A [From Dr. Blacklock]
Edinburgh, 24th August, 1789.
[DEAR Burns, thou brother of my heart,
Both for thy virtues and thy art;
If art it may be call’d in thee,
Which Nature’s bounty large and free,
With pleasure on thy breast diffuses,
And warms thy soul with all the Muses.
Whether to laugh with easy grace,
Thy numbers move the sage’s face,
Or bid the softer passions rise,
And ruthless souls with grief surprise,
‘Tis Nature’s voice distinctly felt,
Thro’ thee her organ, thus to melt.
Most anxiously I wish to know,
With thee of late how matters go;
How keeps thy much lov’e Jean her health?
What promises thy farm of wealth?
Whether the Muse persists to smile,
And all thy anxious cares beguile?
Whether bright fancy keeps alive?
And how thy darling infants thrive?
For me with grief and sickness spent,
Since I my journey homeward bent,
Spirits depress’d no more I mourn,
But vigour, life and health return.
No more to gloomy thoughts a prey,
I sleep all night, and live all day;
By turns my book and friend[s] enjoy,
And thus my circling hours employ;
Happy while yet these hours remain,
If Burns could join the cheerful train,
With wonted zeal, sincere and fervent,
Salute once more his humble servant,
B [To Dr. Blacklock]
My Revd. and dear Friend
WOW, but your letter made me vauntie!
And are ye hale, and weel, and cantie?
I kend it still your wee bit jauntie
Wad bring ye to:
Lord send you ay as weel 's I want ye!
And then ye'll do.------
The Ill-thief blaw the Heron south!
And never drink be near his drouth!
He tauld myself by word o' mouth,
He'd tak my letter;
I lippen'd to the chiel in trouth,
And bade nae better.--------
But aiblins, honest Master Heron
Had, at the time, some dainty Fair One,
To ware this theologic care on,
And holy study:
And tired o' Sauls to waste his lear on,
E'en tried the Body.---
But what d'ye think, my trusty Fier,
I'm turned a Gauger Peace be here!
Parnassian Quines I fear, I fear,
Ye'll now disdain me,
And then my fifty pounds a year
Will little gain me.----
Ye glaikit, gleesome, dainty Damies,
Wha, by Castalia's wimplin streamies
Lowp, sing, and lave your pretty limbies,
Ye ken, Ye ken,
That strang Necessity supreme is
'Mang sons o' Men.----
I hae a wife and twa wee laddies;
They maun hae brose and brats o' duddies;
Ye ken yoursels my heart right proud is,
I need na vaunt;
But I'll sned boosoms, thraw saugh-woodies
Before they want.----
Lord help me thro' this warld o' care!
I'm weary sick o't late and air!
Not but I hae a richer share
Than mony ithers;
But why should ae man better fare,
And a' Men brithers!
Come, Firm Resolve, take thou the van,
Thou stalk o' carl-hemp in man!
And let us mind, faint heart ne'er wan
A lady fair:
Wha does the utmost that he can,
Will whyles do mair.---
But to conclude my silly rhyme
(I'm scant o' verse and scant o' time,)
To make a happy fireside clime
To weans and wife,
That 's the true Pathos and Sublime
Of Human life.--------
My Compliments to Sister Beckie;
And eke the same to honest Lucky;
I wat she is a daintie Chuckie
As e'er tread clay!
And gratefully my gude auld Cockie,
I'm yours for ay.--------
21st. Oct. 1789