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[257] him? The sunlight of a summer morning is weaving itself with the leafy shadows of the bass-tree, beneath which a fair and ruddy-cheeked young woman, with her full, rounded arms, bared to the elbow, bends not ungracefully to her task, pausing ever and anon to play with the bright-eyed child beside her, and mingling her songs with the pleasant murmurings of gliding water! Alas! as the old man looks, he hears that voice, which perpetually sounds to us all from the past—no more!

Let us look at him in his more genial mood. Take the opening lines of his Thanksgiving Day. What a plain, hearty picture of substantial comfort!

When corn is in the garret stored,
     And sauce in cellar well secured;
When good fat beef we can afford,
     And things that're dainty,
With good sweet cider on our board,
     And pudding plenty;

When stock, well housed, may chew the cud,
     And at my door a pile of wood,
A rousing fire to warm my blood,
     Blest sight to see!
It puts my rustic muse in mood
     To sing for thee.

If he needs a simile, he takes the nearest at hand. In a letter to his daughter he says:–

That mine is not a longer letter,
     The cause is not the want of matter,—
Of that there's plenty, worse or better;
     But like a mill
Whose stream beats back with surplus water,
     The wheel stands still.

Something of the humor of Burns gleams out

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