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James' Tarbolton Lodge, he thus signs the minutes, as Depute-master, from 27th July, 1784, to 1st March, 1786, after which date, the name appears contracted into the form in which it is known all over the world. However in writing to his relations in Montrose, he continued the old spelling for some months longer.
The auld Farmer's New-Year-morning salutation.
The Cottar's Saturday Night. The Twa Dogs.
The Ordination. Address to the Deil.
Address to a Louse.
The Author's earnest Cry.
: a Poem.
“ APRIL 14TH, 1786.- Proposals for Publishing, by THE PRINTING Subscription, Scottish Poems, by Robert Burns. One
Vol. 8vo. Price (stitched) Three Shillings.” 1786.
J. B. Greenshields, Esq., Kerse, Lesmahagow, posAPRIL 3 TO sessor of the only known copy of this Prospectus, is of MAY 14.
opinion that the Subscribers whose names are appended (AGE 27.) to the paper, belonged to the Cumnock and Auchinleck
district. The blockhead who refused” to take the book he had subscribed for—by name, William Lorrimer, little dreamed that a well-preserved copy of the precious volume would now be sure to bring between £100 and £200.
To a Mountain-Daisy, uprooted by the Plough.
The Court of Equity: a Poem.—12TH MAY, 1786: (4TH JUNE, in some Copies).
“This was a composition of mine in very early life, HIGHLAND before I was known at all in the world. My Highland MARY. lassie was a warm-hearted, charming young creature as
1786. ever blessed a man with generous love. After a pretty MAY 14. long tract of the most ardent reciprocal attachment, we (AGE 27.) met by appointment, on the second Sunday of May, in
a sequestered spot by the banks of Ayr, where we spent the day in taking a farewell, before she should embark for the West Highlands, to arrange matters among her frienils for our projected change of life.”—Cromek’s Reliques, page 237.
“THE SECOND SUNDAY OF MAY.”—Song : The Highland Lassie, O. Song: Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary?
Inscriptions on the Bibles presented by Burns to Highland Mary, accurately copied from the originals, on their return from Canada, to be deposited in the Monument at Ayr, December, 1840 :Vol. 1.-(Inside of board): “And ye shall not swear by My name
falsely : I am the Lord.”—Levit. xix. 12. (Below Inscription): Obliterated Mason-mark. (On opposite fly-leaf): Inscription obliterated-apparently
Mary Campbell.” (Below Inscription): The Poet's Mason-mark (very perfect).
Vol. II.-(Inside of board): “Thou shalt not) forswear thyself, but
shalt perform unto the Lord thine oath."--Matthew v. 33. (On opposite fly-leaf): Inscription considerably effaced,
"ROBERT BURNS, MOSSGIEL.
(Below Inscription): Obliterated markings. The handwriting is unmistakably that of Burns, and the date on the Title Page is 1782. Bookseller's price, marked on Vol. I., “5/6.”
JULY 22-Burns executes an assignation of his effects —the profits of his edition then in the press, and the
copyright of his poems, in favour of Gilbert Burns, for 1786. behoof of his own illegitimate child, Elizabeth Burns,—
14 wee image of my bonie Betty,”—born in November, JULY 30.
This child was brought up with the poet's mother and sisters, at Mossgiel. In 1804, by the exertions of Mr. Alderman Shaw of London, a fund of £400 was raised by subscription, and sunk for behoof of this girl and another illegitimate child of the poet (born in 1791)--to be equally divided between them at their marriage, or arrival at majority, the survivor to succeed to the predeceasor's share. Both lived to receive their marriage-tocher of £200 each. Bonie Betty's child survived to Dec., 1816, as the wife of John Bishop, Overseer at Polkemmet.
JULY 29.-The “ Kilmarnock Volume ready for publication.
OLD ROME FOREST, near Kilmarnock.--The poet's aunt (Mrs. Allan) resided there, and in her house he found shelter from legal diligence; and thither he conveyed the large sea-chest, containing his outfit and providings for the voyage to Jamaica. MAY 15.- Epistle to a young friend. 15.-Servant's Term-day: Mary leaves Ayrshire for the West
4.–King's Birthday : A Dream.
sojourn in Paisley.
“OLD ROME FOREST, 30th July, 1786.—My dear Rich-
meet in Britain more. Would you believe it? Armour 1786. has got a warrant to throw me in jail till I find security JULY 30 TO for an enormous sum. I know you will pour an execraSEPTEMBER 3. tion on her head; but spare the poor, ill-advised girl
for my sake.”—Letter to John Richinond, Edinburgh. JULY 31.—The blue-paper boarded thin octavo volume of “Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, by Robert Burns," was issued to eager crowds of subscribers as fast as vi Wee Johnie's" folders, stitchers, and binders could get through their work. The following list is made up from the careful typographer's check-note of distribution, in the possess
THE POET IN
ion of Robert Cole, Esq., London :Copies.
Copies. Mr. Aitken, of Ayr,.... 145 Amount brought over,.
428 Robert Muir, Kilmarnock,. 72 David Sillar, Irvine,..
14 Gilbert Burns, Mossgiel, 70 Wm. Niven, Maybole,.
7 James Smith, Mauchline, 41 Walter Morton, Cumnock,... 6 Gavin Hamilton, Mauchline,... 40 John Neilson, Cumnock,. 5 John Logan, Esq., Laight,.. 20
3 John Kennedy, Dumfries House 20 The Printer,...
70 Mr. M‘Whinnie, Ayr, ........ 20 Sundry persons,
67 Carry over,... 428
Total,... 600 Mrs. Begg has noted the fact that, so very scarce did copies become within a few weeks after publication, the inmates at Mossgiel had to wait till the appearance of the Edinburgh edition before they had an opportunity of reading their brother's poems in print. The poet, in his autobiography, says that he cleared nearly £20 by the adventure, after paying outlays; but, from the copy account between the poet and the printer--also in Mr. Cole's possession-Burns' profits ought to have exceeded Fifty Pounds.
“August 15.-A vessel sails from Greenock the lst of September, right for the place of my destination. Where I shall shelter I know not, but I hope to weather the storm.
Lines on a Bank-note.
“MOSSGIEL, SUNDAY, 3RD SEPT., 1786.--Wish me luck,
boy and girl at one throw. God bless them, poor little 1786. dears ! ”—Note to Richmond, in Pickering MSS. SEPTEMBER 3
“I had taken the last farewell of my few friends :
my chest was on the road to Greenock: I had composed 27.
the last song I should ever measure in Caledonia, when
Dr. Blacklock's opinion that I would meet with encouragement in Edinburgh for a second edition, fired me so much, that I posted away for that city.”-Autobiography.
“At the close of the autumn following, she (Mary) crossed the sea to meet me at Greenock, where she had scarce landed, when she was seized with a malignant fever, which hurried my dear girl to the grave in a few days, before I could even hear of her illness.”—Cromek's Keliques.
Note of Mason Lodge attendances (continued): 1786—June 7, 15, 23; July 29; Aug. 18; Oct. 5 (Sorn); Nov. 10.
NOVEMBER 27.—Left Mossgiel on horseback, by way of Biggar, for
SEPT. 3.—THE CALF: To the Rev. J. Steven, on his text in Church.
Dr. Blacklock's Letter to the Rev. George Lawrie, dated, Sept. 4, 1786.”
Verses left at a Reverend I'riend's house, where the author slept.
THE POET IN
OCTOBER 24. —Lines on meeting with Lord Daer,
NOVEMBER. -Letter to Mrs. Stewart of Stair, enclosing the “Stair
NOVEMBER 20.-Writes a mock-warrant to William Chalmers, writer, Ayr, to burn a certain wicked ballad enclosed.
Excerpt from Minute of Meeting of the Royal
Caledonian Hunt, held at Edinburgh on 10th 1786.
January, 1787 :(AGE 27.)
Present—Lord ELIBANK, Preses. The Duke of Gordon.
The Earl of Glencairn. Lord Maitland.
Lord Haddo. Lord Elphinston.
Sir Archibald Hope. Sir Wm. Maxwell.
Sir John Whitefoord. Sir John Scott.
Sir Wm. Cunninghame. John Rutherfurd, Esq.
Alexr. Cunningham, Esq. Wm. M'Dowall, Esq.
Andw. Houston, Jordanhill. Colonel Wemyss.
Alexander Duncan, Esq. Andw. M‘Dowall, Esq.
Captain Ross. John M‘Donald, Esq.
Captain Douglass. Duncan Campbell, Esq.
Andrew Houston, Calderhall. William Hamilton, Esq.
“A motion being made by the Earl of Glencairn, and seconded by Sir John Whitefoord, in favour of Mr. Burns, of Ayrshire, who had dedicated the new edition of his Poems to the Caledonian Hunt-
were of opinion that, in consideration of his superior merit, as well as of the compliment paid to them, Mr. Hagart should be directed to subscribe for One Hundred copies, in their name, for which he should pay to Mr. Burns, Twenty-five Pounds, upon the
publication of his Book." TUESDAY, 28th NOVEMBER. -Supposed date of the poet's arrival.
Obtained a share of bed and board with his Mauchline friend and correspondent, John Richmond, formerly apprentice with Gavin Hamilton, writer, and now (1786) clerk to Wm. Wilson, W.S.
James Dalrymple, Esq. of Orangefield, seems to have been the first person of consequence, resident in the city, whom the poet waited on. By him, he was speedily introduced to the Earl of Glencairn.
SATURDAY, 9th Dec.—The last number of The Lounger was published, containing Henry Mackenzie's Review of Burns' Kilmarnock poems. A few days thereafter, Dr. Blacklock wrote to the Rev. Dr. Lawrie, recommending that the new edition should be prefaced by the article from The Lounger, and complaining that Burns had not, as yet, called on him.
“The town is at present agog with the Ploughman Poet, who receives adulation with native dignity, and is the very figure of his profession, -strong, but coarse ; yet has he a most enthusiastic heart of love. He has seen Duchess Gordon, and all the gay world. His favourite, for looks and manners, is Bess Burnet-no bad judge indeed!”—Letter of Mrs. Alison Cockburn.
POEM: Address to Edinburgh.
WEDNESDAY, 10TH JAN.–Caledonian Hunt Meeting, EDINBURGH and Minute resolving to subscribe for 100 copies of his PATRONAGE. forthcoming edition. 1787.
FRIDAY, 12TH JAN.-Grand Masonic demonstration. (AGE 28.)
Burns present at a meeting of St. Andrew's Lodge.
Grand Master Charteris, with the Grand Lodge and several other Lodges, attended.
“: The Grand Master, who presided with great solemnity and honour to himself as a gentleman and as a mason, gave, among several other toasts, ‘Caledonia ! and Caledonia's Bard --Roberć Burns !' which rang through the whole assembly with multiplied honors and repeated acclamations. As I had no idea such a thing would happen, I was downright thunder-struck, and, trembling in every nerve, made the best return in my power
I have corrected to my 152 page.”—Letter to Ballantyne.
THURSDAY, Ist FEB.-Burns attended a meeting of the CanongateKilwinning Lodge-Alexander Ferguson, Esq., of Craigdarroch, R. W. Master, in the Chair.
“ The R. W. Master having observed that Brother Burns was at present in the Lodge-who is well known as a great poetic writer, and for a late publication of his works, which have been universally commended-submitted that he should be assumed a member of the Lodge, which was unanimously agreed to, and he was assumed accordingly.”—Lodge Minutes.
Crochallan Fencibles.—Burns introduced to the club by Wm. Smellie, printer.
Alexander Nasmyth, artist, Writers' Court, paints the well-known portrait of the poet.
FEB. 6.- Robert Fergusson, the Poet.-Burns petitions the managers of the Kirk and Kirkyard Funds of Canongate for leave to erect a headstone over his grave, which was granted.
FEB. 24.-Beugo's Engraving from Nasmyth's Painting.-"I am getting my phiz done by an eminent engraver (John Beugo, Princes Street), and if it can be ready in time, I shall appear in my book, looking, like other fools, to my title-page.”—Letter to Ballantyne.
Professor Dugald Stewart's Morning Walks with Burns. —“In the course of the Spring, he called on me once or twice, at my request, early in the morning, and walked with me to Braid Hills, in the neighbourhood of the town, when he charmed me still more by his private conversation than he had ever done in company.
Song : The Banks o' Doon.-First version.
9.--Commences his Edinburgh Common-place Book.
5s. ; to Non-subscribers, 6s.
MAY 5TH TO JUNE 9TH.--The poet enjoyed an interesting zig-zag tour in the south border counties of
Scotland during this period. The last week of the 1787. journey was spent in Dumfries and neighbourhood, (AGE 28.) embracing a visit to Dalswinton, with some inspection
of Mr. Miller's farms. JUNE 9TH. —Arrived at Mauchline and Mossgiel. Slept not at home,
BACK TO AYRSHIRE.