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VERSES TO A YOUNG LADY,

WITH A PRESENT OF Songs.1

In July, 1794, Burns told Thomson, “I have presented a copy of your songs to the daughter of a much-valued and much-honoured friend of mine, Mr. Graham, of Fintry. I wrote, on the blank side of the title-page, the following address to the young lady:"

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E RE, where the Scottish Muse immortal

lives, In sacred strains and tuneful” num

bers join'd, Accept the gift; tho’ humble he who gives,

Rich is the tribute of the grateful mind.

So may no ruffian-feeling in thy breast

Discordant jar thy bosom-chords among !
But Peace attune thy gentle soul to rest,

Or Love, ecstatic, wake his seraph song !

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Or Pity's notes, in luxury of tears,

As modest Want the tale of woe3 reveals ;
While conscious Virtue* all the strain endears,

And heaven-born Piety her sanction seals !

VAR.. 1 his poems.

3 secret tale.

2 strains divine and sacred. 4 Virtue, conscious.

POEM ON PASTORAL POETRY.*

SAIL, Poesie! thou Nymph reserv'd!
In chase othee, what crowds hae

swervd. D P Frae common sense, or sunk enery'd

'Mang heaps o'clavers ; And och! o'er aft thy joes hae starv'd,

'Mid a' thy favours !
Say, Lassie, why thy train amang,
While loud, the trump's heroic clang,
And sock or buskin skelp alang

. To death or marriage; 10 Scarce ane has tried the shepherd-sang

. But wi' miscarriage ?
In Homer's craft Jock Milton thrives ;
Eschylus' pen Will Shakespeare drives;
Wee Pope, the knurlin, 'till him rives

Horatian fame;
In thy sweet sang, Barbauld, survives

Even Sappho’s flame.

* Gilbert Burns says, that though this Poem was found by Dr. Currie among Burns' papers, and in his writing, there is some doubt whether he was the author. Mr. Allan Cunningham thinks that the second verse alone would go far to remove all doubts : "the lines too which characterize the Pastorals of Pope, and the concluding stanza of the Poem, bear,” he says, “the Burns' stamp, which no one has been successful in counterfeiting.”

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But thee, Theocritus, wha matches ?
They're no herd's ballats, Maro's catches;
Squire Pope but busks his skinklin patches

O’heathen tatters :
I pass by hunders, nameless wretches,

That ape their betters.
In this braw age o’ wit and lear,
Will nane the Shepherd's whistle mair
Blaw sweetly in its native air

And rural grace;
And wi' the far-fam'd Grecian share

A rival place ?
Yes ! there is ane; a Scottish callan-
There's ane; come forrit, honest Allan !
Thou need na jouk behint the hallan,

A chiel sae clever;
The teeth o' Time may gnaw Tantallan,

But thou's for ever!

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Thou paints auld nature to the nines,
In thy sweet Caledonian lines;
Nae gowden stream thro' myrtles twines,

Where Philomel,
While nightly breezes sweep the vines,

Her griefs will tell !

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In gowany glens thy burnie strays,
Where bonie lasses bleach their claes ;
Or trots by hazelly shaws and braes,

Wi' hawthorns gray,
Where blackbirds join the shepherd's lays

At close o' day.

Thy rural loves are nature's sel’;
Nae bombast spates o' nonsense swell ;
Nae snap conceits, but that sweet spell

O'witchin' love;
That charm that can the strongest quell,

The sternest move.

WRITTEN ON THE BLANK LEAF OF THE

LAST EDITION OF HIS POEMS, PRESENTED TO
THE LADY WHOM HE HAD OFTEN CELEBRATED UNDER

THE NAME OF CHLORIS. * per IS Friendship’s pledge, my young, fair

friend,

Nor thou the gift refuse,
EUX Nor with unwilling ear attend

The moralizing muse.

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* About Mayor June, 1795, Burns sent the following verses to Mr, Thomson with this description of them : “ Written on the blank leaf of a copy of the last edition [i. e. 1794,] of my poems, presented to the lady, whom, in so many fictitious reveries of passion, but with the most ardent sentiments of real friendship, I have so often sung under the name of Chloris.” The lady in question was Miss Jean Lorimer, of Craigieburn Wood, near Moffat, whose history was unfortunate. She married an officer called Whelpdale, but in consequence of his misconduct, lived with him only a few months. After her separation she resided at Dumfries, where the Poet often met her; and she seems to have inspired him with admiration and esteem. He has touchingly adverted to her misfortunes in these verses.

Since thou, in all thy youth and charms,

Must bid the world adieu, (A world 'gainst peace in constant arms)

To join the friendly few.

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Since, thy gay morn of life o'ercast,

Chill came the tempest's lower, (And ne'er misfortune's eastern blast

Did nip a fairer flower.)

Since life's gay scenes must charm no more,

Still much is left behind ;
Still nobler wealth hast thou in store-

The comforts of the mind !

Thine is the self-approving glow,

On conscious honour's part;
And, dearest gift of heaven below,

Thine friendship’s truest heart.

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The joys refin’d of sense and taste,

With every muse to rove:
And doubly were the poet blest,

These joys could he improve.

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