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additions to Burns literature. When the descriptive illustrated catalogue of the Exhibition held in Glasgow last summer is completed, there will be available to the student, as a direct product of the centenary, a hitherto undreamt of corpus of Burnsiana, in the best acceptation of the term. To the querulous query of the uninterested or half-interested man--"What possible new light can be thrown on the poet, whose life and work have for a hundred years been subjected to scrutiny of unparalled closeness?" no answer should be required but the contents of the volumes before us. There we learn, from innumerable revisions, corrections, and fresh facts, how little of really valid labor has hitherto been spent on Burns, how neglected has been the study of his origins, and how necessary it was to put on record the best-informed estimate formed by the present generation of the life and works of Burns, and of his place in literature. Though the myth which envisages Scotland's greatest son as a drunken gauger, uncultured, and a singer by accident, has almost disappeared from this country, gross ignorance of the truth about both his conduct and his education still remains to be sapped, as is shown by the example of the poet-laureate, mourning -and not to be comforted-over the blindness of Scotsmen to their hero's faults. Inquisitiveness and the craving for novelty are ever creating new myths. Mr. Wallace has demolished a few of these concerning the poet himself, Jean Armour, and Mary Campbell. If Messrs. Henley and Henderson have evolved one of their own in the statement that Burns "was the satirist and singer of a parish," it is positively harmless in its unverisimilitude, and is not noted here in disparagement of the valuable services the editors of "The Centenary Burns" have rendered to the cause of historical truth, especially in regard to what the poet actually wrote. What new light, then, has been thrown recently on Burns? Briefly stated, this: Mr. William Wallace, editor of the new "Chambers," besides accumulating a vast amount of notes and fresh informa
tion about the life, the poems, and the letters, has at a stroke justified the world's refusal to dissever the life from the works of Burns by the essay in which he exhibits the poet's conscious moral reconstruction of his career, vindicates his conduct, not merely from the artistic but also from the ethical standpoint, and holds him up to admiration as poet, prophet, and man, as one whose management of the business of his life, rightly regarded, is no less morally helpful to those who can understand it than his poetry has been, and is auxiliary to the progress of the human race, in manners as well as in thought. The editors of "The Centenary Burns" have set before themselves the production of a perfect text and a sufficient bibliographical history, and the investigation of the "origins" of the poet, mainly in respect of the form of his writings, and their work as a whole redounds to the credit of their literary instinct, scholarship, and industry. In their account and collation of the available manuscripts they have accomplished a task which has long awaited a competent doer, and their text will stand till-the day when all the Burns manuscripts in the world are collected in one room, and submitted to the judgment of an ideal jury of experts.
For the two reasons that "The Centenary Burns" is not yet complete-only three volumes out of four having been issued-and that what is new in it cannot be properly qualified, save summarily in the space at disposal, this article must be confined mainly to an account of the new "Chambers." Mr. Wallace's revision of the work of Robert Chambers amounts to a complete reconstruction of the whole book, save only the original plan and structure, and even that has been modified in parts. He has utilized the whole mass of Burns literature that has come into existence since Chambers's day, as well as materials and suggestions for furtner enquiry left by his predecessor, and has pursued many original lines of investigation bearing on the poet's character and doings, and the personalities of his friends and subjects. The value of his
several contributions to knowledge will be differently assessed by different classes of people. Mr. Quiller Couch, for instance, objects to being told the local tradition of the origin of "Mary Morrison," while very many not unlettered persons will welcome all the details that have been gathered about the actual Mary Morrison, who is buried in Mauchline churchyard, none the less heartily that Mr. Wallace successfully assails the myth that this "adjutant's daughter" was the heroine of that purest gem of song. Most students-all Scotch ones-will hold Mr. Wallace's multiplicity of detail justified-(1), by the theory of criticism which disdains no help to the understanding of the circumstances in which literature arose; and (2), by his theory of the ethical work of the biography of Burns, presented "warts and all."
Students of life and letters, however, will turn with greatest interest to the
effort the new editor of "Chambers" has made to "place" Burns, the man and poet, in relation to humanity and his own environment in the one regard, and in the other to his predecessors, contemporaries, and successors among the "makers." The ancestry of the poet is traced with a perspicacity and completeness never before attempted in Burns biography. Mr. Wallace does not put the Celtic derivation of the Burnesses altogether out of court, but he demol
ishes the legend of Walter Campbell of Burn-house, as "Thrummy Cap" told it, by proving its anachronisms, and simply characterizes the whole Celtic tradition as "an attempt to account for the origin of a name in a certain districtthe Mearns-a century after its first recorded occurrence there." It is exceedingly improbable that the editor has left anything to be discovered about the Jacobitism of the poet's ancestors, of which he was not a little sentimentally vain. The genealogy on the male side is revised and corrected, the evidence for and against the famous attribution of Jacobitism to the "forefathers," which Gilbert, playing as it were at cross purposes, so lamely disputed, is clearly stated. For the first time, also, detailed
proof is offered of the correctness of Burns's belief that he came of Covenanting stock on his mother's side; the family-tree of the Brouns in Ayrshirespringing from the Bruce's day-is exhibited with the same fidelity as that of the Burnesses of the Mearns.
Save for a number of new facts about the poet's residence in Irvine, the revised "Chambers" adds little to our knowledge of the first, comparatively pure and sober, twenty-five years of the life. When we come, however, to the Mossgiel period, the epoch of the "Epistle to John Goldie," "The Twa Herds," etc., Mr. Wallace presents us with a lucid general statement-at once full and concise of Burns's theological position:
A man of Burns's temperament, born in the middle of that (the eighteenth) century, was almost bound to combine rationalism in theology with a genuine religious sentiment. particularly in his actual theological en It is unnecessary to search very vironment for the origins of his religion. He had the same bias in reasoningtowards materialism, empiricism, "com. mon sense," as most of the leading intellects of the age.
Again, after briefly summarizing the controversy between Old and New
Lights, and showing that it was William Burnes himself who brought his son under the spell of the New Lights, and placing proper stress upon the effect which transference from the pastoral care of "D'rymple mild" to that of "Daddy" Auld must have wrought on the ardent spirit of the young poet, he proceeds:
It would be a mistake to try to trace any very close connection between the thought of Burns, so far as it was dogmatic, and the doctrines held by the New Light ministers who took the young farmer by the hand, and eulogized the satires which ho wrote for their side. The doctrines preached by Auld, Russell and their kind disgusted him; but his polemic against them was purely negative and destructive. The consciousness of the living pr ence of God in nature was always stronge: in him than any theory of redemption. An intellectual sceptic, he was not really interested in theological dogma, though
moral and emotional causes preserved in him certain relics of more or less interdependent doctrines.
These sentences exhibit the results of a careful and conscientious study of Burns's theological environment. In text and appendix we have a précis of the principal religious documents that are known to have influenced the poet"Goudie's Bible," William Burnes's "Manual;" the most important writings of Dr. Dalrymple and Dr. M'Gill of Ayr; and a full and interesting account of the petty and protracted quarrel between Gavin Hamilton and the kirk-session of Mauchline.
Equally searching is the light which is here thrown upon Burns's relations to Jean Armour and the mystery of Mary Campbell, neither of which topics can by a right reader of the man and poet be allowed to be classed under the category of "Chatter about Harriet." Mr. Wallace is forced to admit that the date of Burns's attachment to Highland Mary, and several of the circumstances connected with it "are still, to a great extent, enveloped in mystery:" also that "her story, as here given, is based on, and pieced from, various traditions, and cannot be regarded as a portion of the absolutely authentic history of Burns." In what respect then, does he leave the matter different from the state in which he found it? Well, it is something that in an authoritative biography it should be plainly stated that the identification of the Mary of Burns's poesy with Mary Campbell, who was born at Auchamore, Dunoon, and is buried at Greenock, rests solely on tradition. And it is more that the sequence of the events in this mysterious mess of love-entanglements should be as clearly stated as it is here. It was in the spring of 1786 that the poet gave Jean Armour the acknowledgement of their union, which old Armour straightway caused to be mutilated, and whica Mr. Wallace, following Dr. Edgar, doubts if a court would have recognized as constituting an irregular marriage. In March Jean took refuge in Paisley. Burns, disgusted with her conduct, and intent on matrimony, turned to Mary, nurse in Gavin Hamil
ton's family; their intimacy "ripened into love;" and in May they parted, she to go home to the Highlands for a short time, to arrange for her marriage. He had made up his mind to emigrate in order to make a living for Jean; he now persevered in his project for the purpose of providing for his wife-to-be, Mary Campbell. Yet, as Mr. Wallace, founding on documentary proof, coldly puts it, "within a very few weeks after his parting from her, we find him, in a letter to a friend, speaking of Jean as still holding sway over his affections." Short indeed was the blossoming time of Burns's "white rose," that "grew up and bloomed in the midst of his passionflowers." However, we must pass from dates and their sequelæ, to note that Mr. Wallace will not allow that the Paisley incident in Jean Armour's life offered the slightest foundation for R. L. Stevenson's slander of her as a "facile and empty-headed girl;" and that by a beautiful catena of reasoning from facts which he has himself to a large extent unearthed, he demolishes the "strong presumption," which Mr. George A. Aitken, editor of the third "Aldine," fathered, that Mary Campbell, instead of being a "white rose" was a very tarnished flower indeed, worthy the rude attentions of Adam Armour and his rough mates; and further disposes effectively of the secondary, but equally ugly "Highland Mary" myth founded on Joseph Train's manuscript notes of what John Richmond told "a Mr. Grierson." It is not the least of Mr. Wallace's services to the Burns cult that, while vindicating the "dear, departed shade," he does justice to the character of the poet's faithful, magnanimous and honorable helpmeet, who was "always his warmest defender," and made his married life happy and morally remunerative.
Turn we now to the Edinburgh episode. Stevenson, with that local patriotism which he could never shake off, spoke of the "Edinburgh magnates" who patronized Burns. Carlyle took a truer measure of the literary society of the Scottish capital at the end of the eighteenth century. The editor of the
new "Chambers" has rightly restated the relation between Burns and his patrons thus:
The period was, however, the evening of the first heydey of Edinburgh letters. A few years before, Burns would perhaps have found an even warmer welcome and a more just appreciation; he would certainly have met at least one man intelle. tually his peer in the Select Society and the Poker Club. But David Hume had. in 1786, been dead half a score of years; Lord Kames was gone, and the majority of their more or less brilliant contemporaries were long past their prime. Adam Smith was too ill to see Burns. William Robertson had only seven years to live; Tytler and Lord Hailes even less. It was, in short, the interregnum between Hume and Scott. Burns himself was the man of
the age. It strikes us of this day as almost
ludicrous that he should have been patron
ized by men of the undoubted though second-rate capacity of Dugald Stewart, Hugh Blair, and Henry Mackenzie.
Again, summing up the testimony as to Burns's conduct in Edinburgh, Mr. Wallace says:
ishness, can it be said with truth that "the battle between the flesh and the spirit" which ends in the ruin or the consolidation of character had been fought out so early in life. His sociable temperament, his eager willingness to observe all sorts and conditions of men, inevitably led him into "scenes of life," the survey of which meant the enlargement of experience, but not-at least immediately-tha enrichment of motive. But it is as certain that he never lost command of himself, amidst the Crochallan festivities, as that he acquitted himself with modesty and manliness at the tables of professors and senators of the College of Justice.
He saw from the first that his reputation, so far as society in Edinburgh was concerned, must be evanescent, and he acted accordingly. His second Commonplace Book proves that he measured him self deliberately against the men he met. He perceived his own superiority to them in natural force; he did not repine at their better fortune. It is morally certain that had Burns visited Edinburgh in the days of the literary supremacy of Scott and Jeffrey, a vigorous and successful effort would have been made to secure for him a position which would have permitted free exercise of his extraordinary faculty. . . . Burns, however, asked nothing from his Edinburgh friends; when they helped him to a farm and a position in the Excise, be
lieving, as they apparently did, that they
were thereby gratifying his own wishes he made no complaint, but cheerfully prepared himself for the necessarily uncongenial career which alone appeared open to him.
Burns was but twenty-seven years of age when he came to Edinburgh from Ayrshire. Of few men of warm temperament and exceptionally endowed by nature with those strong passions which the sources at once of selfishness and unself
Mr. Wallace's revision of the Edinburgh episode is thorough and broad. He has pursued every incident of itthe Clarinda liaison, the Masonic bardship, the tours, the flirtations, the re
lations with Creech, etc.-with the pertinacity of a sleuthhound. It is impossible to go into details here, but students of Burns will be grateful for many misconceptions removed, many mysteries as to dates cleared up, and generally for the numerous vivid touches he has introduced into Chambers's generally accurate picture of the poet as he lived and moved at this period.
Equally valuable is the reconstruction of the Ellisland epoch. There is no stick or stone left of the house that Burns built on the farm which he described as "the very riddlings of creation." As the Rev. Richard Simpson, minister of Dunscore, who is the authority on the history and topography of the district, testifies, those who protest against the rebuilding of the present farmhouse as desecration of the rooftree of Burns, are more than eighty years too late, and even the famous window with its inscription is of more than doubtful authenticity. Mr. Wallace presents us with a picturesque description of Ellisland, and-what is of even greater interest-he brings the tenant of 1788-1791 into at least geographical touch with others whose memories are rooted in Dunscore. Thus:
Its glens are steeped in the story of the War of Independence of Wallace, of Bruce, and of Bruce's friend and "mak siccar" lieutenant, Kilpatrick, to whose
family Ellisland once belonged. The hillsides of Dunscore recall the more recent memories of the Covenanters. The tower of Lag, the prototype of Redgauntlet Castle, and the home of Sir Robert Grierson, "the persecutor," whose name was more feared and hated in Galloway than that of John Graham himself, still stands in one of the glens. . . . Travelling up the valley, we come to Thornhill, with Tynron Doon, recalling the memories of the Ettrick Shepherd, Drumlanrig Castle, ete.
The extreme eastern point of Dunscore parish is Ellisland; the extreme western point in Craigenputtock, looking out on the moors of Galloway, where Carlyle wrote "Sartor Resartus" and his essay on Burns. It was on the slopes of Craigenputtock Hill that Carlyle, conversing with Emerson, put the Iliad of "this mysterious mankind" into a nutshell"Christ died on the tree; that built Dunscore kirk yonder; that brought you and me together. Time has only a relative existence."
On this epoch of the poet's existence, as on all the others, a vast amount of editorial labor has been spent. On point of research, pure and simple, there is nothing more valuable in any of the four portly volumes than the results displayed of a fresh investigation into Burns's connection with the "London newsmen." Peter Stuart, the pioneer of Metropolitan journalism, tried to secure the poet as a paid contributor to his newly-established Star in 1788. Burns refused enrolment, but sent contributions, including the ode on Mrs. Oswald, the "Ode to the Departed Regency-Bill," and probably also the (prose) "Address of the Scottish distillers to the Right Honble. William Pitt." He called the Star "a blasphemous party newspaper." He helped to justify the description by a satire he sent to it on the "solemn farce of pageant mummery," the public thanksgiving for the recovery of the king. This production, unearthed now from the files of the Star, is dated, Kilmarnock, April 30th, and takes the form of a psalm, said to have been composed for and sung on the occasion.
Burns's note to Stuart, of April, 1789; "Your polite exculpation of me in your paper was enough," has not hitherto
been understood. It referred to an episode in his connection with the Star, which is expiscated in the new "Chambers" for the first time. In March, 1789, Stuart, in the pleasant polemical manner of the day, struck a blow at that eminent Pittite, the Duchess of Gordon, by publishing a set of coarsish verses about her, which, "a correspondent assured him," were from the pen of Burns, describing her Grace's performance at an Edinburgh ball. Burns hastened to repudiate the whole thing. The Gazetteer had copied from the Star a still more disrespectful stanza to the duchess. Burns denied the authorship, with heat, in both journals, and it was doubtless for the "exculpation" from "The two most damning crimes of which, as a man and as a poet, I could have been guilty-ingratitude and stupidity," that he thanked Stuart in April. Henley and Henderson in "The Centenary Burns," having evidently not pursued their researches far enough, accept the duchess pasquinade as genuine, although internal evidence is convincing against its authenticity. most interesting discovery, however, which Mr. Wallace chronicles in connection with the affair is this note, which the editor of the Gazetteer appends to Burns's letter:
Mr. Burns will do right in directing his petulance to the proper delinquent, the printer of the Star, from which paper the stanza was literally copied into the Gazetteer. We can assure him, however, for his comfort, that the Duchess of Gordon acquits him both of the ingratitude and the dulness. She has, with much difficulty, discovered that the jeu d'esprit was written by the Right Honorable the Treasurer of the Navy, on her Grace's dancing at a ball given by the Earl of Findlater; this has been found out by the industry and penetration of Lord Fife. The lines are certainly not so dull as Mr. Burns insinuates, and we fear he is jealous of the poetical talents of his rival, Mr. Dundas.
Burns, as everybody knows, hated the Dundases because Robert, the solicitorgeneral, slighted his poem on the death of the lord president. We have not here absolute proof that the skit on the gay