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TO COLLECTOR MITCHELL.
Nothing can reconcile me to the common i be glad to have your opinion of some of the terms, English ambassador, English court, papers. The one I have just read, Lounger, &c. And I am out of all patience to see No. 61, has cost me more honest tears than that equivocal character, Hastings, im any thing I have read of a long time. (106) peached by “the Commons of England." | Mackenzie has been called the Addison of Tell me, my friend, is this weak prejudice ? the Scots, and, in my opinion, Addison I believe, on my conscience, such ideas as would not be hurt at the comparison. If he “my country, her independence, her hon- has not Addison's exquisite humour, he as our, the illustrious names that mark the certainly outdoes him in the tender and the history of my native land," &c.--I believe pathetic. His Man of Feeliny (but I am these, among your men of the world,---men not counsel-learned in the laws of criticism) who, in fact, guide for the most part and I estimate as the first performance in its govern our world,-are looked on as so many kind I ever saw. From what book, moral moditications of wrong-headedness. They or even pious, will the susceptible young know the use of bawling out such terms, to mind receive impressions more congenial to rouse or lead THE RABBLE; but for their humanity and kindness, generosity and beown private use, with almost all the able nevolence-in short, more of all that ennostatesmen that ever existed, or now exist, bles the soul to herself, or endears her to when they talk of right and wrong, they others-than from the simple affecting tale only mean proper and improper; and their of poor Harley ? measure of conduct is not what they OUGHT, Still, with all my admiration of Mackenzie's but what they DARE. For the truth of writings, I do not know if they are the fittest this, I shall not ransack the history of reading for a young man who is about to set nations, but appeal to one of the ablest out, as the phrase is, to make his way into judges of men that ever lived--the cele- life. Do not you think, Madam, that among brated Earl of Chesterfield. In fact, a man the few favoured of Heaven in the structure who could thoroughly control his vices of their minds (for such there certainly are), whenever they interfered with his interests, there may be a purity, a tenderness, a and who could completely put on the ap. | dignity, an elegance of soul, which are of no pearance of every virtue as often as it use, nay, in some degree, absolutely dissuited his purposes, is, on the Stanhopian qualifying, for the truly important business plan, the perfect man; a man to lead of making a man's way into life! If I am nations. But are great abilities, complete not much inistaken, my gallant young friend, without a flaw, and polished without a A******, is very much under these disqualiblemish, the standard of human excellence ? fications; and, for the young females of a This is certainly the staunch opinion of men family I could mention, well may they excite of the world; but I call on honour, virtue, parental solicitude, for I, a common acand worth, to give the Stygian doctrine aquaintance, or as my vanity will hav loud negative! However, this must be humble friend, have often trembled for a allowed, that, if you abstract from man the turn of mind which may render them emiidea of an existence beyond the grave, then nently happy, or peculiarly miserable! the true measure of human conduct is, I have been manufacturing some verses proper and improper; virtue and vice, as lately; but as I have got the most hurried dispositions of the heart, are, in that case, season of Excise business over, I hope to of scarcely the same import and value to the have more leisure to transcribe any thing world at large, as harmiony and discord in that may show how much I have the honour the modifications of sound; and a delicate to be, Madam, yours, &c.
R. B. sense of honour, like a nice ear for music, though it may sometimes give the possessor an ecstacy unknown to the coarser organs of the herd, yet, considering the harsh
NO. CXCVIII. gratings, and inharmonic jars, in this illtuned state of being, it is odds but the TO COLLECTOR MITCHELL. individual would be as happy, and certainly would be as much respected, by the true
Ellisland, 1790. judges of society as it would then stand, SIRI shall not fail to wait on Captain without either a good ear or a good heart. Riddel to-night-I wish and pray that the
You must know, I have just met with the goddess of justice herself would appear to Mirror aud Lounger for the first time, and I morrow among our hon. gentlemen, merely am quite in raptures with them; I should to give them a word in their ear that mercy
to the thief is injustice to the honest man. I your different qualities and merits as novel For my part, I have galloped over my ten writers. This, I own, betrays my ridiculous parishes these four days, until this moment vanity, and I may probably never bring the that I am just alighted, or rather, that my business to bear; but I am fond of the poor jackass-skeleton of a horse has let me spirit young Elihu shows in the book of down; for the miserable devil has been on Job-"And I said, I will also declare my his knees half a score of times within the opinion.” I have quite disfigured my copy last twenty miles, telling me, in his own of the book with my annotations. I never way, “Behold, am not I thy faithful jade of take it up without at the same time taking a horse, on which thou hast ridden these my pencil, and marking with asterisks, many years !”
parentheses, &c., wherever I meet with an In short, Sir, I have broke my horse's original thought, a nervous remark on life wind, and almost broke my own neck, and manners, a remarkable, well-turned besides some injuries in a part that shall be period, or a character sketched with unnameless, owing to a hard-hearted stone of common precision. a saddle. I find that every offender has so Though I should hardly think of fairly many great men to espouse his cause, that I writing out my “Comparative View," I shall not be surprised if I am committed to shall certainly trouble you with my remarks, the strong-hold of the law to-morrow for such as they are. insolence to the dear friends of the gentle ! I have just received from my gentleman men of the country. I have the honour to that horrid summons in the book of Revebe, Sir, your obliged and obedient humble | lation--" That time shall be no more!"
R. B. The little collection of sonnets have some
charming poetry in them. If, indeed, I am indebted to the fair author for the book (107),
and not, as I rather suspect, to a celebrated NO. CXCIX.
author of the other sex, I should certainly
have written to the lady, with my grateful TO DR. MOORE.
acknowledgments, and my own ideas of the
comparative excellence of her pieces. I Dumfries, Excise-Office, July 14th, 1790.
90. would do this last, not from any vanity of SIR-Coming into town this morning to thinking that my remarks could be of much attend my duty in this office, it being col- consequence to Mrs. Smith, but merely froni lection-day, I met with a gentleman who my own feelings as an author, doing as I tells me he is on his way to London; so I would be done by.
R. B. take the opportunity of writing to you, as franking is at present under a temporary death. I shall have some snatches of leisure through the day, amid our horrid business and bustle, and I shall improve them as well
NO. CC. as I can; but let my letter be as stupid as
TO MR. MURDOCH, * * * *, as miscellaneous as a newspaper, as short as a hungry grace-before-meat, or TEACHER OF FRENCH, LONDON. as long as a law-paper in the Douglas cause; as ill-spelt as country John's billet-doux,
Ellisland, July 16th, 1790. or as unsightly a scrawl as Betty Byre- ! MY DEAR SIR-I received a letter from Mucker's answer to it; I hope, considering you a long time ago, but, unfortunately, as it circumstances, you will forgive it; and as it was in the time of my peregrinations and will put you to no expense of postage, I journeyings through Scotland, I mislaid or shall have the less reflection about it.
lost it, and, by consequence, your direction I am sadly ungrateful in not returning along with it. Luckily, my good star you my thanks for your most valuable pre- brought me acquainted with Mr. Kennedy, sent, Zeluco. In fact, you are in some who, I understand is an acquaintance of degree blameable for my neglect. You were yours : and by his means and mediation, I pleased to express a wish for my opinion of hope to replace that link which my unthe work, which so flattered me, that nothing fortunate negligence had so unluckily broke less would serve my overweening fancy, than in the chain of our correspondence. I was a formal criticism on the book. In fact, I the more vexed at the vile accident, as my have gravely planned a comparative view of brother William, a journeyman saddler, has you, Fielding, Richardson and Smollett, in ) been for some time in London, and wished
above all things for your direction, that he | its truth-a quality rather rare in complimight have paid his respects to his father's ments of these grinning, bowing, scraping friend.
times. His last address he sent to me was," Wm. Well, I hope writing to you will ease a Burns, at Mr. Barber's, saddler, No. 181, little my troubled soul. Sorely has it been Strand.” I writ him by Mr. Kennedy, but | bruised to-day! A ci-devant friend of mine, neglected to ask him for your address; so, and an intimate acquaintance of yours, has if you find a spare half minute, please let giver my feelings a wound that I perceive my brother know by a card where and when will gangrene dangerously ere it cure. He
R. B. joyfully wait on you, as one of the few surviving friends of the man whose name, and Christian name too, he has the honour to bear. The next letter I write you shall be a long
NO. CCIII. one. I have much to tell you of “hair
TO MR. CUNNINGHAJI. breath 'scapes in th' imminent deadly breach,” with all the eventful history of a
Ellisland, August 8th, 1790. life, the early years of which owed so much to your kind tutorage; but this at an hour
FORGIVE me, my once dear, and ever
dear friend, my seeminy negligence. You of leisure. My kindest compliments to Mrs. Murdoch, and family. I am ever, my dear
cannot sit down and fancy the busy life I
lead. Sir, your obliged friend, R. B. (103)
I laid down my goose feather to beat my brains for an apt simile, and had some thoughts of a country grannum at a family
christening-a bride on the market-day NO. CCI.
before her marriage, or a tavern-keeper at
an election dinner ; but the resemblance TO MR. MÖMURDO.
that hits my fancy best is, that blackguard Ellisland, August 2nd, 1790.
miscreant, Satan, who roams about like a
roaring lion, seeking, searching whom he SIR-Now, that you are over with the may devour. However, tossed about as I sirens of Flattery, the harpies of Corruption, am, if I choose (and who would not choose?) and the furies of Ambition--these infernal | to bind down with the crampets of attendeities, that on all sides, and in all parties, tion the brazen foundation of integrity, I preside over the villainous business of poli may · rear up the superstructure of indetics-perinit a rustic muse of your acquain pendence, and from its daring turrets bid tance to do her best to soothe you with a detiance to the storms of fate. And is song.
not this a “consummation devoutly to be You knew Henderson--I have not flat wished ?" tered his memory. I have the honour to
Thy spirit, Independence, let me share; be, Sir, your obliged humble servant,
Lord of the lion-heart, and eagle-eye!
Thy steps I follow with my bosom bare,
Are not these noble verses? They are NO. CCII.
the introduction of Smollett's Ode to InTO MRS. DUNLOP.
dependence: if you have not seen the poem,
I will send it to you. How wretched is the August 8th, 1790.
man that hangs on by the favours of the DEAR MADAM–After a long day's toil, great! To shrink from every dignity of plague and care, I sit down to write to you. man, at the approach of a lordly piece of Ask me not why I have delayed it so long? self-consequence, who, amid all his tinsel It was owing to hurry, indolence, and fifty glitter and stately hauteur, is but a creature other things; in short, to anything but formed as thou art -- and perhaps not forgetfulness of la plus aimable de son sexe. so well formed as thou art-came into the By the bye, you are indebted your best world a puling infant as though didst, and courtesy to me for this last compliment, as must go out of it, as all men must, a naked I pay it from my sincere conviction of corse.
R. B. (109)
to brighten the countenance and glad the
heart of such depressed youth! . I am not TO DR. ANDERSON.
so angry with mankind for their deaf ecoSIR-I am much indebted to my worthy
nomy of the purse: the goods of this world friend, Dr. Blacklock, for introducing me to
cannot be divided without being lessened a gentleman of Dr. Anderson's celebrity ;
but why be a niggard of that which bestows but when you do me the honour to ask my
bliss on a fellow-creature, yet takes nothing assistance in your proposed publication,
from our own means of enjoyment? We alas, Sir! you might as well think to cheapen
wrap ourselves up in the cloak of our own a little honesty at the sign of an advocate's better fortune, and turn away our eyes, wig, or humility under the Geneva baud. | lest the wants and woes of our brother I am a miserable hurried devil, worn to the mortals should disturb the selfish apathy of marrow in the friction of holding the noses
our souls ! of the poor publicans to the grindstone of
I am the worst hand in the world at ask. the Excise! "aud, like Milton's Satan, for ing a favour. That indirect address, that private reasons, am forced
insinuating implication, which, without any
positive request, plainly expresses your wish, To do what yet though damn'd I would abhor.
I is a talent not to be acquired at a plough--and, except a couplet or two of honest tail. Tell me then, for you can, in what execratiou
periphrasis of language, in what circumvoR. B. (110) lution of phrase, I shall envelope, yet not
conceal, this plain story-"My dear Mr. Tait, my friend Mr. Duncan, whom I have
the pleasure of introducing to you, is a No. ccv.
young lad of your own profession, and a TO CRAUFORD TAIT, Esq.,
gentleman of much modesty and great
worth. Perhaps, it may be in your power EDINBURGH.
to assist him in the, to him, important conEllisland, October 15th, 1790.
sideration of getting a place, but, at all
events, your notice and acquaintance will be DEAR SIR-Allow me to introduce to a very great acquisition to him ; and I dare your acquaintance the bearer, Mr. Wm. Dun- pledye myself, that he will never disgrace can, a friend of mine, whom I have long your favour." known and long loved. His father, whose You may possibly be surprised, Sir, at only son he is, has a decent little property such a letter from me; 'tis, I own, in the in Ayrshire, and has bred the young man to usual way of calculating these matters, more the law, in which department he comes up | than our acquaintance entitles me to; but an adventurer to your good town. I shall my answer is short:of all the men at your give you my friend's character in two words: time of life, whom I knew in Edinburgh, as to his head, he has talents enough, and you are the most accessible on the side on more than enough, for common life; as to which I have assailed you. You are very his heart, when nature had fashioned the much altered, indeed, from what you were kindly clay that composes it, she said, “I when I knew you, if generosity point the can no more."
path you will not tread, or humanity call to You, my good Sir, were born under kinder you in vain. stars; but your fraternal sympathy, I well. As to myself, a being to whose interest
to the feelings of the I believe you are still a well-wisher, I an young man who goes into life with the lau-here, breathing at all times, thinking somedable ambition to do something, and to be times, and rhyming now and then. Every something, among his fellow-creatures, but situation has its share of the cares and whom the consciousness of friendless obscu- pains of life, and my situation, I am perrity presses to the earth, and wounds to the suaded, has a full ordinary allowance of its soul.
| pleasures and enjoyments, Even the fairest of his virtues are against | My best compliments to your father and him. That independent spirit, and that Miss Tait. If you have an opportunity, ingenuous modesty, qualities inseparable from please remember me in the solenın-leaguea noble mind, are, with the million, circum and-covenant of friendship to Mrs. Lewis stances not a little disqualifying. What Hay. I am a wretch for not writing her; pleasure is in the power of the fortunate and but I am so hackueyed with self-accusation the happy, by their notice and patronage, I in that way, that my conscience lies in my
bosom with scarce the sensibility of an | to preach for joy, as I have done in the com
Where is Lady M'Ken- / mencement of this epistle, is a pitch of exzie? wherever she is, God bless her! I travagant rapture to which I never rose likewise beg leave to trouble you with before. compliments to Mr. Wm. Hamilton, Mrs. I read your letter--I literally jumped for Hamilton, and family, and Mrs. Chalmers, joy. How could such a mercurial creature when you are in that country. Should as a poet lumpishly keep his seat, on the you meet with Miss Nimmo, please re-receipt of the best news from his best friend. member me kindly to her.
I seized my gilt-headed Wangee rod, an inR. B. strument indispensably necessary, in my
left hand, in the moment of inspiration and rapture; and stride, stride ---- quick and
quicker-out skipt I among the broomy NO. CCVI.
banks of Nith to muse over my joy by
retail. To keep within the bounds of prose TO DR. BLACKLOCK.
was impossible. Mrs. Little's is a more eleEllisland, 1790. 1 gant, but not a more sincere compliment to
the sweet little fellow, than I, extempore DEAR SIR-Whether in the way of my almost, poured out to him in the following trade, I can be of any service to the Rev.
verses : Doctor, is, I fear, very doubtful. Ajax's shield consisted, I think, of seven bull hides,
Sweet flow'ret, pledge o' meikle love, and a plate of brass, which, altogether, set
And ward o'mony a prayer, Hector's utmost force at defiance. Alas! I
What heart o'stane wad thou na move, am not a Hector, and the worthy Doctor's Sae helpless, sweet, and fair! foes are as securely armed as Ajax was. November hirples o'er the lea Ignorance, superstition, bigotry, stupidity, Chill on thy lovely form ; malevolence, self-conceit, envy-all strongly And gane, alas ! the shelt'ring tree bound in a massy frame of brazen impu Should shield thee frae the storm. denice. Good God, Sir! to such a shield,
May He, who gives the rain to pour, humour is the peck of a sparrow, and satire
And wings the blast to blaw, the pop-gun of a school-boy. Creation-dis
Protect thee frae the driving show'r, gracing scelerats such as they, God only
The bitter frost and snaw ! can mend, and the devil only can punish. In
May He, the friend of woe and want, the comprehensive way of Caligula, I wish they all had but one neck. I feel impotent
Who heals life's various stounds,
Protect and guard the niotłier-plant, as a child to the ardour of my wishes! Oh, for a withering curse to blast the germens of
And heal her cruel wounds! their wicked machinations. Oh, for a poison
But late she flourishid, routed fast, ous tornado, winged from the torrid zone of Fair on the summer morni; Tartarus, to sweep the spreading crop of
Now, feebly bends she in the blast, their villanous contrivances to the lowest Unshelter'd and forlorn. hell
R. B. Best be thy bloom, thou lovely gem,
Unscath'd by ruffian hand!
Arise to deck our land !
I am much flattered by your approbation NO, CCVII.
of my “ Tam o' Shanter," which you express
in your former letter; though, by the hye, TO MRS. DUNLOP. (111)
you load me in that said letter with accusaEllisland, November, 1790.
tions heavy and many, to all which I plead
not guilty! Your book is, I hear, on the " As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is road to reach me. As to printing of poetry, good news from a far country.”
when you prepare it for the press, you have Fate has long owed me a letter of good only to spell it right, and place the capital news from you, in return for the many | letters properly as to the punctuation, the tidings of sorrow which I have received. In printers do that themselves. this instance, I most cordially obey the apos-1° I have a copy of “ Tam o' Shanter" ready tle " Rejoice with them that do rejoice.”- to send you by the first opportunity- it is For me to sing for joy, is no new thing; but too heavy to send by post.