Puslapio vaizdai

had it been true. Tradition makes no mention in the general massy outline, it bears no resemof it; and all the searching and seeking of some blance whatever to the handwriting of the bard, of the most indefatigable hunters after personal and is wanting in all the characteristics of his traits, anecdotes, and facts, that ever followed in style. Connoisseurs in art have a sure method the wake of one who had achieved for himself im- of detecting proper skill and genius in a painting mortality—all the pickings and rakings of the submitted to their inspection. However showy chiffonniers of literature that ever puddled among and attractive may be the broad and general the sweepings of an author's study, or the refuse aspect of it—however grand and effective the full heaped into the waste corner of a library," or, front view_if the minor details, the more minute ghost-like, have wandered up and down among touches, cannot stand the test of close investiga“the homes and haunts” of our poets and great men tion, the picture is a failure, and the artist proto whom the merest scrap of gossip, the smallest nounced either inexperienced or unskilful. The possible crumb of biography, would be a perfect head and face of a portrait, for example, may be perGod-send-never stumbled on a discovery like fect and unexceptionable, while the fingers, or finger this. It remained for Mr. Begg, to eclipse Currie, nails even, may have been overlooked, as things Walker, Heron, Hamilton Paul, Peterkin, Lock- requiring no great care in the doing of them. А hart, Allan Cunningham, Cromek, Hogg, Mother- true master never leaves any portion of his work well, and a host of others, who had already told unfinished; but bestows even more attention on the world all that the world can now know the smaller minutiæ, the minor beauties of his proof Burns or his history. It seems strange ductions, than he does on the greater details. Let that his shrewd and strong-minded brother, our readers apply this test to the case in question; Gilbert, knew nothing of such a remarkáble mat- and that they may be enabled to do so, we have ter as Burns’s revision of the Paraphrases of our had lithographs done, of the portion of the paraNational Church, else he could not have failed phrases, lithographed in the Free Church Magato have put it on record, as he has done other zine, and of another authentic lithograph of Burns's things relating to the poet, not of such great im- unquestioned handwriting. portance ; and that his widow, Jean Armour, The first thing that strikes us in the fac simile with whom Mr. Begg was so well acquainted in of the pretended alterations by Burns on the old Dumfries, and who " read much in her Bible,” | 35th paraphrase, (No. 48 of the collection now in never mentioned such a circumstance to the mi- use) given in the Free Church Magazine, and renister of her grandchild, on any of his frequent lithographed from it, in a separate leaf, is, that it visits to her. Surely it could not have been con- has all the appearanceof the writing of an old man, cealed from her? Is it conceivable that, during rather than of one in his early manhood. At the whole time that, as husband and wife, they the time the present version of the Paraphrases must have sung these same Paraphrases together received the final sanction of the General Assem-either in Sabbath-evening worship, in the quiet- bly, Burns was barely twenty-two; and even at ness of their own house, or sitting on the same seat that period, his handwriting was firmer and in the parish church-he never should have even clearer than that represented by the fac simile. breathed to her a hint of his handiwork ? It Let the reader compare it with the lithograph of is equally strange that the sons of the poet, yet the stanza of the Cotters' Saturday Night, given alive, never divulged a fact of so much interest in on the same page, and they will not fail to mark the literary history of their father.

a mighty difference in the character and spiritBut in regard to the brown old manuscript in the very idiosyncrasy, as we may say, of the volume itself

, said to contain the veritable hand- two handwritings. Not only in the grouping but writing of Robert Burns, now revealed to the in the formation of the letters a difference is world like the unrolling of an Egyptian mummy, observable. The one, the paraphrase, has apthe world—the literary portion of it at least, parently been written by some person who wrote would require to know something of its history slowly, and with no small degree of tremor ; and genealogy, before even pronouncing on the and it has about it an aged, dragged sort of look. authenticity of the handwriting itself. Where The other has a freshness and vigour that are evidid it come from? In whose possession has it dently the impress of a young, and strong, and conbeen all this undiscovered time? Disclose to us fident hand. But to come to tracings. Contrast the worthy “gentleman of Edinburgh,” where you Bs of the two writings. In the one, they are sharp got it, and by what means it has lain so long un- and angular; in the other, open and rounded. Take regarded among the lumber of your library? We the As. In the one, they are full and bold; in the wonder if it ever occurs to any one who sees and other, narrow and stroky. The small ds in the one handles it, to turn it up to the light and examine are, almost without exception, turned round ; in its water mark and maker's name. Strange de- the other, they are just as invariably written the tections have been made ere now, “in the olden other way. Then look at the letter i, as used in time,”, by such a very simple test.

both. The one dispenses,

instance but Granting, however, that it is all rightinthis par- two, with the dot above ; the other never misses ticular, we come to the examination of the manu- it once. In the one, the s is always written script itself. What is alleged to be the hand short; in the other, it is just as invariably writwriting of the poet, on close scrutiny, and com- ten long. There are numerous other discreparison with his acknowledged genuine writings, pancies that cannot fail to be detected on close will be found to be altogether unlike. Except examination. But it needs not that we should individualise them farther; on this point, we have, feared for his satirical powers, was not by any we think, supplied abundant data for enabling means known as a poet. His fame had not then the reader to form a correct judgment for himself. travelled to Edinburgh, or widened into world re

in every

It seems to be taken for granted that it was nown. It was not till full five years after the during the time of Burns's residence in Irvine that date mentioned, that his name was known to Dr. his amendments on the Paraphrases took place. Blair, Dr. Blacklock, Dr. Robertson, and all the “The little brown volume,” it is said, “must have rest of them. It was not till after the Irvine busibeen submitted to him for revisal by some of his ness, and after he and his brother Gilbert had taken earlier clerical acquaintances; and the faet, that the farm of Mossgiel, that he acquired any local the poor over-toiled flax-dresser of twenty-two, reputation as a poet. On this point we have his should have been consulted in such a work, shows own testimony. “I entered on this farm," he how high he must have stood in the estimate of says, in his celebrated letter to Dr. Moore, of 2d the little circle in which he then moved.” On August, 1787, “ with a full resolution, come, go June 1st, 1781, the present colleetion of the Para- to, I will be wise.' I read farming books ; I calphrases received the approval of the Assembly's culated crops ; I attended markets; and, in short, Committee, and before the end of that year they | in spite of the devil, and the world, and the flesh, were published as they now stand. It was only I believe I should have been a wise man; but the about that same month of June that Burns com- first year, from unfortunately buying bad seed, the menced business as a flax-dresser in Irvine, in second from a late harvest, we lost half our crops. partnership with another; and in six months This overset all my wisdom, and I returned, like thereafter, as he and some of his companions the dog to his vomit, and the sow that was washed, were making merry together, at the coming in of to her wallowing in the mire.' I now began to be the new year, the shop took fire, and the poet was known as a maker of rhymes. The first of my burnt out. It is quite clear that it was not at poetic offspring that saw the light, was a burlesque this particular period of his life that he could lamentation on a quarrel between two reverend have had the opportunity of making the altera- Calvinists, both of them dramatis personæ in my tions. And nothing that we know of his previous • Holy Fair.' The first of Burns's poetic offhistory gives any countenance to the notion that spring that saw the light, according to the new any general or casual acquaintance, which he may discovery, was Burns's amendments on the Parahave had with clergymen, could have led to his phrases, printed in 1781. And that these amendbeing consulted-in such a weighty matter as the ments were neither unimportant nor mere verbal emendations of the Paraphrases, then in prepara-corrections, currente calamo, is proved by the intion—at any anterior time.

terest which the mere announcement of them has The whole thing is a magnificent hypothesis ; excited, and the specimens given. one of those bold and grand conjectures which phrase lithographed in the Free Church Magaset people's wits a-woolgathering, and originate zine, the 48th of our present version, was cominterminable controversy. The announcers of the posed by Logan. We may as well be told that discovery have failed, or rather they have not Burns revised and amended Logan's Sermons, as tried, to show that any of Burns's clerical friends that he revised and amended Logan's Paraphrases. —and that he numbered several clergymen among We shall here quote the version, as given from his acquaintances at that early period of his life the old brown hereditary manuscript volume, and is well enough known-held that prominent posi- the conjectural version by Burns:tion in the Church which gave them any authority,

“Now let our souls ascend above to submit the revision of the Paraphrases, to this

The fears of guilt and woe; or that clever country lad, that they “permitted,”

God is for us our friend declared,

Who then can be our foe? as Lockhart significantly says they did Burns,

He who his Son, his only Son, to mingle occasionally in their society." Far

For us gave up to die, less have they shown that those clergymen, con

Will he withhold a lesser gift, jointly or severally, had ever “consulted,” that is,

Or what is good deny ? applied to, the poet on the subject at all. That

Behold all blessings sealed in this

'The highest pledge of love, is their weak point. They must get over that

All grace and peace on earth below, gutter in their way, before they proceed any

And endless life above. farther. The rich plush cloak of Sir Walter

Now who shall dare to charge with guilt Raleigh once stood both him and Queen Eliza

Whom God hath justified, beth in good stead, when he spread it over the

Or who is he that shall condemn,

Since Christ the Saviour died? mire to allow her Majesty to pass over dry-shod ; but the foot-cloth of Plausibility, however richly

He died, but he is risen again, laced or gairishly adorned, won't do here. The

Triumphant from the grave,

And pleads for us at God's right hand, connecting link is wanting. It must be remem

Omnipotent to save." bered, that at that time—the period before June,

Then who can e'er divide us more, 1781, when the Paraphrases were finally approved

From Christ and from his love ? by the Church-Burns, though known in his own The passage supposed to be in the rendering obscure country circle, for his acuteness and ori- of Burns, runs as follows:-) ginality, for “the depth of his discernment, the force of his expressions, and the authoritative en

* The Lord Almighty is our friend, ergy of his understanding," and, in some quarters,

And who can prove a foc?".

The para


He who his Son, his only Son,

who knew of his having touched with his genius Gave for mankind to die,

some of the Paraphrases, would have remained Will He a lesser gift withhold, Or what is good deny ?

silent at such a time upon the circumstance? Some Behold the best, the greatest gift,

of his clerical acquaintances, cognizant of the fact, Of everlasting love :

must surely have divulged it at such a period of Behold the pledge of peace below,

wonder and excitement about the peasant-bard ? And perfect bliss above.

That Burns, at an early period of his life, had
Where is the judge that can condemn,
Since God hath justified ?

strong religious impressions, is a circumstance Who shall presume to charge with guilt

that in no way countenances the idea of his havFor whom the Saviour died ?

ing given the finishing dress to some of the best The Saviour died, but rose again,

of our Paraphrases. The minds of all true poets, Triumphant from the grave.

when the first promptings of their genius is felt And pleads our cause within the vail,

within them, take a decidedly devotional tone. Omnipotent to save." Then who can e'er divide us moro

It is in the very nature of inspiration to have From Jesus and his love ?

in it some yearning after the Ideal—some longThe 50th Paraphrase is generally ascribed to ing after Immortality—some deep and stirring Dr. Isaac Watts, altered for the Assembly's col- impulse to lead the soul beyond the mere Realistic

Burns was not lection by the Rev. William Cameron, minister of this commonplace world. of Kirknewton, Liulithgowshire, the author of the without these marks and signs of genuine in14th and 17th, who had a principal share in the

spiration. He tells us himself “ that the earpreparation of the appointed version. The second liest composition that he recollects taking plea

· The Vision of Mirza,' and a verse is said, in the newly-found manuscript, to have sure in, was originally stool thus:

hymn of Addison's beginning · How are thy Those bodies then-corrupted now

servants blest, O Lord !'" With him a strong Shall uncorrupted rise :

feeling of piety and virtue was “ early inMortal they fell, but rise to live,

grained.” But his devotion, however ardent, Immortal in the skies."

did not always take a religious turn; his impresThus affirmed to be rendered by Burns, as in our sions, however strong, were not, even at that early present version :

period, invariably virtuous. A man may wor" Those bodies that corrupted fell

ship a false deity, and yet have more real devoShall uncorrupted rise,

tion than many who worship the true one. With And mortal forms shall spring to life, Burns, love and poetry went hand in hand, and Immortal in the skies.

not poetry and religion. In his younger years, The 26th Paraphrase, of unknown authorship, at the time these Paraphrases must have been so was also altered by Cameron. The opening verse, amended by him, or some one else, love engrossed in the manuscript thus reads :

all his affections. He was never without one rustic “ Ho! ye that thirst approach the spring sweetheart or another, and his devotion to the Of ever-flowing bliss.”

fair Cynthia of the minute" knew no bounds As said to be amended by Burns, it runs— while it lasted. “Far beyond all other impulses of

“Ho ! yo that thirst approach the spring my heart,” he says, was un penchant à l'adorWhere living waters flow.'

able moitié du genre humain. My heart was comOf the 6th Paraphrase it has never certainly pletely tinder, and was eternally lighted up by been known who was the author, although it has some goddess or another.” But what we want to been attributed to Watts. The only alteration remark about this feeling of devotion is, that durmade on it appears to have been on the 4th and ing those periods when it was undoubtedly of a 5th verses, which were originally written thus :— strongly religious nature in the bosom of Robert Though in his garden to the sun

Burns, his was not exactly the heart to have His boughs with verdure smile ;

contented itself with a few occasional alteraThough deeply fixed, his spreading roots Unshaken stand awhile,

tions of paraphrases, the productions of others; Yet, when from Heaven his sentence flies,

but that its own strong impulse would have led him He's hurried from his place.'

to throw off one or more complete pieces, bearing In the supposed hand of Burns they thus read :

all the impress of his high genius, and manly and Fair in the garden to the sun

vigorous intellect, worthy to be inserted in that His boughs with blossoms smile,

collection which could already boast of his emendaAnd, deeply fixed, his spreading roots

tions. Witness the ardour with which he, some Unshaken stand a while ;

years later, set about writing songs for the But forth the sentence flies from heaven, valuable musical collection of Mr George ThomAnd sweeps him from his place.

Can it be conceived that he would have reAlthough up to June, 1781, Burns's name had strained the boundings of his mighty genius, to made no noise in the world, the preparation of merely doing the dull drudgery of editorial taskthe Paraphrases for the use of the Church was a work? It is not, indeed, within the range of posmatter of interest throughout Scotland. Five sibility, that those, whoever they might be, who years afterwards, when he had entered upon his asked him to revise the Paraphrases, should not glorious career of fame, and the poet-ploughman have thought of asking also a paraphrase from was the subject of conversation in all the circles himself. If he was thought qualified for the of his native land, is it to be supposed that those I one, surely he must have been deemed abundantly

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capable of the other. And that his mind, if pro- and in whose possession is the original of one perly attuned and directed, was fully competent for of his poems. At first sight he at once declared such a sublime task, the few pieces of a reli- it to be Burns's handwriting. On a closer inspecgious nature that he has left—his version of tion, however, he began to entertain doubts, the first Psalm, and of part of the ninetieth, and was ultimately convinced that it was not the and his touching stanzas, entitled, “Man was poet's. made to Mourn,” as well as his divine “ Cotter's We repeat there is a vitality and grasp in the Saturday Night,” amply testify.

handwriting of Burns which we look in vain for That Burns's supposed connexion with the Para- in the supposed manuscript of his, now for the phrases was unknown to his sons, as hinted above, first time given to the world. The specimen of is an acknowledged fact. Since this article was the “Cotter's Saturday Night," although not writwritten,a paragraph has appeared in the Dum- ten for full four years thereafter, looks much more fries Standard of the 19th May, which is entitled like what the poet's hand might be considered to to attention, as it embodies the testimony of have been while he was under twenty-two ; and one of the bard's sons in favour of the au- that of the Paraphrase revision, what it might thenticity of the writing in question. The have been had he reached a period of life much Editor of the paper mentioned states that he beyond that at which he died. To us it seems submitted the lithographed fac simile in the clear that the latter belongs to a person at the Free Church Magazine, and the explanatory no- time much advanced in years; and it is not un. tice, to the eldest son of the poet, now resident in likely to have been that of an elderly minister Dumfries. As may readily be fancied, he was or other person who had something to do not a little astonished. " That is his hand,” he either with the copying or the revision of the said, “there can be no doubt of that; no man Paraphrases. ever wrote like Burns ; but I never knew before After all, before the summer of 1781, neither that my father had been consulted regarding the the literary nor the moral position of Burns was Paraphrases. It is certainly very strange, but it such as to countenance the assumption now made. is no doubt perfectly true." In the course of At the period of his life anterior to that date he the conversation which ensued on the subject, Mr. had not the slightest standing as a poet, and his Burns said that he recollected the poet was very moral character, even then, was not quite so irrefond of the Paraphrases, and had caused him, proachable as to warrant his being applied to, by when quite a child, to learn the first one, begin- any of the clergy especially, to undertake such a ning, “ Let heaven arise, let earth appear, said sacred charge as the revision of the spiritual songs the Creator Lord.” “For,” remarked Mr. Burns, of his country. It was not long after this period, "the line ran in this way then, and not · Said the that, from his powers of satire, directed against Almighty Lord,' as it does now; and from early the clergy, in which he has never yet been equalassociation, and because the term is more appro- led, he became the terror of all the ministers of priate, I prefer greatly the old version of this the west of Scotland; some of whom actually passage to the new.” Nevertheless, we remain trembled in their pulpits when they knew that unconvinced. Burns's son is as likely to be mistaken Burns was present among the congregation. And as any other man. On a superficial view, the con- even while yet resident in the parish of Tarjectural handwriting is calculated to deceive bolton, (including the short portion of his time and to satisfy ; but no evidence on earth can spent in Irvine,) from his seventeenth to his be more fallacious or delusive than that of twenty-fourth year, his name had become so handwriting. Lawyers and lithographers, and notorious in “kintra clatter," as, in common all who are familiar with the mode adopted in decorum, would have deterred any of the clergy Courts of Justice, in relation to manuscript identity, of that day, having to do with the preparation are sufficiently aware of this. We submitted the of the new version of the Paraphrases, from lithograph of the Free Church Magazine to a gen-consulting him on such a subject. It may turn tleman not unknown in the religious literature of out to be the fact that Logan's handwriting bears his country, well versant in Burns's handwriting, a strong resemblance to that of Burns.


« Vita nam flammæ similis.

Yes! bright is their lot, whose names dazzle in story,

Like some beacon that lights, far and near, the hill-side ;
Though, partaking its brightness as well as its glory,

Their joy was scarce full ere its brilliancy died.
To some, still more blest, at each day's calm returning,

Life sweetly shines on with a lamp's even gleam;
And the ray which that lamp gives to night in its burning

Shines again from their eyes with as placid a beam.
Bat not such are the days t'will be mine to remember;

Not the fever of action, or calm of repose ; My life dies away like a smouldering ember,

Unelated by joys, if unharassed by woes.

And if sometimes the breath of love, friendship, and duty,

Like the wind, has swept o'er it, and kindled a spark; It was but as the wind, which just stirs the night's beauty, And scarce hushed, e'er the flame it brought life to was

dark. Already has passed the fresh childhood, which bounded

At the thought of the great, and the sight of the fair, And but left to my heart, as the flame has crept round it,

The dull ashes of life which lie mouldering there.

H, M. A.


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“ MAURICE," said Mr. Macarthy, to an unshaven attend- “Let them be accomplished,” replied her husband. ant who was brushing up the crumbs under the breakfast “I have no objection to that, I am sure ; their accomtable, "bring me my boots ; I must be off to the castle." plishments cost me a good deal of money ; but can't

“ There they are fornent your honour," answered they get through their lessons without making such an Maurice, “ nice and warm inside the fender.”

infernal racket ? I like music well enough; but such “ And so they are,” said Mr. Macarthy, kicking off pounding and thumping as that, without as much as a one of his slippers. “I wonder what has become of my tune or an air that a man might whistle to, is enough to eyesight. By and bye, I wont see the decanter on the drive one out of the house; and it does drive me out of table before me.'

the house ten times in the day." " The heavens forbid it would ever come to that !“That's because you don't understand the new Italian ejaculated the trusty serving man, looking, at the same system, Mr. Mac.,” said the lady. “Tunes and airs, as time, as if he did not much fear that it ever would. you call them, are now quite vulgar and out of date.

“ Maurice," continued his master, as he drew on his None but grocers' daughters think of playing tunes upon boots, “there is plenty for you to do this morning; and the piano. A young lady is nothing at all without exeit can't be done if you keep on sweeping, sweeping, at cution." that rate, after a few dry crumbs of bread. Leave them “ Execution sure enough it is," said the gentleman of there, man, and I'll be bound the chickens will pick them the house, “that puts me to the rack every day in the all up clean enough. There's one coming in at the door year. I don't like executions in my house at all, Mrs. now, by the same token ; so hurry, Maurice, hurry. Mac.” Take away these things; and then as soon as you eat

Maurice grinned, and wondered in a half-suppressed your own breakfast, fall to and brush my new black tone, “Who would ?”' clothes. I'll want them to-day for the company, d'ye And the lady declared she liked wit, but could not hear ? Don't leave a spot of grease on the waistcoat, laugh at the same joke twenty times repeated. the way you disgraced me the last day I dined at Sir Mr. Macarthy was now ready to go out. His slippers John's."

had been thrown, one into a corner behind the tea-chest, “ That wasn't my fault, Master," said Maurice. and the other under the sideboard. The newspaper lay How could I see spots of grease at five o'clock of a on the hearthrug, with the cat blinking and purring over winter's evening, when I wouldn't get a candle to do my its contents. Upon the mantel-piece he had deposited all work by ?"

the lumber of his coat-pockets, consisting of a dog-chain “Whisht! hold your tongue you spalpeen, and listen and collar, a pocket-handkerchief rather soiled, a worsted to what is said to you. After you do that, (and you glove without a fellow, sundry packets of garden seeds, have the daylight for it now), polish my thin boots till and a well-thumbed copy of Youatton The Horse. you can see that wart on your nose in them.”

Having thus made himself smart, he gave Maurice a few “ That's aisy said,” growled the offended Maurice, more parting orders, and set out for the Castle of my “and aisy done too, if we had the polish; but the thing Lord Dunbrown. The sporting gentlemen of the neighisn't to be done with the black of the pot and a dhrop of bourhood were to meet there that morning, in order to sour beer."

wind up the affairs of a fox-hunting club, which, for want "Can't you step over to the town, then, and bring a of sufficient funds, or of proper care in the management jar of Day and Martin ? I never knew a fellow of less of them, had been allowed, as Mr. Macarthy (a parlous contrivance. Take the pass-book, and you may as well wit, by the bye) observed, "to go to the dogs." bring back a few bottles of porter, in case any of the His horse stood ready for him at the hall-door, and gentlemen would like it with their checse.”

two or three countrymen were lounging about anxious to "And that they will, I'll be bound,” says Maurice, see his honour, having already lost an hour or two in exmollified by a commission which promised him what he pectation till he should make his appearance. One of dearly loved—an hour's gossip in a country shop. • Mr. them was a neighbour who wanted a few trees to roof a Ryan, at laste, can never feel it's after dinner he is, till barn he was building; and being very desirous to finish he has a glass of it.”

the work out of hand, begged that he might be allowed “Well, no matter what Mr. Ryan feels; he's no great to cut them down that day, the money being ready things, whatever he feels"; but bring the porter, never- quite convenient. theless, and harkye-0! will any one shut the door? “That's tempting, certainly,” thought Mr. Macarthy, That confounded piano in the next room is bewildering as he threw his leg over the saddle ; " but," said he, "the

I can't hear my ears with it.” Here Mr. Macar thing is impossible to-day. I never permit a tree to be thy stamped his heel against the floor; but whether he touched till I mark it out myself; and I shall not be at did it out of vexation, or merely to settle his foot com- leisure to go into my woods until the day after to

morfortable within a rather tight boot, our history is silent. 'row."

" My dear,” said Mrs. Macarthy, who sat in the His “woods” consisted of a skirting plantation about window studying Mrs. Rundall on cheesecakes, "the a hundred yards wide, that ran along the roadside. girls must practise, or they never will be accomplished; The man could not wait till then. He must go on to and I'd like to know what a young lady in these times another gentleman who was thinning his plantations fiva would be without accomplishments ?"

or six miles farther off.

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