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Then in this view let's be content,

Nor willingly adinit the ill, That better in the plan of life

We may our Maker's hest fulfil.


ROBERT BURNS was born on the 29th of September, 1759, in a cottage (or what was more frequently called a "clay bigging") about two miles from the city of Ayr, in Scotland. He was a peasant and the son of a peasant. As early as his sixth year he betrayed a fondness for books; although his supply was scanty, he seemed ever engaged in his favorite occupation of reading, and it is probable he read and digested again and again until he made the limited matter his own. At the age of thirteen ho was sent to a rather advanced school, where



he acquired some French and a little Latin, but the pecuniary difficulties of his father, who in attempting to better his condition had involved himself in speculations ruinous to his family, obliged our poet to leave school at an early age and employ himself in the occupation of husbandry. He seems to have felt acutely the troubles of the family, and the depression of spirits which affected him at this time appears to have impressed his future career, for he was ever after subject to moods of depression. He had the misfortune to lose his good father at an early age, and the future maintenance of the family becamo almost exclusively his sole charge.

His beautiful tribute of affection for that revered parent, for whom he always entertained the most honorable respect and filial piety, conveys the grateful testimony of a devoted child :

O ye whose cheek the tear of pity stains,

Draw near with pious reverence and attend. Here lie the loving husband's dear remains,

The tender father and the generous friend, The pitying heart that felt for human woe,

The dauntless heart that feared no human pride, The friend of man, to vice alone a foe,

“For e'en his failings leaned to virtue's side."

As he expresses it: I first committed the sin of rhyming at the age of fifteen." A young female who assisted him in the labors of the field having inspired a boyish affection, he composed a song descriptive of her charms. Even in this, his first attempt, the poet seems older than the boy, for he was then but an ungainly, awkward boy, entirely unacquainted with men and the manners of the world, but yet so bent on the prosecution of his fancy, combined with a desire for improvement, that from his seventeenth to his twenty-first year he made considerable literary attainment. Burns was distinguished by a strong and vigorous mind, a spirit untamable, a resentment quick, and a perception of right which, if ever invaded, roused him to the most scathing and violent vituperation. He possessed a perfect scorn for deceit or dissimulation, and his muse was ever the friend of the oppressed. How beautifully he asks the charitable sympathy of tho world on the unfortunate:

Then gently scan your brother man,

Still gentler sister woman;

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