Robert Burns, said Mr. Copeland in his lecture last evening, was born on a farm in Scotland in the year 1759 and, with the exception of two long visits and one short visit to Edinburgh, spent in the country by far the greater part of his short life of thirty-seven years. He was induced to publish his poems in Kilmarnock in 1786 with the hope of raising money to pay his passage to Jamaica, and the success of an enlarged edition of this volume was such that he was not only the lion of the winter in Edinburgh but found the proceeds of his work amply enough to buy a farm at Ellisland near Dumfries. The farm, however, did not pay and, taking a place in the excise, he removed his family to Dumfries, and there spent the shadowed years that remained to him. Although his relations with women were many and complicated, he had in the main a high and noble character. So far from doing wrong to Jean Armour and her family, he did them generous justice, and although he was in a sense disloyal to Mrs. Macklehose-the "Clarinda" of the letters from "Sylvanda"- the disloyalty was necessary to enable him to keep faith with Jean.
With regard to Burns's place in literature, Mr. Copeland thought it profitable-instead of dwelling, as so many critics have done, upon what Burns did not accomplish in poetry-to note and cherish what he did accomplish. This divides itself easily into two classes-first such remarkable geure pictures of the life of the people as "The Jolly Beggars," "Halloween," and a dozen other vigorous examples; and second those keen, sweet songs in which the passions of patriotism, of drink, above all of love, are expressed with a perfectness and a concentration unequalled in modern literature.