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Lockhart, it will farther be observed, besides having compiled bis work in der circumstances of a general nature much more favourable to accurate delineation, likewise set about the task in a more philosophical manner than the preceding biographers. He judged for himself ; he took neither facts nor opinions at second-hand; but inquired, studied, compared, and where doubtful, extricated the facts in the most judicious and careful man ner. It may be said, that that portion of the poet's mantle which invested his sturdiness of temper, has fallen upon the biographer, who, as the poet did, always thinks and speaks for himself.
These being our sentiments of Mr. Lockhart's Life of Burns, we have preferred it, as by far the most suitable biographical accompaniment of the present edition of his works. It has been our study to insert, in this edition, every thing hitherto published, and fit to be published, of which Burns was the author. The reader will find here all that is contained in Dr. Currie's edition of 1800, with the pieces brought to light by all the respectable authors who have since written or published of Burns.—The following general heads will show the nature and extent of the present work.
1. The Life by Lockhart. 2. The Poems, as published in the Kilmarnock and first Edinburgh edition,
with the poet's own prefaces to these editions, and also as published in Dr. Currie's edition of 1800 ; having superadded the pieces since
brought forward by Walker, Irving, Morison, Paul, and Cromek. 3. Essay (by Dr. Currie), on Scottish Poetry, including the Poetry of
Burns. 4. Select Scottish Songs not Burns's, upwards of 200 in number, and many
of them having his Annotations, Historical and Critical, prefixed. 5. Burns's Songs, collected from Johnson's Musical Museum, the larger
work of Thomson, and from the publications of Cromek, Cunningham,
and Chalmers, nearly 200 in number. 6. The Correspondence, including all the Letters published by Dr. Currie,
besides a number subsequently recovered, published by Cromek and
others. The whole forming the best picture of the man and the poet, and the only complete edition of his writings, in one work, hitherto offered to the public. Besides a portrait of the poet, executed by an able artist, long familiar with the original picture by Nasmyth, there is also here presented, (an entire novelty), a fac-simile 'of the poet's handwriting. It was at one time matter of surprise that the Ploughman should have been a man of genius and a poet. If any such curious persons still exist, they will of course be likewise surprised to find that he was so good a penman.
New YORK, Sept. 11, 1832.