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CONTRIBUTIONS TO HEROGRAPHY.

purity and perfection, I would not willingly disbelieve, for I must then detest humanity. The painted belle and the perfumed fop of fashionable society are doubtless as incapable of real affection as the coarse romp and the shallow rustic of more plebian circles. But that a woman's heart may not cling with a faithful grasp to the man on whom its choice is fixed, and that a man may not ever cherish, with undiminished tenderness, the object of his first deep passion; a thousand instances of freezing hearts and broken vows will not convince one who so ardently desires as I do, to think well of human nature. "Truth and fervor and devotedness" too often find no worthy altar in this frigid world. Yet are they glorious proof that man has not quite lost the image of his Sire. Love is a holy passion and near akin to piety; its disinterestedness is characteristic of that holiness that so sublimes the soul. Its existence makes so far heroic. Instead of smiling on the poet-lover, I would bid him by all means cultivate his sentiment, so far as governing reason will permit.

Three months after their father's death, which occurred in 1784, Robert and his brother Gilbert leased a farm in company, upon which they remained four years, during which he composed the greater number of his best poems, -conceiving and completing while behind his plow in the field. His example would prove, if we had no other reason to suspect, that open air and muscular exercise are highly favorable to mental activity. Doubtless every one's experience has convinced him of this truth. We are never able to exert our intellect to its utmost power, except in a healthful state of the physical system; and to perfect health abundant exercise is absolutely indispensable. Burns was from necessity accustomed to daily toil, and he did not fail to reap the health and strength which Provi

dence has ordained as the poor man's recompense for his ever-exacting and ofttimes painful labor. The farm, although industriously cultivated, did not prove so profitable as expected. It was of a cold, barren soil, and was perhaps not so exclusively attended to as it might have been by a man whose thoughts never wandered from his temporary occupation to higher subjects.

It is indeed seldom that a highly poetic temperament is united to great business talent or industry; and in this again we behold the justice of Providence, in so constituting men that those who are able to revel in all the luxury of high imagination, and to look down as from a super-cloudy elevation upon other men, often suffer from their defective pecuniary prudence, while the sordid golddigger, whose concentration of soul upon his dirty work ensures success therein, is deprived of those higher joys which he is sometimes fool enough to despise.

It was also during this period of his life that our poet became somewhat heterodox in his religious opinions. The extravagant severity of Scottish Calvinism was so repugnant to his loving soul, that he found a rebellion unavoidable; and, never guilty of half heartedness, that most common and meanest of crimes, he wrote certain satirical pieces, which, while they were. highly admired and applauded by many, involved him with peculiar odium among the bigots at whom his stinging shafts were aimed. Space is wanting to quote and comment on these productions: suffice it to remark, that in them the poet exhibits a freedom of soul such as invariably characterises true greatness. Such is not found among the superstitious commonalty of any country-no, not even- our own: for even here, where truth hath free course and is unrestrained

by the intrusive hand of law, she is quite as dreaded a guest as elsewhere.

By his liberal notions on religious subjects, so impru dently expressed, Burns injured the good opinion previously entertained of him by many of his less enlightened neighbors, and acquired the damning reputation of heresy ; a reputation ever shared by all free-speaking free-thinkers in religion. Theology, however, never so engrossed his mind as to banish love; and it was during his Mossgiel residence that he wooed and won his Mary Campbell, who died soon after their betrothal, while on her last antenuptial visit at home. The loss of this cherished object of his affections was a dreadful blow to so fond a heart, and called forth two of the finest and most thrilling of his melancholy songs. The first, entitled "Highland Mary," describes his last interview with his chosen heart-queen, and touchingly alludes to her untimely decease. Every reader will be pleased with its introduction :

"Ye banks and braes and streams around

The castle o' Montgomery,

Green be your woods and fair your flowers,
Your waters never drumlie !

There simmer first unfauld her robe,
And there they langest tarry,
For there I took the last fareweel
O' my sweet Highland Mary.

"Wi' monie a vow and locked embrace,

Our parting was fu' tender;

And pledging aft to meet again,

We tore oursels asunder :

But, Oh fell Death's untimely frost,

That nipt my flower sae early !

Now green 's the sod and cauld's the clay
That wraps my Highland Mary!

"O, pale, pale now, those rosy lips
I aft hae kissed sae fondly!
And closed for ay the sparkling glance
That dwelt on me sae kindly!
And mouldering now in silent dust,
That heart that lo'ed me dearly;

But still within my bosom's core

Shall live my Highland Mary."

The other poem, "To Mary in Heaven," was written several years afterwards. It delineates the memorial emotions of an affection as intense and deathless as the genius of him who entertained it :

"Thou lingering star with lessening ray,

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That lovest to greet the early morn,

Again thou usher'st in the day

My Mary from my soul was torn.

O, Mary! dear departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest?

Seest thou thy lover lowly laid?

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?

"That sacred hour can I forget?

Can I forget the hallowed grove,
Where by the wandering Ayr we met,
To live one day of parting love?
Eternity will not efface

Those records dear of transports past

Thy image at our last embrace !

Ah! little thought we 't was our last.

"Ayr, gurgling, kissed his pebbled shore,

O'erhung with wild woods, thickening, green;

The fragrant birch, the hawthorn hoar,
Twined amorous round the raptured scene:

The flowers sprang wanton to be prest,

The birds sang love on every spray,
Till soon, too soon, the glowing west
Proclaimed the speed of winged day.

"Still o'er those scenes my memory wakes,
And fondly broods with miser care;
Time but the impression deeper makes,

As streams their channels deeper wear.

Who can read such outgushings of tenderness and not feel a sad sympathy with the noble sufferer? Who can love purely and deeply, as did Burns, without acknowledging, in his own nature as well as in that of his adored, something truly divine? "Let the dead bury their dead," said Christ, and they only do so. The love of a deepliving soul embalms its object for an immortal life. Burns could not forget her, when green was the sod and cold the clay that wrapped his Highland Mary.

"Hers was a form of life and light,
That seen became a part of sight,
And rose upon his spirit-eye

The morning star of memory."

And shall we who have laid our loved ones in the tomb, shall we forget the breathless sleepers? Three lovely sisters have bidden me farewell. I see their pale brows no more: their mild-beaming eyes are extinct stars in the galaxy of home. But Mt. Hope is a sweet resting-place for the weary ones; and when its wild-wood is all brilliant with the life of spring, and the moon looks down with her love-breathing lustre, making night holy, I love to stand alone on that hill of death, and gazing upward,

"Think that the dear ones lost may dwell

In that fair orb I love so well."

I see my hovering seraphs brighter than all earthly dreams of beauty, their eyes intensely radient with the love-light of their spirit-home :

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