And let us mind, faint heart ne'er wan

A lady fair: Wha does the utmost that he can,

Will whyles do mair.

But to conclude my silly rhyme,
(I'm scant o' verse, and scant o time,)
To make a happy fire-side clime

To weans and wife;
That's the true pathos and sublime

Of human life.

My compliments to sister Beckie;
And eke the same to honest Lucky ;
I wat she is a dainty chuckie,

As e'er tread clay!
And gratefully, my gude auld cockie,

I'm yours for aye.





9th December, 1789. I have a good while had a wish to trouble you with a letter, and had certainly done it long ere now-but for a humiliating something that throws cold water on the resolution, as if one should say, * You have found Mr. Graham a very powerful and kind friend indeed, and that interest he is so kindly taking in your concerns, you ought, by every thing in your power, to keep alive and cherish." Now though since God has thought proper to make one powerful and another helpless, the connexion of obliger and obliged is all fair ; and though my being under your patronage is to me highly ho-, nourable, yet, sir, allow me to flatter myself, that,

as a poet and an honest man, you first interested yourself in my welfare, and principally as such still, you permit me to approach you.

I have found the excise business go on a great deal smoother with me than I expected ; owing a good deal to the generous friendship of Mr. Mit- chel, my collector, and the kind assistance of Mr. Findlater, my supervisor. I dare to be honest, and I fear no labour. Nor do I find my hurried life greatly inimical to my correspondence with the muses. Their visits to me, indeed, and I believe to most of their acquaintance, like the visits of good angels, are short and far between : but I meet them now and then as I jog through the hills of Nithsdale, just as I used to do on the banks of Ayr. I take the liberty to inclose you a few bagatelles, all of them the productions of my leisure thoughts in my excise rides.

If you know or have ever seen captain Grose, the antiquarian, you will enter into any humour that is in the verses on him. Perhaps you have seen them before, as I sent them to a London news. paper. Though I dare say you have none of the solemn-league-and-covenant fire, which shone so conspicuous in lord George Gordon, and the Kilmarnock weavers, yet, I think, you must have heard of Dr. M'Gill, one of the clergymen of Ayr, and his heretical book. God help him, poor man! Though he is one of the worthiest, as well as one of the ablest of the whole priesthood of the kirk of Scotland, in every sense of that ambiguous term, yet the poor doctor and his numerous family are in imminent danger of being thrown out to the mercy of the winter-winds. The inclosed bal. lad on that business is I confess too local, but I laughed myself at some conceits in it, though I am convinced in my conscience that there are a good many heavy stanzas in it too.

The election ballad, as you will ee, alludes to the present canvass in our string of boroughs. I

do not believe there will be such a hard run matela in the whole general election*.

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I am too little a man to have any political attachments ; I am deeply indebted to, and have the warmest veneration for, individuals of both parties, but a man, who has it in his power to be the father of a country, and who * is a character that one cannot speak of with patience.

Sir J. J. does " what man cap do," but yet I doubt his fate.



Ellisland, 13th December, 1789. Many thanks, dear madam, for your sheet-full of rhymes. Though, at present, I am below the veriest prose, yet from you every thing pleases. I am groaning under the miseries of a diseased nervous system ; a system, the state of which is most conducive to our happiness-or the most productive of our misery. For now near three weeks, I have been so ill with a nervous head-ache, that I have been obliged to give up, for a time, my ex cise-books, being scarce able to lift my head, much · less to ride once a week over ten muir parishes,

What is man! To-day, in the luxuriance of health, exulting in the enjoyment of existence ; in a few

* This alludes to the contest for the borough of Dumfries, betwen the duke of Queensberry's interest and that of sir James Johnstone.


days, perhaps in a few hours, loaded with conscious painful being, counting the tardy pace of the line gering moments by the repercussions of anguish, and refusing or denied a comforter. . Day follows night, and night comes after day, only to curse him with life which gives him no pleasure; and yet the awful, dark termination of that life, is a something at which he recoils.

* Tell us, ye dead! will none of you in pity
Disclose the secret-
What 'tis you are, and we must shortly be!

'tis no matter : A little time will make us learn'd as you are."

Can it be possible, that when I resign this frail, feverish being, I shall still find myself in conscious existence! When the last gasp of agony has announced, that I am no more to those that knew me, and the few who loved me; when the cold, stiffened, unconscious, ghastly corse is resigned into the earth, to be the prey of unsightly reptiles, and to become in time a trodden clod, shall I yet be warm in life, seeing and seen, enjoying and enjoyed? Ye venerable sages, and holy flamens, is there probability in your conjectures, truth in your stories, of another world beyond death ; or are they all alike, baseless visions, and fabricated fables ? If there is another life, it must be only for the just, the benevolent, the amiable, and the humane ; what a flattering idea, then, is a world to come! Would to God I as firmly believed it, as I ardently wish it ! There I should meet an aged parent, now at rest from the many buffetings of an evil world, against which he so long and so bravely -struggled. There should I meet the friend, the disinterested friend of my early life; the man who rejoiced to see me, because he loved me and could serve me.-Muir! thy weaknesses were the aberrations of human nature, but thy heart glowed with every thing generous, manly, and noble; and if ever emanation from the All-good Being animated a human form, it was thine !-There should I, with speechless agony of rapture, again recognize my lost, my ever-dear Mary! whose bosom was fraught with truth, honour, constancy, and love.

My Mary, dear departed shade!

Where is thy place of heavenly rest?
Seest thou thy lover lowly laid ?

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?

Jesus Christ, thou amiablest of characters! I trust thou art no impostor, and that thy revelation of blissful scenes of existence beyond death and the grave, is not one of the many impositions, which time after time have been palmed on credulous mankind. I trust that in thee “ shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” by being yet connected together in a better world, where every tie that bound heart to heart, in this state of existence, shall be, far beyond our present conceptions, more endearing.

I am a good deal inclined to think with those who maintain, that what are called nervous affec tions are in fact diseases of the mind. I cannot reason, I cannot think; and but to you I would not venture to write any thing above an order to a cobler. You have felt too much of the ills of life not to sympathize with a diseased wretch, who is impaired more than half of any faculties he possessed. Your goodness will excuse this distracted scrawl, which the writer dare scarcely read, and which he would throw into the fire, were he able to write any thing better, or indeed any thing at all.

Rumour told me something of a son of yours, who was returned from the East or West Indies. If you have gotten news of James or Anthony, it was cruel in you not to let me know; as I promise you, on the sincerity of a man, who is weary of

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