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BLACKIE'S 'BURNS.

10 THE EDITOR. Sib,—The eccentric Professor Blackie has written a biography of Burns. It is a pure compilation, interspersed with original and quaint reflections and observations. The subject has been almost exhausted. Men of genius serve the function " to call back to Nature and truth the spoiled children of convention and affectation." Burns came of a good stock ; he was strong physically and mentally, and flashed forth spontaneously his Bongs, true, tender, or Bublime, in appropriate and forcible words. He was a man of independent spirit, manly courage, and ready wit, and over-flowing humor. He admired beautiful and sensible, not silly and stupid women, He had a frank, honest, and open heart. He knew well the secret of happiness, though he did not enjoy it. It must be centred in the heart, and not dependent upon fortune. He was a religious man, but not a fanatic or dogmatist about original Bin, inherited guilt, sovereign grace, election, reprobation, eternal damnation, etc. He ripped up the rotten, hollow hearts of hypocrites with keen satire; but he was neither a prudent nor politic man, and hence his misfortune. He was passionately smitten with the love of fair women, and frequently made shipwreck on this tempestuous ocean of love. His writings are full of pathos and delicacy, wit and humor, fancy and imagination. He had a keen appreciation of the beautiful, especially iu women, whose beauty, grace, and goodness led him prostrate at the shrine of Venus. His " poems were struck out directly from the life." They are full of sense and shrewdness. Milton's Satan he greatly admired ; his " sentiments, dauntless magnanimity, intrepid, unyielding independence, desperate daring, and noble defiance of hardship." He was no Puritan. " Ceremony acd show, if judiciously thrown in, are absolutely necessary for the great bulk of mankind, both in religion and civil matters." His poems were " flashes of intellectual brightness—sparks of celestial fire; the impulse of the moment." His writings are pervaded with intense reality and humanity, truthfulness, grace, and simplicity. But as Blackie justly says: "His piety, like all the rest of his noble virtues, suffered in practice from the weakness of his will." He was brave and true, but not prudent. He was too frank to observe his own maxim— Still keep something to yoursel' Ye winna tell to any. But he could Keek through ilka other raon Wi' sharpened sly inspection. Blackie's book may be fitly added to a host of other biographies of the great lyric bard. We have lives of him written by Currie, Walker, Cunningham, Chambers, Douglas, Lockhart, Wilson, Carlyle, Cromek, Hogg, Motherwell, Waddell, Smith, Simpson, Stewart, Crerar, Chalmers, Pirk, Findlay, Paul, Nicolas, Willmott, Gilfillan, Gunnyon, Mackie, Rosetti, Kent, Skipsey, Laing, Leighton, Ainsley, Adamson, Francis Adams, W. H. D. Adams, Alexander, Anderson, Austin, Hood, Andrews, Ballantyne, Balfour, Ballingall, Balmanno, Bayne, Beard, Bede, Bennett, Bennock, Brooks, Brown, Campbell, Carruthers, Combe, Carr, Carroli, Cotton, Coutts, Cox, Craig, Crawford, Cuthbertson, Dennis, Dodds, Dove, Drummond, Drake, Dulken, Duncan, Dunbar, Dutton, Duyckinck, Elder, Emerson, E ans, Ferguson, Fisher, Fraser, Gairdner, Gall, Gibson, Giles, Gillis, Gillespie, Glen, Grant, Gray, Grinsted, Hamilton, Hannay, Hartung, Hasting, Hawke, Hawthorne, Hazlett, Heavisides, Henderson, Heron, Hetrick, Hoffman, Holloway, Howitt, Hunter, Inglis, Irving, Jamieson, Jeffrey, Jerdan, Jones, Keats, Kenney, Kerr, Kidd, Kingsley, Knight, Lacy, Lang, Lee, Lemon, Little, Livingstone, Logan, Longfellow, Longmuir, Lucas, Macaulay, Macdiarmid, Macdowall, Mackay, Maclachlan, Maclaggan, Macphail, Macrae, Massey, Maxwell, Miller, Mitchell, Moir, Montgomery, Mulford, Mylne, Neaves, Newbigging, Nicboll, Norton, Ord, Oliphant, Page, Park, Parley, Parton,Paterson,Pebody, Peterkin, Petrie, Phillips, Picken, Malony, Ree, Reid, Richardson, Robson, Rogers, Rogerson, Rush ton, Russell, Laure, Scherr, Semple, Shairp, Shanks, Sinclair, Skinner, Stephen, Sterling, Stevenson, Stewarc, Stirling, Storer, Story, Stuart, Sylvan, Taine, Tannahill, Taylor, Thomson, Tillotson, Todd, Tomlinson, Lover, Tuckerman, Tyler, Urquhart, Vedder, Veitch, Ward, Waugh, Welsh, White, Whittier, Wordworth, Wylie, Yonge, and numerous other sketches, articles, and essays on the immortal Bard of Caledonia. His songs have been married to musical airs by myriads of composers. For devotion, recommend me to the Psalms of David, King of Israel ; and for recreation, commend mo to the sA-eet songs of Burns, the bard of Scotland, and the king of lyric poetry.—l am, etc., J. G. S. Grant. Dunedin, May 22.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890525.2.35.10.1

Bibliographic details

BLACKIE'S 'BURNS., Issue 7916, 25 May 1889, Supplement

Word Count
694

BLACKIE'S 'BURNS. Issue 7916, 25 May 1889, Supplement

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