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but at John Dow's Inn, where the “old, old story” between the poet and Jean Armour was resumed.
West Highland Tour.—“ Having remained with his friends in Mauchline a few days, he set out on a journey to the Highlands ; but no particulars of the tour have been found among his manuscripts.”Currie.
Chambers suggests that the poet may have, on this occasion, secretly visited the relatives of Highland Mary, and perhaps dropped a tear over her grave at Greenock; and remarks that a sort of mystery hangs over this journey, much like that with which the poet has contrived to invest the whole story of Mary.
MAY 13TH, 1787.—Epistle to William Creech.
“MAUCHLINE, JUNE 30, 1787.—I have yet fixed on nothing with respect to the serious business of life. I am, as usual, a rhyming, masonmaking, raking, aimless, idle fellow. However, I shall have a farm soon : I was going to say a wife too; but that must never be my blessed lot. I am but a younger son of the house of Parnassus, and like other younger sons of great families, I may intrigue, if I choose to run all risks, but must not marry.”—Letter to James Smith.
“ MAUCHLINE, 25TH JULY, 1787.—This night the Deputation of the Lodge met at Mauchline, and entered Brother Alexander Allison of Barmuir, an apprentice. Likewise admitted Brs. Professor Stuart of Catrine, and Claude Alexander, Esq., of Ballochmyle, Claude Neilson, Esg., Paisley, John Farquhar Gray, Esq., of Gilmiscroft, and Dr. George Grierson, Glasgow, Honorary Members of the Lodge.
ROBT. BURNS, D.M.” The Poet apprehended on a Fugae warrant, obtained at instance of a servant-girl, Jenny Clow, in Edinburgh, then “under a cloud,” on his account.
Aug. 15.—He finds security to her satisfaction, and 1787. is released. (AGE 28.)
Both mother and child are understood to have been
dead when Mr. Alderman Shaw's Committee, in 1804, made provision for the other illegitimate offspring of the poet.
Aug. 25.--Northern Tour.-Sets out from Edinburgh, in a chaise, along with Wm. Nicol, for Stirling and the North.
Aug. 27.-The poet leaves Nicol for one day in Stirling, and proceeds to visit Gavin Hamilton's relatives at Harvieston, on the Devon.
Aug. 28.-Journey resumed, by way of Crieff, Taymouth, Aberfeldy, Dunkeld, Blair Athole, Killiecrankie, Fort George, Inverness; and back by Nairn, Forres, Elgin, Fochabers, Castle-Gordon, Cullen, Aberdeen, The Mearns, Montrose, Arbroath, Dundee, Carse of Gowrie, Perth, Strathearn, Invermay, Kinross, Queensferry to Edinburgh, where the travellers arrived on 16th September, after three weeks absence.
Final Excursion in October. -Revisits Stirling and Harvieston in company with Dr. Atlair ; Cauldron Linn, Rumbling Brig. Visits Mr. Ramsay, of Ochtertyre on Teith, and Sir William Murray, of Ochtertyre in Strathearn ; also, Mrs Bruce, of Clackmannan Tower.
OCT. 20.-Returns to Edinburgh, and makes his residence with Mr. William Cruickshanks, teacher, High School.
DEC.—Seconii Winter in the City:-The poet had resolved to leave Edinburgh for Ayrshire, about the beginning of this month, when Fate so willed that he met and admired Mrs. Agnes or Nancy M‘Lehose, the comely young wife of a gentleman who had deserted her, with two children, and now (1787) resided in Jamaica. On 8th December, after
having seen the lady only once, a fall from a coach bruised his knee, and caused him to be contined in-doors for nearly six weeks.
From 6th December, 1787, to 18th February, 1789, a very close epistolary correspondence was maintained between the poet and Mrs. M‘Lehose, who, after the first half-dozen letters had been interchanged, adopted the pastoral name of Clarinda, and Burns took that of Sylvander, because he said he liked "the idea of Arcadian names in a commerce of this kind." On 4th January, 1788, the improvement on the poet's limb enabled him to visit her in a sedan chair, and the intercourse, epistolary and personal, continued, with little interruption, till near the end of March, 1788, when it was brought to a sudden termination by events which suceeding notes will disclose. Aug.—Elegy on the Death of Sir James Hunter Blair. Verses at Carron. Inscriptions at Falkirk and Stirling. Song : Banks of the Devon. Peggy's Charms.
My Peggy's face. Lines at Kenmore.
Birks of Aberfeldy. Theniel Menzie's Mary.
Bruar Water. Killiecrankie.
Bonie Castle Gordon. Young Highland Rover.
Fall of Fyers. M‘Pherson's Farewell.
Lads o' Thorniebank.
MATRIMONIAL ASPIRATIONS. --“It does not appear from
that the lady herself informed him that Burns made a !1788. serious proposal to her.”—Note of Dr. Carruthers to the (AGE 29.) Editor.
On March 13th, poor Jean was again delivered of twins, at the house of William Muir, Tarbolton Mill, the place of refuge “taken for her” by the poet. These children died shortly after birth. Burns was then absent in Edinburgh, whither he had gone for a fortnight, on 10th March, to complete his bargain about the Ellisland farm, get a settlement with Creech, and hold some farther dalliance with Clarinda. That lady, on 5th March, had written to him. enquiring kindly after Jean in these words, “I pity her sincerely, and wish a certain affair happily over.
FEB. 14. 1788.-Second volume of Johnson's Museum published. Thirty-five songs by Burns.
LODGE MINUTES OF MARCH 29 AND MAY 23 1788, SIGD. THE POET's Robt. Burns, D.M.
“MAUCHLINE, Aug. 5TH, 1788.- -Sess. Con. :-Com1788. peared Robert Burns with Jean Armour, his alleged (AGE 29.) spouse. They both acknowledged their irregular mar
riage, and their sorrow for that irregularity, desiring that the Session will take such steps as may seem to them proper in order to the solemn confirmation of the said marriage. The Session taking this affair under their consideration, agree that they both be rebukel for
EDINBURGH BEAUTIES AND MAUCHLINE BELLES.
this acknowledged irregularity, and that they be taken solemly engaged to adhere faithfully to one another as husband and wife all the days of their life. And in regard the Session had a title in law to some fine for behoof of the poor, they agree to refer to Mr. Burns his own generosity. The above sentence was accordingly executed, and the Session absolved the said parties froin any scandal on this acct. (Sig).
(Sig.) “ WILLIAM AULD, Modr.
(Sig.) JEAN ARMOUR." “Mr. Burns gave a guinea note for behoof of the poor.”
Only think of Burns taking an Edinburgh Belle to wife ! • On his eclatant return to Mauchline,' he flew, somewhat too fervently, to 'Love's willing-fetters, the arms of his Jean.”--Professor Wilson.
“I have altered all my plans of future life. A farm THE FARM AND that I could live in, I could not find ; and, indeed, THE EXCISE, after the necessary support my brother and the rest of
the family required, I could not venture on farming in 1788. that style suitable to my feelings. You will condemn (AGE 29.) me for the next step I have taken: I have entered into
the Excise. I stay in the West about three weeks, and then return to Edinburgh, for six weeks' instructions.”—Letter to Miss Chalmers, Feb. 17, 1788.
"Yesterday I completed a bargain with Mr. Miller for the farm of Ellisland, on the banks of the Nith, between five and six miles above Dumfries. I begin at Whitsunday to build a house, drive lime, &c., and Heaven be my help.”—Letter to Miss Chalmers, March 14, 1788.
“I do not find my farm that pennyworth I was taught to expect. To save me from that horrid situation of at any time going down, in a losing bargain of a farm, to misery, I have taken my Excise instructions, and have my commission in my pocket for any emergency of fortune.". Letter to Miss Chalmers, Ellisland, Sept. 16.
Song: Of a' the airts the wind can blaw.
DEC.--Mrs Burns joins her husband, and the household reside at an old-fashioned farm-steading, called The Isle, about a mile down the Nith from Ellisland, the new farm-house there being still in course of erection.
Happy Domestic Position.—"I am here in my old THE FARMER's way, holding my plough, marking the growth of my LIFE, corn or the health of my dairy, and at times sauntering
by the delightful windings of the Nith-on the margin 1789. of which I have built my humble domicile.”—Letter to (AGE 30.) Mr. M'Auley, June 4, 1789.
Profits of Edinburgh Edition and disposal thereof.“I believe I shall, in whole (£100 copyright included), clear about £400, some little odds; and even part of this depends upon what the gentleman (Creech) has yet to settle with me. In a month, I shall go
to town to wind up the business if possible.
I have a younger brother, who supports my aged mother ; another still younger brother and three sisters, in the farm of Mossgiel. On my last return from Edinburgh, it cost me about £180 to save them from ruin. Not that I have lost so much ; I only interposed between my brother and his impending fate by the loan of so much. give myself no airs on this,” &c. -Letter to Moore, January 4, 1789.
“There can be no doubt that Burns' profits from his Edinburgh Edition exceeded £500. In his calculation he seems to have mentally included, as relative outlay, the money he spent in Edinburgh, and on his Tours."-Chambers.
Hurried visit to Edinburgh at end of February, when accounts between the poet and Creech were closed.
SKETCH : A little, upright, pert, tart, tripping wight.
FARMER AND EXCISEMAN.-" His farm was after this,
betook himself to the duties of his new appointment. POET, It was not at Ellisland that he was now generally to be
found. Mounted on horseback, this high-minded poet 1790. was pursuing the defaulters of the revenue among the (AGE 31.) hills and vales of Nithsdale, his roving eye wandering
the charms of nature, and muttering his wayward fancies' as he moved along.”—Currie.
“In the summer of 1790, as well as in that of the subsequent year, Mrs. Burns had left her husband for several weeks, while she visited her father and mother at Mauchline. It was natural for the young wife to desire to spend a little time with her own relations, and to show them her thriving young brood ; but it was an injudicious step for the wife of such a husband : it tended to break the good domestic habits which for some time the poet had been forming. His sister, Agnes, who had been at Ellisland from the beginning, superintending the dairy, used to say that she never knew him fail to keep good hours at night, till the first unlucky absence of her sister-in-law in Ayrshire.”—Chambers, 1851.
Tourist-Visitors.—“The great Glasgow road ran through the poet's ground, and the coach often set down West-country passengers, who, trusting to the airt they came from, and the accessibility of the bard, made their, sometimes unwelcome, appearance at the doors of Ellisland. Such visitations--from which po man of genius is free-consumed his time, and wasted his substance ; for hungry friends could not be entertained on air.”—A. Cunningham.
SKETCH : New-Year's-Day: To Mrs. Dunlop.
THE FARM ABANDONED.
Tam o' Shanter composed in October or November.
Soil of Ellisland. “Burns declared, after a shower had fallen on a field of new-sown and new-rolled barley,
that it looked like a new-paved street ! 'Soil !' said he ELLISLAND. one day to my father, there never was such another
1791. soil ; but I see how it has been-God has riddled the (AGE 32). hale creation, and flung the riddlings on Ellisland !'”
-Allan Cunningham. The Poet's Landlord.—"I may perhaps see you about Martinmas. I have sold to my landlord the lease of my farm, and as I roup off every; thing then, I have a mind to take a week's excursion to see old acquaintances. I am now got ranked on the list as a supervisor, the appointment being worth from one to two hundred a year, according to the place of the country where one is settled. I have not been so lucky in my farming Mr. Miller's kindness has been just such another as Creech's was : His meddling vanity, a busy fiend, still making work his selfish craft must mend.”—Letter to Hill.
JAN.--Elegy on the late Miss Burnett of Monboddo. FEB.—Lament for Mary Queen of Scots. FEB.—Lament for James, Earl of Glencairn. Song : Ae fond kiss, and then we sever. Fourth Epistle to Mr. Graham of Fintry. Song: Behold the hour, the boat arrive. MARCH 31, 1791.-Birth of the poet's illegitimate daughter, at the Globe Tavern, Dumfries.
APRIL 9, 1791.-Birth of WILLIAM NICOL BURNS.
The Poet's Last Visit to Edinburgh.--At the close of November, 1791, Burns performed the promise contained in his letter to Peter Hill. Clarinda had resolved to accept an invitation from her husband in Jamaica to join him there; and in the belief that she was about to leave this country for ever, she consented to receive a parting visit from Burns. This final interview took place on 6th December, 1791, and is supposed to be celebrated in the lyrical sketch, 0 May, thy morn was ne'er sae sweet as the mirk night o' December.
Bids farewell to Ellisland, after three and a half years' location there, "leaving behind him a memory of his musings which can never die, and three hundred pounds of his money-sunk beyond redemption, in a speculation from which all (except, perhaps, himself) augured happiness.”—A. Cunningham.
At Friars-Carse, becomes acquainted with Miss Deborah Davies.
The Poet's first house in the Wee Vennel (now Bank
December, 1791, to Whitsunday, 1793, was one stair 1792. up, and consisted of three apartments. "The small (AGE 33.) central room, about the size of a bed-closet, is the only
place he has in which to seclude himself for study. On the ground floor immediately underneath, his friend, John Syme, has his office for the distribution of stamps. Overhead, is an honest blacksmith, called George Haugh, whom Burns treats on a familiar footing as a neighbour. On the opposite side of the street, is the poet's landlord, Captain Hamilton, a gentleman of fortune and worth, who
RESIDENCE IX DUMFRIES.