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ly connected by the ties of relationship with the poet, others distinguished by their literary attainments, and their well known admiration of his works, have also been consulted. But though I have availed myself of this assistance to the utmost of my power, and " though I "love the man, and do honour his memory on "this side idolatry as much as any," yet as on many occasions I must exercise my own judgment and discretion, I know not whether the warmth of my attachment to the poet and his productions, may not have led me to publish sentiments and pieces which would have been better withheld, and even letters and poems, to which an ardent admiration of their author may have induced me to attach a fancied value and interest. I can however assure the reader, that whatever may be thought of the following collection, I have neither forgotten, nor been indifferent to the apprehensions so strongly expressed by Burns, in nearly his last moments; "that every scrap of his writing would be re"vived against him to the injury of his future "reputation; that letters and papers written "with unguarded and improper freedom, and "which he earnestly wished to have buried in "oblivion, would be handed about by idle vanity " or malevolence, when no dread of his resent"ment would restrain them, or prevent the cen

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"sures of shrill-tongued malice, or the insidious "sarcasms of envy, from pouring forth all their 99* venom to blast his fame.' On the contrary, I must be allowed to say, that if I am at all accurate in my estimate of the character and feelings of this extraordinary but eccentric genius, I have printed no one piece of his composition that he would have been ashamed to acknowledge, and that in this publication, I have been actuated only by an earnest desire of preserving such of the writings of Burns, and such only, as do honour to the poet's head, or to his heart; or that are immediately or remotely connected with the circumstances of his life, or the developement of his character.

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To one whose admiration of the bard was less ardent than mine, it might have occurred that some of his pieces, containing passages of great beauty, were rendered inadmissible merely by a single indelicate sentiment, or unguarded expression, which it might be easy to alter, so as to preserve the whole. But from such a presumption as the substituting a word of my own in the place of that of the poet, (except in a very few instances of evident error) I have most religiously abstained;

* Burns's Works-Dr. Currie's Ed. v. i. p. 222.

abstained; and have in such cases rather chosen to omit the passage, or even to sacrifice the piece altogether, than attempt to remove its blemishes. If indeed I could ever have entertained any doubts as to the sacred duty of fidelity to my author, the warning voice which yet seems to issue from the warm ashes of the poet himself, would effectually have deterred me. "To mangle the works of the poor bard, whose "tuneful voice is now mute for ever in the dark " and narrow house,-by Heaven, 'twould be sa" crilege!"*

My readers will however best judge how far my exertions are intitled to their approbation. As an apology for any defects of my own that may appear in this publication, I beg to observe that I am by profession an artist, and not an author. An earnest wish to possess a scrap of the hand-writing of Burns, originally led to the discovery of most of the papers that compose this volume. In the manner of laying them before the public I honestly declare that I have done my best; and I trust I may fairly presume to hope that the man who has contributed to extend the bounds of literature by adding another genuine

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genuine volume to the writings of Robert Burns, has some claim on the gratitude of his countrymen. On this occasion, I certainly feel something of that sublime and heart-swelling gratification, which he experiences, who casts another stone on the CAIRN of a great and lamented chief.

Newman Street,
1st Nov. 1808.

R. H. C.

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