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him, as a model. Though your author had not mentioned the name, I could have, at half a glance, guessed his model to be, Thomson. Will my brother poet forgive me, if I venture to hint, that his imitation of that immortal bard, is in two or three places rather more servile than such a genius as his required.-e. g.

To soothe the madding passions all to peace.


To soothe the throbbing passions into peace.


I think the Address is, in simplicity, harmony, and elegance of versification, fully equal to the Seasons. Like Thomson too he has looked into nature for himself: you meet with no copied description. One particular criticism I made at first reading; in no one instance has he said too much. He never flags in his progress, but like a true poet of nature's making, kindles in his course. His beginning is simple and modest, as if distrustful of the strength of his pinion; only, I do not altogether like


"The soul of every song that's nobly great."

Fiction is the soul of many a song that is nobly great. Perhaps I am wrong: this may be but a prose-criticism. Is not the phrase, in line page 6, "Great lake," too much vulgarized by every day language, for so sublime a poem ?


"Great mass of waters, theme for nobler song,"

is perhaps no emendation. His enumeration of a comparison with other lakes, is at once harmonious and poetic. Every reader's ideas must sweep the

Winding margin of an hundred miles."

The perspective that follows mountains blue -the imprisoned billows beating in vain-the wooded isles-the digression on the yew-tree"Ben-lomond's lofty cloud-enveloped head," &c. are beautiful.

A thunder-storm is a subject,

which has been often tried, yet our poet, in his grand picture, has interjected a circumstance so far as I know entirely original.

"the gloom

"Deep seemed with frequent streaks of moving fire."

In his preface to the storm, "the glens how dark between," is noble highland landscape! The "rain plowing the red mould," too, is beautifully fancied. Ben-lomond's "lofty, pathless top," is a good expression; and the surrounding view from it is truly great: the

"Silver mist,

"Beneath the beaming sun,"

is well described; and here he has contrived to enliven his poem with a little of that passion which bids fair, I think, to usurp the modern muses altogether. I know not how far this episode is a beauty upon the whole, but the swain's wish to carry "some faint idea of the vision bright," to entertain her " partial listening ear,"

is a pretty thought. But in my opinion the most beautiful passages in the whole poem, are the fowls crouding, in wintry frosts, to Lochlomond's "hospitable flood;" their wheeling round, their lighting, mixing, diving, &c.; and the glorious description of the sportsman. This last is equal to any in the Seasons. The idea of "the floating tribes distant seen, far glistering to the moon," provoking his eye as he is obliged to leave them, is a noble ray of poetic genius. "The howling winds," the "hideous roar" of "the white cascades," are all in the same style

I forget that while I am thus holding forth with the heedless warmth of an enthusiast, I am perhaps tiring you with nonsense. I must however mention, that the last verse of the sixteenth page is one of the most elegant compliments I have ever seen. I must likewise notice that beautiful paragraph, beginning, "The gleaming lake," &c. I dare not go into the particular beauties of the two last paragraphs, but they are admirably fine, and truly Ossianic.

I must beg your pardon for this lengthened scrawl. I had no idea of it when I began-I should like to know who the author is; but, whoever he be, please present him with my grateful thanks for the entertainment he has af forded me.

A friend of mine desired me to commission for him, two books, "Letters on the Religion

essential to Man, a book you sent me before; and, The World unmasked, or the Philosopher the greatest Cheat. Send me them by the first opportunity. The Bible you sent me is truly elegant: I only wish it had been in two volumes.

No. 58.



Mauchline, 13th November, 1788.


I HAD the very great pleasure of dining at Dunlop yesterday. Men are said to flatter women because they are weak; if it is so, poets must be weaker still; for Misses R. and K. and Miss G. M'K. with their flattering attentions and artful compliments, absolutely turned my head. I own they did not lard me over as many a Poet does his patron



but they so intoxicated me with their sly insinuations and delicate inuendoes of compliment, that if it had not been for a lucky recollection, how much additional weight and lustre your good opinion and friendship must give me in that circle, I had certainly looked

upon myself as a person of no small

consequence. I dare not say one word how much I was charmed with the Major's friendly welcome, elegant manner, and acute remark, lest I should be thought to balance my orientalisms of applause over against the finest quey* in Ayrshire, which he made me a present of, to help and adorn my farm-stock. As it was on hallow-day, I am determined annually, as that day returns, to decorate her horns with an ode of gratitude to the family of Dunlop

* *

So soon as I know of your arrival at Dunlop, I will take the first conveniency to dedicate a day, or perhaps two, to you and friendship, under the guarantee of the Major's hospitality. There will soon be three score and ten miles of permanent distance between us; and now that your friendship and friendly correspondence is entwisted with the heart-strings of my enjoyment of life, I must indulge myself in a happy day of "The feast of reason and the flow of soul."


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