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November hirples o'er the lea,
May He who gives the rain to pour,
May He, the friend of woe and want,
1791, he says, "I am truly happy to hear that the 'little Floweret' is blooming so fresh and fair, and that the 'mother plant' is rather recovering her drooping head. Soon and well may her cruel wounds' be healed!"-In April following, he begs that she will let him hear by first post how cher petit Monsieur comes on with his small-pox. May Almighty Goodness preserve and restore him!"- On the 17th of December, in the same year, he says, "Many thanks to you, madam, for your good news respecting the 'little floweret' and the mother plant.' I hope my poetic prayers have been heard, and will be answered up to the warmest sincerity of their fullest extent; and then Mrs. Henri will end her little darling the representative of his late parent in every thing but his abridged existence."
In the autumn of 1792, Mrs. Henri and her infant went to the south of France, where she soon afterwards died. Burns thus feelingly adverted to her departure and death, in a letter to Mrs. Dunlop, dated Dumfries, 24th Sept. 1792. "I have this moment, my dear madam, yours of the twentythird. All your other kind reproaches, your news, &c. are out of my head when I read and think on Mrs. H— -'s situation. Good God! a heart-wounded helpless young woman-in a strange, foreign land, and that land convulsed with every horror that can harrow the human feelingssick--looking, longing for a comforter, but finding none— a mother's feelings, too-but it is too much he who
But late she flourish'd, rooted fast,
Fair on the summer morn :
Now, feebly bends she, in the blast,
Blest be thy bloom, thou lovely gem,
WRITTEN WITH A PENCIL,
STANDING BY THE FALL OF FYERS, NEAR LOCH-NESS.
AMONG the heathy hills and ragged woods
wounded (he only can) may He heal! I had been from home, and did not receive your letter until my return the other day. What shall I say to comfort you, my much valued, much afflicted friend? I can but grieve with you; consolation I have none to offer, except that which religion holds out to the children of affliction-children of affliction! -how just the expression! and like every other family, they have matters among them which they hear, see, and feel in a serious, all-important manner, of which the world has not, nor cares to have, any idea. The world looks indifferently on, makes the passing remark, and proceeds to the next novel occurrence. Alas, madam! who would wish for many years! What is it but to drag existence until our joys gradually expire, and leave us in a night of misery; like the gloom which bolts out the stars one by one from the face of night, and leaves us without a ray of comfort, in the howling waste!"
Prone down the rock the whitening sheet descends,
SECOND EPISTLE TO DAVIE,
A BROTHER POET.*
I'm three times doubly o'er your debtor,
Ye speak sae fair,
For my puir, silly, rhymin clatter
Some less maun sair.
Hale be your heart, hale be
The fate of the "little Floweret" has not been ascertained. Allan Cunningham merely observes on these touching verses, that "A father was carried to his grave on the day his only daughter was born,—a type of what happened at no distant date in the Poet's own household." It is evident, however, from the above extracts that the child addressed by Burns was a son.
*This Epistle was prefixed to the edition of Sillar's Poems published at Kilmarnock in 1789. Burns' "First Epistle" to David Sillar produced the answer which will be found in the Appendix, and which he here calls Davie's
"auld-farrent, frien❜ly letter."
The text is taken from the copy printed with other of Burns' pieces at Glasgow, in 1801, from the Poet's own manuscript.
Lang may your elbuck jink and diddle,
O' war❜ly cares,
Till bairns' bairns kindly cuddle
Your auld gray
But Davie, lad, I'm red ye're glaikit;
Until ye fyke;
Sic hauns as you sud ne'er be faikit,
I'm on Parnassus' brink,
Rivin' the words to gar them clink;
Whyles daez't wi' love, whyles daez't wi' drink, Wi' jads or masons;
An' whyles, but aye owre late, I think
Braw sober lessons.
Of a' the thoughtless sons o' man,
O' rhymin clink,
The devil-haet, that I sud ban,
They ever think.
Nae thought, nae view, nae scheme o' livin',
Nae cares to gie us joy or grievin' ;
But just the pouchie put the nieve in,
An' while ought's there,
Then hiltie skiltie, we gae
An' fash nae mair.
Leeze me on rhyme! it's aye a treasure,
The Muse, poor hizzie!
Tho' rough an' raploch be her measure,
Haud to the Muse, my dainty Davie :
Tho' e'er sae puir,
Na, even tho' limpin' wi' the spavie
Frae door tae door.
THE INVENTORY, IN ANSWER TO THE USUAL MANDATE SENT BY A SURVEYOR OF THE TAXES, REQUIRING A RETURN OF THE NUMBER OF HORSES, SERVANTS, CARRIAGES, ETC. KEPT.
This characteristic production was not included in any edition of Burns' works prepared by himself. It was printed in the Liverpool edition, and again in the Glasgow Collection in 1801, with many additions, and it is here given from a copy in the Poet's own writing.
SIR, as your mandate did request,