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moral and emotional causes preserved in ton's family; their intimacy “ripened him certain relics of more or less inter- into love;" and in May they parted, she dependent doctrines.
to go home to the Highlands for a short These sentences exhibit the results time, to arrange for her marriage. He of a careful and conscientious study of had made up his mind to emigrate in Burns's theological environment. In order to make a living for Jean; he now text and appendix we have a précis of persevered in his project for the purpose the principal religious documents that of providing for his wife-to-be, Mary are known to have influenced the poet- Campbell. Yet, as Mr. Wallace, found“Goudie's Bible,” William Burnes's ing on documentary proof, coldly puts “Manual;" the most important writings it, “within a very few weeks after his of Dr. Dalrymple and Dr. M'Gill of Ayr; parting from her, we find him, in a letter and a full and interesting account of the to a friend, speaking of Jean as still petty and protracted quarrel between holding sway
his affections." Gavin Hamilton and the kirk-session of Short indeed was the blossoming time Mauchline.
of Burns's "white rose,” that “grew up Equally searching is the light which is and bloomed in the midst of his passionhere thrown upon Burns's relations to flowers.” However, we must pass from Jean Armour and the mystery of Mary dates and their sequelæ, to note that Campbell, neither of which topics can Mr. Wallace will not allow that the by a right reader of the man and poet Paisley incident in Jean Armour's life be allowed to be classed under the cate- offered the slightest foundation for R. gory of “Chatter about Harriet.” Mr. L. Stevenson's slander of her Wallace is forced to admit that the date “facile and empty-headed girl;" and of Burns's attachment to Highland that by a beautiful catena of reasoning Mary, and several of the circumstances from facts which he has himself to a connected with it "are still, to a great large extent unearthed, he demolishes extent, enveloped in mystery;" also that the “strong presumption,” which Mr. “her story, as here given, is based on, George A. Aitken, editor of the third and pieced from, various traditions, and “Aldine,” fathered, that Mary Campcannot be regarded as a portion of the bell, instead of being a "white rose" absolutely authentic history of Burns." was a very tarnished flower indeed, In what respect then, does he leave the worthy the rude attentions of Adam matter different from the state in which Armour and his rough mates; and furhe found it? Well, it is something that ther disposes effectively of the secondin an authoritative biography it should ary, but equalıy ugly “Highland Mary' be plainly stated that the identification myth founded on Joseph Train's manuof the Mary of Burns's poesy with Mary script notes of what John Richmond Campbell, who was born at Auchamore, told “a Mr. Grierson.” It is not the Dunoon, and is buried at Greenock, least of Mr. Wallace's services to the rests solely on tradition. And it is more Burns cult that, while vindicating the that the sequence of the events in this “dear, departed shade,” he does justice mysterious mess of love-entanglements to the character of the poet's faithful, should be as clearly stated as it is here. magnanimous and honorable helpmeet, It was in the spring of 1786 that the poet who was “always his warmest degave Jean Armour the acknowledge- fender,” and made his married life ment of their union, which old Armour happy and morally remunerative. straightway caused to be mutilated, and Turn we now to the Edinburgh epiwhic, Mr. Wallace, following Dr. Ed- sode. Stevenson, with that local pagar, doubts if a court would have recog. triotism which he could never shake off, nized as constituting an irregular mar- spoke of the “Edinburgh magnates" riage. In March Jean took refuge in who patronized Burns. Carlyle took a Paisley. Burns, disgusted with her truer measure of the literary society of conduct, and intent on matrimony, the Scottish capital at the end of the turned to Mary, nurse in Gavin Hamil- eighteenth century. The editor of the
new “Chambers” has rightly restated ishness, can it be said with truth that the relation between Burns and his pa
"the battle between the flesh and the
spirit” which ends in the ruin or the controns thus:
solidation of character had been fought
out so early in life. His sociable temperaThe period was, however, the evening of ment, his eager willingness to observe all the first heydey of Edinburgh letters. A sorts and conditions of men, inevitably few years before, Burns would perhaps led him into "scenes of life," the survey o' have found an even warmer welcome and which meant the enlargement of experia more just appreciation; he would cer- ence, but not-at least immediately—th: tainly have met at least one man intelle, enrichment of motive. But it is as certain tually his peer in the Select Society and that he never lost command of himself, the Poker Club. But David Hume had. amidst the Crochallan festivities, as that in 1786, been dead half a score of years; he acquitted himself with modesty and Lord Kames was gone, and the majority manliness at the tables of professors and of their more or less brilliant contempo- senators of the College of Justice. raries were long past their prime. Adam Smith was too ill to see Burns. William Mr. Wallace's revision of the EdinRobertson had only seven years to live; burgh episode is thorough and broad. Tytler and Lord Hailes even less. It was, He has pursued every incident of itin short, the interregnum between Hume the Clarinda liaison, the Masonic bardand Scott. Burns himself was the man of ship, the tours, the flirtations, the rethe age. It strikes us of this day as almost ludicrous that he should have been patron
lations with Creech, etc.—with the perized by men of the undoubted though tinacity of a sleuthhound. It is impossisecond-rate capacity of Dugald Stewart, ble to go into details here, but students Hugh Blair, and Henry Mackenzie. of Burns will be grateful for many mis
conceptions removed, many mysteries Again, summing up the testimony as to
as to dates cleared up, and generally for Burns's conduct in Edinburgh, Mr. Wal
the numerous vivid touches he has inlace says:
troduced into Chambers's generally He saw from the first that his reputa- accurate picture of the poet as he lived tion, so far as society in Edinburgh was and moved at this period. concerned, must be evanescent, and he Equally valuable is the reconstruction acted accordingly. His second Common of the Ellisland epoch. There is no place Book proves that he measured him
stick or stone left of the house that self deliberately against the men he met.
Burns built on the farm which he deHe perceived his own superiority to them
scribed as “the very riddlings of creain natural force; he did not repine at their
tion.” As the Rev. Richard Simpson, better fortune. It is morally certain that had Burns visited Edinburgh in the dayy
minister of Dunscore, who is the authorof the literary supremacy of Scott and ity on the history and topography of the Jeffrey, a vigorous and successful effort district, testifies, those who protest would have been made to secure for him il against the rebuilding of the present position which would have permitted free farmhouse as desecration of the roofexercise of his extraordinary faculty. . tree of Burns, are more than eighty Burns, however, asked nothing from his
years too late, and even the famous winEdinburgh friends; when they helped hini
dow with its inscription is of more than to a farm and a position in the Excise, be
doubtful authenticity. Mr. Wallace lieving, as they apparently did, that they were thereby gratifying his own wishes
presents us with a picturesque descriphe made no complaint, but cheerfully pre
tion of Ellisland, and-what is of even pared himself for the necessarily uncon
greater interest-he brings the tenant of genial career which alone appeared open 1788–1791 into at least geographical to him.
touch with others whose memories are Burns was but twenty-seven years of rooted in Dunscore. Thus:age when he came to Edinburgh from Asr. shire. Of few men of warm temperament
Its glens are steeped in the story of the and exceptionally endowed by nature with
War of Independence-of Wallace, of those 'strong passions which the Bruce, and of Bruce's friend and “mak sources at once of selfishness and unself- siccar” lieutenant, Kilpatrick, to whose
family Ellisland once belonged. The hill- been understood. It referred to sides of Dunscore recall the more recent episode in his connection with the Star, memories of the Covenanters. The tower which is expiscated in the new “Chamof Lag, the prototype of Redgauntlet bers” for the first time. In March, 1789, Castle, and the home of Sir Robert Grier
Stuart, in the pleasant polemical manson, “the persecutor,” whose
ner of the day, struck a blow at that more feared and hated in Galloway than
eminent Pittite, the Duchess of Gordon, that of John Graham himself, still stands in one of the glens. . . Travelling up the by publishing a set of coarsish verses valley, we come to Thornhill, with Tynron about her, which, "a correspondent asDoon, recalling the memories of the sured him," were from the pen of Ettrick Shepherd, Drumlanrig Castle, etc. Burns, describing her Grace's perform
The extreme eastern point of Dunscora ance at an Edinburgh ball. Burns basparish is Ellisland; the extreme western tened to repudiate the whole thing. point in Craigenputtock, looking out on The Gazetteer had copied from the Star a the moors of Galloway, where Carlyle
still more disrespectful stanza to the wrote “Sartor Resartus” and his essay on Burns. It was on the slopes of Craigen- duchess. Burns denied the authorship, puttock Hill that Carlyle, conversing
with heat, in both journals, and it was with Emerson, put the Iliad of “this doubtless for the “exculpation”. from mysterious mankind" into a nutshell— “The two most damning crimes of which, “Christ died on the tree; that built Dun
as a man and as a poet, I could have score kirk yonder; that brought you and
been guilty-ingratitude and stupidity,” me together. Time has only a relative
that be thanked Stuart in April. existence.”
Henley and Henderson in “The CenOn this epoch of the poet's existence, as
tenary Burns,” having evidently not on all the others, a vast amount
of pursued their researches far enough, editorial labor has been spent. On point accept the duchess pasquinade as genof research, pure and simple, there is uine, although internal evidence is connothing more valuable in any of the four vincing against its authenticity. The portly volumes than the results dis- most interesting discovery, however, played of a fresh investigation into which Mr. Wallace chronicles in connecBurns's connection with the “London
tion with the affair is this note, which newsmen." Peter Stuart, the pioneer of the editor of the Gazetteer appends to Metropolitan journalism, tried to secure Burns's letter:the poet as a paid contributor to his newly-established Star in 1788. Burns
Mr. Burns will do right in directing his refused enrolment, but sent contribu- petulance to the proper delinquent, the
printer of the Star, from which paper the tions, including the ode on Mrs. Os
literally copied into the wald, the “Ode to the Departed Gazetteer. We can assure him, however, Regency-Bill,” and probably also the for his comfort, that the Duchess of Gor(prose) “Address of the Scottish dis- don acquits him both of the ingratitude tillers to the Right Honble. William and the dulness. She has, with much Pitt."
He called the Star "a blasphe- difficulty, discovered that the jeu d'esprit mous party newspaper.” He helped to
was written by the Right Honorable the justify the description by a satire he
Treasurer of the Navy, on her Grace's sent to it on the "solemn farce of pa- Findlater; this has been found out by the
dancing at a ball given by the Earl of geant mummery," the public thanks
industry and penetration of Lord Fife. giving for the recovery of the king. The lines are certainly not so dull as Mr. This production, unearthed now from Burns insinuates, and we fear he is jealous the files of the Star, is dated, Kilmar of the poetical talents of his rival, Mr. nock, April 30th, and takes the form of Dundas. a psalm, said to have been composed for Burns, as everybody knows, hated the and sung on the occasion.
Dundases because Robert, the solicitorBurns's note to Stuart, of April, 1789; general, slighted bis poem on the death "Your polite exculpation of me in your of the lord president. We have not here paper was enough," has not hitherto absolute proof that the skit on the gay
Gordon was written by Henry Dundas, add, in every case that we have tested, "the great dispenser of patronage,” or with correct taste and nice appreciathat, even if it were, he had anything to tion of language. There is little that is do with the attribution of the lines to new in the notes as to facts or persons. the “ploughing poet,” but one cannot Their special worth lies in the precision help suspecting that in this piece of liter- and fulness with which they trace the ary horseplay there is a clue-if only it history of the poems in manuscript and could be followed up-to the neglect print, and in the originality of the rewhich Burns suffered at the hands of sults they body forth of investigation Dundas and his compeers.
inio the "origins” of the poetical forms We must, however, take leave of the used by Burns. One could wish that particulars which the editor of the new the editors had put otherwise the motive “Chambers” has added to Burnsiana, of these annotations, whose purpose, merely noting the illumination he they say, is “to emphasize the theory throws on the origin of "Scots wha hae,” that Burns, for all his exhibition of some as thus: “Under cover of a fourteenth- modern tendencies, was not the founder century battle song he (Burns)
of a dynasty, but the heir to a flourishreally liberating his soul against the ing tradition, and the last of an ancient Tory tyranny that was opposing liberty line; that he is demonstrably the outat home and abroad, and, moreover, come of an environment, and not in any striking at the comfort of his own fire. but the narrowest sense the unnatural side;" the wealth of biographical, birth of Poesy and Time, which he is bibliographical, and linguistic informa- sometimes held to be. However, tion he has collected about “Tam o' editor must be allowed his theory, and Shanter," "Auld Glen,” “A man's a man Messrs. Henley and Henderson's bold for a' that,” etc., and the tracing of such and uncompromising assertion of theirs allusions as “the daring path Spinoza is welcome as an antidote to the theory trod." And at least a word of commen- or the “Common Burnsite" who, in more dation is due to the editor's scathing or less mythical form, is their bête noir. analysis of the Globe Inn and other Only, their prefatory statement that malignant legends; to the great mass of their notes are meant to emphasize their valuable notes he has collected, includ- theory offers a needless, and, it must ing the identification of every indi- be said, a risky challenge to criticism. vidual, contemporary or historical, men- Three volumes of "The Centenary tioned in the poems; and to the vast Burns” are now before the world, and improvement he has made in the presumably the editors have brought glossary. The indexes are exception- forward the bulk of their proofs. These ally complete, indeed unique in their are extensive, scholarly, the fruit of reach and peculiarity.
learned and critical research, They As has been said, the work of Messrs. stand by themselves without the supHenley and Henderson is still incom- port of any preconceived theory whatplete. At present we can only indicate,
Do they demonstrate Messrs. by means of one or two details, the Henley and Henderson's proposition or quality of it. The text of "The Cen- propositions ? Unquestionably they do tenary Burns" is as excellent as the —up to a certain point. They provetypography in which it is displayed is what was not disputed—that “Burns beautiful; it has been compiled after was the heir to a flourishing tradition, collation of as many manuscripts as re
and the last of an ancient line,” that he search and industry could command, "derives from a numerous ancestry;" and of the various "authors' editions;" but they do not prove that he was “not and, to the great profit and pleasure of the founder of a dynasty," and, rightly scholars, the source of every reading interpreted, they do not minimize his adopted is plainly stated in the notes, “modern tendencies.” They prove that along with the various readings
Burns borrowed not only form but jected by the editors-rejected, we may matter from his Scotch predecessors,
that he wrote in their manner, on sub- was popular in England throughout the jects similar to theirs, but not that he eighteenth century. But “as a matter looked at the world as any one of them of fact “The Kirk's Alarm" was moddid. In short, while emphasizing the elled directly on a political squib which debt Burns owed to his “forebears," appeared in the Glasgow Mercury, Dethey also unwillingly emphasize the cember 23–30, 1788, and was current at gulf that separates him from the best as least six months before Burns wrote his well as the last of them-which gulf first draft.” This is admirable work. is made not only by genius (for Dunbar It is the kind of critical editing that the had genius too), but by modernity. student has long desired, and it is free
No poet, not even Shakespeare, has from all suspicion of a straining of the been so minutely, lovingly studied as facts to suit the editors' theory. But Burns. No editor has ever approached too high praise cannot be accorded to the text in so truly critical a spirit or Messrs. Henley and Henderson's treated it in so scholarly and classical a studies of origins throughout. Thus fashion as Messrs. Henley and Hender- the six-line stave in rime couée, built on son. It is impossible to convey in two rhymes, of the “Address to the brief notice an adequate impression Deil,” is traced from the work of the either of the bulk or of the quality of first-known troubabour, William IX., their work. Take for example their Count of Poitiers and Duke of Guienne treatment of “The Kirk's Alarm.” (1071-1127), through Hilary, a Paris Their note embraces a summary of the monk of the twelfth century, through an MʻGill persecution, which is a model of anonymous English love-song of the conciseness and completeness, and an thirteenth century, through the “York account of the production of the poem, Plays” and the “Towneley Mysteries” to which they contribute a quotation of the fifteenth century, down to its from the unpublished Dunlop manu- first use by a Scotsman, Sir David scripts at Lochryan: “I have just Lyndesay. So by Fergusson's time it sketched the following ballad, and as hau “become the common inheritance of usual send the first rough draft to you.” all such Scotsmen as could rhyme.” Their “study of the origin" is as fol- Again, the metrical structure of “The lows: "This copy (Mrs. Dunlop's) was Holy Fair" is traced back to the thiroriginally entitled “The Kirk's La- teenth century romance of “Sir Trisment,” a ballad: Tune, “Push about the trem,” and “docked of the bob-wheel, Brisk Bowl;" but in the manuscript that never-failing device of the Lament is deleted for Alarm. Prob- mediæval craftsman, the "Sir Tristrem" ably, therefore, the idea of the bur- stave is identical with one which, imi
squ was sug ted by certain tated from a monkish-Latin original, broadside, “The Church of Scotland's was popular all through the fourteenth Lamentation concerning the setting up and fifteenth centuries, and long afterof Plays and Comedies, March, 1715," wards.” Burns himself avowedly de. the work of an anonymous writer, of rived the metre of the “Epistle to which there is a copy in the Roxburghe Davie" from Montgomerie. Messrs. Collection." Then they describe the Henley and Henderson ascribe to Montvarious manuscripts and versions, in- gomerie, with the utmost probability, cluding the broadside published in 1789 the invention of this peculiar quatorwith the title “The Ayrshire Garland," zain; they trace its history to Ramsay's an excellent new song: tune, “The Vicar revival of it in “The Vision,” and elseand Moses," of which Mr. Craibe Angus where, and claim it as exclusively Scot. is the proud possessor of the only copy tish, both in derivation and in use. In known to exist. Burns's tunes do not like manner they trace back “The it seems, fit the verses. The stave of Death and Dying Words of Poor Mailie” “The Kirk's Alarm" was used in Pit- to Hamilton of Gilbertfield's (1665?cairne's "Roundell Sir Robert 1757) "Last Dying Words of Bonny Sibbald," 1686, and by Congreve, and Heck."