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an unequalled display of them-how, in galloping home at night, I made a ballad on her, of which these two stanzas make a part
Thou, bonnie -, art a queen,
Thy subjects we before thee;
The hearts o' men adore thee.
The very deil he could na scathe
Whatever wad belang thee !
And say, 'I canna wrang thee.'
-behold all these things are written in the chro. nicles of my imaginations, and shall be read by thee, my dear friend, and by thy beloved spouse, my other dear friend, at a more convenient season.
Now, to thee, and to thy before-designed bosomcompanion, be given the precious things brought forth by the sun, and the precious things brought forth by the moon, and the benignest influences of the stars, and the living streams which flow from the fountains of life, and by the tree of life, for ever and ever! Amen!
To Mrs. DUNLOP.
Dumfries, 24th September, 1792. I have this moment, my dear madam, yours of the twenty-third. All your other kind reproaches, your news, &c. are out of my head when I read and think on Mrs. He's situation. Good God! a heart-wounded helpless young woman-in a strange, foreign land, and that land convulsed with every horror that can harrow the human feelings-sick-looking, longing for a comforter,
but finding none-a mother's feelings, too-but it is too much: he who wounded (he only can) may He heal* !
I wish the farmer great joy of his new acquisition to his family.
I cannot say that I give him joy of his life as a farmer. 'Tis, as a farmer paying a dear, unconscionable rent, a cursed life! As to a laird farming his own property ; sowing his own corn in hope ; and reaping it, in spite of brittle weather, in gladness; knowing that none can say unto him," what dost thou ?"-fattening his herds ; shearing his flocks ; rejoicing at Christmas ; and begetting sons and daughters, until he be the venerated, grey-haired leader of a little tribe-'tis a heavenly life! but devil take the life of reaping the fruits that another must eat.
Well, your kind wishes will be gratified, as to seeing me when I make my Ayrshire visit. I cannot leave Mrs. B-, until her nine months race is run, which may perhaps be in three or four weeks. She, too, seems determined to make me the patriarchal leader of a band. However, if heaven will be so obliging as to let me have them on the proportion of three boys to one girl, I shall be so much the more pleased. I hope, if I am spared with them, to shew a set of boys that will do honour to my cares and name ; but I am not equal to the task of rearing girls. Besides, I am too poor; a girl should always have a fortune. Apropos, your little godson is thriving charmingly, but is a very devil. He, though two years younger, has completely mastered his brother. Robert is indeed the mildest, gentlest creature I ever saw. He has a most surprising memory, and is quite the pride of his schoolmaster.
* This much lamented lady was gone to the south of France with her ipfant son, where she died soon after.
You know how readily we get into prattle upan a subject dear to our heart: you can excuse it. God bless you and yours !
To Mrs. DUNLOP.
Supposed to have been written on the death of Mrs.
H-, her daughter.
I had been from home, and did not receive your letter until my return the other day. What shall I say to comfort you, my much-valued, muchafflicted friend? I can but grieve with you ; consolation I have none to offer, except that which religion holds out to the children of afflictionchildren of affliction !-how just the expression ! and, like every other family, they have matters among them which they hear, see, and feel in a serious, all-important manner, of which the world has not, nor cares to have, any idea. The world looks indifferently on, makes the passing remark, and proceeds to the next novel occurrence.
Alas! madam, who would wish for many years ! What is it but to drag existence until our joys gradually expire, and leave us in a night of misery: like the gloom which blots out the stars one by one, from the face of night, and leaves us, without a ray of comfort, in the howling waste !
I am interrupted, and must leave off. You shall soon hear from me again.
To Mrs. DUNLOP.
Dumfries, 6th December, 1792. I shall be in Ayrshire, I think, next week; and if at all possible, I shall certainly, my much esteemed friend, have the pleasure of visiting at Dunlophouse,
Alas, madam! how seldom do we meet in this world, that we have reason to congratulate ourselves on accessions of happiness! I have not passed half the ordinary term of an old man's life, and yet I scarcely look over the obituary of a newspaper, that I do not see some names that I have known, and which I, and other acquaintances, little thought to meet with there so soon. Every other instance of the mortality of our kind, makes us cast an anxious look into the dreadful abyss of uncertainty, and shudder with apprehension for our own fate. But of how different an importance are the lives of different individuals ! Nay, of what importance is one period of the same life, more than another! A few years ago, I could have lain down in the dust, “ careless of the voice of the morning ;” and now not a few, and these most helpless individuals, would, on losing me and my exertions, lose both their “staff and shield.” By the way, these helpless ones have lately got an addition; Mrs. B-having given me a fine girl since I wrote you.
There is a charming passage in Thomson's Edward and Eleanora,
* The valiant, in himself, what can he suffer? Or what need he regard his single woes ?" &c.
As I am got in the way of quotations, I shall give you another from the same piece, peculiarly, alas ! too peculiarly apposi my dear madam, to Four present frame of mind :
“ Who so unworthy but may proudly deck him
I do not remember to have heard you mention Thomson's dramas, I pick up favourite quotations, and store them in my mind as ready armour, offensive or defensive, amid the struggle of this turbulent existence. Of these is one, a favourite one, from his Alfred.
“ Attach thee firmly to the virtuous deeds
Probably I have quoted some of these to you formerly, as indeed, when I write from the heart, I am apt to be guilty of such repetitions. The oompass of the heart, in the musical style of expression, is much more bounded than that of the imagination ; so the notes of the former are extremely apt to run into one another; but in return for the paucity of its compass, its few notes are much more sweet. I must still give you another quotation, which I am almost sure I have given you before, but I cannot resist the temptation. The subject is religion-speaking of its importance to mankind, the author says,
“'Tis this, my friend, that streaks our morning
bright." &c. as' in p. 145.
I see you are in for double postage, so I shall e'en scribble out t'other sheet. We in this country here, have many alarms of the reforming, or rather the republican spirit, of your part of the kingdom. Indeed we are a good deal in commotion ourselves. For me, I am a placeman, you know