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TO MR. M'ADAM OF CRAIGENGILLAN.
Among men of some figure who took notice of Burns, in consequence of the publication of his first volume of Poems was Mr. M'Adam of Craigengillan.
SIR, o'er a gill I gat your card,
"See wha taks notice o' the Bard!"
Now diel-ma-care about their jaw,
'Twas noble, sir; 'twas like yoursel'
Though, by his 1 banes who in a tub
my ain legs, through dirt and dub, puddle I independent stand aye.
And when those legs to guid warm kail,
A lee dike-side, a sybow-tail, lonely wall - leek
Heaven spare you lang to kiss the breath
And bless your bonny lasses baith
I'm tauld they're lo'esome kimmers !
And God bless young Dunaskin's laird,
And may he wear an auld man's beard,
LYING AT A FRIEND'S HOUSE ONE NIGHT, THE AUTHOR LEFT THE FOLLOWING
IN THE ROOM WHERE HE SLEPT.
Another person of local eminence whose friendly regard Burns obtained through the merit of his poetical volume, was the Rev. Mr. George Lawrie, minister of the parish of Loudon, a few miles from Mossgiel. This appears to have been a remarkably fine specimen of the old moderate clergy of the Scottish establishment sensible, upright, kind-hearted, and with no mean taste in literature.
At Loudon manse, in a beautiful situation on Irvine
Water, entitled St. Margaret's Hill, the rustic bard paid the good minister a visit. He was received with the greatest cordiality, and immediately found himself in the midst of what was to him a scene equally novel and charming. Among the liberalities of Mr. Lawrie was a love of dancing, with a conviction that it was useful in promoting health and cheerfulness in his house. Scarcely a day passed in the manse when this exercise was not indulged. It was, therefore, exactly what might have been expected, that after dinner, or in the course of the evening, there was a dance, led by the excellent pastor and his lady, and in which Burns and other guests joined. Burns, it may be observed, though somewhat heavy-limbed, was a good dancer. He retired for the night, with feelings deeply touched by the simple refinement, goodnature, and mutual affection of this family, as well as by the unaffected kindness which had been shown to himself.
Он thou dread Power who reign'st above,
When for this scene of peace and love
The hoary sire the mortal stroke,
And shew what good men are.
She, who her lovely offspring eyes
Oh bless her with a mother's joys,
Their hope, their stay, their darling youth, In manhood's dawning blush
Bless him, thou God of love and truth,
The beauteous, seraph sister-band,
Thou know'st the snares on every hand
When soon or late they reach that coast,
May they rejoice, no wanderer lost
1 Miss Louisa Lawrie possessed a scrap of verse in the poet's handwriting -a mere trifle, but apparently intended as part of a lyric description of the manse festivities. Some little license must be granted to the poet with respect to his lengthening the domestic dance so far into the night.
The night was still, and o'er the hill
The moon shone on the castle wa';
Sae merrily they danced the ring,
And aye the o'erword o' the spring, burden-tune
The time for parting came (see the preceding piece), and the benevolent host was left by Burns under feelings deeply affected by the consideration that so bright a genius should be contemplating a destiny so dismal as a clerkship in the West Indies. A wide stretch of moor had to be passed by Burns on his way home.1 "His mind was strongly affected by parting forever with a scene where he had tasted so much elegant and social pleasure, and depressed by the contrasted gloom of his prospects. The aspect of nature harmonized with his feelings. It was a lowering and heavy evening in the end [beginning?] of autumn. The wind was up, and whistled through the rushes and long speargrass which bent before it. The clouds were driving acros♣ the sky; and cold pelting showers at intervals added discomfort of body to cheerlessness of mind." Under these circumstances, and in this frame, Burns composed what he considered as “the last song he
should ever measure in Caledonia."
THE gloomy night is gathering fast,
1 Professor Walker gives the ensuing narration from the conversation of Burns in Edinburgh.