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est poets. Let us touch on these points in their order. First, his activity of mental operation, as manifested in rapidity of conception and production. Those qualities were remarkably exhibited by both Shakspere and Burns, whether we consider the facility with which they flung off their written works, or the no less striking quickness and power of conversation. Ben Jonson tells of Shakspere that his thoughts, and imagery, and burning words, poured from him with such gushing fluency, that it was necessary he should be stopped. Burns we know excelled all his contemporaries in this intellectual exercise; when working in the fields, or going to the coals in a wintry morning along with his comrade peasants, when he stepped from the plough-tail into the saloons of modern Athens, thronged with refined and highly educated philosophers and divines, and women of fashion and high accomplishment, -when he entered an inn at midnight during his gauging rounds, attracting round him rude ostlers and stablemen,--the power of speech was wielded with equal effect upon all, astonishing and delighting the peasants and stablemen with his rough humour and pith of sense, startling the philosopher with the vigour and acuteness of his intellect, overpowering the wits of the day with the flashes of a brighter wit and the splendours of a richer fancy, and sweeping duchesses, dames, and damsels off their feet with the streams of a witching and impassioned eloquence; and all this without studied effort, or trick, or pre-arrangment,-by which many conduct conversation, prepare good sayings, and manufacture jokes,—but spontaneous, natural, free, revelling in the enjoyment of conscious strength quickened into activity by the glow of his ebullient nature. It was a rare and a royal sight to see a poor and obscure man stepping into the society of those high in learning, rank, and office, not only acquitting himself well in the brilliant throng, but asserting and maintaining with triumphant power the grand old truth, that outward accidents are as nothing when compared with the high qualities of a man "holding the patent of his honours immediately from Almighty God." Every subject, except classical learning, Burns handled with quick and dexterous energy, lighting them up with all the fire, and stamping them with the seal of genius. He poured out right royally from the depths of an inexhaustible soul, rich and varied productions with as much apparent ease and rapidity as the earth spins on its axis and throws out its thorns and thistles, its foliage, fruits, and flowers; and the products were richer, fresher, greater, than those of all his fellows, who had fed and fired their spirits with Greek and Roman lore. As wonderful was the rapidity in which his written compositions were produced: his principal pieces were composed during one winter at Mossgiel; and “ Tam O'Shanter" was conceived and produced on the banks of the With on an afternoon.
Other characteristics in the genius of Burns are his intensity of feeling, and genial humour. Illustrations crowd across our mind, but as we have already reached our prescribed limits, we must leave these and the rest of the subject until, mayhap, some future time.
THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION.
AN ADDRESS BY H.R.H. THE PRINCE CONSORT, K.C.B., F.R.S.
[In answer to our request for permission to publish the mas.
terly inaugural address of H.R.H. the Prince Consort, delivered at the 1859 sitting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, at Aberdeen, we had the gratification of receiving the following gracious reply :-)
? "BALMORAL, Sept. 18, 1859. “Sir, I am commanded by H.R. H. the Prince Consort "to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th, and *in answer to say, that His Royal Highness's Address having * been printed, any one is perfectly at liberty to make such "use of it as he may think right. “I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedt. Servt.
“GREY. “General Grey is further commanded to thank Mr. Pitman " for the copy of his 'Popular Lecturer' for 1858, which he has “ been good enough to send."
GENTLEMEN OF THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION,
Your kind invitation to me to undertake the office of your president for the ensuing year, could not but startle me on its first announcement. The high position which science occupies—the vast num. ber of distinguished men who labour in her sacred cause, and whose achievements, while spreading innumerable benefits, justly attract the admiration of mankind, contrasted strongly in my mind with the consciousness of my own insignificance in this respect. I, a simple admirer, and would-be student of science, to take the place of the chief spokesman of the scientific men of the day, assembled in furtherance of their important objects! The thing appeared to me impossible; yet, on reflection, I came to the conclusion, that if not as a contributor to or director of your labours, I might still be useful to you,-useful to science, by accepting your offer. Remembering that this association is a popular association, not a secret confraternity of men jealously guarding the mysteries of their profession, but inviting the uninitiated—the public at large-to join them; having as one of its objects to break down those imaginary and hurtful barriers which exist between men of science and so-called men of practice, I felt that I could, from the peculiar position in which Providence has placed me in this country, appear as the representative of that large public which profits by and admires your exertions, but is unable actively to join in them; that my election was an act of humility on your part which to reject would have looked like false humility, that is, like pride, on mine ; but I reflected further, and saw in my acceptance the means, of which necessarily so few are offered to Her Majesty, of testifying to you through the instrumentality of her husband, that your labours are not unappreciated by your sovereign, and that she wishes her people to know this as well as yourselves. Guided by these reflections, my choice was speedily made, for the path of duty lay straight before me. If these, however, are the motives which induced me to accept your flattering offer of the presidency, a request on my part is hardly necessary that you will receive my efforts to fulfil its duties with kind indulgence. If it were possible for anything to make me still more aware how much I have need of such indulgence, it would be to succeed as your president a man of whom this country is justly
proud (Professor Owen), and whose name stands among the foremost of the naturalists in Europe for his patience in investigation, conscientiousness in observation, boldness of imagination, and acuteness in reasoning. You have no doubt listened with pleasure to his parting address, and I beg to thank him for the flattering manner in which he has alluded to me in it.
The association meets to-day for the first time in, these regions, and in this ancient and interesting city. The poet in his work of action has to choose, and anxiously to weigh, where to lay his scene, knowing that, like the painter, he is thus laying in the background of his picture, which will give tone and colour to the whole. The stern and dry reality of life is governed by the same laws; and we are here living, feeling, and thinking under the influence of the local impressions of this northern seaport. The choice appears to me a good one. The travelling philosophers have had to come far, but in approaching the Highlands of Scotland they meet nature in its wild and primitive form, and nature is the object of their studies. The geologist will not find many novelties in yonder mountains, because he will stand there on the bare backbone of the globe. But the primary rocks which stand out in their nakedness exhibit the grandeur and beauty of their peculiar form. And in the splendid quarries of this neighbourhood are seen to peculiar advantage the closeness and hardness of their mass, and their inexhaustible supply made available for the use of man by the application of new mechanical powers. On this primitive soil the botanist and zoologist will be attracted only by a limited range of plants and animals, but they are the very species which the extension of agriculture and increase of population are gradually driving out of many parts of the country. On those blue hills the red deer in vast herds hold undisturbed dominion oyer the wild