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To arrange the Poems according to the order in which they were composed, and supply the places and names hitherto left blank, was the aim of the Editor. In this he has been assisted by some of the early friends of Burns, and aided by a copy of his Poems, in which, for the information of Dr. Geddes, he had filled up all deficiencies with his own hand. Though correct, perhaps, in general, he fears that he may have erred in particular instances. "The Kirk's Alarm,” he was told, was partly, if not wholly, written during the Old and New Light discussions : but that, to suit the controversy in which Dr. MʻGill was engaged, the Poet modified and augmented it. The Editor has ventured to print one copy of the poem along with the controversial satires of the year 1785, reserving a later version-differing from the other both in manner and matter—to accompany the Poems of the year 1789. He has availed himself of variations in the Poet's manuscripts—particularly in poems printed after his death. He has followed, in general, the text of the first Edinburgh edition, and added such notes, biographical, historical, or critical, as he thought would be acceptable to the reader.

February, 1834.




(July 1786.)

The following trifles are not the production of the Poet, who, with all the advantages of learned art, and, perhaps, amid the elegancies and idlenesses of upper life, looks down for a rural theme with an eye to Theocritus or Virgil. To the author of this, these, and other celebrated names, their countrymen are, at least in their original language, a fountain shut up, and a book sealed. Unacquainted with the necessary requisites for commencing poet by rule, he sings the sentiments and manners he felt and saw in himself and his rustic compeers around him in his and their native language. Though a rhymer from his earliest years, at least from the earliest impulse of the softer passions, it was not till very lately that the applause, perhaps the partiality, of friendship awakened his vanity so far as to make him think any thing of his worth showing: and none of

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