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From the Reverend Mr. LOWRIE,
22nd 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
* * * * even
always accompany great men. For your com fort I am in great hopes that the number of your friends and admirers will increase, and that you have some chance of ministerial, or
patronage. 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 sun-shine 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
further prosperity. VOL. 11.
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 suffer
ed, ed, I inclose you two poems I have carded and spun since I passed 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 combinations 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 subscriptionbills; and have written to Mr. Ballantine 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.
As I have but slender pretensions to philosophy, I cannot rise to the exalted ideas 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, than 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