« IndietroContinua »
INSCRIPTION FOR FERGUSSON
Extempore in the Court of Session.1
He clenched his pamphlets in his fist,
His argument he tinta it:
He fand it was awa, man;
But what his common sense came short,
Collected, Harry stood awee,b
Then open'd out his arm, man;
And ey'd the gathering storm, man:
Like wind-driven hail it did assail,
The BENCH sae wise lift up their eyes,
Inscription for the Headstone of Fergusson the Poet.2
No sculptured marble here, nor pompous lay,
This simple stone directs pale Scotia's way,
She mourns, sweet tuneful youth, thy hapless fate;
And, thankless, starv'd what they so much admired.
This tribute, with a tear, now gives
A brother Bard-he can no more bestow :
Inscribed under Fergusson's Portrait.1
CURSE on ungrateful man, that can be pleased,
Epistle to Mrs Scott,2
Gudewife of Wauchope-House, Roxburghshire.
I MIND it weel in early date,
b take a turn.
1 For the third time, Burns repeats his moral.
2 Mrs Scott, in some very fair Scotch verses, had promised to give the poet a plaid. Her own verses were pub
lished in 1801, after her death. Her home was in Liddesdale.
Currie printed only the first three verses of the poem in 1800: it was then dropped in his later editions, and first given entire in Clark's edition (1881).
EPISTLE TO MRS SCOTT
When first amang the yellow corn
E'en then, a wish, (I mind its pow'r,)
The rough burr-thistle, spreading wide
I turn'd the weeder-clips1 aside,
My envy e'er could raise;
I fired, inspired,
At every kindling keek,
Health to the sex! ilk guid chiel says:
Ye surly sumphs, b who hate the name,
She, honest woman, may think shame
Verses intended to be written below a
WHOSE is that noble, dauntless brow?
And whose that generous princely mien,
Stranger! to justly show that brow,
Would take His hand, whose vernal tints
Bright as a cloudless summer sun,
Among the illustrious Scottish sons
Spoken by Mr Woods on his benefit-night,
WHEN, by a generous Public's kind acclaim, That dearest meed is granted-honest fame; When here your favour is the actor's lot, Nor even the man in private life forgot; 1 The Nobleman is James, Fourteenth Earl of Glencairn. Creech had been his tutor, and, through his introduction, Creech became Burns's publisher. For a long pedigree of the social links between Burns and the west country Peer see Chambers, vol. ii. 10. Burns considered Lord Glencairn's intellect so admirable, that it was an argument in itself for the
immortality of the soul. Through Lord Glencairn's interest the Caledonian Hunt subscribed for 100 copies of Burns's new edition.
2 Cunningham altered this to "inspire," which has no authority and little meaning.
3 Woods; an actor, had been a friend of Fergusson's.
"Here Douglas forms wild Shak