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greatly, and I trust that by some means or other it will soon take place; but your Bacchanalian challenge almost frightens me, for I am a miserable weak drinker !
Allan is much gratified by your good opinion of his talents. He has just begun a sketch from your Cotter's Saturday Night, and if it pleases himself in the design, he will probably etch or engrave it. In subjects of the pastoral and humorous kind, he is perhaps unrivalled by any artist living. He fails a little in giving beauty and grace to his females, and his colouring is sombre, otherwise his paintings and drawings would be in greater request.
I like the music of the, Sutor's dochter, and will consider whether it shall be added to the last volume; your verses to it are pretty ; but your humorous English song to suit, Jo Janet, is inimitable. What think you of the air, Within a mile of Edinburgh. It has always struck me as a modern English imitation, but it is said to be Oswald's, and is so much liked, that I believe I must include it. The verses are little better than namby pamby. Do you consider it worth a stanza or two?
No. No. LI.
MR. BURNS TO MR. THOMSON.
My Dear Sir,
I RETURN you the plates, with which I am highly pleased; I would humbly propose instead of the younker knitting stockings, to put a stock and horn into his hands. A friend of mine who is positively the ablest judge on the subject I have ever met with, and though an unknown, is yet a superior artist with the Burin, is quite charmed with Allan's manner. I got him a peep of the Gentle Shepherd; and he pronounces Allan a most original artist of great excellence..
For my part, I look on Mr. Allan's chusing my favorite poem for his subject, to be one of the highest compliments I have ever received.
I am quite vexed at Pleyel's being cooped up in France, as it will put an entire stop to our work. Now, and for six or seven months, I shall be quite in song, as you shall see by and bye, I got an air, pretty enough, composed by Lady Elizabeth Heron of Heron, which she calls, The banks of Cree. Cree is a beautiful romantic stream : and as her Ladyship is a particular friend of mine, I have written the following song to it.
BANKS OF CREE.
Here is the glen, and here the bower,
All underneath the birchen shade ;
O what can stay my lovely maid.
”Tis not Maria’s whispering call ;
'Tis but the balmy-breathing gale, Mixt with some warbler's dying fall
The dewy star of eve to hail.
It is Maria's voice I hear!
So calls the woodlark in the grove,
At once 'tis music and 'tis love.
And art thou come! and art thou truc !
O welcome dear to love and me!
Along the flowery banks of Cree.
MR. BURNS TO MR. THOMSON.
Is there no news yet of Pleyel? Or is your work to be at a dead stop, until the allies set our modern Orpheus at liberty from the savage thraldom of democratic discords ? Alas the day! And woe is me! That auspicious period, pregnant with the happiness of millions. ~* * *
I have presented a copy of your songs to the daughter of a much-valued, and much-honoured
+ A portion of this letter has been left out, for reasons that will be easily imagined.
friend of mine, Mr. Graham of Fintray. I wrote, on the blank side of the title page, the following address to the young lady.
HERE, where the Scottish muse immortal lives,
In sacred strains and tuneful numbers join'd, Accept the gift; tho' humble he who gives,
Rich is the tribute of the grateful mind.
So may no ruffian* feeling in thy breast,
Discordant jar thy bosom-chords among: But peace attune thy gentle soul to rest,
Or love extatic wake his seraph song.
Or pity's notes, in luxury of tears,
As modest want the tale of woe reveals ; While conscious virtue all the strain endears,
And heaven-born piety her sanction seals.
* It were to have been wished that instead of rufian feeling, the bard had used a less rugged epithet, e. g. ruder.