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(348) 96. factor's: a factor is a landlord's agent. "My father's generous master died; the farm proved a ruinous bargain; and to clench the misfortune, we fell into the hands of a factor, who sat for the picture I have drawn of one in my tale of 'Twa Dogs.'”—Letter to Dr. Moore, August 2, 1787.

(349) 115. twalpennie worth: twelve Scotch pence, equal to an English penny, bought a Scotch pint of ale, equal in size to four English pints. ¶ 123. Hallowmass: All Saints' Day, November 1; literally, “mass”-day for the "holy." ¶ 146. gentle of gentle birth, belonging to the gentry. ¶ 148. indentin': an indenture, by which one bound himself to some service. was so called from the indented, or zig-zag, line where the two copies of the agreement were cut apart; the genuineness of each part could later be shown, if necessary, by matching the notches.

(351) 226. the Devil's pictured beuks: playing-cards.

(352) POOR MAILIE'S ELEGY. This stanza-form had been used for elegies by the Scotch poets Robert Sempill (1595?-1661 ?), Ramsay, and Fergusson; the first stanza of Fergusson's "Elegy on the Death of Scots Music" is as follows:

On Scotia's plains, in days of yore,
When lads and lassies tartan wore,

Saft Music rang on ilka shore,

In hamely weid;
But harmony is now no more,
And Music dead.

34. Frae 'yont the Tweed: i. e., from England; the river Tweed forms a part of the southern boundary of Scotland.

(353) THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT. "Inscribed to R. Aiken, Esq." Robert Aiken (1739-1807), a native of Ayr and a solicitor there, was early a friend of Burns-who called him "my chief patron"-and subscribed for 105 copies of the first edition of Burns's poems. Burns printed as a motto for the poem lines 29-32 of Gray's "Elegy Written in Country Church-Yard” (p. 239). Robert's brother Gilbert said that Fergusson's "Farmer's Ingle," stanzas from which are given below, suggested the plan and title of "The Cotter's Saturday Night." The Spenserian stanza Burns borrowed from Shenstone, Thomson, and Beattie, whom he had read before this time (see "The Vision" [1786], Duan II, stanzas 7 and 20); Spenser he did not read until later. 16. Cf. Gray's "Elegy," ll. 72–76 (p. 240). 10-27. Cf. Fergusson's "Farmer's Ingle," ll. 1-18:

Whan gloming grey out o'er the welkin keeks,
Whan Batie ca's his owsen to the byre,

Whan Thrasher John, sair dung, his barn-door steeks,
And lusty lasses at the dighting tire;

What bangs fu' leal the e'enings coming cauld,
And gars snaw-tapit winter freeze in vain,
Gars dowie mortals look baith blyth and bauld,
Nor fleyed wi' a' the poortith o' the plain:
Begin, my Muse, and chant in hamely strain.

Frae the big stack, weel winnow't on the hill,
Wi' divets theekit frae the weet and drift,
Sods, peats, and heath'ry trufs the chimley fill,

And gar their thick 'ning, smeek salute the lift:
The gudeman, new come hame, is blyth to find,

Whan he out o'er the halland flings his een,
That ilka turn is handled to his mind,

That a' his housie looks sae cosh and clean;
For cleanly house looes he, tho' e'er sae mean.

¶ 17. the morn-the morrow. ¶ 21-25. Cf. Gray's "Elegy,” ll. 21-24 (p. 239).

(354) 31. town-farm (O.E. "tun," inclosure, farm with the buildings). ¶51. duty: duty to God, prayers.

(355) 91-99. Cf. "The Farmer's Ingle," ll. 23-27, 37-40:

Wi' buttered bannocks now the girdle reeks,
I' the far nook the bowie briskly reams;
The readied kail stands by the chimley cheeks,

And had the riggin het wi' welcome steams,
Whilk than the daintiest kitchen nicer seems. . . . .
On sicken food has mony a doughty deed

By Caledonia's ancestors been done;
By this did mony wight fu' weirlike bleed
In brulzies frae the dawn to set o' sun.

(356) 103. ha'-Bible: so called because it was originally used in worship in the hall, or general assembly-room, of a castle or mansion. ¶115. Italian trills: cf. Fergusson's "Daft Days," l. 45 (p. 331).

(357) 138. Burns cites Pope's "Windsor Forest" (see p. 82, 1. 38). ¶ 154, 155. Cf. "The Farmer's Ingle," ll. 100-8:

Then a' the house for sleep begin to grien,

Their joints to slack frae industry a while;
The leaden god fa's heavy on their ein,

And hafflins steeks them frae their daily toil;
The cruizy too can only blink and bleer,

The restit ingle 's done the maist it dow;
Tacksman and cottar eke to bed maun steer,
Upo' the cod to clear their drumly pow,
Till waukened by the dawning's ruddy glow.

158. See Ps. 147:9. Village," ll. 52, 53 (p. 283). (358) 172-80. Cf. "The Farmer's Ingle," ll. 109-17:

159. See Matt. 6:28, 29. 165. Cf. Goldsmith's "Deserted ¶ 166. Quoted from Pope's "Essay on Man," IV. 248.

Peace to the husbandman and a' his tribe,

Whase care fells a' our wants frae year to year;
Lang may his sock and couter turn the gleyb,

And bauks o' corn bend down wi' laded ear.
May Scotia's simmers ay look gay and green,

Her yellow har'sts frae scowry blasts decreed;
May a' her tenants sit fu' snug and bien,

Frae the hard grip of ails and poortith freed,
And a lang lasting train o' peaceful hours succeed.

¶ 182. Wallace's: William Wallace (1274 ?-1305), the Scotch national hero, after the Scottish king had been defeated and imprisoned by Edward I of England, aroused the common people to continue the struggle for independence, and won a victory at Stirling Bridge, in 1297; the next year he was defeated in the battle of Falkirk, and in 1305 was executed at London, refusing Edward's offer of mercy.

(358) TO A MOUSE. Burns's brother Gilbert says that the poem was composed while the poet was ploughing, after he had turned up a mouse's nest and had saved the little creature from the "murdering pattle" of the boy who was leading the horses.

(361) TO A LOUSE.

(362) 35. Lunardi: a balloon bonnet; so called from Vincent Lunardi, an Italian aeronaut, who had recently become famous by introducing ballooning into England and Scotland.

(363) EPISTLE TO J. LAPRAIK. Stanzas 9-13. John Lapraik (1727-1807) was an Ayrshire poet.

(364) Address TO EDINBURGH. Written in Edinburgh, whither the poet had gone to arrange for the publication of a new edition of his poems. 29. Fair Burnet: "Fair B― is heavenly Miss Burnet, daughter to Lord Monboddo, at whose house I have had the honor to be more than once. There has not been anything 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."-Burns, in a letter to Chalmers, December 27, 1786.

(367) AULD LANG SYNE. The song exists in several old "sets," which Burns improved; one of them, attributed to Francis Sempill (1616?-82), and published in Watson's Scots Poems (1711), has these lines:

Should old acquaintance be forgot
And never thought upon,
The flames of love extinguished
And freely past and gone?
Is thy kind heart now grown so cold,
In that loving breast of thine,
That thou canst never once reflect
On old-long-syne?

(367) TAM GLEN.

(368) 21. valentines' dealing: it was a custom for youths and maidens to pair off by drawing slips of paper with names written on them.

(368) JOHN ANDERSON, MY Jo. An early form of this song, written about 1560, ridiculing the sacraments of the Church, begins thus:

John Anderson, my jo, cum in as ze gae by,

And ye sall get a sheip's heid weel baken in a pye.

In the eighteenth century there existed a coarse version, which Burns transformed; it contained these lines:

John Anderson, my jo, John,

I wonder what you mean,
To rise so soon in the morning
And sit up so late at e'en.

(369) TAM O' SHANTER. The poem is based upon a tale current in the neighborhood. Alloway Kirk is some two hundred yards from the old bridge over the Doon, and both are within a mile of Burns's birthplace. The poem was a favorite with the author: "I look on "Tam o' Shanter' to be my standard performance in the poetical line. 'Tis true both the one [his newborn son] and the other discover a spice of roguish waggery that might perhaps be well spared; but then they also show, in my opinion, a force of genius and a finishing polish that I despair of ever excelling."-Letter to Mrs. Dunlop, April 11, 1791. ¶7. Lang Scots miles: a Scotch mile was about one-eighth longer than an English mile. 22. market-day: the market-day came once a week.

(370) 27, 28. The reference is to some landlady, perhaps Jean Kennedy of Kirkoswald, whose tavern was near the church. (“Kirkton"-a farm or village near the kirk.) ¶ 50. When Burns recited the poem to a friend, Robert Ainslie, he inserted these lines at this point:

The crickets joined the chirping cry,
The kittlin chased her tail for joy.

(373) 154. seventeen hunder linen: very fine linen, with 1,700 threads to a breadth. 177. pund Scots: a Scotch pound was only one-twelfth of an English pound, or about forty


(374) 194. herds-herders of cattle. 195. open-begin to bark. ¶291. fairin: literally, a present from a fair, but used ironically for a beating.

(375) YE FLOWERY BANKS. The song exists in three different forms, all by Burns: the first form is entitled, "Sweet Are the Banks"; the third, "The Banks o' Doon"; the second form, given here, is the simplest.

.... pass

(377) SAW YE BONIE LESLEY. "Mr. B. [Baillie], with his two daughters, . . ing through Dumfries a few days ago on their way to England, did me the honor of calling on me; on which I took my horse-though God knows I could ill spare the time-and accompanied them fourteen or fifteen miles, and dined and spent the day with them. 'Twas about nine, I think, that I left them, and riding home I composed the following ballad."-Letter to Mrs. Dunlop, August 22, 1792.

(377) DUNCAN GRAY. The second set. "Duncan Gray' is that kind of lighthorse

gallop of an air which precludes sentiment. The ludicrous is its ruling feature."-Letter to Thomson, December 4, 1792.

(378) 11. Ailsa Craig: a rocky island in the Firth of Clyde, some twenty-five miles from Ayr, frequented by screaming sea-fowl.

(379) HIGHLAND MARY. The subject of the song was Mary Campbell, daughter of a sailor at Clyde. "My 'Highland Lassie' was a warm-hearted, charming young creature as ever blessed a man with generous love. After a pretty long tract of the most ardent reciprocal attachment, we met by appointment on the second Sunday of May, in a sequestered spot by the banks of Ayr, where we spent the day in taking farewell, before she should embark for the West Highlands to arrange matters for our projected change of life. At the close of the autumn following she crossed the sea to meet me at Greenock, where she bac scarce landed when she was seized with a malignant fever, which hurried my dear girl to the grave in a few days, before I could even hear of her illness."-Burns's note about "My Highland Lassie, O." For a caustic note on Mary Campbell and Burns's relation to her, see Henley and Henderson's edition of Burns, III. 309.

(379) SCOTS WHA HAE. "This thought [that a certain old Scotch air was Robert Bruce's march at the battle of Bannockburn], in my yesternight's evening walk, roused me to a pitch of enthusiasm on the theme of liberty and independence, which I threw into a kind of Scots ode, fitted to the air, that one might suppose to be the gallant Scot's address to his heroic followers on that eventful morning."-Letter to Thomson, August or September, 1793. "This battle [Bannockburn, 1314] was the decisive blow which first put Robert the First, commonly called Robert de Bruce, in quiet possession of the Scottish throne."-Burns.

(380) 7. Edward's: the reference is to Edward II, of England. ¶ 21-24. "I have borrowed the last stanza from the common stall edition of 'Wallace':

A false usurper sinks in every foe,
And liberty returns with every blow

-a couplet worthy of Homer."-Burns.

(380) IS THERE FOR HONEST POVERTY. For meter and phrase Burns was indebted to older songs, one of which (a Jacobite song, published in 1750) has a chorus as follows.

For a' that and a' that,

And twice as muckle 's a' that,
He's far beyond the seas the night,

Yet be 'll be here for a' that.

(381) 22. ribband, star:

Cf. "The Cotter's Saturday Night," ll. 165, 166 (p. 357).

(383) A RED, RED ROSF. The song is little more than an artful mosaic from several

old ballads, the most relevant parts of which are the following:

badges of noble orders, as the Star and Garter. 25-27.

Her cheeks are like the roses
That blossom fresh in June;
O, she 's like a new-strung instrument
That's newly put in tune.

The Wanton Wife of Castle Gate."

Now fare thee well, my dearest dear,
And fare thee well awhile;
Altho' I go, I'll come again

If I go ten thousand mile,
Dear love,

If I go ten thousand mile.

-"The Unkind Parents."
The day shall turn to night, dear love,
And the rocks melt with the sun,
Before that I prove false to thee,
Before my life be gone, dear love,
Before my life be gone.

-"The Loyal Lover's Faithful Promise."

The seas they shall run dry,
And rocks melt into sands;
Then I'll love you still, my dear,
When all those things are done.

-The Young Man's Farewell to His Love."

(383) LAST MAY A BRAW WOOER. ¶4. wi'm=with him.
(384) 18. Gate Slack: a pass in the Lowther Hills.

(384) O WERT THOU IN THE CAULD BLAST. The poem was written in honor of Jessie Lewars, a good angel in the poet's household during his last illness.


"Those who view him with the severity of lettered criticism, and judge him by the fastidious rules of art, will discover that he has not the Doric simplicity of Ramsay nor the brilliant imagination of Fergusson; but to those who admire the exertions of untutored fancy, and are blind to many faults for the sake of numberless beauties, his poems will afford singular gratification. His observations on human characters are acute and sagacious, and his descriptions are lively and just. Of rustic pleasantry he has a rich fund; and some of his softer scenes are touched with inimitable delicacy."-The Edinburgh Magazine, October, 1786.

"His simple strains, artless and unadorned, seem to flow without effort from the native feelings of the heart. They are always nervous, sometimes inelegant, often natural, simple, and sublime. The objects that have obtained the attention of the author are humble, for he himself, born in a low station and following a laborious employment, has had no opportunity of observing scenes in the higher walks of life; yet his verses are sometimes struck off with a delicacy and artless simplicity that charms like the bewitching though irregular touches of a Shakespear. We much regret that these poems are written in some measure in an unknown tongue, which must deprive most of our readers of the pleasure they would otherwise naturally The modern ear will be somewhat disgusted with the measure of many of these pieces, which is faithfully copied from that which was most in fashion among the ancient Scottish bards, but hath been, we think with good reason, laid aside by later poets The versification is in general easy, and it seems to have been a matter of indifference to our author in what measure he wrote. But if ever he should think of offering anything more to the public, we are of opinion his performances would be more highly valued were they written in measures less antiquated."-The Monthly Review, December, 1786.




"I know not if I shall be accused of enthusiasm and partiality when I introduce to the notice of my readers a poet of our own country, with whose writings I have lately become acquainted; but if I am not greatly deceived, I think I may safely pronounce him a genius of no ordinary rank. The person to whom I allude is Robert Burns, an Ayrshire ploughman. His poetry, considered abstractedly, and without the apologies arising from his situation, seems to me fully entitled to command our feelings and to obtain our applause. One bar, indeed, his birth and education have opposed to his fame, the language in which most of his poems are written. Even in Scotland the provincial dialect which Ramsay and he have used is now read with a difficulty which damps the pleasure of the reader; in England it cannot be read at all without such a constant reference to a glossary as nearly to destroy that pleasure. I have seldom met with an image more truly pastoral than that of the lark, in the second stanza [of "To a Mountain Daisy," which is quoted entire]. Such strokes as these mark the pencil of the poet, which delineates nature with the precision of intimacy, yet with the delicate coloring of beauty and of taste. . . . . Though I am very far from meaning to compare our rustic bard to Shakespeare, yet whoever will read his lighter and more humorous poems . . . will perceive with what uncommon penetration and sagacity this heaven-taught ploughman, from his humble and unlettered station, has looked upon men and manners."-Henry Mackenzie, in The Lounger, No. 97, December 16, 1786. (The article was republished in full in The Gentleman's Magazine, July, 1787.)

"Whatever excites the jaded appetite of an epicure will be prized, and a red herring from

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