Page images
PDF
EPUB

· But why o' death begin a tale ?

When ance life's day draws near the Just now we're living sound and hale,

gloamin', Then top and maintop crowd the sail, Then fareweel vacant careless roamin'; Heave care o'er side!

And fareweel cheerfu' tankards foamin', And large before enjoyment's gale,

And social poise;
Let's tak the tide.

And fareweel dear, deluding woman,

The joy of joys :
This life, sae far 's I understand,
Is a' enchanted fairy land,

O Life! how pleasant in thy morning, Where pleasure is the magic wand,

Young Fancy's rays the hills adorning! That, wielded right,

Cold-pausing Caution's lesson scorning,

We frisk away,
Maks hours like minutes, hand in hand,
Dance by fu’light.

Like school-boys, at the expected warn-
ing,

To joy and play.
The magic wand then let us wield;
For ance that five-and-forty's speeled, We wander there, we wander here,
See, crazy, weary, joyless eild,

We eye the rose upon the brier,
Wi' wrinkled face,

Unmindful that the thorn is near,
Comes hostin' hirplin’ower the field,

Among the leaves !
Wi' creepin pace.

And though the puny wound appear

Short while it grieves. From the Epistle to W. Simpson. We'll sing auld Coila's plains and fells, Even winter bleak has charms to me Her moors red-brown wi' heather bells, When winds rave through the naked tree; Her banks and braes, her dens and dells, Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree Where glorious Wallace

Are hoary gray:
Aft bure the gree, as story tells,

Or blinding drifts wild furions flee,
Frae southron billies.

Darkening the day!
At Wallace' name what Scottish blood O Nature! a' thy shows and forms
But boils up in a spring-tide flood ! To feeling, pensive hearts hae charms !
Oft have our fearless fathers strode Whether the summer kindly warms,
By Wallace' side,

Wi’ life and light, Still pressing onward, red-wat shod, Or winter howls in gusty storms Or glorious died !

The lang, dark night! Oh, sweet are Coila's hanghs and woods, The Muse, nae poet ever fand her, When lintwhites chant amang the buds, Till by himsel he learned to wander, And jinkin' hares in amorous whids, Adown some trotting burn's meander, Their loves enjoy,

And no think lang ;
While through the braes the cushat croods Oh, sweet to stray, and pensive ponder
With wailfu' cry!

A heart-felt sang!
To a Mountain Daisy.

On turning one down with a plough in April 1786.
Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flower, Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Thou's met me in an evil hour;

Upon thy early, humble birth;
For I maun crush amang the stoure Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth
Thy slender stem :

Amid the storm, To spare thee now is past my power, Scarce reared above the parent earth Thou bonny gein.

Thy tender form. Alas! it's no thy neebor sweet

The flaunting flowers our gardens yield, The bonny lark, companion meet, High sheltering woods and wa's maun Bending thee ’mang the dewy weet,

shield: Wi' spreckled breast,

But thou, beneath the random bield. When upward-springing, blithe, to greet

O' clod or stane,
The purpling east !

Adorns the histie sfibble-field,

Unseen, alane.

There in thy scanty mantle clad,

Of prudent lore, Thy snawie bosom sunward spread, Till billows rage, and gales blow hard, Thou lifts thy unassuming head

And whelm him o'er! In humble guise : But now the share uptears thy bed. Such fate to suffering worth is given, And low thou lies!

Who long with wants and woes has

striven, Such is the fate of artless maid,

By human pride or cunning driven Sweet flow'ret of the rural shade!

To misery's brink, By love's simplicity betrayed,

Till wrenched of every stay but Heaven,
And guileless trust,

He, ruined, sink!
Till she, like thee, all soiled, is laid
Low i' the dust.

Even thou who mourn'st the daisy's fate,

That fate is thine-no distant date; Such is the fate of simple bard,

Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives, elate, On life's rough ocean luckless starred !

Full on thy bloom, Unskilful he to note the card

Till crushed beneath the furrow's weight,

Shall be thy doom. On Captain Matthew Henderson. A gentleman who held the patent for his honours immediately from Almighty God.

But now his radiant course is run,

For Matthew's course was bright ;
His soul was like the glorious sun,

A matchless, heavenly light!
O Death! thou tyrant fell and bloody! At dawn, when every grassy blade
The meikle devil wi' a woodie

Droops with a diamond at its head,
Haurl the hame to his black smiddie, At even, when beans their fragrance shed,
O'er hurcheon hides,

l' the rustling gale, And like stock-fish come o'er his studdie Ye maukins, whiddin' through the glade, Wi’ thy auld sides!

Come join my wail. He's gane ! he's gane! he's frae us torn, Mourn, ye wee songsters o' the wood; The as best fellow e'er was born!

Ye grouse that crap the heather bud ; Thee, Matthew, Nature's sel shall mourn Ye curlews calling through a clud ;. By wood and wild,

Ye whistling plover; Where, haply, Pity strays forlorn, And mourn, ye whirring paitrick brood I Frae man exiled!

He's gane for ever! Ye hills, near neebors o' the starns, Mourn, sooty coots, and speckled teals, That proudly cock your cresting cairns ! Ye fisher herons, watching eels; Ye chiffs, the haunts

of sailing yearns, (1) Ye duck and drake, wi' airy wheels Where Echo slumbers !

rcling the lake; Come join, ye Nature's sturdiest bairns, Ye bitterns, till the qnagmire reels, My wailing numbers !

Rair for his sake. Mourn ilka grove the cushat ken s! Mourn, clamering craiks at close o' day, Ye hazelly shaws and briery dens ! 'Mang fields o'flowering clover gay; Ye burnies, wimpling down your glens And when ye wing your annual way Wi' toddlin' din,

Frae our cauld shore, Or foaming strang, wi' hasty stens, Tell thae far worlds wha lies in clay, Frae lin to lin!

Wham we deplore. Mourn, little harebells o'er the lea; Ye houlet, frae your ivy bower, Ye stately foxgloves fair to see;

In some auld tree, or eldritch tower, Ye woodbines hanging bonnilie

What time the moon, wi' silent glower In scented bowers;

Sets up her horn, Ye roses on your thorny tree,

Wail through the dreary midnight hour The first o' flowers.

Till waukrife morn! 1 Eagles.

[blocks in formation]

Again rejoicing Nature sees

Her robe assume its vernal hues, Her leafy locks wave in the breeze,

All freshly steeped in morning dews. In vain to me the cowslips blaw,

In vain to me the violets spring; In vain to me, in glen or shaw,

The mavis and the lintwhite sing. The merry plough-boy cheers his team,

Wi' joy the tentie seedsman stalks ; But life to me's a weary dream,

A dream of ane that never wauks. The wanton coot the water skims,

Amang the reeds the ducklings cry,

The stately swan majestic swims,

And everything is blessed but I. The shepherd steeks his fa ulding slap,

And ower the moorland whistles shill; Wi' wild, unequal, wandering step,

I meet him on the dewy hill. And when the lark, 'tween light and dark,

Blithe waukens by the daisy's side, And mounts and sings on flittering wings,

A woe-worn ghaist I hamėward glide. Come, Winter, with thine angry howl,

And raging bend the naked tree: Thy gloom will soothe my cheerless soul,

When nature all is sad like me!

Ae Fond Kiss. *These exquisitely affecting stanzas contain the essence of a thousand love-tales.' -Scott.' Ae fond kiss, and then we sever ;

Had we never loved sae kindly, Ae fareweel, alas ! for ever!

Had we never loved sae blindly, Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge Never met-or never parted, thee,

We had ne'er been broken-hearted. Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee. Who shall say that fortune grieves him, Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest ! While the star of hope she leaves him ? Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest! Me, nae cheerfu' twinkle lights me; Thine be ilka joy and treasure, Dark despair around benights me. Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure !

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy,

Ae fareweel, alas ! for ever! Naething could resist my Nancy ;

Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge But to see her was to love her;

thee, Love but her and love for ever.

Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee,

My Bonny Mary. Go fetch to me a pint o' wine,

The trumpets sound, the banners fly, And fill it in a silver tassie;

The glittering spears are ranked ready; That I may drink, before I go,

The shouts o' war are heard afar, A service to my bonny lassie;.

The battle closes thick and bloody; The boat rocks at the pier o’Leith, But it's not the roar o sea or shore

Fu’ loud the wind blaws frae the Ferry; Wad make me langer wish to tarry; The ship rides by the Berwick-law, Nor shouts o' war that's heard afarAnd I maun leave my bonny Mary. It's leaving thee, my bonny Mary.

Mary Morison. One of my juvenile works.'-BURNS. Of all the productions of Burns, the pathetic and serious love-songs which he has left behind him in the manner of old ballads, are perhaps those which take the deepest and most lasting hold of the mind. Such are the lines of “Mary Morison," &c.'-HAZLITT. O Mary, at thy window be,

Though this was fair, and that was braw, It is the wished, the trysted hour! And yon the toast of a' the town, Those smiles and glances let me see, I sighed, and said amang them a',

That make the miser's treasure poor : • Ye are na Mary Morison.'
How blithely wad I bide the stoure,
A weary slave frae sun to sun,

O Mary. canst thou wreck bis peace, Could I the rich reward secure,

Wha for thy sake wad gladly die ? The lovely Mary Morison.

Or canst thou break that heart of his,

Whase only faut is loving thee ? Yestreen when to the trembling string If love for love thou wilt na gie,

The dance gaed through the lighted ha', At least be pity to me shewn; To thee my fancy took its wing,

A thought ungentle canna be I sat, but neither neard nor saw.

The thought o' Mary Morison.

Bruce's Address. Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,

Wha will be a traitor knave ? Scots, wham Bruce has aften led

Wha can fill a coward's grave? Welcome to your gory bed,

Wha sae base as be a slave ?
Or to victory!

Let him turn and flee!
Now's the day, and now's the hour; Wha for Scotland's king and law
See the front of battle lour;

Freedom's sword wili strongly draw, See approach proud Edward's power- Freeman stand, or freeman fa', Chains and slavery!

Let him follow me!

By oppression's wocs and pains ! Lay the proud usurpers low! !
By your sons in servile chains !

Tyrants fall in every foe!
We will drain our dearest veins,

Liberty's in every blow! But they shall be free!

Let us do or die!

A Vision. * As I stood by yon roofless tower,

By heedless chance I turned mine eyes, Where the wa' flower scents the dewy And, by the moonbeam, shook to see air,

A stern and stalwart ghaist arise, Where the howlet mourns in her ivy Attired as minstrels wont to be.

bower, And tells the midnight moon her care; Had I a statue been o'stane,

His darin' look had daunted me; The winds were laid, the air was still, And on his bonnet graved was plain,

The stars they shot alang the sky; The sacred posy—. Libertie ! The fox was lowling on the hill, And the distant echoing glens reply. And frae his harp sic strains did flow,

Might roused the slumbering dead to The stream, adown its hazelly path,

hear; Was rushing by the ruined wa's, But, oh! it was a tale of woe, Hasting to join the sweeping Nith,

As ever met a Briton's ear. Whose distant roaring swells and fa's.

He sang wi' joy the former diy, The cauld blue north was streaming forth He weeping wailed his latter times;

Her lights, wi' hissing eerie din ;, But what he said it was nae playAthort the lift they start and shift,

I winna ventur 't in my rhymes.
Like fortune's favours, tint as win.

To Mary in Heaven.
Thou lingøring star, with less'ning ray,

That lov'st to greet the early morn,
Again thou usher'st in the day

My Mary froin my soul was torn.
O Mary! dear departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest ?
See'st thou thy lover lowly laid ?

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?
That sacred hour can I forget,

Can I forget the hallowed grove,
Where by the winding Ayr we met,

To live one day of parting love!
Eternity will not efface

'l hose records dear of transports past;
Thy image at our last embrace;

Ah! little thought we 'twas our last !

* A favourite walk of Burns, during his residence in Dumfries, was one along the right bank of the river above the town, terminating at the ruins of Lincluden Abbey and Church, which occupy a romantic situation on a piece of rising ground in the angle at the junction of the Cluden later with the Nith. These ruins include many fine fragments of ancient decorative architecture, and are enshrined in a natural scene of the utmost beauty. Burns, according to his eldest son. often mused amidst the Lincluden ruins. There is one position on a little mount to the south of the church, where a couple of landscapes of witching loveliness are obtained. set, as it were, in two of the windows of the ancient building. It was probably the Calvary' of the ancient church precinct. This the younger Burns remembered to have been a favourite resting-place of the poet.

Such is the locality of the grand and thrilling ode. entitled Vixion, in which he hiuts-for more than a hint could not be ventured upou-his sense of the degradation or the ancient manly spirit of his country under the conservative terrors of the passing era. -CHAMBERS's Burns.

« PreviousContinue »