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Is aught on earth so lovely known,

While all the venal tribes decay, On sabbath mom and far alone,

That bask in flattery's flaunting ray-
His guileless soul all naked shown

The noisome vermin of a day,
Before his God-

Thy works shall gain
Such pray’rs must welcome reach the throne, O'er every mind a boundless sway,
And bless'd abode.

A lasting reign.

O tell! with what a heartfelt joy, The parent eyes the virtuous boy; And all his constant, kind employ,

Is how to give The best of lear he can enjoy,

As means to live.

When winter binds the harden'd plains,
Around each hearth, the hoary swains
Still teach the rising youth thy strains;

And anxious say,
Our blessing with our sons remains,

And Burns's LAY!


The parish-school, its curious site,
The master who can clear indite,
And lead him on to count and write,
Demand thy care;

No. III.
Nor pass the ploughman's school at night
Without a share.

(First inserted in the Second Edition.) Nor yet the tenty curious lad,

The editor has particular pleasure in Who o'er the ingle hings his head,

presenting to the public the following letAnd begs of nei bours books to read; For hence arise

ter, to the due understanding of which a Thy country's sons, who far are spread,

few previous observations are necessary. Baith bauld and wise.

The Biographer of Burns was naturally desirous of hearing the opinion of the

friend and brother of the poet, on the The bonnie lasses, as they spin,

manner in which he had executed his Perhaps with Allan's sangs begin,

task, before a second edition should be How Tay and Tweed smooth flowing rin

committed to the press.

He had the saThrough flowery hows; tisfaction of receiving this opinion, in a Where Shepherd lads their sweethearts win letter dated the 24th of August, approving With earnest vows. of the Life in very obliging terms, and

offering one or two trivial corrections as Or may be, Burns, thy thrilling page to names and dates chiefly, which are May a'their virtuous thoughts engage, made in this edition. One or two obserWhile playful youth and placid age In concert join,

vations were offered of a different kind. To bless the bard, who, gay or sage,

In the 319th page of the first volume, Improves the mind. first edition, a quotation is made from the

pastoral song, Ettrick Banks, and an explanation given of the phrase “mony

feck," which occurs in this quotation. Long may their harmless, simple ways, Supposing the sense to be complete after Nature's own pure emotions raise;

mony,” the editor had considered "feck" May still the dear romantic blaze

a rustic oath which confirmed the asserOf purest love, Their bosoms warm to latest days,

tion. The words were therefore sepaAnd ay improve.

rated by a comma.

Mr. Burns considered this an error. “Feck," he presumes,

is the Scottish word for quantity, and May still each fond attachment glow, O'er woods, o'er streams, o'er hills of snow, The editor in yielding to this authority,

"mony feck,” to mean simply, very many. May rugged rocks still dearer grow;

And may their souls expressed some hesitation, and hinted Even love the warlock glens which through that the phrase "mony feck” was, in The tempest howls. Burns's sense, a pleonasm or barbarism

which deformed this beautiful song. * To eternizé such themes as these, And all their happy manners seize,

* The correction made by Gilbert Burns has also Will every virtuous bosom please;

been suggested by a writer in the Monthly Magazine, And high in fame under the signature of Albion : who, for taking this To future times will justly raise

trouble, and for mentioning the author of the poetu of Thy patriot name

Dornocht-head deferves the Editor's thanks.

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His reply to this observation makes the ply as follows;*-When my father built first clause of the following letter. his “clay biggin," he put in two stone

jambs, as they are called, and a lintel, In the same communication he informed carrying up a chimney in his clay gable. me, that the Mirror and the Lounger were the consequence was, that as the gable proposed by him to the Conversation Club subsided, the jambs, remaining firm, of Mauchline, and that he had thoughts threw it off its centre; and, one very of giving me his sentiments on the re- stormy morning, when my brother was marks I had made respecting the fitness nine or ten years old, a little before dayof such works for such societies. The light a part of the gable fell out, and the observations of such a man on such a sub- rest appeared so shattered, that my moject, the Editor conceived, would be re- ther with the young poet, had to be carceived with particular interest by the ried through the storm to a neighbour's public; and, having pressed earnestly for house, where they remained a week till them, they will be found in the following their own dwelling was adjusted. That letter. Of the value of this communica- you may not think too meanly of this tion, delicacy towards his very respecta- house, or my father's taste in building, ble correspondent prevents him from ex- by supposing the poet's description in The pressing his opinion. The original let. Vision (which is entirely a fancy picture) ter is in the hands of Messrs. Caddell and applicable to it, allow me to take notice Davies.

to you, that the house consisted of a kit

chen in one end, and a room in the other, Dinning, Dumfries-shire, 24th Oct. 1800. with a fire place and chimney; that my

father had constructed a concealed bed in DEAR SIR,

the kitchen, with a small closet at the Yours of the 17th inst. came to my end, of the same materials with the house; hand yesterday, and I sit down this after and, when altogether cast over, outside noon to write you in return: but when I and in, with lime, it had a neat comfortashall be able to finish all I wish to say to ble appearance, such as no family of the you, I cannot tell. I am sorry your con

same rank, in the present improved style viction is not complete respecting feck. of living, would think themselves ill-lodgThere is no doubt, that if you take two ed in. I wish likewise to take notice, in English words which appear synonymous passing, that although the “Cotter," in to mony feck, and judge by the rules of the Saturday Night, is an exact copy of English construction, it will appear a bar- my father in his manners, his family-debarism. I believe if you take this mode votion, and exhortations, yet the other of translating from any language, the ef- parts of the description do not appiy to fect will frequently be the same.

But if our family. None of us were ever at you take the expression mony feck to service out amang the neebors roun.” Inhave, as I have stated it, the same mean

stead of our depositing our "sairwon penin with the English expression very many ny fee”, with our parents, my father la(and such license every translator must boured hard, and lived with the most ribe allowed, especially when he translates gid economy, that he might be able to from a simple dialect which has never keep his children at home, thereby havbeen subjected to rule, and where the ing an opportunity of watching the proprecise meaning of words is of conse

gress of our young minds and forming in quence, not minutely attended to,) it will them earlier habits of piety and virtue; be well enough. One thing I am certain and from this motive alone did he engage of, that ours is the sense universally un- in farming, the source of all his difficulderstood in the country; and I believe no

ties and distresses. Scotsman, who has lived contented at home, pleased with the simple manners,

When I threatened you in my last with the simple melodies, and the simple dia- a long letter on the subject of the books lect of his native country, unvitiated by I recommended to the Mauchline club, foreign intercourse, “whose soul proud and the effects of refinement of taste on science never tanght to stray,” ever dis- the labouring classes of men, I meant covered barbarism in the song of Ettrick merely, that I wished to write you on Banks.

* The Editor had heard a report that the poet was The story you have heard of the gable born in the midst of a storm which blew down a pari of my father's house falling down, is sim- of the house.


that subject with the view that, in some them, will still be considered by men of future communication to the public, you common sense as objects of importance ; might take up the subject more at large; and poverty will be felt as a sore evil, af. that, by means of your happy manner of ter all the fine things that can be said of writing, the attention of people of power its advantages ;' on the contrary I am of and influence might be fixed on it. I had opinion, that a great proportion of the little expectation, however, that I should miseries of life arise from the want of ecoevercome my indolence, and the difficulty nomy, and a prudent attention to money, of arranging my thoughts so far as to or the ill-directed or intemperate pursuit put my threat in execution; till some of it. But however valuable riches may time ago, before I had finished my har- be as the means of comfort, independence, vest, having a call from Mr. Ewart,* with and the pleasure of doing good to others, a message from you, pressing me to the yet I am of opinion, that they may be, and performance of this task, I thought my frequently are, purchased at too great a self no longer at liberty to decline it, and cost, and that sacrifices are made in the resolved to set about it with my first lei- pursuit, which the acquisition cannot sure. I will now therefore endeavour to compensate. I remember hearing my lay before you what has occurred to my worthy teacher, Mr. Murdoch, relate an mind, on a subject where people capable anecdote to my father, which I think of observation and of placing their re- sets this matter in a strong light, and pe:marks in a proper point of view, have sel-haps was the origin, or at least tended to dom an opportunity of making their re-promote this way of thinking in me. marks on real life. In doing this, I may When Mr. Murdoch left Alloway, he perhaps be led sometimes to write more went to teach and reside in the family of in the manner of a person communicating an opulent farmer who had a number of information to you which you did not sons. A neighbour coming on a visit, know before, and at other times more in in the course of conversation, asked the the style of egotism, than I would choose father how he meant to dispose of his to do to any person, in whose candour, sons. The father replied that he had not and even personal good will, I had less determined. The visitor said, that were confidence.

he in his place he would give thcm all

good education and send them abroad, There are two several lines of study without (perhaps) having a precise idea that open to every man as he enters life: where. The father objected, that many the one, the general science of life, of du- young men lost their health in foreign ty, and of happiness; the other, the par-countries, and many their lives. True, ticular arts of his employment or situa- replied the visitor, but as you have a nuntion in society, and the several branches ber of sons, it will be strange if some one of knowledge therewith connected. This of them does not live and make a forlast is certainly indispensable, as nothing tune. can be more disgraceful than ignorance in the way of one's own profession; and Let any person who has the feelings of whatever a man's speculative knowledge a father, comment on this story; but may be, if he is ill-informed there, he can though few will avow, even to themselves neither be a useful nor a respectable mem- that such views govern their conduct, ber of society. It is nevertheless true, yet do we not daily see people shipping off that “the proper study of mankind is their sons (and who would do so by their man :" to consider what duties are in- daughters also, if there were any demand cumbent on him as a rational creature, for them,) that they may be rich or perish? and a member of society; how he may increase or secure his happiness : and

The education of the lower classes is how he may prevent or soften the many seldom considered in any other point of miseries incident to human life. I think view than as the means of raising them the pursuit of happiness is too frequently from that station to which they were born, confined to the endeavour after the acqui- and of making a fortune. I am ignorant sition of wealth. I do not wish to be con- of the mysteries of the art of acquiring a sidered as an idle declaimer against riches, fortune without any thing to begin with; which, after all that can be said against and cannot calculate, with any degree of

exactness, the difficulties to be surmount* The Pditor's friend Mr. Peter Ewart of Manches ed, the mortifications to be suffered, and

the degradation of character to be sub



mitted to, in lending one's self to be thejections, beginning with the one you have minister of other people's vices, or in the mentioned. practice of rapine, fraud, oppression, or dissimulation, in the progress; but even when I do not mean to controvert your critithe wished for end is attained, it may be cism of my favourite books, the Mirror buestioned whether happiness be much and Lounger, although I understand increased by the change. When I have there are people who think themselves

een a fortunate adventurer of the lower judges, who do not agree with you. The ranks of life returned from the East or acquisition of knowledge, except what is West Indies, with all the hauteur of a connected with human life and conduct, vulgar mind accustomed to be served by or the particular business of his employslaves, assuming a character which, from ment, does not appear to me to be the fitthe ear y habits of life, he is ill-fitted to test pursuit for a peasant. I would say support displaying magnificence which with the poet, raises the envy of some, and the contempt

How empty learning, and how vain is art of others, claiming an equality with the

Save where it guides the life, or mends the heart.' great, which they are unwilling to allow; inly pining at the precedence of the he- There seems to be a considerable latireditary gentry; maddened by the polish- tude in the use of the word taste. I uned insolence of some of the unworthy part derstand it to be the perception and reof them; seeking pleasure in the society lish of beauty, order, or any thing, the of men who can condescend to flatter him, contemplation of which gives pleasure and listen to his absurdity for the sake of and delight to the mind. I suppose it is a good dinner and good wine : I cannot in this sense you wish it to be understood. avoid concluding, that his brother, or com- If I am right, the taste which these books panion, who, by a diligent application to are calculated to cultivate (besides the the labours of agriculture, or some useful taste for fine writing, which many of the mechanic employment, and the carefulhus- papers tend to improve and to gratify,) is banding of his gains, has acquired a com- what is proper, consistent, and becoming petence in his station, is a much happier, in human character and conduct, as aland, in the eye of a person who can take most every paper relates to these suban enlarged view of mankind, a much jects. more respectable man.

I am sorry I have not these books by

I But the votaries of wealth may be con- me, that I might point out some instances. sidered as a great number of candidates | I reinember two one the beautiful story striving for a few prizes: and whatever of La Roch, where, beside the pleasure addition the successful may make to their one derives from a beautiful simple story, pleasure or happiness, the disappointed told in M‘Kenzie's happiest manner, the will always have more to suffer, I am mind is led to taste with heartfelt rapafraid, than those who abide contented ture, the consolation to be derived in in the station to which they were born. deep affliction, from habitual devotion I wish, therefore, the education of the and trust in Almighty God. The other, lower classes to be promoted and direct- the story of general W- where the ed to their improvement as men, as the reader is led to have a high relish for means of increasing their virtue, and that firmness of mind which disregards opening to them new and dignified sources appearances, the common forms and vaniof pleasure and happiness. I have heard ties of life, for the sake of doing justice some people object to the education of in a case which was out of the reach of the lower classes of men, as rendering human laws. them less useful, by abstracting them from their proper business; others, as Allow me then to remark, that if the tending to make them saucy to their su- morality of these books is subordinate to periors, impatient of their condition, and the cultivation of taste; that taste, that turbulent subjects; while you, with more refinement of mind and delicacy of sentihumanity, have your fears alarmed, lest ment which they are intended to give, the delicacy of mind, induced by that sort are the strongest guard and surest founof education and reading I recommend, dation of morality and virtue.-Other should render the evils of their situation moralists guard, as it were, the overt act; insupportable to them. I wish to ex- these papers, by exalting duty into sentiamine the validity of each of these ob- ment, are calculated to make every de


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viation from rectitude and propriety of

Withouten that would come an heavier bale, conduct, painful to the mind,

Loose life, unruly passions, and diseases pale!" "Whose temper'd powers,

And, while he repeats the words, the Refine at length, and every passion wears

grateful recollection comes across his A chaster, milder, more attractive mien."

mind, how often he has derived ineffable I readily grant you, that the refinement pleasure from the sweet song of “Naof mind which I contend for, inscreases ture's darling child." I can say, from my our sensibility to the evils of life! but own experience, that there is no sort of what station of life is without its evils ! farm-labour inconsistent with the most There seems to be no such thing as per- refined and pleasurable state of the mind fect happiness in this world, and we must that I am acquainted with, thrashing balance the pleasure and the pain which alone excepted. That, indeed, I have we derive from taste, before we can pro- always considered as insupportable drudgperly appreciate it in the case before us. ery, and think the ingenious mechanic I apprehend that on a minute examina- who invented the thrashing machine, tion it will appear, that the evils peculiar ought to have a statue among the beneto the lower ranks of life, derive their factors of his country, and should be plapower to wound us, more from the sug- ced in the niche next to the person who gestions of false pride, and the “conta- introduced the culture of potatoes into gion of luxury, weak and vile,” than the this island. refinement of our taste. It was a favourite remark of my brother's, that there was Perhaps the thing of most importance no part of the constitution of our nature, to in the education of the common people is, which we were more indebted, than that to prevent the intrusion of artificial wants. by which “ Custom makes things familiar I bless the memory of my worthy father and easy(a copy Mr. Murdoch used to for almest every thing in the dispositions set us to write,) and there is little labour of my mind, and my habits of life, which which custom will not make easy to a I can approve of: and for none more than man in health, if he is not ashamed of his the pains he took to impress my mind employment, or does not begin to com- with the sentiment, that nothing was pare his situation with those he may see more unworthy the character of a man, going about at their ease.

than that his happiness should in the

least depend on what he should eat or But the man of enlarged mind feels the drink. So early did he impress my mind respect due to him as a man; he has with this, that although I was as fond of learned that no employment is dishonour- sweatmeats as children generally are, yet able in itself; that while he performs I seldom laid out any of the half-pence aright the duties of that station in which which relations or neighbours gave me at God has placed him, he is as great as a king fairs, in the purchase of them; and if I in the eyes of Him whom he is principal- | did, every mouthful I swallowed was acly desirous to please ; for the man of taste, companied with shame and remorse; and who is constantly obliged to labour, must to this hour I never indulge in the use of of necessity be religious. If you teach any delicacy, but I feel a considerable dehim only to reason, you may make him gree of self-reproach and alarm for the dean atheist, a demagogue, or any vile thing; gradation of the human character. Such but if you teach him to feel, his feelings a habit of thinking I consider as of great can only find their proper and natural re- consequence, both to the virtue and haplief in devotion and religious resignation. piness of men in the lower ranks of life.He knows that those people who are to And thus, Sir, I am of opinion, that if appearance at ease, are not without their their minds are early and deeply impressshare of evils, and that even toil itself is ed with a sense of the dignity of man, as not destitute of advantages. He listens such; with the love of independence and to the words of his favourite poet : of industry, economy and temperance, as

the most obvious means of making them"O mortal man that livest here by toil,

selves independent, and the virtues most Cease to repine and grudge thy hard estate ! That like an emmet thou must ever moil,

becoming their situation, and necessary Is a sad sentence or an ancient date;

to their happiness; men in the lower And, certes, there is for it reason great;

ranks of life may partake of the pleasures Although sometimes it makes thee weep and wail, to be derived from the perusal of books And curse thy star, and early drudge, and late; calculated to improve the mind and re

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