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ON HEARING A THRUSH SING IN A MORNING WALK IN JANUARY, WRITTEN 25TH JANUARY, 1793,
THE BIRTH-DAY OF THE AUTHOR, R. B. AGED 34.
SURING on, sweet Thrush, upon the leafless
bough; Sing on, sweet bird, I listen to thy
strain : See aged Winter, ʼmid his surly reign, At thy blithe carol clears his furrow'd brow.
So in lone Poverty's dominion drear
Sits meek Content with light unanxious heart,
Welcomes the rapid moments, bids them part, Nor asks if they bring aught to hope or fear.
I thank Thee, Author of this opening day!
Thou whose bright sun now gilds the orient skies !
Riches denied, Thy boon was purer joys, 11 What wealth could never give nor take away !
Yet come, thou child of poverty and care ;
thee I'll share.
* Collated with a MS. on which Burns has written, “To Mr. Syme, from the Author.” It does not occur in the edition of 1793 or 1794.
POEM, ADDRESSED TO MR. MITCHELL,
COLLECTOR OF EXCISE, DUMFRIES, 1796.
VaR wa DIN CAD.
YO RIEND of the Poet, tried and leal, 1 9 Wha, wanting thee, might beg or steal; Alake, alake, the meikle Deil
Wi' a' his witches Are at it, skelpin! jig and reel,
In my poor pouches.
I modestly fu' fain wad hint it,
It would be kind;
I'd bear't in mind.
So may the auld year gang out moaning
To thee and thine ;
The hale design.
YE've heard this while how I've been licket,
And sair me sheuk;
But by guid luck I lap a wicket,
And turn'd a neuk.
But by that health, I've got a share o't,
A tentier way:
For ance and aye.
SENT TO A GENTLEMAN WHOM HE
XHE friend whom wild from wisdom's way
(Not moony madness more astray ;)
Who but deplores that hapless friend?
Mine was th' insensate frenzied part,
Ah why should I such scenes outlive? Scenes so abhorrent to my heart !
'Tis thine to pity and forgive.
* The Poet's hopes, alas! were not realized. He died soon after these lines were written.
† Allan Cunningham says the excess, which the Poet laments, occurred at the table of Mrs. Riddel, and that under the influence of wine, he had spoken of “ thrones” and “dominations” and “epauletted puppies,” in terms which gave offence.
POEM ON LIFE, ADDRESSED TO COLONEL
DE PEYSTER,* DUMFRIES, 1796.
The steep Parnassus,
And potion glasses.
O what a canty warld were it,
As they deserve:
Syne wha wad starve ?)
Dame Life, tho’ fiction out may trick her,
I've found her still,
'Tween good and ill.
Then that curst carmagnole, auld Satan,
• Colonel De Peyster had distinguished himself in the American war, and afterwards commanded the volunteers of Dumfries, to which corps Burns belonged. These verses were written in the Poet's last illness.
Ah Nick! ah Nick ! it isna fair,
To put us daft;
O’hell's damn'd waft.
Poor man, the flie, aft bizzies by,
And hellish pleasure ;
Thy sicker treasure.
Soon heels-o'er-gowdy! in he gangs,
And murd'ring wrestle,
A gibbet's tassel.
But lest you think I am uncivil,
I quat my pen: