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find cold neglect, an.. contemptuous scorn
No. cccxII. is a wrench that my heart can ill bear.
TO MISS It is, however, some kind of miserable good luck, that while de haut-en-bas rigour inay
Dumfries, 1794 depress an unoffending wretch to the ground, it has a tendency to rouse a stubborn soine-1 NADAM–Nothing short of a kind of thing in his bosom, which, though it cannot absolute necessity could have made me trouble heal the wounds of his soul, is at least an you with this letter. Except my ardent and opiate to blunt their poignancy.
I just esteem for your sense, taste and worth, With the profoundest respect for your every sentiment arising in my breast, as I abilities; the niost sincere esteem, and ardent put pen to paper to you, is painful. The regard for your gentle heart and amiable scenes I have passed with the friend of my manners; and the most fervent wish and soul, and his amiable connexions! the wrench prayer for your welfare, peace, and bliss-I at my heart to think that he is gone, for have the honour to be, Madam, your most ever gone from me, never more to meet devoted humble servant,
R. B in the wanderings of a weary world! and
the cutting reflection of all, that I had most unfortunately, though most undeservedly, lost the contidence of that soul of worth, ere it took its flight:
These Madam, are sensations of no ordi
nary anguish. However, you also may be NO. CCCXI.
otiended with some imputed improprieties of
mine; sensibility you know I possess, and TO JOIIN SYME, Esq. (189) sincerity none will deny me.
I To oppose those prejudices which have You know that among other high dignities, į been raised against me, is not the business you have the houour to be my supreme court of this letter. Indeed, it is a warfare I know of critical judicature, from which there is no not how to wage. The powers of positive appeal. I enclose you a song, which I com- ' vice I can in some degree calculate, and posed since I saw you, and I am going to l arrainst direct malevolence I can be on my give you the history of it. (189) Do you guard: but who can estimate the fatuity of know, that among much that I adınire in the giddy caprice, or ward off the unthinking characters and manners of those great folks mischie' of precipria e folly? whom I have now the honour to call my I have a favour to request of you, Madam; acquaintances, the Oswald family,—there is and of your sister, Mrs. ---, through your nothing charms me more than Mr. Oswald's meaus. You know that, at the wish of my unconcealable attachment to that incompa- late friend, I made a collection of all my rable woman. Did you ever, my dear Syme, trifles in verse which I had ever written. meet with a man who owed more to the They are many of them local, some of them Divine Giver of all good things than Nr. 0.: purrile and silly, and all of them unfit for A fine fortune; a pleasing exterior; self- the public eye. As I have some little fame evidentamiabledispositions and aningenuous, at stake-a fame that I trust may live when upright mind, and that informed, too, much the hate of those who"watch for my halting," beyond the usual run of young fellows of his and the contumelious snear of those whom rank and fortune: and to all this, such a accident has made my superiors, will, with woman !---but of her I shall say nothing at themselves, be gone to the regions of oblivion all, in despair of saying anything adequate: I am uneasy now for the fate of those in my song, I have endeavoured to do justice manuscripts. Will Nirs. ~ have the good. to what would be his feelings, on seeing, in 11 ss to destroy them, or return them to me? the scene I have drawl, the habitation of his As a pledge of friendship they were bestowed; Lucy. As I am a good deal pleased with and that circumstance, indeed, was all their my performance, I, in my first fervour, merit. Most unhappily for me, that merit thought of sending it to Mrs. Oswald, but they no longer possess; and I hope that
cond thoughts, perhaps what I offer as the honest incense of genuine respect, might, and ever will revere, will not refuse this from the well-known character of poverty favour to a man whom she once held in some and poetry, be construed into some modifi- degree of estimation. cation or other of that servility which my 1 With the sincerest esteem, I have the soul abhors.
R. B. honour to be. Madam, &c. R. B.
MR. THOMSON TO BURNS.
it, as the trick of the crafty few to lead the
undiscerning MANY; or, at most, as an TO MR. CUNNINGHAM.
uncertain obscurity, which mankind can
never know anything of, and with which February 25th, 1794.
they are fools if they give themselves much Canst thou minister to a mind diseased ? to do. Nor would I quarrel with a man for Canst thou speak peace and rest to a soul his irreligion, any more than I would for tost on a sea of troubles, without one friendly lis want of a musical ear. I would regret star to guide her course, and dreading that that he was shut out from what, to me and the next surge may overwhelm her? Canst to others, were such superlative sources of thou give to a frame, tremblingly alive to the enjoyment. It is in this point of view, and tortures of suspense, the stability and hardi- | for this reason, that I will deeply imbue the hood of the rock that braves the blast! If mind of every child of mine with religion. thou canst not do the least of these, why If my son should happen to be a man of wouldst thou disturb me in my miseries, feeling, sentiment and taste, I shall thus add with thy inquiries after me?
| largely to his enjoyments. Let me flatter For these two months I have not been myself, that this sweet little fellow, who is able to lift a pen. My constitution and just now running about my desk, will be a frame were ab origine, blasted with a deep, man of a melting, ardent, glowing heart, incurable taint of hypochondria, which and an imagination delighted with the poisons my existence. Of late a number of painter, and rapt with the poet. Let me domestic vexations, and some pecuniary figure him wandering out in a sweet evening,
ruin of these cursed times to inliale the balmy gales, and enjoy the losses which, though trisling, were yet what growing luxuriance of the spring; himself I could ill bear-have so irritated me, that the wliile in the blooming youth of life. He my feelings at times could only be envied by looks abroad on all nature, and through a reprobate spirit listening to the sentence nature up to nature's God. His soul, by that dooms it to perdition.
swift, delighting degrees, is rapt above this Are you deep in the language of consola- sublunary sphere, until he can be silent no tion? I have exhausted in reflection every longer, and bursts out into the glorious topic of comfort. A heart at ease would enthusiasm of Thomson :have been charmed with my sentiments and reasonings; but as to myself, I was like
“ These, as they change, Almighty Father
these Judas Iscariot preaching the gospel : he might melt and mould the hearts of those
Are but the varied God. The rolling year
Is full of thee;" around him, but his own kept its native incorrigibilty.
and so on, in all the spirit and ardour of Still, there are two great pillars that bear that charming hymn. These
that charming hymn. These are no ideal us up, amid the wreck of misfortune and pleasures, they are real delights; and I ask, misery. The ONE is composed of the d fferent
what of the delights among the sons of men modifications of a certain noble, stubborni are superior, not to say equal, to them? something in man, known by the names
And, they have this precious, vast addition, of courage, fortitude, magnanimity. The that conscious virtue stamps them for her OTHER is made up of those feelings and sen-ow, and lays hold on them to bring herself timents, which, however the sceptic may into the presence of a witnessing, judging, deny them, or the enthusiast disfigure them, and approving God.
R. B. are yet, I am convinced, original and component parts of the human soul; those senses of the inind-if I may be allowed the expression-which connect us with, and link us to, those awful obscure realities--an all-powerful, and equally beneficent God, and a world
NO. CCCXIV. to come, beyond death and the grave. The first gives the nerve of combat, while a ray MR. THOMSON TO BURNS. of hope beams on the field: the last pours
Edinburgh, April 17th, 1794. the balm of comfort into the wounds which time can never cure.
MY DEAR SIR-Owing to the distresg I do not remember, my dear Cunningham, of our friend for the loss of his child, at the that you and I ever talked on the subject of time of his receiving your admirable but religion at all. I know some who laugh at I melancholy letter, I had not an opportunlu,,
till lately, of perusing it. How sorry I. For my part, I look on Mr. Allan's choosam to find Burns saying, “Canst thou noting my favourite poem for his subject, to be minister to a mind diseased ? ” while he is one of the highest compliments I have ever delighting others from one end of the island | received. to the other. Like the hypochondriac who I ain quite vexed at Pleyel's being cooped went to consult a physician upon his case- up in France, as it will put an entire stop to “Go,” says the doctor, “and see the famous our work. Now, and for six or seven months, Carlini, who keeps all Paris in good | I shall be quite in song, as you shall see by humour.” “Alas! Sir," replied the patient, and bye. I got an air, pretty enough, com“I am that unhappy Carlini!”
posed by Lady Elizabeth Heron, of Heron, Your plan for onr meeting together which she calls “ The banks of Cree.” Cree pleases me greatly, and I trust that by some is a beautiful romantic stream; and as her means or other it will soon take place; but ladyship is a particular friend of mine, I have your bacchanalian challenge almost frightens written the following song to it. me, for I am a miserable weak drinker!
[Here follows the song entitled “ The Banks Allan is much gratified by your good opinion of his talents. He has just began a
of Cree." sketch from your “Cotter's Saturday Night," and, if it pleases himself in the design, he will probably etch or engrave it. In subjects of the pastoral and humorous kind, he is, perhaps, uurivalled by any artist
NO. CCCXVI. living. He fails a little in giving beauty TO THE EARL OF GLENCAIRN. and grace to his females, and his colouring is sombre, otherwise his paintings and
May, 1794. drawings would be in greater request.
My Lord-When you cast your eye on I like the music of the “Sutor's dochter," the name at the bottom of this letter, and and will consider whether it shall be added on the title-page of the book I do myself to the last volume; your verses to it are the honour to send your lordship, a more pretty; but your humorous English song, pleasurable feeling than my vanity, tells me to suit “ Jo Janet,” is inimitable. What that it must be a name not entirely unknown think you of the air, “Within a mile of to you. The yenerous patronage of your late Edinburgh ?” It has always struck me as illustrious brother found me in the lowest a modern English imitation, but it is said to obscurity: he introduced my rustic muse to be Oswald's, and is so much liked, that I the partiality of my country; and to him I believe I must include it. The verses are owe all. My sense of his goodness, and the little better than namby-pamby. Do you anguish of my soul at losing my truly noble consider it worth a stanza or two?
protector and friend, I have endeavoured to express in a poem to his memory, which I have now published. This edition is just from the press; and in my gratitude to the dead, and my respect for the living (fame belies you, my lord, if you possess not the
same dignity of man, which was your noble NO. cccxv.
brother's characteristic feature), I had des. BURNS TO MR. THOMSON. tined a copy for the Earl of Glencairn. I
learnt just now that you are in town: allow May, 1794.
me to present it to you. MY DEAR SIR-I return you the plates, I know, my lord, such is the vile, venal with which I am highly pleased; I would contagion which pervades the world of lethumbly propose, instead of the younker ters, that professions of respect from an knitting stockings, to put a stock and horn author, particularly from a poet to a lord, into his hands. A friend of mine, who is are more than suspicious. I claim, by my positively the ablest judge on the subject I past conduct, and my feelings at this moment, have ever met with, and though an unknown, an exception to the too just conclusion. is yet a superior artist with the burin, is Exalted as are the honours of your lordship's quite charmed with Allan's manner. I got name, and unnoted as is the obscurity of him a peep of the “Gentle Shepherd;" and mine; with the uprightness of an honest he pronounces Allan a most original artist man, I come before your lordship, with an of great excellence.
offering-however humble, 'tis all I have to
TO MR. JAMES JOHNSON.
give, of my grateful respect; and to beg of Thee, Caledonia, thy wild heaths among,
Where is that soul of freedom fled ?
Hear it not, Wallace, in thy bed of death,
Ye babbling winds in silence sweep, TO DAVID MACCULLOCH, Esq. (190)| Disturb ve not the hero's sleep.
Dumfries, June 21st, 1794. With the addition of MY DEAR SIR–My long projected jour. That arm which nerved with thundering ney through your country is at last fixed; fate, and on Wednesday next, if you have nothing Braved usurpation's boldest daring! of more importance to do, take a saunter
One quenched in darkness like the sinking down to Gatehouse about two or three
star, o'clock; I shall be happy to take a draught And one the palsied arm of tottering, of M‘Kune's best with you. Collector
powerless age. Syme will be at Glens about that time, and will meet us about dish-of-tea hour. Syme
You will probably have another scrawl goes also to Kerroughtree, and let me remind
from me in a stage or two. R. B. you of your kind promise to accompany me there; I will need all the friends I can muster, for I am indeed ill at ease whenever I approach your honourables and right-honourables, Yours sincerely,
heard from me long ago; but over and above NO. CCCXVIII.
some vexatious share in the pecuniary losses TO MRS. DUNLOP.
of these accursed times, I have all this win
ter been plagued with low spirits and blue Castle Douglas, June 25th, 1794.
devils, so that I have almost hung my harp on HERE, in a solitary inil, in a solitary village, the willow trees. am I set by myself, to amuse my brooding I am just now busy correcting a new fancy as I may. Solitary confinement, you edition of my poems, and this with my ordiknow, is Howard's favourite idea of reclaim-nary business, finds me in full employment ing sinners ; so let me consider by what I send you by my friend, Mr. Wallace, fatality it happens that I have so long been forty-one songs for your fifth volume; if we exceeding sinful as to neglect the correspond cannot finish it any other way, what would ence of the most valued friend I have on you think of Scots words to some beautiful earth. To tell you that I have been in poor Irish airs? In the meantime, at your leisure, health will not be excuse enough, though it give a copy of the "Museum” to my worthy is true. I am afraid that I am about to friend, Mr. Peter Hill, bookseller, to bind for suffer for the follies of my youth. My me, interleaved with blank leaves, exactly as medical friends threaten me with a flying he did the Laird of Glenriddel's, that I may gout; but I trust they are mistaken. insert every anecdote I can learn, together
I am just going to trouble your critical with my own criticisms and remarks on the patience with the first sketch of a stanza Isongs. A copy of this kind have been framing as I passed along the road. with you, the editor, to publish at sonie after The subject is liberty : you know, my hon- period, by way of making the “Museum”a oured friend, how dear the theme is to me. I book famous to the end of time, and you I design it as an irregular ode for General | renowned for ever. Washington's birth-day. After having men. I have got a Highland dirk, for which I tioned the degeneracy of other kingdoms, I have great veneration, as it once was the come to Scotland thus:
| dirk of Lord Balmerino. It fell into bad
bands, who stripped it of the silver mounting, me, lad I had nobody's welfare to care for as well as the knife and fork. I have some į but my own, we should certainly have come, thoughts of sending it to your care, to get according to the manners of the world, to it mounted anew,
the necessity of murdering one another Thank you for the copies of my Volunteer about the business. The words were such Ballad. Our friend Clarke has done indeed as, generally, I believe, end in a brace of pis. well!--'tis chaste and beautiful. I have not tols; but I am still pleased to think that I met with anything that has pleased me so did not ruin the peace and welfare of a wife much. You know I am no connoisseur ; but and family of children in a drunken squabble. that I am an amateur will be allowed me. Farther, you know that the report of certain
R. B. political opinions beiny mine, has already
once before brought me to the brink of destruction. I dread lest last night's business
may be misrepresented in the same way, NO. CCCXX.
You, I bey, will take care to prevent it. I
tax your wish for Mr. Burns's welfare with BURNS TO MR. THOMSON.
the task of waiting, as soon as possible, on
July, 1794. every gentleman who was present, and state Is there no news yet of Pleyel? Or is this to him, and, as you please, show him your work to be at a dead stop, until the
this letter. What, after all, was the oballies set our modern Orpheus at liberty
noxious toast? “May our success in the from the savage thraldom of democrat dis present war be equal to the justice of our cords ? Alas, the day! And woe is me!cau
| cause”-a toast that the most outrageous That auspicious period, pregnant with the
frenzy of loyalty cannot object to. I rehappiness of millions. * * * * quest and beg, that this morning you will I have presented a copy of your songs to
wait on the parties present at the foolish the daughter of a much-valued and much
dispute. I shall only add, that I am truly honoured friend of mine, Mr. Graham of
sorry that a man who stood so high in my Fintry. I wrote on the blank side of the
estimation as Mr. ---, should use me in
the manner in which I conceive he has done. title-page the following address to the young
R. B. lady: “Here, where the Scottish muse immortal lives,
join’d, In sacred strains and tuneful muinbers Accept the gift : tho' humble he who yives,
Edinburgh, August 10th, 1794. breast, Discordant jar thy bosom-chords among;
MY DEAR SIR-I owe you an apology But peace attune thy gentle soul to rest,
for having so long delayed to acknowledge Or love ecstatic wake his seraph song.
the favour of your last. I fear it will be, as
you say, I shall have no more songs from Or pity's notes, in luxury of tears,
Pleyel till France and we are friends; but, As modest want the tale of woe reveals :
nevertheless, I am very desirous to be preWhile conscious virtue all the strain
pared with the poetry; and as the season endears,
approaches in which your muse of Coila And heaven-born piety her sanction
visits you, I trust I shall, as formerly, be frequently gratified with the result of your amorous and tender interviews !
Sunday Morning. DEAR SIR-I was, I know, drunk last night, but I am sober this morning. From the expressions Capt. - made use of to
August 30th, 1794. The last evening, as I was straying out, and thinking of “O'er the hills and far