Letter to Agnes McLehose, January 12 1788

Your thoughts on Religion, Clarinda, shall be welcome—You may
perhaps distrust me when I say ‘tis also my favorite topic; but mine
is the Religion of the bosom—I hate the very idea of controversial
divinity; as I firmly believe, that every honest, upright man, of
whatever sect, will be accepted of the Deity

If your verses, as you seem to hint, contain censure, except you want an occasion to break with me, don’t send them—I have a little infirmity in my disposition, that where I fondly love or highly esteem, I cannot bear reproach.—

‘‘Reverence thyself’’ is a sacred maxim, and I wish to cherish it—-I
think I told you Lord Bolingbroke’s saying to Swift—”Adieu,dear
Swift! with all thy faults I love thee entirely; make an effort to love
me with all mine. “—A glorious sentiment, and without which there
can be no friendship! I do highly, very highly esteem you indeed,
Clarinda; you merit it all! Perhaps, too, I scorn dissimulation! I
could fondly love you: judge, then, what a maddening sting your
reproach would be—Oh, I have sins to Heaven, but none to you!”1
With what pleasure would I meet you today, but I cannot walk to
meet the fly—I hope to be able to see you, on foot, about the
middle of next week.—

I am interrupted—Perhaps you are not sorry for it—You will tell me
—but I won’t anticipate blame.—O Clarinda! did you know how dear
to me is your look of kindness, your smile of approbation! you
would not, either in prose or verse, risque a censorious remark.—

“Curst be the verse, how well soe’er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my foe!”


Published in: on January 12, 2009 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://burnsletters.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/letter-to-agnes-mclehose-january-12-1788/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: