MS: Letter from Robert Burns to Agnes McLehose, dated 20 December 1787

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MS: Letter from Robert Burns to Agnes McLehose, dated 20 December 1787

Your last, my dear Madam, had the effect on me that Job's situation had on
his friends, when "they sat down seven days and seven nights astonied.
"and spake not a word." - "Pay my addresses to a married woman.
I started, as if I had seen the ghost of him I had inur'd: I recollected
any expressions, some of them indeed were in the law phrase,
"habit and repute," which is being half guilty. - I cannot positive
ly say, Madam, whether my heart might not have gone astray a
but I can declare upon the honor of a Poet that the vagrant
wandered unknown to me. - I have a pretty handsome
troop of Follies of my own; and, like some other people's retinue
they are but undisciplined black guards: but the luckless rascals
have something of honor in them; they would not do a dis-
honest thing. -
To meet with an unfortunate woman, amiable and young;
deserted and widowed by those who were bound by every tie of
Duty, Nature and Gratitude, to protect, comfort and cherish
her; add to all, when she is perhaps one of the first of Lovely
Forms and Noble Minds, the Mind ^too that hits one's taste as
the joys of Heaven do a Saint - should a vague infant-idea,
natural child of Imagination, thoughtlessly peep over
the

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