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TO DR. BLACKLOCK.
IN ANSWER TO A LETTER.
Ellisland, 21st Oct. 1789.
Wow, but your letter made me vauntie !
Lord send you ay as weel's I want ye,
The ill-thief blaw the Heron south!
He tald mysel by word o' mouth,
He'd tak my
I lippen'd to the chiel in trouth,
And bade nae better.
But aiblins honest Master Heron,
Had at the time some dainty fair one,
To ware his theologic care on,
And holy study;
And tir'd o' sauls to waste his lear on,
E'en tried the body.
But what d'ye think, my trusty fier,
Ye'll now disdain me!
And then my fifty pounds a year
Will little gain me.
Ye glaiket, gleesome, dainty damies,
That strang necessity supreme is
’Mang sons o’men.
I hae a wife and twa wee laddies,
They maun hae brose and brats o' duddies; Ye ken yoursels my heart right proud is
I need na vaunt,
But I'll sned besoms-thraw saugh woodies,
Before they want.
Lord help me thro' this warld o' care!
I'm weary sick o't late and air!
Not but I hae a richer share
Than mony ithers;
But why should ae man better fare,
And a' men brithers?
Come, firm Resolve, take thou the van,
And let us mind, faint heart ne'er wan
Wha does the utmost that he can,
Will whyles do mair.
But to conclude my silly rhyme,
To weans and wife,
That's the true pathos and sublime
Of human life.
My compliments to sister Beckie ;
As e'er tread clay!
And gratefully, my guid auld cockie,
I'm yours for ay.
The letter which brought these verses from Burns was in rhyme, and dated from Edinburgh, 24th August, 1789. I subjoin it as a proof of the kindliness of Blacklock's nature, rather than as a sample of his poetry. Some of his strains have elevation and fervour, with occasional touches of tenderness :
"DEAR BURNS, thou brother of my heart,
Both for thy virtues and thy art
If art it may be call'd in thee,
Which Nature's bounty large and free,
With pleasure in thy breast diffuses,
"Most anxiously I wish to know,
With thee of late how matters go;
How keeps thy much lov'd Jean her health?
The Heron of whom such unceremonious mention is made in the epistle of Burns, was the author of a history of Scotland; and, what is to be regretted, of a Life of the Poet, written in a depreciating spirit, and, it is said, with the memory of these verses upon him. His memoir made its appearance at the very time the public subscription was opened for the Poet's widow and helpless children, and, beyond question, did much harm to the family. This was deeply felt by even very rude people; when Heron himself sought shelter in London, and died of want, as too many die, an old husbandman said, "What better could come of him who harmed the widow and the fatherless!"
FAIR the face of orient day,
Sweet the lark's wild-warbled lay,
The flower-enamoured busy bee
But, Delia, on thy balmy lips
For, oh! my soul is parched with love.