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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Kilmarnock Edition, Reviews of the

The author of the unsigned quote in The Monthly Review is now believed to be James Anderson (1739-1806), an economist friend of Dr Blacklock.

The author of the unsigned notice in The English Review was the Reverend John Logan (1748—88), the editor (and purloiner, in at least one instance) of the poems of Michael Bruce.

An unsigned and still unattributed notice appears

In the New annual Register for the Year 1786:

'Burns's Poems, chiefly in the Scots dialect are the productions of a man in a low station in life, which he composed 'to amuse himself with the little creations of his own fancy, amid the toil and fatigues of labour; to transcribe the various feelings, the loves, the griefs, the hopes, the fears in his own breast.' And many of them are elegant, simple and pleasing. Those that are written in more serious strain have much poetical merit; but the humorous and satirical pieces appear to have been most congenial to the author's feelings, and turn of mind. Such as are of the descriptive kind contain faithful and pleasing delineations of the simplicity of manners, and engaging scenes to be found in a country life. Upon the whole. We think that our rural bard is justly entitled to the patronage and encouragement which have been liberally extended towards him.'

Another unsigned notice appeared in the Critical Review for May 1787:

'We have had occasion to examine a number of poetical productions, written by persons in the lower ranks of life, and who had hardly received any education; but we do not recollect to have ever met with a more signal instance of true and uncultivated genius, than in the author of these Poems. His occupation is that of a command ploughman; and his life has hitherto been spent in struggling with poverty. But all the rigours of fortune have not been able to repress the frequent efforts of his lively and vigorous imagination. Some of these poems are of a serious cast; but the strain which seems most natural to the author, is the sportive and humorous. It is to be regretted, that the Scottish dialect, in which these poems are written, must obscure the native beauties with which they appear to abound, and renders the sense often unintelligible to an English reader. Should it, however, prove true, that the author has been taken under the patronage of a great lady in Scotland, and that a celebrated professor has interested himself in the cultivation of his talents, there is reason to hop, that his distinguished genius may yet be exerted in such a manner as to afford more general delight. In the mean time we must admire the generous enthusiasm of his untutored muse; and bestow the tribute of just applause on one whose name will be transmitted to posterity with honour.'

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

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