Established 1885

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" A man's a man for a' that"


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A Scottish Bard, proud of the name, and whose highest ambition is to sing in his Country's service. . . .where shall he so properly look for patronage as to the illustrious names of his native Land,. . . .those who bear the honours and inherit the virtures of their Ancestors? The Poetic Genius of my Country found me, as the prophetic bard Elijah did Elisha the plough; and threw her inspiring mantle over me.


Mauchline, 18th July 1788
You injured me, my dear Sir, in your construction of the cause of my Silence.     From Ellisland in Nithsdale to Mauchline in Kyle, is forty & five miles ; there, a house a building, & farm inclosures & improvements to tend ; here, A new---not so much indeed a new as a young wife    Good God, Sir, could a my dearest BROTHER expect a regular  correspondence from me!   I who am busied with the sacred Pen of Nature, in the mystic Volume of Creation, can I dishonour my hand with a dirty goose feather, on a parcel of mash’d old rags?  I who am  “Called as was Aaron” to offer in the Sanctum Sanctorum, not indeed the mysterious bloody types of future MURDER, but the thrice hallowed quintessences of future EXISTENCE ; can I   but I have apologised enough:  I am certain that You, my liberal minded & much-respected Friend, would have acquitted me, tho’ I had obeyed to the very letter that famous Statute among the irrevocable Decrees of the Medes and Persians ;  “Not to ask Petition, for forty days, of either god or man, save THEE. O Queen, only    (1)
I am highly obliged to you, my dearest Sir, for your kind, your elegant compliments, on my becoming one of that most respectable, that truly venerable Corps ; they who are, without a metaphor, the Fathers of Posterity, the Benefactors of all coming Generations ; the Editors of Spiritual Nature, & the Authors of Immortal Being.    Now that I am “one of you,” I shall humbly but fervently endeavour to be a conspicuous Member.    Now it is “called Today,” with my powers & me; but the time fast approacheth, when, beholding the debilitated victim of all-subduing Time, they shall exclaim, “How are the Mighty fallen, & the weapons of war perished!!”    (2)
Your book came safe, and I am going to trouble you with farther Commissions.     I call it troubling you, because I want only, Books;  the cheapest way, the beat ; so you may have to hunt for them in the evening Auctions.    I want Smollet’s works, for the sake of his incomparable humour.   I have already Roderick Random & Humphrey Clinker.    Peregrine Pickle, Lancelot Greaves & Ferdinand Count Fathom, I still want; but as I said, the veriest ordinary Copies will serve me.   I am nice only in the appearance of my Poets.     I forget the price of Cowper’s Poems, but I believe I mist have them.    I saw the other day, proposals for a Publication entitled, “Bankes’s new & complete Christian’s family bible ;” Printed for C. Cooke, Paternoster row, London.   He promises at least to give in the Work, I think it is, three hundred & odd Engravings, to which he has put the Names of the first Artists in London.    You will know the character of the Performance, as some Numbers of it are published ; and if it is really what it pretends to be, set me down as a Subscriber, & send me the Published Numbers.
Let me hear from you, your first leisure minute, & trust me, you shall, in future, have no reason to complain of my Silence.    The dazzling perplexity of Novelty will dissipate, & leave me to pursue my course in the quiet Path of methodical Routine.
I might go on to fill up the Page, but I dare say you are already sufficiently tired of,
                                                                   My dear Sir, yours sincerely,
                                                                                      Robt Burns



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