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EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND CO, TO

JAMES HOGG, AND ALLAN CUNNINGHAM,

THIS VOLUME

IS

INSCRIBED,

IN TESTIMONY OF

ADMIRATION AND ESTEEM,

1

PREFATORY NOTICE.

SOME apology must be deemed necessary for any new attempt to write the Life of Burns. The present adventurer on that field has only this to offer--that Dr Currie's Memoir cannot be, with propriety, detached from the collection of the Poet's works, which it was expressly designed to accompany; and the regretted projector of Constable's Miscellany sought in vain for any other narrative sufficiently detailed to meet the purposes of his publication.

The last reprint of Dr Currie's Edition had the advantage of being superintended by Mr Gilbert Burns; and that excellent man, availing himself of the labours of Cromek, Walker, and Peterkin, and supplying many blanks from the stores of his

A

own recollection, produced at last a book, in which almost everything that should be (and some things that never should have been) told, of his brother's history, may be found. There is, however, at least for indolent readers, no small inconvenience in the arrangement which Currie's Memoir, thus enlarged, presents. The frequent references to notes, appendices, and Letters not included in the same volume, are somewhat perplexing. And it may, moreover, be seriously questioned, whether Gilbert Burns's best method of answering many of his amiable author's unconscious mis-statements and exaggerations, would not have been to expunge them altogether from a work with which posterity were to connect, in any shape or measure, the authority of his own name.

As to criticism on Burns's poetry, no one can suppose that anything of consequence remains to be added on a subject which has engaged successively the pens of Mac kenzie, Heron, Currie, Scott, Jeffrey, Walker, Wordsworth, Campbell, and Wilson.

The humble purpose of the following Essay was, therefore, no more than to com

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