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Heaven spare you lang to kiss the breath
O’mony flow'ry simmers !
bonie lasses baith,
The blossom of our gentry !
A credit to his country.
TO CAPTAIN RIDDEL, GLENRIDDEL.
EXTEMPORE LINES ON RETURNING A NEWSPAPER.
Ellisland, Monday Evening. OUR News and Review, Sir, I've read
through and through, Sir, With little admiring or blaming ; The papers are barren of home-news or
foreign, No murders or rapes worth the naming. Our friends the Reviewers, those chippers and
hewers, Are judges of mortar and stone, Sir; But of meet, or unmeet, in a fabrick complete,
I'll boldly pronounce they are none, Sir. My goose-quill too rude is to tell all your goodness
Bestow'd on your servant, the Poet; Would to God I had one like a beam of the sun,
And then all the world, Sir, should know it!
* The newspaper in question contained some severe remarks on Burns' Poetry.
TO TERRAUGHTY,* ON HIS BIRTHDAY.
EALTH to the Maxwells' vet'ran Chief!
Health, aye unsour'd by care or grief:
This natal morn,
Scarce quite half worn.
This day thou metes threescore eleven,
To ilka Poet)
Will yet bestow it.
If envious buckies view wi' sorrow
Nine miles an hour,
In brunstane stoure
But for thy friends, and they are monie,
In social glee,
Bless them and thee!
John Maxwell, of Terraughty and Munshes, near Dumfries, was then above seventy years of age, and survived
Burns twenty years.
Fareweel, auld birkie ! Lord be near ye,
While Burns they ca' me.
TO A LADY,* WITH A PRESENT OF A PAIR
OF DRINKING GLASSES.
Edinburgh, March 17th, 1788.
And Queen of Poetesses ;
This humble pair of glasses. Of the numérous Fair who were the objects of Burns' admiration, and whose charms he celebrated, none more distinguished in his history than the beautiful “Clarinda.” This lady was Agnes Craig, a cousin of the late Lord Craig, one of the Lords of Session. She made the Poet's acquaintance at Edinburgh in the winter of 1787, and was then the wife of Mr. M‘Lehose. A platonic friendship ensued, and many of his letters to her as “ Clarinda," signed “Sylvander,” (“ he liked,” he said, “the idea of Arcadian names in a commerce of that kind,") were published in 1802. Besides great personal attractions Mrs. M‘Lehose was a follower of the Muses, and Burns thus alludes to one of her productions:
“Your last verses to me have so delighted me, that I have got an excellent old Scots air that suits the measure; and you shall see them in print in the Scots Musical Museum, a work published by a friend of mine in this town. I want four stanzas. You gave me but three; and one of them alluded to an expression in my former letter. So I have taken your two verses, with a slight alteration in the second,
And fill them high with generous juice,
As generous as your mind;
“ The whole of human kind !”
But not to those whom we love;
A third—" to thee and me, Love!”1 VAR. ' In a MS. in Burns' hand, the following additional verse occurs:
Long may we live! Long may we love!
And long may we be happy!
Well charg'd with generous nappy! and have added a third; but you must help me to a fourth. Here they are. The latter half of the first stanza would have been worthy of Sappho. I am in raptures with it.
TALK not of Love, it gives me pain,
For Love has been my foe;
And sunk me deep in woe.
My heart was formed to prove;
But never talk of Love.
Oh! why that bliss destroy ?
You know I must (will) deny.
Your thought, if Love must harbour there,
Conceal it in that thought,
The very friend I sought.”
It is evident from Burns' letters, which are singularly
WAS where the birch and sounding
thong are ply'd, The noisy domicile of pedant pride; Where ignorance her darkening vapour
throws, And cruelty directs the thickening blows; rapturous and enthusiastic, that Clarinda's fate was not a bappy one; but her history does not seem to have been yet given to the public. It is remarkable, that Burns, and all his biographers, speak of her as being then a widow, notwithstanding her husband was living at Jamaica in 1802; that the Poet himself says, in one of his letters to her, “ Your person is unapproachable by the laws of your country; and he loves you not as I do who would make you miserable; and that in another letter he alludes, emphatically, to a cir. cumstance, the occurrence of which would no longer separate them. Burns' admiration was not confined to his epistles to her, for in a letter to Mr. Richard Brown, dated Edinburgh, 30th December, 1787, he said, “ Almighty love still reigns and revels in my bosom; and I am at this moment ready to hang myself for a young Edinburgh widow, who has wit and wisdom more murderously fatal than the assassinating stiletto of the Sicilian banditti, or the poisoned arrow of the savage Cafrican. My highland dirk, that used to hang beside my crutches, I have gravely removed into a neighbouring closet, the key of which I cannot command, in case of spring-tide paroxysms. You may guess of her wit by the following verses, which she sent me the other day.
"Talk not of love,' &c.” The following recent account of “ Clarinda,” which occurs in a note, written in February, 1837, to the Memoir of Lord Craig, in Kay's “ Edinburgh Portraits," will be read with interest.