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TO DR. BLACKLOCK.
IN ANSWER TO A LETTER.
Ellisland, 21st Oct. 1789. Wow, but your letter made me vauntie ! And are ye hale, and weel, and cantie? I kenn'd it still your wee bit jauntie,
Wad bring ye to: Lord send you ay as weel's I want ye,
And then ye'll do.
The ill-thief blaw the Heron south !
He'd tak my letter ;
And bade nae better.
But aiblins honest Master Heron,
And holy study ;
E'en tried the body.
But what d'ye think, my trusty fier,
Ye'll now disdain me!
Will little gain me.
Ye glaiket, gleesome, dainty damies,
Ye ken, ye ken,
'Mang sons o’men.
I hae a wife and twa wee laddies,
I need na vaunt,
Before they want.
Lord help me thro’ this warld o' care !
sick o't late and air ! Not but I hae a richer share
Than mony ithers; But why should ae man better fare,
And a' men brithers ?
Come, firm Resolve, take thou the van,
A lady fair :
Will whyles do mair.
But to conclude my silly rhyme,
To weans and wife,
Of human life.
My compliments to sister Beckie;
As e'er tread clay !
I'm yours for ay.
The letter which brought these verses from Burns was in rhyme, and dated from Edinburgh, 24th August, 1789. I subjoin it as a proof of the kindliness of Blacklock's nature, rather than as a sample of his poetry. Some of his strains have elevation and fervour, with occasional touches of tenderness :
“ DEAR Burns, thou brother of my heart,
With pleasure in thy breast diffuses,
Thro' thee, her organ, thus to melt.
With thee of late how matters go ;
" THOMAS BLACKLOCK.” The Heron of whom such unceremonious mention is made in the epistle of Burns, was the author of a history of Scotland; and, what is to be regretted, of a Life of the Poet, written in a depreciating spirit, and, it is said, with the memory of these verses upon him. His memoir made its appearance at the very time the public subscription was opened for the Poet's widow and helpless children, and, beyond question, did much harm to the family. This was deeply felt by even very rude people; when Heron himself sought shelter in London, and died of want, as too many die, an old husbandman said, “ What better could come of him who harmed the widow and the fatherless!"
Fair the face of orient day,
Sweet the lark's wild-warbled lay,
The flower-enamoured busy bee
But, Delia, on thy balmy lips