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I bad an old grand-uncle, with whom my mother lived a while in her girlish years; the good old man, for such he was, was long blind ere he died, during which time, his highest enjoyment was to sit down and cry, while my mother would sing the simple old song of The life and age of man.

It is this way of thinking, it is these melancho. ly truths, that make religion so precious to the poor, miserable children of men.-If it is a mere phantom existing only in the heated imagination of enthusiasm,

“ What truth on earth so precious as the lie !"

My idle reasonings sometimes make me a little sceptical, but the necessities of my heart always give the cold philosophisings the lie. Who looks for the heart weaned from earth; the soul affianced to her God; the correspondence fixed with heaven; the pious supplication and devout thanksgiving, constant as the vicissitudes of even and morn; who thinks to meet with these in the court, the palace, in the glare of public life? No: to find them in their precious importance and divine efficacy, we must search among the obscure recesses of disappointment, affliction, poverty, and distress.

I am sure, dear madam, you are now more than pleased with the length of my letters. I return to Ayrshire, middle of next week : and it quickens my pace to think that there will be a letter from you waiting me there, I must be here again very soon for my harvest.

No. LV.

To R. GRAHAM, of FINTRY, Esq.

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Sir,

When I had the honour of being introduced to you at Athole-house, I did not think so soon of asking a favour of you. When Lear, in Shake speare, asks old Kent why he wished to be in his service, he answers, Because you have that in your face which I could like to call master.” For some such reason, sir, do I now solicit your patronage. You know, I dare say, of an application I lately made to your board to be admitted an of ficer of excise. I have, according to form, been examined by a supervisor, and to-day I gave in his certificate, with a request for an order for instruc tions. In this affair, if I succeed, I am afraid I shall but too much need a patronizing friend. Pro. priety of conduct as a man, and fidelity and attention as an officer, I dare engage for; but with any thing like business, except manual labour, I am totally unacquainted.

I had intended to have closed my late appeare ance on the stage of life, in the character of a country farmer; but after discharging some filial and fraternal claims, I find I could only fight for existence in that miserable manner, which I have lived to see throw a venerable parent into the jaws of a jail ; whence death, the poor man's last and of ten best friend, rescued him.

I know, sir, that to need your goodness is to have a claim on it; may I therefore beg your patronage to forward me in this affair, till I be appointed to a division, where, by the help of rigid economy, I will try to support that independence so dear to my soul, but which has been too often so distant from my situation ?

When nature her great masterpiece design'd,
And fram'd her last, best work, the human mind,
Her eye intent on all the mazy plan,
She form'd of various parts the various man.

Then first she calls the useful many forth;
Plain plodding industry, and sober worth :
Thence peasants, farmers, native sons of earth,
And merchandise' whole genus take their birth:
Each prudent cit a warm existence finds,
And all mechanics' many-apron'd kinds.
Some other rarer sorts are wanted yet,
The lead and buoy are needful to the net:
The caput mortuum of gross desires,
Makes a material for mere knights and squires ;
The martial phosphorus is taught to flow,
She kneads the lumpish philosophic dough,
Then marks th’ unyielding mass with grave de-

signs,
Law, physie, politics, and deep divines :
Last, she sublimes th' Aurora of the poles,
The flashing elements of female souls.

The order'd system fair before her stood,
Nature well pleas'd pronounc'd it very good ;
But ere she gave creating labour o'er,
Half-jest, she tried one curious labour more.
Some spumy, fiery, ignis fatuus matter;
Such as the slightest breath of air might scatter;
With arch-alacrity and conscious glee
(Nature may have her whim as well as we,
Her Hogarth-art perhaps she meant to show it)
She forms the thing, and christens it-a poet :
Creature, tho' oft the prey of care and sorrow,
When blest to-day unmindful of to-morrow;
A being form'd t'amuse his graver friends,
Admir'd and prais'd-and there the homage ends :
A mortal quite unfit for fortune's strife,
Yet oft the sport of all the ills of life;
Prone to enjoy each pleasure riches give,
Yet haply wanting wherewithal to live;
Longing to wipe each tear, to heal each groan,
Yet frequent all unheeded in his own.

But honest Nature is not quite a Turk ; She laugh'd at first, then felt for her poor work. Pitying the propless climber of mankind, She cast about a standard tree to find; And, to support his helpless woodbine state, Attach'd him to the generous truly great, A title, and the only one I claim, To lay strong hold for help on bounteous Graham,

Pity the tuneful muses' hapless train, Weak, timid landmen on life's stormy main! Their hearts no selfish stern absorbent stuff, That never gives-tho' humbly takes enough; 'The little fate allows, they share as soon, Unlike-sage proverb'd wisdom's hard-wrung boon. The world were blest did bliss on them depend, Ah, that's the friendly e'er should want a friend !" Let prudence number o'er each sturdy son, Who life and wisdom at one race begun, Who feel by reason, and who give by rule, (Instinct's a brute, and sentiment a fool!) Who make poor will do wait upon I should We own they're prudent, but who feels they're

good? Ye wise ones, hence! ye

hurt the social eye! God's image rudely etch'd un base alloy! But come ye, who the godlike pleasure know, Heaven's attribute distinguish'd to bestow! Whose arms of love would grasp the human race; Come thou who giv'st with all a courtier's grace; Friend of my life, true patron of my rhymes ! Prop of my dearest hopes for future times. Why shrinks my soul, half blushing, half afraid, Backward, abash'd to ask thy friendly aid? I know my need, I know thy giving hand, I crave thy friendship at thy kind command; But there are such who court the tuneful nineHeavens, should the branded character be mine! Whose verse in manhood's pride sublimely flows, Yet vilest reptiles in their begging prose. Mark, how their lofty independent spirit Soars on the spurning wing of injur'd merit!

Seek not the proofs in private life to find ;
Pity the best of words should be but wind!
So, to heaven's gates the lark's shrill song ascends,
But groveling on the earth the carol ends.
In all the clam'rous cry of starving want,
They dun benevolence with shameless front;
Oblige them, patronize their tinsel lays,
They persecute you all your future days!
Ere my poor soul such deep damnation stain,
My horny fist assume the plough again ;
The pie-ball’d jacket let me patch once more ;
On eighteen pence a week I've liv'd before.
Though, thanks to heaven, I dare even that last -

shift,
I trust meantime my boon is in thy gift :
That, plac'd by thee upon the wish'd-for height,
Where man and nature fairer in her sight,
My muse may imp her wing for some sublimer

flight*.

No. LVI.

To Mr. PETER HILL.

Mauchline, 1st October, 1788. I have been here in this country about three days, and all that time my chief reading has been the “ Address to Lochlomond," you were so obliging as to send to me. Were I impannelled one of the author's jury, to determine his criminality respecting the sin of poesy, my verdict should be “ guilty ! A poet of nature's making !" It is an ex

* This is our poet's first epistle to Graham of Fintry. It is not equal to the second, but it contains too much of the characteristic vigour of its author to be suppressed. A little more knowledge of natural history, or of chemistry, was wanted, to enable hiin to execute the original conception correctly. E.

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