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Poem by Robert Burns

The Lament

Occasioned by the unfortunate issue of 
    a Friends Amour.

O THOU pale Orb, that silent shines,
  While care-untroubled mortals sleep!
Thou seest a wretch that inly pines,
  And wanders here to wail and weep!
With woe I nightly vigils keep,
  Beneath thy wan, unwarming beam;
And mourn, in lamentation deep,
  How life and love are all a dream.

I joyless view thy rays adorn
  The faintly-marked, distant hill:
I joyless view thy trembling horn,
  Reflected in the gurgling rill:
My fondly-fluttering heart, be still!
  Thou busy powr, Remembrance, cease!
Ah! must the agonizing thrill
  For ever bar returning peace!

No idly-feignd poetic pains,
  My sad love-lorn lamentings claim;
No shepherds pipe-Arcadian strains;
  No fabled tortures, quaint and tame:
The plighted faith, the mutual flame,
  The oft attested Powrs above,
The promisd fathers tender name-
  These were the pledges of my love!

Encircled in her clasping arms,
  How have the rapturd moments flown!
How have I wishd for fortunes charms,
  For her dear sake, and hers alone!
And must I think it! is she gone,
  My secret hearts exulting boast?
And does she heedless hear my groan?
  And is she ever, ever lost?

Oh! can she bear so base a heart,
  So lost to honour, lost to truth,
As from the fondest lover part,
  The plighted husband of her youth?
Alas! lifes path may be unsmooth!
  Her way may lie thro rough distress!
Then who her pangs and pains will soothe,
  Her sorrows share, and make them less?

Ye winged hours that oer us past,
  Enrapturd more, the more enjoyd,
Your dear remembrance in my breast
  My fondly-treasurd thoughts employd.
That breast, how dreary now, and void,
  For her too scanty once of room!
Evn evry ray of hope destroyd,
  And not a wish to gild the gloom!

The morn that warns th approaching day
  Awakes me up to toil and woe:
I see the hours in long array,
  That I must suffer, lingering slow.
Full many a pang, and many a throe,
  Keen recollections direful train,
Must wring my soul, ere Phoebus, low,
  Shall kiss the distant western main.

And when my nightly couch I try,
  Sore-harassd out with care and grief,
My toil-beat nerves, and tear-worn eye,
  Keep watchings with the nightly thief:
Or if I slumber, Fancy, chief,
  Reigns, haggard-wild, in sore affright:
Evn day, all-bitter, brings relief
  From such a horror-breathing night.

O thou bright Queen, who oer th expanse
  Now highest reignst, with boundless sway!
Oft has thy silent-marking glance
  Observd us, fondly-wandring, stray!
The time, unheeded, sped away,
  While loves luxurious pulse beat high,
Beneath thy silver-gleaming ray,
  To mark the mutual-kindling eye.

O scenes in strong remembrance set!
  Scenes never, never to return!
Scenes, if in stupor I forget,
  Again I feel, again I burn!
From evry joy and pleasure torn,
  Lifes weary vale Ill wander thro;
And hopeless, comfortless, Ill mourn
  A faithless womans broken vow.

Robert Burns

Robert Burns's other poems:
  1. Epitaph on Wee Johnny
  2. The Cairds Second Song
  3. The Sailors Song
  4. Prologue, Spoken at the Theatre, Dumfries, on New Years Day Evening [1790]
  5. To Dr. Maxwell, on Miss Jessy Staigs Recovery

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Joanna Baillie The Lament ("SWEET lake! while shades are closing round")

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