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the press, from different considerations.


will also be readily supposed, that our Poet,
writing nearly at the same time, and under the
same feelings to different individuals, would
sometimes fall into the same train of sentiment
and forms of expression. To avoid, therefore,
the tediousness of such repetitions, it has been
found necessary to mutilate many of the indi-
vidual letters, and sometimes to exscind parts of
great delicacy-the unbridled effusions of pane-
gyric and regard. But though many of the
letters are printed from originals furnished by
the persons to whom they were addressed, others
are printed from first draughts, or sketches,
among the papers of our Bard. Though
in general no man committed his thoughts to
his correspondents with less consideration or
effort than Burns, yet it appears that in some
instances he was dissatisfied with his first essays,
and wrote out his communications in a fairer
character, or perhaps in more studied language.
In the chaos of his manuscripts, some of the
original sketches were found: and as these
sketches, though less perfect, are fairly to be
considered as the offspring of his mind, where


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they have seemed in themselves worthy of a place in this volume, we have not hesitated to insert them, though they may not always correspond exactly with the letters transmitted, which have been lost or withheld.

Our author appears at one time to have formed an intention of making a collection of his letters for the amusement of a friend Accordingly he copied an inconsiderable number of them into a book, which he presented to Robert Riddel, of Glenriddel, Esq. Among these was the account of his life, addressed to Dr. Moore, and printed in the first volume. In copying from his imperfect sketches, (it does not appear that he had the letters actually sent to his correspondents before him) he seems to have occasionally enlarged his observations, and altered his expressions. In such instances his emendations have been adopted; but in truth there are but five of the letters thus selected by the poet, to be found in the present volume, the rest being thought of inferior merit, or otherwise unfit for the public eye.

In printing this volume, the Editor has


found some corrections of grammar necessary; but these have been very few, and such as may be supposed to occur in the careless effusions, even of literary characters, who have not been in the habit of carrying their compositions to the press. These corrections have never been extended to any habitual modes of expression of the Poet, even where his phraseology may seem to violate the delicacies of taste, or the idiom of our language, which he wrote in general with great accuracy. Some difference will indeed be found in this respect in his earlier and in his later compositions; and this volume will exhibit the progress of his style, as well as the history of his mind. In the Fourth Edition, several new letters were introduced, and some of inferior importance were omitted.



rious subjects,

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VI. Proclamation in the name of the Muses, .

VII. Dr. BLACKLOCK to the Rev. G. LowRIE.

Encouraging the Bard to visit Edinburgh,

and print a new edttion of his poems there, 29

VIII. From the Rev. Mr. LowRIE. 22d Decem-
ber, 1786. Advice to the Bard how to
conduct himself in Edinburgh,

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IX. To Mr. CHALMERS. 27th Dec. 1786. Praise
of Miss Burnet of Monboddo,

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XI. To Mrs DUNLOP. 15th Jan. 1787. Ac-

count of his situation in Edinburgh, . 38

XII. To Dr. MOORE. 1787. Grateful ac-
knowledgments of Dr. M.'s notice of him
in his letters to Mrs. Dunlop,

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sonnet on the Bard, by Miss Williams, . 44
XIV. To the Rev. G. LOWRIE. Thanks for ad-
vice-reflections on his situation-compli-

ment paid to Miss L-, by Mr. Mac-

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XVII. To the Earl of GLENCAIRN. 1787. Grate-
ful acknowledgment of kindness,

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XIX. Extract concerning the monument erected
for Fergusson by our Poet,


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XXII. To Mrs. DUNLOP. 22d March, 1787. Re-
specting his prospects on leaving Edin-

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XXIII. To the Same. 15th April, 1787. On the

same subject,.

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