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even then-I would learn to be happy.* However, I am under no apprehensions about that, for though indolent, yet so far as an extremely delicate constitution permits, I am not lazy ; and in many things, especially in tavern matters, I am a strict economist; not, indeed, for the sake of the money ; but one of the principal parts in my composition is a kind of pride of stomach; and I scorn to fear the face of any man living : above every thing, I abhor as hell, the idea of sneaking in a corner to avoid a dun-possibly some pitiful, sordid wretch, who in my heart I despise and detest. 'Tis this, and this alone, that endears economy to me. In the matter of books, indeed, I am very profuse. My favorite authors are of the sentimental kind, such as Shenstone, particularly his Elegies; Thomson ; Man of Feeling, a book I prize next to the Bible; Man of the World; Sterne, especially his Sentimental Journey; M Pherson's Ossian, &c. these are the glorious models after which I endeavour to form my conduct, and 'tis incongruous, 'tis absurd to suppose that the man whose mind glows with sentiments' lighted up at
* The last shift alluded to here, must be the condition of an itinerant beggar.
their sacred flame-the man whose heart distends with benevolence to all the human race—he “who “can soar above this little scene of things”can he descend to mind the paltry concerns about which the terræfilial race fret, and fume, and vex themselves! O how the glorious triumph swells my heart! I forget that I am a poor insignificant devil, unnoticed and unknown, stalking up and down fairs and markets, when I happen to be in them, reading a page or two of Mankind, and “ catching the manners living as they rise,” whilst the men of business jostle me on every side, as an idle incumbrance in their way.—But I dare say I have by this time tired your patience; so I shall conclude with begging you to give Mrs. Murdoch- not my compliments, for that is a meer common place story; but my warmest, kindest wishes for her welfare ; and accept of the same for yourself from,
The following is taken from the MS prose presented
by our Bard to Mr. Riddel.
ON rummaging over some old papers I lighted on a MS of my early years, in which I had determined to write myself out; as I was placed by fortune among a class of men to whom my ideas would have been nonsense. I had meant that the book should have lain by me, in the fond hope, that some time or other, even after I was no more, my thoughts would fall into the hands of somebody capable of appreciating their value. It sets off thus :
Observations, Hints, Songs, Scraps of Poetry, &c. by R. B.-a man who had little art in making
money, money, and still less in keeping it; but was, however, a man of some sense, a great deal of honesty, and unbounded good will to every creature, rational and irrational. As he was but little indebted to scholastic education, and bred at a plough-tail, his performances must be strongly tinctured with his unpolished, rustic way of life; but as I believe they are really his own, it may be some entertainment to a curious observer of human nature to see how a ploughman thinks and feels, under the pressure of love, ambition, anxiety, grief, with the like cares and passions, which, however diversified by the modes and manners of life, operate pretty much alike, I believe, on all the species.
“ There are numbers in the world, who do "not want sense to make a figure, so much as “ an opinion of their own abilities, to put them “ upon recording their observations, and allowing “them the same importance which they do to “ those which appear in print.”
“ Pleasing, when youth is long expired, to trace
“ The forms our pencil, or our pen designed ! “Such was our youthful air, and shape, and face, « Such the soft image of our youthful mind.”
Ibid. VOL. II.
April 1783. Notwithstanding all that has been said against love, respecting the folly and weakness it leads a young inexperienced mind into; still I think it in a great measure deserves the highest encomium's that have been passed on it. If any thing on earth deserves the name of rapture or transport, it is the feelings of green eighteen, in the company of the mistress of his heart, when she repays him with an equal return of affection.
There is certainly some connexion between love, and music, and poetry; and therefore, I have always thought a fine touch of nature, that passage in a modern love composition.
“ As toward her cot he jogg'd along
For my own part, I never had the least thought, or inclination of turning poet 'till I got once heartily in love; and then rhyme and song were, in a manner, the spontaneous language of my heart.