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Oh bless her with a mother's joys,

But spare a mother's tears!

Their hope, their stay, their darling youth,
In manhood's dawning blush

Bless him, thou God of love and truth,
Up to a parent's wish!

The beauteous, seraph sister-band,

With earnest tears I pray,

Thou know'st the snares on every hand
Guide thou their steps alway.

When soon or late they reach that coast,
O'er life's rough ocean driven,
May they rejoice, no wanderer lost-

A family in heaven!


1 Miss Louisa Lawrie possessed a scrap of verse in the poet's handwriting - —a mere trifle, but apparently intended as part of a lyric description of the manse festivities. Some little license must be granted to the poet with respect to his lengthening the domestic dance so far into the night.

The night was still, and o'er the hill
The moon shone on the castle wa';
The mavis sang, while dew-drops hang
Around her, on the castle wa'.

Sae merrily they danced the ring,

Frae eenin' till the cock did craw;

And aye the o'erword o' the spring, burden-tune
Was Irvine's bairns are bonny a'.




Roslin Castle.

The time for parting came (see the preceding piece), and the benevolent host was left by Burns under feelings deeply affected by the consideration that so bright a genius should be contemplating a destiny so dismal as a clerkship in the West Indies. A wide stretch of moor had to be passed by Burns on his way home.1 "His mind was strongly affected by parting forever with a scene where he had tasted so much elegant and social pleasure, and depressed by the contrasted gloom of his prospects. The aspect of nature harmonized with his feelings. It was a lowering and heavy evening in the end [beginning?] of autumn. The wind was up, and whistled through the rushes and long speargrass which bent before it. The clouds were driving across the sky; and cold pelting showers at intervals added discomfort of body to cheerlessness of mind.” Under these circumstances, and in this frame, Burns

composed what he concidered as "the last song he

should ever measure in Caledonia."

THE gloomy night is gathering fast,
Loud roars the wild inconstant blast;
Yon murky cloud is foul with rain,
I see it driving o'er the plain.

1 Professor Walker gives the ensuing narration from the conversation of Burns in Edinburgh.

The hunter now has left the moor,

The scattered coveys meet secure ;
While here I wander, pressed with care,
Along the lonely banks of Ayr.

The Autumn mourns her ripening corn,
By early Winter's ravage torn;
Across her placid, azure sky,
She sees the scowling tempest fly;
Chill runs my blood to hear it rave-
I think upon the stormy wave,
Where many a danger I must dare,
Far from the bonny banks of Ayr.

'Tis not the surging billow's roar,
'Tis not that fatal deadly shore;
Though death in every shape appear,
The wretched have no more to fear!
But round my heart the ties are bound,
That heart transpierced with many a wound;
These bleed afresh, those ties I tear,
To leave the bonny banks of Ayr.

Farewell old Coila's hills and dales,
Her heathy moors and winding vales;
The scenes where wretched fancy roves,
Pursuing past, unhappy loves!

Farewell, my friends! farewell, my foes!
My peace with these, my love with those:
The bursting tears my heart declare;
Farewell the bonny banks of Ayr!



It seems to have been at the close of autumn that Burns composed his amusing poem, The Brigs of Ayr, the model of which he found in Fergusson's Dialogue between the Plainstanes and Causeway, though, as usual, he made an immense advance upon his predecessor. A new bridge was now building across the river at Ayr, in order to supersede an ancient structure which had long been inconvenient, and was now infirm, and as this work was proceeding under the chief magistracy of his kind patron, Mr. Ballantyne, Burns seized the occasion to make a return of gratitude by inscribing the poem to him.

THE simple Bard, rough at the rustic plough, Learning his tuneful trade from every bough; The chanting linnet, or the mellow thrush, Hailing the setting sun, sweet, in the green thorn-bush;

The soaring lark, the perching redbreast shrill, Or deep-toned plovers, gray, wild-whistling o'er

the hill;

Shall he, nurst in the peasant's lowly shed,
To hardy independence bravely bred,

By early poverty to hardship steeled,

And trained to arms in stern misfortune's field

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Shall he be guilty of their hireling crimes,
The servile, mercenary Swiss of rhymes?
Or labour hard the panegyric close,

With all the venal soul of dedicating prose?
No! though his artless strains he rudely sings,
And throws his hand uncouthly o'er the strings,
He glows with all the spirit of the Bard,
Fame, honest Fame, his great, his dear reward!
Still, if some patron's generous care he trace,
Skilled in the secret to bestow with grace,
When Ballantyne befriends his humble name,
And hands the rustic stranger up to Fame,
With heartfelt throes his grateful bosom swells,
The godlike bliss, to give, alone excels.

'Twas when the stacks get on their winter hap,


And thack and rape secure the toil-won thatch-rope

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Of coming Winter's biting, frosty breath;
The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils,
Unnumbered buds' and flowers' delicious spoils
Sealed up with frugal care in massive waxen

Are doomed by man, that tyrant o'er the weak,
The death o' devils smoored wi' brim- smothered

stone reek:

The thundering guns are heard on every side,

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