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TO ROBERT GRAHAM, ESQ. OF FINTRY,
ON RECEIVING A FAVOUR. * CALL no Goddess to inspire my O strains,
A fabled Muse may suit a Bard that
Thou orb of day! thou other paler light !
EPITAPH ON A FRIEND.*
The friend of man, the friend of truth;
* It has not been ascertained for whom this Epitaph was intended.
VERSES WRITTEN AT SELKIRK.*
U LD chuckie Reekie'st sair distrest,
Can yield ava,
O Willie was a witty wight,
An’trig an’ braw :
* Burns sent these verses to his publisher, Mr. Creech, in a letter dated, Selkirk, 13th May, 1787, wherein he says, “ The inclosed I have just wrote, nearly extempore, in a solitary inn in Selkirk, after a miserable wet day's riding. I have been over most of East Lothian, Berwick, Roxburgh, and Selkirkshires, and next week I begin a tour through the north of England.”_“I would write till I would tire you as much with dull prose, as I dare say by this time you are with wretched verse; but I am jaded to death."
Now gawkies, tawpies, gowks, and fools,
In glen or shaw;
The brethren o' the Commerce-Chaumer *
Amang them a';
Nae mair we see his levee door
In bloody raw,
Now worthy Gregory's latin face,
As Rome ne'er saw;
Poor Burns e'en Scotch drink canna quicken, He cheeps like some bewildered chicken
* The Chamber of Commerce of Edinburgh, of which Mr. Creech was secretary.
of Many literary gentlemen were accustomed to meet at Mr. Creech's house at breakfast.
Scar'd frae its minnie and the cleckin
By hoodie-craw ; Grief's gien his heart an unco kickin',
Now ev'ry sour-mou'd grinin' blellum,
His quill may draw;
Up wimpling stately Tweed I've sped,
While tempests blaw;
May I be slander's common speech;
In winter snaw;
Tho’ far awa!
May never wicked fortune touzle him !
He canty claw!
Fleet wing awa!
INSCRIPTION ON THE TOMBSTONE*
ERECTED BY BURNS TO THE MEMORY OF FERGUSSON.
“ Here lies Robert Fergusson, Poet,
16th October, 1774.”
RUTO sculptur'd marble here, nor pompous
* Burns applied for leave to erect a tombstone to Fergusson on the 6th February, 1787, in the following letter:
“ To the honourable Bailies of Canongate, Edinburgh.
“ Gentlemen, I am sorry to be told that the remains of Robert Fergusson, the so justly celebrated poet, a man whose talents, for ages to come, will do honour to our Caledonian name, lie in your church-yard, among the ignoble dead, unnoticed and unknown. Some memorial to direct the steps of the lovers of Scottish song, when they wish to shed a tear over the ‘narrow house of the bard who is no more, is surely a tribute due to Fergusson's memory; a tribute I wish to have the honour of paying. I petition you, then, gentlemen, to permit me to lay a simple stone over his revered ashes, to remain an unalienable property to his deathless fame. I have the honour to be, gentlemen, your very humble servant,
“ Robert Burns." On one side the Stone the above inscription is engraved : and on the other side,
“ By special grant of the Managers to Robert Burns, who erected this stone, this Burial-Place is to remain for ever sacred to the memory of Robert Fergusson."