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Harmonious concord did our wishes bind:
O fatal, fatal stroke,
Of rare felicity,
In one sad moment broke !
Or against his supreme decree
With impious grief complain,
That all thy full-blown joys at once should fade ; Was his most righteous will--and be that will obey'd.
BORN 1750.-DIED 1774.
This unfortunate young man, who died in a madhouse at the age of twenty-four, left some pieces of considerable humour and originality in the Scottish dialect. Burns, who took the hint of his Cotter's Saturday Night from Fergusson's Farmer's Ingle, seems to have esteemed him with an exaggerated partiality, which can only be accounted for by his having perused him in his youth. On his first visit to Edinburgh, Burns traced out the grave of Fergusson,
and placed a monument over it at his own expense, inscribed with verses of appropriate feeling.
Fergusson was born at Edinburgh, where his father held the office of accountant to the British Linenhall. He was educated partly at the high-school of Edinburgh, and partly at the grammar-school of Dundee, after which a bursary, or exhibition, was obtained for him at the university of St. Andrew's, where he soon distinguished himself as a youth of promising genius. His eccentricity was, unfortunately, of equal growth with his talents; and on one occasion, having taken part in an affray among the students, that broke out at the distribution of the prizes, he was selected as one of the leaders, and expelled from college; but was received back again upon promises of future good behaviour. On leaving college he found himself destitute, by the death of his father, and after a fruitless attempt to obtain support from an uncle at Aberdeen, he returned on foot to his mother's house at Edinburgh, half dead with the fatigue of the journey, which brought on an illness that had nearly proved fatal to his delicate frame. On his recovery he was received as a clerk in the commissary clerk's office, where he did not continue long, but exchanged it for the same situation in the office of the sheriff clerk, and there he remained as long as his health and habits admitted of any application to business. Had he possessed ordinary prudence he might have lived by the drudgery of copying papers; but the appearance of some of his
poems having gained him a flattering notice, he was drawn into dissipated company, and became a wit, a songster, a mimic, and a free liver; and finally, after fits of penitence and religious despondency, went mad. When committed to the receptacle of the insane, a consciousness of his dreadful fate seemed to come over him. At the moment of his entrance; he uttered a wild cry of despair, which was reechoed by a shout from all the inmates of the dismal mansion, and left an impression of inexpressible horror on the friends who had the task of attending him. His mother, being in extreme poverty, had no other mode of disposing of him. A remittance, which she received a few days after, from a more fortunate son, who was abroad, would have enabled her to support
the expense of affording him attendance in her own house; but the aid did not arrive till the poor maniac had expired.
THE FARMER'S ÍNGLE.
Et multo imprimis hilarans convivia Baccho,
WHAN gloamin grey out owre the welkin keeks';
Whan Batie ca's his owsen? to the byre; Whan Thrasher John, sair dung, his barn-door
steeks, An' lusty lasses at the dightin' tire;
· Peeps.- Oxen. - Fatigued.-- Shuts.-- Cleansing.
What bangs' fu' leal the e'enin's coming cauld,
An' gars snaw-tappit Winter freeze in vain; Gars? dowie mortals look baith blithe an' bauld,
Nor fley'd' wi' a' the poortith o' the plain;
Begin, my Muse! and chaunt in hamely strain. Frae the big stack, weel winnow't on the hill,
Wi’ divots theekit+ frae the weet an' drift; Sods, peats, and heathery turfs the chimleyfill,
An' gar their thickening smeek 6 salute the lift. The gudeman, new come hame, is blithe to find,
Whan he out owre the hallan? Alings his een,
That a' his housie looks sae cosh 8 an' clean;
Weel kens the gudewife, that the pleughs require
A heartsome meltith, an' refreshin' synd 10 O'nappy liquor, owre a bleezin' fire:
Sair wark an' poortith downal' weel be join'd. Wi' butter'd bannocks now the girdle 12 reeks ;
l' the far nook the bowie's briskly reams; The readied kail 14 stands by the chimley cheeks,
An' haud the riggin' liet wi' welcome streams,
1 - What bangs fu' leal—what shuts out most comfortably.• Makes.-_3 Frightened.—4 Thatched with turf. Chimney.• Smoke. The inner wall of a cottage. - 8 Comfortable. 9 Meal.-10 Drink.-_11 Should not.—1? A flat iron for toasting cakes.--13 Beer-barrel. -- 14 Broth with greens.—15 Kitchen here means what is eat with bread; there is no English word for it; obsonium is the Latin.
Frae this, lat gentler gabs a lesson lear:
Wad they to labouring lend an eidento hand, They'd rax fell strang upo' the simplest fare,
Nor find their stamacks ever at a stand. Fu' hale an' healthy wad they pass the day ;
At night, in calmest slumbers dose fu' sound; Nor doctor need their weary life to spae",
Nor drogs their noddle and their sense confound, Till death slip sleely on, an'giethe hindmost wound.
On sicken food has mony a doughty deed
By Caledonia's ancestors been done;
In brulzies 4 frae the dawn to set o'sun. 'Twas this that braced their gardies: stiff an' strang;
That bent the deadly yew in ancient days.; Laid Denmark's daring sons on yird 6 alang;
Gar'd Scotish thristles bang the Roman bays; For near our crest their heads they dought na raise.
The couthy cracks? begin whan supper's owre;
The cheering bicker8 gars them glibly gasho O’Simmer's showery blinks, an' Winter's sour,
Whase floods did erst their mailin's produce hash 10. 'Bout kirk an' market eke their tales gae on;
How Jock woo'd Jenny here to be his bride; An' there, how Marion, for a bastard son,
· Palates.-? Assiduous.-3 Foretell. -4 In contests.-5 Arms. 6 Earth.—7 Pleasant talk.—The cup.-9 Chat.-10
Destroy the produce of their farms.