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Is there a bard of rustic song,
Who, noteless, steals the crowds among,
Oh, pass not by!
But, with a frater-feeling strong,
Here heave a sigh.
Is there a man, whose judgment clear,
Wild as the wave;
and, through the starting tear Survey this grave.
The poor inhabitant below,
Was quick to learn, and wise to know,
And softer flame;
But thoughtless follies laid him low,
And stained his name!
whether thy soul
Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole,
Know, prudent, cautious self-control
Is wisdom's root.
DEDICATION TO GAVIN HAMILTON, Esq.
In dedicating his Poems to Gavin Hamilton, Burns took the opportunity not merely to characterize that generous-natured man, but to throw out a few parting sarcasms at orthodoxy and her partisans. This poem, however, was not placed at the front of the volume, though included in its pages.
EXPECT na, sir, in this narration,
A fleechin, fleth'rin dedication, wheedling-flattering To roose you up, and ca' you guid,
o' great and noble bluid,
Because ye're surnamed like his Grace;1
Perhaps related to the race;
Then when I'm tired, and sae are ye,
Wi' monie a fulsome, sinfu' lie,
Set up a face, how I stop short,
This may do
maun do, sir, wi' them wha
Maun please the great folk for a wamefou; belly-full
Sae I shall say, and that's nae flatterin',
The Poet, some guid angel help him,
The Patron (sir, ye maun forgie me,
I readily and freely grant,
He downa see a poor man want;
But then nae thanks to him for a' that,
Or hunters wild on Ponotaxi,
Wha never heard of orthodoxy.
That he's the poor man's friend in need,
It's no through terror of d—tion ;
Morality, thou deadly bane,
Thy tens o' thousands thou hast slain!
stretch a point to catch a plack; Abuse a brother to his back;
Steal through a winnock frae a w
No matter stick to sound believing!
Learn three-mile prayers, and half-mile graces,
And d- a' parties but your own;
Oh ye wha leave the springs o' Calvin,
For gumlie dubs of your ain delvin'! muddy ponds
Ye sons of heresy and error,
Ye'll some day squeel in quaking terror!
Just frets, till Heaven commission gies him:
Your pardon, sir, for this digression,
So, sir, ye see 'twas nae daft vapour,
I thought them something like yoursel'.
Then patronise them wi' your favour,
I had amaist said, ever pray,
For prayin' I hae little skill o't;
I'm baith dead sweer, and wretched ill o't; unwilling But I'se repeat each poor man's prayer
That kens or hears about you, sir:—