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l'hy inage at our last embrace ;
There is another fragment, called also a Ah! little thought we 'twas our last !
Vision, which belongs to a higher order of A yr gurgling kiss'd his pebbled shore,
poetry. If Burns had never written any thir.g O'erhung with wild woods, thickening, green, else, the power of description, and the vigour The fragrant birch, and hawthorn boar,
of the whole composition, would have entitled Twin'd amorous round the raptured scene.
him to the remembrance of posterity. • The flowers sprang wanton to be prest, The birds sang love on every spray,
“The winds were laid, the air was still, Till 100, too soon, the glowing west
The stars they shot alang the sky; Proclaim'd the speed of winged day!
The fox was howling on the hill,
And the distant-echoing glens reply. “ Still o'er these scenes my mem'ry wakes, And fondly broods with miser care ;
“ The stream adown its hazelly path, Time but the impression stronger makes,
Was rushing by the ruin'd wa's, As streams their channels deeper wear.
Hasting to join the sweeping Nith,
Whase distant roaring swells an' fa's. “ My Mary, dear departed shade! Where is thy place of blissful rest ?
“ The cauld blue north was streaming forth See'st thou thy lover lowly laid ?
Her lights, wi' hissing eerie din ;
Athort the lift they start and shift,
Like fortune's favours, tint as win!
By heedless chance I turn'd mine eyes,
And by the moon-beam, shook, to see o' Shanter is probably the best : though there
A stern and stalwart ghaist arise, are traits of infinite merit in Scotch Drink, Allir'd as minstrels wont to be. the Holy Fair, the Hallow E’en, and several
“ Had I a statue been o' stane, of the songs; in all of which, it is very re
His darin' look had daunted me; markable, that he rises occasionally into a And on his bonnet grav'd was plain, strain of beautiful description or lofty senti- The sacred posy-Liberty! ment, far above the pitch of his original con
“And frae his harp sic strains did flow, ception. The poems of observation on life
Might rous'd the slumbering dead to hear; and characters, are the Twa Dogs and the But oh, it was a tale of woe, various Epistles-all of which show very ex- As ever met a Briton's ear! traordinary sagacity and powers of expression.
“He sang wi' joy the former day, They are written, however, in so broad a dia.
He weeping wail'd his latter timeslect, that we dare not venture to quote any But what he said, it was nae play, part of them. The only pieces that can be I winna ventur't in my rhymes." classed under the head of pure fiction, are
Vol. iv. 344-346. the Two Bridges of Ayr, and the Vision. In
Some verses, written for a Hermitage, sound the last, there are some vigorous and striking like the best parts of Grongar Hill. The lines. We select the passage in which the reader may take these few lines as a speciMuse describes the early propensities of her favourite, rather as being more generally intelligible, than as superior to the rest of the
“ As thy day grows warm and high,
Life's meridian faming nigh, poem.
Dost thou spurn the humble vale ? " I saw thee seek the sounding shore,
Life's proud summits wouldst thou scale ? Delighted with the dashing roar;
Dangers, eagle-pinion'd, bold,
Soar around each cliffy hold,
While cheerful peace, with linnet song,
Chants the lowly dells among."-Vol. iii. p. 299. Struck thy young eye. There is a little copy of Verses upon a News“Or when the deep-green manı'd earth
paper at p. 355, of Dr. Currie's fourth volume, Warm cherish'd ev'ry flow'ret's birth, And joy and music pouring forth
written in the same condensed style, and
only wanting translation into English to be I saw thee eye the gen'ral mirth
worthy of Swift. With boundless love. The finest piece, of the strong and nervous “When ripen'd fields, and azure skies, sort, however, is undoubtedly the address of Callid forth the reapers' rustling noise,
Robert Bruce to his army at Bannock bum, I saw thee leave their ev'ning joys.
beginning, "Scots, wha hae wi? Wallace Bled. And lonely stalk, The Death Song; beginning, To vent thy bosom's swelling rise In pensive walk.
“ Farewell, thou fair day, thou green earth and ye
skies, “When youthful love, warm, blushing, strong, Keen-shivering shot thy nerves along,
Now gay with the bright setting sun." Those accents grateful to thy tongue,
is to us less pleasing. There are specimens, Th'adored Name,
however, of such vigour and emphasis scatI taught thee how to pour in
tered through his whole works, as are sure To sooth thy flame.
In ev'ry grove,
to make themselves and their author remem• I saw thy pulse's maddening play,
bered; for instance, that noble description of Wild send thee Pleasure's devious way, Misled by Fancy's meteor-ray,
a dying soldier. By Passion driven; “Nae cauld, faint-hearted doubtings teaze him : But yet the light that led astray
Death comes! wi' fearless eye he sees him;
An' when he fa's,
His latest draught o' breathin lea'es him however, that unless it be taken in connection
In faint huzzas !"-Vol. iï. p. 27. with his other works, the present volume has The whole song of “For a’ that,” is written little interest, and could not be made the subwith extraordinary spirit. The first stanza ject of any intelligible observations. It is ends
made up of some additional letters, of mid. “For rank is but the guinea stamp;
dling merit-of complete copies of others,
of which Dr. Currie saw reason to publishi The man's the goud, for a' that."
only extracts—of a number of remarks, by -All the songs, indeed, abound with traits of Burns, on old Scottish songs—and, finally, of this kind. We select the following at random: a few additional poems and songs, certainly “O woman, lovely woman, fair !
not disgraceful to the author, but scarcely An angel form's faun to thy share ;
fitted to add to his reputation. The world, 'Twad been o'er meikle to've gi'en thee mair, however, is indebted, we think, to Mr. I mean an angel mind."-Vol. iv. p. 330. Cromek's industry for this addition to so
We dare not proceed further in specifying popular an author ;-—and the friends of the the merits of pieces which have been so long poet, we are sure, are indebted to his good published. Before concluding upon this sub- taste, moderation, and delicacy, for having ject, however, we must beg leave to express confined it to the pieces which are now our 'dissent from the poet's amiable and judi- printed. Burns wrote many rash - many cious biographer, in what he says of the gene- violent, and many indecent things; of which ral harshness and rudeness of his versification. we have no doubt many specimens must Dr. Currie, we are afraid, was scarcely Scotch- have fallen into the hands of so diligent a man enough to comprehend the whole prosody collector. He has, however, carefully supof the verses to which he alluded. Most of pressed every thing of this description; and the Scottish pieces are, in fact, much more shown that tenderness for his author's memcarefully versified than the English ; and we ory, which is the best proof of the veneraappeal to our Southern readers, whether there tion with which he regards his talents. We be any want of harmony in' the following shall now see if there be any thing in the stanza :
volume which deserves to be particularly
noticed. “ Wild beats my heart to trace your steps, Whose ancestors, in days of yore,
The Preface is very amiable, and well Thro' hostile ranks and ruin'd gaps,
written. Mr. Cromek speaks with becoming Old Scotia's bloody lion bore:
respect and affection of Dr. Currie, the learned Even I who sing in rustic lore,
biographer and first editor of the poet, and Haply my sires have left their shed,
with great modesty of his own qualifications. And fac'd grim danger's loudest roar, Bold-following where your fathers led!" “As an apology (he says) for any defects of my
Vol. jii. p. 233. own that may appear in this publication, I beg to The following is not quite English; but it author. In the manner of laying them before the
observe that I am by profession an artist, and not an is intelligible to all readers of English, and public, I honestly declare that I have done my may satisfy them that the Scottish song-writer best ; and I trust I may fairly presume to hope, was not habitually negligent of his
numbers:— that the man who has contribted to extend the
bounds of literature, by adding another genuine “ Their groves o' sweet myrtle let foreign lands volume to the writings of Robert Burns, has some reckon,
(fume ; claim on the gratitude of his countrymen. On this Where bright-beaming summers exalt the per occasion, I certainly feel something of that sublime Far dearer to me yon lone glen o'green breckan, and heart-swelling gratification, which he experiWi' the burn stealing under the lang yellow ences who casis another stone on the cairn of a broom.
great and lamented chief."--Preface, pp. xi. xii. Far dearer to me are yon humble broom bowers, Where the blue bell and gowan lurk lowly un- Of the Letters, which occupy nearly half
the volume, we cannot, on the whole, express For there, lightly tripping amang the wild flowers, any more favourable opinion than that which A-listening the linnet, aft wanders my Jean.
we have already ventured to pronounce on “ Tho' rich is the breeze in their gay sunny vallies, the prose compositions of this author in gen
And cauld, Caledonia's blast on the wave; eral. Indeed they abound, rather more than Their sweet-scented woodlands that skirt the those formerly published, in ravings about sen.
proud palace, What are they ? 'The haunt o' the tyrant and sibility and imprudence—in common swear. The slave's spicy forests, and gold-bubbling ing; and in professions of love for whisky. fountains,
By far the best, are those which are addressed The brave Caledonian views wi' disdain; to Miss Chalmers; and that chiefly because He wanders as free as the winds of his mountains, they seem to be written with less effort, and at Save love's willing fetters, the chains of his the same time with more respect for his corJean."'-Vol. iv. pp. 228, 229.
respondent. The following was written at a If we have been able to inspire our readers most critical period of his life; and the good with any portion of our own admiration for feelings and good sense which it displays, this extraordinary writer, they will readily only make us regret more deeply that they forgive us for the irregularity of which we were not attended with greater firmness. have been guilty, in introducing so long an account of his whole works, under colour of married my Jean." This was not in consequence
“Shortly after my last return to Ayrshire, 1 the additional volume of which we have pre- of the attachment of romance perhaps ; but I had a fixed the title to this article. The truth is, long and much lov'd fellow.creature's happiness of
misery in my determination, and I durst not trifle | refined and accomplished Woman was a being alwith so important deposite. Nor have I any most new to him, and of which he had formed but cause to repent it. If I have not got polite tattle, a very inadequate idea."-Vol. v. pp. 68, 69. modish manners, and fashionable dress, I am not sickened and disgusted with the multiform curse
He adds also, in another place, that "the of boarding school affectation ; und I have got the poet, when questioned about bis habits of handsomest figure, the sweetest temper, the sound composition, replied,- All my poetry is the est constitution, and the kindest heart in the county: effect of easy composition, but of laborious Mrs. Burns believes, as firmly as her creed, that I
correction.'» am le plus bel esprit, et le plus honnête homme in
It is pleasing to know those the universe ; although she scarcely ever in her life, things—even if they were really as trifling as except the Scriptures of the Old and New Testa- to a superficial observer they may probably ment, and the Psalms of David in metre, spent five appear. There is a very amiable letter from minutes together on either prose or verse. -I must Mr. Murdoch, the poet's early preceptor, at of Scots Poems, which she has perused very de Pi 111; and a very splendid one from Mr. youtly, and all the ballads in the country, as she has Bloomfield, at p. 135. As nothing is more (O the partial lover! you will cry) the finest ** wood- rare, among the minor poets, than a candid note wild" I ever heard. I am the more particular acknowledgment of their own inferiority, we in this lady's character, as I know she will henceforth think Mr. Bloomfield well entitled to have his have the honour of a share in your best wishes. magnanimity recorded. She is still at Mauchline, as I am building my house: for this hovel that I shelter in while occa
" The illustrious soul that has left amongst us the sionally here, is pervious to every blast that blows, name of Burns, has often been lowered down to a and every shower that falls; and I am only pre comparison with me; but the comparison exists served from being chilled to death, by being suffo. more in circumstances than in essentials. That cated with smoke. I do not find my farm that man stood up with the stamp of superior intellect pennyworth I was taught to expect; but I believe, on his brow; a visible greatness : and great and in time, it may be a saving bargain.
You will be patriotic subjects would only have called into action pleased to hear that I have laid aside idle éclat, the powers of his mind, which lay inactive while he and bind every day after my reapers.
played calmly and exquisitely the pastoral pipe. "To save me from that horrid situation of at any
• The letters to which I have alluded in my pretime going down, in a losing bargain of a farm, to face to the Rural Tales,' were friendly warnings, misery, I have taken my excise instructions, and pointed with immediate reference to the fate of have my commission in my pocket for any emerg. that extraordinary man. “Remember Burns,' has ency of fortune! If I could set all before your been the watchword of my friends. I do remember view, whatever disrespect you, in common with the Burns; but I am not Burns! I have neither his world, have for this business, I know you would fire to fan, or to quench ; nor his passions to control! approve of my idea.”—Vol. v. pp. 74, 75.
Where then is my merit, if I make a peaceful
voyage on a smooth sea, and with no mutiny on We may add the following for the sake of board?"-Vol. v. pp. 135, 136. connection.
The observations on Scottish songs, which “I know not how the word exciseman, or still fill nearly one hundred and fifty pages, are, more opprobrious, gauger, will sound in your ears. on the whole, minute and trifling; though the I 100 have seen the day when my anditory nerves exquisite justness of the poet's taste, and his would have felt very delicately on this subject; but fine relish of simplicity in this species of coma wife and children are things which have a won. derful power in blunting these kind of sensations position, is no less remarkable here than in Fifty pounds a year for life, and a provision for his correspondence with Mr. Thomson. Of widows and orphans, you will allow, is no bad set- all other kinds of poetry, he was so indulgent tlement for a poet. For the ignominy of the pro. a judge, that he may almost be termed an infession, I have the encouragement which I once discriminate admirer. We find, too, from heard a recruiting serjeant give to a numerous, if these observations, that several songs and nock— Gentlemen, for your further and better en pieces of songs, which he printed as genuine couragement, I can assure you that our regiment is antiques, were really of his own composition. the most blackguard corps under the crown, and The commonplace book, from which Dr. consequently with us an honest fellow has the surest Currie had formerly selected all that he chance of preferment.'"-Vol. v. pp. 99, 100.
thought worth publication, is next given entire It would have been as well if Mr. Cromek by Mr. Cromek. We were quite as well, we had left out the history of Mr. Hamilton's dis- think, with the extracts;—at all events, there sensions with his parish minister,—Burns' was no need for reprinting what had been apology to a gentleman with whom he had a given by Dr. Currie ; a remark which is equally drunken squabble, and the anecdote of his applicable to the letters of which we had for. being used to ask for more liquor, when visit- merly extracts. ing in the country, under the pretext of forti- Of the additional poems which form the fying himself against the terrors of a little concluding part of the volume, we have but wood he had to pass through in going home. little to say. We have little doubt of their auThe most interesting passages, indeed, in this thenticity; for, though the editor has omitted, part of the volume, are those for which we are in almost every instance, to specify the source indebted to Mr. Cromek himself. He informs from which they were derived, they certainly us, for instance, in a note,
bear the stamp of the author's manner and
genius. They are not, however, of his purest “One of Burns' remarks, when he first came to metal, nor marked with his finest die: several Edinburgh, was, that between the Men of rustic of them have appeared in print already; and life, and the polite world, he observed little difference—that in the former, though unpolished by the songs are, as usual, the best. This little fashion, and unenlightened by science, he had found lamentation of a desolate damsel, is tender much observatior and much intelligence ;-but a land pretty.
My father put me frae his door,
and the benefits of those generous ani ha My friends they hae disown'd me a'; manising pursuits, are by no means confined But I hae ane will tak my part,
to those whom leisure and affluence have The bonnie lad that's far awa.
courted to their enjoyment. That much of “ A pair o'gloves he gave to me,
this is peculiar to Scotland, and may be proAnd silken snoods he gave me twa; perly referred to our excellent institutions for And I will wear them for his sake,
parochial education, and to the natural sobriety The bonnie lad that's far awa.
and prudence of our nation, may certainly be “ The weary winter soon will pass,
allowed: but we have no doubt that there is And spring will cleed the birken-shaw; a good deal of the same principle in England, And my sweet babie will be born,
and that the actual intelligence of the lower And he'll come hame that's far awa." Vol. v. pp. 432, 433.
orders will be found, there also, very far to
exceed the ordinary estimates of their supeWe now reluctantly dismiss this subject.- riors. It is pleasing to know, that the sources We scarcely hoped, when we began our critic- of rational enjoyment are so widely dissemial labours, that an opportunity would ever nated; and in a free country, it is comfortable occur of speaking of Burns as we wished to to think, that so great a proportion of the speak of him; and therefore, we feel grate- people is able to appreciate the advantages ful to Mr. Cromek for giving us this opportu- of its condition, and fit to be relied on, in all nity. As we have no means of knowing, emergencies where steadiness and intelliwith precision, to what extent his writings are gence may be required. known and admired in the southern part of Our other remark is of a more limited apthe kingdom, we have perhaps fallen into the plication; and is addressed chiefly to the error of quoting passages that are familiar to followers and patrons of that new school of most of our readers, and dealing out praise poetry, against which we have thought it our which every one of them had previously duty to neglect no opportunity of testifying. awarded. We felt it impossible, however, to Those gentlemen are outrageous for simplicresist the temptation of transcribing a few of ity; and we beg leave to recommend to them the passages which struck us the most, on the simplicity of Burns. He has copied the turning over the volumes; and reckon with spoken language of passion and affection, with confidence on the gratitude of those to whom infinitely more fidelity than they have ever they are new,-while we are not without done, on all occasions which properly admitted hopes of being forgiven by those who have of such adaptation : But he has not rejected been used to admire them.
the helps of elevated language and habitual We shall conclude with two general re-associations; nor debased his composition by marks—the one national, the other critical.- an affectation of babyish interjections, and The first is, that it is impossible to read the all the puling expletives of an old nursery. productions of Burns, along with his history, maid's vocabulary. They may look long without forming a higher idea of the intelli- enough among his nervous and manly lines, gence, taste, and accomplishments of our before they find any “Good lacks!"_" Dear peasantry, than most of those in the higher hearts !"- -or "As a body may says,” in them; ranks are disposed to entertain. Without or any stuff about dancing daffodils and sister meaning to deny that he himself was endow- Emmelines. Let them think, with what ined with rare and extraordinary gifts of genius finite contempt the powerful mind of Burns and fancy, it is evident, from the whole details would have perused the story of Alice Fell of his history, as well as from the letters of and her duffle cloak, -of Andrew Jones and his brother, and the testimony of Mr. Murdoch the half-crown,-or of Little Dan without and others, to the character of his father, that breeches, and his thievish grandfather. Let the whole family, and many of their asso- them contrast their own fantastical personages ciates, who never emerged from the native of hysterical school-masters and sententious obscurity of their condition, possessed talents, leechgatherers, with the authentic rustics of and taste, and intelligence, which are little Burns's Cotters’ Saturday Night, and his insuspected to lurk in those humble retreats. -imitable songs; and reflect on the different His epistles to brother poets, in the rank reception which those personifications have of small farmers and shopkeepers in the ad- met with from the public. Though they will joining villages,—the existence of a book- not be reclaimed from their puny affectations society and debating-club among persons of by the example of their learned predecessors, that description, and many other incidental they may, perhaps, submit to be admonished traits in his sketches of his youthful compan- by a self-taught and illiterate poet, who drew ions,—all contribute to show, that not only from Nature far more directly than they can good sense, and enlightened morality, but do, and produced something so much liker literature, and talents for speculation, are far thé admired copies of the masters whom they more generally diffused in society than is have abjured. commonly imagined; and that the delights
(April, 1809.) Gertrude of Wyomir.g, a Pennsylvanian Tale; and other Poems. By THOMAS CAMPBELL, author
of “ The Pleasures of Hope, &c. 4to. pp. 136. London: Longman & Co.: 1809. We rejoice once more to see a polished and admiration of tittering parties, and of which pathetic poem—in the old style of English even the busy must turn aside to catch a pathos and poetry. This is of the pitch of transient glance: But “ the haunted stream” the Castle of Indolence, and the finer parts of steals through a still and a solitary landscape; Spenser; with more feeling, in many places, and its beauties are never revealed, but to than the first, and more condensation and him who strays, in calm contemplation, by its diligent finishing than the latter. If the true course, and follows its wanderings with untone of nature be not everywhere maintained, distracted and unimpatient admiration. There it gives place, at least, to art only, and not tó is a reason, too, for all this, which may affectation—and, least of all, to affectation of made more plain than by metaphors. singularity or rudeness.
The highest delight which poetry produces, Beautiful as the greater part of this volume does not arise from the mere passive percepis, the public taste, we are afraid, has of late tion of the images or sentiments which it prebeen too much accustomed to beauties of a sents to the mind; but from the excitement more obtrusive and glaring kind, to be fully which is given to its own internal activity, sensible of its merit. Without supposing that and the character which is impressed on the this taste has been in any great degree vitiated, train of its spontaneous conceptions. Even or even imposed upon, by the babyism or the the dullest reader generally sees more than antiquarianism which have lately been versi- is directly presented to him by the poet; but fied for its improvement, we may be allowed a lover of poetry always sees infinitely more; to suspect, that it has been somewhat dazzled and is often indebted to his author for little by the splendour, and bustle and variety of more than an impulse, or the key-note of a the most popular our recent poems; and melody which his fancy makes out for itself. that the more modest colouring of truth and Thus, the effect of poetry, depends more on nature may, at this moment, seem somewhat the fruitfulness of the impressions to which it cold and feeble. We have endeavoured, on gives rise, than on their own individual force former occasions, to do justice to the force or novelty ; and the writers who possess the and originality of some of those brilliant pro- greatest powers of fascination, are not those ductions, as well as to the genius (fitted for who present us with the greatest number of much higher things) of their authors—and lively images or lofty sentiments, but who have little doubt of being soon called upon most successfully impart their own impulse for a renewed tribute of applause. But we to the current of our thoughts and feelings, cannot help saying, in the mean time, that and give the colour of their brighter concepthe work before us belongs to a class which tions to those which they excite in their comes nearer to our conception of pure and readers. Now, upon a little consideration, it perfect poetry. Such productions do not, will probably appear, that the dazzling, and indeed, strike so strong a blow as the vehe- the busy and marvellous scenes which conment effusions of our modern Trouveurs ; stitute the whole charm of some poems, are but they are calculated, we think, to please not so well calculated to produce this effect, more deeply, and to call out more perma- as those more intelligible delineations which nently, those trains of emotion, in which the are borrowed from ordinary life, and coloured delight of poetry will probably be found to from familiar affections. The object is, to consist. They may not be so loudly nor so awaken in our minds a train of kindred emouniversally applauded; but their fame will tions, and to excite our imaginations to work probably endure longer, and they will be out for themselves a tissue of pleasing or imoftener recalled to mingle with the reveries pressive conceptions. But it seems obvious, of solitary leisure, or the consolations of real that this is more likely to be accomplished
by surrounding us gradually with those obThere is a sort of poetry, no doubt, as there jects, and involving us in those situations is a sort of flowers, which can bear the broad with which we have long been accustomed sun and the ruffling winds of the world,- to associate the feelings of the poet,—than by which thrive under the hands and eyes of in- startling us with some tale of wonder, or atdiscriminating multitudes, and please as much tempting to engage our affections for perin hot and crowded saloons, as in their own sonages, of whose character and condition sheltered repositories; but the finer and the we are unable to form any distinct conceppurer sorts blossom only in the shade; and tion. These, indeed, are more sure than the never give out their sweets but to those who other to produce a momentary sensation, by seek them amid the quiet and seclusion of the novelty and exaggeration with which they the scenes which gave them birth. There are commonly attended; but their power is are torrents and cascades which attract the I spent at the first impulse: they do not strike