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History of the Burgh of Dumfries
Chapter L


NOTICE OF BURNS'S CHIEF PRODUCTIONS WHILST RESIDING IN THE TOWN, OF THE LOCALITIES ASSOCIATED WITH HIM, AND OF THE PERSONS COMMEMORATED IN HIS POEMS-HIS EVERY-DAY LIFE IN THE BURGH-HIS LAST ILLNESS, DEATH, AND FUNERAL-HIS WIDOW AND CHILDREN-ERECTION OF A MAUSOLEUM OVER HIS REMAINS-THEIR EXHUMATION AND REBURIAL -OPENING OF THE MAUSOLEUM VAULT AT THE FUNERAL OF MRS. BURNS -A. CAST TAKEN FROM THE SKULL OF THE BARD.

AMID all Burns's changes of mood and condition, the Muse never long deserted him; and were he tested by his productions in Dumfries, exclusive of his previous poems, he would still be recognized as our greatest lyrical bard. Indeed, considering the time absorbed in the faithful performance of his work as an exciseman, and of his family duties, and the time spent by him in company, good, bad, or indifferent, we cannot but wonder at the teeming wealth which his mind disclosed during his latest years.

Nearly a hundred songs are the fruit of this period; the list including his most humorous ditties, many of his finest amatory effusions, and all his best battle lyrics. "Willie Wastle," "Auld Rob Morris," and "Duncan Gray," are referable to it; so are "Contented wi' little and canoe wi' mair" "Cauld kail in Aberdeen," "Meikle thinks my love o' my beauty," "Ken ye what Meg o' the Mill has gotten?" and "Last May a brave wooer cam doon the lang glen." With these mirth-moving creations mingle many pervaded by the soul of pathos, and which one can scarce name without tearful emotion; such as, "Thou bast left me ever, Jamie," "The lovely lass o' Inverness," "My heart is sair, I daurna tell," "How lang and dreary is the night!" "Farewell! thou stream that winding flows," "Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon," "Canst thou leave me thus, my Katy?" "Ae fond kiss, and then we sever," "O Overt thou in the cauld blast, on yonder lea, on yonder lea." Then what images of female beauty, warm heart-affection, and pictures of rural life, are suggested by the mere titles of others on the list " Bonnie Jean," " Pretty Polly Stewart," "The lassie wi' the lint-white locks," "The fairest maid on Devon's bank," "My wife's a winsome wee thing;" with other heroines, to whom the poet promises, "I'll meet thee on the lea rigg;" or petitions, "Wilt thou be my dearie?" or depicts, whilst mixing up other congenial ideas in the verse, "Sae flaxen were her ringlets," "O wat ye wha's in yon toun?" "Flow gently, sweet Afton," "Twas na her bonnie blue een was my ruin," "My love is like a red, red rose," "Luve will venture in where it daurna weel be seen," "Yestreen I had a pint o' wine, a place where body saw na." The catalogue of soft, tender, amatory effusions is enriched also by "The brave, brave lads on Yarrow braes," "True-hearted was he, the sad swain of the Yarrow," and others having a sprightlier air; such as, "O whistle and I'll come to ye, my lad." Sparkling with surpassing brilliancy in this galaxy of song are the noble martial ode, "Bruce's Address;" the lay in which love and patriotism blend beautifully together, "Their groves o' sweet myrtle let foreign lands reckon;" the proud lyric of the honest man, though poor, "A man's a man for a' that;" and the best exponent of what Scotchmen feel towards friends, home, and country, "Auld Langsyne."

Such are a few of the matchless songs penned by Burns in his little chamber in Bank Street, in his more stylish parlour in the street since honoured with his name, on the Dock meadow, "adown winding Nith," along the side of the river towards Martinton-ford, or among the ruins of Lincluden Abbey on the opposite bank.

All the localities in Dumfries, as elsewhere, mentioned in the poet's verse, acquired an interest, however commonplace before such is the influence of genius; and many scenes or objects in themselves sweet, look more lovely since he sang their praise. The river that flows past the town was always picturesque; but it seems a finer stream since the words of Burns were penned:

"Adown winding Nith I did wander,
Of Phillis to muse and to sing;"

and since he declared that, as compared with the proudlyswelling Thames,

"Sweeter far's the Nith to me,
Where Comyns aince had high command."

The huge hill that overlooks the river's conflux with the sea, appears to rear a loftier crest since he patriotically protested that, before an invading foe should be allowed to desecrate our shores,

"The Nith should rin to Corsincon,
And Criffel sink in Solway;"

and Tobias Bachup's rare old spire was more than ever taken from the category of ordinary buildings, when the loyal bard doomed King George's enemies to

"Hang as high's the Steeple."

Even the King's Arms Inn was no longer quite prosaic, after one of its window panes had scratched upon it the well-known epigram of the gifted and sometimes irreverent gauger:-

"Ye men of wit and wealth, why all this sneering
'Gainst poor excisemen? Give the cause a hearing.
What are your landlords' rent-rolls? Teasing ledgers!
What premiers?-what even monarchs? Mighty gaugers!
Nay, what are priests, those seemingly good, wise men?
What are they, pray, but spiritual excisemen?"

The Parliamentary elections for the Dumfries Burghs acquired more than a political or local interest as soon as he etherialized them, and rendered the Five Carlines classical by his famous ballad regarding a contest in 1790, when the two rival candidates [James Johnstone of Westerhall, the " Border Knight," and Captain Miller, younger of Dalswinton, the " Sodger Lad."] sought to curry favour with "Maggy by the banks o' Nith," "Blinkin' Bess o' Annandale," "Whisky Jean," "Black Joan," and "Marjory o' the mony lochs," than whom

"Five wighter carlines warna foun'
The South countra within."

It would have been well for the bard if he had had no drinking "howf" like the Globe, with its syren-servant, Anna of the "gowden locks;" but who without emotion can visit this famous Dumfries tavern-once too familiar with his presence, and often vocal with his song; or sit in his old-fashioned chair, that still continues in "Burns's corner," and trace his characteristic inscription on the window of its upper parlour:-

The grey-beard, old Wisdom, may boast of his treasures,
Give me with gay Folly to live.
I grant him his calm-blooded, time-settled pleasures;
But Folly has raptures to give."

Preserved in the amber of his imperishable verse are the names of many persons - some to honour, others to shame-most of which would have been utterly forgotten save for their casual association with his own. Need we mention the accomplished Mrs. Riddel of Woodley Park (now Goldilea, and once known as The Holm, when occupied by the Whig ex-provost whom the Jacobites captured in the '45), one of the most historical houses in the vicinity of Dumfries, and made all the more so by Burns's visits to its mistress; or Miss Lorimer, Kemmis-Hall, "the lassie wi' the lint-white locks" - the Chloris whose charms he celebrated in many a song? When Provost Staig's daughter recovered from a fever under the care of a distinguished Dumfries physician, he immortalized the lady in the following lines:-

Maxwell, Maxwell, if merit here you crave,
That merit I deny.
You save fair Jessie from the grave !
An angel could not die."

While the same fair lady was being wooed by the swain whom she afterwards wedded-Major William Miller, younger of Dalswinton-Burns again complimented her, and commemorated the courtship in the charming lyric which begins:-

"True-hearted was he, the sad swain o' the Yarrow,
And fair are the maids on the banks of the Ayr;
But by the sweet side of the Nith's winding river,
Are lovers as faithful, and maidens as fair.
To equal young Jessie, seek Scotland all over
To equal young Jessie, you seek it in vain;
Grace, beauty, and eloquence follow her lover,
And maidenly modesty fixes the chain."

And when another Jessie (Miss Lewars) proved a "ministering angel" to him whilst suffering from his last illness, he expressed his gratitude, and performed for her a similar service, by making her the subject of some of his sweetest lyrics and of his best impromptus. Taking up a crystal goblet containing wine and water, he wrote upon it the following toast, and then presented to her the brimming chalice:-

"Fill me with the rosy wine,
Call a toast-a toast divine;
Give the poet's darling flame,
Lovely Jessie be the name:
Then thou mayest freely boast,
Thou hast given a peerless toast."

On Miss Lewars complaining of indisposition, Burns, with the pleasantry that rarely forsook him, said that to provide for the worst, he would furnish her with an epitaph as companion to the toast:-

"Say, sages, what's the charm on earth
Can turn Death's dart aside?
It is not purity and worth,
Else Jessie had not died."

And when she recovered a little, the poet, saying there was "a poetic reason for it," wrote as follows:-

"But rarely seen since Nature's birth,
The natives of the sky;
Yet still one seraph's left on earth,
For Jessie did not die."

[Miss Lewars was afterwards married to Mr. James Thomson, writer, Dumfries. She died in 1855, at the age of seventy-seven, and lies interred in the immediate vicinity of the mausoleum.]

John Bushby of Tinwald-Downs - who raised himself from humble circumstances to wealth and position, first as a writer and then as a banker in Dumfries-was long on friendly terms with Burns; but a quarrel between them brought down upon his head some bitter diatribes which he scarcely merited; and it would have been better every way had "Black-lippit Johnnie" never been made to figure in the poet's pages. More creditable to Burns are the epigrams by which he has rendered John Syme of Ryedale famous. Mr. Syme is still well remembered in the town as a fine specimen of the old Scottish gentleman -clear-headed, warm-hearted, well-cultivated, courteous, full of anecdote and wit, and, as the fashion then went, devoted to the pleasures of the table, which he never relished so much as when Burns was his cronie. With them was sometimes associated Dr. William Maxwell of Dumfries; [Burns's fervid, emotional nature, strong sense of nationality-and, let us add, animus against the Presbyterian clergy-made him at times a Jacobite; and his abhorrence of arbitrary rule, his sense of justice, and respect for man's natural rights, conspired to make him almost a Jacobin. His friend, Dr. Maxwell, had also sympathies of the same seemingly conflicting nature. A son of the gallant Kirkconnell Maxwell, who went out with Prince Charles in 1745, and became the historian of his expedition, he had a hereditary tendency towards Jacobitism; but when studying medicine in France, he caught the revolutionary spirit that was rampant there in 1793, and ever afterwards retained the impression which it produced upon his ardent, youthful mind. A more congenial companion Burns could not have possessed, and no doubt Maxwell's masculine intellect exercised a large amount of influence over the poet. In a notice of Dr. Maxwell's death, which appeared in the Dumfries Times of 22nd October, 1834, it is remarked:- "His intimacy with Burns, whose friend as well privately as professionally he was, and of whose last illness he was a faithful and affectionate soother in both capacities, has in some measure rendered the name of Maxwell literary property; while the liberal principles of the deceased, his visit to Paris during the early days of the first Revolution, and the well-known denouncement of him and his presumed designs by Burke, gave him a permanent place in the political history of the country." ] though, when the trio met, it was generally less as "three merry boys" than as the leading Whigs of the place (for as such they were recognized), to discuss politics over a brimming bowl. Among Burns's happiest impromptus were those addressed by him to his friend Mr. Syme. On the poet sending a dozen of porter from the Jerusalem tavern to Ryedale, he accompanied the present with the lines:-

"Oh, had the malt thy strength of mind,
Or hops the flavour of thy wit,
'Twere drink for first of human kind,
A gift that even for Syme were fit."

On one occasion, when Burns was about to take leave of his host at Ryedale, he was pressed to take another glass; and he forthwith wrote on the tumbler an answer of consent:-

"There's death in the cup, sae beware
Nay, mair, there is danger in touching;
But wha can avoid the fell snare?
The man and his wine's sae bewitching."


Towards the close of 1795, the poet, when suffering from declining health, wrote in a less mirthful mood, and paid Syme the finest compliment of all, by declining a tempting invitation to dinner at Ryedale in the following terms:-

"No more of your guests, be they titled or not,
And cookery the first in the nation;
Who is proof to thy personal converse and wit,
Is proof to all other temptation."

A man of rare worth-Colonel Arentz Schulyer de Peyster of Mavis Grove-finds merited commemoration in the poet's verse. After honourable service in North America, he retired to Dumfries, the native town of Mrs. De Peyster; and at the stormy period of the French Revolution he turned his military talents to account, by embodying and training the 1st Regiment of Dumfries Volunteers, of which Burns was a member. "In his person he was tall, soldier-like, and commanding; in his manners easy, affable, and open; in his affections warm, generous, and sincere." [Dumfries Courier.] He died in 1822, at the advanced age of ninety-six years or more, regretted by the entire community. The reader will recollect the rhymed epistle which Burns, early in 1796, sent to his commander in answer to some kind inquiries regarding his health. No better thing of the kind has the bard produced than the letter beginning -

"My honoured Colonel, deep I feel
Your interest in the poet's weal:
Ah! how sma' heart hae I to speel
The steep Parnassus,
Surrounded thus by bolus pill
And potion glasses."

When John Maxwell of Munches, ["Mr. Maxwell," says Robert Chambers, "was grandson's grandson to the Herries of Queen Mary's day. One cannot learn without a pleasing kind of surprise, that a relation in the fifth degree of one who was Warden of the West Marches in 1544, should have lived to the close of the French revolutionary war, which was the case of Mr. Maxwell, for he died in June, 1814." - Life and Works of Burns, vol, iii., p. 205.] the greatest agricultural improver of his time near Dumfries, attained to his seventy-first birth-day, Burns closed a complimentary address to him in six lines, which have as much of the bard's peculiar manner as any other product of his muse within so small a compass:-

"Farewell, auld birkie - Lord be near ye !
And then the Devil he daurna steer ye;
Your friends aye lo'e, your foes aye fear ye:
For me, shame fa' me,
If neist my heart I dinna wear thee,
While Burns they ca' me."

In Burns's time the principal brewer at Dumfries was Mr. Gabriel Richardson (provost of the town in 1802 and 1803). Between the poet's family and that of Mr. Richardson there was a good deal of intimacy, and the eldest sons of both were sent on the same day to Mr. Gray's grammar school together. The Provost's son grew up and became a great traveller and naturalist; but, as we have heard him humorously stating, the first notable expeditions he ever made were on the back of the quadruped that drove a small cotton mill then inn full activity at Dumfries, and which Burns notices as follows in a letter to the lady of Woodley Park:-" There is a species of the human genus that I call the gin-horse class: what enviable dogs they are! Round, and round, and round they go. Mundell's [This was Dr. Mundell, who, on retiring from professional service in the Royal Navy, started, in company with some other gentleman, a cotton factory, which flourished for a number of years, till it was injured by the war with America. He was uncle to the present Mr. Mundell of Bogrie.] ox that drives his cotton mill is their exact prototype: without an idea or a wish beyond their circle-fat, sleek, stupid, patient, contented; while here I sit altogether Novemberish, a melange of fretfulness and melancholy-not enough of the one to rouse me to passion, nor of the other to repose me in torpor." Burns long predeceased Mr. Gabriel Richardson; but he kept the memory of a worthy man green by writing his epitaph beforehand:-

"Here brewer Gabriel's fire's extinct,
And empty all his barrels:
He's blest if as he brewed he drink
In upright, honest morals."

The poet's daily life in Dumfries is very graphically and fairly described by Robert Chambers, in the following passage:- "So existence flows on with Burns in this pleasant southern town. He has daily duties in stamping leather, gauging malt vats, noting the manufacture of candles, and granting licenses
for the transfer of spirits. These duties he performs with fidelity to the king, and not too much rigour to the subject. As he goes about them in the forenoon, in his respectable suit of dark clothes, and with his little boy Robert perhaps holding by his hand and conversing with him on his school exercises, he is beheld by the general public with respect, as a person in some authority, the head of a family, and also as a man of literary note; and people are heard addressing him as Mr. Burns - a form of his name which is still prevalent in Dumfries. At a leisure hour before dinner, he will call at some house where there is a piano-such as Mr. Newall, the writer's-and there have some young miss to touch over for him one or two of his favourite Scotch airs, such as the "Souter's Daughter," in order that he may accommodate it to some stanzas that have been humming through his brain for the last two or three days. For another half-hour he will be seen standing at the head of some cross street, with two or three young fellows-bankers' clerks or `writer chiels' commencing business-whom he is regaling with sallies of his bright but not always innocent wit; indulging there, indeed, in a strain of conversation so different from what had passed in the respectable elderly writer's mansion, that though he were not the same man, it could not have been more different. Later in the day he takes a solitary walk along, the Dock Green by the river side, or to Lincluden; and composes the most part of a new song: or he spends a couple of hours at his folding-down desk, between the fire and window in his parlour, transcribing in his bold round hand the remarks which occur to him on Mr. Thomson's last letter, together with some of his own recently composed songs. As a possible variation upon this routine, he has been seen passing along the old bridge of Devorgilla Baliol, about three o'clock, with his swordcane in his hand, and his black beard unusually well-shaven, being on his way to dine with John Syme at Ryedale, where young Mr. Oswald of Auchencruive is to be of the party-or may be in the opposite direction, to partake of the luxuries of John Bushby at Tinwald-Downs. But we presume a day when no such attraction invades. The evening is passing quietly at home, and pleasant-natured Jean has made herself neat, and come in at six o'clock to give him tea-a meal he always takes. The post comes into Dumfries at eight o'clock at night. There is always a group of gentlemen on the street, eager to hear the news. Burns saunters out to the High Street, and waits among the rest. The intelligence of the evening is very interesting. The Convention has decreed the annexation of the Netherlands, or the new treason bill has passed the House of Lords with only the feeble protest of Bedford, Derby, and Lauderdale. These things merit some discussion. The trades lads go off to strong ale in the closes; the gentleman slide in little groups into the King's Arms Hotel or the George.

"As for Burns, he will just have a single glass, and a halfhour's chat beside John Hyslop's fire [at the Globe tavern], and then go quietly home. So he is quickly absorbed in the little narrow close where that vintner maintains his state. There, however, one or two friends have already established themselves, all with precisely the same virtuous intent. They heartily greet the bard. Meg or John bustles about to give him his accustomed place, which no one ever disputes. And somehow the debate on the news of the evening leads on to other chat of an interesting kind. Then Burns becomes brilliant, and his friends give him the applause of their laughter. One jug succeeds another-mirth abounds-and it is not till Mrs. Hyslop has declared that they are going beyond all bounds, and she positively will not give them another drop of hot water, that our bard at length bethinks him of returning home; where Bonnie Jean has been lost in peaceful slumber for three hours, after vainly wondering 'what can be keeping Robert out so late the nicht.' Burns gets to bed a little excited and worn out, but not in a state to provoke much remark from his amiable partner, in whom nothing can abate the veneration with which she has all along regarded him. And though he beds at a latish hour, most likely he is up next morning between seven and eight, to hear little Robert his day's lesson in Caesar; or, if the season invites, to take a half-hour's stroll before breakfast, along the favourite Dock Green." [Life and Works of Burns, vol. iv., pp. 130-2.]

Early in January, 1796, the poet's stay at the Globe was protracted far into the morning. There was a fell frost in the air, and a deep snow on the ground, as he passed up the close on his homeward way. Hours elapsed, however, before he reached home. Affected by the liquor lie had taken, and the freezing cold of the atmosphere, a drowsiness-dread prelude of the sleep of death-overpowered him, and he lay long insensible at the head of the close, where it joins with Shakspeare Street. He had been suffering previously from what Dr. Currie calls "an accidental complaint," which, with the strong medicine given to counteract it, disarmed his constitution, so that the merciless air of the month which, thirty-seven years before, "blew handsel in on Robin," pierced through his frame with unresisted and fatal influence. But for this casual incident, the thread of his existence might possibly have been much prolonged; and better fortune was in store for him had he lived to enjoy it. The political ferment from which he suffered had subsided; he was acquiring a higher social position-was no longer a suspected person-was in the fair way of obtaining professional advancement-and was being consoled, in some degree, for present poverty, by rich foretastes of future fame, which must have been most welcome balm to his proud and wounded spirit. Burns was never fairly himself after that dreadful morning, though, swan-like, he kept singing under the shadow of death.

About two months afterwards, Miss Grace Aiken, daughter of Burns's early patron, Mr. Robert Aiken of Ayr, when proceeding along the streets of Dumfries to visit her friend Mrs. Coupland, passed by a tall, gaunt, rather slovenly-looking person of sickly aspect, who uttered an exclamation which made her pause. The voice was the voice of Burns, but the figure seemed to her that of quite another man: so altered was he since, ten years before, she had seen him at her father's house. On being urgently solicited to accompany her to the residence of Mrs. Coupland, Burns consented, and there conversed with Miss Aiken and their hostess of other and happier days spent on the banks of Ayr and Doon. Spring went and came without bringing any relief to the doomed bard; and summer found him lying hopelessly prostrate in a humble cottage at Brow, on the shores of the Solway, whither he had gone in a vain search for health. Writing to Mr. Cunningham of Edinburgh, on the 7th of July, he said: "I fear the voice of the bard will soon be heard among you no more. For these eight or ten months I have been ailing-sometimes bedfast, and sometimes not; but these last three months I have been tortured with an excruciating rheumatism, which has reduced me to nearly the last stage. You actually would not know me if you saw me-pale, emaciated, and so feeble as occasionally to need help from my chair."

Whilst in this critical state, he received a letter from a Dumfries solicitor, Mr. Matthew Penn, requiring payment of a bill amounting to 7 4s., due to Mr. Williamson, draper, for his volunteer uniform. It had been simply placed with other over-due accounts in the hands of the legal gentleman, as that seemed the best mode for getting them discharged. It contained no threat; but Burns's mind was so unhinged by disease, that the missive appeared to him the very language of menace. Had he been in health, his knowledge of business would have enabled him to see the real meaning of Mr. Penn's letter: as matters stood, it told upon him with overwhelming force. "A rascal of a haberdasher"-thus he wrote to his cousin Mr. James Burnes, at Montrose - "to whom I owe a considerable bill, taking it into his head that I am dying, has commenced a process against me, and will infallibly put my emaciated body into jail. Will you be so good as accommodate me, and that by return of post, with ten pounds." On the same day (July 12th) he used similar language in a letter to Mr. George Thomson: "After all my boasted independence, curst necessity compels me to implore you for five pounds. A cruel scoundrel of a haberdasher, to whom I owe an account, taking it into his head that I am dying, has commenced a process, and will infallibly put me into jail. Do, for God's sake, send me that sum, and that by return of post." Both of the gentlemen promptly responded to the poet's heart-rending appeal. Burns's health had slightly improved, and he had penned at Brow the charming lyric - alas that it was his last! - "Fairest maid on Devon's banks," when the receipt of this lawyer's letter thoroughly paralyzed him. "Home, home, home-if only to die!" Such was the language of his heart.

Allan Cunningham, who was then residing at Dumfries, says: - "The poet returned on the 18th in a small spring-cart. The ascent to his house was steep, and the cart stopped at the foot of the Mill-hole Brae: when he alighted he shook much, and stood with difficulty; he seemed unable to stand upright. He stooped as if in pain, and walked tottering towards his own door: his looks were hollow and ghastly, and those who saw him then expected never to see him in life again." The same author has given an affecting picture of the state of popular feeling in the town during the brief interval between Burns's return and "the last scene of all." Dumfries, he says, "was like a besieged place. It was known he was dying, and the anxiety, not of the rich and the learned only, but of the mechanics and peasants, exceeded all belief. Wherever two or three people stood together, their talk was of Burns, and of him alone. They spoke of his history, of his person, of his works, of his family, of his fame, and of his untimely and approaching fate, with a warmth and an enthusiasm which will ever endear Dumfries to my remembrance. All that he said or was saying-the opinions of the physicians (and Maxwell was a kind and a skilful one) were eagerly caught up and reported from street to street. ... As his life drew near to a close, the eager yet decorous solicitude of his fellow-townsmen increased. It is the practice of the young men of Dumfries to meet in the streets during the hours of remission from labour, and by these means I had an opportunity of witnessing the general solicitude of all ranks and of all ages. His differences with them on some important points were forgotten and forgiven: they thought only of his genius -of the delight his compositions had diffused; and they talked of him with the same awe as of some departing spirit whose voice was to gladden them no more."

In presence of his wife, children, and a few friends, including the ever-faithful Jessie Lewars, Burns breathed his last, on the 21st of July. According to the testimony of his eldest son, the latest words of the poet were a muttered execration on the legal agent by whom his closing days had been unintentionally embittered and curtailed. The local newspaper, published a few days afterwards, contained the following intimation of the mournful event:-" Died here, on the morning of the 21st inst., and in the 38th year of his age, ROBERT BURNS, the Scottish bard. His manly form and penetrating eye strikingly indicated extraordinary mental vigour. For originality of wit, rapidity of conception, and fluency of nervous phraseology, he was unrivalled. Animated by the fire of nature, he uttered sentiments which by their pathos melted the heart to tenderness, or expanded the mind by their sublimity. As a luminary emerging from behind a cloud, he arose at once into notice; and his works and his name can never die, while divine Poesy shall agitate the chords of the human heart."

These words but inadequately express the loss which Scotland and the world sustained by the premature demise of this gifted, and, with all his defects, still glorious son of song. A sympathy for the varied sufferings he had undergone, a regret for the neglect he had experienced, now mingled with and intensified the homage given to his genius, and caused his faults of life to be overlooked, if not forgotten. Intense was the feeling of sorrow that prevailed in Dumfries and neighbourhood when it was known that the mighty heart of the man who had long given life and lustre to the locality was throbless. He had been, generally speaking, honoured and appreciated by the people of the place; but when he lay hushed in the sleep of death, he became to them doubly dear. All deplored the loss of such a distinguished citizen, and shared in the general lamentation that so little had been done by the dignitaries and rulers of the nation to keep him in worldly comfort and economize his precious life. And yet, whilst we share this painful feeling, we are inclined to think that Burns's fame has benefited by the pity which his fate awakens. If he had received a greater share of "good things" in this life, been feted, caressed, and pensioned, the world might have not the less admired his productions, but he would have awakened far less of personal interest. We might in that case have liked Burns's poems equally well (though even that is doubtful), but we would not have loved or heeded so much Burns himself. Thus, if this theory be true, his earthly crosses and poverty enriched the heritage of his endless fame, and dowered it as well "by the tears" as by "the praises of all time."

The remains of the poet were removed to the Trades' Hall, in High Street, on the evening of Sabbath, the 24th of July, preparatory to the funeral, which, at the request of his brother volunteers, it was resolved should be conducted with military honours. A regiment of the Cinque Ports Cavalry, and the Fencible Infantry of Angusshire, then quartered in Dumfries, offered their assistance on the solemn occasion; and the principal inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood signified a wish to take part in the procession. On Monday, the 25th, in the presence of an immense crowd of tearful symphathizers, the funeral train moved slowly down to St. Michael's cemetery. A party of the volunteers appointed to perform the requisite military service at the interment, were stationed in front, with their arms reversed; the other members of the company supported or surrounded the coffin, on which were placed the hat and sword of their illustrious fellow-soldier; the civilians were ranged in the rear. In this order the procession moved onward; whilst the streets through which it passed were lined by the horse and foot soldiers, and the accompanying band played the "Dead March" in "Saul." Arrived at the place of sepulture, the body was committed to the tomb; three volleys of musketry fired over the grave completing the affecting ceremony. "The spectacle," says Dr. Currie, " was in a high degree grand and solemn, and accorded with the general sentiments of sympathy and sorrow which the occasion had called forth." On the forenoon of this sad day, the newly-made widow was seized with the pains of labour, and, just as the grave closed over her husband's dust, gave birth to a son, who died in infancy.

Of the other members of the bard's family, only one survives, William Nicol. Both he and his brother, James Glencairn, obtained commissions in the East India Company's army; and, after a highly honourable career, each attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel. They resided together for many years at Cheltenham, honoured and beloved for their benevolence and amiability. The eldest son, Robert, went to London in 1804, where he held a clerkship in the Stamp Office till 1833, at which date lie retired to Dumfries. He possessed a considerable amount of poetical genius, was a good musician, an excellent mathematician and linguist; and whilst he mentally resembled his father more than either of his brothers, he was the only one of the family in whom the features of the bard were distinctly traceable. Robert's conversational powers were also of a high order, and his company, as may be well supposed, was much sought after and relished by such strangers as his father's fame attracted to Dumfries. He died in 1857; his brother James, in 1865; and both were laid beside their father's dust, under the mausoleum.

Mrs. Burns continued to reside till her death in the house which has been hallowed by her husband's presence, an object of universal respect on account of her amiability and worth, and the interest which attached to her as the "Bonnie Jean" of his verse-the uncomplaining, fond, and faithful companion of his wedded life. By the proceeds of a fund raised for the widow, she was enabled to bring up her sons in a creditable way. In 1817, Mr. Fox Maule (now Lord Dalhousie) settled a pension on Mrs. Burns of 50 a year, after a vain attempt to obtain for her a Government annuity: this she enjoyed about eighteen months, when her son James, having been promoted to a situation in the Indian Commissariat, made such arrangements for her comfortable maintenance as allowed her to resign the pension, which, if so disposed, she might have retained for life. [The poet, by his wife Jean Armour, had nine children--five sons and four daughters; two of the former, and the whole of the latter, died in childhood. Robert, the eldest son, left a daughter, Eliza, who married Dr. Everitt, a surgeon in the East India Company's service. She has been long a widow, and now resides, with her only daughter, Miss Everitt, in Belfast. Colonel William N. Burns is a widower, without issue. Colonel James G. Burns left a daughter by his first marriage, who married Dr. Berkeley Hutchinson. They had a son and three daughters, who, with their mother, still survive. By a second marriage, he had one child, Miss Burns, who also survives. Such are the existing descendants of the national bard in 1867. ]

For many years, a simple slab of freestone, placed over the poet's grave by his widow, was his only material monument. Eventually, however, a general movement was made for the erection of a mausoleum in some degree worthy of his genius; and as money flowed in liberally for the scheme, from almost every quarter, and from lowly peasants and mechanics up to Majesty itself, the work was proceeded -with and completed in 1815. The mausoleum, in form like a Grecian temple, was designed by Mr. T. F. Hunt of London; and a mural sculpture for the interior was supplied by an Italian artist named Turnerelli, intended to embody one of the poet's own conceptions - the genius of Coila finding her favourite son at the plough, and throwing her inspiring mantle over him. The figures were critically inspected by a committee of gentlemen, including the poet's brother, Gilbert, who signified his high satisfaction with the graceful appearance of Coila, and the etherial lightness of her mantle; and under the guidance of his correct eye and tenacious memory, the sculptor was enabled to render more faithful the likeness of the principal figure. As a whole, however, the statuary is not of the highest class, though it has sometimes been greatly underrated. This much may be said in its favour, that its meaning is intelligible; and that if it does not satisfy fastidious art-critics, it appeals successfully to the popular eye and heart.

There being no room at the north corner of the churchyard where Burns was at first buried for the erection of a bulky structure, the mausoleum was built on a site in the south-east, so that the body had to be transported thither-a delicate duty, which was performed with as much privacy as possible. On the 19th of September, Mr. William Grierson of Boatford, the zealous secretary to the committee, Mr. James Thomson, superintendent of the monument, Mr. Milligan, builder, and Mr. James Bogie, gardener, Terraughty, "proceeded to the spot before the sun had risen, and made so good use of their time that the imposing ceremony was well-nigh completed before the public had time to assemble, or in fact were aware of the important duty in which the others had been engaged. [Picture of Dumfries, p. 85,] Two sons of the poet had been laid beside him-Maxwell Burns, the posthumous child who died in 1799, and Francis Wallace Burns, who died in 1803, aged fourteen. "On opening the grave the coffins of the boys were found in a tolerably entire state, placed in shells, and conveyed to the vault with the greatest care. As a report had been spread that the principal coffin was made of oak, a hope was entertained that it would be possible to transport it from the north to the east corner of St. Michael's without opening it, or disturbing the sacred deposit it contained. But this hope proved fallacious. On testing the coffin, it was found to be composed of the ordinary materials, and ready to yield to the slightest pressure; and the lid removed, a spectacle was unfolded which, considering the fame of the mighty dead, has rarely been witnessed by a single human being. There were the remains of the great poet, to all appearance Dearly entire, and retaining various traces of vitality, or rather exhibiting the features of one who had newly sunk into the sleep of death : the lordly forehead, arched and high, the scalp still covered with hair, and the teeth perfectly firm and white. The scene was so imposing that most of the workmen stood bare and uncovered-as the late Dr. Gregory did at the exhumation of the remains of the illustrious hero of Bannockburn - and at the same time felt their frames thrilling with some undefinable emotion, as they gazed on the ashes of him whose fame is as wide as the world itself. But the effect was momentary; for when they proceeded to insert a shell or case below the coffin, the head separated from the trunk, and the whole body, with the exception of the bones, crumbled into dust." [Picture of Dumfries, p. 86. ]' When the remains had been religiously gathered up, they were placed in a new coffin, and interred beside the dust of the two boys. The vault was then closed; and the party, solemnized by their close communion with "the buried majesty" of this Coila-crowned king of song, left the place.

Nineteen years passed by, and the vault of the mausoleum was opened to receive a new inmate-the poet's widow, who died after surviving him the long period of thirty-eight years. How, on the night preceding the interment (30th March, 1834), a number of gentlemen, after receiving due authority, descended into the vault, and obtained a cast of the poet's skull for a phrenological purpose, is well known. [It was Mr. James Fraser (now Bailie) who took the cast, and he still retains the original matrix. A cast of the skull having been transmitted to the Phrenological Society of Edinburgh, Mr. George Combe drew up from it an elaborate paper on the cerebral development of the poet. He laid great stress upon its size, 22 inches in circumference, and upon the extreme activity of brain, indicated by other data. Commenting upon the whole, Mr. Combe said: "No phrenologist can look upon this head, and consider the circumstances in which Burns was placed, without vivid feelings of regret. Burns must have walked the earth with a consciousness of great superiority over his associates, in the station in which he was placed-of powers calculated for a far higher sphere than that which he was able to reach-and of passions which he could with difficulty restrain, and which it was fatal to indulge. If he had been placed from infancy in the higher ranks of life, liberally educated, and employed in pursuits corresponding to his powers, the inferior portion of his nature would have lost its energy, while his better qualities would have assumed a decided and permanent superiority."] Dr. Blacklock of Dumfries, one of the party, drew up a report of the appearance of the cranium, from which it appears that it was found to be in a high state of preservation. "The bones of the face and palate," he says, "were also sound; and some small portions of black hair, with a very few grey hairs, while detaching some extraneous matter from the occiput." When the vault was once more opened, for the interment of Burns's eldest son, in May, 1857, the skull of the bard was found to have altered very little since the cast had been taken from it. To secure its better preservation, the vacant space of the enclosing casket was filled with pitch, after which the precious "dome of thought" was restored to its position, to be no more disturbed, we trust, till the day of doom.


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