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tion alone. He finally decided to and did apply for a commission as exciseman, hoping, by the scanty salary awarded to such a functionary, to avoid absolute starvation, if he might not expect the comforts of life. Through the influence of his constant friend, the Earl of Glencairn, he ob-. tained the solicited appointment, which he continued to hold during the remainder of his life. Upon a settlement with his publisher soon aster, he unexpectedly found himself in possession of £500, and in consideration of his increased opulence resolved to take a farm, as he had long desired, and to marry the mother of his four children ; an act of justice which he now for the first time had the ability to perform, with any other prospect than that of certain and immediate ruin. According. ly he hastened to Mossgiel and was immediately united in wedlock with Jean Armour, for whom he had long cherished a true and deep affection. It is strange that in announcing this event to his correspondents, he seemed to consider some apology necessary for his conduct; but it is true that he troubled himself to preparé several elaborate vindications. There exists a prejudice in the minds of many young men against marrying ; a very singular prejudice, but not so singular as silly. They seem to feel as though it were a weak and foolish thing to choose a woman for their lifecompanion. Whence may have originated this seeling I know not, unless it be from the trifling manner in which marriage is generally spoken of among young persons. Each would not, for the world, confess his or her intention to marry as soon as circumstances will conveniently permit. Oh, no that would be a manifest indelicacy; and therefore the most interesting and necessary of relations is alluded to by its trembling expectants, as an inexhausti

ble subject for derisive merriment. A young man or wo. man has so often laughed at the whole affair and expressed a perfect abhorrence for the galling chains of wedlock, that either can but blush to own that he or she has at last come to the conclusion that matrimony is not all a humbug, at least that the dubious experiment is to be tried. And therefore it is that the initiatory ceremony is made a thought-killing frolic, and the most solemn of vows assumed with an embarrassed nod, as though the parties were ashamed of themselves and each other. I would that this stupid nonsense were obsolete; that all appreciated the dignity and blessedness of a most holy, God-ordained union, and dared to talk like rational beings on a subject of the utmost importance and of the highest interest to us all. Then would no man, like Burns, excuse himself for doing his most honorable duty ; then would no young lady, with a mean and foolish falsehood, announce her resolutions of eternal celibacy. Having sufficiently deprecated the ridicule of his correspondents, Burns entered upon a period of his life, the most happy, as he afterwards avowed, that he had ever enjoyed. His wife was just the affectionate, trusting, clinging being calculated to make a noble and warm-hearted, independent man truly blessed. Among the sweets of domestic intercourse he might, forgetting the hardships of his past and the gloomy prospects of his future life, breathe deeply in the bright present, free, proud and happy. ' His farm af. forded a sufficiency of laborious exercise to ensure sound physical health, and his leisure hours were spent in that terrestrial paradise—home. His poetical compositions at this time were few ; other cares engrossed his attention too entirely to leave much time for wooing the muses. It is generally the case that those coquetish young ladies, however kindly they have flirted with the lover, choose to cut the married man. His company was eagerly sought by a crowd of admiring neighbors, and his own profuse hospitality far exceeded his limited means to sustain without serious detriment. His correspondence became also immense, and consumed a proportional amount of time. By his nervous and elegant epistolary style, only less than by his inimitable poetry, is Burns distinguished. His letters display an unveiled soul of gigantic stature and engaging symmetry. They are replete with the most vigorous thought, most beautifully clothed. The temptation is irresistible, to introduce a single specimen. He thus writes to his friend Mrs. Dunlop, under date January 1st, 1789 : “This, dear Madam, is a morning of wishes, and would to God that I came under the Apostle James’ description, ‘the prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” In that case, Madam, you would welcome in a year full of blessings: everything that obstructs or disturbs tranquillity and self-enjoyment should be removed, and every pleasure that frail humanity can taste should be yours. I own myself so little of a Presbyterian, that I approve of set times and seasons of more than ordinary acts of devotion for breaking in on the habitual routine of life and thought, which is so apt to reduce our existence to a kind of instinct, or even sometimes and with some minds, to a state very little superior to mere machinery. This day—the first Sunday of May—a breezy, blue-skied moon sometimes about the beginning, and a hoary morning and calm Sunday, say about the end of autumn—these, time out of mind, have been with me a kind of holiday. I believe I owe this to that glorious paper, in the Spectator, “The Vision of Mirza,” a piece that struck my young fancy before I was capable of fixing an idea to a word of three syllables. We know next to nothing of the substance or structure of our souls, so cannot account for these seeming caprices in them, that we should be particularly pleased with this thing or struck with that, which on minds of a different cast makes no extraordinary impression. I have some flowers in spring, that I view and hang over with particular delight. I never hear the loud, solitary whistle of the curlew, in a summer noon, or the mixing cadence of a troop of grey plover in an autumnal morning, without feeling an elevation of soul like the enthusiasm of devotion or poetry. Tell me, my dear friend, to what can this be owing ' Are we a piece of machinery, which like the Eolian harp, passive takes the impression of the passing accident Or do these workings argue something within us above the trodden clod I own myself partial to such proofs of those awful and important realities—a God that made all things—man’s immaterial and immortal nature—and a world of weal or woe beyond death and the grave.” - Such examples as the preceding might almost convince us of the justice of Dr. Robertson’s opinion, that Burns' prose was more extraordinary than his verse, and fully sustain the remark of Prof. Stewart, that “his predilection for poetry was rather the result of his own enthusiastic and-impassioned temper than of a genius exclusively adapted to that species of composition.” Thus, in writing letters, cultivating his farm, and to some extent his acquaintance with the muses, his time was passed for the space of three years, during which his pecuniary affairs became daily more and more involved. He had too much of poetry and generosity in his mind and heart, to be a successful business-man, without a greater share of close calculating prudence than often falls to the share of genius. Consequently, his farm, though generally well cultivated, was less productive than those of others, and his purse less bloated by its master’s selfishness. The decline of his affairs at length determined him to give up his farm and accept the excise appointment, which awaited but his application. Having decided to devote his entire attention to the duties of his office, he applied for and obtained the Dumfries division, with an annual salary of £70. Removing to that place, he was sure of a regular though narrow income, and entertaining hopes that his diligent services might at no distant date be rewarded with something better. Still, pleasant memories bound him to the scene of blissful experiences, while a gloomy presentiment of approaching ill fell like a cloud upon the sunlit surface of his soul. . Sad is it, indeed, to leave forever a place in which we have long been happy. The parting spirit, like the Trojan dames, will cling to its very stones and kiss them with a mournful valediction ; and when the sun for the last time goes down upon the roof we have called home, its golden ray seems brown with sorrow, and dying slowly, fades into a melancholy gloom. Burns renounced with pain his cherished hope to remain an independent cultivator of the soil, and turned with reluctance to another pursuit alike foreign to his habits and hostile to his tastes. And here let us pause to consider a reflection suggested by a poet’s life—the equality of Providence in its distributions. Have we not often been ready to complain that the Supreme Donor has exhibited an invidious partiality in his diverse gifts to the children of men, and in nothing more than the conferance of genius—his most exalted bestowment Why, it may be bitterly inquired, why am I so little and gross and near-sighted, when Newton and Bacon and Locke were so great, perspicacious, almost angelic

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