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22d. December, 1786.
I LAST week received a letter from Dr. Blacklock, in which he expresses a desire of seeing you. I write this to you, that you may lose no time in waiting upon him, should you not yet have seen him.
I rejoice to hear, from all corners, of your rising fame, and I wish and expect it may tower still higher by the new publication. But, as a friend, I warn you to prepare to meet with your share of detraction and envy-a train, that always accompany great men. For your comfort I am in great hopes that the number of your friends. and admirers will increase, and that you have some chance of ministerial, or even * tronage. Now, my friend, such rapid success is very uncommon, and do you think yourself in no danger of suffering by applause and a full purse? Remember Solomon's advice, which he spoke from experience, "stronger is he that conquers," &c. Keep fast hold of your rural simplicity and purity, like Telemachus, by Mentor's
aid in Calypso's isle, or even in that of Cyprus. I hope you have also Minerva with you. I need not tell you how much a modest diffidence and invincible temperance adorn the most shining talents, and elevate the mind, and exalt and refine the imagination even of a Poet.
I hope you will not imagine I speak from suspicion or evil report. I assure you I speak from love and good report, and good opinion, and a strong desire to see you shine as much in the sunshine as you have done in the shade; and in the practice as you do in the theory of virtue. This is my prayer in return for your elegant composition in verse. All here join in compliments and good wishes for your further prosperity.
To MR. CHALMERS.
Edinburgh, 27th. December, 1786.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I CONFESS I have sinned the sin for which there is hardly any forgiveness, ingratitude to friendship, in not writing you sooner; but of all men living I had intended to send you an entertaining letter, and by all the plodding,
stupid, powers, that in nodding, conceited, majesty preside over the dull routine of business -a heavily-solemn oath this! I am, and have been, ever since I came to Edinburgh, as unfit to write a letter of humour as to write a commentary on the Revelations.
To make you some amends for what, before you reach this paragraph, you will have suffered, I inclose two you poems I have carded and spun since I past Glenbuck. One blank in the address to Edinburgh, "Fair B-" is the heavenly Miss Burnet, daughter to Lord Monboddo, at whose house I have had the honour to be more than once. There has not been any thing nearly like her, in all the combination of beauty, grace, and goodness, the great Creator has formed, since Milton's Eve on the first day of her existence.
I have sent you a parcel of subscription-bills, and have written to Mr. Ballentine and Mr. Aiken to call on you for some of them, if they want them. My direction is, care of Andrew Bruce, merchant, Bridge-street.
TO THE EARL or EGLINTON.
Edinburgh, January, 1787.
As I have but slender pretentions to philosophy, I cannot rise to the exalted ides of a citizen of the world; but have all those national prejudices, which I believe glow peculiarly strong in the breast of a Scotchman. There is scarcely any thing, to which I am so feelingly alive as the honour and welfare of my country; and, as a Poet, I have no higher enjoyment than singing her sons and daughters. Fate had cast my station in the veriest shades of life; but never did a heart pant more ardently, that mine, to be distinguished: though, till very lately, I looked in vain on every side for a ray of light. It is easy then to guess how much I was gratified with the countenance and approbation of one of my country's most illustrious sons, when Mr. Wauchope called on me yesterday on the part of your lordship. Your munificence, my lord, certainly deserves my very grateful acknowledgments; but your patronage is a bounty peculiarly suited to my feelings. I am not master enough of the etiquette of life to
know, whether there be not some impropriety in troubling your lordship with my thanks, but my heart whispered me to do it. emotions of my inmost soul I do it.
gratitude I hope I am incapable of;
cenary servility, I trust, I shall ever have as much honest pride as to detest.
To MRS. DUNLOP.
Edinburgh 15th. January, 1787.
YOURS of the 9th current, which I am this moment honoured with, is a deep reproach to me for ungrateful neglect. I will tell you the real truth, for I am miserably aukward at a fib-I wished to have written to Dr. Moore before I wrote to you: but, though every day since I received yours of Dec. 30th. the idea, the wish, to write to him has constantly pressed on my thoughts, yet I could not for my soul set about it. I know his fame and character, and I am one of "the sons of little men." To write him a mere matter-of-fact affair, like a merchant's order, would be disgracing the little character I have; and to write the author of The View of Society and Manners, a letter of sentiment-I