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consumpt for a great deal of idle metre. One of the most tolerable things I have done in that way is two stanzas I made to an air a musical gentleman of my acquaintance [Captain Riddell, of Glenriddell] composed for the anniversary of his wedding-day, which happens on the 7th of November."- Burns to Miss Chalmers, Sept. 16, 1788.
THE day returns, my bosom burns,
The blissful day we twa did meet; Though winter wild in tempest toiled,
Ne'er summer sun was half sae sweet. Than a' the pride that loads the tide,
And crosses o'er the sultry line,
Than kingly robes, than crowns and globes, Heaven gave me more it made thee mine!
While day and night can bring delight,
Comes in between to make us part,
It breaks my bliss it breaks my heart!
FIRST EPISTLE TO MR. GRAHAM OF FINTRY.
Burns had been told by some of his literary friends, that it was a great error to write in Scotch, seeing that thereby he was cut off from the appreciation of the English public. He was disposed to give way to this hint, and henceforth to compose chiefly in English, or at least to try his hand upon the soft lyres of Twickenham and Richmond, in the hope of succeeding equally well as he had hitherto done upon the rustic reed of Scotland. It seems to have been a great mistake. The flow of versification and the felicity of diction, for which Burns's Scottish poems and songs are remarkable, vanish when he attempts the southern strain. We see this well exemplified in a poem of the present summer, in which he aimed at the style of Pope's Moral Epistles, while at the same time he sought to advance his personal fortunes through the medium of a patron.
WHEN Nature her great master-piece designed,
Then first she calls the useful many forth,
Thence peasants, farmers, native sons of earth,
Makes a material for mere knights and squires;
Law, physic, politics, and deep divines;
A mortal quite unfit for Fortune's strife,
But honest Nature is not quite a Turk;
She laughed at first, then felt for her poor work.
Pitying the propless climber of mankind,
To lay strong hold for help on bounteous
Pity the tuneful Muses' hapless train,
Weak, timid landsmen on life's stormy main ! Their hearts no selfish stern absorbent stuff, That never gives though humbly takes
The little fate allows, they share as soon, Unlike sage proverb'd wisdom's hard-wrung
The world were blest did bliss on them depend: Ah, that "the friendly e'er should want a
Let prudence number o'er each sturdy son,
Who life and wisdom at one race begun,
Who feel by reason and who give by rule (Instinct's a brute, and sentiment a fool!) Who make poor will do wait upon I should· We own they're prudent, but who feels they're good?
Ye wise ones, hence! ye hurt the social eye!
Come thou who giv'st with all a courtier's grace,
Friend of my life, true patron of my rhymes,
Heavens should the branded character be
Whose verse in manhood's pride sublimely
Yet vilest reptiles in their begging prose.