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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,
Or Nature aught of pleasure give,
While joys above my mind can move,
For thee, and thee alone, I live.
When that grim foe of life below

Comes in between to make us part,
The iron hand that breaks our band,

It breaks my bliss it breaks my heart!


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,
And framed her last, best work, the human mind,
Her eye intent on all the mazy plan,
She formed of various parts the various man.

Then first she calls the useful many forth,
Plain plodding industry, and sober worth;

Thence peasants, farmers, native sons of earth,
And merchandise' whole genus take their birth;
Each prudent cit a warm existence finds,
And all mechanics' many-apron'd kinds.
Some other rarer sorts are wanted yet,
The lead and buoy are needful to the net;
The caput mortuum of gross desires

Makes a material for mere knights and squires;
The martial phosphorus is taught to flow;
She kneads the lumpish philosophic dough,
Then marks the unyielding mass with grave

Law, physic, politics, and deep divines;
Last, she sublimes the Aurora of the poles,
The flashing elements of female souls.
The order'd system fair before her stood,
Nature, well pleased, pronounced it very good;
But ere she gave creating labour o’er,
Half-jest, she tried one curious labour more.
Some spumy, fiery, ignis fatuus matter,
Such as the slightest breath of air might scatter;
With arch alacrity and conscious glee
(Nature may have her whim as well as we,
Her Hogarth-art perhaps she meant to shew it),
She forms the thing, and christens it a Poet;
Creature, though oft the prey of care and sorrow,
When blest to-day, unmindful of to-morrow;
A being formed t' amuse his graver friends,
Admired and praised- and there the homage

A mortal quite unfit for Fortune's strife,
Yet oft the sport of all the ills of life ;
Prone to enjoy each pleasure riches give,
Yet haply wanting wherewithal to live;
Longing to wipe each tear, to heal each groan,
Yet frequent all unheeded in his own.

But honest Nature is not quite a Turk;

She laughed at first, then felt for her poor work.

Pitying the propless climber of mankind,
She cast about a standard tree to find;
And, to support his helpless woodbine state,
Attached him to the generous truly great,
A title, and the only one I claim,

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!
God's image rudely etched on base alloy !
But come, ye who the godlike pleasure know,
Heaven's attribute distinguished — to bestow !
Whose arms of love would grasp the human

race :

Come thou who giv'st with all a courtier's grace,

Friend of my life, true patron of my rhymes,
Prop of my dearest hopes for future times!
Why shrinks my soul half-blushing, half-afraid,
Backward, abashed, to ask thy friendly aid?
I know. my need, I know thy giving hand,
I crave thy friendship at thy kind command;
But there are such who court the tuneful

Heavens should the branded character be


Whose verse in manhood's pride sublimely


Yet vilest reptiles in their begging prose.
Mark, how their lofty independent spirit
Soars on the spurning wing of injured merit!
Seek not the proofs in private life to find;
Pity the best of words should be but wind!

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