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I rather agree with the graver portion of community that there is far too much, and would therefore that men were * enlightened on a subject of so great importance, and would learn to afford themselves that portion of time which might be profitably given to travel and society, and not waste valuable hours in a manner which entirely unfits them for laborious exertion in the appropriate time for labor.

But to return to our poet. After visiting many of the spots famous for natural beauty or consecrated by human heroism, he returned to his home at Manchline, where for once a prophet found honor in his own country. His friends and neighbors opened wide the arms of their affections, to clasp the returning friend of Scotland and of man, feeling themselves honored by the reflection of his glory. Only six months before, he had left them poor and unknown. He came back, his brow resplendant with a bardie crown imposed by the most noble hands. His brief campaign had been an Alexandrine conquest. He was now the undisputed monarch of Scotia's Parnassus. And yet the cordiality of his reception and the enthusiastic expressions of his neighbors' regard were not quite grateful to his somber temper, and he writes to a friend: "I never thought mankind capable of any thing very generous; but the stateliness of the patricians of Edinburgh and the servility of my plebeian brethren, (who perhaps formerly eyed me askance,) since I came home, have put me out of conceit altogether with my species. I have bought a pocket Milton, which I carry perpetually about me, in order to study the sentiments, the dauntless magnanimity, the intrepid, unyielding perseverance, the desperate daring and noble defiance of hardship in that great personage, Satan. The many ties of acquaintance and friendship I have, or think I have, in life, I have felt along the lines; and,

damn them, they are almost all of them of such frail texture that I am sure they would not stand the breath of the least adverse breeze of fortune."

Burns was prone to suspicion, and often thought he saw some lurking baseness where perhaps there was really nothing but the most noble sentiment. A man of genius, conscious of his own superiority to the pigmies around him, and accustomed to be misunderstood and insulted, is very much exposed to the danger of falling into a morbid misanthropy, disposing him to suspect humanity of the meanness justly chargeable upon many of its wearers; and thus our divine nature is disgraced with the greatest and best, by the detestable misconduct of the littlest and vilest.

Having completed his peregrinations, our poet returned to Edinburgh, where he spent the ensuing winter; and we regret that historical fidelity requires us to add that he did not lead as exemplary a life as was desirable in one upon whom so many eyes were turned in admiration. Such as occupy a conspicuous position in society should pay for their envied eminence by more strenuous exertions in the cause of virtue than is demanded from the obscure, and by a less free indulgence in those innocent pleasures which in their weaker brethren lean towards vice, than will readily be granted by public opinion to other men.

Burns was, as has been previously remarked, of an eminently social disposition, and the consequence of unrestrainedly gratifying his taste for convivial entertainments was, that he gradually slid into an intemperate indulgence, which continued to tarnish his otherwise reproachless character. Meanwhile, his pecuniary circumstances became so embarrassed, and the prospect before him so dismal, that he found himself forced to think of some more reliable means of support than was presented by his poetic reputa

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 obtained the solicited appointment, which he continued to hold during the remainder of his life.

Upon a settlement with his publisher soon after, 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 pros pect than that of certain and immediate ruin. Accordingly 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 prepare 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 feeling 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 woman 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 frolie, and the most solemn of vows assum. ed 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 afforded 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. generally the case that those coquetish young ladies, how.

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ever 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 hospi tality 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 bless ings 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 be ginning, 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

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