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The Letters of Robert Bloomfield and His Circle, Edited By Tim Fulford and Lynda Pratt
TEI

205. Robert Bloomfield to John Jackson, 9 April 1807* 

Shepherd & Shepherdess City Road London.

April 9, 1807

To Mr J. Jackson

Sir

I was last night favour'd with your 'Address to Time', [1]  and am compell'd to congratulate you with all my whole heart as a man capable of giving the world pleasure hereafter, when the 'Old Gentleman' you address shall have plump'd out the ear of corn that seems now so full of milk. Whither you are induced now to persue the path of poetry, or postpone it untill your judgement is more matured than it can possibly be at your age, Remember that the Choice of Subject is of the last importance to you, or to any one indeed who meddles with the nine kickish lasses so much talk'd of by the learned. Indeed young stranger I do not from age or from knowledge presume to instruct you. If I was at your elbow I could probabaly instruct you from experience which is a thing that does not allways arrise from age itself, nor from what is term'd knowledge. I would whisper thus—Flatter no man, but give every friend his due with conscious integrity. Robert Burns says,

The Rank is but the Guinea's stamp
The Man's the Gowd for a that. [2] 

You may not possibly have read the enclosed Book, whither you have or not, accept it from me, with sincere wishes for your wellfare; and accept too this blunt congratulations from a stranger, yours, Sir, truly

Rob Bloomfield

* BL Add. MS. 30809, f. 47 BACK

[1] An Address to Time: to which are added Stanzas written on a Beautiful Day in January, 1807, etc. (Macclesfield, 1807) was written by John Jackson of Harrap Wood near Macclesfield. Jackson was also the author of Barythymia: a Poem addressed to the Sons and Daughters of Adversity (Macclesfield,? 1810). BACK

[2] Lines 7–8 of Burns's song 'Is there for honest poverty' ('A man's a man for a' that') (1795):

Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by ––
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Our toils obscure, an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine ––
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that,
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie ca'd 'a lord,'
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that?
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that,
The man o' independent mind,
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that!
But an honest man's aboon his might ––
Guid faith, he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities, an' a' that,
The pith o' sense an' pride o' worth
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that)
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth
Shall bear the gree an' a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that,
That man to man the world o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that
BACK

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Published @ RC

September 2009