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to be a Scotsman intus et in cute in all his poetry, but not more even in his Tam o' Shanter and Cotter's Saturday Night, his two longest and most elaborate compositions, than in one and all of his innumerable and inimitable songs, from Dainty Davie to Thou lingering Star ! We know, too, that the composition of songs was to him a perfect happiness that continued to the close of life--an inspiration that shot its light and its heat, it may be said, into his very grave.

To write Scottish songs to be set to Scottish music was the greatest and proudest delight Burns could enjoy on this earth. He felt that by this means his name would live for ever, where it was to him most glorious to think of it living, in the bosoms of our Scottish maidens and of “a bold peasantry, their country's pride.” To Johnson's Museum he continued to contribute to the last month of his life, and, besides writing for it some dozen of excellent original songs, his diligence in collecting ancient pieces hitherto unpublished, and his taste and skill in eking out fragments, were largely and most happily exerted all along for its benefit. The connection with the more important work of Mr. Thomson began in September, 1792, and Mr. Gray justly says, that whoever considers his correspondence with the editor, and the collection itself, must be satisfied that, from that time till the commencement of his last illness, not many days ever passed over his head without the production of some new stanzas

for its pages.



This was, indeed, a divine daily occupation for a habitual and confirmed drunkard! Shame on the stupid folly that could thus, in blindness and deafness, traduce the dying bard ! Mr. Gray was the first who, independently of every other argument, proved the impossibility of the truth of such charges by pointing to the almost daily effusions of his clear and unclouded genius. For this, and for his otherwise triumphant vindication of the character of Burns from the worst obloquy it so long lay under, Scotland ought to be grateful to James Gray.

In a letter written to that warm-hearted man, Mr. Alexander Cunningham, one of the very truest friends he ever had, towards the beginning of 1794, something more than a year before his death, Burns himself says, in that strong language which he sometimes used beyond the need of the occasion, but which must have meant all that met the ear

For these two months I have not been able to lift a pen. My constitution and frame were, ab origine, blasted with a deep and incurable taint of hypochondria, which poisons my existence. Of late a number of domestic vexations, and some pecuniary share in the ruin of these

times—losses which, though trifling, were yet what I could ill bear_have so irritated me, that my feelings at times could only be envied by a reprobate spirit listening to the sentence that dooms it to perdition.

With language of this kind there may be many who, at the same time that they entertain all kindly feelings towards the memory of Burns, will be unable to sympathise. But the same letter does contain sentiments and opinions so nobly conceived and expressed, that we agree with all our hearts that “they who have been told that Burns was ever a degraded being, who have permitted themselves to believe that his only consolations were those ‘of the opiate guilt applies to grief,' will do well to pause over it and judge for themselves.” The following passage, how beautiful-how sublime !

Still there are two great pillars that bear us up, amid the wreck of misfortune and misery. The one is composed of the different modifications of a certain noble, stubborn something in man, known by the names of courage, fortitude, magnanimity. The OTHER is made up of those feelings and sentiments, which, however the sceptic may deny, or the enthusiast disfigure them, as yet I am convinced, original and component parts of the human soul; those senses of the mind, if I may be allowed the expression, which connect us with, and link us to, those awful obscure realities—an allpowerful and equally beneficent God—and a world to come, beyond death and the grave. The first gives the nerve of combat, while a ray of hope beams on the field; the last pours the balm of comfort into the wounds which time can never cure.

I do not remember, my dear Cunningham, that you and I ever talked on the subject of religion at all. I know some who laugh at it, as the trick of the crafty FEW, to lead the undiscerning MANY; or at most as an uncertain obscurity, which mankind can never know anything of, and with which they are fools if they

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give themselves much to do. Nor would I quarrel with a man for his irreligion, any more than I would for his want of a musical ear. I would regret that he was shut out from what, to me and to others, were such superlative sources of enjoyment. It is in this point of view, and for this reason, that I will deeply imbue the mind of every child of mine with religion. If my son should happen to be a man of feeling, sentiment, and taste, I shall thus add largely to his enjoyments. Let me flatter myself that this sweet little fellow, who is just now running about my desk, will be a man of a melting, ardent, glowing heart; and an imagination, delighted with the painter, and rapt with the poet.

Let me figure him wandering out in a sweet evening, to inhale the balmy gales, and enjoy the growing luxuriance of the spring; himself the while in the blooming youth of life. He looks abroad on all nature, and through nature up to nature's God. His soul, by swift, delighted degrees, is rapt above this sublunary sphere, until he can be silent no longer, and bursts out into the glorious enthusiasm of Thomson

These, as they change, Almighty Father, these
Are but the varied God. The rolling year

Is full of Thee; and so on, in all the spirit and ardour of that charming hymn. These are no ideal pleasures; they are real delights; and I ask what of the delights among the sons of men are superior, not to say equal, to them ? And they have this precious, vast addition, that conscious virtue stamps them for her own; and lays hold on them to bring herself into the presence of a witnessing, judging, and approving God.

We shall not attempt the defence of the people of Scotland in their conduct towards Burns. Something, perhaps much, might, and some time or other ought and will, be said by us in its extenuation. But it was bad. Let England, however—we say it in love and admiration of her character—let England look to herself, and settle all accounts with herself on the score of her own neglect of native genius, before she wastes any more of her hightoned moral indignation on us for our treatment of him whom now we glory in as our greatest national poet. The gold coin of the genius of Burns at least, be it remembered, never sustained during his lifetime any depreciation. He had this to comfort him, this to glory in, to the last; and this, by the poet in his barest poverty, was doubtless often felt to be an exceeding great reward. And when he died when it was known that Burns indeed was dead

not in vain, and idle, and pompous funeral rites alone though these were paid him, and the volleying thunders pealed over his grave--not in unavailing attempts to lament his doom by touching to elegiac strains the strings of that harp which now lay mute by its master's side, did Scotland show her remorse, her penitence, her gratitude. The widow and the fatherless became the objects of general tender concern. An ample subscription was soon raised for their behoof-a new edition of his Poems, by the enlightened and benevolent Currie, while it spread wider and established more firmly his fame, added to the fund of charity-and this surely, and more than this, done at the time when there was a blessing on it, and every year since his death a most earnest and universal delight in his genius, even to passion, well entitles Scotland almost to forgive and forget her offence, to sink the past in the present, and even to pride herself on being, after all, not an ungrateful mother of such a son. To have failed in any duty she ever owed to such a son when he was alive to rejoice and benefit, along with all he loved most dearly, from the bestowal of her regard, must always be set down to the discredit and disgrace of the country. Yet thus much we will say, and only thus much, that we ought to remember that the Dead Burns is more glorious than ever was the Living. He has now gathered all his fame. Nations have honoured his genius. He sits among the Immortals. This has rarely been the lot of any living man: not of Milton-not yet of Wordsworth. Can it be that man hates to honour man, till the power in which he may have wrought miracles be extinguished or withdrawn from earth, and then, when we fear, and hate, and pine, and envy about it no more, we confess its grandeur, bow down to it, and worship it? Then it was, like ourselves, human

, -now it is divine!

Up to the day on which Burns left his farm of Ellisland (and had such rural occupation, entire and undivided, and under ordinary happy circumstances, been always his, how different might have been the whole colour and complexion of his life !) we showed, that after fairly balancing the accounts of conscience, he was so far from being bankrupt in character that no man was better entitled than he to hold up his head among the best of his fellow-beings at church or market. How stands he at his last earthly earthly audit?

With many more sing to be judged and forgiven by God at the great day—with not many more, although some, to be judged, may we dare to use the word forgiven ?-even by man during his earthly sojourn ! He had often erredsometimes grossly and grievously—and "rueful had the expiation been." But were the sins of poor Robert Burns so much 'worse than those of most other men, that it became a moral and religious duty to emblazon them for an eternal warning to human nature? Alas! his sins bore no proportion to his sorrows! Long, long before the light of heaven had ever been darkened, obscured, or eclipsed in his conscience, even for a moment, by evil thoughts or evil deeds, when the bold, bright boy, with his thick black curling hair ennobling his noble forehead, was slaving for his parents' sakemand if the blessing of God ever falls on mortal man, it must be on toils like these Robert Burns used often to lie by his brother's side all night long without ever closing an eye in sleep, for that large heart of his that loved all his eyes looked upon of nature's works, living or dead, divine as was its mechanism for the play of all lofty passions, would often get suddenly disarranged as if approached the very hour of death. Who so skilled in nature's mysteries to dare to say that many more years could have fallen to the lot of one so framed had he all life-long drank, as in youth, but of the wellwater, lain down with the dove, and risen with the lark? If excesses, in which there was much blame, did in any degree injure his health and constitution—and most probably they did so—how much more did those other excesses certainly do so, in which there was both praise and virtue -over-anxious, over-worked hours beneath the midday sun when his hot beams shot downwards like arrows, yet were faithful in that beautiful pagan poetry for a moment restored for the sake of our great pastoral, well might we

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