You have indeed been very profuse of panegyric on my little performance. A much less portion of applause from you, would have been gratifying to me; since I think its value depends entirely upon the source from whence it proceedsthe incense of praise, like other incense, is more grateful from the quality, than the quantity of the odour.

I hope you still cultivate the pleasures of poetry, which are precious even independent of the rewards of fame. Perhaps the most valuable property of poetry is its power of disengaging the mind from worldly cares, and leading the imagination to the richest springs of intellectual enjoy. ment; since however frequently life may be chequered with gloomy scenes, those who truly love the muse, can always find one little path adorned with flowers and cheered by sunshine.



Dear madam,

Ellisland, 6th Sept. 1789. I have mentioned in my last, my appointment to the excise, and the birth of little Frank; who, by the bye, I trust will be no discredit to the honourable name of Wallace, as he has a fine manly countenance, and a figure that might do credit to a little fellow two months older ; and likewise an excellent good temper, though when he pleases he has a pipe, only not quite so loud as the horn that his immortal namesake blew as a signal to take out the pin of Stirling bridge.

I had, some time ago, an epistle, part poetic, and part prosaic, from your poetess, Mrs. J. L-, a very ingenious, but modest composition. I should have written her as she requested, but for the hurry of this new business. I have heard of her and

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her compositions in this country; and I am happy to add, always to the honour of her character. The fact is, I know not well how to write to her: I should sit down to a sheet of paper that I knew not how to stain. I am no dab at fine-drawn let. ter-writing; and except when prompted by friendship or gratitude, or, which happens extremely rarely, inspired by the muse (I know not her name) that presides over epistolary writing, I sit down, when necessitated to write, as I would sit down to beat hemp

Some parts of your letter of the 20th August, struck me with the most melancholy concern for the state of your mind at present.

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Would I could write you a letter of comfort! I would sit down to it with as much pleasure, as I would to write an epic poem of my own composition, that should equal the Iliad. Religion, my dear friend, is the true comfort! A strong persuasion in a future state of existence; a propositíon so obviously probable, that, setting revelation aside, every nation and people, so far as investigation has reached, for at least near four thousand years, have, in some mode or other, firmly believed it. In vain would we reason and pretend to doubt. I have myself done so to a very daring pitch; but when I reflected, that I was opposing the most ardent wishes, and the most darling hopes of good men, and flying in the face of all human belief, in all ages, I was shocked at my own conduct.

I know not whether I have ever sent you the following lines, or if you have ever seen them; but it is one of my favourite quotations, which I keep constantly by me in my progress through life, in the language of the book of Job,

* Against the day of battle and of war"

spoken of religion.

'Tis this, my friend, that streaks our morning

bright, 'Tis this that gilds the horror of our night. When wealth forsakes us, and when friends are

few ;

When friends are faithless, or when foes pursues
'Tis this that wards the blow, or stills the smart,
Disarms affliction, or repels his dart;
Within the breast bids purest raptures rise,
Bids smiling conscience spread her cloudless skies."

I have been very busy with Zeluco. The doctor is so obliging as to request my opinion of it; and I have been revolving in my mind some kind of criticisms on novel-writing, but it is a depth beyond my research. I shall however digest my thoughts on the subject as well as I can. Zeluco is a most sterling performance.

Farewell! A Dieu, le bon Dieu, je vous commende!



Edinburgh, 24th August, 1789. Dear Burns, thou brother of my heart, Both for thy virtues and thy art; If art it may be call'd in thee, Which nature's bounty large and free, With pleasure on thy breast diffuses, And warms thy soul with all the muses. Whether to laugh with easy grace, Thy numbers move the sage's face, Or bid the softer passions rise, And ruthless souls with grief surprise, 'Tis nature's voice distinctly felt, Thro' thee her organ, thus to melt.

Most anxiously I wish to know,
With thee of late how matters go;
How keeps thy much lov'd Jean her health
What promises thy farm of wealth?
Whether the muse persists to smile,
And all thy anxious cares beguile?
Whether bright fancy keeps alive?
And how thy darling infants thrive?

For me, with grief and sickness spent
Since I my journey homeward bent,
Spirits depressed no more I mourn,
But vigour, life, and health return.
No more to gloomy thoughts a prey,
I sleep all night, and live all day;
By turns my book and friend enjoy,
And thus my circling hours employ;
Happy while yet these hours remain,
If Burns could join the cheerful train,
With wonted zeal, sincere and fervent,
Salute once more his humble servant,




Ellisland, 21st October, 1788. Wow, but your letter made me vauntie! And are ye hale, and weel, and cantie? I ken'd it still your wee bit jauntie

Wad bring ye to: Loril send you aye as weel's I want ye,

And then ye'll do.

The ill-thief blaw the Heron south!
And never drink be near his drouth !
He tald mysel by word o' mouth,

He'd tak my letter;
I lippen'd to the chiel in trouth,

And bade nae better.

But aiblins honest Master Heron
Had at the time some dainty fair one,
To ware his theologic care on,

And holy study;
And, tired o’ sauls to waste his lear on,

E'en tried the body".

But what d'ye think, my trusty fier,
I'm turn'd a gauger-Peace be here !
Parnassian queens, I fear, I fear,

Ye'll now disdain me,
And then my fifty pounds a-year

Will little gain me.

Ye glaiket, gleesome, dainty damies,
Wha by Cascalia's wimplin streamies,
Lowp, sing, and lave your pretty limbies,

Ye ken, ye ken,
That strang necessity supreme is

'Mang sons o' men.

I hae a wife and twa wee laddies,
They maun hae brose and brats o’ duddies;
Ye ken yoursels my heart right proud is,

I need na vaunt,
But I'll sned besoms-thraw saugh woodies,

Before they want.

Lord help me thro' this warld o' care!
I'm weary sick o't late and air !
Not but I hae a richer share

Than mony ithers;
But why should ae man better fare,

And a' men brithers!

Come, Firm Resolve, take thou the van,
Thou stalk o' carl-hemp in man!

Mr Heron, author of the History of Scotland, lately published ; and, among various other works, of a respectable life of our poet himself. E.

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