Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Poems And Songs Of Robert Burns by Robert Burns

Part 6 out of 13

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Wha meekly gie your hurdies to the smiters;
And (what would now be strange), ye godly Writers;
A' ye douce folk I've borne aboon the broo,
Were ye but here, what would ye say or do?
How would your spirits groan in deep vexation,
To see each melancholy alteration;
And, agonising, curse the time and place
When ye begat the base degen'rate race!
Nae langer rev'rend men, their country's glory,
In plain braid Scots hold forth a plain braid story;
Nae langer thrifty citizens, an' douce,
Meet owre a pint, or in the Council-house;
But staumrel, corky-headed, graceless Gentry,
The herryment and ruin of the country;
Men, three-parts made by tailors and by barbers,
Wha waste your weel-hain'd gear on damn'd new brigs and harbours!"

New Brig

"Now haud you there! for faith ye've said enough,
And muckle mair than ye can mak to through.
As for your Priesthood, I shall say but little,
Corbies and Clergy are a shot right kittle:
But, under favour o' your langer beard,
Abuse o' Magistrates might weel be spar'd;
To liken them to your auld-warld squad,
I must needs say, comparisons are odd.
In Ayr, wag-wits nae mair can hae a handle
To mouth 'a Citizen,' a term o' scandal;
Nae mair the Council waddles down the street,
In all the pomp of ignorant conceit;
Men wha grew wise priggin owre hops and raisins,
Or gather'd lib'ral views in Bonds and Seisins:
If haply Knowledge, on a random tramp,
Had shor'd them with a glimmer of his lamp,
And would to Common-sense for once betray'd them,
Plain, dull Stupidity stept kindly in to aid them."

What farther clish-ma-claver aight been said,
What bloody wars, if Sprites had blood to shed,
No man can tell; but, all before their sight,
A fairy train appear'd in order bright;
Adown the glittering stream they featly danc'd;
Bright to the moon their various dresses glanc'd:
They footed o'er the wat'ry glass so neat,
The infant ice scarce bent beneath their feet:
While arts of Minstrelsy among them rung,
And soul-ennobling Bards heroic ditties sung.

O had M'Lauchlan,^7 thairm-inspiring sage,
Been there to hear this heavenly band engage,
When thro' his dear strathspeys they bore with Highland rage;
Or when they struck old Scotia's melting airs,
The lover's raptured joys or bleeding cares;
How would his Highland lug been nobler fir'd,
And ev'n his matchless hand with finer touch inspir'd!
No guess could tell what instrument appear'd,
But all the soul of Music's self was heard;
Harmonious concert rung in every part,
While simple melody pour'd moving on the heart.
The Genius of the Stream in front appears,
A venerable Chief advanc'd in years;
His hoary head with water-lilies crown'd,
His manly leg with garter-tangle bound.
Next came the loveliest pair in all the ring,
Sweet female Beauty hand in hand with Spring;
Then, crown'd with flow'ry hay, came Rural Joy,
And Summer, with his fervid-beaming eye;

[Footnote 7: A well-known performer of Scottish music on the violin.-R. B.]

All-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn,
Led yellow Autumn wreath'd with nodding corn;
Then Winter's time-bleach'd locks did hoary show,
By Hospitality with cloudless brow:
Next followed Courage with his martial stride,
From where the Feal wild-woody coverts hide;^8
Benevolence, with mild, benignant air,
A female form, came from the tow'rs of Stair;^9
Learning and Worth in equal measures trode,
From simple Catrine, their long-lov'd abode:^10
Last, white-rob'd Peace, crown'd with a hazel wreath,
To rustic Agriculture did bequeath
The broken, iron instruments of death:
At sight of whom our Sprites forgat their kindling wrath.

Fragment Of Song

The night was still, and o'er the hill
The moon shone on the castle wa';
The mavis sang, while dew-drops hang
Around her on the castle wa';
Sae merrily they danced the ring
Frae eenin' till the cock did craw;
And aye the o'erword o' the spring
Was "Irvine's bairns are bonie a'."

Epigram On Rough Roads

I'm now arrived-thanks to the gods!-
Thro' pathways rough and muddy,
A certain sign that makin roads
Is no this people's study:
Altho' Im not wi' Scripture cram'd,
I'm sure the Bible says
That heedless sinners shall be damn'd,
Unless they mend their ways.

[Footnote 8: A compliment to the Montgomeries of Coilsfield, on the Feal or
Faile, a tributary of the Ayr.]

[Footnote 9: Mrs. Stewart of Stair, an early patroness of the poet.]

[Footnote 10: The house of Professor Dugald Stewart.]

Prayer-O Thou Dread Power

Lying at a reverend friend's house one night, the author left the
following verses in the room where he slept:-

O Thou dread Power, who reign'st above,
I know thou wilt me hear,
When for this scene of peace and love,
I make this prayer sincere.

The hoary Sire-the mortal stroke,
Long, long be pleas'd to spare;
To bless this little filial flock,
And show what good men are.

She, who her lovely offspring eyes
With tender hopes and fears,
O bless her with a mother's joys,
But spare a mother's tears!

Their hope, their stay, their darling youth.
In manhood's dawning blush,
Bless him, Thou God of love and truth,
Up to a parent's wish.

The beauteous, seraph sister-band-
With earnest tears I pray-
Thou know'st the snares on ev'ry hand,
Guide Thou their steps alway.

When, soon or late, they reach that coast,
O'er Life's rough ocean driven,
May they rejoice, no wand'rer lost,
A family in Heaven!

Farewell Song To The Banks Of Ayr

tune-"Roslin Castle."

"I composed this song as I conveyed my chest so far on my road to
Greenock, where I was to embark in a few days for Jamaica. I meant it as my
farewell dirge to my native land."-R. B.

The gloomy night is gath'ring fast,
Loud roars the wild, inconstant blast,
Yon murky cloud is foul with rain,
I see it driving o'er the plain;
The hunter now has left the moor.
The scatt'red coveys meet secure;
While here I wander, prest with care,
Along the lonely banks of Ayr.

The Autumn mourns her rip'ning corn
By early Winter's ravage torn;
Across her placid, azure sky,
She sees the scowling tempest fly:
Chill runs my blood to hear it rave;
I think upon the stormy wave,
Where many a danger I must dare,
Far from the bonie banks of Ayr.

'Tis not the surging billow's roar,
'Tis not that fatal, deadly shore;
Tho' death in ev'ry shape appear,
The wretched have no more to fear:
But round my heart the ties are bound,
That heart transpierc'd with many a wound;
These bleed afresh, those ties I tear,
To leave the bonie banks of Ayr.

Farewell, old Coila's hills and dales,
Her healthy moors and winding vales;
The scenes where wretched Fancy roves,
Pursuing past, unhappy loves!
Farewell, my friends! farewell, my foes!
My peace with these, my love with those:
The bursting tears my heart declare-
Farewell, the bonie banks of Ayr!

Address To The Toothache

My curse upon your venom'd stang,
That shoots my tortur'd gums alang,
An' thro' my lug gies mony a twang,
Wi' gnawing vengeance,
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang,
Like racking engines!

When fevers burn, or argues freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or colics squeezes,
Our neibor's sympathy can ease us,
Wi' pitying moan;
But thee-thou hell o' a' diseases-
Aye mocks our groan.

Adown my beard the slavers trickle
I throw the wee stools o'er the mickle,
While round the fire the giglets keckle,
To see me loup,
While, raving mad, I wish a heckle
Were in their doup!

In a' the numerous human dools,
Ill hairsts, daft bargains, cutty stools,
Or worthy frien's rak'd i' the mools, -
Sad sight to see!
The tricks o' knaves, or fash o'fools,
Thou bear'st the gree!

Where'er that place be priests ca' hell,
Where a' the tones o' misery yell,
An' ranked plagues their numbers tell,
In dreadfu' raw,
Thou, Toothache, surely bear'st the bell,
Amang them a'!

O thou grim, mischief-making chiel,
That gars the notes o' discord squeel,
Till daft mankind aft dance a reel
In gore, a shoe-thick,
Gie a' the faes o' Scotland's weal
A townmond's toothache!

Lines On Meeting With Lord Daer^1

This wot ye all whom it concerns,
I, Rhymer Robin, alias Burns,
October twenty-third,

[Footnote 1: At the house of Professor Dugald Stewart.]

A ne'er-to-be-forgotten day,
Sae far I sprackl'd up the brae,
I dinner'd wi' a Lord.

I've been at drucken writers' feasts,
Nay, been bitch-fou 'mang godly priests-
Wi' rev'rence be it spoken!-
I've even join'd the honour'd jorum,
When mighty Squireships of the quorum,
Their hydra drouth did sloken.

But wi' a Lord!-stand out my shin,
A Lord-a Peer-an Earl's son!
Up higher yet, my bonnet
An' sic a Lord!-lang Scoth ells twa,
Our Peerage he o'erlooks them a',
As I look o'er my sonnet.

But O for Hogarth's magic pow'r!
To show Sir Bardie's willyart glow'r,
An' how he star'd and stammer'd,
When, goavin, as if led wi' branks,
An' stumpin on his ploughman shanks,
He in the parlour hammer'd.

I sidying shelter'd in a nook,
An' at his Lordship steal't a look,
Like some portentous omen;
Except good sense and social glee,
An' (what surpris'd me) modesty,
I marked nought uncommon.

I watch'd the symptoms o' the Great,
The gentle pride, the lordly state,
The arrogant assuming;
The fient a pride, nae pride had he,
Nor sauce, nor state, that I could see,
Mair than an honest ploughman.

Then from his Lordship I shall learn,
Henceforth to meet with unconcern
One rank as weel's another;
Nae honest, worthy man need care
To meet with noble youthful Daer,
For he but meets a brother.

Masonic Song

tune-"Shawn-boy," or "Over the water to Charlie."

Ye sons of old Killie, assembled by Willie,
To follow the noble vocation;
Your thrifty old mother has scarce such another
To sit in that honoured station.
I've little to say, but only to pray,
As praying's the ton of your fashion;
A prayer from thee Muse you well may excuse
'Tis seldom her favourite passion.

Ye powers who preside o'er the wind, and the tide,
Who marked each element's border;
Who formed this frame with beneficent aim,
Whose sovereign statute is order:-
Within this dear mansion, may wayward Contention
Or withered Envy ne'er enter;
May secrecy round be the mystical bound,
And brotherly Love be the centre!

Tam Samson's Elegy

An honest man's the noblest work of God-Pope.

When this worthy old sportman went out, last muirfowl season, he
supposed it was to be, in Ossian's phrase, "the last of his fields," and
expressed an ardent wish to die and be buried in the muirs. On this hint the
author composed his elegy and epitaph.-R.B., 1787.

Has auld Kilmarnock seen the deil?
Or great Mackinlay^1 thrawn his heel?
Or Robertson^2 again grown weel,
To preach an' read?
"Na' waur than a'! cries ilka chiel,
"Tam Samson's dead!"

[Footnote 1: A certain preacher, a great favourite with the million. Vide "The
Ordination." stanza ii.-R. B.]

[Footnote 2: Another preacher, an equal favourite with the few, who was at
that time ailing. For him see also "The Ordination," stanza ix.-R.B.]

Kilmarnock lang may grunt an' grane,
An' sigh, an' sab, an' greet her lane,
An' cleed her bairns, man, wife, an' wean,
In mourning weed;
To Death she's dearly pay'd the kane-
Tam Samson's dead!

The Brethren, o' the mystic level
May hing their head in woefu' bevel,
While by their nose the tears will revel,
Like ony bead;
Death's gien the Lodge an unco devel;
Tam Samson's dead!

When Winter muffles up his cloak,
And binds the mire like a rock;
When to the loughs the curlers flock,
Wi' gleesome speed,
Wha will they station at the cock?
Tam Samson's dead!
When Winter muffles up his cloak,
He was the king o' a' the core,
To guard, or draw, or wick a bore,
Or up the rink like Jehu roar,
In time o' need;
But now he lags on Death's hog-score-
Tam Samson's dead!

Now safe the stately sawmont sail,
And trouts bedropp'd wi' crimson hail,
And eels, weel-ken'd for souple tail,
And geds for greed,
Since, dark in Death's fish-creel, we wail
Tam Samson's dead!

Rejoice, ye birring paitricks a';
Ye cootie muircocks, crousely craw;
Ye maukins, cock your fud fu' braw
Withouten dread;
Your mortal fae is now awa;
Tam Samson's dead!

That woefu' morn be ever mourn'd,
Saw him in shooting graith adorn'd,
While pointers round impatient burn'd,
Frae couples free'd;
But och! he gaed and ne'er return'd!
Tam Samson's dead!

In vain auld age his body batters,
In vain the gout his ancles fetters,
In vain the burns cam down like waters,
An acre braid!
Now ev'ry auld wife, greetin, clatters
"Tam Samson's dead!"

Owre mony a weary hag he limpit,
An' aye the tither shot he thumpit,
Till coward Death behind him jumpit,
Wi' deadly feid;
Now he proclaims wi' tout o' trumpet,
"Tam Samson's dead!"

When at his heart he felt the dagger,
He reel'd his wonted bottle-swagger,
But yet he drew the mortal trigger,
Wi' weel-aimed heed;
"Lord, five!" he cry'd, an' owre did stagger-
Tam Samson's dead!

Ilk hoary hunter mourn'd a brither;
Ilk sportsman youth bemoan'd a father;
Yon auld gray stane, amang the heather,
Marks out his head;
Whare Burns has wrote, in rhyming blether,
"Tam Samson's dead!"

There, low he lies, in lasting rest;
Perhaps upon his mould'ring breast
Some spitefu' muirfowl bigs her nest
To hatch an' breed:
Alas! nae mair he'll them molest!
Tam Samson's dead!

When August winds the heather wave,
And sportsmen wander by yon grave,
Three volleys let his memory crave,
O' pouther an' lead,
Till Echo answer frae her cave,
"Tam Samson's dead!"

Heav'n rest his saul whare'er he be!
Is th' wish o' mony mae than me:
He had twa fauts, or maybe three,
Yet what remead?
Ae social, honest man want we:
Tam Samson's dead!

The Epitaph

Tam Samson's weel-worn clay here lies
Ye canting zealots, spare him!
If honest worth in Heaven rise,
Ye'll mend or ye win near him.

Per Contra

Go, Fame, an' canter like a filly
Thro' a' the streets an' neuks o' Killie;^3
Tell ev'ry social honest billie
To cease his grievin';
For, yet unskaithed by Death's gleg gullie.
Tam Samson's leevin'!

Epistle To Major Logan

Hail, thairm-inspirin', rattlin' Willie!
Tho' fortune's road be rough an' hilly
To every fiddling, rhyming billie,
We never heed,
But take it like the unback'd filly,
Proud o' her speed.

[Footnote 3: Kilmarnock.-R. B.]

When, idly goavin', whiles we saunter,
Yirr! fancy barks, awa we canter,
Up hill, down brae, till some mischanter,
Some black bog-hole,
Arrests us; then the scathe an' banter
We're forced to thole.

Hale be your heart! hale be your fiddle!
Lang may your elbuck jink and diddle,
To cheer you through the weary widdle
O' this wild warl'.
Until you on a crummock driddle,
A grey hair'd carl.

Come wealth, come poortith, late or soon,
Heaven send your heart-strings aye in tune,
And screw your temper-pins aboon
A fifth or mair
The melancholious, lazy croon
O' cankrie care.

May still your life from day to day,
Nae "lente largo" in the play,
But "allegretto forte" gay,
Harmonious flow,
A sweeping, kindling, bauld strathspey-
Encore! Bravo!

A blessing on the cheery gang
Wha dearly like a jig or sang,
An' never think o' right an' wrang
By square an' rule,
But, as the clegs o' feeling stang,
Are wise or fool.

My hand-waled curse keep hard in chase
The harpy, hoodock, purse-proud race,
Wha count on poortith as disgrace;
Their tuneless hearts,
May fireside discords jar a base
To a' their parts.

But come, your hand, my careless brither,
I' th' ither warl', if there's anither,
An' that there is, I've little swither
About the matter;
We, cheek for chow, shall jog thegither,
I'se ne'er bid better.

We've faults and failings-granted clearly,
We're frail backsliding mortals merely,
Eve's bonie squad, priests wyte them sheerly
For our grand fa';
But still, but still, I like them dearly-
God bless them a'!

Ochone for poor Castalian drinkers,
When they fa' foul o' earthly jinkers!
The witching, curs'd, delicious blinkers
Hae put me hyte,
And gart me weet my waukrife winkers,
Wi' girnin'spite.

By by yon moon!-and that's high swearin-
An' every star within my hearin!
An' by her een wha was a dear ane!
I'll ne'er forget;
I hope to gie the jads a clearin
In fair play yet.

My loss I mourn, but not repent it;
I'll seek my pursie whare I tint it;
Ance to the Indies I were wonted,
Some cantraip hour
By some sweet elf I'll yet be dinted;
Then vive l'amour!

Faites mes baissemains respectueuses,
To sentimental sister Susie,
And honest Lucky; no to roose you,
Ye may be proud,
That sic a couple Fate allows ye,
To grace your blood.

Nae mair at present can I measure,
An' trowth my rhymin ware's nae treasure;
But when in Ayr, some half-hour's leisure,
Be't light, be't dark,
Sir Bard will do himself the pleasure
To call at Park.

Robert Burns.
Mossgiel, 30th October, 1786.

Fragment On Sensibility

Rusticity's ungainly form
May cloud the highest mind;
But when the heart is nobly warm,
The good excuse will find.

Propriety's cold, cautious rules
Warm fervour may o'erlook:
But spare poor sensibility
Th' ungentle, harsh rebuke.

A Winter Night

Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm!
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these?-Shakespeare.

When biting Boreas, fell and dour,
Sharp shivers thro' the leafless bow'r;
When Phoebus gies a short-liv'd glow'r,
Far south the lift,
Dim-dark'ning thro' the flaky show'r,
Or whirling drift:

Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi' snawy wreaths up-choked,
Wild-eddying swirl;
Or, thro' the mining outlet bocked,
Down headlong hurl:

List'ning the doors an' winnocks rattle,
I thought me on the ourie cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
O' winter war,
And thro' the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle
Beneath a scar.

Ilk happing bird,-wee, helpless thing!
That, in the merry months o' spring,
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
What comes o' thee?
Whare wilt thou cow'r thy chittering wing,
An' close thy e'e?

Ev'n you, on murdering errands toil'd,
Lone from your savage homes exil'd,
The blood-stain'd roost, and sheep-cote spoil'd
My heart forgets,
While pityless the tempest wild
Sore on you beats!

Now Phoebe in her midnight reign,
Dark-muff'd, view'd the dreary plain;
Still crowding thoughts, a pensive train,
Rose in my soul,
When on my ear this plantive strain,
Slow, solemn, stole:-

"Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust!
And freeze, thou bitter-biting frost!
Descend, ye chilly, smothering snows!
Not all your rage, as now united, shows
More hard unkindness unrelenting,
Vengeful malice unrepenting.
Than heaven-illumin'd Man on brother Man bestows!

"See stern Oppression's iron grip,
Or mad Ambition's gory hand,
Sending, like blood-hounds from the slip,
Woe, Want, and Murder o'er a land!
Ev'n in the peaceful rural vale,
Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,
How pamper'd Luxury, Flatt'ry by her side,
The parasite empoisoning her ear,
With all the servile wretches in the rear,
Looks o'er proud Property, extended wide;
And eyes the simple, rustic hind,
Whose toil upholds the glitt'ring show-
A creature of another kind,
Some coarser substance, unrefin'd-
Plac'd for her lordly use thus far, thus vile, below!

"Where, where is Love's fond, tender throe,
With lordly Honour's lofty brow,
The pow'rs you proudly own?
Is there, beneath Love's noble name,
Can harbour, dark, the selfish aim,
To bless himself alone?
Mark maiden-innocence a prey
To love-pretending snares:
This boasted Honour turns away,
Shunning soft Pity's rising sway,
Regardless of the tears and unavailing pray'rs!
Perhaps this hour, in Misery's squalid nest,
She strains your infant to her joyless breast,
And with a mother's fears shrinks at the rocking blast!

"Oh ye! who, sunk in beds of down,
Feel not a want but what yourselves create,
Think, for a moment, on his wretched fate,
Whom friends and fortune quite disown!
Ill-satisfy'd keen nature's clamorous call,
Stretch'd on his straw, he lays himself to sleep;
While through the ragged roof and chinky wall,
Chill, o'er his slumbers, piles the drifty heap!
Think on the dungeon's grim confine,
Where Guilt and poor Misfortune pine!
Guilt, erring man, relenting view,
But shall thy legal rage pursue
The wretch, already crushed low
By cruel Fortune's undeserved blow?
Affliction's sons are brothers in distress;
A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss!"

I heard nae mair, for Chanticleer
Shook off the pouthery snaw,
And hail'd the morning with a cheer,
A cottage-rousing craw.
But deep this truth impress'd my mind-
Thro' all His works abroad,
The heart benevolent and kind
The most resembles God.

song-Yon Wild Mossy Mountains

Yon wild mossy mountains sae lofty and wide,
That nurse in their bosom the youth o' the Clyde,
Where the grouse lead their coveys thro' the heather to feed,
And the shepherd tends his flock as he pipes on his reed.

Not Gowrie's rich valley, nor Forth's sunny shores,
To me hae the charms o'yon wild, mossy moors;
For there, by a lanely, sequestered stream,
Besides a sweet lassie, my thought and my dream.

Amang thae wild mountains shall still be my path,
Ilk stream foaming down its ain green, narrow strath;
For there, wi' my lassie, the day lang I rove,
While o'er us unheeded flie the swift hours o'love.

She is not the fairest, altho' she is fair;
O' nice education but sma' is her share;
Her parentage humble as humble can be;
But I lo'e the dear lassie because she lo'es me.

To Beauty what man but maun yield him a prize,
In her armour of glances, and blushes, and sighs?
And when wit and refinement hae polish'd her darts,
They dazzle our een, as they flie to our hearts.

But kindness, sweet kindness, in the fond-sparkling e'e,
Has lustre outshining the diamond to me;
And the heart beating love as I'm clasp'd in her arms,
O, these are my lassie's all-conquering charms!

Address To Edinburgh

Edina! Scotia's darling seat!
All hail thy palaces and tow'rs,
Where once, beneath a Monarch's feet,
Sat Legislation's sov'reign pow'rs:
From marking wildly scatt'red flow'rs,
As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd,
And singing, lone, the lingering hours,
I shelter in they honour'd shade.

Here Wealth still swells the golden tide,
As busy Trade his labours plies;
There Architecture's noble pride
Bids elegance and splendour rise:
Here Justice, from her native skies,
High wields her balance and her rod;
There Learning, with his eagle eyes,
Seeks Science in her coy abode.

Thy sons, Edina, social, kind,
With open arms the stranger hail;
Their views enlarg'd, their liberal mind,
Above the narrow, rural vale:
Attentive still to Sorrow's wail,
Or modest Merit's silent claim;
And never may their sources fail!
And never Envy blot their name!

Thy daughters bright thy walks adorn,
Gay as the gilded summer sky,
Sweet as the dewy, milk-white thorn,
Dear as the raptur'd thrill of joy!
Fair Burnet strikes th' adoring eye,
Heaven's beauties on my fancy shine;
I see the Sire of Love on high,
And own His work indeed divine!

There, watching high the least alarms,
Thy rough, rude fortress gleams afar;
Like some bold veteran, grey in arms,
And mark'd with many a seamy scar:
The pond'rous wall and massy bar,
Grim-rising o'er the rugged rock,
Have oft withstood assailing war,
And oft repell'd th' invader's shock.

With awe-struck thought, and pitying tears,
I view that noble, stately Dome,
Where Scotia's kings of other years,
Fam'd heroes! had their royal home:
Alas, how chang'd the times to come!
Their royal name low in the dust!
Their hapless race wild-wand'ring roam!
Tho' rigid Law cries out 'twas just!

Wild beats my heart to trace your steps,
Whose ancestors, in days of yore,
Thro' hostile ranks and ruin'd gaps
Old Scotia's bloody lion bore:
Ev'n I who sing in rustic lore,
Haply my sires have left their shed,
And fac'd grim Danger's loudest roar,
Bold-following where your fathers led!

Edina! Scotia's darling seat!
All hail thy palaces and tow'rs;
Where once, beneath a Monarch's feet,
Sat Legislation's sovereign pow'rs:
From marking wildly-scatt'red flow'rs,
As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd,
And singing, lone, the ling'ring hours,
I shelter in thy honour'd shade.

Address To A Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

To Miss Logan, With Beattie's Poems, For A New-Year's Gift, Jan. 1, 1787.

Again the silent wheels of time
Their annual round have driven,
And you, tho' scarce in maiden prime,
Are so much nearer Heaven.

No gifts have I from Indian coasts
The infant year to hail;
I send you more than India boasts,
In Edwin's simple tale.

Our sex with guile, and faithless love,
Is charg'd, perhaps too true;
But may, dear maid, each lover prove
An Edwin still to you.

Mr. William Smellie-A Sketch

Shrewd Willie Smellie to Crochallan came;
The old cock'd hat, the grey surtout the same;
His bristling beard just rising in its might,
'Twas four long nights and days to shaving night:
His uncomb'd grizzly locks, wild staring, thatch'd
A head for thought profound and clear, unmatch'd;
Yet tho' his caustic wit was biting-rude,
His heart was warm, benevolent, and good.

Rattlin', Roarin' Willie^1

As I cam by Crochallan,
I cannilie keekit ben;
Rattlin', roarin' Willie
Was sittin at yon boord-en';
Sittin at yon boord-en,
And amang gude companie;
Rattlin', roarin' Willie,
You're welcome hame to me!

song-Bonie Dundee

My blessin's upon thy sweet wee lippie!
My blessin's upon thy e'e-brie!
Thy smiles are sae like my blythe sodger laddie,
Thou's aye the dearer, and dearer to me!

But I'll big a bow'r on yon bonie banks,
Whare Tay rins wimplin' by sae clear;
An' I'll cleed thee in the tartan sae fine,
And mak thee a man like thy daddie dear.

Extempore In The Court Of Session


Lord Advocate

He clenched his pamphlet in his fist,
He quoted and he hinted,
Till, in a declamation-mist,
His argument he tint it:
He gaped for't, he graped for't,
He fand it was awa, man;
But what his common sense came short,
He eked out wi' law, man.

Mr. Erskine

Collected, Harry stood awee,
Then open'd out his arm, man;

[Footnote 1: William Dunbar, W. S., of the Crochallan Fencibles, a convivial

His Lordship sat wi' ruefu' e'e,
And ey'd the gathering storm, man:
Like wind-driven hail it did assail'
Or torrents owre a lin, man:
The Bench sae wise, lift up their eyes,
Half-wauken'd wi' the din, man.

Inscription For The Headstone Of Fergusson The Poet^1

No sculptured marble here, nor pompous lay,
"No storied urn nor animated bust;"
This simple stone directs pale Scotia's way,
To pour her sorrows o'er the Poet's dust.

Additional Stanzas

She mourns, sweet tuneful youth, thy hapless fate;
Tho' all the powers of song thy fancy fired,
Yet Luxury and Wealth lay by in state,
And, thankless, starv'd what they so much admired.

This tribute, with a tear, now gives
A brother Bard-he can no more bestow:
But dear to fame thy Song immortal lives,
A nobler monument than Art can shew.

Inscribed Under Fergusson's Portrait

Curse on ungrateful man, that can be pleased,
And yet can starve the author of the pleasure.
O thou, my elder brother in misfortune,
By far my elder brother in the Muses,
With tears I pity thy unhappy fate!
Why is the Bard unpitied by the world,
Yet has so keen a relish of its pleasures?

[Footnote 1: The stone was erected at Burns' expenses in February-March,

Epistle To Mrs. Scott

Gudewife of Wauchope-House, Roxburghshire.


I Mind it weel in early date,
When I was bardless, young, and blate,
An' first could thresh the barn,
Or haud a yokin' at the pleugh;
An, tho' forfoughten sair eneugh,
Yet unco proud to learn:
When first amang the yellow corn
A man I reckon'd was,
An' wi' the lave ilk merry morn
Could rank my rig and lass,
Still shearing, and clearing
The tither stooked raw,
Wi' claivers, an' haivers,
Wearing the day awa.

E'en then, a wish, (I mind its pow'r),
A wish that to my latest hour
Shall strongly heave my breast,
That I for poor auld Scotland's sake
Some usefu' plan or book could make,
Or sing a sang at least.
The rough burr-thistle, spreading wide
Amang the bearded bear,
I turn'd the weeder-clips aside,
An' spar'd the symbol dear:
No nation, no station,
My envy e'er could raise;
A Scot still, but blot still,
I knew nae higher praise.

But still the elements o' sang,
In formless jumble, right an' wrang,
Wild floated in my brain;
'Till on that har'st I said before,
May partner in the merry core,
She rous'd the forming strain;
I see her yet, the sonsie quean,
That lighted up my jingle,
Her witching smile, her pawky een
That gart my heart-strings tingle;
I fired, inspired,
At every kindling keek,
But bashing, and dashing,
I feared aye to speak.

Health to the sex! ilk guid chiel says:
Wi' merry dance in winter days,
An' we to share in common;
The gust o' joy, the balm of woe,
The saul o' life, the heaven below,
Is rapture-giving woman.
Ye surly sumphs, who hate the name,
Be mindfu' o' your mither;
She, honest woman, may think shame
That ye're connected with her:
Ye're wae men, ye're nae men
That slight the lovely dears;
To shame ye, disclaim ye,
Ilk honest birkie swears.

For you, no bred to barn and byre,
Wha sweetly tune the Scottish lyre,
Thanks to you for your line:
The marled plaid ye kindly spare,
By me should gratefully be ware;
'Twad please me to the nine.
I'd be mair vauntie o' my hap,
Douce hingin owre my curple,
Than ony ermine ever lap,
Or proud imperial purple.
Farewell then, lang hale then,
An' plenty be your fa;
May losses and crosses
Ne'er at your hallan ca'!

R. Burns
March, 1787

Verses Intended To Be Written Below A Noble Earl's Picture^1

Whose is that noble, dauntless brow?
And whose that eye of fire?
And whose that generous princely mien,
E'en rooted foes admire?

Stranger! to justly show that brow,
And mark that eye of fire,
Would take His hand, whose vernal tints
His other works admire.

Bright as a cloudless summer sun,
With stately port he moves;
His guardian Seraph eyes with awe
The noble Ward he loves.

Among the illustrious Scottish sons
That chief thou may'st discern,
Mark Scotia's fond-returning eye, -
It dwells upon Glencairn.


Spoken by Mr. Woods on his benefit-night, Monday, 16th April, 1787.

When, by a generous Public's kind acclaim,
That dearest meed is granted-honest fame;
Waen here your favour is the actor's lot,
Nor even the man in private life forgot;
What breast so dead to heavenly Virtue's glow,
But heaves impassion'd with the grateful throe?

Poor is the task to please a barb'rous throng,
It needs no Siddons' powers in Southern's song;
But here an ancient nation, fam'd afar,
For genius, learning high, as great in war.
Hail, Caledonia, name for ever dear!
Before whose sons I'm honour'd to appear?

[Footnote 1: The Nobleman is James, Fourteenth Earl of Glencairn.]

Where every science, every nobler art,
That can inform the mind or mend the heart,
Is known; as grateful nations oft have found,
Far as the rude barbarian marks the bound.
Philosophy, no idle pedant dream,
Here holds her search by heaven-taught Reason's beam;
Here History paints with elegance and force
The tide of Empire's fluctuating course;
Here Douglas forms wild Shakespeare into plan,
And Harley rouses all the God in man.
When well-form'd taste and sparkling wit unite
With manly lore, or female beauty bright,
(Beauty, where faultless symmetry and grace
Can only charm us in the second place),
Witness my heart, how oft with panting fear,
As on this night, I've met these judges here!
But still the hope Experience taught to live,
Equal to judge-you're candid to forgive.
No hundred-headed riot here we meet,
With decency and law beneath his feet;
Nor Insolence assumes fair Freedom's name:
Like Caledonians, you applaud or blame.

O Thou, dread Power! whose empire-giving hand
Has oft been stretch'd to shield the honour'd land!
Strong may she glow with all her ancient fire;
May every son be worthy of his sire;
Firm may she rise, with generous disdain
At Tyranny's, or direr Pleasure's chain;
Still Self-dependent in her native shore,
Bold may she brave grim Danger's loudest roar,
Till Fate the curtain drop on worlds to be no more.

The Bonie Moor-Hen

The heather was blooming, the meadows were mawn,
Our lads gaed a-hunting ae day at the dawn,
O'er moors and o'er mosses and mony a glen,
At length they discover'd a bonie moor-hen.

Chorus.-I rede you, beware at the hunting, young men,
I rede you, beware at the hunting, young men;
Take some on the wing, and some as they spring,
But cannily steal on a bonie moor-hen.

Sweet-brushing the dew from the brown heather bells
Her colours betray'd her on yon mossy fells;
Her plumage outlustr'd the pride o' the spring
And O! as she wanton'd sae gay on the wing.
I rede you, &c.

Auld Phoebus himself, as he peep'd o'er the hill,
In spite at her plumage he tried his skill;
He levell'd his rays where she bask'd on the brae-
His rays were outshone, and but mark'd where she lay.
I rede you,&c.

They hunted the valley, they hunted the hill,
The best of our lads wi' the best o' their skill;
But still as the fairest she sat in their sight,
Then, whirr! she was over, a mile at a flight.
I rede you, &c.

song-My Lord A-Hunting

Chorus.-My lady's gown, there's gairs upon't,
And gowden flowers sae rare upon't;
But Jenny's jimps and jirkinet,
My lord thinks meikle mair upon't.

My lord a-hunting he is gone,
But hounds or hawks wi' him are nane;
By Colin's cottage lies his game,
If Colin's Jenny be at hame.
My lady's gown, &c.

My lady's white, my lady's red,
And kith and kin o' Cassillis' blude;
But her ten-pund lands o' tocher gude;
Were a' the charms his lordship lo'ed.
My lady's gown, &c.

Out o'er yon muir, out o'er yon moss,
Whare gor-cocks thro' the heather pass,
There wons auld Colin's bonie lass,
A lily in a wilderness.
My lady's gown, &c.

Sae sweetly move her genty limbs,
Like music notes o'lovers' hymns:
The diamond-dew in her een sae blue,
Where laughing love sae wanton swims.
My lady's gown, &c.

My lady's dink, my lady's drest,
The flower and fancy o' the west;
But the lassie than a man lo'es best,
O that's the lass to mak him blest.
My lady's gown, &c.

Epigram At Roslin Inn

My blessings on ye, honest wife!
I ne'er was here before;
Ye've wealth o' gear for spoon and knife-
Heart could not wish for more.
Heav'n keep you clear o' sturt and strife,
Till far ayont fourscore,
And while I toddle on thro' life,
I'll ne'er gae by your door!

Epigram Addressed To An Artist

Dear _____, I'll gie ye some advice,
You'll tak it no uncivil:
You shouldna paint at angels mair,
But try and paint the devil.

To paint an Angel's kittle wark,
Wi' Nick, there's little danger:
You'll easy draw a lang-kent face,
But no sae weel a stranger.-R. B.

The Book-Worms

Through and through th' inspir'd leaves,
Ye maggots, make your windings;
But O respect his lordship's taste,
And spare his golden bindings.

On Elphinstone's Translation Of Martial's Epigrams

O Thou whom Poetry abhors,
Whom Prose has turned out of doors,
Heard'st thou yon groan?-proceed no further,
'Twas laurel'd Martial calling murther.

song-A Bottle And Friend

There's nane that's blest of human kind,
But the cheerful and the gay, man,
Fal, la, la, &c.

Here's a bottle and an honest friend!
What wad ye wish for mair, man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o' care, man?

Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man:
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And comes not aye when sought, man.

Lines Written Under The Picture Of The Celebrated Miss Burns

Cease, ye prudes, your envious railing,
Lovely Burns has charms-confess:
True it is, she had one failing,
Had a woman ever less?

Epitaph For William Nicol, Of The High School, Edinburgh

Ye maggots, feed on Nicol's brain,
For few sic feasts you've gotten;
And fix your claws in Nicol's heart,
For deil a bit o't's rotten.

Epitaph For Mr. William Michie

Schoolmaster of Cleish Parish, Fifeshire.

Here lie Willie Michie's banes;
O Satan, when ye tak him,
Gie him the schulin o' your weans,
For clever deils he'll mak them!

Boat song-Hey, Ca' Thro'

Up wi' the carls o' Dysart,
And the lads o' Buckhaven,
And the kimmers o' Largo,
And the lasses o' Leven.

Chorus.-Hey, ca' thro', ca' thro',
For we hae muckle ado.
Hey, ca' thro', ca' thro',
For we hae muckle ado;

We hae tales to tell,
An' we hae sangs to sing;
We hae pennies tae spend,
An' we hae pints to bring.
Hey, ca' thro', &c.

We'll live a' our days,
And them that comes behin',
Let them do the like,
An' spend the gear they win.
Hey, ca' thro', &c.

Address To Wm. Tytler, Esq., Of Woodhouselee

With an Impression of the Author's Portrait.

Revered defender of beauteous Stuart,
Of Stuart, a name once respected;
A name, which to love was the mark of a true heart,
But now 'tis despis'd and neglected.

Tho' something like moisture conglobes in my eye,
Let no one misdeem me disloyal;
A poor friendless wand'rer may well claim a sigh,
Still more if that wand'rer were royal.

My fathers that name have rever'd on a throne:
My fathers have fallen to right it;
Those fathers would spurn their degenerate son,
That name should he scoffingly slight it.

Still in prayers for King George I most heartily join,
The Queen, and the rest of the gentry:
Be they wise, be they foolish, is nothing of mine;
Their title's avow'd by my country.

But why of that epocha make such a fuss,
That gave us th' Electoral stem?
If bringing them over was lucky for us,
I'm sure 'twas as lucky for them.

But, loyalty, truce! we're on dangerous ground;
Who knows how the fashions may alter?
The doctrine, to-day, that is loyalty sound,
To-morrow may bring us a halter!

I send you a trifle, a head of a bard,
A trifle scarce worthy your care;
But accept it, good Sir, as a mark of regard,
Sincere as a saint's dying prayer.

Now life's chilly evening dim shades on your eye,
And ushers the long dreary night:
But you, like the star that athwart gilds the sky,
Your course to the latest is bright.

Epigram To Miss Ainslie In Church

Who was looking up the text during sermon.

Fair maid, you need not take the hint,
Nor idle texts pursue:
'Twas guilty sinners that he meant,
Not Angels such as you.

Burlesque Lament For The Absence Of William Creech, Publisher

Auld chuckie Reekie's^1 sair distrest,
Down droops her ance weel burnish'd crest,
Nae joy her bonie buskit nest
Can yield ava,
Her darling bird that she lo'es best-
Willie's awa!

O Willie was a witty wight,
And had o' things an unco' sleight,
Auld Reekie aye he keepit tight,
And trig an' braw:
But now they'll busk her like a fright, -
Willie's awa!

The stiffest o' them a' he bow'd,
The bauldest o' them a' he cow'd;
They durst nae mair than he allow'd,
That was a law:
We've lost a birkie weel worth gowd;
Willie's awa!

Now gawkies, tawpies, gowks and fools,
Frae colleges and boarding schools,
May sprout like simmer puddock-stools
In glen or shaw;
He wha could brush them down to mools-
Willie's awa!

[Footnote 1: Edinburgh.]

The brethren o' the Commerce-chaumer
May mourn their loss wi' doolfu' clamour;
He was a dictionar and grammar
Among them a';
I fear they'll now mak mony a stammer;
Willie's awa!

Nae mair we see his levee door
Philosophers and poets pour,
And toothy critics by the score,
In bloody raw!
The adjutant o' a' the core-
Willie's awa!

Now worthy Gregory's Latin face,
Tytler's and Greenfield's modest grace;
Mackenzie, Stewart, such a brace
As Rome ne'er saw;
They a' maun meet some ither place,
Willie's awa!

Poor Burns ev'n Scotch Drink canna quicken,
He cheeps like some bewilder'd chicken
Scar'd frae it's minnie and the cleckin,
By hoodie-craw;
Grieg's gien his heart an unco kickin,
Willie's awa!

Now ev'ry sour-mou'd girnin blellum,
And Calvin's folk, are fit to fell him;
Ilk self-conceited critic skellum
His quill may draw;
He wha could brawlie ward their bellum-
Willie's awa!

Up wimpling stately Tweed I've sped,
And Eden scenes on crystal Jed,
And Ettrick banks, now roaring red,
While tempests blaw;
But every joy and pleasure's fled,
Willie's awa!

May I be Slander's common speech;
A text for Infamy to preach;
And lastly, streekit out to bleach
In winter snaw;
When I forget thee, Willie Creech,
Tho' far awa!

May never wicked Fortune touzle him!
May never wicked men bamboozle him!
Until a pow as auld's Methusalem
He canty claw!
Then to the blessed new Jerusalem,
Fleet wing awa!

Note To Mr. Renton Of Lamerton

Your billet, Sir, I grant receipt;
Wi' you I'll canter ony gate,
Tho' 'twere a trip to yon blue warl',
Whare birkies march on burning marl:
Then, Sir, God willing, I'll attend ye,
And to his goodness I commend ye.

R. Burns

Elegy On "Stella"

The following poem is the work of some hapless son of the Muses who
deserved a better fate. There is a great deal of "The voice of Cona" in
his solitary, mournful notes; and had the sentiments been clothed in
Shenstone's language, they would have been no discredit even to that
elegant poet.-R.B.

Strait is the spot and green the sod
From whence my sorrows flow;
And soundly sleeps the ever dear
Inhabitant below.

Pardon my transport, gentle shade,
While o'er the turf I bow;
Thy earthy house is circumscrib'd,
And solitary now.

Not one poor stone to tell thy name,
Or make thy virtues known:
But what avails to me-to thee,
The sculpture of a stone?

I'll sit me down upon this turf,
And wipe the rising tear:
The chill blast passes swiftly by,
And flits around thy bier.

Dark is the dwelling of the Dead,
And sad their house of rest:
Low lies the head, by Death's cold arms
In awful fold embrac'd.

I saw the grim Avenger stand
Incessant by thy side;
Unseen by thee, his deadly breath
Thy lingering frame destroy'd.

Pale grew the roses on thy cheek,
And wither'd was thy bloom,
Till the slow poison brought thy youth
Untimely to the tomb.

Thus wasted are the ranks of men-
Youth, Health, and Beauty fall;
The ruthless ruin spreads around,
And overwhelms us all.

Behold where, round thy narrow house,
The graves unnumber'd lie;
The multitude that sleep below
Existed but to die.

Some, with the tottering steps of Age,
Trod down the darksome way;
And some, in youth's lamented prime,
Like thee were torn away:

Yet these, however hard their fate,
Their native earth receives;
Amid their weeping friends they died,
And fill their fathers' graves.

From thy lov'd friends, when first thy heart
Was taught by Heav'n to glow,
Far, far remov'd, the ruthless stroke
Surpris'd and laid thee low.

At the last limits of our isle,
Wash'd by the western wave,
Touch'd by thy face, a thoughtful bard
Sits lonely by thy grave.

Pensive he eyes, before him spread
The deep, outstretch'd and vast;
His mourning notes are borne away
Along the rapid blast.

And while, amid the silent Dead
Thy hapless fate he mourns,
His own long sorrows freshly bleed,
And all his grief returns:

Like thee, cut off in early youth,
And flower of beauty's pride,
His friend, his first and only joy,
His much lov'd Stella, died.

Him, too, the stern impulse of Fate
Resistless bears along;
And the same rapid tide shall whelm
The Poet and the Song.

The tear of pity which he sheds,
He asks not to receive;
Let but his poor remains be laid
Obscurely in the grave.

His grief-worn heart, with truest joy,
Shall meet he welcome shock:
His airy harp shall lie unstrung,
And silent on the rock.

O, my dear maid, my Stella, when
Shall this sick period close,
And lead the solitary bard
To his belov'd repose?

The Bard At Inverary

Whoe'er he be that sojourns here,
I pity much his case,
Unless he comes to wait upon
The Lord their God, His Grace.

There's naething here but Highland pride,
And Highland scab and hunger:
If Providence has sent me here,
'Twas surely in his anger.

Epigram To Miss Jean Scott

O had each Scot of ancient times
Been, Jeanie Scott, as thou art;
The bravest heart on English ground
Had yielded like a coward.

On The Death Of John M'Leod, Esq,

Brother to a young Lady, a particular friend of the Author's.

Sad thy tale, thou idle page,
And rueful thy alarms:
Death tears the brother of her love
From Isabella's arms.

Sweetly deckt with pearly dew
The morning rose may blow;
But cold successive noontide blasts
May lay its beauties low.

Fair on Isabella's morn
The sun propitious smil'd;
But, long ere noon, succeeding clouds
Succeeding hopes beguil'd.

Fate oft tears the bosom chords
That Nature finest strung;
So Isabella's heart was form'd,
And so that heart was wrung.

Dread Omnipotence alone
Can heal the wound he gave-
Can point the brimful grief-worn eyes
To scenes beyond the grave.

Virtue's blossoms there shall blow,
And fear no withering blast;
There Isabella's spotless worth
Shall happy be at last.

Elegy On The Death Of Sir James Hunter Blair

The lamp of day, with-ill presaging glare,
Dim, cloudy, sank beneath the western wave;
Th' inconstant blast howl'd thro' the dark'ning air,
And hollow whistled in the rocky cave.

Lone as I wander'd by each cliff and dell,
Once the lov'd haunts of Scotia's royal train;^1
Or mus'd where limpid streams, once hallow'd well,^2
Or mould'ring ruins mark the sacred fane.^3

Th' increasing blast roar'd round the beetling rocks,
The clouds swift-wing'd flew o'er the starry sky,
The groaning trees untimely shed their locks,
And shooting meteors caught the startled eye.

[Footnote 1: The King's Park at Holyrood House.-R. B.]

[Footnote 2: St. Anthony's well.-R. B.]

[Footnote 3: St. Anthony's Chapel.-R. B.]

The paly moon rose in the livid east.
And 'mong the cliffs disclos'd a stately form
In weeds of woe, that frantic beat her breast,
And mix'd her wailings with the raving storm

Wild to my heart the filial pulses glow,
'Twas Caledonia's trophied shield I view'd:
Her form majestic droop'd in pensive woe,
The lightning of her eye in tears imbued.

Revers'd that spear, redoubtable in war,
Reclined that banner, erst in fields unfurl'd,
That like a deathful meteor gleam'd afar,
And brav'd the mighty monarchs of the world.

"My patriot son fills an untimely grave!"
With accents wild and lifted arms she cried;
"Low lies the hand oft was stretch'd to save,
Low lies the heart that swell'd with honest pride.

"A weeping country joins a widow's tear;
The helpless poor mix with the orphan's cry;
The drooping arts surround their patron's bier;
And grateful science heaves the heartfelt sigh!

"I saw my sons resume their ancient fire;
I saw fair Freedom's blossoms richly blow:
But ah! how hope is born but to expire!
Relentless fate has laid their guardian low.

"My patriot falls: but shall he lie unsung,
While empty greatness saves a worthless name?
No; every muse shall join her tuneful tongue,
And future ages hear his growing fame.

"And I will join a mother's tender cares,
Thro' future times to make his virtues last;
That distant years may boast of other Blairs!"-
She said, and vanish'd with the sweeping blast.

Impromptu On Carron Iron Works

We cam na here to view your warks,
In hopes to be mair wise,
But only, lest we gang to hell,
It may be nae surprise:
But when we tirl'd at your door
Your porter dought na hear us;
Sae may, shou'd we to Hell's yetts come,
Your billy Satan sair us!

To Miss Ferrier

Enclosing the Elegy on Sir J. H. Blair.

Nae heathen name shall I prefix,
Frae Pindus or Parnassus;
Auld Reekie dings them a' to sticks,
For rhyme-inspiring lasses.

Jove's tunefu' dochters three times three
Made Homer deep their debtor;
But, gien the body half an e'e,
Nine Ferriers wad done better!

Last day my mind was in a bog,
Down George's Street I stoited;
A creeping cauld prosaic fog
My very sense doited.

Do what I dought to set her free,
My saul lay in the mire;
Ye turned a neuk-I saw your e'e-
She took the wing like fire!

The mournfu' sang I here enclose,
In gratitude I send you,
And pray, in rhyme as weel as prose,
A' gude things may attend you!

Written By Somebody On The Window

Of an Inn at Stirling, on seeing the Royal Palace in ruin.

Here Stuarts once in glory reigned,
And laws for Scotland's weal ordained;
But now unroof'd their palace stands,
Their sceptre's sway'd by other hands;
Fallen indeed, and to the earth
Whence groveling reptiles take their birth.
The injured Stuart line is gone,
A race outlandish fills their throne;
An idiot race, to honour lost;
Who know them best despise them most.

The Poet's Reply To The Threat Of A Censorious Critic

My imprudent lines were answered, very petulantly, by somebody, I
believe, a Rev. Mr. Hamilton. In a MS., where I met the answer, I wrote

With Esop's lion, Burns says: Sore I feel
Each other's scorn, but damn that ass' heel!

The Libeller's Self-Reproof^1

Rash mortal, and slanderous poet, thy name
Shall no longer appear in the records of Fame;
Dost not know that old Mansfield, who writes like the Bible,
Says, the more 'tis a truth, sir, the more 'tis a libel!

Verses Written With A Pencil

Over the Chimney-piece in the Parlour of the Inn at Kenmore, Taymouth.

Admiring Nature in her wildest grace,
These northern scenes with weary feet I trace;
O'er many a winding dale and painful steep,
Th' abodes of covey'd grouse and timid sheep,

[Footnote 1: These are rhymes of dubious authenticity.-Lang.]

My savage journey, curious, I pursue,
Till fam'd Breadalbane opens to my view. -
The meeting cliffs each deep-sunk glen divides,
The woods wild scatter'd, clothe their ample sides;
Th' outstretching lake, imbosomed 'mong the hills,
The eye with wonder and amazement fills;
The Tay meand'ring sweet in infant pride,
The palace rising on his verdant side,
The lawns wood-fring'd in Nature's native taste,
The hillocks dropt in Nature's careless haste,
The arches striding o'er the new-born stream,
The village glittering in the noontide beam-

Poetic ardours in my bosom swell,
Lone wand'ring by the hermit's mossy cell;
The sweeping theatre of hanging woods,
Th' incessant roar of headlong tumbling floods-

Here Poesy might wake her heav'n-taught lyre,
And look through Nature with creative fire;
Here, to the wrongs of Fate half reconcil'd,
Misfortunes lighten'd steps might wander wild;
And Disappointment, in these lonely bounds,
Find balm to soothe her bitter, rankling wounds:
Here heart-struck Grief might heav'nward stretch her


And injur'd Worth forget and pardon man.

song-The Birks Of Aberfeldy

tune-"The Birks of Abergeldie."

Chorus.-Bonie lassie, will ye go,
Will ye go, will ye go,
Bonie lassie, will ye go
To the birks of Aberfeldy!

Now Simmer blinks on flowery braes,
And o'er the crystal streamlets plays;
Come let us spend the lightsome days,
In the birks of Aberfeldy.
Bonie lassie, &c.

While o'er their heads the hazels hing,
The little birdies blythely sing,
Or lightly flit on wanton wing,
In the birks of Aberfeldy.
Bonie lassie, &c.

The braes ascend like lofty wa's,
The foaming stream deep-roaring fa's,
O'erhung wi' fragrant spreading shaws-
The birks of Aberfeldy.
Bonie lassie, &c.

The hoary cliffs are crown'd wi' flowers,
White o'er the linns the burnie pours,
And rising, weets wi' misty showers
The birks of Aberfeldy.
Bonie lassie, &c.

Let Fortune's gifts at randoe flee,
They ne'er shall draw a wish frae me;
Supremely blest wi' love and thee,
In the birks of Aberfeldy.
Bonie lassie, &c.

The Humble Petition Of Bruar Water

To the noble Duke of Athole.

My lord, I know your noble ear
Woe ne'er assails in vain;
Embolden'd thus, I beg you'll hear
Your humble slave complain,
How saucy Phoebus' scorching beams,
In flaming summer-pride,
Dry-withering, waste my foamy streams,
And drink my crystal tide.^1

The lightly-jumping, glowrin' trouts,
That thro' my waters play,
If, in their random, wanton spouts,
They near the margin stray;

[Footnote 1: Bruar Falls, in Athole, are exceedingly picturesque and
beautiful; but their effect is much impaired by the want of trees and shrubs.
- R.B.]

If, hapless chance! they linger lang,
I'm scorching up so shallow,
They're left the whitening stanes amang,
In gasping death to wallow.

Last day I grat wi' spite and teen,
As poet Burns came by.
That, to a bard, I should be seen
Wi' half my channel dry;
A panegyric rhyme, I ween,
Ev'n as I was, he shor'd me;
But had I in my glory been,
He, kneeling, wad ador'd me.

Here, foaming down the skelvy rocks,
In twisting strength I rin;
There, high my boiling torrent smokes,
Wild-roaring o'er a linn:
Enjoying each large spring and well,
As Nature gave them me,
I am, altho' I say't mysel',
Worth gaun a mile to see.

Would then my noble master please
To grant my highest wishes,
He'll shade my banks wi' tow'ring trees,
And bonie spreading bushes.
Delighted doubly then, my lord,
You'll wander on my banks,
And listen mony a grateful bird
Return you tuneful thanks.

The sober lav'rock, warbling wild,
Shall to the skies aspire;
The gowdspink, Music's gayest child,
Shall sweetly join the choir;
The blackbird strong, the lintwhite clear,
The mavis mild and mellow;
The robin pensive Autumn cheer,
In all her locks of yellow.

This, too, a covert shall ensure,
To shield them from the storm;
And coward maukin sleep secure,
Low in her grassy form:
Here shall the shepherd make his seat,
To weave his crown of flow'rs;
Or find a shelt'ring, safe retreat,
From prone-descending show'rs.

And here, by sweet, endearing stealth,
Shall meet the loving pair,
Despising worlds, with all their wealth,
As empty idle care;
The flow'rs shall vie in all their charms,
The hour of heav'n to grace;
And birks extend their fragrant arms
To screen the dear embrace.

Here haply too, at vernal dawn,
Some musing bard may stray,
And eye the smoking, dewy lawn,
And misty mountain grey;
Or, by the reaper's nightly beam,
Mild-chequering thro' the trees,
Rave to my darkly dashing stream,
Hoarse-swelling on the breeze.

Let lofty firs, and ashes cool,
My lowly banks o'erspread,
And view, deep-bending in the pool,
Their shadow's wat'ry bed:
Let fragrant birks, in woodbines drest,
My craggy cliffs adorn;
And, for the little songster's nest,
The close embow'ring thorn.

So may old Scotia's darling hope,
Your little angel band
Spring, like their fathers, up to prop
Their honour'd native land!
So may, thro' Albion's farthest ken,
To social-flowing glasses,
The grace be-"Athole's honest men,
And Athole's bonie lasses!

Lines On The Fall Of Fyers Near Loch-Ness.

Written with a Pencil on the Spot.

Among the heathy hills and ragged woods
The roaring Fyers pours his mossy floods;
Till full he dashes on the rocky mounds,
Where, thro' a shapeless breach, his stream resounds.
As high in air the bursting torrents flow,
As deep recoiling surges foam below,
Prone down the rock the whitening sheet descends,
And viewles Echo's ear, astonished, rends.
Dim-seen, through rising mists and ceaseless show'rs,
The hoary cavern, wide surrounding lours:
Still thro' the gap the struggling river toils,
And still, below, the horrid cauldron boils-

Epigram On Parting With A Kind Host In The Highlands

When Death's dark stream I ferry o'er,
A time that surely shall come,
In Heav'n itself I'll ask no more,
Than just a Highland welcome.

Strathallan's Lament^1

Thickest night, o'erhang my dwelling!
Howling tempests, o'er me rave!
Turbid torrents, wintry swelling,
Roaring by my lonely cave!

[Footnote 1: Burns confesses that his Jacobtism was merely sentimental "except
when my passions were heated by some accidental cause," and a tour through the
country where Montrose, Claverhouse, and Prince Charles had fought, was cause
enough. Strathallan fell gloriously at Culloden.-Lang.]

Crystal streamlets gently flowing,
Busy haunts of base mankind,
Western breezes softly blowing,
Suit not my distracted mind.

In the cause of Right engaged,
Wrongs injurious to redress,
Honour's war we strongly waged,
But the Heavens denied success.
Ruin's wheel has driven o'er us,
Not a hope that dare attend,
The wide world is all before us-
But a world without a friend.

Castle Gordon

Streams that glide in orient plains,
Never bound by Winter's chains;
Glowing here on golden sands,
There immix'd with foulest stains
From Tyranny's empurpled hands;
These, their richly gleaming waves,
I leave to tyrants and their slaves;
Give me the stream that sweetly laves
The banks by Castle Gordon.

Spicy forests, ever gray,
Shading from the burning ray
Hapless wretches sold to toil;
Or the ruthless native's way,
Bent on slaughter, blood, and spoil:
Woods that ever verdant wave,
I leave the tyrant and the slave;
Give me the groves that lofty brave
The storms by Castle Gordon.

Wildly here, without control,
Nature reigns and rules the whole;
In that sober pensive mood,
Dearest to the feeling soul,
She plants the forest, pours the flood:
Life's poor day I'll musing rave

Book of the day: