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thing; the name Chloris-I meant it as the fictitious name of a certain lady ; but, on second thoughts, it is a high incongruity to have a Greek appellation to a Scottish pastoral ballad.-Of this, and some things else, in my next : I have more amendments to propose.-What you once mentioned of "flaxen locks” is just : they cannot enter into an elegant description of beauty-Of this also again-God bless you* !



Your Hey for a lass wi' a tocher, is a most excellent song, and with you the subject is something new indeed. It is the first time I have seen you debasing the god of soft desire, into an amateur of acres and guineas.

I am happy to find you approve of my proposed octavo edition. Allan has designed and etched about twenty plates, and I am to have my choice of them for that work. Independently of the Hogarthian humour with which they abound, they exhibit the character and costume of the Scottish peasantry with inimitable felicity. In this respect, he himself says, they will far exceed the aquatinta plates he did for the Gentle Shepe herd, because in the etching he sees clearly what he is doing, but not so with the aquatinta, which he could not manage to his mind.

The Dutch boors of Ostade are scarcely more characteristic and natural, than the Scottish figures in those etchings.

* Our poet never explained what name he would have substituted for Chloris.

Note by Mr. Thomson.



April, 1798. Alas, my dear Thomson, I fear it will be some time ere I tune my lyre again! “ By Babel streams I have sat and wept," almost ever since I wrote you last : I have only known existence by the pressure of the heavy hand of sickness; and have counted time by the repercussions of pain ! Rheumatism, cold, and fever, have formed to me a terrible combination. I close my eyes in mi. sery, and open them without hope. I look on the vernal day, and say with poor Ferguson


Say, wherefore has an all-indulgent heaven Light to the comfortless and wretched given ?".

This will be delivered to you by a Mrs. Hyslop, landlady of the Globe Tavern here, which for these many years has been my howff, and where our friend Clarke and I have had many a merry squeeze I am highly delighted with Mr. Allan's etchings. Woo'd and married and a', is admirable ! The grouping is beyond all praise. The expression of the figures, conformable to the story in the ballad, is absolutely faultless perfection. I next admire Turnim-spike. What I like least is Jenny said to Jocky. Besides the female being in her appearance ***** if you take her stooping into the account she is at least two inches taller than her lover. Poor Cleghorn! I sincerely sympathize with him! Happy I am to think that he yet has a well-grounded hope of health and en. joyment in this world. As for me-but that is

* subject.



4th May, 1796 I need not tell you, my good sir, what concern the receipt of your last gave me, and how much I sympathize in your sufferings. But do not, I be-. seech you, give yourself up to despondency, nor speak the language of despair. The vigour of your constitution, I trust, will soon set you on your feet again ; and then it is to be hoped you will see the wisdom and the necessity of taking due care of a life so valuable to your family, to your friends, and to the world.

Trusting that your next will bring agreeable accounts of your convalescence, and returning good spirits, I remain with sincere regard yours.

P. S. Mrs. Hyslup I doubt not delivered the gold seal to you in good condition.



My dear sir,

I once mentioned to you an air which I have long admired, Here's a health to them that's awa, hiney, but I forget if you took any notice of it. I have just been trying to suit it with verses ; and I beg leave to recommend the air to your attention once more. I have only begun it.


Here's a health to arie I lo'e dear,
Tere's a health to ane I lo'e dear;

Thou art sweet as the smile when fond lovers meet, And soft as their parting tear-Jessy !

Although thou maun never be mine,

Although even hope is denied ; 'Tis sweeter for thee despairing Than aught in the world beside-Jessy !

Here's a health, dc.

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I mourn thro' the gay, gaudy day,

As, hopeless, I muse on thy charms; But welcome the dream o'sweet slumber, For then I am lockt in thy arms-Jessy !

Here's a health, bc.

guess by the dear angel smile,

I guess by the love-rolling e'e;
But why urge the tender confession
'Gainst fortune's fell cruel decree-Jessy!

Here's a health, &c.*



This will be delivered by a Mr. Lewars, a young fellow of uncommon merit. As he will be a day or two in town, you will have leisure, if you chuse, to write me by him; and if you have a spare half hour to spend with him, I shall place your kindness to my account. I have no copies of the songs 1 have sent you, and I have taken a fancy to review them all, and possibly may mend some of them ; so when you have complete leisure, I

* In the letter to Mr. Thomson, the three first stanzas only are given, and Mr. Thomson suppos. ed our poet had never gone farther. Among his MSS. was, however, found the fourth stanza, which completes this exquisite song, the last finished offspring of his muse.


will thank you for either the originals, or copies*, I had rather be the author of five well-written songs than of ten otherwise.

I have great hopes that the genial influence of the approaching summer will set me to rights, but as yet I cannot boast of returning health. I have now reason to believe that my complaint is a flying gout: a sad business!

Do let me know how Cleghorn is, and remember me to him.

This should have been delivered to you a month ago. I am still very poorly, but should like much to hear from you.



Brorv, on the Solway-firth, 12th July, 1796. After all my boasted independence, curst necessity compels me to implore you for five pounds. A cruel ****** of a haberdasher, to whom I owe an account, taking it into his head that I am dying, has commenced a process, and will infallibly put me into jail. Do, for God's sake, send me that suin, and that by return of post. Forgive me this earnestness, but the horrors of a jail have made me half distracted. I do not ask all this gratuitously; for, upon returning health, I hereby promise and engage to furnish you with five pounds worth of the neatest song genius you have seen. I tried my hand on Rothemurche this morning. The measure is so difficult, that it is impossible to infuse much genius into the lines ; they are on the other side. Forgive, forgive me !

* It is needless to say, that this revisal Burns did not live to perform. E. Vol. II.


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