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been injurious to the fame of the au- Some of the early letters are inter thor.
esting, as shewing the manner in The first part of the volume con- which he was affected by his first hosists of a number of letters which Mr We copy the following inciCromek has collected, in addition to dent: those published by Dr Currie. We I went to a Mason-lodge yesternight, have read them with considerable where the most Worshipful-Grand Maspleasure. Most of them contain some- ter Charters, and all the Grand-Lodge thing worth preservation ; some stroke of Scotland visited. The meeting was of genius, some trait of character, or
numerous and elegant; all the different some allusion to incidents of his life. Lodges about town were present, in all
their pomp. The Grand Master, who There was, in fact, less delicacy in
presided with great solemnity and hopublishing the letters of Burns, than nour to himself as a gentleman and Maof most other persons, since they were son, among other general toasts gave rarely unpremeditated effusions. “ Caledonia, and Caledonia's Bard, Brobestowed peculiar pains upon them, ther B-" which rung through the and studied to make them a display and repeated acclamations. As I had
whole assembly with multiplied honours of his powers. We understand he
no idea such a thing would happen, I even kept copies of most of them.-
was downright thunder - struck, and Dr Robertson is said to have obser- trembling in every nerve made the best ved, that Burns's prose appeared to return in my power. Just as I had fihim more wonderful than his poetry. nished, some of the grand officers said, It certainly contains bursts of enthu
so loud that I could hear, with a most siasm, and strokes of humour, not sur
comforting accent, “Very well indeed!' passed by any of his poetical composi- which set me something to rights again.
P. 16. tions. The wonder, however, will in a great measure cease, when we con- The following does not seem to sider that it differs little from poetry have been written in the best huwithout the restraint of numbers. It mour ; but it gives a curious view of does not aim at that correct and fin character: nished character which forms the per
I never, my friend, thought mankind fection of prose writing, and which very capable of any thing generous; requires less genius indeed, but more but the stateliness of the Patricians in discipline, than the attainment of poe. Edinburgh, and the servility of my pletical excellence. Even with this al. beian brethren, (who perhaps formerly lowance, there appear marks of labour eyed me askance,) since I returned in most of his letters, still more than home, have nearly put me out of conof his poems. This labour, however, bought a pocket Milton, which I carry
ceit altogether with my species. I have was applied, not, as usual, to correct perpetually about with me, in order to and restrain the exuberance of genius, study the sentiments--the dauntless but rather to inflame and encrease it. magnanimity; the intrepid, unyielding He seems to have been led, not mere
independence, the desperate daring, and ly by the warmth of natural disposi- noble defiance of hardship, in that great tion, but by a certain idea of excel.
personage, Satan. 'Tis true, I have
just now a little cash ; but I am afraid lence which he had formed, to go to the star that hitherto has shed its maligthe extreme of every passion and of nant, purpose-blasting rays, full in my every sentiment; an error in taste as zenith; that noxious planet, so baneful well as in morals; which, though it in its influences to the rhyming tribe, I may have rendered some passages still much dread it is not yet beneath my more glowing, has thrown over the horizon.-Misfortune dodges the path whole a certain tumid monotony, itseif miserably deranged in, and unfit
of human life ; the poetič mind finds which makes the general effect less for the walks of business ; 'add to all, pleasing
that, thoughtless follies and hare-brain- pounds a year for life, and a provisioff ed whims, like so many ignes fatui, eter. for widows and orphans, you will alnally diverging from the right line of low, is no bad settlement for a poet. For suber discretion, sparkle with step-be- the ignominy of the profession, I have witching blaze in the idly gazing eyes the encouragement which I once heard of the poor heedless Baid, tilt, pop, a recruiting serjeant give to a nume. “ he falls like Lucifer, never to hope a. tous, if not a respectable audience, in gain.” God grant this may be an un: the Streets of Kilmarnock, --" Gentle. real picture with respect to me! but men,
for your further and better en. should it not, I have very little depen: couragement, I can assure you that dance on mankind.
p. 31. our regiinent is the most blackguard
corps wider the crown, and couseThe following character of his Jean,
quently with us an honest fellow has will doubtless interest and amuse our " the surest chance for preferment." readers :
You need not doubt that I find se. Shortly after my last return to Ayr- veral very unpleasant and disagreeable shire, I married "my Jean." This was circumstances in my business; but I not in consequence of the attachment of am tired with and disgusted at the lanromance perhaps ; but I had a long and guage of complaint against the evils of much-loved fellow creature's happiness life. Human existence, in the most faor misery in my determination, and I vourable situations, does not abound durst not trifle with so important a de. ' with pleasures, and has its inconvenienposit.. Nor have I any cause to repent ces and ills : capricious foolish man misit. If I have not got polite tattle, mo- takes these inconveniences and ills as if dish manners, and fashionable dress, I they were the peculiar property of his am not sickened and disgusted with the particular situation ; and hence that emultiform curse of boarding-school af- ternal fickleness, that love of change, fectation ; and I have got the hand- which has ruined, and daily does ruin somest figure, the sweetest temper, the many a fine fellow, as well as many a soundest constitution, and the kindest blockhead; and is almost, without exheart in the county. Mrs Burns be- ception, a constant source of disappointlieves as firmly as her creed, that I am nient and misery,
p. 99. le plus bel esprit, et le plus honnete homme in the universe ; although she scarcely A letter to Mr Graham, by whom ever in her life, except the Scriptures of he was most generously patronized the Old and New Testament, and the and protected, seems to merit quotaPsalms of David in metre, spent five
tion. minutes together on either prose or verse.--I must except also from this last, a certain late publication of Soots and distracted, by Mr. Mitchel, the cola
I'have been surprised, confounded, poems, which she has perused very de.
lector, telling me that he has received voutly; and all the ballads in the coun.
an order from your Board to enquire try, as she has (O the partial lover! you
into my political conduct, and blaming will cry) the finest " wood-note wild".
me as a person disaffected to GoveraI ever heard.
ment. Sir, you are a husband and a
father. You know what you would His observations on-first becoming feel, to see the much-loved wife of an officer of Excise, display a vein of your bosom, and your helpless, prartling good sense, of which Burns, when he little ones, turned adrift into the world, chose, was completely master. degraded and disgraced from a situation
in which they had been respectable and I know not how the word Excise man, respected, and left almost without the or still more opprobrious, Gauger, will necessary support of a miserable exissound in your ears. I too bave seen tence. Alas, Sir! must I think that the day when my auditory nerves would such, soon, will be my lot! and from have felt very delicately on this sub- the d-mned, dark insinuations of hellish ject; but a wife and children are things groundless envy too! I believe, Sir, I which have a wonderful power in blunt. may aver it, and in the sight of Omniing these kind of sensations. Fifty science, that I would not tell a deli.
berate falsehood, no, not though even a subject from Burns. The following worse horrors, if worse can be, than remark is curious : those I have mentioned, hung over my head : and I say, that the allegation, that the Scottish Muse's were all jaco
By the bye, it is singular enough whatever villain has made it, is a lie ! To the British Constitution, ou revolu- bites.—I have paid more attention to tion principles, next after my God, I am
every description of Scots songs than most devoutly attached : You, Sir, have perkaps any body living has done, and been much and generously my friend.
I do not recollect one single stanza, or Heaven knows how warnily I have felt even the title of the most frifing Scots, the obligation, and how gratefully I air, which has the least panegyrical re
ference to the families of Nassau or have thanked you.- Fortune, Sir, has made you powerful, and me impotent; satirizing hem.—This may be thought
Brunswick; while there are hundreds has given you patronage, and me dependance. I would not, for my single mean it as such. For myself, I would
no panegyric on the Scots Poets, but I self, call on your humanity: were such always take it as a compliment to have my insular, unconnected situation, I
it said, that my heart ran before my would despise the tear that now swells in my eye-I could brave misfortune, unfortunate house ot' Stewart, the kings
head.--and surely the gallant though I could face ruin; for at the worst; of our fathers for so many heroic ages, * Death's thousand dours stand open;"
is a theine but, good God! the tender concerns that I have mentioned, the claims and
P. 201. ties that I see at this moment, and feel
On the subject of May Eve, or around me, how they unnerve courage, Kate of Aberdeen, he says, and wither Resolution: To your pt. Kate of Aberdeen is, I believe, the tronage, as a man of some genius, you work of poor Cunningham the player, have allowed me a claim; and your es. of whom the following anecdute, tho' teem, as an honest man, I know is my told before, deserves a recital. A fat due : To these, Sir, permit me to ap- dignitary of the church coming past peal; by these may I adjure you to save Cunningham ove Sunday, as the poor me from that misery which threatens to
poet was busy plying a fishing-road in overwhelm me, and which, with my some stream Dear Durham, his native latest breath I will say it, I have not country*, his reverence reprimanded deserved.
p. 130. Cunningham very severely for such an The following short passage from a
occupation on such a day. The poor letter to Lord Buchan, appears to us
poet, with that inoffensive gentleness of strongly expressive of that proud pa- teristic, replied, that he hoped God and
manners which was his peculiar charactriotism, which formed a strong fea- his reverence would forgive his seeming ture in his character:
profanity of that sacred day, as he bad Independent of my enthusiasm as a
ro dinner to eat, but what lay at the bot. Scotsman, I have rarely net with any
tom of that pool!" This, Mr Woods, the
player, who knew Cunningham well, thing in history which interests my feel
and esteemed him much, assured me ings as a man, equal with the story of Bannockburn. On the one hand, a
p. 212. cruel but able usurper, leading on the The beautiful song, called “ Mafinest army in Europe to extinguish the ry's Dream,” was, he informs us, comlast spark of freedom among a greatly- posed by a Mr Alexander Lowe, who daring, and greatly-injured people : on afterwards went to North America. the other hand, the desperate relics of
Of Tranent Muir, he tells the fola gallant nation, devoting themselves to rescue their bleeding country, or pe.
lowing anecdote :
“ Tranent Muir," was composed by rish with her.
a Mr Skirvan, a very worthy respecThe observations on Scottish Songs
table contain a good deal of curious matter,
* Vitoringham was a native of irethough they do not quite come up to land.--Sec Dr Anderson's Life of Cun. what we should have expected on such mingham, British Poets, vol. X. March 1809.
table farmer, near Haddington. I have. Had we never lov'd sae kindly,
There are several letters from Wil- “ M.Pherson's Farewell" also, most liam Burns, a brother of the poet, who powerfully expresses that desperate died; a good simple young man, with- daring, and defiance of mankind, which out the least spark of genius. Burns, we may naturally suppose in him, who who was his elder brother, appears to lives in the habitual violation of the have been very kind to him, and to laws of society, have given him abundance of good advice.
FAREWELL, ye dungeons dark and strong, Of all parts of the volume, the poe
The wretch's destinie! fry, we think, is that which would M.Pherson's time will not be long,
On yonder gallows tree. best have admitted of retrenchment. This is little which does not fall be. Sąe rantingly, sae untonly, low the general standard of Burns's
Sae dauntingly gaed be;
He play'd a spring, and danc'd it round, poetry. Several of the songs, however,
Below the gallows tree. form an exception. The following, in
Oh, what is death but parting breath? particular, may be numbered among his best pieces.
On mony a bloody plain
I've dar'd his face, and in this place Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
I scorn him yet again! Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
&c. Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge Untie these bands from off my hands, thee,
And bring to me my sword; Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
And there's no a man in all Scotland, Who shall say that fortune grieves him
But I'll brave him at a word.
Şac rantingly, &c.
I die by treacherie :
Įt burns my heart I must depart,
And not avenged be.
Sae rantingly, &c.
And all beneath the sky
The wretch that dares not die !
Saç rantingly, &c.
There are several also interspersed
in his Observations on Scottish Song, And wadna be gainsaid, man :"
where he has often engrafted his own
composition on that of the former and Co. Edinburgh ; Constable, Hurta writer.
ter, Park & Hunter, 10, Ludgate Besides the preface, Mr Cromek has Street; or Mr Triphook, St James's added a considerable number of judi- Street, London. cious notes, either to illustrate the his- A member of the Wernerian Natory of the different pieces, or to ex- tural History Society has in the press, plain uncommon expressions that oc- a Translation of Von Buch's Mincracur in them. He shews, every where, logical Description of the environs of the most enthusiastic attachment to Landeck in Silesia. his anthor, and seems to have omitted Mr Henry Weber will speedily nothing to render the collection as publish, in three volumes crown 8vo, interesting as his materials admitted Metrical Romances of the Thirteenth, of.
Fourteenth, and Fifteenth centuries, copied from Ancient Manuscripts, and
illustrated by an Introduction, Notes, New Works published in Edinburgh. cation is intended to comprehend the
and a Glossary. The present publiTHour Simsont, medicinæ Pro- most valuable of those Romances, which fessoris Candossensis, in Acade
have not yet been submitted to the mia Andreana, apud Scotos, de re me public. The Life of Alexander, attridica, Dissertationes quatuor. In usum
buted by Warton to Adam Davie, medicinæ et humanitatis studiosorum and strongly recommended by him for iterum excudi curabat, Andreas Dun- publication, will form the first article; can, senior, M.D. & P. Principis
Sco- and will be followed by Richard Cæur tiæ Medicus Primarius, 8vo.
de Lion, which, besides its very consiOpinion delivered by Dr Duncan, derable poetical merit, must excite a senior, in the College of Physicians, strong national interest; and by others on the 13th of September 1808, upon selected either for the beauty of the a charge against Dr Gregory, 4to. narrative, or some circumstances ren2s. 68.
dering them curious ; among which a A Complete System of Geography few Comic Romances will be found. Ancient and Modern. By James
To the introduction, the Editor, at the Playfair, D.D. Principal of the United request of several gentlemen who take College of St Andrews, Vol. II. 4to. an interest in the publication, has sub21. 2s.
joined a summary account of the German early Poetry and Romance; a subject of high interest, but as yet en
tirely unknown to this nation, and but Scottish Literary Intelligence. little cultivated on the Continent. If
the present publication should meet WE E are happy to understand that with the encouragement, which the
a new edition of the works of importance of this species of composiGavin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld, tion in the history of English Poetry the translator of Virgil, and one of the deserves, a continuation, comprising most distinguished names in the ear- those excluded from this selection, on ly literature of this country, is now account of its limited extent, will be in forwardness. The gentleman by published. whom it has been undertaken will be Mr Alex. Murray, F.A.S. E. and happy to receive any communication re- Secretary for foreign Correspondence, specting Douglas himself, or any MS. has in the press Researches into the or printed edition of his works. These Origin and Affinity of the Greek and may be addressed to Messrs. Constable Teutonic languages. The immediate