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But keek thro' every other man
Wi' sharpen'd sly inspection.'

Epistle to a Young Friend. But in each of these three styles, words and phrases may be traced borrowed from the other two; and, in his larger and nobler productions, Burus employs them indiscriminately or alternately at pleasure. It follows, that what is now called the Scotish is in fact only a written language; there is not a poem of Burns (the mere, not pure, English ones excepted) composed in a dialect spoken by any class of men in our whole of island. This is a curious and in some respects a novel view of a very interesting subject; but we must proceed. There are three other advantages incidental to the use of this dialect, which we shall briefly mention.-1st. The measure of verse may be computed by quantity, as well as by the number of syllables. The lines, marked with italics, in the following quotation will shew this; it would be wilful murder to abridge a letter of one word in them.

As I stood by yon roofless tower,

Where the wa' flower scents the dewy air,
Where the Howlet mourns in her ivy bower,
And tells the midnight moon her care,
The winds were laid, the air was still,
The stars they shot alang the sky;
The fox was howling on the hill,

And the distant-echoing glens reply.'—The Vision.

2ndly. An undefinable latitude is allowed of using rhyming, jingling, or only alliterative vowel-sounds in dissonant words at the end of the lines: on this we shall not expatiate, as an English ear can neither tolerate, no comprehend terminations that are truly melodious to a Scotish reader. Finally, this dialect gives exquisite quaintness to humourous, and a simple grace to ordinary, forms of speech; while it renders sublime and terrific imagery yet more striking and dreadful; it seems not a language of this world in the following passage from "Tam O'Shanter," that miracle of the muse of Burns, in which all his versatile powers are exemplified through the whole compass of his native tongue, on a subject most gross and abominable, yet supernaturally grand and mysterious. • A murderer's banes in gibbet airns,

Twa span-lang, wee, unchristen'd bairns;
A thief new-cutted frae a rape,
Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi' blude red-rusted,
Five scymetars wi' murder crusted;
A garter, which a babe had strangled,
A knife, a father's throat had mangled,


Wham his ain Son o' life bereft,

The hairs yet

stack to the 'heft,

-Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu',

Which e'en to name wad be unlawfu."

The elision of the l at the end of the two last rhymes is wonderfully expressive of a horror that suspends the breath of the speaker.

The high praises which we have bestowed on the poetry of Burns must be confined to his best pieces,-his tales, a few of his epistles, his descriptive poems, and most of his songs. His ordinary and bis satirical productions, though the worst are stamped with originality and boldness of conception, are so debased and defiled with ribaldry and profaneness, that they cannot be perused without shuddering, by any one whose mind is not utterly perverted and polluted. There is a blasphemous boldness in some of his effusions of spleen and malignity against graver personages than himself, which deserves unqualified reprobation; he stabs at the very heart of religion through the sides of hypocrisy; yet the enmity itself which he manifests against her in his frantic moods, proves the power which she held over his mind, even when he was blindfolding, and buffeting, and spitting at her. In misery and misfortune she was his forlorn hope,' as we learn from many confessions in his letters, written in sickness and sorrow; and we fervently trust that, in his last hours, he who could pray so sweetly for another, as he does for his' Jean,' in the following stanza, prayed effectually for himself.

"O all ye powers who rule above!

O Thou, whose very self art Love!
Thou knows't my words sincère ;

The life-blood streaming through my heart,

Or my more dear immortal part

Is not more fondly dear!

When heart-corroding care and grief

Deprive my soul of rest,
Her dear idea brings relief
And solace to my breast:
Thou Being, all-seeing!
O hear my fervent prayer;
Still take her, and make her

Thy most peculiar care.' Epistle to Davis, à Brother Poet

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We intended to have given specimens of the diversified compositions of Burns; but our limits restrict us, and we shall only offer one example of his patriotic strains, which we admire more than even his love-songs.

We'll sing auld Coila's plains an' fells,
Her moors red-brown with heathen bells,

Her banks an' braes, her dens and dells,
Where glorious Wallace

Aftbure* the gree, as story tells,
Frae Southern billios.

At Wallace' name what Scottish blood
But boils up in a spring-tide flood!
Oft have our fearless fathers strode
By Wallace' side,

Still pressing onward, red-wat-shod,
Or glorious died!

'O! sweet are Coila's haughs and woods,
When lintwhites chant among the buds,
And jinkin hares, in amorous whids,
Their loves enjoy ;

While thro' the braes the Cushat croods, †
Wi' wailfu' cry.

Even winter bleak has charms to me
When winds rave thro' the naked tree;

Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree

Are hoary gray;

Or blinding drifts wild-furious flee,

Darkening the day.

O Nature! a' thy shew an' forms,
To feeling pensive hearts hae charms;
Whether the summer kindly warms
Wi' life and light,

Or winter howls, in gusty storms,
The lang dark night..

The Muse, nae Poet ever fand her,
Till by himsel' he learn'd to wander,
Adown some trotting burn's meander,
An' no think lang:

O sweet to stray, and pensive ponder

A heart-felt song !'-Epistle to W. Samt

All the preceding quotations are from poems published during the author's life-time. Of his prose, consisting chiefly of letters, we have only room to remark, that it is far more laboured and less pleasing in its construction than his verse; but it is distinguished by a vehemence of spirit and an energy of expression that give it a power over the mind of the reader, and an interest in his heart, which make its external merits or defects perfectly indifferent to him.

The authenticity of the general contents of the volume before us will not be disputed; and, upon the whole, their comparative excellence may equal that of the bulk of pieces previ ously published. Had these' Reliques' fallen into our hands

* Bore the victory. Vol. V.

+ The Ringdove coos.

as the sole remains of an unknown author, we might have contemplated them with the same kind of wistful astonishment as we look upon the bones of the Mammoth, found on the banks of the Ohio;-assuredly they indicate a mind of uncommon power and grandeur, but alone they would have afforded us a very inadequate idea of the talents of the author of the Cotter's Saturday Night, Halloween, Tam O'Shanter, the two Visions, the Songs of War and Love, now fortunately known and admired wherever the language in which they are written (and they can never be translated into any other) is understood. We give the editor, Mr. Cromek, great credit for what he has done, with a sincere view, we believe, to the honour of the poet; and when we consider the temptations to which he was exposed to publish poems and letters, which have been surreptitiously circulated, and which would have been meretriciously attractive, we give him yet greater credit for what he has not done. We have now enough both of the prose and verse of Burns, and much more than can endure. In the days of Tarquin, a strange woman came to Rome and offered nine books of the Cumaan Sybil's oracles for sale, at an exorbitant price; which being contemptuously refused, she burned three, and demanded the same sum for the other six. Being again denied, she burnt three mote, and still required the price of all the nine for the last three. It was given her; and the books were preserved, and revered and consulted for ages by the Roman people. The multifarious works of Robert Burns will share a similar fate. One, older and sager than the Sibyl herself, Time, who tries all things, will offer them to the next generation in their present form; they will be rejected; in the course of fifty years he will have reduced them one third without having diminished their worth; they will still be too bulky; in another century he will curtail them as much more; then, on the remaining third, he will irreversibly fix the original value of the whole; and to posterity those Reliques' will be inestimable.

Art. II. Traité de Topographie, d'Arpentage, et de Nivellement, &c. Treatise on Topography, Land-Surveying, and Levelling. By L. Puissant, Professor of Mathematics in the Imperial Military School, &c, 4to. pp. xx. 350, 6 plates. Price 11. 78. Paris, 1807; London, Dulau and Co. 1809.

M. Puissant is well known to most mathematicians, as the

author of a work published in 1805, under the title of "Traité de Géodésie, ou Exposition des Méthodes astronomiques et trigonométriques appliquées à la mesure de la Terre, &c. As that treatise is connected in subject with the present, so intimately, indeed, that both together are intended to form one

complete work, it may be proper to give a concise description of it. The Traité de Géodésie is a work in which are resolved all the geodesic problems relating to the measurement of an arc of the meridian, the determination of degrees of latitude and longitude in different parts of the terrestrial sphe roid, and the consequent fixing of the base of the new metrical system. M. Puissant has there given a new view of the theory of rectilinear and spherical trigonometry, demonstrated by a method purely analytical, as are also the principal properties of the stereographic projection, and the rules for the construction of charts. These are followed by the theory of the terrestrial spheroid, drawn from the Mécanique Céleste of Laplace, but with the developements necessary to render it suitable for the generality of readers. The Géodésie' likewise contains the description of Borda's repeating circle, and of the rules which were employed in measuring the bases of Melun and Perpignan: it is terminated by very extensive ta bles to abridge the calculation of reductions, and that of geodesic problems, according to the method explained in Delambre's memoir on the arc of the meridian. The author has added, farther, Laplace's table of refractions, and his formula for finding the height of mountains by observations with the barometer and thermometer.


In the treatise now before us, M. Puissant has laid down several important theories which he had not inserted in his former work; and he has especially spoken of the applications of geometry to actual operations on the ground, and to the phical operations of the study, or office. Thus, after having given a complete view of the trigonometrical computations which it is necessary to effect in order to obtain the first elements of a chart or map, he displays pretty fully the construction of those which are respectively termed geographical and particular, and then passes to the geometrical figure of portions of the earth, or what we usually call surveying, by the aid of the plain-table and other instruments; next, to those operations which regard the calculation of surfaces and the division of lands; then to the theory and practice of levelling, to the calculation of terraces and other works of fortification; and finally to the reduction of charts, and the collection of descriptive memoirs.

That our readers may form a tolerably correct judgement of the contents of this work, we will be a little more particular in our description. It is divided into five books. Of these, the first contains nine chapters, comprising a recapitulation of the principal formulæ employed in geodesic computations, and of which some are demonstrated after a new me thod; correction relative to the excentricity of the telescopes

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