English poetry

British Poets Biographies Poems About Random Poem
The Rating of Poets The Rating of Poems

Poem by Robert Burns

Prologue, Spoken by Mr. Woods, on his Benefit-night, Monday, April 16. 1787

WHEN by a generous publics kind acclaim,
That dearest meed is granted-honest fame;
When here your favour is the actors lot,
Nor even the man in private life forgot;
What breast so dead to heavnly virtues glow,
But heaves impassiond with the grateful throe?
  Poor is the task to please a barbrous throng,
It needs no Siddons power in Southerns song:
But here an ancient nation, famd afar
For genius, learning high, as great in war-
Hail, Caledonia! name for ever dear!
Before whose sons Im honourd to appear!
Where every science, every nobler art,
That can inform the mind, or mend the heart,
Is known; as grateful nations oft have found,
Far as the rude barbarian marks the bound.
Philosophy, no idle, pedant dream,
Here holds her search, by heaven-taught Reasons beam;
Here History paints with elegance and force,
The tide of Empires fluctuating course;
Here Douglas forms wild Shakespeare into plan,
And Harley rouses all the god in man.
When well-formd taste and sparkling wit unite,
With manly love, or female beauty bright
(Beauty, where faultless symmetry and grace
Can only charm us in the second place)-
Witness my heart, how oft with panting fear,
As on this night, Ive met these judges here!
But still the hope Experience taught to live,
Equal to judge-youre candid to forgive.
No hundred-headed Riot here we meet,
With decency and law beneath his feet,
Nor Insolence assumes fair Freedoms name;
Like Caledonians, you applaud or blame.
  O Thou, dread Power! whose empire-giving hand
Has oft been stretchd to shield the honourd land,
Strong may she glow with all her ancient fire;
May every son be worthy of his sire;
Firm may she rise with generous disdain
At Tyrannys, or direr Pleasures chain;
Still self-dependent in her native shore,
Bold may she brave grim Dangers loudest roar,
Till Fate the curtain drop on worlds to be no more.

                      Robert Burns

Robert Burns's other poems:
  1. Theres News, Lasses
  2. Scroggam
  3. To a Young Lady, Miss Jessy Lewars, Dumfries, with Books which the Bard Presented her
  4. The Toast
  5. To Alex Cunningham, Writer

Poem to print To Print Poem


The Last Poems


English Poetry. E-mail eng-poetry.ru@yandex.ru