« PreviousContinue »
CHARACTER, HOW TO BE ESTIMATED.
fect standard of duty and moral conduct for each of us: to believe, obey, and imitate. But in estimating the characters of other men, how are we to apply that standard ? By the rule of charity, “which suffereth “long, and is kind—is not easily provoked, thinketh no. "evil ;-beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth “all things, endureth all things.”
How can we judge another, whose peculiar temperament, inclinations, habits, temptations, power of resistance, strivings against sin, advantages, disadvantages, motives, we may partly guess but cannot perfectly know and understand ? To his own master he standeth or “ falleth.” Therefore; “Judge not that ye be not. "judged."
"Who made the heart, 'tis He alone
Decidedly can try us,
Each spring—its various bias.
We never can adjust it,
But know not what's resisted.”
That Burns, who keenly resented the presumptuous: reproofs and censures of his fellow-mortals, was no self-deceiver, is plain from his writings, and especially from that most candid concentrated autobiography—
A BARD'S EPITAPH.
Is there a whim-inspired fool,
Let him draw near;
And drap a tear.
HIS OWN EPITAPH.
Is there a Bard of rustic song,
O, pass not by!
Here, heave a sigh.
Is there a man whose judgment clear,
Wild as the wave;
Survey this grave.
The poor Inhabitant below
And softer flame;
And stain'd his name!
Reader, attend-whether thy soul
In low pursuit ;
Is wisdom's root.
He also wrote, “My great constituent elements are “pride and passion. The first I have endeavoured to “humanize into integrity and honour; the last makes “me a devotee to the warmest degree of enthusiasm " in love, religion, or friendship--either of them or all “ together, as I happen to be inspired.”
“I have been this morning taking a peep through, as Young finely says, “the dark postern of time long
elapsed. It was a rueful prospect! What a tissue of “thoughtlessness, weakness, and folly! My life re
WORDSWORTH AT HIS GRAVE
Sweet Mercy, to the gates of heaven
With vain endeavour,
Effaced for ever.
But why to Him confine the prayer,
With all that live?
Just God, forgive!
DESCENDANTS OF ROBERT BURNS. For the following information respecting them, I am indebted to the kindness of Gilbert Burns, Esq., Knockmaroon Lodge, Co. Dublin, youngest son of the poet's brother Gilbert:
The Poet's three sons were all married, James twice. Robert left an only child, Mrs. Everitt, now a widow, who, with her only child Martha, lives at Barn's Terrace, Ayr. William had no child. James left two daughters, Sarah, who married an Irish physician, Dr. Hutchison, now living at Bayswater, London, and her half-sister, Annie Burns. Mrs. Begg died some years ago; her two daughters, Agnes and Isabella, live near Ayr, her son, Robert, has been schoolmaster at Kinross for more than fifty years. The only living male descendant of the poet'is' Robert Burns Hutchinson, so that the name is extinct in the direct line. And in Scotland there is not an individual of the name of Burns or Burnes. The few that bear that name are not likely to return to Scotland.
In March, 1859, I received a letter from Colonel James Glencairn Burns, in which, after thanking me for an unpublished letter, in his father's handwriting, on
LETTER FROM COLONEL J. G. BURNS.
private family matters, which had been in my custody for thirty years, and which I sent to him, and after referring with approbation to the proceedings at the celebration of the centenary at Bristol, Colonel Burns wrote:
“Since our return to this country, my brother (Colonel
William Nicol Burns) and I have annually visited “Scotland, and always made a point of seeing your late “ worthy aunt in Ayr, and often have I heard her lament “the heartless robbery of my father's letters to her “ father.”
"I had the pleasnre of meeting your father, the ««•Andrew dear of one of the Poet's noblest and finest "inspirations, at a large dinner given to the Ettrick
Shepherd. After a separation of thirty-two years, my “ brother and I have been spared to pass the evening of
our lives together, and have been domiciled here for “ nearly fourteen years, our house being kept by my “ daughter Annie. If business or pleasure shall ever “induce you and yours to visit this Queen of Watering“places, you must bear in mind most strictly, that the
grandson of Robert Aiken must not pass the door of “the Poet's sons, where there will be always room and
a most hearty welcome for you. My brother joins in kind regards to you, with
“Yours very sincerely,
“J. G. BURNS. “ 4, Berkeley Street, Cheltenham.”
In July, 1859, both the brothers and Miss Annie Burns came to Clifton, on their way to the South of Ireland, and spent a day with me. Colonel James died at Cheltenham, 18th November, 1865, and Colonel William at the same place, 21st February, 1872, and both were buried in the vault below the Mausoleum in Ayrshire.
Comparative Sketch of the Poetry of Burns and Wordsworth, by
Lord Neaves.-“ Auld Lang Syne” exemplified.—Could Burns write good poetry in English ?— Will the Scottish dialect, as used by him, injure his future celebrity ?— These questions considered.--Notices of Chaucer, Spenser, Cowley, Dryden, with quotations.--Shakspere. -Milton.--Altered state of society, customs, and manners may modify the influence of poetry written under different social conditions.
FTER I had sent the second chapter to be printed, I received a letter from Lord Cowan, an eminent Scottish Judge, who retired, about a year ago, from the Court of Session, honoured and respected, who is my oldest, best, and most valued surviving friend in Scotland. “I send you a copy of an ad
“dress, delivered, a short time ago, by our friend, Lord Neaves, in which he introduces a com“parative sketch of the poetry of Burns and Words“worth. Having told him that you intended to write “about Burns, and inquired whether he had not lately “ done something in that way, he directed Messrs. “ Blackwood to send two copies of his ‘Lecture on “Cheap and Accessible Pleasures, one for myself, and “another for you. I think his sentiments are just and "true, and the advice he gives to his audience really “good.”