A Profound Blockhead, p.61.

[Anecdotes of Burns Contents]

CROMEK tells us that at a breakfast where a number of the literati were present, a critic, one of those fond of seeming very acute or wise, undertook to prove that Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard” violated the essential rules of verse, and transgressed against true science, to which he held true poetry to be amenable. He failed, however, in explaining the nature of his scientific gauge, and he also failed in quoting the lines correctly which he proposed to censure; upon which Burns exclaimed, with great vehemence – 

“Sir, you have proved enough – you have proved that a man may be a good judge of poetry by square and rule, and, after all, a profound blockhead.” 

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