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INTRODUCTION When a poem is read aloud it is easy to realize that poetry is closely related to music. Like music it awakens vague, mysterious feelings which cannot be expressed in ordinary speech; and the person who fails to catch the subtle melody of a poem gets but little from it even though he understands perfectly the meaning of the words. To illustrate this, put into commonplace prose a passage of beautiful verse,—for instance, lines... more...

BURNS'S LETTERS. It is not perhaps generally known that the prose of Burns exceeds in quantity his verse. The world remembers him as a poet, and forgets or overlooks his letters. His place among the poets has never been denied—it is in the first rank; nor is he lowest, though little remembered, among letter-writers. His letters gave Jeffrey a higher opinion of him as a man than did his poetry, though on both alike the critic saw the seal... more...

WHEN chapman billies leave the street,And drouthy neebors, neebors meet,As market-days are wearing late,An' folk begin to tak the gate;While we sit bousing at the nappy,An' getting fou and unco happy,We think na on the lang Scots miles,The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles,That lie between us and our hame,Whar sits our sulky sullen dame,Gathering her brows like gathering storm,Nursing her wrath to keep it warm. This truth fand honest Tam o'... more...

Preface Robert Burns was born near Ayr, Scotland, 25th of January, 1759. He was the son of William Burnes, or Burness, at the time of the poet's birth a nurseryman on the banks of the Doon in Ayrshire. His father, though always extremely poor, attempted to give his children a fair education, and Robert, who was the eldest, went to school for three years in a neighboring village, and later, for shorter periods, to three other schools in the... more...