spises, she is apt to make no more a secret of itz than where she esteems and respects.

I will not present you with the unmeaning com. pliments of the season, but I will send you my warmest wishes and most ardent prayers, that fortune may never throw your subsistence to the mer. cy of a knave, or set your character on the judge ment of a fool; but that, upright, and erect, you may walk to an honest grave, where men of letters shall say, here lies a man who did honour to science, and men of worth shall say, here lies a man who did honour to human nature.


To Mr. W. NICUL.

20th February, 1792. thou, wisest among the wise, meridian blaze of prudence, full moon of discretion, and chief of many counsellors ! How infinitely is thy puddleheaded, rattle-headed, wrong-headed, roand-headed slave indebted to thy super-eminent goodness, that from the luminous path of thy own right-lined rectitude, thou lookest benignly down on an err. ing wretch, of whom the zig-zag wanderings defy all the powers of calculation, from the simple copulation of units, up to the hidden mysteries of fuxions ! May one feeble ray of that light of wisdom which darts from thy sensorium, straight as the arrow of heaven, and bright as the meteor of inspiration, may it be my portion, so that I may be less unworthy of the face and favour of that father of proverbs and master of maxims, that an tipode of folly, and magnet among the sages, the wise and witty Willie Nicol! Ainen! Amen! Yea, so be it!

For me! I am a beast, a reptile, and know nothing From the cave of my ignorance, amid the fogs (1 my dulness, and pestilential fumes of my

political heresies, I look up to thee, as doth a toad through the iron-barred lucerne of a pestiferous dungeon, to the cloudless glory of a summer sun! Sorely sighing in bitterness of soul, I say, when shall my name be the quotation of the wise, and my countenance be the delight of the godly, like the illustrious lord of Laggan's many hills* ? As for him, his works are perfect: never did the pen of calumny blur the fair page of his reputation, nor the bolt of hatred fly at his dwelling.

Thou mirror of purity, when shall the elfine lamp of my, glimmerous understanding, purged from sensual appetites and gross desires, shine like the constellation of thy intellectual powers ?-As for thee, thy thoughts are pure, and thy lips are holy, Never did the unhallowed breath of the powers of darkness, and the pleasures of darkness, pollute the sacred flame of thy sky-descended and heavenbound desires : never did the vapours of impurity stain the unclouded serene of thy eerulean imagination. O that like thine, were the tenor of my life, like thine, the tenor of my conversation! then should no friend fear for my strength, no enemy rejoice in my weakness! Then should I lie down and rise up, and none to make me afraid.-May thy pity and thy prayer be exercised for, O thou lamp of wisdom and mirror of morality! thy des voted slavet.

* Mr. Nicol.

+ This strain of irony was excited by a letter of Mr. Nicol, containing good advice, E



3d March, 1792. Since I wrote to you the last lugubrious sheet, I have not had time to write you farther. When I say that I had not time, that, as usual, means, that the three demons, indolence, business, and ennui, have so completely shared my hours among them, as not to leave me a five minutes fragment to take up a pen in.

Thank heaven, I feel my spirits buoying upwards with the renovating year. Now I shall in good earnest take up Thomson's songs. I dare say he thinks I have used him unkindly, and I must own with too much appearance of truth. Apropos, do you know the much admired old highland air called The Sutor's Dochter? It is a firstrate favourite of mine, and I have written what I reckon one of my best songs to it. I will send it to you as it was sung with great applause in some fashionable circles by major Robertson, of Lude, who was here with his corps.

There is one commission that I must trouble you with. I lately lost a valuable seal, a present from a departed friend, which vexes me much. I have gotten one of your highland pebbles, which I fancy would make a very decent one; and I want to cut my armorial bearing on it; will you be so obliging as inquire what will be the expense of such a business? I do not know that my name is matriculated, as the heralds call it, at all; but I have invented arms for myself, so you know I shall be chief of the name; and by courtesy of Scotland, will likewise be entitled to supporters. These, however, I do not intend having on my seal.

I am a bit of a herald; and shall give you, secundum ar.

tem, my arms. On a field, azure, a holly bush, seeded, proper, in base ; a shepherd's pipe and crook, saltier-wise, also proper, in chief. On a wreath of the colours, a wood-lark perching on a

sprig of bay-tree, proper, for crest. Two mot- toes; round the top of the crest, Wood notes

wild; at the bottom of the shield, in the usual place, Better a wee bush than nae bield. By the shepherd's pipe and crook I do not mean the nonsense of painters of Arcadia ; but a stock and horn, and a club, such as you see at the head of Allan Ramsay, in Allan's quarto edition of the Gentle Shepherd. By the bye, do you know Allan ? He must be a man of very great genius.-Why is he not more known ?-Has he no patrons ? or do “ Poverty's cold wind and crushing rain beat keen and heavy" on him? I once, and but once, got a glance of that noble edition of the noblest pastoral in the world, and, dear as it was, I mean, dear as to my pocket, I would have bought it; but I was told that it was printed and engraved for subscribers only. He is the only artist who has hit genuine pastoral costume. What, my dear Cunningham, is there in riches, that they narrow and harden the heart so? I think that were I as rich as the sun, I should be as generous as the day ; but as I have no reason to imagine my soul a nobler one than any other man's, I must conclude that wealth imparts a bird-lime quality to the possessor, at which the man, in his native poverty, would have revolted. What has led me to this, is the idea of such merit as Mr. Allan possesses, and such riches as a nabob or governor contractor possesses, and why they do not form a mutual league. Let wealth shelter and cherish unprotected merit, and the gratitude and celebrity of that merit will richly repay it.



Annan Water Foot, 22d August, 1792. Do not blame me for it, madam-my own conscience, hacknied and weather-beaten as it is, in watching and reproving my vagaries, follies, indolence, &c. has continued to blame and punish me sufficiently.

Do you think it possible, my dear and honoured friend, that I could be so lost to gratitude for many favours ; to esteem for much worth, and to the honest, kind, pleasurable tie of, now, old acquaintance, and I hope and am sure of progressive increasing friendship-as, for a single day, not to think of you-to ask the Fates what they are doing and about to do with my much loved friend and her wide-scattered connexions, and to beg of them to be as kind to you and yours as they pose sibly can?

Apropos (though how it is a propos, I have not leisure to explain), do you know that I am almost in love with an acquaintance of yours ?--Almost! said I-I am in love, souse! over head and ears, deep as the most unfathomable abyss of the boundless ocean; but the word, Love, owing to the intermingledoms of the good and the bad, the pure and the impure, in this world, being rather an equivocal term for expressing one's sentiments and sensations, I must do justice to the sacred parity of my attachment. Know then, that the heart struck awe; the distant humble approach ; the delight we should have in gazing upon, and listening to a messenger of Heaven, appearing in all the unspotted purity of his celestial home, among the coarse, polluted, far inferior sons of men, to deli. ver to them tidings that make their hearts swim

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