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only laughs at the abuses of a sacred institution; but the theme was of unsafe approach, and he ought to have avoided it.

He meets us, in his compositions, undisguisedly as a peasant. At the same time, his observations go extensively into life, like those of a man who felt the proper dignity of human nature in the character of a peasant. The writer of some of the severest strictures that ever have been passed upon his poetry' conceives, that his beauties are considerably defaced by a portion of false taste and vulgar sentiment, which adhere to him from his low education. That Burns's education, or rather the want of it, excluded him from much knowledge, which might have fostered his inventive ingenuity, seems to be clear; but his circumstances cannot be admitted to have communicated vulgarity to the tone of his sentiments. They have not the sordid taste of low condition. It is objected to him, that he boasts too much of his own independence; but, in reality, this boast is neither frequent nor obtrusive; and it is in itself the expression of a manly and laudable feeling. So far from calling up disagreeable recollections of rusticity, his sentiments triumph, by their natural energy, over those false and fastidious distinctions which the mind is but too apt to form in allotting its sympathies to the sensibilities of the rich and poor. He carries us into the humble scenes of life,

Critique on the character of Burns, in the Edinburgh Review. Article, Cromek's Reliques of Burns.

not to make us dole out our tribute of charitable compassion to paupers and cottagers, but to make us feel with them on equal terms, to make us enter into their passions and interests, and share our hearts with them as with brothers and sisters of the human species.

He is taxed, in the same place, with perpetually affecting to deride the virtues of prudence, regularity, and decency; and with being imbued with the sentimentality of German novels. Any thing more remote from German sentiment than Burns's poetry could not easily be mentioned. But is he depraved and licentious in a comprehensive view of the moral character of his pieces? The overgenial freedom of a few assuredly ought not to fix this character upon the whole of them. It is a charge which we should hardly expect to see preferred against the author of “The Cotter's Saturday Night." He is the enemy, indeed, of that selfish and niggardly spirit which shelters itself under the name of prudence; but that pharisaical disposition has seldom been a favourite with poets. Nor should his maxims, which inculcate charity and candour in judging of human frailties, be interpreted as a serious defence of them, as when he says,

“ Then gently scan your brother man,

“ Still gentlier sister woman,
Though they may gang a kennan wrang;
To step aside is human.

6 Who made the heart, 'tis he alone

“ Decidedly can try us;
“ He knows each chord, its various tone,

“Each spring its various bias." It is still more surprising, that a critic, capable of so eloquently developing the traits of Burns's genius, should have found fault with his amatory strains for want of polish, and “ of that chivalrous tone of “ gallantry, which uniformly abases itself in the “presence of the object of its devotion.” Every reader must recal abundance of thoughts in his love songs, to which any attempt to superadd a tone of gallantry would not be

“ To gild refined gold, to paint the rose,

Or add fresh perfume to the violet," but to debase the metal, and to take the odour and colour from the flower. It is exactly this superiority to “abasement" and polish which is the charm that distinguishes Burns from the herd of erotic songsters, from the days of the troubadours to the present time. He wrote from impulses more sincere than the spirit of chivalry; and even Lord Surrey and Sir Philip Sidney are cold and uninteresting lovers in comparison with the rustic Burns.

The praises of his best pieces I have abstained from re-echoing, as there is no epithet of admiration which they deserve which has not been bestowed upon them. One point must be conceded to the strictures on his poetry, to which I have already alluded, that his personal satire was fierce and acrimonious. I am not, however, disposed to consider his attacks on Rumble John, and Holy Willie, as destitute of wit ; and his poem on the clerical settlements at Kilmarnock, blends a good deal of ingenious metaphor with his accustomed humour. Even viewing him as a satirist, the last and humblest light in which he can be regarded as a poet, it may still be said of him,

“ His style was witty, though it had some gall;

Something he might have mended so may all."



'Twas in that place o' Scotland's isle,
That bears the name o' Auld King Coil,
Upon a bonnie day in June,
When wearing thro' the afternoon,
Twa dogs that were na thrang at hame,
Forgather'd ance upon a time.

The first I'll name, they ca'd him Cæsar,
Was keepit for his Honour's pleasure :
His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs,
Shew'd he was na ne o' Scotland's dogs;
But whalpit some place far abroad,
Where sailors gang to fish for cod.

His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar Shew'd him the gentleman and scholar: But tho' he was o' high degree, The fient a pride na pride had he; But wad hae spent an hour caressin, Ev'n with a tinkler-gipsy's messin. At kirk or market, mill or smiddie, Nae tawted tyke, tho' e'er sae duddie, But he wad stan't, as glad to see him, And stroan't on stanes an' hillocks wi' him.

The tither was a ploughman's collie,
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie,
Wha for his friend an' comrade had him,
And in his freaks had Luath ca'd him,
After some dog in Highland sang,
Was made lang syne-Lord knows how lang.

He was a gash an' faithful tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face,
Ay gat him friends in ilka place.
His breast was white, his towzie back
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black;
His gawcie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung o'er his hurdies wi' a swirl.

Nae doubt but they were fain o' ither,
An' unco pack an' thick thegither ;
Wi' social nose whyles snuff®d and snowkit;
Whyles mice an' moudieworts they howkit;
Whyles scour'd awa in lang excursion,
An' worry'd ither in diversion;

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