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confidence for a series of tales like Tam o' Shanter, overpowering feeling takes possession of the imawhich (with the elegy on Captain Matthew Hen- gination. The susceptibility of the poet inspired derson, one of the most highly finished and most him with real emotions and passion, and his genius precious of his works) was produced in his happy reproduced them with the glowing warmth and residence at Ellisland. Above two hundred songs truth of nature.

• Tam o' Shanter' is usually considered to be Burns's masterpiece: it was so considered by himself, and the judgment has been confirmed by Campbell, Wilson, Montgomery, and almost every critic. It displays more various powers than any of his other productions, beginning with low comic humour and Bacchanalian revelry (the dramatic scene at the commencement is unique, even in Burns), and ranging through the various styles of the descriptive, the terrible, the supernatural, and the ludicrous. The originality of some of the phrases and sentiments, as

Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious

O'er a' the ills of life victorious ! the felicity of some of the similes, and the elastic force and springiness of the versification, must also be considered as aiding in the effect. The poem reads as if it were composed in one transport of inspiration, before the bard had time to cool or to slacken in his fervour; and such we know was actually the case. Next to this inimitable . tale of truth' in originality, and in happy grouping of images, both familiar and awful, we should be disposed to rank the Address to the Deil

. The poet adopted the common superstitions of the peasantry as to the attributes of Satan; but though his Address

is mainly ludicrous, he intersperses passages of the Burns's House, Dumfries.

highest beauty, and blends a feeling of tenderness

and compunction with his objurgation of the Evil were, however, thrown off by Burns in his latter One. The effect of contrast was never more happily years, and they embraced poetry of all kinds. Mr displayed than in the conception of such a being Moore became a writer of lyrics, as he informs his straying in lonely glens and rustling among treesreaders, that he might express what music conveyed in the familiarity of sly humour with which the to himself. Burns had little or no technical know- poet lectures so awful and mysterious a personage ledge of music. Whatever pleasure he derived from (who had, as he says, almost overturned the infant it, was the result of personal associations, the words world, and ruined all); and in that strange and into which airs were adapted, or the locality with imitable outbreak of sympathy in which a hope is which they were connected. His whole soul, how. expressed for the salvation, and pity for the fate, ever, was full of the finest harmony. So quick and even of Satan himselfgenial were his sympathies, that he was easily stirred into lyrical melody by whatever was good and beau

But fare you weel, auld Nickie-ben! tiful in nature. Not a bird sang in a bush, nor a

Oh! wad ye tak a thought and men'! burn glanced in the sun, but it was eloquence and

Ye aiblins might—1 dinna kenmusic to his ear. He fell in love with every fine

Still hae a stake ; female face he saw; and thus kindled up, his feel

I'm wae to think upo' yon den, ings took the shape of song, and the words fell as

Even for your sake! naturally into their places as if prompted by the The Jolly Beggars is another strikingly original most perfect knowledge of music. T'he inward production. It is the most dramatic of his works, melody needed no artificial accompaniment. An and the characters are all finely sustained. Of the attempt at a longer poem would have chilled his Cotter's Saturday Night, the Mountain Daisy, or the ardour ; but a song embodying some one leading Mouse's Nest, it would be idle to attempt any idea, some burst of passion, love, patriotism, or eulogy. In these Burns is seen in his fairest colours humour, was exactly suited to the impulsive nature -not with all his strength, but in his happiest and of Burns's genius, and to his situation and circum- most heartfelt inspiration-his brightest sunshine stances. His command of language and imagery, and his tenderest tears. The workmanship of these always the most appropriate, musical, and graceful, leading poems is equal to the value of the materials. was a greater marvel than the creations of a Handel The peculiar dialect of Burns being a composite of or Mozart. The Scottish poet, however, knew many Scotch and English, which he varied at will (the old airs-still more old balads; and a few bars of Scotch being generally reserved for the comic and the music, or a line of the words, served as a key- tender, and the English for the serious and lofty), note to his suggestive fancy. He improved nearly his diction is remarkably rich and copious. No poet all he touched. The arch humour, gaiety, sim- is more picturesque in expression. This was the plicity, and genuine feeling of his original songs, result equally of accurate observation, careful study, will be felt as long as .rivers roll and woods are and strong feeling. His energy and truth stamp the green.' They breathe the natural character and highest value on his writings. He is as literal as spirit of the country, and must be coeval with it in Cowper. The banks of the Doon are described as existence. Wherever the words are chanted, a pic faithfully as those of the Ouse; and his views of ture is presented to the mind; and whether the tone human life and manners are as real and as finely be plaintive and sad, or joyous and exciting, one moralised. His range of subjects, however, was




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infinitely more diversified, including a varied and Then never murmur nor repine ;
romantic landscape, the customs and superstitions Strive in thy humble sphere to shine;
of his country, the delights of good fellowship and And trust me, not Potosi's mine,
boon society, the aspirations of youthful ambition,

Nor king's regard,
and, above all, the emotions of love, which he de- Can give a bliss o'ermatching thine,
picted with such mingled fervour and delicacy.

A rustic bard. This ecstacy of passion was unknown to the author of the Task. Nor could the latter have conceived

To give my counsels all in oneanything so truly poetical as the image of Coila,

Thy tuneful flame still careful fan;

Preserve the dignity of man, the tutelar genius and inspirer of the peasant youth

With soul erect; in his clay-built hut, where his heart and fancy overflowed with love and poetry. Cowper read and

And trust, the universal plan

Will all protect. appreciated Burns, and we can picture his astonishment and delight on perusing such strains as Coila's

And wear thou this?—she solemn said, address :

And bound the holly round my head : . With future hope I oft would gaze

The polished leaves, and berries red, Fond on thy little early ways,

Did rustling play;

And, like a passing thought, she fled
Thy rudely carolled, chiming phrase,

In light away.
In uncouth rhymes,
Fired at the simple, artless lays,

Burns never could have improved upon the grace
Of other times.

and tenderness of this romantic vision---the finest I saw thee seek the sounding shore,

revelation ever made of the hope and ambition of a

youthful poet. Delighted with the dashing roar;

Greater strength, however, he unOr when the north his fleecy store

doubtedly acquired with the experience of manhood. Drove through the sky,

His Tam o' Shanter, and Bruce's Address, are the I saw grim nature's visage hoar

result of matured powers; and his songs evince a Strike thy young eye.

conscious mastery of the art and materials of com

position. His Vision of Liberty at Lincluden is a Or when the deep green-mantled earth

great and splendid fragment. The reflective spirit Warm cherished every flowret's birth,

evinced in his early epistles is found, in his Lines And joy and music pouring forth

Written in Friars' Carse Hermitage, to have settled In every grove,

into a deep vein of moral philosophy, clear and I saw thee eye the general mirth

true as the lines of Swift, and informed with a With boundless love.

higher wisdom. It cannot be said that Burns abso

| lutely fails in any kind of composition, except in his When ripened fields and azure skies,

epigrams; these are coarse without being pointed Called forth the reapers' rustling noise,

or entertaining. Nature, which had lavished on him I saw thee leave their evening joys,

such powers of humour, denied him wit. And lonely stalk,

In reviewing the intellectual career of the poet, To rent thy bosom's swelling rise

his correspondence must not be overlooked. His In pensive walk.

prose style was more ambitious than that of his When youthful love, warm-blushing, strong,

poetry. In the latter he followed the dictates of Keen-shivering shot thy nerves along,

nature, warm from the heart, whereas in his letters Those accents, grateful to thy tongue,

he aimed at being sentimental, peculiar, and striking; The adored Name,

and simplicity was sometimes sacrificed for effect. I taught thee how to pour in song,

As Johnson considered conversation to be an intel. To soothe thy flame.

lectual arena, wherein every man was bound to do

his best, Burns seems to have regarded letter-writing I saw thy pulse's maddening play,

in much the same light, and to have considered it Wild send thee pleasure's devious way,

necessary at times to display all his acquisitions to Misled by Fancy's meteor-ray,

amuse, gratify, or astonish his patronising correBy passion driven;

spondents. Considerable deductions must, therefore, But yet the light that led astray

be made from his published correspondence, whether Was light from Heaven.

regarded as an index to his feelings and situation,

or as models of the epistolary style. In subject, he ! I taught thy manners-painting strains,

adapted himself too much to the character and tastes The loves, the ways of simple swains,

of the person he was addressing, and in style, he was Till now, o'er all my wide domains

led away by a love of display. A tinge of pedantry Thy fame extends;

and assumption, and of reckless bravado, was thus And some, the pride of Coila's plains,

at times superinduced upon the manly and thoughtBecome thy friends.

ful simplicity of his natural character, which sits as Thou canst not learn, nor can I show,

awkwardly upon it as the intrusion of Jore or To paint with Thomson's landscape glow;

Danaë into the rural songs of Allan Ramsay.* Or wake the bosom-melting throe, With Shenstone's art;

* The scraps of French in his letters to Dr Moore, Bir Or pour, with Gray, the moving flow

Riddell, &c. have an unpleasant effect. •If he had an affectsWarm on the heart.

tion in anything,' says Dugald Stewart, it was in introducing

occasionally (in conversation] a word or phrase from that Yet, all beneath the unrivalled rose,

language.' Campbell makes a similar statement, and relates The lowly daisy sweetly blows;

the following anecdote :- One of his friends, who carried him |

into the company of a French lady, remarked, with surprise, Though large the forest's monarch throws

that he attempted to converse with her in her own tongue, His army shade,

Their French, however, was mutually unintelligible. As far Yet green the juicy hawthorn grows

as Burns could make himself understood, he unfortunately Adown the glade. offended the foreign lady. He meant to tell her that she was a



Burns's letters, however, are valuable as memorials Spectator- the Vision of Mirza-a piece that struck of his temperament and genius. He was often dis- my young fancy before I was capable of fixing an tinct, forcible, and happy in expression-rich in idea to a word of three syllables : “ On the 5th day sallies of imagination and poetical feeling—at times of the moon, which, according to the custom of my deeply pathetic and impressive. He lifts the veil forefathers, I always keep holy, after having washed from the miseries of his latter days with a hand myself, and offered up my morning devotions, I struggling betwixt pride and a broken spirit. His ascended the high hill of Bagdat, in order to pass autobiography, addressed to Dr Moore, written when the rest of the day in meditation and prayer.” his mind was salient and vigorous, is as remarkable We know nothing, or next to nothing, of the for its literary talent as for its modest independence substance or structure of our souls, so cannot acand clear judgment; and the letters to Mrs Dunlop count for those seeming caprices in them, that one (in whom he had entire confidence, and whose lady- should be particularly pleased with this thing, or like manners and high principle rebuked his wilder struck with that, which, on minds of a different spirit) are all characterised by sincerity and ele- cast, makes no extraordinary impression. I have gance. One beautiful letter to this lady we are some favourite flowers in spring, among which are tempted to copy: it is poetical in the highest degree, the mountain-daisy, the harebell, the foxglove, the and touches with exquisite taste on the mysterious wild-brier rose, the budding birch, and the boary union between external nature and the sympathies hawthorn, that I view and hang over with partiand emotions of the human frame:

cular delight. I never hear the loud, solitary whistle

of the curlew in a summer noon, or the wild mixing ELLISLAND, New-Year-Day Morning, 1789.

cadence of a troop of gray plovers in an autumnal This, dear madam, is a morning of wishes, and morning, without feeling an elevation of soul like would to God that I came under the apostle James's the enthusiasm of devotion or poetry. Tell me, my description!--the prayer of a righteous man availeth dear friend, to what can this be owing? Are we a much." In that case, madam, you should welcome piece of machinery, which, like the Æolian harp, in a year full of blessings : everything that obstructs passive, takes the impression of the passing accior disturbs tranquillity and self enjoyment should dent? Or do these workings argue something be removed, and every pleasure that frail humanity within us above the trodden clod? I own myself can taste should be yours. I own myself so little a partial to such proofs of those awful and important Presbyterian, that I approve of set times and sea- realities a God that made all things-man's immasons of more than ordinary acts of devotion, for terial and immortal nature, and a world of weal or breaking in on that habituated routine of life and wo beyond death and the grave.' thought which is so apt to reduce our existence to

To the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, a kind of instinct, or even sometimes, and with Burns seems to have clung with fond tenacity: it some minds, to a state very little better than mere survived the wreck or confusion of his early immachinery.

pressions, and formed the strongest and most soothThis day, the first Sunday of May, a breezy, ing of his beliefs. In other respects his creed was blue-skied noon some time about the beginning, and chiefly practical. • Whatever mitigates the woes, a hoary morning and calm sunny day about the end or increases the happiness of others," he says, 'this of autumn; these, time out of mind, have been with is my criterion of goodness ; and whatever injures me a kind of holiday.

society at large, or any individual in it, this is my I believe I owe this to that glorious paper in the reason of iniquity. The same feeling he had excharming person, and delightful in conversation, but expressed pressed in one of his early poemshimself so as to appear to her to mean that she was fond of But deep this truth impressed my mind, speaking: to which the Gallic dame indignantly replied, that it

Through all his works abroad, was quite as common for poets to be impertinent as for women

The heart benevolent and kind to be loquacious.' The friend who introduced Burns on this

The most resembles God. occasion (and who herself related the anecdote to Mr Campbell) was Miss Margaret Chalmers, afterwards Mrs Lewis Conjectures have been idly formed as to the probable Hay, who died in 1843. The wonder is, that the dissipated effect which education would have had on the mind aristocracy of the Caledonian Hunt, and the buckish trades of Burns. We may as well speculate on the change men of Edinburgh,' left any part of the original plainness and which might be wrought by the engineer, the simplicity of his manners. Yet his learned friends saw no planter, and agriculturist, in assimilating the wild change in the proud self-sustained and self-measuring poet. He kept his ground, and he asked no more. A somewhat wish (if it were possible), by successive graftings.

scenery of Scotland to that of England. Who would clearer knowledge of men's affairs, scarcely of their charac- to make the birch or the pine approximate to the ters,' says the quaint but true and searching Thomas Carlyle, oak or the elm ? Nature is various in all her works,

this winter in Edinburgh did afford him; but a sharper foel- and has diversified genius as much as she has done
ing of Fortune's unequal arrangements in their social destiny her plants and trees.
He had seen the gay and gorgeous

In Burns we have a genuine arena, in which the powerful are born to play their parts; Scottish poet: why should we wish to mar the nay, had himself stood in the midst of it; and he felt more beautiful order and variety of nature by making bitterly than ever that here he was but a looker-on, and had him a Dryden or a Gray? Education could not no part or lot in that splendid game. From this time a jealous have improved Burns's songs, his Tam o' Shanter, indignant fear of social degradation takes possession of him; or any other of his great poems. He would never and perverts, so far as aught could pervert, his private con- have written them but for his situation and feelings tentment, and his feelings towards his richer fellows. It was

as a peasant--and could he have written anything clear to Burns that he had talent enough to make a fortune, better? The whole of that world of passion and or a hundred fortunes, could he but have rightly willed this beauty which he has laid open to us might have It was clear also that he willed something far different, and been hid for ever; and the genius which was so well therefore could not make one. Unhappy it was that he had and worthily employed in embellishing rustic life, not power to choose the one and reject the other, but must halt for ever between two opinions, two objects ; making ham- and adding new interest and glory to his country, pered advancement towards either. But so it is with many

would only have swelled the long procession of Enginen : “ we long for the merchandise, yet would fain keep the lish poets, stript of his originality, and bearing, price ;" and so stand chaffering with Fate, in vexatious alter though proudly, the ensign of conquest and subcation, till the night come, and our fair is over!



it also left with him.

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[From Burns's Epistles.] We'll sing auld Coila's plains and fells, Her moors red-brown wi' heather bells, Her banks and braes, her dens and dells,

Where glorious Wallace
Aft bure the gree, as story tells,

Frae southron billies.
At Wallace' name what Scottish blood
But boils up in a spring-tide flood !
Oft have our fearless fathers strode

By Wallace' side,
Still pressing onward, red-wat shod,

Or glorious died !
Oh sweet are Coila's haughs and woods,
When lintwhites chant amang the buds,
And jinkin' hares in amorous whids,

Their loves enjoy,
While through the braes the cushat croods

With wailfu' cry!
Even winter bleak has charms to me
When winds rave through the naked tree;
Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree

Are hoary gray:
Or blinding drifts wild furious flee,

Darkening the day!
Oh nature ! a' thy shows and forms
To feeling, pensive hearts hae charms !
Whether the summer kindly warms,

Wi’ life and light,
Or winter howls in gusty storms

The lang, dark night!
The Muse, nae poet ever fand her,
Till by himsel he learned to wander,
Adown some trotting burn's meander,

And no think lang;
Oh sweet, to stray and pensive ponder

A heart-felt sang!
Then farewell hopes o’laurel-boughs,
To garland my poetic brows!
Henceforth l’il rove where busy ploughs

Are whistling thrang,
And teach the lanely heights and howes

My rustic sang.
I'll wander on, with tentless heed
How never-halting moments speed,
Till fate shall snap the brittle thread;

Then, all unknown,
I'll lay me with the inglorious dead,

Forgot and gone!
But why o' death begin a tale?
Just now we're living sound and hale,
Then top and maintop crowd the sail,

Heave care o’er side!
And large before enjoyment’s gale,

Let's tak the tide.
This life, sae far's I understand,
Is a' enchanted fairy land,
Where pleasure is the magic wand,

That, wielded right,
Maks hours like minutes, hand in hand,

Dance by fu’ light.
The magic wand then let us wield;
For, ance that five-and-forty's speeled,
See, crazy, weary, joyless eild,

Wi’ wrinkled face,
Comes hostin', hirplin' owre the field,

Wi' creepin' pace.

To a Mountain Daisy,
On turning one down with the plough in April 1786.
Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flower,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure

Thy slender stem :
To spare thee now is past my power,

Thou bonnie gem.
Alas! it's no thy neibor sweet,
The bonnie lark, companion meet,
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet!

Wi' speckled breast,
When upward-springing, blithe, to greet

The purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth ;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth

Amid the storm,
Scarce reared above the parent earth

Thy tender form.
The flaunting flowers our gardens yield,
High sheltering woods and wa’s maun shield:
But thou, beneath the random bield

O'clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble-field,

Unseen, alane.
There in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie bosom sun-ward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head

In humble guise ;
But now the share uptears thy bed,

And low thou lies !
Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet flowret of the rural shade!
By love's simplicity betrayed,

And guileless trust,
Till she, like thee, all soiled, is laid

Low i' the dust.
Such is the fate of simple bard,
On life's rough ocean luckless starred!
Unskilful he to note the card

Of prudent lore,
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,

And whelm him o'er!
Such fate to suffering worth is given,
Who long with wants and woes has striven,
By human pride or cunning driven

To misery's brink,
Till wrenched of every stay but Heaven,
He, ruined, sink!

Even thou who mourn'st the daisy's fate, That fate is thine--no distant date; Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives, elate,

Full on thy bloom, Till crushed beneath the furrow's weight,

Shall be thy doom.

On Captain Matthew Henderson.
A gentleman who held the patent for his honours immediately

from Almighty God.
• Should the poor be flattered ?:-Shakspeare.

But now his radiant course is run,

For Matthew's course was bright;
His soul was like the glorious sun,

A matchless heavenly light!
Oh Death! thou tyrant fell and bloody!
The meikle devil wi’ a woodie
Haurl thee hame to his black smiddie,

O'er hurcheon hides,
And like stock-fish come o'er his studdie

Wi’ thy auld sides !
He's gane! he's gane! he's frae us torn,
The ae best fellow e'er was born!
Thee, Matthew, Nature's sel' shall mourn

By wood and wild,
Where, haply, Pity strays forlorn,

Frae man exiled !
Ye hills, near neibors o'the starns,
That proudly cock your cresting cairns!
Ye cliffs, the haunts of sailing yearns,

Where echo slumbers !
Come join, ye Nature's sturdiest bairns,

My wailing numbers!
Mourn, ilka grove the cushat kens!
Ye hazelly shaws and briery dens!
Ye burnies, wimpling down your glens

Wi’ toddlin' din,
Or foaming strang, wi' hasty stens,

Frae lin to lin!
Mourn, little harebells o'er the lea;
Ye stately foxgloves fair to see ;
Ye woodbines hanging bonnilie

In scented bowers;
Ye roses on your thorny tree,

The first o' flowers.
At dawn, when every grassy blade
Droops with a diamond at its head,
At even, when beans their fragrance shed

l'the rustling gale,
Ye maukins whiddin through the glade,

Come join my wail.
Mourn, ye wee songsters o'the wood;
Ye grouse that crap the heather bud;
Ye curlews calling through a clud;

Ye whistling plover ;
And mourn, ye whirring paitrick brood !

He's gane for ever!
Mourn, sooty coots, and speckled teals,
Ye fisher herons, watching eels;
Ye duck and drake, wi' airy wheels

Circling the lake ;
Ye bitterns, till the quagmire reels,

Rair for his sake.
Mourn, clamering craiks at close o' day,
'Mang fields o' flowering clover gay ;
And when ye wing your annual way

Frae our cauld shore,
Tell thae far worlds wha lies in clay

Wham we deplore.

Ye houlets, frae your ivy bower,
In some auld tree, or eldritch tower,
What time the moon, wi' silent glower

Sets up her horn,
Wail through the dreary midnight hour

Till waukrife morn!
Oh, rivers, forests, hills, and plains!
Oft have ye heard my canty strains :
But now, what else for me remains

But tales of wo?
And frae my een the drapping rains

Maun ever flow.
Mourn, spring, thou darling of the year,
Ilk cowslip cup shall kep a tear:
Thou, simmer, while each corny spear

Shoots up its head,
Thy gay, green, flowery tresses shear

For him that's dead.
Thou, autumn, wi' thy yellow hair,
In grief thy sallow mantle tear!
Thou, winter, hurling through the air

The roaring blast,
Wide o'er the naked world declare

The worth we've lost ! Mourn him, thou sun, great source of light! Mourn, empress of the silent night! And you, ye twinkling starnies bright,

My Matthew mourn ! For through your orb he's ta’en his flight,

Ne'er to return. Oh, Henderson ! the man—the brother ! And art thou gone, and gone for ever? And hast thou crossed that unknown river,

Life's dreary bound !
Like thee, where shall we find another,

The world around?
Go to your sculptured tombs, ye great,
In a' the tinsel trash o'state!
But by thy honest turf I'll wait,

Thou man of worth!
And weep the ae best fellow's fate

E’er lay in earth.


Macpherson's Farewell.
Farewell, ye dungeons dark and strong,

The wretch's destinie !
Macpherson's time will not be long
On yonder gallows-tree.
Sae rantingly, sae wantonly,

Sae dauntingly gael he;
He played a spring, and danced it round,

Below the gallows tree.
Oh, what is death but parting breath!

On many a bloody plain
I've dared his face, and in this place

I scorn him yet again!
Untie these bands from off my hands,

And bring to me my sword;
And there's no a man in all Scotland,

But I'll brave him at a word.
I've lived a life of sturt and strife;

I die by treacherie ;
It burns my heart I must depart

And not avenged be.
Now farewell light-thou sunshine bright,

And all beneath the sky!
May coward shame distain his name,
The wretch that dares not die!

1 Eagles.

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