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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Mackenzie, Henry (1745 — 1831)

Henry Mackenzie's father was the Edinburgh physician, Joshua Mackenzie, and his mother, Margaret, the daughter of Hugh Rose of Kilaverock. In addition to his novels, Mackenzie wrote a play, The Prince of Tunis, produced in 1773.

Professor Ross Roy unearthed a letter from Burns to Mackenzie, in which the poet plays up to the older man with a suitably 'weepy' story.

'A dear friend of mine, and the truly cleverst fellow I ever saw, was very fond of a girl in the neighbourhood who doated on him distractedly. He was bred to the sea, a lad of much better than ordinary education, and glowed with unbounded ambition; she too was very pretty and knew a little more of the politesse of life than most of her compeers. He was going abroad not to return for some time, and stung with passion, knowing she had many admirers, he formed a common but very wicket resolution respecting her, and hinted to me his plan. I had just then got The Man of the World and lent it him, not indeed with a moral design but as something that pleased me. This was two evenings before the fatal interview was to have happened; and calling on him, as usual, next evening to ask his opinion of the book, I shall never forget the horror with which he mentioned his tomorrow night's enterprise; and this moment she makes him one of the best of wives.

'I give you this seemingly romantic but real story, because as an Author and as a Man it must highly gratify your feelings.'

Mackenzie swallowed the poetic bait, endorsing the letter : 'Robt Burns May 1787 Remarkable Anecdote to shew the good Effects of Moral Reading'

Incidentally, there are those who believe that Mackenzie's The Man of Feeling may have influenced Goethe's Die Laden des Jugen Werthers (1779).

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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
Search our huge CD and music store for any Burns-related phrase!
Hint: Type "lang syne" or "peck maut" etc. into the Search box there for all artists, titles, descriptions or track listings with the words entered.
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

ScotwebThe finest Scottish shopping site in the world, with the world's largest choice of kilts and tartans, exclusive jewelry, Highland Dress, Bagpipes and piping supplies, cashmere, and much more. Buying from these sites helps pay for the upkeep of Burns Country! Click here...