the grimsay press

Burns In Dumfriesshire: A Sketch of the last eight years of the poet's life (1881) with Direct Descendants of Burns (1895)
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By McDowall, William and McNaught, D.
ISBN 1845300807
SERIES Ecclefechan Carlyle Society
Paperback  114 pages
Published 9 July 2010
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In the "History of Dumfries," there are two chapters devoted to the life of Robert Burns, when residing in that ancient burgh. Some admirers of the poet were good enough to express their approval of what had been said of him in the history, and to .follow up their favourable verdict with a proposal that the sketch should be reproduced in a separate form. As a result of this suggestion, the present little work was prepared for the press. The narrative of Burns's Dumfries experiences has been carefully revised and considerably enlarged; a new chapter has been written respecting the poet's sojourn in Ellisland; and some additional notes, with an Appendix, have been introduced, in order to make the work more locally complete. "Burns in Dumfriesshire" is not offered to the public as an original biography of the national bard, neither does it profess to give an exhaustive memoir of him as an inhabitant of that county; it is simply an outline, with illustrations, old and new, showing what he was as a man, and what he did as a poet, during 1788-1796, the last eight years he spent on earth. It is not necessary, for the sake of connection, to trace the leading incidents in the existence of Burns prior to the beginning of the Ellisland period, as these are so generally known. Instead of this being done, let the following pregnant paragraph suffice:- "Between the month of May, 1786, and the month of April, 1788; -that is, between the ages of twenty-seven and twenty-nine-he (Burns) is deserted and disowned by Jean Armour; he is solemnly betrothed to Mary Campbell; his poems, written chiefly, it may be said, as well as printed, in the interval, appear; twin children are born to him by Jean Armour, one of whom subsequently dies; Mary Campbell dies; his life in Edinburgh begins; new and enlarged edition of his poems appears; after tour through the south he returns to Mauchline; Jean Armour repents, and his intimacy with her is renewed; after tour in the north he returns again to Edinburgh; is introduced to Mrs. Maclehose (Clarinda), with whom his celebrated correspondence begins; returns once more to Mauchline; takes Jean himself secretly to Tarbolton Mill for her confinement there in disgrace, where twins are again born, both of whom die; acknowledges Jean Armour for his wife; satisfies the Church; satisfies affectionately mother, brother, and sisters, out of his miraculous 500 (profit from his poems); and makes final arrangements for his own removal, with wife and family, to Ellisland." The author from whom we have quoted this passage (Dr. P. Hately Waddell), truly remarks in connection with it that "no reader nor any writer, with unassisted memory can imagine the actual amount of personal and domestic excitement-of love, of sorrow, of temptation, and of triumph, that was crowded into so brief a space as that of two years, at the commencement of this epoch of his life." Immediately after the eventful period here described, Burns appears as a Dumfriesshire farmer, and his career in that capacity is traced in the opening chapter. To the present edition are added for the first time a notice of the Burns Statue Monument in Dumfries, and a list of Relics shown at a Bazaar held in aid of the Statue Fund.

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