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Ordained to fire th' adoring Sons of Earth
With every charm of wisdom and of worth;
Or, warm with Fancy's energy to glow,
And rival all but Shakespeare's name below.

Pleasures of Hope.





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On an occasion of such delicacy as the presenting to the world another volume of the writings of Robert Burns, it becomes the Editor to account for his motives in undertaking the publication, and to explain his reasons for giving it in the form in which it now appears.

Whatever unhappiness the Poet was in his life-time doomed to experience, few persons have been so fortunate in a biographer as Burns. A strong feeling of his excellencies, a perfect discrimination of his character, and a just allowance for his errors, are the distinguishing features in the work of Dr. Currie, who

-With kind concern and skill has weav'd
A silken web; and ne'er shall fade
Its colours; gently has he laid
The mantle o'er his sad distress,
And GENIUS shall the texture bless,"


The same judgment and discretion which dictated the memoirs of the poet, presided also in the selection of his writings in the edition by Dr. Currie; of which it may justly be said, that whilst no production of Burns could be withdrawn from it without diminishing its value, nothing is there inserted which can render his works unworthy of the approbation of manly taste, or inconsistent with the delicacy of female virtue.

But although no reduction can be made from the published works of the poet, it will, it is hoped, appear from the following pages, that much may be added to them, not unworthy of his genius and character. Of these pieces many had from various causes never occurred to the notice of Dr. Currie; whilst others have been given by him in a more imperfect state than that in which they will now appear.—These productions of the Scottish Bard extend from his earliest to his latest years; and may be considered as the wild flowers of his muse, which, in the luxuriant vigour of his fancy, he scattered as he passed along. They are the result of a most diligent search, in which I have used the utmost exertions; often walking to considerable distances, and to obscure cottages, in search of a single letter. Many of them have been obtained


from the generous confidence and liberality of their possessors; some from the hands of careless indifference, insensible to their value ; others were fast falling to decay, their very existence almost forgotten, though glowing with the vital warmth which is diffused through every line that the hand of the immortal bard has ever traced. In this pursuit I have followed the steps of the poet, from the humble Cottage in Ayrshire in which he was born, to the House in which he died at Dumfries. I have visited the farm of Mossgiel where he resided at the period of his first publication; I have traversed the scenes by the Ayr, the Lugar, and the Doon. Sacred haunts !

“ –Where first grim nature's visage hoar

Struck his young eye;"

-And have finally shared in the reverential feelings of his distinguished biographer,* over


* The above passage has a reference to a letter from Dr. Currie to Messrs. Cadell and Davies, which has been communicated to the Editor, and of which the following is an extract.

June 13, 1804. On my late excursion I visited Mrs. Burns at Dum« fries. She continues to live in the house iu which the


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