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CORRESPONDENCE OF BURNS.
533 of James, the fourteenth Earl, and Burns's | his friend and correspondent in former in. best patron.
stances, with great readiness; perhaps, PAGE 407, NOTE 172.-Lady Harriet | indeed, on all indifferent occasions. In the Don was the daughter of the Dowager present instance, however, he rejected them, Countess of Glencairn, and sister to James, though repeatedly urged, with determined fourteenth Earl of Glencairn. The little resolution. With every respect for the angel to whom Burns alludes, was the judgment of Mr. Thomson and his friends, Dowager Countess's grandson, then a child, we may be satisfied that he did so. He, and afterwards better known for his urbanity who in preparing for an engagement, atand accomplishments, as Sir Alexander Don, tempts to withdraw his imagination from of Newton Don.
images of death, will probably have but PAGE 410, NOTE 173.-“Mr. Thomson's imperfect success, and is not fitted to stand list of songs for his publication. In his in the ranks of battle, where the liberties of remarks the bard proceeds in order, and a kingdom are at issue. Of such men the goes through the whole; but on many of conquerors of Bannockburn were not comthem he merely signifies his approbation. posed. Bruce's troops were inured to war, All his remarks of any importance are pre- and familia
and familiar with all its sufferings sented to the reader."'--CURRIE.
dangers. On the eve of that memorable PAGE 410, Note 174 -“This alteration day, their spirits were, without doubt, wound Mr. Thomson has adopted (or at least up to a pitch of enthusiasm suited to the intended to adopt), instead of the last stanza occasion: a pitch of enthusiasm, at which of the original song, which is objectionable danger becomes attractive, and the most in point of delicacy.”_CURRIE.
terrific forms of death are no longer terrible. Page 411, Note 175.--It is very sur Such a strain of sentiment this heroic wel. prising that Burns should have thought it come' may be supposed well calculated to necessary to substitute new verses for the elevate-to raise their hearts high above old song to this air, which is one of the fear, and to nerve their arms to the utmost most exquisite effusions of genuine natural pitch of mortal exertion. These observations sentiment in the whole range of Scottish might be illustrated and supported by a lyrical poetry. Its merit is now fully appre reference to the martial poetry of all na. ciated, while Burns's substituted song is never tions, from the spirit-stirring strains of sung.
Tyrtæus, to the war-song of General Wolfe, PAGE 411, NOTE 176.--The song to Mr. Thomson's observation, that Welcome which Burns here alludes, is one of which he to your gory bed,' is a discouraging address,
ards sent a perfected copy, and which is seems not sufficiently considered. Perhaps, was published in Mr. Thomson's collection. indeed, it may be aamitted, that the term The first line runs thus :
gory is somewhat objectionable, not on acWhere are the joys I hae met in the
the count of its presenting a frightful, but a dismorning ?
agreeable image to the mind. But a great
poet, uttering his conceptions on an interestThis song, however, was by no means soing occasion, seeks always to present a successful as the majority of his compositions, | picture that is vivid, and is uniformly disposed and the original words, to the same tune for to sacrifice the delicacies of taste on the altar which he had intended to adapt them, have of the imagination. And it is the privilege outlived his newer version, and still continue of superior genius, by producing a new to retain their former popularity and prefer- association, to elevate expressions that were ence. Indeed, they are actually more spirited, originally low, and thus to triumph over the and possess more essentially poetical spirit, deficiencies of language. In how many than the lines supplied by Burns.
instances might this be exemplified from the PAGE 412, NOTE 177.--"Mr. Thomson works of our immortal Shakespeare :-has very properly adopted this song (if it
Who would fardels bear, may be so called) as the bard presented it to
To groan and sweat under a weary lifehim. He has attached it to the air of
| When he himself might his quietus make Tewie Gordon, and, perhaps, among the with a home hodhine 23 existing airs he could not find a better; but the poetry is suited to a much higher strain | It were easy to enlarge, but to suggest such of music, and may employ the genius of some reflections is probably sufficient.”--CURRIE. Scottish Handel, if any such should in future Page 413, NOTE 178.-Burns here arise. The reader will have observed, that I alludes to the melancholy death of the Burns adopted the alterations proposed by / Honourable A. Erskine, respecting which
Thomson had written the poet a most fecling / Scot's wha hae wi Wallace bled.
PAGE 416, NOTE 187.—The same as quently fell into his hands.
stated in the foregoing Note, number 186. PAGE 413, Note 179.-This Mr. Gavin PAGE 418, NOTE 188.--This gentleman Turnbull had, in 1788, published a volume
held the office of Distributor of Stamps at of poems, entitled Poetical Essays. The Dumfries. Burns, who at first lived in the work was published at Glasgow, and enjoyed floor above his office, formed an intimacy even very little of its ephemeral admiration, with him, which lasted till the death of the It soon sunk into oblivion. The pieces which poet. Mr. Syme was an agreeable table Burns himself quotes at full length in this companion, and possessed considerable wit, letter, are really very inadequate to the bril- | the effusions of which were sometimes misliant eulogy with which he accompanies taken for Burns's. He died at his house of them. And it would seem as if his prejudice Ryedale, near Dumfries, November 24, 1831, in favour of an old acquaintance had blinded
in his seventy-seventh year. his better judgment and taste; for he was
PAGE 413, NOTE 189.—Burns here very rarely guilty of such misprisions. alludes to the song, of which the first line
PAGE 414, Note 180.-In Dr. Currie's runs thus:edition is inserted a letter from Burns to
Oh wat ye what's in yon town, Thomson immediately following this, and before the next which I have adopted of the And which was composed in honour of Mrs. letters of Mr. Thomson. As the letter, No. 1 Oswald, of Auchincruive. 49, in Dr. Currie's edition, however, con- | PAGE 421, Note 190.--Mr. David Macsisted merely of transcripts of the songs | culloch is no longer living. One of his “Wilt thou be my Dearie, O!” and “Husband, ) sisters. subsequently to the date of this husband, cease your strife," both of which letter, married Mr. Thomas Scott, brother are inserted amongst the poems, I did not I to Sir Walter Scott. think it necessary to re-insert them in the Page 422, NOTE 191.-Dr. Currie objects form of a letter. The two songs in question, to the expression “ruffian feeling." He sug. however, are thus identified as having been
gests that the word “ruder" would have written especially for Mr. Thomson's col.
possessed more euphony, and been more in lection,
keeping with the tenderness of the piece. PAGE 415, NOTE 181.-Burns here I do not exactly agree in his criticism, nor alludes to the well-worn Scottish bank notes. do I think that the expression in the text is
PAGE 415, NOTE 182.--A present, con- | too "rugged an epithet” for the sense which sisting of the edition of his own poems, as Burns evidently intended to convey. It is published in 1793, which were despatched
one of the essential beauties of the poetry of by Burns with this letter.
Burns, that he seems almost invariably to PAGE 4.15, NOTE 183.-It has been sup- | have hit, as if by intuition. upon the most posed that this letter was addressed to ant. appropriate and positive expression Captain Robertson, of Lude.
whereby to convey the particular sentiment PAGE 415, Note 184.-Bruce's address which he sought to communicate. He rarely to his troops before the Battle of Ban.
says too much, and as rarely too little : a nockburn :
merit which has not been attributable to Scot's wha hae wi' Wallace bled.
many of our most polished poets, and of
which Shakepeare is the only pure example PAGE 416, NOTE 185.—“The lady to in English literature. whom the bard has so happily and justly PAGE 423, NOTE 192.-"This Virgilian
debt of nature a few months ago. The obeyed with respect to the song in question, graces of her person were only equalled by the second stanza excepted.”--NOTE BY the singular endowments of her mind; and MR. THOMSON. her poetical talents rendered heran interesting “Doctors differ. The objection to the second friend to Burns, in a part of the world where stanza does not strike the editor."--CURRIE. he was, in a great measure, excluded from PAGE 425, NOTE 193.Our bard had the sweet intercourse of literary society." before received the same advice, and so far GILBERT BURNS, 1820.
took it into consideration, as to have cast PAGE 416, NOTE 186.-Bruce's address about for a subject. to his troops before the Battle of Ban- PAGE 426, NOTE 194.--This, as well as uockburn:
other poems to which he alludes in this
CORRESPONDENCE OF BURNS.
535 letter, had previously been published by Mr. The night's gloomy shades, cloudy, dark, Johnson in the Scots' Musical Mueam, and o'ercast my sky. Mr. Thomson, suspecting the authorship, But when she charms my sight, had inquired of Burns if they were his com In pride of beauty's light; position.
When throuyh my very heart Page 426, NOTE 195.- The name of a Her beaming glories dart; mountain in the north.
'Tis then, 'tis then I wake to life and joy !" PAGE 426, NOTE 196.-"The reader will --Currie. be curious to see this poem, so highly praised | PAGE 428, NOTE 199.--Burns here alludes by Burns. He it is :
to Mrs. Whelpdale, whose maiden name, Jean * Keen blaws the wind o'er Donnocht-Head, | Lorimer, is more familiar to our readers. The snaw drives snelly through the dale,
PAGE 428, Note 200.---Mr. Thomson The gaberlunzie tirls my sneck,
must have completely misunderstood the And, shivering, tells his waefu' tale.
character of this old song. It is a most “ Cauld is the night, oh, let me in,
romantic one, clothed in the most poetical And dinna let your minstrel fa',
language. And dinna let his winding-sheet
PAGE 428, NOTE 201.--"See the song, Be naething but a wreath o'snaw.
in its first and best dress. Our bard
remarks upon it:-'I could easily throw "Full ninety winters hae I seen,
this into an English mould; but, to my And pip'd where gor-cocks whirring flew,
taste, in the simple and the tender of the And mony a day I've danc'd, I ween,
pastoral song, a sprinkling of the old Scottish To lilts which from my drone I blew."
has an inimitable effect.'”_CURRIE. My Eppie wak’d, and soon she cried,
PAGE 431, NOTE 202.--"In a conversation “Get up guidman, and let him in;
with his friend Mr. Perry (the proprietor of For weel ye ken the winter night
The Morning Chronicle), Mr. Miller reWas short when he began his din.”
presented to that gentleman the insufficiency My Eppie's voice, oh wow it's sweet, of Burns's salary to answer the imperious
Even though she bans and scaulds a wee; demands of a numerous family. In their But when it's tun'd to sorrow's tale,
sympathy for his misfortunes, and in their Oh, haith, it's doubly dear to me!
regret that his talents were nearly lost to “Come in, auld carl, I'll steer my fire, the world of letters, these gentlemen agreed
I'll make it bleeze a bonny flame; on the plan of settling him in London. To Your bluid is thin, ye've tint the gate, accomplish this most desirable object, Mr.
Ye should na stray sae far frae hame." Perry, very spiritedly, made the poet a hand“Nae hame have I,” the minstrel said,
some offer of an annual stipend for the
exercise of his talents in his newspaper, Sad party-strife o'erturned my ha';
Burns's reasons for refusing this offer are And, weeping at the eve of life,
stated in the present letter."-CROMEK. I wander through a wreath o'snaw." ;
PAGE 432, NOTE 203.-In Burns's next “This affecting poem is apparently incom- communication to Mr. Thomson, marked plete. The author need not be ashamed to No. LXIX, in Currie's series of their corown himself. It is worthy of Burns, or of respondence, he merely transcribes the Macneill.”-CURRIE. [It was written by a compound song, inserted in his Poetical gentleman of Newcastle, named Pickering.] Works, under the title of “Oh lassie,
PAGE 426, NOTE 197.--Mr. Ritson, who art thou sleeping yet ?” and adds, "I do had published a collection of Scottish songs not know whether it will do." in London.
PAGE 433, NOTE 204.-Dr. Currie was PAGE 427, NOTE 198.-"Variation :- l born in the neighbourhood of Ecclefechan,
and with the characteristic prejudice in Now to the streaming fountain,
favour of his native village, he states, that Or up the heathy mountain, [stray;
Burns must have been exceedingly tipsy to The liart, hind, and roe, freely, wildly-wanton
have so maligned the place. In twining hazel bowers
PAGE 433, NOTE 205.-At the head of His lay the linuet pours;
this letter, Burns had inserted a copy of the The lav'rock to the sky
song, entitled an “Address to the Wood. Ascends wi' sangs o' joy,
Laay. | lark," to which he alludes in the first two While the sun and thou arise to bless the
lines. When frae my Chloris parted,
| PAGE 434, NOTE 206.-Two verses of Sad, cheerless, broken-hearted, I this song have been given to the public :
And now your banks and bonnie braes | neighbour of the poet's at Dumfries called
But waken sad remembrance smart; on him, and complained that he had been The very shades I'held most dear
greatly disappointed in the irregular delivery Now strike fresh anguish to my heart: of the paper, of The Morning Chronicle Deserted bower! where are they now Burns asked, 'Why do not you write to the
Ah! where the garlands that I wove editors of the paper ?' 'Good God, Sir, can With faithful care, each morn to deck I presume to write to the learned editors of The altars of ungrateful love?
a newspaper ?' 'Well, if you are afraid of
writing to the editors of a newspaper, I am The flowers of spring, how gay they bloomed
not; and, if you think proper, I'll draw up a When last with him I wandered here !
sketch of a letter which you may copy.' The flowers of spring are passed away
Burns tore a leaf from his Excise hnok, For wintry horrors dark and drear.
and instantly produced the sketch which I Yon osier'd stream, by whose lone banks
have transcribed, and which is here printed. My songs have lulled him oft to rest,
The poor man thanked him, and took the Is now in icy fetters locked
letter liome. However, that caution which Cold as my false love's frozen breast.
the watchfulness of his enemies had taught PAGE 434. NOTE 207-Mr. Heron is him to exercise, prompted him to the prusometimes, indeed frequently, spoken of as
dence of begging a friend to wait on the Mr. Heron of Kerroughtree. His proper
person for whom it was written, and request designation, however, was Heron of Heron.
the favour to have it returned. This request PAGE 434, NOTE 208.--These ballads,
was complied with, and the paper never apwhich related to Mr. Heron's contest for the
peared in print."-CROMEK. representation of the Stewartry of Kirkcud.
PAGE 440, NOTE 215.--The novel en. bright, will be found amongst the poems in
titled “Edward.” the fornier portion of this work.
Page 441, NOTE 216. - The request PAGE 435, NOTE 209.-Burns here
conveyed in this letter was immediately comalludes to the lines which open as follow :
PAGE 442, NOTE 217.—The child died Still anxious to secure your partial favour, suddenly at Mauchline, and Burns was
unable to see her at the last. And which had been composed especially for
PAGE 442, Note 218.--No subsequent Miss Fontenelle. The lines will be found at
explanation was received by Mr. Thomson, length amongst the poems.
of the name which should be substituted for PAGE 435, NOTE 210.--The pieces to
Chloris in these poems, and in the midst of which this letter referred, formed the intro
this work which created such general inteduction to the letter itself, Burns having transcribed them at length. They were
rest, it was arrested by the last and fatal
illness of the poet. those which respectively beyin "How cruel are the parents," and "Mark yonder pomp visal was prevented by the untimely death
PAGE 443, NOTE 219.–His proposed reof costly fashion.”
of the poet. PAGE 437, NOTE 211.-The song to
PAGE 444, NOTE 220.--"In this humble which Burus here alludes, and a copy of
and delicate manner did poor Burus ask for which headed the letter, was that of which
a copy of a work, of which he was princithe initiatory line runs thus:
pally the founder, and to which he had conForlorn my love, no comfort near. tributed, gratuitously, not less than 184
original, altered, and collected songs! The PAGE 437, NOTE 212.---The lines to which
| editor has seen 180 transcribed by his own Burns here refers, and which he had tran
hand for the Museum."-CROMEK. scribed at the head of his letter, are those
PAGE 445, NOTE 221.-It is truly pain. which commence respectively as follows:
ful to mention, that the request was not Last May, a braw woer,
PAGE 445, NOTE 222-Just before his
death, however, Burns had the satisfaction Why, why tell thy lover.
of receiving a most satisfactory explanation PAGE 438, NOTE 213.--This gentleman of Mrs. Dunlop's silence, and the warmest has since resided at Glasgow in retirement: assurances, that if any thing untoward shoulil 1838.
occur to him, her friendship should unrePAGE 439, NOTE 214.--"This letter owes mittingly be extended to his widow and its origin to the following circumstance: A children. The subsequent history of his
family sufficiently proves how nobly, gene- | although not forming an adequate recomrously, and devotedly Mrs. Dunlop kept her pense for Burns's services, was still one promise to the poor dying poet.
which such men might be apt, at that period, PAGE 446, NOTE 223.--Mr. James Bur- to offer and accept from each other. This ness immediately complied with the request. Burns, with hesitation, accepted, but sternly
PAGE 446, NOTE 224.--The song of forbade any further remittance, protesting, which Burns here alludes, is that of which that it would put a period to their correspondthe initiatory line runs thus :
ence. Yet Mr. Thomson, from time to
time, expressed his sense of obligation, by Fairest maid on Devon's banks.
presents of a different nature, and these the Dr. Currie adds the following note: poet accepted. Burns ultimately, on an emer. « These verses, and the letter enclosing gency, requested a renewal of the former rethem, are written in a character that marks mittance, using such terms on the occasion, as the very feeble state of Burns's bodily showed that his former scorn of all pecuniary strength. Mr. Syme is of opinion that he remuneration was still a predominant feeling could not have been in any danger of a jail in his mind. Mr. Thomson, therefore, sent the at Dumfries, where certainly he had many very sum asked, believing, if he presumed to firm friends, nor under any su
any such necessity of send more, that he would run a greater risk imploring aid from Edinburgh. But about of offending than of gratifying the poet, in the this time his reason began to be at times then irritable state of his feelings. In all unsettled, and the horrors of a jail per- this, we humbly conceive that no unprejupetually haunted his imagination. He died diced person at the time would have seen on the 21st of this month."
grounds for any charge against Mr. Thomsou. PAGE 446. NOTE 225.-The pecuniary It may further be reinarked. that, at circumstances attending Mr. Thomson's con- time of the poet's death, though many songs nection with Burns, appear liable, at the had been written, only six had been pubpresent day, to much misapprehension. This lished, namely, those in the first half volume, gentleman, whose work has ultimately met so that during the life of the poet, the with a good sale, seems to be regarded by publisher had realised nothing by the songs,
n enriched man who measured a and must have still been greatly doubtful if stinted reward to a poor one, looking for a he should ever recover what he had already greater recompense: and several writers expended on the work. Before many more have, on this ground, spoken of him in an of the songs had appeared in connection ungracious manner.
with his music, the friends of the poet's When we go back to the time of the cor- family had resolved to collect his works for respondence between the two men, and con- publication; upon which, Mr. Thoinson sider their respective circumstances, and the thought it a duty incumbent on him to give relation in which they came to stand towards up the manuscripts of the whole of the songs, each other, the conduct of Mr. Thomson together with the poet's and his own letters, assumes quite a different aspect. He and | to Dr. Currie, that they might form part of Burns were enthusiasts, the one in music, the edition of Burns's works. The full the other in poetry; they were both of them benefit of them, as literary compositions, was servants of the government, on limited thus realised for the poet's family, Mr. salaries, with rising families. Mr. Thomson, Thomson only retaining an exclusive right to with little prospect of profit, engaged in the publish them afterwards in connection with preparation of a work which was designed to the music. And hence, after all, the debtor set forth the music of his native land to side of his account with Burns is not so every possible advantage, and of which the great as it is apt to appear. No further paper and print alone were likely to expaust debate could arise on this subject, if it were his very moderate resources. For literary to be regarded in the light in which the aid in this labour of love, he applied to the parties chiefly interested have regarded it. great Scottish poet, who had already gra- | We see that Burns himself manifests no tuitously assisted Johnson in his Scottish trace of a suspicion that his correspondent Musical Museum. Mr. Thomson offered was a selfish or niggardly man; and it is reasonable remuneration, but the poet equally certain, that his surviving family scorned the idea of recompense, and de- always looked on that gentleman as one of clared he would write only because it gave the poet's and their own kindest friends. him pleasure. Nevertheless, Mr. Thomson, | Here, we trust, the matter will at length in the course of their correspondence, ven- | rest. tured to send a pecuniary present, which, l It is a curious fact, not hitherto known to