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ticity of expression. Indeed the poetical beauties, however original and brilliant, and lavishly scattered, are not all I admire in your works; the love of your native country, that feeling sensibility to all the objects of humanity, and the independent spirit which breathes through the whole, give me a most favourable impression of the poet, and have made me often regret that I did not see the poems, the certain effect of which would been my seeing the author, last summer, when I was longer in Scotland than I have been for many years.
I rejoice very sincerely at the encouragement you receive at Edinburgh, and I think you peculiarly fortunate in the patronage of Dr. Blair, who, I am informed, interests himself very much for you. I beg to be remembered to him ; nobody can have a warmer regard for that gentleman than I have, which, independent of the worth of his character, would be kept alive by the memory of our common friend the late Mr. George Be
Before I received your letter, I sent inclosed in a letter to
a sonnet by Miss Williams, a young poetical lady, which she wrote on reading your Mountain-daisy; perhaps it may not displease you*.
* The sonnet is as follows:
While soon “the garden's flaunting flowers" decay,
And scatter'd on the earth neglected lie, The “ Mountain-daisy,” cherish'd by the ray
A poet drew from heaven, shall never die. Ah, like that lonely flower the poet rose !
'Mid penury's bare soil and bitter gale; He felt each storm that on the mountain blows
Nor ever knew the shelter of the vale. By genius in her native vigour nurst,
On nature with impassion'd look he gazed ; Then through the cloud of adverse fortune burst
Indignant, and in light unborrow'd blazed.
I have been trying to add to the number of your subscribers, but find many of my acquaintance are already among them. I have only to add, that with every gentiment of esteem, and the most cordial good wishes, I am, your obedient humble servant,
To Dr. MOORE.
Edinburgh, 15th February, 1787. Pardon my seeming neglect in delaying so long to acknowledge the honour you have done me, in your kind notice of me, January 23d.
Not many months ago I knew no other employment than following the plough, nor could boast any thing higher than a distant acquaintance with a country clergyman. Mere greatness never embarrasses me; I have nothing to ask from the great, and I do not fear their judgment: but genius, polished by learning, and at its proper point of elevation in the eye of the world, this of late I frequently meet with, and tremble at its approach. I scorn the affectation of seeming modesty to cover selfconceit. That I have some merit I do not deny ; but I see with frequent wringings of heart, that the novelty of my character, and the honest na. tional prejudice of my countrymen, have borne me to a height altogether untenable to my abiJities.
For the honour Miss W. has done me, please, sir, return her in my name my most grateful thanks. I have more than once thought of paying her in kind, but have hitherto quitted the idea
Scotia ! from rude affliction shield thy bard, His heaven-taught numbers fame herself guard.
in hopeless despondency. I had never before
often without being able to tell why.
From Dr. MOORE.
Dear sir, Clifford-street, 28th February, 1787.
Your letter of the 15th gave me a great deal of pleasure. It is not surprising that you improve in correctness and taste, considering where you have been for some time past. And I dare swear there is no danger of your admitting any polish which might weaken the vigour of your native powers.
I am glad to perceive that you disdain the nauseous affectation of decrying your own merit as a poet, an affectation which is displayed with most ostentation by those who have the greatest share of self-conceit, and which only adds undeceiving falsehood to disgusting vanity. For you to deny the merit of your poems would be arraigning the fixed opinion of the public.
As the new edition of my View of Society is not yet ready, I have sent you the former edition, which I beg you will accept as a small mark of my esteem. It is sent by sea to the care of Mr. Creech, and along with these four volumes for yourself, I have also sent my Medical Sketches in one volume, for my friend Mrs. Dunlop, of Dun. lop: this you will be so obliging as to transmit,
or, if you chance to pass soon by Dunlop, to give to her.
I am happy to hear that your subscription is so ample, and shall rejoice at every piece of good fortune that befalls you. For, you are a very great favourite in my family; and this is a higher compliment than perhaps you are aware of. It includes almost all the professions, and of course is a proof that your writings are adapted to various tastes and situations. My youngest son, who is at Winchester school, writes to me, that he is trans. lating some stanzas of your Hallow E'en into Latin verse, for the benefit of his comrades. This union of taste partly proceeds, no doubt, from the cement of Scottish partiality, with which they are all somewhat tinctured. Even your translator, who left Scotland too early in life for recollection, is not without it.
I remain, with great sincerity,
To the EARL of GLENCAIRN.
Edinburgh, 1787. I wanted to purchase a profile of your lordship, which I was told was to be got in town; but I am truly sorry to see that a blundering painter has spoiled a “human face divine.” The enclosed stanzas I intended to have written below a pic. ture or profile of your lordship, could I have been so happy as to procure one with any thing of a likeness.
As I will soon return to my shades, I wanted to have something like a material object for my
gratitude; I wanted to have it in my power to say to a friend, there is my noble patron, my generous benefactor. Allow me, my lord, to publish these verses.
I conjure your lordship by the honest throe of gratitude, by the generous wish of benevolence, by all the powers and feelings which compose the magnanimous mind, do not deny me this petition*. I owe much to your lordship; and, what has not in some other instances always been the case with me, the weight of the obligation is a pleasing load. I trust I have a heart as independent as your lordship’s, than which I can say nothing more ; and I would not be beholden to favours that would crucify my feelings. Your dignified character in life, and manner of supporting that character, are flattering to my pride ; and I would be jealous of the purity of my grateful attachment, where I was under the patronage of one of the much favoured sons of fortune,
Almost every poet has celebrated his patrons, particularly when they were names dear to fame, and illustrious in their country; allow me then, my lord, if you think the verses have intrinsic merit, to tell the world how much I have the honour to be,
Your lordship's highly indebted,
And ever grateful humble servant,
To the EARL of BUCHAN.
The honour your lordship has done me, by your notice and advice in yours of the 1st instant, I shall ever gratefully remember.
* It does not appear that the earl granted this request, nor have the verses alluded to been found among the MSS.