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Wrongs, injuries, from many a darksome den,
Now gay in hope explore the paths of men:
See from his cavern grim Oppression rise,
And throw on poverty his cruel eyes;
Keen on the helpless victim see him fly,
And stifle, dark, the feebly-bursting cry:

Mark ruffian Violence, distained with crimes,
Rousing elate in these degenerate times;
View unsuspecting Innocence a prey,
As guileful Fraud points out the erring way:
While subtile Litigation's pliant tongue

The life-blood equal sucks of Right and Wrong:
Hark, injur'd Want recounts th' unlisten'd tale,
And much-wrong'd Mis'ry pours th' unpitied wail!

Ye dark waste hills, and brown unsightly plains,
To you I sing my grief-inspired strains:
Ye tempests, rage! ye turbid torrents, roll!
Ye suit the joyless tenor of my soul.
Life's social haunts and pleasures I resign,
Be nameless wilds and lonely wanderings mine,
To mourn the woes my country must endure,
That wound degenerate ages cannot cure.

These lines were composed, it appears, in compliance with the request of Advocate Hay.- The enclosed poem," Burns thus writes to that gentleman,

"" was

written in consequence of your suggestion last time I had the pleasure of seeing you. It cost me an hour or two of next morning's sleep, but did not please me, so it laid by, an ill-digested effort, till the other day I gave it a critic-brush. These kinds of subjects are much hackneyed, and, besides, the wailings of the rhyming tribe over the ashes of the great are cursedly suspicious, and out of all character for sincerity. These ideas damped my muse's fire: however I have done the best I could."

How the poem was welcomed, and what the Poet felt, he has written with his own hand under the copy of the poem which he gave to Dr. Geddes. "The foregoing poem," he says, " has some tolerable lines in it, but the incurable wound of my pride will not suffer me to correct, or even peruse it. I sent a copy of it, with my best prose letter, to the son of the great man, the theme of the piece, by the hands of one of the noblest men in God's world, Alexander Wood, surgeon. When, behold! his solicitorship took no more notice of my poem or me than I had been a strolling fiddler, who had made free with his lady's name over a silly new reel ! Did the gentleman imagine that I looked for any dirty gratuity?"




SAD thy tale, thou idle page,

And rueful thy alarms:

Death tears the brother of her love
From Isabella's arms.

Sweetly deckt with pearly dew

The morning rose may blow;
But cold successive noontide blasts
May lay its beauties low.

Fair on Isabella's morn

The sun propitious smil'd;

But, long ere noon, succeeding clouds
Succeeding hopes beguil❜d.

Fate oft tears the bosom cords
That nature finest strung:
So Isabella's heart was form'd,

And so that heart was wrung.

Were it in the poet's power,

Strong as he shares the grief
That pierces Isabella's heart,
To give that heart relief.

Dread Omnipotence, alone,

Can heal the wound he gave;
Can point the brimful grief-worn eyes
To scenes beyond the grave.

Virtue's blossoms there shall blow,
And fear no withering blast;
There Isabella's spotless worth
Shall happy be at last.

The fifth verse has been restored from the Poet's manuscripts, and I am also enabled to add, from the same source, that the family of the M'Leod's having suffered much from misfortune, Burns was deeply impressed with the bereavements they had in a short space of time endured. That he sympathized much in such distresses, his works sufficiently show: some of his noblest poems-such as the Elegy on Mathew Henderson, were composed on occasions of domestic mourning.


JAN. 1, 1787.

AGAIN the silent wheels of time

Their annual round have driv'n,
And you, tho' scarce in maiden prime,
Are so much nearer Heav'n.

No gifts have I from Indian coasts
The infant year to hail;

I send you more than India boasts
In Edwin's simple tale.

Our sex with guile and faithless love
Is charg'd, perhaps, too true;
But may, dear maid, each lover prove
An Edwin still to you!

The lady to whom Burns presented the Minstrel of Beattie, inscribed with these elegant lines, was the "Sentimental Sister Susie" of the Epistle to Major Logan. She lived at Park-house, and sometimes at Camlarg; sung, I have heard, with taste and feeling, and, with her brother, helped to cheer the Bard in many of his desponding hours.

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