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more than sufficient for his present demands, he de- to gather a wreath of "henbane-nettles and nighttermined to gratify a desire he had long entertained shade," of visiting some of the most interesting districts of his native country. For this purpose he left Edinburgh on the 6th of May, 1787; and after visiting various places celebrated in the rural songs of Scotland, he returned to his family in Mossgiel, where he arrived about the 8th of July. The reception he met with at home was enthusiastic; and among those who were now willing to renew his acquaintance, was the family of Jane Armour, with whom Burns was speedily reconciled. After remaining for a few days only at Mossgiel, he made a short tour to Inverary, and afterward to the highlands, whence he returned to Edinburgh, and remained there during the greater part of the winter of 1787-8, again entering freely into society and dissipation. Having settled with his publisher, in February, 1788, he was delighted to find there was a balance due to him, as the actual profit of his poems, of nearly 5007. At this juncture, he was confined to the house "with a bruised limb, extended on a cushion ;" but as soon as he was able to bear the journey, he rode to Mossgiel, advanced his brother Gilbert (who was struggling with many difficulties) the sum of 2007., married Jane Armour, and, with the remainder of his capital, took the farm of Elliesland, on the banks of the Nith, six miles above Dumfries.

-To twine The illustrious brow of Scotch nobility," poor Burns was necessarily brought into contact with low associates, and intemperance soon became his tyrant. Unable to reconcile the two occupations, his farm was in a great measure abandoned to his servants, and agriculture but seldom occupied his thoughts. Meantime, there were seldom wanting persons to lead him to a tavern; to applaud the sallies of his wit; and to witness at once the strength and degradation of his genius. The consequences may be easily imagined: at the expiration of about three years, he was compelled to relinquish his lease, and to rely upon his income of 701. per annum, as an exciseman, till he should obtain promotion. With this intention, he removed to a small house in Dumfries, about the end of the year 1791. In 1792, he contributed to Thomson's collection of Scottish songs; and, about the same time, formed a sort of book society in his neighbourhood. In the mean time, he appears to have given offence to the board of excise, by some intemperate conduct and expressions relative to the French revolution, particularly in attempting to send a captured smuggler as a present to the French convention; and an inquiry was in consequence instituted into his conduct. The result was, upon the whole, favourable; but an impression, injurious to Burns, was still left upon the minds of the commissioners, and he was told that his promotion, which was deferred, must depend on his future behaviour. This seems to have mortified him keenly, and to have made him feel his dependent situation as a degradation to his future fame. "Often," he says, in a letter to a gentleman, giving an account of the above circumstances, “in

A short time previously to this, it should be mentioned, that Burns had obtained, through a friend, an appointment in the excise; but with no intention of making use of his commission except on some reverse of fortune. He now took possession of his farm; but as the house required rebuilding, Mrs. Burns could not, for some time, remove thither, a circumstance peculiarly unfortunate, as it caused him to lead a very irregular and unsettled life. The determination, which he had formed, of aban-blasting anticipation, have I listened to some future doning his dissipated pursuits was broken in upon, and his industry was frequently interrupted by visiting his family in Ayrshire. As the distance was too great for a single day's journey, he generally spent a night at an inn on the road, and on such occasions, falling into company, all his resolutions were forgotten. Temptation also awaited him nearer home he was received at the tables of the neighbouring gentry with kindness and respect, and these social parties too often seduced him from the labours of his farm, and his domestic duties, in which the happiness and welfare of his family were now involved. Mrs. Burns joined her husband at Elliesland, in November, 1788; and as she had, during the autumn, lain-in of twins, they had now five children-four boys and a girl. On this occasion, Burns resumed, at times, the occupation of a labourer, and found neither his strength nor his skill impaired. Sentiments of independence cheered his mind, pictures of domestic content and peace rose on his imagination, and a few "golden days" passed away, the happiest, perhaps, which he had ever experienced. But these were not long to last: the farming speculation was soon looked on with despondence, and neglected; and the excise became the only resource. In this capacity, in reference to which beggarly provision for their bard, Mr. Coleridge indignantly calls upon his friend Lamb,

hackney scribbler, with heavy malice of savage stupidity, exultingly asserting that Burns, notwithstanding the fanfaronade of independence to be found in his works, and after having been held up to public view and to public estimation as a man of some genius, yet quite destitute of resources within himself to support his borrowed dignity, dwindled into a paltry exciseman; and slunk out the rest of his insignificant existence in the meanest of pursuits, and among the lowest of mankind."

It seems, however, that the board of excise did not altogether neglect Burns, who was, the year previous to his death, permitted to act as a supervisor. From October, 1795, to the January following, illness confined him to his house; but, going out a few days after, he imprudently dined at a tavern, and returned home about three o'clock in a very cold morning, benumbed and intoxicated. This occasioned a severe relapse, and he soon himself became sensible that his constitution was sinking, and his death approaching. He, however, repaired to Brow, in Annandale, to try the effects of sea-bathing; which, though it relieved his rheumatic pains, was succeeded by a fresh accession of fever, and he was brought back to his own house in Dumfries, on the 18th of July, 1796. He remained for three days in a state of feebleness, accompanied by occasional delirium, and expired on the 21st of

A nod, accompanied by a significant movement of the forefinger, brought Kate to the doorway or trance, and I was near enough to hear the following words distinctly uttered :- Kate, are ye mad? D'ye no ken that the supervisor and me will be in upon you in the course of forty minutes? Guid-by to ye at

July, in the thirty-eighth year of his age. He was interred, with military honours, by the Dumfries volunteers, to which body he belonged, and his remains were followed to the grave by nearly ten thousand spectators. He left a widow and four sons, for whom the inhabitants of Dumfries opened a subscription, which, in itself considerable, was aug-present.' Burns was in the street, and in the midst mented by the profits of the edition of his works, in four volumes, octavo, published in 1800, by Dr. Currie, with a life of the poet.

Burns was within two inches of six feet in height, with a robust, yet agile frame; a finely formed face, and an uncommonly interesting countenance. His well-raised forehead indicated great intellect, and his eyes are described as having been large, dark, and full of ardour and animation. His conversation was rich in wit and humour, and occasionally displayed profound thought, and reflections equally serious and sensible; for no one possessed a finer discrimination between right and wrong. Though his moral aberrations, for which he felt the keenest remorse, have been exaggerated, the latter years of his life were undoubtedly disgraceful, both to the man and to the poet; yet, amid his career of intemperance, he preserved a warmth and generosity of heart, and an independence of mind not less surprising or peculiar than his genius.

of the crowd in an instant; and I had reason to know that his friendly hint was not neglected. It saved a poor widow woman from a fine of several pounds."-Though totally free from presumption, in the presence of the superior circles of society to which he was admitted, he did not hesitate to express his opinions strongly and boldly. A certain well-known provincial bore, as Mr. Lockhart describes him, having left a tavern-party, of which Burns was one, he, the bard, immediately demanded a bumper, and, addressing himself to the chair, said, "I give you the health, gentlemen all, of the waiter that called my Lord -out of the room." He was no mean extemporizer; and the following verse is said to have been introduced by him, in a song, in allusion to one of the company who had been boasting, somewhat preposterously, of his aristocratic acquaintances:

"Of lordly acquaintance you boast,

And the dukes that you dined wi' yestreen,
Yet an insect's an insect at most,
Though it crawl on the curl of a queen."

Mr. Lockhart, in his life of Burns, gives several instances, which show that "he shrunk with horror and loathing from all sense of pecuniary obligation, no matter to whom." In answer to a letter from The poetry of Burns, who has acquired almost equal Mr. Thomson, enclosing him 51. for some of his songs, fame by his prose, is now too universally acknowhe says, "I assure you, my dear sir, that you truly ledged and appreciated, to require further analysis hurt me with your pecuniary parcel. It degrades or criticism. "Fight, who will, about words and me in my own eyes. However, to return it would forms," says Byron, "Burns's rank is in the first savour of affectation; but, as to any more traffic of class of his art ;" but, as Mr. Lockhart observes, that debtor and creditor kind, I swear, by that honour" to accumulate all that has been said of Burns, which crowns the upright statue of Robert Burns's even by men like himself, of the first order, would integrity on the least motion of it, I will indig-fill a volume." We shall conclude, therefore, with nantly spurn the by-past transaction, and from that an observation of Mr. Campbell, that "viewing moment commence entire stranger to you."-The him merely as a poet, there is scarcely another following anecdote is told of him in his character of regret connected with his name, than that his proexciseman, by a writer in the Edinburgh Literary ductions, with all their merit, fall short of the talents Journal, who saw him at Thornhill fair. "An in- which he possessed." formation," he says, "had been lodged against a poor widow woman, of the name of Kate Wilson, who had ventured to serve a few of her old country friends with a draught of unlicensed ale, and a lacing of whisky, on this village jubilee. I saw him enter her door, and anticipated nothing short of an immediate seizure of a certain gray beard and barrel, which, to my personal knowledge, contained the contraband commodities our bard was in quest of.

Burns's character is, upon the whole, honestly drawn by his own pen, in the serio-comic epitaph, written on himself, concluding with the following verse :

"Reader, attend-whether thy soul

Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole,
Or darkling grubs this earthly hole,
In low pursuit ;
Know, prudent, cautious self-control,
Is wisdom's root."



'Twas in that place o' Scotland's isle, That bears the name o' Auld King coil, Upon a bonnie day in June,

When wearing through the afternoon, Twa dogs that were na thrang at hame, Forgather'd ance upon a time.

The first I'll name, they ca'd him Cæsar, Was keepit for his honour's pleasure: His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs, Show'd he was nane o' Scotland's dogs; But whalpit some place far abroad, Where sailors gang to fish for cod.

His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar, Show'd him the gentleman and scholar; But though he was o' high degree, The fient a pride, na pride had he; But wad hae spent an hour caressin, E'en wi' a tinkler-gypsey's messin. At kirk or market, mill or smiddie, Nae tawted tyke, though e'er sae duddie, But he wad stawn't, as glad to see him, And stroan't on stanes an' hillocks wi' him.

The tither was a ploughman's collie, A rhyming, ranting, raving billie, Wha for his friend an' comrade had him, And in his freaks had Luath ca'd him, After some dog in Highland sang,* Was made lang syne-Lord knows how lang.

He was a gash an' faithfu' tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face,
Aye gat him friends in ilka place.

His breast was white, his towzie back
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black;
His gawcie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung o'er his hurdies wi' a swurl.

Nae doubt but they were fain o' ither, An' unco pack an' thick thegither; Wi' social nose whyles snuff'd and snowkit, Whyles mice an' moudieworts they howkit; Whyles scour'd awa' in lang excursion, An' worry'd ither in diversion; Until wi' daffin weary grown, Upon a knowe they sat them down, And there began a lang digression About the lords o' the creation.


I've aften wonder'd, honest Luath What sort o' life poor dogs like you have; An' when the gentry's life I saw What way poor bodies liv'd ava.

Our laird gets in his racked rents, His coals, his kain, and a' his stents;

Cuchullin's dog in Ossian's Fingal.

He rises when he likes himsel;
His flunkies answer at the bell;

He ca's his coach, he ca's his horse;
He draws a bonnie silken purse

As lang's my tail, whare, through the steeks,
The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks."

Frae morn to e'en it's naught but toiling, At baking, roasting, frying, boiling; An' though the gentry first are stechin, Yet e'en the ha' folk fill their pechan Wi' sauce, ragouts, and sicklike trashtrie, That's little short o' downright wastrie. Our whipper-in, wee blastit wonner, Poor worthless elf, it eats a dinner, Better than ony tenant man

His honour has in a' the lan':

An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in,

I own it's past my comprehension.


Trowth, Cæsar, whyles they're fash❜t eneugh;

A cottar howkin in a sheugh,
Wi' dirty stanes biggin a dyke,
Baring a quarry, and sic like,
Himself, a wife, he thus sustains,
A smytrie o' wee duddie weans,
An' naught but his han' darg, to keep
Them right and tight in thack an' rape.

An' when they meet wi' sair disasters,
Like loss o' health, or want o' masters,
Ye maist wad think, a wee touch langer,
An' they maun starve o' cauld an' hunger;
But, how it comes, I never kenn'd yet,
They're maistly wonderfu' contented;
An' buirdly chiels, an' clever hizzies,
Are bred in sic a way as this is.


But then to see how ye're negleckit,
How huff'd, and cuff'd, and disrespeckit!
L-d, man, our gentry care as little
For delvers, ditchers, an' sic cattle;
They gang as saucy by poor fo'k,
As I wad by a stinking brock.

I've noticed on our laird's court-day,
An' mony a time my heart's been wae,
Poor tenant bodies scant o' cash,
How they maun thole a factor's snash:
He'll stamp an' threaten, curse an' swear,
He'll apprehend them, poind their gear;
While they maun staun', wi' aspect humble,
An' hear it a', an' fear an' tremble.

I see how folk live that hae riches; But surely poor folk maun be wretches?


They're nae sae wretched's ane wad think;
Though constantly on poortith's brink:
They're sae accustom'd wi' the sight,
The view o't gies them little fright.

Then chance an' fortune are sae guided,
They're aye in less or mair provided;
An' though fatigued wi' close employment,
A blink o' rest's a sweet enjoyment.

The dearest comfort o' their lives, Their grushie weans an' faithfu' wives; The prattling things are just their pride, That sweetens a' their fire side.

An' whyles twalpennie worth o' nappy Can mak the bodies unco happy; They lay aside their private cares, To mend the kirk and state affairs; They'll talk o' patronage and priests, Wi' kindling fury in their breasts, Or tell what new taxation's coming, An' ferlie at the folk in Lon'on.

As bleak-faced Hallowmass returns, They get the jovial, ranting kirns, When rural life, o' ev'ry station, Unite in common recreation; Love blinks, Wit slaps, an' social Mirth, Forgets there's care upo' the earth.

That merry day the year begins,
They bar the door on frosty winds;
The nappy reeks wi' mantling ream,
An' sheds a heart-inspiring steam;
The luntin pipe, an' sneeshin mill,
Are handed round' wi' richt guid will;
The cantie auld folks crackin crouse,
The young anes rantin through the house,-
My heart has been sae fain to see them,
That I for joy hae barkit wi' them.

Still it's owre true that ye hae said,
Sic game is now owre aften play'd.
There's monie a creditable stock,
O' decent, honest, fawsont fo'k,
Are riven out baith root and branch,
Some rascal's pridefu' greed to quench,
Wha thinks to knit himsel the faster
In favour wi' some gentle master,
Wha, aiblins, thrang a-parliamentin,
For Britain's guid his saul indentin-


Haith, lad, ye little ken about it;
For Britain's guid! guid faith! I doubt it,
Say rather, gaun as premiers lead him,
An' saying ay or no's they bid him,
At operas an' plays parading,
Mortgaging, gambling, masquerading;
Or may be, in a frolic daft,

To Hague or Calais takes a waft,
To make a tour, an' tak a whirl,
To learn bon ton, an' see the warl'.

There, at Vienna or Versailles He rives his father's auld entails; Or by Madrid he takes the rout, To thrum guitars, and fecht wi' nowt; Or down Italian vista startles, Wh-re-hunting among groves o' myrtles; Then bouses drumly German water, To mak himsel look fair and fatter, An' clear the consequential sorrows, Love-gifts of carnival signoras.

For Britain's guid! for her destruction! Wi' dissipation, feud, an' faction.


Hech man! dear sirs! is that the gate They waste sae mony a braw estate! Are we sae foughten an' harass'd For gear to gang that gate at last!

O would they stay aback frae courts, An' please themsels wi' kintra sports, It wa'd for every ane be better, The laird, the tenant, and the cotter! For thae frank, rantin, ramblin billies, Fient haet o' them's ill-hearted fellows; Except for breakin o' their timmer, Or speakin lightly o' their limmer, Or shootin o' a hare or moor-cock, The ne'er a bit they're ill to poor fo❜k.

But will ye tell me, Master Cæsar, Sure great folk's life's a life o' pleasure? Nae cauld nor hunger e'er can steer them, The vera thought o't need na fear them.


L-d, man, were ye but whyles where I am, The gentles ye wad ne'er envy 'em.

It's true they need na starve or sweat,
Through winter's cauld, or simmer's heat;
They've nae sair wark to craze their banes,
An' fill auld age wi' gripes an' granes:
But human bodies are sic fools,
For a' their colleges and schools,
That when nae real ills perplex them,
They make enow themselves to vex them;
An' aye the less they hae to sturt them,
In like proportion less will hurt them.
A country fellow at the pleugh,
His acres till'd, he's right eneugh;
A kintra lassie at her wheel,
Her dizzens done, she's unco weel:
But gentlemen, an' ladies warst,
Wi' ev'ndown want o' wark are curst.
They loiter, lounging, lank, an' lazy;
Though deil haet ails them, yet uneasy;
Their days, insipid, dull, an' tasteless;
Their nights unquiet, lang, an' restless;
An' e'en their sports, their balls an' races,
Their galloping through public places.
There's sic parade, sic pomp, an' art,
The joy can scarcely reach the heart.
The men cast out in party matches,
Then sowther a' in deep debauches;
Ae night they're mad wi' drink an' wh-ring,
Niest day their life is past enduring.
The ladies arm-in-arm in clusters,
As great and gracious a' as sisters;
But hear their absent thoughts o' ither,
They're a' run deils an' jads thegither.
Whyles o'er the wee bit cup an' platie,
They sip the scandal portion pretty;
Or lee-lang nights, wi' crabbit leuks
Pore owre the devil's pictured beuks;
Stake on a chance a farmer's stackyard,
An' cheat like onie unhang'd blackguard.
There's some exception, man an' woman;
But this is gentry's life in common.

By this, the sun was out o' sight, An' darker gloaming brought the night! The bum-clock humm'd wi' lazy drone; The kye stood rowtin i' the loan; When up they gat, and shook their lugs, Rejoiced they were na men but dogs; An' each took aff his several way, Resolved to meet some ither day.


SOME books are lies frae end to end,
And some great lies were hever penn'd,
E'en ministers, they hae been kenn'd

In holy rapture,

A rousing whid, at times to vend,

And nail't wi' Scripture.

But this that I am gaun to tell,
Which lately on a night befell,
Is just as true's the deil's in h-ll

Or Dublin city: That e'er he nearer comes oursel

'S a muckle pity.

The Clachan yill had made me canty,
I was na fou, but just had plenty ;
I stacher'd whyles, but yet took tent aye
To free the ditches;
An' hillocks, stanes, an' bushes, kenn'd aye
Frae ghaists an' witches.

The rising moon began to glow'r
The distant Cumnock hills out-owre:
To count her horns, wi' a' my power,
I set mysel;
But whether she had three or four,
I cou'd na tell.
I was come round about the hill,
And toddlin down on Willie's mill,
Setting my staff wi' a' my skill,

To keep me sicker:
Though leeward whyles, against my will,
I took a bicker.

I there wi' something did forgather,
That put me in an eerie swither;
An awfu' sithe, out-owre ae showther,
Clear-dangling, hang;

A three-tae'd leister on the ither

Lay, large an' lang.

Its stature seem'd lang Scotch ells twa,

The queerest shape that e'er I saw,

For fient a wame it had ava!

And then, its shanks,

They were as thin, as sharp an' sma'

As cheeks o' branks.

"Guid-e'en," quo' I; "Friend! hae ye been mawin, When ither folk are busy sawin ?"*

It seem'd to mak a kind o' stan',

But naething spak;

At length, says I, "Friend, whare ye gaun, Will ye go back?"

* This rencounter happened in seed-time, 1785.

It spak right howe,-" My name is Death, But be na fley'd."-Quoth I, "Guid faith, Ye're may be come to stap my breath;

But tent me, billie:

I red ye weel, tak care o' skaith,

See, there's a gully!"

"Guidman," quo' he, "put up your whittle, I'm no design'd to try its mettle;

But if I did, I wad be kittle

To be mislear'd,

I wad na mind it, no, that spittle

Out-owre my beard."

"Well, weel!" says I, "a bargain be't; Come, gies your hand, an' sae we're gree't; We'll ease our shanks; an' tak a seat,

Come, gies your news;

This while ye hae been monie a gate
At monie a house.'
"Ay, ay!" quo' he, an' shook his head,
"It's e'en a lang, lang time indeed
Sin' I began to nick the thread,

An' choke the breath:
Folk maun do something for their bread,
An' sae maun Death.

"Sax thousand years are near hand fled Sin' I was to the butching bred, An' monie a scheme in vain's been laid,

To stap or scar me;

Till ane Hornbook's† ta'en up the trade,
An' faith, he'll waur me.

"Ye ken Jock Hornbook i' the Clachan,
Deil mak his king's-hood in a spleuchan!
He's grown sae well acquaint wi' Buchan‡
An' ither chaps,

That weans haud out their fingers laughin
And pouk my hips.

"See, here's a sithe, and there's a dart, They hae pierced mony a gallant heart; But Doctor Hornbook, wi' his art,

And cursed skill, Has made them baith not worth a f―t, Damn'd haet they'll kill. ""Twas but yestreen, nae further gaen, I threw a noble throw at ane; Wi' less, I'm sure, I've hundreds slain; But deil-ma-care,

It just play'd dirl on the bane,

But did nae mair.

"Hornbook was by, wi' ready art, And had sae fortified the part, That when I looked to my dart,

It was sae blunt, Fient haet o't wad hae pierced the heart Of a kail-runt.

* An epidemical fever was then raging in that country. This gentleman, Dr. Hornbook, is professionally, a brother of the sovereign order of the ferula; but, by intuition and inspiration, is at once an apothecary, surgeon, and physician.

+ Buchan's Domestic Medicine.

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