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The promised father's tender name ;
These were the pledges of my love! Encircled in her clasping arms,
How have the raptured moments flown, How have I wish'd for fortune's charms,
For her dear sake, and hers alone ! And must I think it !-is she gone,
My secret heart's exulting boast ?
And is she ever, ever lost?
So lost to honour, lost to truth,
The plighted husband of her youth ! Alas ! life's path may be unsmooth !
Her way may lie through rough distress ! Then, who her pangs and pains will soothe,
Her sorrows share, and make them less ? Ye winged hours that o'er us pass’d,
Enraptured more, the more enjoy’d, Your dear remembrance in my breast
My fondly-treasured thoughts employ'd. That breast, how dreary now, and void,
For her too scanty once of room !
And not a wish to gild the gloom !
Awakes me up to toil and woe:
That I must suffer, lingering, slow. Full many a pang, and many a throe,
Keen recollection's direful train, Must wring my soul, ere Phoebus, low,
Shall kiss the distant, western main. And when my nightly couch I try,
Sore harass'd out with care and grief, My toil-beat nerves, and tear-worn eye,
Keep watchings with the nightly thief: Or if I slumber, fancy, chief,
Reigns haggard-wild, in sore affright:
From such a horror-breathing night.
Now highest reign'st, with boundless sway!
Observed us, fondly wandering, stray! The time, unheeded, sped away,
While love's luxurious pulse beat high,
Beneath thy silver-gleaming ray,
To mark the mutual kindling eye.
Scenes never, never, to return!
Again I feel, again I burn !
Life's weary vale I'll wander through ;
A faithless woman's broken vow.
In speaking of this poem, Burns says, “I think it is one of the greatest pleasures attending a poetic genius, that we can give our woes, cares, joys, and loves, an embodied form in verse, which to me is ever immediate ease.'
OPPRESS'D with grief, oppress'd with care,
I set me down and sigh :
To wretches such as I !
What sickening scenes appear !
Must be my bitter doom :
But with the closing tomb !
No other view regard !
They bring their own reward :
Unfitted with an aim,
Forget each grief and pain;
Find every prospect vain.
Within his humble cell,
Beside his crystal well!
By unfrequented stream,
His thoughts to Heaven on high,
He views the solemn sky.
Less fit to play the part;
With self-respecting art :
Which I too keenly taste,
Or human love or hate,
At perfidy ingrate !
To care, to guilt unknown !
Of others, or my own !
Like linnets in the bush,
That active man engage !
Of dim declining age !
ODE TO RUIN. Currie says :-" It appears from internal evidence that the above lines were composed in 1786, when 'Hungry Ruin had him in the wind.' The 'dart' that
'Cut my dearest tie,
And quivers in my heart,' is evidently an allusion to his separation from his 'bonny Jean.' Burns seems to have glanced into futurity with a prophetic eye: images of misery and woe darkened the distant vista : and when he looked back on his career he saw little to console him.-'I have been, this morning,' he observes, 'taking a peep through, as Young finely says, "the dark postern of time long elapsed. 'Twas a rueful prospect! What a tissue of thoughtlessness, weakness, and folly! My life reminded me of a ruined temple. What strength, what pro. portion, in some parts! What unsightly gaps, what prostrate ruins in others !
I kneeled down before the Father of mercies and said, “Father, I have sinned
ALL hail ! inexorable lord !
The mightiest empires fall !
A sullen welcome, all !
I see each aimed dart;
The storm no more I dread;
Round my devoted head.
Oh! hear a wretch's prayer !
To close this scene of care !
Resign life's joyless day;
To stain my lifeless face;
Within thy cold embrace !
ADDRESS OF BEELZEBUB
TU THE PRESIDENT OF THE HIGHLAND SOCIETY. The history of this poem is as follows :-"On Tuesday, May 23, there was a meeting of the Highland Society at London for the encouragement of the fisheries in the Highlands, &c. Three thousand pounds were immediately subscribed by eleven gentlemen present for this particular purpose. The Earl of Breadalbane informed the meeting that five hundred persons had agreed to emigrate from the estates of Mr. Macdonald of Glengarry; that they had subscribed money, purchased ships, &c., to carry their design into effect. The noblemen and gentlemen agreed to co-operate with Government to frustrate their design; and to recommend to the principal noblemen and gentlemen in the Highlands to endeavour to prevent emigration, by improving the fisheries, agriculture, and anufactures, and particularly to enter into a subscription for that purpose.”—Edinburgh Advertiser of 30th May 1786.
In view of the indignation excited some fifteen or twenty years ago against the forcible eviction of poor people from estates in the Highlands of Scotland, the reader of to-day may be pardoned feeling some surprise at the expression of the poet's feelings against á laudable attempt to retain his countrymen in independence on their native soi!. The Address first appearea in the Scots Magazine with the following heading :-“To the Right Honourable the Earl of Breadalbane, President of the Right Honourable and Honourable the Highland Society, which met on the 23d of May last, at the Shakespeare, Covent Garden, to
concert ways and means to frustrate the designs of five hundred Highlanders,
LONG life, my lord, and health be yours,
But hear, my lord ! Glengarry, hear !