1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Allan Ramsay

Robert Burns to James Hoy, 6 November 1787; in Works, ed Douglas (1877-79) 4:303.



There is I know not what of wild happiness of thought and expression peculiarly beautiful in the old Scottish song style, of which his Grace, old venerable Skinner, the author of Tullochgorum, &c., and the late Ross at Lochlee of true Scottish poetic memory, are the only modern instances that I recollect, since Ramsay with his contemporaries, and poor Bob Ferguson, went to the World of deathless existence and truly immortal song. The mob of mankind, that many-headed beast, would laugh at so serious a speech about an old song; but, as Job says, "O that mine adversary had written a book!"