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city, uniting the race, the pathos, and the graceful simplicity of our ancient dialect, with all that is most elegant and expressive in modern language. It is to Burns we owe the revival of our national taste, and the fervent admiration that Scottish song has attracted among our southern neighbours — The fabled attractions of the lyre of ORPHEUS, in bringing his Eurydice from the regions of utter darkness to the confines of vital light, were but typical of the enchantment of song by which our inspired rustic rescued the lyric muse from that hades to which bad taste and worse morals had degraded her.

It is to Burns, and his contemporary bards, that we owe the proud distinction of still remaining a peculiar people, characterised by language, manners, and poetry entirely our own, after being for centuries under the dominion of a nation more powerful, wealthy, learned, and polished, than ourselves :-like the Rhone which, when poured into the lake of Geneva, still retains its current, its colour, and its force.

Then, while a Scottish voice remains to warble these touching strains, or a Scottish heart to vibrate to their tones, let the memory of the hardfated bard be regarded with tenderness, and the veil of oblivion gently drawn over faults attended by consequences so fatal, and atoned by remorse so bitter, and confessions so candid.

Forgive, then, ye powers of criticism, this feeble attempt to weed the netile from that grave which only the consecrated holly should overshadow !





[The following pages made a part of the Memoir prefixed to

the present edition ; but being easily separable from it, are transferred to this place, for the purpose of reducing the size of the volumes to a greater equality.]

When we call Burns an original poet, we give him a very high station in the scale of intellectual excellence, the greatness of the praise being proportioned to the smallness of the number with whom it is shared. In all ages, the genuine poet is a character of rare appearance. During the century which has recently expired, distinguished as it was by mental exertion, it may be doubted if more than five or six were justly entitled to this honourable appellation. The poets of inferior power were such as had been guided, by their admiration of others, to a species of composition which they would not, of themselves, have discovered. But the bard of nature would have been a poet, though none had preceded him. Even before the invention of metrical language, his superior portion of fancy and feeling would probably have found a vent in discourse, and given an interesting peculiarity to his character.

Persons of this description possess qualities of which it is difficult to give a complete enumeration, but of which a few may be specified. The discriminating vivacity of their perception, the exquisite delicacy of their intellectual tact, and the ease with which they trace every emotion to its origin and object, produce effects which ordinary men more willingly ascribe to an additional faculty, than to the superior excellence or improvement of powers which are common to all. Hence, either from a natural facility with which certain operations of his mind are performed, or from habits of peculiar activity, in recollecting and analysing his feelings, a man of sensibility perceives in every scene a multitude of little circumstances which, to a mind of grosser structure, are either unobserved, or if observed, uninteresting. In viewing a landscape, the latter is conscious of a pleasing result from the whole, and contents itself with this state of aggregate gratification ; while the former draws an appropriate delight from every part, and can appretiate to himself and others,

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