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GENIUS AND CHARACTER OF BURNS.
BY PROFESSOR WILSON.
Burns is by far the greatest poet that ever sprung from the bosom of the people, and lived and died in an humble condition. Indeed, no country in the world but Scotland could have produced such a man; and he will be for ever regarded as the glorious representative of the genius of his country. He was born a poet, if ever man was, and to his native genius alone is owing the perpetuity of his fame. For he manifestly had never very deeply studied poetry as an art, nor reasoned much about its principles, nor looked abroad with the wide ken of intellect for objects and subjects on which to pour out his inspiration. The condition of the peasantry of Scotland, the happiest, perhaps, that providence ever allowed to the children of labor, was not surveyed and speculated on by him as the field of poetry, but as the field of his own existence; and he chronicled the events that passed there, not merely as food for his imagination as a poet, but as food for his heart as a man. Hence, when inspired to compose poetry, poetry came gushing up from the well of his human affections, and he had nothing more to do, than to pour it, like streams irrigating a meadow, in
many cheerful tide over the drooping flowers and fading verdure of life. Imbued with vivid perceptions, warm feelings, and strong