Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Correspondence of Burns.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

NO. 1.

One would have thought that, bred as I have

been, under a father, who has figured pretty TO MR JOHN MURDOCH, SCHOOL well as un homme des affaires, I might have MASTER,

been what the world calls a pushing, active STAPLES INN BUILDINGS, LONDON. fellow; but to tell you the truth, Sir, there

is hardly any thing more my reverse. I seem Lochla, 15th Junuary, 1783. to be one sent into the world to see and obDEAR SIR.--Ås I have an opportunity of serve; and I very easily compound with the sending you a letter without putting you to knave who tricks me

knave who tricks me of my money, if there that expense which any production of mine be'any thing original about him, which shows would but ill repay, I embrace it with plea- me human nature in a different light from sure, to tell you that I have not forgotten, any thing I have seen before. In short, the nor ever will forget, the many obligations I joy of my heart is to "study men, their lie under to your kindness and friendship. manners, and their ways;" and for this darI do not doubt, Sir, but you will wish to | ling subject, I cheerfully sacrifice every

other know what has been the result of all the consideration. I am quite indolent about pains of an indulgent father and a masterly those great concerns that set the bustling, teacher, and I wish I could gratify your busy sons of care agog; and if I have to ancuriosity with such a recital as you would be swer for the present hour, I am very easy pleased with ; but that is what I am afraid with regard to any thing further. Even the will not be the case. I have, indeed, kept last, worst shift of the unfortunate and the pretty clear of vicious habits, and, in this wretched does nor much terrify me: I know respect, I hope my conduct will not disgrace that even then, my talent for what country the education I have gotten; but, as a man folks call a

folks call a "sensible crack," when once it is of the world, I am most miserably deficient. sanctified by a hoary head, would procure me 80 much esteem. that, even then, I would you. By uncommon, I mean their being learn to be happy. However, I am under no written in such a hasty manner, which, apprehensions about that; for though indo- to tell you the truth, has made me often lent, yet so far as an extremely delicate con- i afraid lest you should take me for some stitution permits, I am not lazy, and in many zealous bigot, who conversed with his misthings, especially in tavern matters, I am a tress as he would converse with his minister. strict economist-not, indeed, for the sake I don't know how it is, my dear, for though, of the money, but one of the principal parts except your company, there is nothing on in my composition is a kind of pride of sto- earth gives me so much pleasure as writing mach; and I scorn to fear the face of any to you, yet it never gives me those giddy man living--aboveevery thing, I abhor, as hell, raptures so much talked of among lovers. Í the idea of sneaking in a corner to avoid a have often thought that if a well-grounded dun--possibly some pitiful, sordid wretch, affection be not really a part of virtue, 'tis who in my heart I despise and detest. 'Tis something extremely akin to it. Whenever this, and this alone, that endears economy the thought of my E. warms my heart, to me. In the matter of books, indeed, I am every feeling of humanity; every prin. very profuse. My favourite authors are of ciple of generosity, kindles in my breast. the sentimental kind, such as Shenstone, It extinguishes every dirty spark of malice particularly his "Elegies ;” Thomson; and envy, which are but too apt to infest me. “ Man of Feeling"-a book I prize next to I grasp every creature in the arms of unithe Bible ;-"Man of the World;" Sterne, versal benevolence, and equally participate especially his “Sentimental Journey;" Mac- in the pleasures of the happy, and sympathise pherson's “Ossian," &c.; these are the glo- with the miseries of the unfortunate. I rious models after which I endeavour to form assure nu, my dear, I often look up to the my conduct, and 'tis incongruous, 'tis absurd, | Divine Disposer of events with an eye of

suppose that the man whose mind glows gratitude for the blessing which I hope he with sentiments lighted up at their sacred intends to bestow on me in bestowing you. flame--the man whose heart distends with I sincerely wislı that he may bless my endeabenevolence to all the human race-he "who vours to make your life as comfortable and can soar above this little scene of things' happy as possible, both in sweetening the can he descend to mind the paltry concerns rougher parts of my natural temper, and about which the terræfilial race fret, and fume, bettering the unkindly circumstances of and vex themselves! Oh how the glorious fortune. This, my dear, is a passion, at least triumph swells my heart! I forget that I in my view, worthy of a man, and, I will add, am a poor, insignificant devil, unnoticed and worthy of a Christian. The sordid earthunknown, stalking up and down fairs and i worin may profess love to a woman's person, markets, when I happen to be in them, read whilst in reality his affection is centered in ing a page or two of mankind, and “catching her pocket; and the slavish drudge may go the manners living as they rise," whilst the | a-wooing as he goes to the horse-market, to men of business jostle me on every side, as choose one who is stout and firm, and, as we an idle incumbrance in their way. But I may say of an old horse, one who will be a dare

say I have by this time tired your pa- good drudge, and draw kindly. I disdain tience; so I shall conclude with begging you their dirty, puny ideas. I would be heartily to give Mrs Murdoch--not my compliments, out of humour with myself, if I thought I for that is a mere common-place story, but were capable of having so poor a notion of my warmest, kindest wishes for her welfare-- the sex, which were designed to crown the and accept of the same for vourself, from, pleasures of society. Poor devils ! I don't dear Sir, yours,

envy them their happiness who have such notions. For my part, I propose quite other pleasures with my dear partner. R. B.

to

my

R. B.

NO. 11.

NO. III.

TO-
[AN EARLY LOVE LETTER.

.]

TO THE SAME.
Lochlea, 1783.

Lochlen, 1783. I VERILY believe, my dear E., that the MY DEAR E.--I do not remember, in the pure genuine feelings of love are as rare in course of your acquaintance and mine, ever the world as the pure genuine principles of to have heard your opinion on the ordinary virtue and piety. This, I hope, will account

This, I hope, will account way of falling in love, amongst people of our for the uncommon style of all my letters to station in life. I do not mean the persons

NO. IV.

who proceed in the way of bargain, but those | she is still possessed of those noble qualities whose affection is really placed on the person. improved to a much higher degree, which

Though I be, as you know very well, but a first inspired my affection for her. very awkward lover myself, yet as I have some opportunities of observing the conduct Oh! happy state, when souls each other draw, of others who are much better skilled in the

When love is liberty, and nature law. affair of courtship than I am, I often think I know were I to speak in such a style to it is owing to lucky chance, more than to many a girl, who thinks herself possessed of good management, that there are not mure no small share of sense, she would think unhappy marriages than usually are.

it ridiculous; but the language of the heart It is natural for a young fellow to like the is, my dear E., the only courtship I shall acquaintance of the females, and customary for ever use to you. him to keep them company when occasion When I look over what I have written, I serves : some one of them is more agreeable am sensible it is vastly different from the to him than the rest-there is something, he ordinary style of courtship, but I shall make knows not what, pleases him, he knows not no apology-I know your good nature will how, in her company.

This I take to be

excuse what your good sense may see what is called love with the greater part of us; amiss.

R. B. and I must own, my dear E., it is a hard game such a one as you have to play when you meet with such a lover. You cannot refuse but he is sincere, and yet though

TO THE SAME. you use him ever so favourably, perhaps in a few months, or at farthest in a year

Lochlea, 1783. or two, the same unaccountable fancy may I HAVE often thought it a peculiar un. make him as distractedly fond of another, lucky circumstance in love, that though, in whilst you are quite forgot. I am aware, every other situation in life, telling the that perhaps the next time I have the pleasure truth is not only the safest, but actually by of seeing you, you may bid me take my own far the easiest way of proceeding, a lover is lesson home, and tell me that the passion I never under greater difficulty in acting, or have professed for you is perhaps one of more puzzled for expression, than when his those transient flashes I have been descri- passion is sincere, and his intentions are honbing; but I hope, my dear E., you will ourable. I do not think that it is

difficult do me the justice to believe me, when I for a person of ordinary capacity to talk of love assure you that the love I have for you is and fondness which are not felt, and to make founded on the sacred principles of virtue vows of constancy and fidelity which are and honour, and by consequence, so long never intended to be performed, if he be as you continue possessed of those amiable villain enough to practice such detestable qualities which first inspired my passion conduct: but to a man whose heart glows for you, so long must I continue to love you. with the principles of integrity and truth, Believe me, my dear, it is love like this and who sincerely loves a woman of amiable alone which can render the marriage state person, uncommon refinement of sentiment happy. People may talk of flames and and purity of manners-to such a one, in raptures as long as they please~and a warm such circumstances, I can assure you, my fancy, with a flow of youthful spirits, may dear, from my own feelings at this present make them feel something like what they moment, courtship is a task indeed. There describe; but sure I am, the nobler faculties is such a number of foreboding fears and of the mind, with kindred feelings of the distrustful anxieties crowd into my mind heart, can only be the foundation of friend when I am in your company, or when I ship, and it has always been my opinion sit down to write to you, that what to speak, that the married life was only friendship in or what to write, I am altogether at a loss. a more exalted degree. If you will be so There is one rule which I have hitherto good as to grant my wishes, and it should practised, and which I shall invariably please Providence to spare us to the latest keep with you, and that is, honestly to tell period of life, I can look forward and see you the plain truth. There is something that even then, though bent down with so mean and unmanly in the arts of dissimu. wrinkled age-even then, when all other lation and falsehood, that I am surprised worldly circumstances will be indifferent they can be acted by any one, in so noble, so to me, I will regard my E. with the tenderest generous a passion, as virtuous love. No, affection, and for this plain reason, because my dear E., I shall never endeavour to

very

« AnteriorContinuar »