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OF

ROBERT BURNS

AND OF SOME OF

HIS CONTEMPORARIES AND THEIR DESCENDANTS,

BY THE

GRANDSON OF ROBERT AIKEN,

TO WHOM WAS DEDICATED “THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.”

WITH A NUMEROUS SELECTION OF HIS BEST

POEMS AND SONGS,

AND

ENGRAVED PORTRAIT AND FAC-SIMILES,

LONDON:
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE & RIVINGTON.

KILMARNOCK; M‘KIE & DRENNAN

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J. WRIGHT AND CO., “THE BRISTOL STEAM PRESS,”

STEPHEN STREET.

Preface.

URING the last year several friends and

admirers of Burns being interested by subjects referred to in the Address which forms the first Chapter of this Book, suggested its republication from the newspaper report. That request induced me to read the late lamented Robert Chambers' edition, of the “Life and Works of Burns" in four volumes, which is unrivalled for extensive research, chronological arrangement, and · for the accuracy and the amount of its information. From its perusal, from various communications addressed to me since the centenary in 1859, and from my own observation during subsequent visits to Scotland, I learned more fully how great and how general is the interest felt by Scotchmen at home and abroad in the poetry of Burns, and in the personal history of himself and his contemporaries.

While in the opinion of the best English writers

Preface.

he holds a very high rank among British poets, there are comparatively few persons in England by whom his works are read and duly appreciated. It is hoped that this edition will supply what is still wanted by many families and individuals, by public and by private schools, as it contains a numerous selection of the best Poems and Songs of Burns.

The accompanying memorials of the great national poet of Scotland and of some of his contemporaries are not intended to be a complete biography, which Dr. Currie and other able and eminent writers have provided; but to present a fair and characteristic portrait of that great original genius, sprung from the people and having nature's patent of true manliness and nobility.

Byron gave to Burns a place “in the first-class of his art," and the poet Rogers in his “Table Talk" is reported to have said that “The Cotter's Saturday Night was the finest pastoral in any language.” Other writers according to their view have marked with equal precision his position among the great poets of our country. It may be more satisfactory and agreeable to the reader to form his own estimate of the comparative merits of Burns, aided by a few critical notices of some of those Poets with extracts from their writings, and

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