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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



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,

The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide;
The feathered field-mates, bound by Nature's

Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie;
(What warm, poetic heart, but inly bleeds,
And execrates man's savage, ruthless deeds
Nae mair the flower in field or meadow springs;
Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings,
Except, perhaps, the robin's whistling glee,
Proud o' the height o' some bit half-lang tree;
The hoary morns precede the sunny days,
Mild, calm, serene, wide spreads the noontide

While thick the gossamour waves wanton in

the rays.

'Twas in that season, when a simple Bard,
Unknown and poor, Simplicity's reward,
Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr, burgh
By whim inspired, or haply prest wi' care,
He left his bed, and took his wayward route,
And down by Simpson's1 wheeled the left-about:
(Whether impelled by all-directing Fate,
To witness what I after shall narrate;2
Or whether, rapt in meditation high,

He wandered out he knew not where or why.)

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1 A noted tavern at the Auld Brig end. B.

2 In a MS. copy, here occur two lines omitted in print:

"Or penitential pangs for former sins

Led him to rove by quondam Merran Din's.”

The drowsy Dungeon-clock1 had numbered two, And Wallace Tower2 had sworn the fact was true;

The tide-swoln Firth, with sullen sounding roar, Through the still night dashed hoarse along the shore.

All else was hushed as Nature's closed e'e;
The silent moon shone high o'er tower and tree;
The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam,
Crept, gently-crusting, o'er the glittering


When lo! on either hand the listening Bard, The clanging sugh of whistling wings is rustle heard ;

Two dusky forms dart through the midnight air, Swift as the gos3 drives on the wheeling hare.

Ane on the Auld Brig his airy shape uprears,
The ither flutters o'er the rising piers:
Our warlock Rhymer instantly descried
The Sprites that owre the Brigs of Ayr preside.
(That Bards are second-sighted is nae joke,
And ken the lingo of the sp'ritual folk;
Fays, Spunkies, Kelpies, a', they can explain

1 A clock in a steeple connected with the old jail of Ayr. This steeple and its clock were removed some years ago.

2 The clock in the Wallace Tower an anomalous piece of antique masonry, surmounted by a spire, which stood in the High Street of Ayr. It was removed some years ago, and replaced by a more elegant tower, which bears its name. 8 The gos-hawk, or falcon. - B.

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