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As on their slender forms I'd gaze,
Broke softly sweet on Fancy's ear,
SPOKEN BY MR. WOODS, ON HIS BENEFIT NIGHT,
MONDAY, APRIL 16, 1787.
fame; When here your favour is the actor's lot, Nor even the man in private life forgot; What breast so dead to heav'nly 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' power in Southern's song: But here an ancient nation, fam'd afar For genius, learning high, as great in war- 10 Hail, Caledonia ! name for ever dear!
* This prologue occurs in the collection of Burns' Poems, printed at Glasgow in 1801; but it seems to have been rejected by Mr. Allan Cunningham and all his other editors. The probability that it was written by Burns is, however, shown by the fact, that he was certainly known to Woods; for in his notes on “May Eve, or Kate of Aberdeen," in the “ Musical Museum," he relates an anecdote of Cunningham the actor, adding, “ This Mr. Woods the player, who knew Cunningham well, and esteemed him much, assured me was true.”
Before whose sons I'm honour'd to appear !
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.
A POEM HUMBLY INSCRIBED TO G. H. ESQ.
Great nature spoke, observant man obeyed.
SET other heroes boast their scars,
The marks of sturt and strife ; 1963) And other Poets sing of wars, La The plagues of human life; Shame fa’ the fun; wi' sword and gun
To slap mankind like lumber! I sing his name and nobler fame,
Wha multiplies our number.
Great Nature spoke, with air benign,
Go on, ye human race ! • This lower world I you resign;
* Be fruitful and increase. • The liquid fire of strong desire
I've pour'd it in each bosom; • Here, in this hand, does mankind stand,
And there, is Beauty's blossom !'
The Hero of these artless strains,
A lowly Bard was he,
* These verses, which were inscribed to Gavin Hamilton, are now printed, for the first time, from a copy in the Poet's own writing, and seem to have been composed soon after Mrs. Burns had presented him with twins.
Who sung his rhymes in Coila’s plains
With meikle mirth an' glee;
Large, of the flaming current;
To stem the sacred torrent.
He felt the powerful, high behest,
Thrill, vital, thro' and thro';
To give obedience due:
From mildews of abortion ;
Has got a double portion !
Auld, cantie Coil may count the day,
As annual it returns,
That gave another Burns,
To emulate his sire;
Ye Powers of peace, and peaceful song,
Look down with gracious eyes ;
With multiplying joys,
The flow'r of ancient nations ;
To endless generations !