Immagini della pagina


Or if I slumber, fancy, chief,
Reigns, haggard-wild, in sore affright:
Ev'n day, all-bitter, brings relief
From such a horror-breathing night.

O thou bright queen, who o'er th' expanse
Now highest reign'st, with boundless sway
Oft has thy silent-marking glance

Observ'd us, fondly-wand'ring, stray!
The time, unheeded, sped away,
While love's luxurious pulse beat high,
Beneath thy silver-gleaming ray,
To mark the mutual-kindling eye.

Oh! scenes in strong remembrance set!
Scenes, never, never to return!
Scenes, if in stupor I forget,
Again I feel, again I burn!

From ev'ry joy and pleasure torn,
Life's weary vale I'll wander thro';
And hopeless, comfortless, I'll mourn
A faithless woman's broken vow!

Despondency-An Ode.1

OPPRESS'D with grief, oppress'd with care,
A burden more than I can bear,

I set me down and sigh;
O life! thou art a galling load,
Along a rough, a weary road,
To wretches such as I!
Dim-backward as I cast my view,

What sick'ning scenes appear!

What sorrows yet may pierce me through,

Too justly I may fear!

1 Jean, it seems, had gone to Paisley. Mary now occupied the empty heart. Una avulsa non deficit altera. Highland


Still caring, despairing,
Must be my bitter doom;
My woes here shall close ne'er
But with the closing tomb!

Happy! ye sons of busy life,
Who, equal to the bustling strife,
No other view regard!

Ev'n when the wished end's denied,
Yet while the busy means are plied,
They bring their own reward:
Whilst I, a hope-abandon'd wight,
Unfitted with an aim,

Meet ev'ry sad returning night,
And joyless morn the same!
You, bustling and justling,
Forget each grief and pain;
I, listless, yet restless,
Find ev'ry prospect vain.

How blest the solitary's lot,
Who, all-forgetting, all forgot,
Within his humble cell,

The cavern, wild with tangling roots,
Sits o'er his newly gather'd fruits,
Beside his crystal well!

Or haply, to his ev'ning thought,
By unfrequented stream,

The ways of men are distant brought,
A faint, collected dream;

While praising, and raising

His thoughts to heav'n on high,
As wand'ring, meand'ring,
He views the solemn sky.

Than I, no lonely hermit plac'd
Where never human footstep trac❜d,

Less fit to play the part,
The lucky moment to improve,
And just to stop, and just to move,
With self-respecting art:


But ah! those pleasures, loves, and joys,
Which I too keenly taste,
The solitary can despise,
Can want, and yet be blest!
He needs not, he heeds not,
Or human love or hate;
Whilst I here must cry here
At perfidy ingrate !

O enviable early days,

When dancing thoughtless pleasure's maze,
To care, to guilt unknown!
How ill exchang'd for riper times,
To feel the follies, or the crimes,
Of others, or my own!

Ye tiny elves that guiltless sport,
Like linnets in the bush,
Ye little know the ills ye court,
When manhood is your wish!
The losses, the crosses,

That active man engage;
The fears all, the tears all,
Of dim declining Age!

To Gavin Hamilton, Esq., Mauchline,

Recommending a Boy.1

Mossgaville, May 3, 1786.

I HOLD it, sir, my bounden duty

To warn you how that Master Tootie,
Alias, Laird M'Gaun,

Was here to hire yon lad away
'Bout whom ye spak the tither day,
An' wad hae don't aff han';a

⚫ right away.

1 A spirited occasional piece, which explains itself.

[blocks in formation]

But lest he learn the callan a tricks-
An' faith I muckle doubt him-

Like scrapin out auld Crummie's nicks,
An' tellin lies about them;

[ocr errors][merged small]


Altho' I say't, he's gleg enough,
An' bout a house that's rude an' rough,
The boy might learn to swear;
But then wi' you he'll be sae taught,
An' get sic fair example straught,
I hae na ony fear.

Ye'll catechise him, every quirk,
An' shore him weel wi' hell;
An' gar him follow to the kirk-
Aye when ye gang yoursel.
If ye then maun be then
Frae hame this comin Friday,
Then please sir, to lea'e, sir,
The orders wi' your lady.

My word of honour I hae gi'en,
In Paisley John's, that night at c'en,
To meet the warld's wormh;
To try to get the twa to gree,
An' name the airles1 an' the fee,
In legal mode an' form:

I ken he weel a snick can draw,
When simple bodies let him:
An' if a Devil be at a',

8 John Dow's Inn.

In faith he's sure to get him.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

Song-Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary ?2

⚫ flatter.

Tune-" Will ye go to the Ewe-Bughts, Marion."

WILL ye go to the Indies, my Mary,
And leave auld Scotia's shore ?
Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,
Across th' Atlantic's roar?

[blocks in formation]

1 This needs no further elucidation. The poet, of course, must have been a good deal less than fou when he wrote.

2 Burns meant to emigrate, and Highland Mary filled up the void in heart which we have just heard him bewailing. The poet is "a light and

[blocks in formation]

sacred thing" according to Plato. At this time he was seeing his poems through the press, and had taken the famous vow to Mary over the Bible. Mr Scott Douglas, in 1850, first ascertained the date of the affair with Mary.

« IndietroContinua »