Neglected Genius!


Gift of James Freeman Clarke, 1945 – Autograph file, B



Robert Burns (1759-1796). Autograph letter to Peter Hill, ca. 1794.

This letter to the bookseller Peter Hill includes the drafts of three poems, including “On seeing Mrs. Kemble in Yarico.” The actress had appeared in the role of Yarico in George Colman the Younger’s Inkle and Yarico at the Dumfries Theatre in October, 1794. Byron presents one of the best verbal portraits of the Scottish bard in his journal entry for December 13th, 1813: “What an antithetical mind! – tenderness, roughness – delicacy, coarseness – sentiment, sensuality – soaring and groveling, dirt and deity – all mixed up in that one compound of inspired clay!”