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THE BONNIE LASS O' BALLOCHMYLE.
The beautiful estate of Ballochmyle on the Ayr, near Mauchline, had recently been transferred from the Whitefoords to Mr. Claud Alexander, a gentleman well connected in the west of Scotland, who had realized a large fortune as paymaster-general of the East India Company's troops in Bengal. He had lately come to reside at the mansion-house. The steep
banks of the river at this place form a scene of natural loveliness which has few matches, and Burns loved to wander there. In an evening of early summer, Miss Wilhelmina Alexander, the sister of the new laird, walking out along the braes after dinner, encountered a plain-looking man in rustic attire, who appeared to be musing, with his shoulder leaning against a tree. According to her own account: "The grounds being forbidden to unauthorized strangers – the evening being far advanced, and the encounter very sudden she was startled, but instantly recovered herself, and passed on." During his walk homeward Burns composed a song descriptive of the scene and the meeting.
the dewy fields were green,
On every blade the pearls hang!1
The Zephyr wantoned round the bean,
And bore its fragrant sweets alang;
In every glen the mavis sang,
All nature listening seemed the while, Except where greenwood echoes rang, Amang the braes o' Ballochmyle.
With careless step I onward strayed,
A maiden fair I chanced to spy.
Fair is the morn in flowery May,
And sweet is night in Autumn mild, When roving through the garden gay, Or wandering in the lonely wild : But woman, Nature's darling child!
There all her charms she does compile ; Even there her other works are foiled By the bonnie lass o' Ballochmyle.
Oh, had she been a country maid,
The lily's hue and rose's dye
Bespoke the lass o' Ballochmyle.
Through weary winter's wind and rain,
The bonnie lass o' Ballochmyle.
Then pride might climb the slippery steep, Where fame and honours lofty shine ; And thirst of gold might tempt the deep, Or downward seek the Indian mine; Give me the cot below the pine,
To tend the flocks, or till the soil, And every day has joys divine
With the bonnie lass o' Ballochmyle.
TO MR. JOHN KENNEDY.
(Between 3d and 16th August, 1786.)
FAREWELL, dear friend! may guid-luck hit you,
And ony deil that thinks to get you,
Good L-, deceive him.
"The valiant, in himself, what can he suffer?
To those whose bliss, whose being hangs upon him,
The point of misery festering in his heart,
THOMSON'S Edward and Eleanora.
FAREWELL, old Scotia's bleak domains,
A faithful brother I have left,
My part in him thou'lt share!
My Smith, my bosom frien';
Oh then befriend my Jean!
What bursting anguish tears my heart!
Thou, weeping, answ'rest "No!"
Wafts me from thee, dear shore !
It rustles, and whistles
I'll never see thee more!
LINES WRITTEN ON A BANK-NOTE.1
WAE worth thy power, thou cursed leaf,
1 "The above verses, in the handwriting of Burns, are copied from a bank-note, in the possession of Mr. James F. Gracie of Dumfries. The note is of the Bank of Scotland, and is dated so far back as 1st March, 1780." -MOTHER