Robert Burns’ let­ter to Dr Thomas Black­lock, the “Blind Poet”, Mauch­line 15th Nov. 1788

Sunday Herald - - CULTURE -

Revd & dear Sir, As I hear noth­ing of your mo­tions but that you are, or were, out of town, I do not know where this may find you, or whether it will find you at all. – I wrote you a long let­ter, dated from the land of mat­ri­mony, in June; but ei­ther it had not found you at all; or what I dread more, it found you or Mrs Black­lock in too pre­car­i­ous a state of health & spir­its, to take no­tice of an idle Packet.

I have done many lit­tle things for John­son, since I had the plea­sure of see­ing you; & I have fin­ished one Piece, in the way of Pope’s moral epis­tles; but from your si­lence, I have every thing to fear, so I have only sent you two melan­choly things, which I trem­ble lest they should too well suit the tone of your present feel­ings. In a fort­night, I move, bag & bag­gage to Niths­dale. Till then, my di­rec­tion is, at this place; af­ter that pe­riod, it will be, at El­lis­land near Dum­fries. It would ex­tremely oblige me, were it but half a line, to let me know how you are, & where you are. Can I be in­dif­fer­ent to the fate of a Man, to whom I owe so much? a Man whom I not only es­teem but ven­er­ate?

My warm­est good wishes & most re­spect­ful Com­pli­ments to Mrs Black­lock, & Miss John­ston if she is with you. I can­not con­clude with­out telling you that I am more & more pleased with the step I took re­spect­ing my Jean. Two things, from my happy ex­pe­ri­ence, I set down as Apothegms in life: - A wife’s head is im­ma­te­rial, com­pared with her heart & Virtue’s (for Wis­dom, what Poet pre­tends to it) “ways are ways of pleas­ant­ness, & all her paths are peace”.

Adieu. Robert Burns

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