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Me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me;
I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy;
Had we never loved sae kindly,
Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
To an old Scots Tune.
BEHOLD the hour, the boat, arrive!
Frae thee whom I hae loved sae weel?
Endless and deep shall be my grief;
Alang the solitary shore,
Where fleeting sea-fowl round me cry,
Happy, thou Indian grove, I'll say,
Where now my Nancy's path shall be! While through your sweets she holds her way, O tell me, does she muse on me?
1 Another copy of this song is given further on, at p. 83 of vol. iii.
To a charming plaintive Scots Air.
ANCE mair I hail thee, thou gloomy December! Ance mair I hail thee wi' sorrow and care Sad was the parting thou mak'st me remember, Parting wi' Nancy, oh, ne'er to meet mair!
Fond lovers' parting is sweet, painful pleasure,
Hope beaming mild on the soft parting hour; But the dire feeling, oh, farewell for ever! Anguish unmingled and agony pure!
Wild as the winter now tearing the forest,
Still as I hail thee, thou gloomy December,
Still shall I hail thee wi' sorrow and care; For sad was the parting thou mak'st me remember,
Parting wi' Nancy, oh, ne'er to meet mair!
O MAY, THY MORN.
On the 25th of January, 1792, Mrs. M'Lehose wrote a friendly letter to Burns, bidding him farewell, in anticipation of her immediate departure for Jamaica. She says: "Seek God's favor, keep his commandments, be solicitous to prepare for a happy eternity. There, I trust, we will meet in neverending bliss!" She sailed in February in that vessel, the Roselle, in which Burns had intended to leave his country a few years before.
One of the final meetings of Burns and Clarinda is believed to be the subject-matter of the following song, which, however, must be regarded as a poetical rather than historical recital.
O MAY, thy morn was ne'er so sweet
And here's to them that like oursel'
And here's to them that wish us weel,
The dearest o' the quorum;
MY NANNIE'S AWA'.
In the course of the ensuing summer, while Mrs. M'Lehose was absent in the West Indies, the poet's feelings subsided into a comparative calm, and he then composed the following beautiful pastoral.
Now in her green mantle blithe Nature arrays, And listens the lambkins that bleat o'er the
1 These lyrics could not have been written without an earnest, however temporary and transient, feeling on the part of the author; yet we conceive it would be a great mistake to accept them as a literal expression of the particular passion in which they originated, or a description of incidents to which that passion gave rise. We ought to make a considerable allowance for the extent to which the poet's mind is actuated by mere considerations of art and the desire of effect. In one there is a levity, and in others a tincture of métier, which are alike incompatible with our notions of this sentimental attachment. The Ae Fond Kiss appears in a different light. The tragic tale seems there concentrated in a wild gush of eloquence direct from the poet's heart.