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I do not mean so far to give up the cause of Geniusy as to say that poets are necessarily less yirtuous than others : I only mean that they are less prudent, less firm, more Susceptible, more simple.
I do not know whether most to pity or admire BURNS, Why were such people made?
What a fatal delusion, to lean for happiness on the bosom of the gay and fortunate, because they make us the companions of their pleasures ! Though ready to rejoice with us, if we possess talents to heighten their festive hours, alas! when the day of affliction comes, we are left to pine neglected, or perhaps have our sorrows embittered by the sneer of wanton insult. Ask me of his Genius! I have not power to do justice to its vigour, extent, and versatility. His poetry shows him in a walk of superior excellence, while his correspondence proves him equal to any thing. It is nauseous to hear people say, what he would have been if he had received a more thorough education : In that case he would not have been BURNSthat daring, original, and unfettered genius, whose 6 wood “ notes wild,” silence the whole chorus of modern tame correctness, as one of our mountain blackbirds aviary of canaries.
He did know his own strength, as such a superior intelligence necessarily must; but then he also knew his own weakness.
This best knowledge however did not answer the purpose of self-defence. O that he had but learned and habitually practised self-command and self-denial, without which the highest attainments cannot lead to happiness :—But this theme is endless. Yet one word more:-How different are his letters to Mrs DUNLOP, where his heart truly opens, from his effusions to his gay companions,—that unaffected scorn of the world and its vain pursuits,—that sublime melancholy,—that aspiration (tho’struggling through doubts and darkness) after what the world does not afford—that sensibility,—that manly sincerity,_every thing, in short, that characterises genius, and exalts humanity !
DEATH OF BURNS.
" So may some gentle Muse
What adverse fate awaits the tuneful train !
Chill penury invades his favourite bower,
And see where CALEDONIA's Genius mourns,
To wield her weapons with such sportive ease,
How blest, when wand'ring by his native Ayr,
* Cutiar for Cottager.