Billeder på siden

Perhaps a mother's anguish adds its wo;

The playful pair crowd fondly by thy side; Ah! helpless nurslings, who will now provide That life a mother only can bestow?

Oft as by winding Nith I, musing, wait

The sober eve, or hail the cheerful dawn, I'll miss thee sporting o'er the dewy lawn, And curse the ruthless wretch, and mourn thy hapless fate.


There is usually printed in Burns's works a little ode, entitled Delia, which, from its deficiency of force and true feeling, some have suspected to be not his composition. Allan Cunningham tells a feasibleenough-looking story regarding it. "One day, when the poet was at Brownhill, in Nithsdale, a friend read some verses composed after the pattern of Pope's song by a person of quality, and said: 'Burns, this is beyond you. The Muse of Kyle cannot match the Muse of London city.' The poet took the paper, hummed the verses over, and then recited Delia, an Ode." There is not anything in this anecdote inconsistent with the fact, that Burns sent the ode for insertion in a London newspaper. (?)

“MR. PRINTER — If the productions of a simple ploughman can merit a place in the same paper with Sylvester Otway, and the other favourites of the Muses who illuminate the Star with the lustre of genius, your insertion of the enclosed trifle will be succeeded by future communications from yours, &c. "R. BURNS.

"ELLISLAND, near Dumfries,
18th May, 1789."

FAIR the face of orient day,
Fair the tints of op'ning rose ;
But fairer still my Delia dawns,
More lovely far her beauty shews.

Sweet the lark's wild warbled lay,
Sweet the tinkling rill to hear;

But, Delia, more delightful still,
Steal thine accents on mine ear.

The flower-enamoured busy bee
The rosy banquet loves to sip;
Sweet the streamlet's limpid lapse
To the sun-browned Arab's lip.

But, Delia, on thy balmy lips

Let me, no vagrant insect, rove;

O let me steal one liquid kiss,

For, oh! my soul is parched with love!




The poem on the Hare had been sent to Dr. Gregory of Edinburgh, for whose critical judgment and general character Burns entertained a high veneration. Dr. Gregory's criticisms led to certain alterations, the result of which was as follows.

INHUMAN man! curse on thy barbarous art,
And blasted be thy murder-aiming eye;
May never pity soothe thee with a sigh,
Nor ever pleasure glad thy cruel heart!

Go live, poor wanderer of the wood and field! The bitter little that of life remains :

No more the thickening brakes and verdant plains

To thee shall home, or food, or pastime yield.

Seek, mangled wretch, some place of wonted rest,

No more of rest, but now thy dying bed! The sheltering rushes whistling o'er thy head, The cold earth with thy bloody bosom prest.

Oft as by winding Nith I, musing, wait
The sober eve, or hail the cheerful dawn,
I'll miss thee sporting o'er the dewy lawn,
And curse the ruffian's aim, and mourn thy
hapless fate.





AULD Comrade dear, and brither sinner,
How's a' the folk about Glenconner?
How do you, this blae eastlin wind,
That's like to blaw a body blind?
For me, my faculties are frozen,
And ilka member nearly dozen'd.
I've sent you here, by Johnnie Simson,
Twa sage philosophers to glimpse on:
Smith, wi' his sympathetic feeling,
And Reid, to common-sense appealing.
Philosophers have fought and wrangled,
And meikle Greek and Latin mangled,
Till, wi' their logic jargon tir'd,
And in the depth of science mir'd,

To common-sense they now appeal,

What wives and wabsters see and feel. weavers

1 An old friend of the poet and his family, who assisted him in his choice of the farm of Ellisland.

But, hark ye, friend! I charge you strictly,
Peruse them, and return them quickly,

For now I'm grown sae cursed douce,


I pray and ponder butt the house; in the outer room
My shins, my lane, I there sit roastin',
Perusing Bunyan, Brown, and Boston:
Till by and by, if I haud on,
I'll grunt a real gospel groan.
Already I begin to try it,

To cast my e'en up like a pyet,
When by the gun she tumbles o'er,
Flutt'ring and gasping in her gore:
Sae shortly you shall see me bright,
A burning and a shining light.

My heart-warm love to guid auld Glen,
The ace and wale o' honest men.
When bending down wi' auld gray hairs,
Beneath the load of years and cares,
May He who made him still support him,
And views beyond the grave comfórt him;
His worthy fam'ly far and near,
God bless them a' wi' grace and gear !

My auld school-fellow, Preacher Willie,
The manly tar, my Mason billie,

And Auchenbay, I wish him joy;

If he's a parent, lass or boy,

May he be dad, and Meg the mither,
Just five-and-forty years thegither!






« ForrigeFortsæt »