1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Mackenzie

Robert Burns to Mrs. Dunlop, 10 April 1790; Works, ed. Douglas (1877-79) 5:309.



You must know, I have just met with the Mirror and Lounger for the first time, and I am quite in raptures with them; I should be glad to have your opinion of some of the papers. The one I've just read (Lounger No. 61) has cost me more honest tears than any thing I have read of in a long time. Mackenzie has been called "the Addison of the Scots," and in my opinion, Addison would not be hurt by the comparison. If he has not Addison's exquisite humour, he as certainly outdoes him in the tender and the pathetic. His Man of Feeling — but I am not counsel-learned in the laws of criticism — I estimate as the first performance of the kind I ever saw. From what book, moral or even pious, will the susceptible young mind receive impressions more congenial to humanity and kindness, generosity and benevolence — in short, more of all that ennobles the soul to herself, or endears her to others, than from the simple, affecting tale of poor Harley?