publication of 
poetry changed this taste. Bums, followed by Scott, not merely 
the use of their native tongue in their own country, but gave it a cur- 
rency in the polite world generally ; an effect which was greatly assisted bjr 
Bums's songs, and not a little by what he did for the songs of his prede- 
cessors. He was a most devoted admirer of the lyrical effusions ci the 
olden time, and became a diligent collector of the ancient words, as well 
as of the sets of the music His remarks, historical and anecdotic, upoa 
the several songs, are amusing and instructive; and where there were 
blanks to be supplied, he was ready as powerful at a refit. To do all thiSp 
and at same time to double the stock of Scottish songs, was no small task; 
and so well has it been executed, that in place of forming the amusement 
and delight of the Scots only, they have become a part, nay, have taken 
the lead, of the lyrical compositions used, and in fashion, throughout the 
British dominions. It is because of their intrinsic worth, as a branch of 
elegant amusement, that we have given the whole here, presented in two 
distinct parts :— The first part contains the songs before Bums, with the 
remarks, by which he has so felicitously illustrated them.— •The second 
part is formed of his own songs, and which are . now brought together, in 
place of being scattered over, and mixed with the prose pieces, as hereto- 
fore. — The whole formmg a complete collection of eeleei SooUuh Scmgip 
such as cannot fiul to be acceptable to the lovers of good tastei and iniMH 
cent amusement in every country. 



ffm pofk Uiat write* to Mn. Dunlop : — * I 
' kid Ml tU gnad-vude, with whom my mo- 
Am IhrW «while in h«r girliah yein; ibit 
good old mto» for tnch ne was, wm long 
Hind ert ho died ; daring which time, his 
fcUbnt •QJoymtnt wm to ait down and cry, 
wCilo my mother would ung the umple old 
•tog of Tkt Life and Agt of Man.* The 
•Mff « m Imk giTMif wai taken down from the 

^^oa of the poet'c mother, who had 

nen t printed eopy of it,— and had 
it frooi har mothor in oarly youth.] 


A tHO»T Ducnirriox or his h atukb, eisi 


rOM^'Ue of KeD." 

Ovon the nzteen hnnder year, 

«l God Md fifty throes 
fka* Chriat waa bom, that bought ua deai^ 

•a writinga teatifie ; 
0» itmutj the aistecnth day, 

W I did ly alone> 
Whk ttuuT t iigh and aob did aay, 

Ah I mm. it made to moan. 

IVhfWy that OEeeDent bride, 
. MA t/tmA Hp no before, 
AmU aiid to me, thou must provide 

•bttb for to abhor: 
Iktm MM what thing* are gone befoiVb 

•iqierienoe teaches thee ; 
Tat do not miss to remember this, 

that OHO day thou must die. 

Of all the creatures bearing life 

IccaU back to thy mind, 
Conaider how they ebb and flow, 

oaeh thing in their owu kind ; 
Tat few of them have xuch a strain, 

ao God hath given to thee ; 
T h wofo r e this lesson keep in mind,— 

mmaiber nun to di«* 

Man's course on earth I will report^ 

if I have time and apoea ; 
It Boay bo long, it may bo ahot^ 

as God hath giv'n him grace. 
Hia natur to the herba compare* 

that in the ground ly dead ; 
And to each month add five yetry 

and so we will prooede. 

The first five years then of man'a lifo 

compare to Januar ; 
In all that time bnt atort aad alrifii^ 

he can but greet and roar* 
So is the.fields of flower* all biroy 

by reason of the fruat ; 
Kept in the ground both aafo and aooad^ 

not one of them is lost. 

So to yetn ten I shall ^eak then 

of Februar but lack ; 
The child is meek and weak of flpii^ 

nothing can undertake ; 
So all the flow'rs, for lack of show'ra, 

no springing up can make. 
Yet birds do aing and praise their kisgy 

and each one choose their mate. 

Then in comes March, that noble archt 

with wholesome spring and air, 
The child doth spring to years fifteen, 

with visage fine and foir ; 
So do the flow*rs with softening show'n 

ay spring op aa we aee ; 
Yet neverthelcaa remember thia^ 

that one day we must die. 

Then brare April doth sweetly waSkt 

the flow'rs do £ur appear, 
The child is then become a man, 

to the age of twenty year ; 
If he be kind and well inclin'd, 

and brought up at the school, 
Then men may know if he foreahow 

a wise man or a fooL 

Then cometh May, galUmt and gay, 
when fragrant flow'rs do thriri^ 



TIm child k tha beeooM a Bun, 

of age twenty tnd fire : 
And for his life doth seek • wife, 

hit life And yean to ipend ; 
Christ from above send peace and love, 

and grace unto the end ! 

Then cometh Jane with pleasant tune, 

when fields with flow*rs are clad, 
And Phoebus bright is at hia height, 

all creatures then are glad : 
Then he appears of thretty years, 

with courage bold and stout ; 
Hu nature so makes him to go, 

of death he hath no doubt. 

Then July cornea with hia hot dimei, 

and constant in his kind. 
The man doth thrive to thirty-five, 

and sober grows in mind ; 
His children small do on him call, 
. and breed him sturt and strifis ; 

Then August old, botli stoat and bold, 

when flow*rs do stontly stand ; 
So man appears to forty yean, 

with wisdom and command ; 
And doth provide his house to guide, 

children and &milie ; 
Yet do not miss t* remember this, 

that one day thon most die. 

September then comes with his train, 

and makes the flow*rs to &de ; 
Then man belyve ia forty-five, 

grave, constant, wise, and staid. 
When he looks on, how yonth is gone, 

and shall it no more see ; 
Then may he say, both night and day, 

have mercy, Lord, on me ! 

October's blast comes in with boast* 

and makes the flow*n to fid! ; 
Then man appears to fifty years, 

old age doth on him call : 
The almond tree dolh floarish hie, 

and pale grows man we see ; 
Then it is time to use this line, 

remember, man, to die. 

November air maketh fields bare 

of flowers, of grasik and com ; 
Then man arrives to fifty^five, 

and sick both e'en and mom : 
Loins, legs, and thighs, widiont diseasei 

makes him to sigh and asy. 
Ah ! Christ on high have mind on me, 

and learo me fiw to die ! 

December foil baith sharp and anell, 
makes flow'ra creep in the gronnd ; 

Then man's threescore^ both aick and 
no aoandncaa m him fimad. 

His ears and e'en, and teeth of bna^ 
aU these now do him fiul ; 

Then may he say, both night and dij» 
that death ahall him ssssil 

And if there be, thro* natnr stoot, 

some that live ten years more ; 
Or if he creepeth up and down, 

till he comes to fourscore ; 
Yet all this time ia but a line, 

no pleasure can he see : 
Then may he say, both night and day» 

have mercy. Lord, on me ! 

Thus have I shown yon as I can, 

the course of all mens' life ; 
We will return where we began, 

but either stort or strifo : 
Dame MemorU doth take her lecvs, 

she*ll last no more, we see ; 
God grant that I may not yon grieve^ 

Ye'll get nae mair of me. 


This song ahewi that the Scottish Motet 4ifi 
not all leave nt whan we hut Ramtay and Os- 
wald,* as I have good reas on to befitrt ttH 
the verses and mnaio are hoUk posterior to tka 
days of these two gentfemen.— >It b a bemtUnl 
song, and in the genuine Soota taalt. We hara 
few pastoral oompoaitionB, I mean tiia parttrtl 
of nature, that are equal to thii<— BvEirt. 

Bltthx young Bess to Jean did aay, 
Will ye gang to yon sunny hntb. 
Where flocks do feed and herds do straj» 

And sport awhile wi* Jamie ? 
Ah na, lass, 1*11 no gang thoe. 
Nor about Jamie tak nae care. 
Nor about Jamie tak nae care. 

For he's taen up wi' Maggy ! j 

For hark, and I will tell yon, lass, 
Did I not see yonr Jamie pass, | 
Wi' meikle gladness in his fiM^ 

Out o'er the muir to Maggy. 
I wat he gae her mony a ki«. 
And Maggy took them ne'er amias ; 
'Tween ilka smack, pleaa'd her with OSib 

That Bess was hot a gawkic 

For when a civil kiss I iKk, 

She turns her head, and thrawi btr tkttlf 

* Oiwald was a masi»tellsr fai Loadca, about ttt 
vcftrl750. He published a lam eoUeetlon of Seottkh 
tuDct, which he oalled Tht Caltiomkm Foektt Oomf^ 
nian, Mr. Tytler observes, that his gimlus In eompOf 
sition. Joined to his teste in the perfonnaaee ef Seat- 
tish music, wes natural and pathcCta. This seof am 
been imputed to a elefgyman— Mr. Movshead or ukr 
i in Galloway. 


Aad ibr an koar nUeMl acxrceiy «peak ; 

Who'd Mt call ber • gEwkie? 
Bat Mire mf Maggie hM nair araH^ 
8Im*U gie a aeoce witboat oftooe ; 
V9W gie me ane unto the tnoim, 

Ana yt ahaU be my dawtie. 

Oy Jamip^ ye ha'e mooy taae^ 
Bat I win neyer aland for ane^ 
Or twa, when we do meet again ; 

Sae ne*er think me a gawkie. 
Ab, na, kn, tbat ne'er can be, 
Sic thoughts as these are £tf £rom 
Or ony that sweet fi^e that see, 

E'er to think thee a gawkie. 

Bat whisht ! — nae mair of this we'll apeak» 
For yonder Jamie does us meet ; 
Instead of Bf^ be kiss'd sai 
I trow be likes the gawkie. 

dear bcaa, I hardly knew, 
When I came by, yonr gown 

1 diink yoa'ye got it wat wi' dew ; 

Quoth abe, dat'a like a gawkie : 

It^ wat wi* dew, and 'twill get rain. 
And I'll get gowns when it ia gane^ 
8m yon may gang the gateyoocame^ 

And tan it to yoar dawtie. 
Tkb gailt appear d in Jamie'a cheek ; 
He cry'd, O crud maid, bat awaet, 
Jf I aboold gang anitber gate, 

I ne'er Mold meet my dawtie. 

The lasses &8t free him Uiey flew. 
And left poor Jamie sair to rue. 
Hint ever Haggy'a £ue be knew. 

Or yet ea'd Bees a gawkie. 
As my went o'er the mnir they sang ; 
The biHa and dales with echoes rang. 
The billa and dales with echoes nog, 

Gang o'er the mnir to Maggy * 

(o&ioniAL aoxo or— <« omx the doob, 


It 18 aomewbat aingnlar, that in Lanark, 
Benfrew, Ayr, Wigton, Kirkcodbright, and 
Damfriea-ahires, there ia scarcely an old song 
or tone which, from the title, ice can be gnes- 
aad to belong to, or be the production of these 
counties. This, I conject u re, is one of these 
^rery few ; aa the ballad, wUch is a long one^ 
is called both by trsdition and in printed eolleo- 
tioM, nUZoMB o* Loekro^am^ which I take to 
ke Locbroyan in Galloway. — ^BuEirs. 

BwwEt Annie baih a boonie ahip. 

And set her on the sea; 
Tbt aaib were a' of the danunk silk, 

Tbt mitti of alrer free. 

The gladsome waters song bdow, 

And the sweet wind eung 
Make way for Annie of Locbrayaa, 

She comes to scd^ ber lore. 

A gentle wind came with a wwmp. 

And stretched her silken sail. 
When np disre came a rearer mdi^ 

Wiih many a shout and bail : 
O touch her not, my mariners a'» 

Such knrdincas goes free ; 
Make way for Annie of Lodiroyan, 

She seeks Lord Gregorie. 

The moon looked out with aU her star% 

The ship moTed merrily on. 
Until she came to a castle high. 

That an as diamonds shone : 
On every tower there streamed a light, 

On the middle tower shone three 
3Iove for that tower my mariners a'. 

My knre kecpe watch for me. 

She took her young son in her arma^ 

And on the deck she s to od 
The wind rose with an ai^ry gost. 

The sea wave wa ke ned rode. 
Oh open the door, Lord Grqjory, lore ; 

Oh open and let me in ; 
The sea foam bangs in my ydlow hair. 

The surge dreeps down my chin. 

AU for thy sake. Lord Gregory, hyve» 

I have sailed the periloua way. 
And thy foir son ia *tween my hraaat^ 

And he'U be dead ero day. 
The foam hangs on the t opmoa t dii( 

The fires run on the sky. 
And hetqr you not your tme lore's roiesk 

And her sweet baby's cry ? 

Fair Annie tuned her round aboa^ 

And tears began to flow- 
May never a U^ snck a breast 

Wi' a heart sae foa of wot. 
Take down, take down tlttt aihrw mai^ 

Set up a mast of tree^ 
It does nae become a fonaken dama 

To sail sae royalUe. 

Oh read my dream, my mother, 

I beard a sweet babe greet. 
And saw foir Annie of Locbioyan 

Lie cauld dead at my fret. 
And loud and loud bia mother langbad— > 

Ob eights mair sure than aleep, 
I saw £ur Annie, and beard her Toioib 

And her baby wail and we^ 

O he went down to yon eea eada 

As fost as be could fore. 
He saw £ur Annie and her sweet babsb 

But the wild wind tossed them sair; 
And bey Annie^ and bow Annis^ 

And Annie winM ye bidt? 



But ajre ih» mair lit eallad 
Tht braider grew the tide. 

And hey Anniey and how Annie, 

Dear Annie speak to me, 
Bat aye the loader he cried Annie, ' 

The louder roared the aea. 
The wind waxed loud, the wa grew roogh, 

The ship sunk nigh the ehore. 
Fair Annie floated through the foam. 

But the baby roae no more. 

O first he kissed her cherry cheek. 

And then he kissed her chin, 
And syne he kissed her rosy lips. 

But there was nae breath within. 
O my love's love was true as light. 

As meek and sweet was she — 
My mother's hate was strong as death, 

And fiercer than the sea. 


Tbsse beautiful verses were the production 
of a Richard Hewit, a young man that Dr. 
Blacklock, to whom I am indebted for the anec • 
dote, kept for some years as an amanuensis. I 
do not know who was the author of the second 
song to the tune. Tytiert in his amusing hi*, 
tory of Scots music, gives the>air to Oawald ; 
but in Oswald's own collection of Scots tunes, 
where he afiixes an asterisk to those he himself 
composed, he does not make the least claim to 
the tune. — BuRXi. 

*TwAS in that season of the year, 
When all thioga gay and sweet appear. 
That Colin, with the morning ray, 
Arose and sung his rural lay. 
Of Nanny's charms the shepherd snng^ 
The hills and dales with Nanny rung ; 
While Roslin Castle heard the swain. 
And echoed back the cheerful strain. 

Awake, sweet Muse ! the breathing spring, 
With rapture warms ; awake and sing ! 
Awake aud join the vocal throng. 
Who hail the morning with a song; \ 
To Nanny raiste the checiful by, 
O ! bid her haute and come away ; 
In Rwet!te«t smiles herself adorn. 
And add new graces to the mom ! 

O, hark, my love ! on ev'ry spray, 
Each feather'd warbler tunes his lay ; 
'Ti<« beauty fires the ravish'd throng, 
Anil luve inspires the melting song : 
Then let my raptur'd notes arise. 
For bi'uuty darts from Nanny's eyes ; 
And love my rising bosom warms. 
And fills my soul with iwect altnni. 

O ! caamt my lofB ! tliy Golia'a kj 

With ritptare eaUa, O cono iway I 

Come» while the Mnae this wnath dull twat 

Around that modest brow of thino ; 

O! hither haate, and with thM br^ 

That beauty blooming like the ^fi^f ; 

Those graces that divinely ahina^ 

And charm this ravish'd breast of ndao \ 


This song for genuine humour in the 
and lively originality in the air, is on; 
I take it to be very old. — Bubxs. 

Saw ye Johnnie cummin ? quo* shs. 
Saw ye Johnnie aimmin, 

saw ye Johnnie cummin, quo' she ; 
Saw ye Johnnie cummin, 

Wi' his blue bonnet on his head. 
And his doggie runnin, qno' she ; 
And his doggie runnin ? 


Fee him, father, fee him, qno' she ; 

Fee him, £ither, fee him : 
For he is a gallant lad. 

And a weel doin* ; 
And a' the wark about the house 

Gaes wi' me when I see him, quo' At ; 

Wi* me when I see him. 

What will I do wi' him, hussy? 

He's ne'er a sark upon his back. 

And I hae nane to gie him. 

1 hae twa sarks into my lost. 

And ane o' them 1*11 gie him, 
Aud for a mark of mair fise, 
Dinna atand wi' him, quo' she ; 
Dinna atand wi' him. 

For weel do I lo'e him, quo' ahe ; 

Weel do I lo'e him : 
O fee him, father, fee him, quo' she ; 

Fee him, father, fee him ; 
He'll hand the plengh, thrash i' the baroa 

And lie wi* me at e'en, quo' she ; 

Lie wi' me at e'en. 


A TRADXTioH is mentioned in the Bett that 
the second Bishop Chishnim, of DvaUane, need 
to say, that if he were going to bt hanged, no- - 
thing would soothe his mmd io much fay tht 
way, as to hear Qowt th$ CaUnm pUyid. 


iUaov«6 4dt 


flit fi ony polt or jMMb 
Or dob brakm chiBknb 

WM t im m mi m om of iht Konmiirt kaaly, m 
^QmiMrtiiMi; and aUiuiod to aa imoar bo 
kad, wbtte vador hiding, in the diifdae of an 
itinerant tinker. The air it alio known by the 


The BUcktmith and hii Apron, 

whieh from the ryCAyia, aemi to have been 
line of tome old aong to the tone. — ^Bunxa. 

&ATS jmk any pota or pan% 

Or a^ broken ehandlen ? 
I am a tmkler to my trade^ 

And WKwif oome frae F]ander^ 
At aeanl of ailkr ai of graoe, 

D ii baBded , w^f n Ud ran ; 
Gar teU the lady of the place, 

Tm oome to chmt her oaldron. 

M a dam, if joo have wark for ma^ 

ru do't to your contentment^ 
And dinna oare a aingie flie 

For any man'a reaentment ; 
Pior, lady fiur, thoogh I appear 

To er'iy ane a tinkler, 
Tot to yoml Vm bevM to tall, 


Fa adHt, didk, ditOe, kc 

Lovo Jopiter into a awan 

Tnm*d fiv hia torely Leda ; 
Ha like a boll o'er meodowa ran. 

To carry affEoropa. 
Tlien may not I, ao well aa he^ 

To chttt your Argot blinker, 
And win yoor lore, like mighty JoTe, 

Thnt hkle me in a tinkler ? 

Fa adrU, didk, didU, ke. 

Sv, yo ^ipaar a esnning man. 

Bat thia fine plot yoa^U £ul in, 
Pior dure ia neither pot nor pan 

Of mint yoa*ll drive a nail in. 

Thaa bind yoor bndgtt on yoor baek, 

And naib np in your apron, 
Vbr Fire a tinkler under tack 

That* a na'd to dont my caldron. 
Fa adru, didk, didU, ke. 

iht original tM^ brt dboDgll it hta 4 f«y fNttJ 
deal of merit, it la not qaite ladlm* reatfag.^ 

Saw ye nae my Ptggy, 
Saw ye nae my Paggy, 
Saw ye nae my Peggy, 

Coining o*er the lea ? 
Sore a finier creature 
Ne*er wat form'd by natort. 
So complete each fiiatore» 

So divine is the. 

O ! how P^gy charma me ; 
Every look ttill warmt me > 
Every thought alarmt me^ 

Lest the love nae me. 
Peggy doth discover 
Nought but charma all over ; 
Nature bids me love her. 

That's a law to me. 

Who would leave a lover. 
To become a rover ? 
No, m ne'er give over, 

'Till I happy be. 
For since love intpiret me^ 
At her beauty fires mt^ 
And her absence tiret m^ 

Nought can pleaae but ahtt 

When I hope to gain her. 
Fate seems to detain her, 
Cou'd I but obtain her, 
Happy wou'd I he ! 
I'll ly down before her. 
Bless, sigh, and adore htr. 
With faint looks implore her, 
'Till she pity me. 

The original words, for they oan atareely hi 
called verses, seem to be aa fi>Uowa ; a tong &. 
miliar from the cradle to every Scottiah tar* 

Saw ye my Maggiab 
Saw ye my Maggie^ 
Saw ye my Maggie^ 
Linkin o'er the lea ? 

High kUted 

High kilted 

High kUted 

Her coat 



tmu eharmiitf aong ia much older, and in- 
4mi aoptrior, to Ramaay't vertet, •* Th§ Toattf** 
■I kt taOa thtm. There it another tet of the 
VM^ wMih 0ld«' ttfll, and whieh I take to bt^ 

What mark haa yoor Maggie^ 
What mark haa yoor Bfaggii^ 
What mark hat your Biaggie, 
That ant may ken her tef (ly) 

Though it by no mtana fiiDowt that tiit rfU 
I lieat veraes to an air mual, for that naaoa, kt 
the original tong ; yet I take thia ballad, of 
which I have quoted part, to be iht oU venM. 
The two Bongt in Bam$ay, one of thea tH. 
dently hit own, art atvtr to bt mat wtthk «kt 



iwiidi ctrdt of our peiMuitiy} wUle that 
whieh I Uk« to bt the oM tong, is in rrerjr 
•h«pherd*t mouth. 22(MMay, I tnppoMy had 
thoQf ht the old renet unvorthy of • place in 
hia collectioii.— -BuKNa. 


It is adf-crideat that the firat four lioea of 
this song are part of a aoog more ancient than 
Ramsay's beautiful verses which are annexed to 
them. As music is the language of nature ; and 
poetrj, particularly songs, are always less or 
more loMliied (if I may be allowed the verb) 
by some of the modifications of time and place, 
this isjkhe reaaon why so many of oor Soots airs 
have outlived their original, and perhaps many 
subsequent sets of verses ; except a single name, 
or phrase, or sometimes one or two lines, simply 
to distinguish the tones by. 

To this day among people who know nothing 
of Ramsay*s verses, the following is the song, 
and all the song that ever I heard :— Buexs. 

Gin ye meet a bonnie lassie, 

Gie her a kiss and let her gat ; 
But gin ye meet a dirty hiizie, 

Fye, gar rub her o'er wi* strae. 

Fye, gae rub her, mb her, rub her, 

Fye, gae rub her o*er wi' strae : 
Ad* gin ye meet a dirty hiisie^ 

Fye, gar rub her o'er wi' strae. 

Look up to Pentland's tow'ring tap^ 
Bury'd beneath great wreatbi of snaw. 

O'er ilka cleugh, ilk scar, and slap, 
As high as ony Roman wa.* 

Driving their baws frae whins or tee. 
There's no nae guwfers to be seen ; 

Nor dousser fowk wysing a-jco 

The byan-bouls on TaiuKon's green. 

Then fling on coal-s an<l ripe the ribs, 
And beek the huu<te baitU butt and ben ; 

That mutchkin uttiwp it hads but dribs, 
Then let's get iu the tappit hen. 

Good claret best kc<i*p« out the cauld. 
And driveit aw.-iv the winter soon ; 

It makes a man haith gas^ ind baold, 
And heaven his saul beyond the moon. 

Leave to the goda your ilka care. 

If that they think us worth their while. 

They can a rowth of blessings spare. 
Which will our £kthious fears beguile. 

For what they have a mind to do, 

That will they do> should we gang wood ; 


If tfity ooBunaiid tht 
Then upo' sight tfat 

Bnt soon as ere they cry, " Be qoieCt* 

The blatt'ring winds dare Die mair BQOl% 

Bnt oour into l&dr acm, and wait 
The high command of rapniiM Sm% 

Let neist day come as it tliinki flt* 
The present minute's onljr oon ; 

On plessuie let's employ our wit* 
And laugh at fortnne'a fickle poWMii 

Be sure ye dinna qnat the grip 

Of ilka joy when ye are young, 
Before auld age your vitala nip* 

And lay ye twafold o'er a rung. 

Sweet yonth's a blythe and 

Then, Uds and lasses, whik if • Utf» 
Gae pou the gowan in its prioM^ 

Before it wither and daoqr* 

Wateh the saft minutei of delvtab 
When Jenny apeaks beneath hn hnift]^ 

And kisses, laying a' the wyta 
On yon, if ahe kepp ony akaith. 

« Haith, 

t, ye're iU-hred," shall maS^mgm^ | 
'11 worry me, ye greedy rook/** 
le your anna ahe'll ria awHr« 

Syne frae your 
And hide hersell in soma daifc abafc. 

Her langh will load jo* to tha plaot 
Where liea the happimsi yos waa^ 

And phdnly tells yoa to yoar hm. 
Nineteen nay-aayi an haff a gML 

Now to her heaving bosom ding. 
And sweetly tooUe for a km, 

Frae her fiur finger whop a ria^ 
As taiken of a future bhsa. 

Theee bennieons, I'm vaij sai% 
Are of the gods^ inddniit giaal ; 

Then, surly oarlos, whisht, fioirbaar 
To plague us with your whiimif 


Tm old song, in three «t 
well known, and has merit aa to wit 
mour ; bnt it ia rather unfit fisr i 



The bqnnie lass o' 

Her name ye ken, her name 
And ahe haa srrittoB in har 

To lie her lan% to lia h« 


THE LAW TOIE I CAME O'ER THE 1 n. TT—r md Us ShMk. O, wW. 

Eamut bn^ tbe fint Una irf thii HOf , 
Wliiek bad bna pngcmd u the titla of tb« 
(huninr lir, ud tkcB compoHl tha rat of the 
„m lu luit that linr Thu haa alvap a Goer 
dMt Ihaa compovif Eagllih wonla, or trndi 
with an idn taaafa to Ibi ipirit of tbc dd title. 
— ■ - ' eooYoy aoJF ides at all. 


Tm IiM time I eame n «r iLt muir. 

I left mr Ion bAiod me : 
-■ w'n ! wk« («■ do I endmr. 

Y* pov'ra r wk« fu> da 

V^'iiia I waa in m^ ae'oteen yta, 

I wu liailh biydie and baon)', 
f) the lad. loo'd me baith far and iwar, 

But I loo'd mat but Juhany : 
lli> Bain'd my hint in twa ihree wteki. 

He aiiake He biytlie and kiodl; ; 
And I made him new gray bndu, 

That filled faim moat finely. 

11; mi a bandioiDe fellow; 

Uii humour via bailh &aok ud frw, 
Hii bonny lock* m ydlow. 

Like gowd iImt glitter'd in mjr te ;— 
Hli dimpTd chin and nqr cbedn, f 

And face aae air and reddy ; 
And thm a.dq'i hii gray brnia, 

Waa Deilhor anld nor dnddy. 

TliiMilTi the coaling diada we lay, 

OnH and ohaMelr aporting ; 
WokMi'^ aad promii'd tine away, 

TiB mgfat ^nad bet bUek csrCwn : 
I fidad in b««di th« ikiea. 

TBr'aliW^ wh*« ab* w»a idgh me i 
U >Wtai« 1 b^dd her eyia, 


Sbnld I be <all"d where eannooa roar. 

Then mortal ated may woond ma ; 
Or oat upon aome toragn abort. 

When daogan may iDiroand ne i 
Yet bopa Main lo lae ny lore, 

To fgaat on gJowiag kiiBB, 
Bhalt make my arm at diatance more, 

In pnapect of anch hliwa. 

Id aD my oonl Ihae') not one place 

To let a tiral lattc ; 
Sioea iba axccla in er'iy graca. 

In bet my Ion ihall oeatie. 
Boaner the tcaa ibtU eeOM to flow, 

Thair wtra the Mft ahall eorar ; 
Ob GnentaBd'a ioe ihaU roaea grow, 

Bebra I oeaw to lora bcr. 

The next tioa I gang o'er the mair, 

She thall a lorer find me ; 
And that mv Giith ia fimi and put, 

Tbongh I left her behiod me. 
Then Hyma't aacied boodi ihall eluin 

My heart to her £«ir boMm i 
Tb«»* whiJ* my being data mnain, 

My hire mon freah ibalJ bloaaom. 


KHdMOiia the NoiCli «f Inbnd, oiled, 

To be breeka to my Johnay. 

For he'a weel wordy o' thai, 

And better gin I bad to fie. 
And m lak paini opo" tben^ 

Fne fanli I'll alrirt to keep them int. 
To dead him wcel ihaH be my e«i«, 

Add pleaee him a' my *iidy ; 
Dot he maun wear the auld pair 

Awee, iba' Ibey be duddy. 

for when the Ud waa in bia prim^ 

Like him there wai naa mopy 
Ha ca'd me aye hii boany dliq, 

Sae wha wou'd na lo'e Johony ? 
So I lo'e Johnny', gray breeka, 

For a' the ciro tbry'va gi'eo me yt*. 
And gin we li»e anilher year, 

We'll keep Ihem bale between na yet. 

Now to 

iii gray bi 

ig them up wi' mirth aad glaa ; 

U weel aa ooy thafa o' gray. 




Katb of Ahmii&ta, ii| I bditve, the woiIe of 
Mor Omninyham tke pliycr ; of whom the ibl- 
Mviof aMottoCe^ though toU before^ deHnres • 
recttd. A ht dignitary of thcf church coming 
poet Cunningham one Sunday as the poor poet 
was bnay plying a fishing-rod in soine strram 
Durham, Us native country, his reverenoe 
Cunningham very severely for such 
an occupation on audi a day. The poor poet, 
with that inoffensive gentleness of monnem which 
was his peculiar characteristic, replied, that he 
hoped God and his reverenoe would forgive his 
aeeming profiuiity of that sacred day, "tuhgkad 
no dinner to €at, but what lay at the bottom of 
that pool r This, Mr. Woods, the player, who 
knew Cunningham well, and esteemed him much, 
ired me waa true.«-Bonvs. 

Thk silver moon'e enamonr*d beamt 

Steals softly through the night, 
To wanton with the windii^ atreaoH 

And kisB fdlected light 
To beds of atate go balmy sleep, 

("Ha where vouVe seldom beenX 
llay'a vigil while the shepherdi keqp 

With Kate of Aberdeen ! 

Upon the green the viigina wml. 

In rosy cha|^ets gay. 
Till mom unbar her golden gata, 

And give the promis'd May. 
Methinks I hear the maida dedan 

The promis*d Bfay, when seen* 
Not half JO fragrant, half so ftir. 

As Kate of Aberdeen ! 

Strike up the tabor'a boMeet noCe% 

We'll rouse the nodding grove ; 
The nested birds shall raise their throati^ 

And hail the maid I love : 
And ses the matin lark miatakeab 

He quits the tufted green ; 
Fond bird ! 'tis not the mornii^ bntki^ 

'Tis Kate of Aberdeen ! 

Now lightsome o'er the level mead. 

Where midnight £urics rove. 
Like them, the jocund dance well load, 

Or tune the reed to love: 
For see the rosy Biay draws nigh, 

She claims a virgin queen ; 
And hark, the happy shepberda cry, 

•« 'Tie Kale of Abtrdean r 


' Iir Sindab^i SiaiiatitaijUeomU of SeoOBrndf 
thia aoag ia loealiaed (a wb I awit uaefiv want 
of another to aipt m s my idea) aomewhere in the 
ITorth of Soodvidi and likvim k dainwd by 

Aynhin^llit' felloirii« MMdolft I kii 
the present Sir William CoaniaghiB, of Bflhal^ 
land, who had it firon the last John, Eail if 
Loudon.— The then Earl of London, frthar in 
Earl John, before mentiomed, had Ramaqr ift 
London, and one day walking together bj Ht 
banks of Irvine water, near New-Millib 9k a 
pUoe yet called Pktie*s BCll, they were eirvdk 
with the appearance of a beantifnl eonntry giri. 
His lordship observed, that ahe wonld bt a $am 
theme for a song. — Allan lagged bdiind ia «^ 
turning to Loudon Castle, and at diaatr prodM* 
ed this identical song.^-Bunxa. 

The lam of Patie'a'aiQi, 

So bonny, blythob aad gay, 
In spite of all mr ddD, 

She stcde my heart awiy. 
When tedding of the hay. 

Bare-headed on the green. 
Love 'midst her lodta £d play, 

And wanton'd in her 

vhite^ round, aad anooth, 

Breasta rising in their dawn. 
To age it would give yoatfi, 

To preaa 'em with hia hand : 
Thro' all my spirits ran 

An ecstasy of Uiss, 
When I such sweetness fond 

Wrapt in a bahny kirn. 

Without the help of art, ' 

Like flowers which graee the wild. 
She did her aweets impart. 

Whene'er she spoke or smil'd. 
Her looks they were so mild. 

Free from afieeted pride. 
She me to love bcguil'd ; 

I wish'd her for my bride. 

O had I an that wealth, 

HoriTOH'a high mountaiaa * ftQ, 
Insur'd lang lifo and health. 

And ]rfeasure at my will ; 
Fd promise and fulfil. 

That none but bonny ahe. 
The lass of Patie'a miU 

Shoa'd share the same wi* ma. 


Thbei is a stanaa of this excditnt aoaf for 
looal humour, omitted in thia ast^where Ib«i« 
placed the aaterianis.f 

HxEsKLL pe highland ahentleman, 
Pto anld as Pothwell Prig, man ; 

• Tliizt^Chfee mDcs south-west of Sdinb«|k« 

« the Earl of Hopetonli mints an. 
t Burns had plaeed the aitariiaM botwesn the 9lli 
aad 10th Taoei. The verse Is hen itstoied. 


M Mif tKimdiMi IMA 

tint wKni her to tlie uwltndt eamei 
ytinad was driTluf cowa, man ; 

Thtrt wu Ate law* about him't ncne, 
Aboot the pntck* or trewa, man. 

yaimiQ did wear the philabeg. 
The plaid priek't on her sbouder ; 

Tht gud claymore hung pe her pelt, 
De pietol ehargM wi ponder. 

hat for whereat theae cursed preeki, 
Wherewith man*! ncntf he loeket» 

O hon ! that e'er the saw the day ! 
For a' her hooghi be prokit 

Ereiy ting in dt highlands now 

Po tnm*d to alteration ; 
The iodger dwall at oor door-iheek. 

And tat*i te great vexation. 

Boothnd be tnm't a Ninglaad now, 
An' lawi priag on de eager ; 

Nainidl wad dune him ibr his deeds, 
Bat oh ! she fear te sodger. 

Anither law came after dat, 

lie nerer saw de like, man ; 
Tbey niak a lang road on de crund, 

And ca* him Tttrnim^pikef man. 

An* wow ! the pe a ponny road, 
Like Looden oom-rigs, man ; 

Where twa earti may gang on her. 
An* no pnik ithos I^gs, man. 

ThiT sharge a penny for ilka horee, 
(In trodiy they'll no pe sheaper) ; 

For nought but gaen npo' the crund* 
And &ey gie me a paper. 

Tkey tak tht horu then py ttkmd, 
And tert tey mak ktr Mian, man ; 

Mi UU tern, me hoe teen te day, 
T«y had na tic wmman\ man, 

Nae donbt, Nainsell maun traw his purse. 
And pay tem what him likes, man ; 

I'D see a shudgment on hts toor ; 
Tat filthy Tnnumapikey man. 

Bnt 111 Awa to the Highland hills, 
Wbtre ta'U a ane dare turn her, 

Aad BO come near your Tumimepike^ 
Caleas it pe to pum her. 



As this was a drourite thene wi4^ fw kftef 
Scottish muses, there are several aba and eeati 
of that name. That which I take to ba the 
oldest, is tfi be found in the Mneieai Muteamt 
beginning, I hoe fteen at Crookie^en.-^ 

I BAK been at Crookit'den,^ 

My bonnie laddie, Highland laddie ; 

Viewing Willie and his men. 
My bonnie laddie. Highland laddie. 

There our fees that burnt and slew. 
My bonnie laddie. Highland laddie ; 

There, at last, the^ gat their due. 
My bonnie laddie, Highland laddie. 

Satan aits in his black neuk. 

My bonnie laddie. Highland laddie ; 

Breaking sticks to roost the Duke, 
My bonnie laddie^ Highland laddie : 

The bluidy monster goa a yell. 
My bonnie laddie. Highland laddie ; 

And loud the laugh good round a* hell ! 
My bonnie laddie, Highland laddie. 

One of my reasons is, that Oswald has it in his 
collection by the name of 7^ endd HtgUand 
Laddie. — It is alxo known by the name of 
Jinglan Johnie, which ia a well known song of 
four or five stansas, and seems to bt an earlier 
song than Jacobite times. As a proof of this, it 
is little known to the peasantry by the name of 
Highland Laddie ; while every body knows 
Jinglan Johnie. The song begins, 

Jinglan John, the meickk man, 

He met wi* a lass was Uythe and bonnie. 

Another Hi gland Laddie ia aleo ia the Mu~ 
teum^ voL t. whieh I take to be Raaeay's ori- 
ginal, a« be ban borrowed the ehorua ** O my 
bonnie Highland lad, |pe." It consists of thne 
stanzas, betiidm the chorus ; and has hnmour in 
its composition — it is on excellent but somewhat 
liccDtious song. — It bi^^s, 

As I cam o*er Caimey-Mount, 

And down among the blooming heathart ke» 

This air, and the common Highland Laddie, 
seem only to be different sets. 

Another Highland Laddie, also in the Afif- 

sewn, vol. v. is the tune of several Jacobite frag- 
menta.-i-One of these old songs to it, only exists, 
as for as I know, in these four lines— 

Whare hoe ye been a' day, 

Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie ? 
Down the back o' Bell's braa, 

Ooortin Maggie, courtin Maggio. 






AaodiMr of dill namt k Dr. ArWt biMrtifia air, 


Thx foUofwing ia u $eici this KMif , wbidi 
wu the earliest sonf I remember to have got by 
hrart When a child, an old woman suBg it to 
me, and I picked it up^ trcry word, at first 

AndhowihtlMithrtWM«lilblf tftt M 
Mty the shame fr*iht gMrnd tfM WHiik i^ !^ 

Jockie was the laddie that ksld thi plMifW 
Bat now he's got govd and gaat mmajk | 

He thinks nae mair of me thai waart me pUi4M 

Bfay the shame &' the gev aad tha hWthrit 9^ I 

WiLLT weel I mhid, I lent Ton my hand, 
To sang yoo asong whidi 70a did me command ; 
But my memory's so bsd, I had almost forgot 
That yon call'd it the gear and the blaithrie o*t. 

1*11 not sing shout confusion, ddnsbn, or pride, 
1*11 sing about a laddie was for arirtooos bride ; 
For virtue is an ornament that time will nerer 

And prefieraUe to gear and the bkithrie o*t. 

Tho' my lassie hae nae scarlets or silks to put on. 
We enry not the greatest that sits upon the 

1 wad rather hae my lassie, tho' she esm in her 

Than a prinessswi* the gear and the blaithrie o*t 

Tho* we hae nae horsss or menne at command, 
We will toil on our foot, and we'll work wi' our 

And when wearied without rest, we'll find it 

sweet in any spot, 
And well value not the gear and the blaithrie o*t. 

If we hae ony babies, we'll count them as lent ; 
Hae we less, hse we mair, we will sye be content ; 
For they say they hae mair plesture that wins 

but a groat. 
Than the miser wi' his gear and the Uaithne o't. 

m not meddle wi' th' a&irs u' the kirk or the 

They're nae matters for a sang, kt them aink 

let diem swim. 
On your kirk I'U ne'er encroach, but I'll hold it 

stiU remote. 
See tak thia for the gear and the blaithrie o't 


Jenny waa the lassie that mneked the hyi% 

But now she is clad in her mikm 
And Jockie says he lo'es her, and 

me forgot; 
Bfay the ahame fii' the gear and the MaHktfo /I I 

But all this shall nerer dannton me, 

Sae lang's I keep my fancy free : 

For the lad that^s sae inconstant, he's wt WifA 

a treat; 
May the shame fo' the gear and the falaitkrito^ t 


Wbiv I thU am tUi waild'a pelf, 

And the little wee share I have o*t to myseU^ 

• The ftdlowlng otocrvatkm was fbund In a 
Ksndum book bslangiag to Boms t 


Im Ram%ay*s Tm-iabU MimaUoHp, he 
us that about thirty of the songs in that p«hlk 
cation were the works of some yonng geaMemsB 
of hb acquaintance ; which songs are marini 

with the letters D. C, Ice Old Mr. Tjrilsfv 

of Woodhonaelee, the worthy end able dsfcidar 
of the beauteous Qneen of Seocs» told me Ait 
the songs osarkcd G; in the T^4mkk, were tim 
composition of a Mr. Crawford, of the houn of 
Achinamet, who was afterwards nnfoctnulslf 
drowned coming from France.— As Tytler wa9 
most intimately acquainted with Allan Ramaab 
I think the anecdote may be depended on. ^ 
consequence, the beautiful song of T\mhUIA It 
Mr. Crawford**, and indeed does great honmur 
to hu poetical talents. He was a Robert Cravw 
ford ; the Mary he celebrates, was Mary Stnarl^ 
of the CastlemiUc fiunily, aftowards married |t 
a Mr. John Bdchca. 

What beenties does Flora diselose ! 

How eweet aie hsr smiles nra Tweed ! 
Tet Mary's stiU sweeter than ttioee ; 

Both nature and foney eieeed. 
Nor daiMT, nor sweet blushing nes^ 

Not aU the m flowers of the fieU, 
Ner Tweed gbdinf gently diroogh Aaai^ 

Such beauty and plsaanw do« yidd. 

The warblers are heard in the grefrs, 
The linnet, the lark, and the thraeh* 

The blackbird and eweet-eooing dove^ 
IX^th mnsie enchant tv'iy bosh. 

•• 01^-4 be then nMi Ml Nt|irdMifee«#«tth 
ui, be not l«aiDII W I MiMf IQliMmliW f«l«i# 



kl at fo Cardi lo ^ nMid, 
iMmtm ham tiit primroMt tpriag^ 

Will lodst IB MMBM TUbft OB TwMCl, 

jkal V/f wliife tilt fMthor'd ftlki nnf . 

Vtm doM mjr lore pus tiit loof day ? 

DoM Muy not 'tend a few ttMcp ? 
])• iktj new cawlewly itny, 

Wluk ha|i|iUy the Urn ailcep ? 
Tv«ad^ miumui i ■honld lull her to rat ; 

Kind netiire indulging my bliai, 
T» nlieve the toft peine of my breaet, 

rd iteel an ambroeial 

*Tis ehe doee the Tirgine excel, 

Ke beaaty with hor may eompere ; 
Id>ft*e graeca aioand her do dwell ; 

8he*e feireety where thooeandt are Ciir. 
ftqr» charmer, where do thy flocka etray ? 

Oh ! tell me at noon where they feed ; 
I aedc them on eweet winding Tay, 

Or Am pleamnter banka of the Tweed ? 

I have eeen a eong, calling iteelf the original 
JWmrfiWi, and eaid to have been compoeed by 
a Lwd Yerter. It consisted of two stanias, of 
Vhfek I itiU recoUeet the first. , 

WmgK Maggy tnd I w^ arquaint, 

X flvried my noddle fii* hie ; 
Xti Iblwhito OB a* the green plain, 

Mar gowdspink eae happy as me: 
Baft I HW her eae feir, and I lo*ed ; 

X woo'd, bat I came nae great qwed ; 
Saaow I maoB wander abroad, 

Aad lay my banes &r free the Tweed. 


nun thns :— Ed. 

Vt lCai|gy my love I did tell, 

flnt tears did my passion express, 
iJb! fer I Wd her o'erwell. 

Mm* Am woBien loo sic a man Icse. 
Bit heart it waa f roaen and canld. 

Bit pride had my rain decreed ; 
n«ifere I will wander abroad, 

Aad lay my banes fer free the Tweed. 


The author of the Boatie JRowtf waa a Bfr. 
SwtB of Aberdeen. It is a c h a rm ing diqday of 
waaaaaly affection mingling with the coneeme 
•ai oecapations of life. It ia neariy eqaal to 
l%tn*$ nae huk about At Koute, 

O waxL may the boatie row, 
Aad better may she speed ; 
Aad leesome may the boatie row 
Thift wins my bairns breed : 
Ika boatie rows, the boatie rowif 
Ika boatie rows indeed ; 
Aai wad may the boatie row 
JRM WMi tiN biiiai b|iai 

I coat* my lioe ia Laiga bay. 

And fishaa I eat^'d nine ; 

There waa three to boil, ud thiat to frfi 

And three to bait the line : 

The boatie rows, the boatie iow% 

The boatie rows indeed ; 

And happy be the lot of a* 

Who wnhce her to epeed. 

O weel may the boatie row. 
That fills a heavy creel,f 
And deeds us a* free head to feet, 
And buys our porridge meal : 
The boatie rows, the boatie rows. 
The boatie rows indeed ; 
And happy be the lot of a* 
That wish the boatie speed. 

When Jamie row'd he would be miB% 
And wan free roe my heart, 

muekle lighter grew my creel. 
He swore we'd never part : 

The boatie rows, the boatie rows, 
The boatie rows fu* werl ; 
And muekle lighter i* the load. 
When love bears up the creel. 

My kurtch I put npo* my head. 
And dress'd mysel* fii* braw ; 

1 true my heart was douf an* wieb 
When Jamie gaed awa : 

But weel may the boatie row, 
And lucky be her part ; 
And lightsome be the lassie'e care^ 
That yields an honest heart. 


When Sawney, Jock, an' 

Are up and gotten lor. 

They'll help to gar the boatie row. 

And lighten a* our care : 

The boatie rows, the boatie rows, 

The boatie rows fei* weel ; 

And lightsome be her heart that bean 

The murlain, and the creeL 

And when wi* age are*rc worn dowa» 
And hirpling round the door. 
They'll row to keep us dry and 
As we did them before :— > 
Then weel may the boatie row. 
She wins the baima bread ; 
And happy be the lot of a* 
That wish the boat to speed ! 

Avonnay oat very pictty Angla-SeoltUi 




How blMt hu my time been» wlut joy* hava 1 

SiDce wedlock's toft bondage made Jetty my 

own ! 

80 joyful my heart is, so easy my ckaiii. 
That freedom is tasteless, and roving a pain. 

Thro* walks grown with woodbines, as often we 

Around us our boys and girls frolic and play : 
How pleasing their sport is ! the wanton ones 

And borrow their looks from my Jessy and me. 

To try her sweet temper, oft times am I seen 
In revels all day with the nymphs on the green : 
Tho' painful my absence, my doubts she be- 
And meets me at night with complacence and 

What tho* on her cheeks the rose loses its hue, 
Her wit and good humour bloom all the year 

Time still, as he flies, adds increase to her truth, 
And gives to her mind what he steals from her 


Ye shepherds so gay, who make love to ensnare, 
And cheat, with fklse vows, the too credulous 

In search of true pleasure, how vainly you roam ! 
To hold it for life, you must find it at home. 

Unto the yowet a mOkia, klad ilr, ahe tty% 
With a double and adiea to thee £ur May. 
What if I gang alang wi* thee, my ain pratlir 
Wi* thy red roay cheeks, and thy coal-blaak 
hair ; . 

Wad I be aught the wane o* that, kind air, iht 
With a double and adieu to thea fiur BCay. 


O LUTE will venture in, where it damr na 

be seen, 
O luve will venture in, where wisdom anea hta 

But I will down yon river rove, amang iStm 

wood sae green, 
And a* to pu* a potie to my ain dear May. 


It appeara evident to me that Oswald com- 
posed his RotUn Caatk on the modulation of 
this air. — In the second part of Oswald'a, in the 
three first bars, he haa either hit on a wonder- 
ihl similarity to, or else he has entirely borrow- 
ed the three first bars of the old air ; and the 
close of both tunea ia almost exactly the same. 
The old veraea to wldch it was sang, when I 
took down the notea fitmi a country girl'a voice, 
had no great merit. — The fiillowing ia a'speci- 

Tbkkx waa a pretty May,* and a milkin she 
Wi* her red rosy cheeky and her coal-black 
And she haa met a yonng man a comin o*er U10 
With a double and adieu to th«e fiur May. 

O where are ye gob, my mn pretty May, 
Wi* thy red roay cheeks, and thy coal-black 

The primrose I will pu*, the firstling o* the year. 
And 1 will pu' the pink, the emblem o* my dc«. 
Fur she*s the pink o' woman kind, and bloom 
without a peer ; 
And a' to be a posie to my ain dear May. 

ni pu* the budding rose, when Phcsbos fmg» 

in view. 
For it*B like a baumy kiss o* her iweeC 

mou ; 
The hyacinth*s for constancy wi* ita 

ing blue, 
And a* to be a poaie to my ain dear May* 

The lily it is pure, and the lily it ia £iir, 
And in her kivdy boaom 1*11 pUm the lily Ifaav | 
The daisy*s for simplicity and unaffected air. 
And a* to be a poaie to my ain dear May ; 

The hawthorn I will pn*, wi* ita lodn o* tSOm 

Where, like an aged man, it atanda at bntk $t 

Bnt the aongster*a nest within diebaah I wwm 
tak away ; 
And a* to be a posie to my ain detf Mtf* 

The woodbine I will pu*, when the c*niaf ilV 

is near. 
And the diamond drape o* dew shall be bar ^m 

sae clear; 
The violet's for modesty which wed dit M li 

And a* to be a poaie to my ain detf Mqr* 

1*11 tie the posie round wi* the dlken bani •* 

And rU pUee it in her breast, and I'll iWf«lf 

a above. 
That to my Utest draught o* life the band dMil 
' ne*erremnve, 

yiaj IIhi will b« » podt tomjmim lUff 




Tmm Mary ban alhidtd to b gtntnlly mp- 
Mt to be lint Mary Hiesbic, dangbtv to 
K» »dkd of Airds, in Oallowajr. The poet 
Wli * lir. Akrandtr Jjow*, who likeviee 
Wrote tnotber beautiful aong, oalled Pompeif*$ 
GAoif.-— I btTe teen a poetic epistle from him 
ia Korth America, where he now is, or lately 
WiBt to a ladf in ScotlaocL — By the strain of 
tilt ▼eraeii it appeared that they allude to some 
low disappointment. 

Tkb moon had cUmb'd the highest hill. 

Which risee o'er the source of Dee, 
Aad frooa tho eoelmi snmmet shed 
Her silTcr light on tow'r and tree : 
^boa Mary bud her down to sleep. 
Her tbooghts on Sandy £ir at sea ; 
aoft and knr a voice was heard, 
Saying, Mary, weep no mon for me. 

from her pillow gently rais*d 
Her bead to aak, who there might be ; 

w yoong Sandy shiy*ring stand, 
^tb Timge pale and hollow eye ; 
' O Mary, drar, cold u my clay, 
' It liea btnoath a stormy sea ; 
' Vv, fiur from thee, I deep in death ; 

* 80^ Mary, weep no more for me. 

■ Tbiio Blormy nq^hta and stormy da>'s 
' We tosB*d upon the raging main ; 

* Aad k»g we strore our bark to save, 

' But all our atriving was in vaiu. 

* Van than when horror chill'd my blood, 

< My heart was fillM with love for thee : 

* The atorm is past, and I at raat ; 

* 8oi Mary, weep no more for me. 

* O ■laidaB dear, thyself prepare, 

' We soon shall meet upon that nhore, 

* When lofo ia five fti>m doubt and cars^ 

* And tiiou and I shall part no mon !' 
iroir'd tbt oook, the ehadows fled, 

No mon of Sandy could abe see ; 
iM «A Ifai paariog spirit aaid, 

** Swoet Bfary, weep no man forme !'* 

Bo wid BaidMr ly in btm, aor fil wad lo k 

But m abmt the ba* door, or dn dbn tiio fli% 
.dbMl we'd gang noe oNrir, fo 

The beggar's bed was made at e*aa wi* good 

clean straw and hay, 
And in ahint the ha' door, and then At boggor 

And WM*U gang mm mmiff (pa. 

Up raise tho good man's doeblar, and for to h» 

the door, 
And there she saw the beggar ataadia i' ^ 


And W€*U gang iwf wudr^ ff9% 

He took the lawie in his arms, and to tiio bol 

he rnn, 
O hooly, h(>i)!y wi* me, sir, ye'O wakaa our 

AhU tce'S gang nmt aia^y ff9% 

The bef^gar was a cunnin loon, and ao'or a 

word he spake, 
Until he got hi* turn done, syna bo began to 


And wtll gang not wudw, f^ 

Is then ony oogi into this town ? maidaiv ^ 

me true» 
And what wad ye do wi' them, my hinny and 

my dow ? 

And wt*lt gang nae mair, ^. 

They'U rire a' my mcalpocks, and do me meiklo 

O dool for the doing o't ! an yo tho pair nan? 
And we*U gmmg mm am^, |r«. 

Then ahe took up the mealpoeki and i^i^ |ba«i 

o'er the wa*, 
Tho ddl gaewi' the nMalpoeka, my miidoiboid 

and a', 
Amd wis gang mm OMilr, (v. 


Ian to htvo boca oompoaed oj Kiiig Jimat 
Vi, OB frolic of his own* 

TsBEi waa a jolly beggar, and a beggiag ho 

Aad bo todc up hia quartan into « hnd'art 

Amd W€*S gang naa wudr a ravimgt 

Mm lait into tk§ m^fki, 
JM wtl'ttgamg mm OMilr a rmdmg, ficya^ 

I took ye for aono gcntlaoiu, at koattbilaiid 

of Brodie; 
O dool for the doing o't! anyethopoirbodio? 
Amd wittgamg mm wmitt ffl; 

He took Ao bMio in bio araii^ and 

And foor-ond-twonty bandar flMik to ftf Ibo 

And wiU gamg mm wudr% («• 

He took thorn froo bio oid% and bliwlidai 

loud and ibriD* 
And foar.and-twonty baltad kaUiti OMi Atp« 

ping o*ar tiM bil^ 




And lie took out lilt littl*: knife, loo: a* his duJ- 

(lit» fi*, 
And he was the brawest geDtleinaa that was 

ainaoff them a*. 

And we'll yanif ncu mair, ^. 

Tbr ht\r;(;ar wan i clivcr loon, aod he lap shoul- 
der hciglit, 
O ay for hickcn qiurtent .ik I gat ycstemight ! 
And we'll tfany nue muirf ^, 


it\ mi:. ]i( i>i;:.un. 

TiiiH Dtui^^^con \n -a ri-t|ifi'table farmer^s son 
in Ikru-tckshire. 

V'p amang yoa clilTy riH:k«« 

Swwtly rir.«;s t\u: ri«in,; echo, 
To the miiil tliat toii'^ tl.j {>Mtt<, 
Lilting o'er lior uativi> luiU--. 

Hark ! ^be sin;;'., " Yoiiii^ Sandy *s kind. 
An' bo's }iroiui-H.'il ay to Um nw ; 

Hen'** a broorb I nt'cr Nhall tine 
Till bu'« fdirly married to me : 
Drive away ye dmiie Time, 
An* bring about Dur bridal day. 

" Sandy licr.N a fl-wk o'!p, 

Afteh din's be blaw tb«! whistle. 
In a strain t-io >aftly :<\VL>et, 
Lamiuieii Iivt*ning daurr.i b!«>at. 
He'jt a!* fleet's the mountain roe. 

Hardy us the bigbl.-ind heather, 
Wadinq tb rough tiiu winter snow, 
Keepinjj ay hi* fltK-k together ; 
But a plaid, wi' bare bou;^bs, 
He braves the bleakest noriiu bla'^t. 

" Brawlv he can daiico and fiisjj 
Canty glee or higLI.ind cronoch ; 

Nane can ever mitch hi^ niu,;C) 

At a reel, or round .i rin^ ; 
Wightly can he wield a riiii^. 

In a brawl he's ay the bmgster : 
A' his pri^se can n«*er be sunff 
By the lange^-winded sangiiter. 

Sangs that sing o* Saody 

Come short, though they were e'er 




This is a very pretty song ; but I Unej tint 
the first half staosa, as well as the tune itKlf, 
are much older than the rest of the words. 

Takst woo, tany woo^ 
Tarry woo is iU to spin ; 
Cud it won, ctfd it waU, 

When *tU c:iid d, rawM and sptui» 
Viien the work i» haflens dono ; 
But when woven, drest and cloan, 
It ID !y l>o cleading for a queen. 

SiuiT, my bonny hannlesa sheep, 
Tliat feed upon the mountain's steep, 
l>iuntinL^ >wef>tly as ye go, 
Tliro* the wintf-r's frmt and snow ; 
Mart, and liynd, iind fiUou'-deor, 
No be haff ro uweful are : 
Frae kings to him that had* the plow, 
Arc all oblig'd to tarry woo. 

Up, ye «h(*pherdft, dance and akip« 
O'er the hilU and vallieti trip, 
Sin'^ up the praise of tarry woo, 
Pinjj the fliK'ks tb.U bear it too ; 
HarinleM creatures wirhont blame, 
Tb.1t dead tlie back, and cram the wane, 
Keep us w.inn ;ind Im.irty f mi ; 
LeebC me on ri-.c t.'rrv woo. 

How happy in the shepherd's life. 
Far frae courts and free of strife. 
While the gimmcr« bleat and bae, 
And the lambkins annwer mae : 
No inirh muvic to hi* ear ; — 
Of thief or fox he bos no fear ; 
f«turdy Kent and G)Uy true, 
Will defend the tarry woo. 

He liveo ocmtent, and envies none ; 
Not even a monarch on his throne, 
Tho* he the royal sceptre sways. 
Has not sweeter holidays. 
Who'd be a king, can ony tell. 
When a shepherd sings Mie well ? 
Sings sae well, and pays his due. 
With honest heart and tarry woo. 


Till- fifot b-Uf Kt,in/a is ir.nidt older than tlie-. 
days of Rainsuy. — Tiie obi words began thus :— . 

The collier has a doclitcr, and, O, she's woa« 

der bonnie ! 
A laird he wa-* that sonp'ht her, rich buth ia 

landx and uiouev. 
She wad na hae a laird, nor wad she be a lady ; 
But she wad hae a collier, die color o' her dad& 

Trx collier has a oaughter. 
And O she's wonder bonny ; 

A laird he was that sought her« 
Rich baith in lands and money : 

The tutors wateh'd the motion 
Of this young honest lover ; 

I' But love is like the oeean ; 
Wha caa Iti fbf«h dHoom ? 

& bad ihfl art to pkiM y% 

Aad. W9M bf a* w ipa cte d ; 
Wb ain tat round hua tuj, 

GcDtedf bat unafie^ed. 
Tba ooUier*t bonnie laaic^ 

Fair as tbe new-Uown lilic* 
Ay tweet, and never lancy, 

Secur*d the heart of Willie. 

He Iov*d beyond expremon 

The channa that were about her. 
And panted for potsesaion, 

Hii life wai dull without her. 
After mature resolving, 

Close to his breast he held her 
In saftest flames dissolving. 

He tenderly thus tellM her : 

My bonny collier's daughter. 

Let naething discompose ye, 
'^8 no jronr scanty tocher 

Shall ever gar me lose ye : 
For I have gear in plenty, 

And love says, 'Tis my duty 
To ware what heav'n has lent me 

Upon your wit and beauty. 



Tbk old worda of this song are omitted bare, 
though much more beautiful than these insert- 
ed ; which were mostly composed by poor Fer- 
m, in one of his merry humourB.— >The old 
began thus:— i 

I'll rowe thee o*er the lea-rig, 

My ain kind dearie, O, 
ril rowe diee o*er the lea- rig, 

My ain kind dearie, O, 
Altho* the night were ne*er sae wat. 

And I were ne'er sae weaiy, 0« 
1*11 rowe thee o*er the lea^-rig. 

My ain kind dearie, O. — 

Will ye gaD<^ o*er the lea-rig. 

My ain kind dearie, O ? 
And cuddle there sae kindlic, 

My ain kind dearie, O ? 
At thorny dike and birken-trec, 

We*U daff and ne*er be weary, O ; 
They'll scug ill een frae you and me, 

My ain kind dearie, O ! 

Km herds, wi* kent or coUy, there, 

Shsll ever come to £ear ye, O ; 
BstJavrocks, whistling in the sir. 

Shall woo, like me, their dearie, O. 
While others herd their lambs and yowcf,* 

And toil for warld's gear, my jo ; 
Upon tht lea, my pleasure growS| 

,iri* ^ mj kind deariei 0, 


I b«va been iitfiinnad, that tilt toM af DtfWft 
At .Biv% 2>«M. was the conpositm of David 
Maigfa, keeper of the bkiod skragh bounds, ba. 
loBfiaf to^ Laird of Riddel, in Twceddak. 

Whsx treas did bud, and fields were greca. 

And broom bloom'd fair to see ; 
When Mary wss complete fifteen. 

And love Uugh*d in her e*e ; 
Blythe Davie's Minks her heart did OMfv, 

To speak her mind thus free^ 
Gang down iht him Dawh, Um, 

And IshaBfoOow fAea. 

Now Davie did each lad anrpass, 

That dwelt on yon bum aide, 
And Mary was the bonniest lass, 

Just meet to be a bride ; 
Her cheeka were rosie, red and wbit^ 

Her een were bonnie blue ; 
Her looks were like Aurora bright, 

Her lipa like dropping dew. 

As down the bum they took their way, 

What tender tales they said ! 
His cheek to her's he alt did ky. 

And with her bosom pky'd ; 

What paas'd, I guess, was hannksa play, 

And naething sure unmeet ; 
For, ganging hame, I heard them my, 

They lik'd a walk sae aweet ; 
And that they aften ahould icCon, 

Sic pleasure to renew ; 
Quoth Mary, Love, I like the bom. 

And ay ahall follow yoo.* 


Thk old words, all that I 

Blikc over the bum, awwt Betty, 

It is a cauld winter night ; 
It rains, it hails, it thunders. 

The moon she gies nae b^t : 
It'a a' for the sake o' sweet Betty, 

That ever I tint my way ; 
Sweet, let me lie bey«»d thee. 

Until it be break o' day.^ 

O, Betty will bake my bread. 
And Betty will brew my ala. 

And Betty will be my love. 
When I come ovar the dale : 

• The lest four Hnss of the diM 
somewfastol»wrtonaWelnpjDiateCilelii nj,. 
ted. Buns stand these flMs. Bai his 
been attmded frttil bk lM«a iVNHib H 




Blinic over the burn, iwtct Bett3r, 
Blink over the liurn to me. 

And while I hae life, dear Limie, 
My aio tweet Betty thuu*« be — 


This ii one of the most beantifii] wmgs in 
the Scott, or any other language^ — Tbe two 

And will I Me bit face again ! 
And will I hear biui tpeak ! 

■» well at tbe two preceding oneii, are uneqnall- 
cd almost by any thing I erer beard or read : 
and tbe lines, 

Tbe present moment it our ain, 
The neitt we never taw — 

are worthy of tbe firat poet. — It it long poste- 
rior to Ramtay*s days. — Almut tbe year 1771, 
or 7S, it came first un tbe utreets as' a ballad ; 
and I suppose tbe composition of the song wa« 
not much anterior to that period.* 

And are ye sure tbe news is true ? 
And are ye sure be*s weel ? 
Is thi« a time to talk o* wark ? 
Ye jads, lay by your wheel ! 
U this a time to talk of wark, 
When Colin' 8 at tbe door? 
Gie me my cloak ! 1*11 to tbe quay. 
And see bim come ashore. 

For there » nae luek about the house, 

There*s nae lueh ava ; 

There' t little pleature in the houee, 

When our gudeman't aura. 

Rile np, and mak a clean fire-aide. 

Put on tbe muckle pat ; 

Gie little Kate her cotton gown, 

And Jock bis Sunday's coat ; 

And mak their sboon as block as slaes, 

Their hose as white as tnaw ; 

It's a* to please my ain gude^ian. 

He likei to see them braw. 

For there's nae luck, fv. 

There is twa bens upon tbe bank, 

'Sbeen fed tbii month and mair ; 

Mak baste and thraw tbeir necks about. 

That Colin weel may fare ; 

And spread tbe table neat and dean. 

Gar ilka tbing look braw ; 

It's a for love of my gndenuui,— 

For be's been long awa. 

For there's nae hek, ^ 

gie me down my bigonets, 
My bishop-satin gown ; 

For I maun tell the bailie's wife 

That Colin's come to town ; 

My Sunday's sboon tbey mann gae on. 

My hose o* pearl blue. 

It's a' to please my ain gudonan, 

For be's baitb led and true. 

For there*s nae luck, ^ 

Soe true's bis words, sae tmootb's bit iprrrbj 

His breatb like caller air, 

His very foot baa music in't, 

When he comes np tbe stair : 

And will I see bis hct again ! 

And will I hear bim speak ! 

I'm dowright dizzy with the thought. 

In troth I'm like to greet ! 

For there's nae luck, ^ 

Tbe cauld blasts of tbe winter wind, 

That thrilled thro* my heart. 

They're a' blaun by ; I hae him nfr, 

'Till death we'll never part ; 

But what puts parting in my bead ? 

It may be £ir awa ; 

Tlie prenent moment is our ain. 

The neist we never saw ! 

Fur there's nae luck, (fc 

Since Culin's well, I'm well 

1 bae nae mair to crave ; 
Could I but live to mak him blaaty 
I'm blefft aboun the lave ; 
And will I see his face again ! 
And will I hear him speak ! 
I'm downright dizzy with tbe though 
In troth 1 'm like to greet ! 


John Hat's Bonnie Lassie waa dmghttr ti 
John Hay, Earl, or Marquis of Tweeddale, a^ 

late Countem Dowager of Roxburgh. She died 

at Broomlandst near Kelso, some time bf iw w m 
the years 17*0 and 1740. 

Br smooth winding Tay a swain was recliauM^ 
Aft cry'd he, Oh hey ! maun I stUl live piaiB^ 
Mysel thus away, and dauma diacove* 
To my bonnie Hay that I am her lover ! 

Nae mair it will bide, tbe flame wazci itrongcr ; 
If she's not my bride, my days an oae langer t ' 
Then I'll take a heart, and try at a ventniCy 
Maybe, ere we part, my vows may content 

• It is now ascwrtalned that Malkle, the 
' w«tlM«itiiQrgCUitoiod|, 

She'a fresh aa tbe Spring, and iweet •■ Anzon^ 
When birds mount and sing, bidding day a good* 

morrow j 
Tbe swaird of tbe mead, entmeird wi' iMm, 
Looks witber'd tod dead when twia'd 9i U9 





But if the appear where verdure invites ker, 
The fountains run clear, and flowers »mell the 

swf«ter ; 
*TiM heaven to be by when her wit is a^flowinfr> 
Her smiles and bright eyes »et my spirits a>glow- 


The mair that I gaze, the dee)>er Tin wounded, 
Struck duni)> wi* amazf , my mind i!« ctmfound^ ; 
Tm A* in a fire, dear maid, to c.irest ye. 
For A* my desire is Hay's bonnie lassie. 


Tbx idea of this scop: is to nie ver^' original : 
Am two first lines are all of it that in old. The 
of the song, as well as thoKu sont^s in the 
i marked 7\ are the work.t of an obscure, 
tippling, but extraordinary binly of the nnine of 
Toiler, commonly known by the name of Bnl- 
loosi Tytler, from his havin^r projected a balloon : 
A mortal, who, though he dnnlVt** about Edia- 
Wiyli as a common printer, with li-.iky »<luu.>s a 
Aj-lighted hat, and knee-bucklcs as unlike ni 
C3«orge-by-the-Grace-of-God, and Sdlonxm-the 
SooM^f-David ; yet thatsamo unknown dnniiO'u 
SMirtal is author and compiler of three-fourths 
B3]iot*s pompom Encyclopedia Britannira, which 
1m composed at half a guinea a week ! * 

bonnie brucket lassie 
She's blue beneath the e*cn ; 

was the fiurest lasue 
That danced on the green : 
A lad he loo'd her dearly, 

She did his love return ; 
Bat he his vows has broken, 
And left her for to mourn. 

^ Mf ah^)e,** she says, ** was handsome 

mj het was &ir and clean ; 
BmI now I*m bonnie brucket. 

And blue beneath the e'en : 
Ht ejrea were bright and sparkling, 

Bclnre that they turn'd blue ; 
Bit now they're duU with weeping, 

And A*y my love, for you. 

^ My penoB it wia comely, 

My shape, they said, was neat ; 
B«t now I am quite chang'd, 

Mt stays they winna meet : 
A* nifht I sleeped soundly, 

My mind was never sad ; 
Bnt DOW my rest is broken, 

"WV thinking o* my lad. 

" O could I live in darkness, 
Or hide Be in the sea, 

Since my love U unfaithful. 
And has forsaken me ! 

No other love I suffer'd 

Within mv breast to dwell ; 

In noufrht I have offended, 

But loving him too well. 


Iler lover heard her mourning. 

As by he chancM to pass. 
And pre«s'd unto his bosom 

The lovely brucket lass : 
" My dear," he said, " cease grievii^, 

Since that voiur love*s sae true, 
Mv bonnie brucket la&sie 


ril faithful prove to you.* 



TiriH sonq is beautiful.^ — The chorus in par- 
ticular in truly pathetic— 1 never could learn 
any thing of iti author. 

.\ LASS that wns laden with care 
Sat heaviiv under von thorn ; 
I li^tfn'd awhile for to hear, 

^^^len thus she be^an fi>r to mourn : 
Wliciii^'ei- my dear tfhepherd was there, 
VI u' birds did melodiously sing, 
nipping winter did wear 
A fare tli;>t rtNembled the spring. 
Siu: mcrri/ u» ire twa kae been. 
Sat mfrry an tee twa hae been, 
37." heart it is like for to breaks 
Mlien I think on the dayt we hae 

Anil eo'i! 

« BaUood Tjtlery ii bat rofencd tOi 

Our florlvs fL'jjjinj clo«c by his side. 

He jrently pi easing my hand, 
I vifw'd the wide world in its pride. 

And Iau|/h'd at the pomp of command ! 
My, ho would oft to me say, 

Whit mako you hard-hearted to me? 
Oh ! why do you tlms turn away 

From him w