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measure in Caledonia, 'The Gloomy Night is Gathering Fast,' when a letter from Dr Blacklock to a friend of mine overthrew all my schemes, by opening up new prospects to my poetic ambition." The poems were published in July 1786, and the copy which attracted the notice of Dr Blacklock was sent him, with a short account of the poet, by Dr Laurie, minister of Loudoun. Burns thus, no doubt gladly, diverted from his intended exile, made his debût in Edinburgh in November 1786, and was at once introduced to its literary and social celebrities, which at that time were both numerous and distinguished. Everywhere he maintained his proud intellectual equality, and astonished all classes by the power and originality of his conversation, and the unrestrained ease of his manners. During his stay in Edinburgh he prepared a second edition of his poems, which appeared in April 1787, dedicated to the Caledonian Hunt, and 2800 copies were subscribed for. By this edition he cleared £500, from which he advanced his brother Gilbert, who had taken charge of their aged mother, the sum of £200.
After making a tour through Scotland, north and south, he took a lease of the farm of Ellisland, in Dumfriesshire. He removed thither at Whitsunday 1788, and at the end of the year was joined by his wife, whose parents had previously consented to their union. He also became a candidate for admission as an officer of excise, and obtained an early appointment. This last was a reserve in case of the farm not succeeding. It was not long before he had to fall back upon it; for in 1791 he gave up his
farm, and went to live in Dumfries, depending solely upon his excise income of £70 a year.
In 1792, he was requested by George Thomson, of Edinburgh, to assist him with a collection of Scottish songs and music, of which he had begun the publication. Burns entered into the scheme with ardent enthusiasm, and besides collecting songs and airs wherever he could find them, contributed such a wealth of original songs as no previous poet had ever written. After his removal to Dumfries, his social habits underwent a change for the worse, and, not long after, his health began to fail. But amid all the depressions of ill health, he continued his delightful labour of song-writing and criticism, till within a short period of his death, which took place on the 21st July 1796. He was buried in the churchyard of St Michael's, in the presence of ten thousand of his mourning countrymen. A mausoleum has since been erected over his remains, and the spot is visited by the admirers of his genius from many lands.
Of no poet is it more difficult to summarise the various excellencies than of Burns; but, at the same time, of none is it less necessary to attempt any new estimate.
His character as a man and
as a poet are in the hands of everybody; and it simply remains to point out, that the selection of his poems which follow is made on the principle of illustrating the breadth and intensity of the national character of which he was so marked, so varied, and so faithful a representative. Instead of his most popular masterpieces, which are
;;" on which the poet re
as she sung;
"Now sound sleeps the dead in his bed of cauld clay,
For death still the dearest maun sever; But now he's forgot, and his widow's as gay, And his fiddle's as merry as ever."
burghshire, in 1757, of very humble parents, and at the age of twelve was employed in herding cattle. Having got possession of a copy of Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd, he was stirred to attempt verse himself. He enlisted in the 80th Regiment, and served in the war in America, where, during the leisure of camp-life, he kept up his intimacy with the lyric muse. When the war was ended, he procured his discharge, and returned to his native parish, where he settled as an agricultural labourer for the remainder of his days. In 1805, he first published a collection of his poems, of which a second edition, with additions, appeared in 1808. His last volume of poetry, | My farm is a snug ane, lies high on a Poems on various Subjects, was published
at Edinburgh in 1826.
He died in 1839, at the patriarchal age of 82, and was buried in the Churchyard of Bowden.
Andrew Scott's character appears to have been imbued with a considerable share of the "Rural Content " which his muse celebrates; yet though the poem of this title is his best, some of his other pieces, as "Symon and Janet," contain glimpses of quiet humour, which evince the possession of keen observing powers and knowledge of human nature. The last stanza of "The Fiddler's Widow" is a specimen of his pawky humour. It needs to be premised, that the defunct's widow and fiddle may be said to have sworn to sorrow for the rest of their existence, when a knowing hand, who had the art of handling both with equal skill," took down the fiddle as dowie it hung," and "the young widow dighted her cheeks
OR, THE MUIRLAND FARMER.
An' I hae servants at my command,
An' twa dainty cowts for the plowin' o't.
The muir-cocks an' plivers aft skirl at my door,
An' whan the sky lowrs, I'm aye sure o'
Then chance and fortune are sae guided, They're aye in less or mair provided ;
Trowth, Cæsar, whyles they're fasht And though fatigued wi' close employment,
A cotter howkin' in a sheugh,
And when they meet wi' sair disasters,
But then to see how ye're neglectit,
I see how folk live that hae riches;
They're no 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.
A blink o' rest's a sweet enjoyment.
The dearest comfort o' their lives,
And ferlie at the folk in Lun'on.
Love blinks, Wit slaps, and social Mirth
My heart has been sae fain to see them,
Still it's ower true that ye hae said,
On my brick o' fallaw my labours I'll Nor e'er slip their fine silken hands in the ply,
An' view on their pasture my twa bonny kye,
Till hairst-time again circle round us wi' joy,
Nor foul their black shoon wi' the
For pleased wi' the little that fortune has lent,
Wi' the fruits o' the sawin' an' plowin' The seasons row round us in rural cono't.
Nor need I to envy our braw gentle folks, Wha fash na their thumbs wi' the sawin' o't,
We've aye milk an' meal, an' our laird gets his rent,
An' I whistle an' sing at the plowin' o't..
northern capital. She remained in Edinburgh till shortly before her death, when she went to Harrowgate for the benefit of her health, which had given way for some years previously. She died at Harrowgate, July 1816, in her fifty-eighth year.
ALTHOUGH better known as the author | mitted into the best society of the of the Cottagers of Glenburnie, Elizabeth Hamilton, as the writer of "My Ain Fireside," is entitled to be numbered among the One-song Singers of ScotYet Scotland is not the land of her birth, for she was born in Belfast, in 1758. As the name implies, she was of Scotch descent; and her father having died when she was an infant, she was brought up with an aunt in Stirlingshire, where she was well educated and cared for. Her aunt having no family of her own, Miss Hamilton remained in Stirlingshire till both her aunt and her husband died, when she went to reside with her brother in England. About 1793, he too died, and she then went to live with her sister in Bath.
In 1803, they removed to Edinburgh; and, with her literary reputation established, Miss Hamilton was at once ad
Besides the Cottagers of Glenburnie, which appeared in 1808, and is still well known, she wrote a memoir of her brother, Letters of a Hindoo Rajah, the materials of which she derived from her brother's intercourse and papers-he having been several years in India. She also wrote The Modern Philosophers, in three volumes; Letters on Education; Memoirs of Agrippina; Letters to the Daughter of a Nobleman; and (her last works), Popular Essays on the Human Mind, and Hints to the Directors of Public Schools. "My Ain Fireside,' her only known poem, was very popular,