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morning, to wait for me at Stirling. A friend has promised to send me a narrrative of such new fetes as may be given to the King. This narrative will doubtless reach us in some solitary nook in Scotland, where civilization has not yet introduced its fireworks and its transparencies.
TO MR. M. P. BOURDELON.
It was originally my wish to date my letters on Burns from Ayreshire ; but after quoting his name several times in the first part of my tour, I think myself bound to state my opinions of his poetry beforehand ; besides, it will perhaps be the means of interesting my readers more vividly in the history of his life, and that of his compositions. These I shall connect with the localities of Ayrshire, where he followed the plough, and those of Dumfries, where he was reduced to occupy a post in the excise. Thanks to the materials supplied by Doctor Currie, and to my own notes, I propose to introduce into the framework of an essay on Burns, some curious details respecting the education and manners of the Scotch people, which will serve by way of introduction to my letters on the course of study pursued at the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The genius of Burns is not solely remarkable, because he can be counted as a phenomenon of the class from whence he sprung; but this labourer "rat cle cave" is moreover a great poet, compared with the most distinguished names of English poetry. The man of the people, whose education was incomplete, betrays himself sometimes in such of his verses as want that elegant polish, that perspicuity, that refined raillery, and that delicacy which the familiarity with the world teaches much better than books; but when his subject supplied him with the inspiration natural to his genius or his humour, to his enthusiasm, or his ironical vivacity, the style of Burns, pure as it is correct, expresses alternately and with equal felicity, tenderness, and humourous joviality, as well as the most natural indignation, the most exalted sentiments, as well as epigrammatic sarcasm. Scotland is more proud of Burns than of any of her poets, and she is right to be so ; the poetry of Burns is exclusively hers. It appertains to her soil, her climate, and her manners. No model has left its impression there; all is frank and original. Let me haste to quote an instance.
The risioif. . .
c DUAN FIRST.
The sun had closed the winter day .
To kail-yards green, _'• '*
While faithless maws ilk ttep betray
Whare she has been.
The thresher's weary Jlinging-lree
Far i' the west,
I gaed to rest
There, lanely, by the ingle-cheek,
The auld clay biggin;
All in this mottie, misty clime,
An' done naething.
For fools to sing.
Had I to guid advice but harkit, I might, by this, hae led a market, Or strutted in a bank an' clarkit
My cash account: While here, half-mad, half-fed, half-sarkit,
Is a' th' amount.
I started, mutt'ring, blockhead 1 coof!
Or some rash aith,
When click! the string the snick did draw And jee the door gaed to the wa; An' by my ingle-lowe I saw,
Now bleezin bright, A tight outlandish HizxU, braw,
Come full in sight.
Ye need nae doubt, I held my whisht; The infant aith, half-form'd, was crusht; I glowr'cl as eerie** I'd been dusht
In some wild glen; When sweet, like modest worth she blusht,
And stepped ben.
Green, slender leaf-clad holly-bought Were twisted, gracefu' round her brows, I took her for some Scottish Muse,
By that same token; An' come to stop those reckless vows,
Wou'd soon been broken.
A ' hair-brain'd, sentimental trace'
Shone full upon her;
Beem'd keen with honor.
Down flow'J her robe, a tartan sheen,
Could only peer it;
Nane else came near it.
Her mantle large, of greenish hue,
A lustre grand;
A well known land.
Here, rivers in the sea were lost; There, mountains to the skies were tost: Here, tumbling billows mark'd the coast,
With surging foam; There, distant shone art's lofty boast,
The lordly dome.
Here, Doon pour'd down bis far-fetched floods; There, well-fed Irwine stately thuds: Auld hermit Ayr staw thro' his woods, On to the shore; And many a lesser torrent scuds,
With seeming roar.
Low, in a sandy valley spread,
She boasts a race,
And polish'd grace.
By stately tow'r or palace fair,
My heart did glowing transport feel.
In sturdy blows;
There southron foes.
His Country's Saviour, mark him well!
In high command;
His native land.
There, where a sceptrM Pictish shade
In colours strong;
They strode along.