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So, too, in the midst of all the dialect of his inimitabie To a Mouse we have the English of these stanzas:

“I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,

Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,

An' fellow-mortal!
“Still thou are blest, compar'd wi' me!

The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e

On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,

I guess an' fear!”

His Democratic Spirit. — Every man is partly the product of his environment. Poets who, like Burns, are sensitive and impressionable, owe much to the Zeitgeist. “The influences under which Burns was tutored into song," writes Dr. Service, “were as eminently European in fact, as they were singularly provincial in form." The latter days of Burns were the stirring times of the French Revolution an event, some think, the most stupendous since the birth of Christ. With this tremendous upheaval of society, with its defiance and protest, its cry of “Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality,” Burns was deeply sympathetic. The Scotchman has always resented despotism and been ready to espouse the cause of freedom. Hamilton Wright Mabie writes:

Rugged as their climate and soil made them, thrifty and laborious as stern conditions compelled them to be, standing century after century, sword in hand, with their backs to the wall, they were always lovers of poetry, dreamers of dreams, spinners of stories, children of romance, given to impossible loyalties and lost causes, frugally counting the cost to the utmost penny, and then casting prudence to the wind and putting the last penny to the hazard in some desperate idealism. ... Stern independence, lofty pride, dauntless courage — these were in the blood of the Scotch. They were often monarchists, they were never courtiers; they could die for their kings, but they could not bend the knee to them.”

Burns is great because he expresses with the simplicity of art the feeling of nationality; he becomes the articulate voice of a whole people.

Burns took more than a theoretic interest in the Revolution. Though his employment in the government service placed him under the strongest obligation to loyalty, he occasionaily openly expressed his sympathy with the revolutionists both by word and act. In 1792 he purchased four of the guns of a captured brig and sent them with a letter to the French Legislative Assembly. Neither the letter nor the guns ever reached their destination. At a dinner, when Pitt's health was proposed, Burns rose and proposed a toast “to the health of a much better man General Washington." On another occasion his toast was, “The last verse of the last chapter of the last Book of Kings.” And finally we are told by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe that at a dramatic performance at Dumfries, when God Save the King was called for, the audience rose with heads uncovered, but Burns sat still in the pit with his hat on his head. All these acts show his spirit, but it also is unfortunately true that they brought him little but irritation and despondency, for he felt that his conduct was such as to lay him open to the suspicion of disloyalty to that government in whose service he worked with the hope of promotion.

In For a' that, and that, a song resonant with the defiant spirit of individualism, we have a Declaration of Independence understood by the common people:

“Is there, for honest poverty,

That hangs his head, an'a' that?
The coward slave we pass him by;

We dare be poor, for a' that!
For a' that, an'a' that,

Our toil's obscure, an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,

The man's the gowd for a' that.”

Burns was always sensitive on the subject of social distinctions, and at times allowed his own false pride to lead him

into injustice. A man as intellectually great as he was should have been great enough to manifest his superiority through the dignity and worth of his character. Nature had treated him magnanimously in the bestowal of rare and precious gifts; why should he have been embittered in seeing others endowed with mere lands and silver, the impedimenta of life? We find a trace of this social bitterness in his

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No man is a fool because he happens to be a lord, any more than he is a fool because he is poor.


Life of Burns. SHAIRP.
Life of Burns. LOCKHART.
Life of Burns. CHAMBERS.
Life of Burns. BLACKIE.
Primer of Burns. CRAIGIE.


Burns as an English Poet. MURRAY. Liv. Age, vol. 235, p. 681.
Robert Burns's Country. HARPER. Scrib., vol. 44, p. 641.
Burns the Singer. McColl. Liv. Age, vol. 260, p. 691.
Burns, the Poet of Democracy. MABIE. No. Amer., vol. 189, p. 345.
Robert Burns and Charles Dickens. Sloan. Liv. Age, vol. 255, p. 8.
Robert Burns as Poet and Person. WHITMAN: No. Amer., vol. 143,

p. 427.
The Religion of Burns's Poems. Cross. Arena, vol. 17, p. 177.


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Byron N Don Juan Byron refers to himself as the “grand Napoleon

of the realms of rhyme," and the Spaniard Castelar in an eloquent eulogy speaks of Byron as "condemned from the cradle by a cruel destiny to the infernal deities.” There is much truth in both assertions, for Byron was a brilliant poet but an unfortunate man. His sudden rise to the supremacy of


is almost as spectacular as the rapid upward career of the wonderful Corsican, while the record of his unhappy life is the story of one who seems to have been condemned from the cradle." In making a superficial study of Byron it is easy to condemn him unreservedly - it is so easy to see the egotist, the poseur, the snobbish aristocrat, the selfish sensualist, the spoiled darling of a decadent society - but a fuller study of this brilliant and witty poet will reveal another Byron, the Byron who is a lover of truth, a hater of sham, a man of boundless generosity, a poet who can both feel and portray the grand elemental moods of nature. Angel or demon?" asks Lamartine. Byron was neither, but he was very human, and that means there was something both angelic and demonic in his nature. Joaquin Miller had men like Burns and Byron in mind when he wrote:

“In men whom men condemn as ill
I find so much of goodness still,
In men whom men pronounce divine

I find so much of sin and blot,
I hesitate to draw a line

Between the two, where God has not.” Birth and Parentage. - George Gordon Byron, born January 22, 1788, in London, was the only son of Captain Jack Byron and Catharine Gordon. The Byrons trace their descent from the

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de Buruns of the Norman conquest. Byron prided himself upon his ancestry, at one time advancing the snobbish opinion that he and his aristocratic friends were, of course, greater poets than Wordsworth and the other Lakers, because the Lakers were not Peers. Byron, however, had little reason to be proud of his immediate ancestors, for, though he must have inherited a wonderful nervous system, one keen, alert, and responsive to the external world of sound, form, and color, he also inherited those unfortunate characteristics and tendencies that justify Castelar in calling Byron "condemned from the cradle." Byron's father, “Mad Jack," as he was called, had a bad record. He ran away with the wife of the Marquis of Carmarthen; bad as this was, his conduct towards her after she had become his legal wife was worse, for he treated her with heartless cruelty. She died in 1784, having given birth to two daughters, one of whom, Augusta, plays so important a part in the life of our poet. About a year after the death of his first wife, “Mad Jack” married Miss Catharine Gordon of Gight, who was the owner of estates in Aberdeenshire-a fact which enhanced her worth in the estimation of her spendthrift wooer. In five years the English profligate had squandered his wife's property, and a year or two after Byron's birth the father fled to escape his importunate creditors. In 1791 he died in France.

Mrs. Byron, in some respects, was as ill-adapted to be the parent of a great poet as was the father. She was proud, impetuous, whimsical. "Your mother's a fool!” once said a schoolboy to Byron. “I know it,” was the laconic reply. She was vehement, hysterical, and, on the whole, would seem to have been appointed in irony to train this volcanic child of abnormal sensibility and genius,” says Roden Noel. On one occasion she ended a tirade by calling him a "lame brat!” It is said with quivering lips and flashing eye he replied, “I was born so, mother!”

This lameness of Byron's was a continual source of keen annoyance to his sensitive soul. Even when on his deathbed he thought of it, for he objected to having his feet blistered, but

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