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Ellisland, 21st Oct. 1789.

Wow, but your letter made me vauntie !
And are ye hale, and weel, and cantie?
I kenn'd it still your wee bit jauntie,
Wad bring ye to:

Lord send you ay as weel's I want ye,
And then ye'll do.

The ill-thief blaw the Heron south!
And never drink be near his drouth!

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,
I'm turn'd a gauger- Peace be here!
Parnassian queens, I fear, I fear,

Ye'll now disdain me!

And then my fifty pounds a year

Will little gain me.

Ye glaiket, gleesome, dainty damies,
Wha, by Castalia's wimplin' streamies,
Lowp, sing, and lave your pretty limbies,
Ye ken, ye ken,

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,
Thou stalk o' carl-hemp in man!

And let us mind, faint heart ne'er wan
A lady fair :

Wha does the utmost that he can,

Will whyles do mair.

But to conclude my silly rhyme,
(I'm scant o' verse, and scant o' time,)
To make a happy fire-side clime

To weans and wife,

That's the true pathos and sublime

Of human life.

My compliments to sister Beckie ;
And eke the same to honest Lucky,
I wat she is a dainty chuckie,

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,
And warms thy soul with all the Muses.
Whether to laugh with easy grace,
Thy numbers move the sage's face,
Or bid the softer passions rise,
And ruthless souls with grief surprise,
'Tis Nature's voice distinctly felt,
Thro' thee, her organ, thus to melt.

"Most anxiously I wish to know,

With thee of late how matters go;

How keeps thy much lov'd Jean her health?
What promises thy farm of wealth?
Whether the Muse persists to smile,
And all thy anxious cares beguile ?
Whether bright fancy keeps alive?
And how thy darling infants thrive?
"For me, with grief and sickness spent,
Since I my journey homeward bent,
Spirits depress'd no more I mourn,
But vigour, life, and health return.
No more to gloomy thoughts a prey,
I sleep all night, and live all day;
By turns my book and friend enjoy,
And thus my circling hours employ ;
Happy while yet these hours remain,
If Burns could join the cheerful train,
With wonted zeal, sincere and fervent,
Salute once more his humble servant,


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,
Fair the tints of op'ning rose,
But fairer still my Delia dawns,
More lovely far her beauty blows.

Sweet the lark's wild-warbled lay,
Sweet the tinkling rill to hear;
But, Delia, more delightful still
Steal thine accents on mine ear.

The flower-enamoured busy bee
The rosy banquet loves to sip;
Sweet the streamlet's limpid lapse
To the sun-brown'd Arab's lip ;-

But, Delia, on thy balmy lips
Let me, no vagrant insect, rove!
O, let me steal one liquid kiss!

For, oh! my soul is parched with love.


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