1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Helen Maria Wiliams to Robert Burns, 20 June 1787; Edinburgh Magazine NS 1 (September 1817) 109.



Your friend Dr. Moore, having a complaint in his eyes, has desired me to become his secretary, and thank you, in his name, for your very humorous poem, entitled, Auld Willie's Prayer, which he had from Mr. Creech.

I am happy in this opportunity of expressing my obligations to you for the pleasure your poems have given me. I am sensible enough that my suffrage in their favour is of little value, yet it is natural for me to tell you, that, as far as I am capable of feeling poetical excellence, I have felt the power of your genius. I believe no one has read oftener than myself your Vision, your Cotter's Evening, the Address to the Mouse, and many of your other poems. My mother's family is Scotch, and the dialect has been familiar to me from my infancy; I was, therefore, qualified to taste the charm of your native poetry, and, as I feel the strongest attachment for Scotland, I share the triumph of your country in producing your laurels.