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A GRACE BEFORE DINNER.
THOU, who kindly dost provide
For every creature's want !
May never worse be sent;
A VERSE COMPOSED AND REPEATED BY
BURNS, TO THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE,
ON TAKING LEAVE AT A PLACE IN THE HIGHLANDS,
WHERE HE HAD BEEN HOSPITABLY
HEN death's dark stream I ferry o'er,
A time that surely shall come;
* Burns made a tour to the Highlands in 1787.
LIBERTY.* A FRAGMENT.
HEE, Caledonia, thy wild heaths among,
To thee I turn with swimming eyes; Where is that soul of Freedom fled ? Immingled with the mighty dead !
Beneath the hallow'd turf where Wallace lies ! Hear it not, Wallace, in thy bed of death!
Ye babbling winds, in silence sweep;
Disturb not ye the hero's sleep, Nor give the coward secret breath.
Is this the power in Freedom's war,
That wont to bid the battle rage ?, Behold that eye which shot immortal hate,
Crushing the despot's proudest bearing,
* Burns wrote to Mrs. Dunlop from Castle Douglas, on the 25th June, 1794.
“Here in a solitary inn, in a solitary village, am I set by myself, to amuse my brooding fancy as I may." am just going to trouble your critical patience with the first sketch of a stanza I have been framing as I paced along the road. The subject is LIBERTY. You know, my honoured friend, how dear the theme is to me. I design it as an irregular Ode for General Washington's birth-day. After having mentioned the degeneracy of other Kingdoms, I come to Scotland thus :
Thee, Caledonia, &c.” No more of this Poem has been found; but Mr. Allan Cunningham says fragmentary strains were numerous among the Poet's papers.”
That arm which, nerved with thundering fate,
Brav'd usurpation's boldest daring! One quench'd in darkness like the sinking star, And one the palsied arm of tottering, powerless age.
ELEGY* ON THE DEATH OF ROBERT
OW Robin lies in his last lair,
He'll gabble rhyme, nor sing nae mair,
Nae mair shall fear him :
E'er mair come near him. To tell the truth, they seldom fash't him, Except the moment that they crush't him ; For sune as chance or fate had husht 'em,
Tho' e'er sae short,
And thought it sport.
To mak a man ;
Ye roos'd him than! * As this Elegy occurs among Burns' memoranda, dated in May, 1784 or 1785, which were printed by Cromek, it was probably written about that time.
+ Ruisseaux-a play upon his own name.
ANSWER TO VERSES ADDRESSED TO
BY THE GUIDWIFE OF WAUCHOPE-HOUSE.
MIND it weel, in early date,
An' first could thresh the barn,
Yet unco proud to learn :
A man I reckon'd was,
The tither stooked raw,
Wearing the day awa.
Shall strongly heave my breast;
Or sing a Sang at least. * The lady to whom these verses are addressed was the late Mrs. Scott, of Wauchope, who was both a painter and a poetess; and Allan Cunningham, as a specimen of her skill in verse, has given the copy of her letter to Burns. to which this was the answer.
The rough bur-thistle, spreading wide
Amang the bearded bear,
My envy e'er could raise ;
I knew nae higher praise.
But still the elements o'
sang In formless jumble, right an' wrang, Wild floated in
brain; Till on that harist I said before, My partner in the merry core,
She rous'd the forming strain:
That lighted up her jingle,
At ev'ry kindling keek,
I feared aye to speak.
Health to the sex, ilk guid chiel says,
An' we to share in common :
Is rapture-giving woman.
mither: She, honest woman, may think shame