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R. B.


for a grand cure: the ship is on her way siasm as ever pilgrim did to Loretto; and as home that is to take me out to Jamaica ; | I explored every den and dell where I could and then, farewell dear old Scotland! and suppose my heroic countryman to have farewell, dear ungrateful Jean, for never, lodged, I recollect (for even tien I was a never will I see you more.

rhymer) that my heart glowed with a wish You will have heard that I am going to to be able to make a song on him in some commence poet in print; and to-morrow my measure equal to his merits.

R. B. works


to the press. I expect it will be a volume of about 200 pages—it is just the last foolish action I intend to do; and then turn a wise man as fast as possible. Believe me to be, dear Brice, your friend and well- TO JOHN RICHMOND, EDINBURGH, wisher,

Mossgiel, July 9th, 1786. WITH the sincerest grief I read your

letter. You are truly a son of misfortune. TO MRS. DUNLOP,

I shall be extremely anxious to hear from OF DUNLOP

you how your health goes on—if it is any

way re-establishing, or if Leith promises well Ayrshire, July, 1786.

-in short, how you feel in the inner man. MADAM.-I am truly sorry I was not at

I have waited on Armour since her return home yesterday, when I was so much home; not from the leasi view of reconciliahonoured with your order for my copies, and tion, but merely to ask for her health, and, incomparably more by the handsome com- to you I will confess it, from a foolish pliments you are pleased to pay my poetic | hankering fondness, very ill placed indeed. abilities. I am fully persuaded that there is | The mother forbade me the house, nor did not any class of mankind so feelingly alive Jean show that penitence that might have to the titillations of applause as the sons of been expected. However, the priest, I am Parnassus: nor is it easy to conceive how informed, will give me a certificate as a the heart of the poor bard dances with single man, if I comply with the rules of the rapture, when those whose character in life church, which, for that very reason, I intend gives them a right to he polite judges, to do. honour him with their approbation. Had I am going to put on sackcloth and ashes you been thoroughly acquainted with me, this day. I am indulged so far as to appear Madam, you could not have touched my in my own seat. Peccavi, pater; miserere darling heart-chord more sweetly than by mei. My book will be ready in a fortnight. noticing my attempts to celebrate your If you have any subscribers, return them by illustrious ancestor, the saviour of his Connell. The Lord stand with the right country.

ous-amen, anen.

R. B. Great patriot hero! ill- requited chief! The first book I met with in my early years, which I perused with pleasure, was The Life of Ilannibal;" the next was “The

TO MR. DAVID BRICE, History of Sir William Wallace;" for several earlier years I had few other authors;

SHOEMAKER, GLASGOW. and many a solitary hour have I stole out, after the laborious vocations of the day, to

Mossgiel, July 17th, 1786. shed a tear over their glorious, but unfortu- I HAVE been so throng printing my nate stories. In those boyish days I re- Poems, that I could scarcely find as much niember, in particular, being struck with time as to write to you. Poor Armour is that part of Wallace's story where these lines come back again to Mauchline, and I went

to call for her, and her mother forbade me

the house, nor did she herself express much Syne to the Leglen wood, when it was late,

sorrow for what she has done. I have To make a silent and a safe retreat.

already appeared publicly in church, and was I chose a fine summer Sunday, the only day | indulged in the liberty of standing in my my line of life allowed, and walked half-à- own seat. I do this to get a certificate as a dozen of miles to pay my respects to the bachelor, which Mr. Auld has promised me. Leglen wood, with as much devout enthu- I am now fixed to go for the West Indies in


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R. B.




October. Jean and her friends insisted You will have heard that poor Armour much that she should stand along with me has repaid me double.

has repaid me double. A very fine boy and in the kirk, but the minister would not allow a girl have awakened a thought and feelings it, which bred a great trouble, I assure you,

that thrill, some with tender pressure, and and I am blamed as the cause of it, though some with foreboding anguish, through my I am sure I am innocent; but I am very soul. much pleased, for all that, not to have had The poem was nearly an extemporaneous her company. I have no news to tell you production, on a wager with Mr. Hamilton, that I remember. I am really happy to

happy to that I would not produce a poem on the hear of your welfare, and that you are so subject in a given time. well in Glasgow. I must certainly see you If you think it worth while, read it to before I leave the country. I shall expect Charles and Mr W. Parker, and if they to hear froin you soon, and am, dear Brice, choose a copy of it, it is at their service, as yours,

they are men whose friendship I shall be proud to claim, both in this world and that which is to come.

I beliere all hopes of staying at home, will TO MR. JOHN RICHMOND. be abortive; but more of this when, in the

latter part of next week, you shall be troue Old Rome Forest, July 30th, 1786.

bled with a visit froin, my dear Sir, your MY DEAR RICHMOND.--lly hour is now most devoted,

R. B. come you and I will never meet in Britain

I have orders within three weeks at farthest, to repair aboard the Nancy, Captain Smith, from Clyde to Jamaica, and to call at

TO MR. JOHN KENNEDY. Antigua. This, except to our friend Smith, whom God long preserve, is a secret about

Kilmarnock, August, 1786. Mauchline. Would


believe it? Armour has got a warrant to throw me in jail till I MY DEAR SIR.--Your truly facetious find security for an enormous sum.

This epistle of the 3rd instant gave me much they keep an entire secret, but I got it by a entertainment. I was only sorry I had not channel they little dream of; and I am

the pleasure of seeing you as I passed your wandering from one friend's house to another, / way, but we shall bring up all our lee-way and, like a true son of the gospel, " have no- on Wednesday, the 16th current, when I where to lay my head." I know you will hope to have it in my power to call on you, pour an execration on her head, but spare and take a kind, very probably, a last a lieu, the

poor, ill-advised girl, for my sake; before I go to Jamaica ; and I expect orders though may all the furies that rend the to repair to Greenock every day. I have at injured, euraged mother's bosom, await her last made my public appearance, and am mother until her latest hour! I write in a solemnly inaugurated into the numerous moment of rage, reflecting on my miserable class. Could I have got a carrier, you situation-exiled, abandoned, forlorn. I can

should have had a score of vouchers for my write no more--let me hear from you by the authorship; but, now you have them, let return of coach. I will write you ere I


them speak for themselves. I am, dear Sir, yours, here and hereafter,

Fareirell, dear friend! may guid luck hit you,
R. B.

And 'mang her favourites admit yoil,
If c'er Detraction shore to smit you,

May nane believe him,

And ony deil that thinks to get you,

Good Lord, deceive him.

R. B.
Mossgiel, Friday Morning, [Aug. 1786.]

BROTHER--Warm recollection of an absent friend presses so TO MR BURNESS, MONTROSE. hard upon my heart, that I send him the prefixed bagatelle (The Calf), pleased with

Mossgiel, Tuesday noon, Sept. 26, 1786. the thought that it will greet the man of ту

MY DEAR SIR.-I this moment receive bosom, and be a kind of distant language of yours--receive it with the honest hospitable friendship.

i warmth of a friend's welcome. Whatever




comes from you wakens always up the bet- \ I would detest myself as a wretch, if I ter blood about my heart, which your kind thought I were capable, in a very long life of little recollections of my parental friends forgetting the honest, warm, and tender delicarries as far as it will go. 'Tis there that cacy with which he enters into my interests. man is blest!-'Tis there, my friend, man I am sometimes pleased with myself in my feels a consciousness of something within grateful sensations; but I believe, on the him above the trodden clod! The grateful whole, I have very little merit in it, as my reverence to the hoary (earthly) author of gratitude is not a virtue, the consequence of his being--the burning glow when he clasps reflection, but sheerly the instinctive einotion the woman of his soul to his boson-the of my heart, too inattentive to allow worldly tender yearnings of heart for the little angels maxims and views to settle into selfish habits. to whom he has given existence—these I have heen feeling all the various rotanature has poured in milky streams about tions and movements within, respecting the the human heart; and the man who never excise. There are manvaihin, respecting the ronses them to action, by the inspiring in- against it; the uncertainty of getting soon fluences of their proper objects, loses by far into business; the consequences

the consequences of my folthe inost pleasurable part of his existence. lies, which may perhaps make it impracticable

departure is uncertain, but I do not for me to stay at home, and besides, I have think it will be till after harvest. I will be for some time been pining under secret on very short allowance of time indeed, if I wretchedness, from causes which you pretty do not comply with your friendly invitation. well know:--the pang of disappointment, the When it will be, I don't know, but if I can sting of pride, with some wandering stabs of make my wish good, I will endeavour to drop remorse, which never fail to settle on my you a line some time before. My best com- vitals like vultures, wlien attention is not pliments to Mrs. B.; I should be equally called away by the calls of society, or the mortiñed should I drop in when she is vagaries of the muse, Even in the hour of abroad; but of that I suppose there is little social mirth, my gaiety is the madness of an chance.

intoxicated criminal under the hands of the What I have wrote Heaven knows; I have executioner. All these reasons urge me to not time to review it; so accept of it in the go abroail, and to all these reasons I have beaten way of friendship. With the ordinary only one answer--the feelings of a father. phrase – perhaps ratlier more than the This, in the present mood I am in, overordinary sincerity-I am, dear Sir, ever balances every thing that can be laid in the yours,

scale against it.

You may perhaps think it an extravagant fancy, but it is a sentiment which strikes

home to my very soul; though sceptical in TO MR ROBERT AIKEN. (7) some points of our current belief, yet I think

I have every evidence for the reality of a life Ayrshire, 1786.

beyond the stinted bourne of our present Sir.-I was with Wilson my printer tother existence: if so, then, how should I in the day, and settled all our bygone matters be presence of that tremendous Being, the Autween us. After I had pail him all demands, I thor of existence, how should I meet the I made him the offer of the second edition, reproaches of those who stand to me in the ou the liazard of being paid out of the tirst dear relation of children, whom I deserted in ani readiest, which he declines. By his the smiling innocency of helpless infancy? account, the paper of 1000 copies would cost On thou great unknown Power !--thou Alabout twenty-seven pounds, and the printing mighty God! who hast lighted up reason in about fifteen or sixteen ; he offers to agree my breast, and blessed me with immortality! to this for the printing, if I will advance for --I have frequently wandered from that the paper, but this you know, is out of my order and regularity necessary for the perpower; so farewell hopes of a second edition fection of thy works, yet thou hast never left till I grow richer! an epoch which I think me nor forsaken me! will arrive at the payment of the British Since I wrote the foregoing sheet, I have national debt.

seen something of the storm of mischief There is scarcely any thing hurts me so thickening over my folly-devoted head. much in being disappointed of my second should you, my friends, my benefactors, be edition, as not having it in my power to successful in your applications for me (8), show my gratitude to Mr. Ballantine, by perhaps it may not be in my power in that publishing my poem of the Brigs of Ayr. I way, to reap the fruit of your friendly efforts.

R. B.


What I have written in the preceding pages nature's workmanship, the finest indeed we is the settled tenor of my present resolution ; know anything of, an amiable, beautiful but should inimical circumstances forbid me young woman (9); but I have no common closing with your kind offer, or enjoying it friend to procure me that permission, withonly threaten to entail further misery * * * out which I would not dare to spread the

'To tell the truth, I have little reason for copy. complaint; as the world, in general, has I am quite aware, Madam, what task the been kind to me fully up to my deserts. I world would assign me in this letter. The was, for some time past, fast getting into obscure bard, when any of the great condethe pining, distrustful snarl of the misan- scend to take notice of him should heap the thrope. I saw myself alone, unfit for the altar with the incense of flattery. Their struggle of life, shrinking at every rising high ancestry, their own great and god-like cloud in the chance-directed atmosphere of qualities and actions, should be recounted fortune, while, all defenceless, I looked about with the most exaggerated description. This, in vain for a cover. It never occurred to me, Madam, is a task for which I am altogether at least never with the force it deserved, that unfit. Besides a certain disqualifying pride this world is a busy scene, and man a crea- of heart, I know nothing of your connexions ture destined for a progressive struggle; and in life, and have no access to where your that, however I might possess a warm heart real character is to be found—the company and inoffensive manners (which last, by the of your compeers; and more, I am afraid bye, was rather more than I could well that even the most refined adulation is by no boast), still, more than these passive quali- means the road to your good opinion. ties, there was something to be done. When One feature of your character I shall ever all my school-fellows and youthful compeers with grateful pleasure remember--the recep(those misguided few excepted, who joined, tion I got when I had the honour of waiting to use a Gentoo phrase, the “hallachores” of on you at Stair. I am little acquainted withi the human race) were striking off with eager politeness, but I know a good deal of benevohope and earnest intent, in some one or other lence of temper and goodness of heart. Surely of the many paths of busy life, I was “stand did those in exalted stations know how happy ing idle in the market-place," or only left they could make

could make some classes of their the chase of the butterfly from flower to inferiors by condescension and affability, flower, to hunt fancy from whim to whim. they would never stand so high, measuring

You see, Sir, that if to know one's errors out with every look the height of their ele. were a probability of mending them, I stand vation, but condescend as sweetly as did a fair chance; but according to the reverend Mrs. Stewart of Stair.

R. B. Westminster divines, though conviction must precede conversion, it is very far from always implying it.

R. B.




WE, Robert Burns, by virtue of a warrant TO MRS. STEWART, OF STAIR.

from Nature, bearing date the twenty-fifth

day of January, anno domini one thousand 1786.

seven hundred and fifty-nine (10), Poet MADAM.--The lurry of my preparations | Laureat, and Bard-in-Chief, in and over the for going abroad has hindered me from per districts and countries of Kyle, Cunningham, forming my promise so soon as I intended. and Carrick, of old extent, To our trusty and I have here sent you a parcel of songs, &c., well-beloved William Chalmers and Jolin which never made their appearance, except M'Adam, students and practitioners in the to a friend or two at most. Perhaps some ancient and mysterious science of confoundof them may be no great entertainment to ing wright and wrong. you, but of that I am far from being an ade- RIGHT TRUSTY--Be it known unto you, quate judge. The song to the tune of Ettrick That whereas in the course of our care and Banks (The Bonnie Lass of Ballochmyle), watchings over the order and police of all you will easily see the impropriety of exposing and sundry the manufacturers, retainers, and much, even in manuscript. I think, myself, venders of poesy; bards, poets, poetasters, it has some merit, both as a tolerable des rhymers, jinglers, songsters, ballad-singers, cription of one of nature's sweetest scenes, a ! &c. &c. &c. &c., male and female-We have July evening, and one of the finest pieces of discovered a certain nefarious, abominable,



and wicked song or ballad, a copy whereof shall have some of them next post. I have We have here enclosed; Our Will therefore met in Mr. Dalrymyle of Orangefield, what is that ye pitch upon and appoint the most | Solomon emphatically calls “a friend that execrable individual of that most execrable sticketh closer than a brother.” The warmth species, known by the appellation, phrase, with which he interests himself in my affairs and nickname of The Deil's Yell Nowte (11): is of the same enthusiastic kind which you, and after having caused him to kindle a fire Mr. Aiken, and the few patrons that took at the Cross of Ayr, ye shall, at noon-tide of notice of my earlier poetic days, showed for the day, put into the said wretch’s merciless the poor unlucky devil of a poet. hands the said copy of the said nefarious I always remember Mrs. Hamilton and and wicked song, to be consumed by fire in Miss Kennedy in my poetic prayers, but you presence of all beholders, in abhorrence of, both in prose and verse. and terror to, all such compositions and

May cauld ne'er catch you but a hap (12), composers. And this in nowise leave ye undone, but have it executed in every point as

Nor hunger but in plenty's lap!

R. B. this our mandate bears, before the twentyfourth current, when in person We hope to applaud your faithfulness and zeal.

Given at Mauchline this twentieth day of November, anno domini one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six.

TO JOHN BALLANTINE, ESQ., God save the Bard!


Edinburgh, Dec. 13th, 1786. MY HONOURED FRIEND. I would not write youl

till I could have it in my power to TO GAVIN HAMILTON, Esq., give you some account of myself and my MAUCHLINE.

matters, which, by the bye, is often no easy

task. I arrived here on Tuesday was se'n• Edinburgh, Dec. 7th, 1786.

night, and have suffered ever since I came to HONOURED SIR.-I have paid every at- town with a miserable head-ache and stomach tention to your commands, but can only say, complaint, but am now a good deal better. what perhaps you will have heard before this I have found a worthy warm friend in Mr. reach you, that Muirkirklands were bought Dalrymple of Orangefield, who introduced by a John Gordon, W. S., but for whom I me to Lord Glencairn, a man whose worth know not; Mauchlands, Haugh Miln, &c., and brotherly kindness to me I shall rememby a Frederick Fotheringhain, supposed to ber when time shall be no more. By liis be for Ballochmyle Laird; And Adam-hill interest it is passed in the “Caledonian and Shawood were bought for Oswald's folks. Hunt," and entered in their books, that they This is so imperfect an account, and will be are to take each a copy of the second edition, so late ere it reach you, that were it not to for which they are to pay one guinea. I discharge my conscience I would not trouble have been introduced to a good many of the you with it; but after all my diligence I noblesse, but my avowed patrons and patrocould make it no sooner nor better.

nesses are, the Duchess of Gordon-the For my own affairs, I am in a fair way of Countess of Glencairn, with my Lord, and becoming as eminent as Thomas à Kempis Lady Betty (13)--the Dean of Facultyor John Bunyan ; and you may expect hence- Sir John Whitefoord. I have likewise warm forth to see my birth-day inserted among the friends among the literati; Professors Stew. wonderiul events, in the Poor Robin's and art, Blair, and Mr. Mackenzie—the “Man of Aberdeen Almanacks, along with the black Feeling.” An unknown hand left ten guineas Monday, and the battle of Bothwell-bridge. for the Ayrshire bard with Mr. Sibbald, which My Lord Glencairn and the Dean of Faculty, I got. I since have discovered my generous Mr. H. Erskine, have taken me under their unknown friend to be Patrick Miller, Esq., wing; and by all probability I shall soon be brother to the Justice Clerk,--and drank a the tenth worthy, and the eighth wise man glass of claret with him by invitation at his of the world. Through my lord's influence, own house yesternight. I am nearly agreed it is inserted in the records of the Caledonian with Creech to print my book, and I suppose Hunt, that they universally, one and all, I will begin on Monday. I will send a subscribe for the second edition. My sub- subscription bill or two, next post; when scription bills come out to-morrow, and you I intend writing to my first kind patron,

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