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the original matter which enriches these volumes, and which must render them worthy the attention even of those possessed of Dr Currie's Edition of the Works of Burns.

Aware of the indispensible necessity of a Biographical Memoir of a Poet whose Life and Writings have, for the last 20 years, excited so uncommon a degree of interest throughout the most remote corners of the British Empire,and not having it in his power to avail himself of the labours of the amiable and judicious Dr Currie, Mr Morison, on commencing this publication, had applied to an acquaintance and admirer of the Bard,-to draw up a Sketch of the Life of his illustrious countryman. This gentleman, already not unknown in the literary world, agreed to the undertaking with much reluctance, and only at the repeated request of the Trustees of the late Publisher.

Although he states that he felt himself anticipated and circumscribed in almost all his enquiries and reflections, and although the high character of Dr Currie's Life may be justly thought to supersede every attempt of the kind, yet he has acquitted himself of this delicate task, in a manner which the editors hope will render his contribution to the present publication interesting, not only on account of its subject, but

of its own intrinsic merit. From the view which this gentleman has given of the limited education of Burns, the astonishing energies of his untutored mind must rise higher in the estimation of the public, and his failings must be viewed with a more generous indulgence: Those failings the writer of the Memoir has not attempted to conceal, but he has accounted for them in a manner so satisfactory, as to merit the thanks of the admirers of the Bard, and to claim for his unfortunate friend the indulgence and sympathy even of the most rigid moralist.-The Remarks on the Writings of the Poet are distinguished by a classical taste and correct judgment, that, in the opinion of the editors, do honour both to the head and heart of the writer.'

With the selection of the additional Poems that enrich these volumes, (from p. 165 to p. 234.) or with the conduct and arrangement of the publication, the writer of the Memoir had no concern; -he merely furnished the Life and Critical Remarks, and procured the original Letters. The Poems alluded to were pointed out by the late Mr Morison, and his selection has been generally adhered to. And here we cannot help saying a few words in justification of a Bard on whose memory the most severe censures are daily heap

ed, by men who are, or affect to be, zealous champions of religion and morality.

It has always appeared to us passing strange, that whilst the most splendid and voluminous editions of Shakespeare, Dryden, Pope, Swift, &c. &c. are daily issuing from the presses both of England and Scotland, illustrated by the notes and annotations of Reverend and Right Reverend editors, who deem it little less than sacrilege to mutilate their illustrious authors, even in the most exceptionable passages,—notwithstanding there are numerous passages infinitely more offensive to decency and good breeding, than any that have hitherto been avowed by our rustic Bard;-yet no apprehension seems to be entertained that either Church or State is in danger from these publications. Very different is the fate of poor Burns. Harrassed while living, he has not found an asylum in that silent mansion to which his misfortunes prematurely consigned him. Many of his most admirable productions, of which the exquisite humour might well atone for their severity, have been too often stigmatized as subversive of morality, and offensive to delicacy; while others have been doomed to total oblivion from a false delicacy in the publishers, afraid, perhaps, of incurring the censure of the guardians of our national religious establishment. The publishers flatter themselves

that their attachment to the interests of true religion and morality is not inferior to that of the most severe opponents of Burns-but they really cannot believe that any serious, candid Christian, apprehends the least danger to either from such poems as the "Jolly Beggars," "Holy Willie's Prayer," "The Twa Herds," &c. &c. There are many who may not approve of the principle that dictated these effusions,--but who yet will read and be amused by them, as they are by the works of that great master of genuine humour, the immortal BUTLER. Is not the satire of the latter directed against similar objects, and far more severe than that of Burns?-yet no one ever admired him with more devotion than an eminent Scottish divine and orator*, although all the force of Butler's irresistible wit is directed against the principles of that church of which this celebrated divine was so zealous a defender.

The friends and admirers of Burns thought they had reason to complain of the severity of the animadversions contained in two recent Reviews † of Cromek's Reliques, (wherein the writers have taken occasion to animadvert on the

* See Dr Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric.

+ Edinburgh Review, No. XXVI.-and Quarterly Review, No. I.

morality of all the Bard's writings); and they felt the poignancy of the censure greatly heightened by the high celebrity of at least one of the publications alluded to. These Reviews are certainly ably written, and contain many reflections that must meet with the unqualified approbation of the reader; but their general tendency is unquestionably unfavourable to the character of Burns, and not justified by those extracts they are pleased to found upon. They seem, indeed, more eager to display all his aberrations from the path of moral duty, and to feed the gross appetite for severe anecdote, than to give an impartial view of his writings.

The editors, anxious to rescue the memory of Burns from what they deemed unmerited censure, applied to a writer who has already met with a considerable degree of public favour, to write an Essay in vindication of the character of the injured Bard;-and they flatter themselves that this Essay will be read with much interest by every genuine Caledonian: It may not disarm the rage of the zealot, but it cannot fail to give pleasure to the mind of every candid and unsophisticated admirer of nature. It is written with considerable spirit, and with a benevolent ardour that evinces a heart replete with the most amiable feelings. The writer's opinion of the conduct of Burns, and of the moral tendency of

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