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Poem by Robert Burns


Prologue, Spoken at the Theatre, Dumfries, on New Years Day Evening [1790]


No song nor dance I bring from yon great city
That queens it oer our taste-the mores the pity;
Tho, by-the-by, abroad why will you roam?
Good sense and taste are natives here at home:
But not for panegyric I appear,
I come to wish you all a good New-Year!
Old Father Time deputes me here before ye,
Not for to preach, but tell his simple story:
The sage grave Ancient coughd, and bade me say,
Youre one year older this important day.
If wiser too-he hinted some suggestion,
But twould be rude, you know, to ask the question;
And with a would-be roguish leer and wink,
Said, Sutherland, in one word, bid them _think_!
  Ye sprightly youths quite flush with hope and spirit,
Who think to storm the world by dint of merit,
To you the dotard has a deal to say,
In his sly, dry, sententious, proverb way!
He bids you mind, amid your thoughtless rattle,
That the first blow is ever half the battle;
That tho some by the skirt may try to snatch him;
Yet by the forelock is the hold to catch him;
That whether doing, suffering, or forbearing,
You may do miracles by persevering.
  Last, tho not least in love, ye youthful fair,
Angelic forms, high Heavens peculiar care!
To you old Bald-pate smoothes his wrinkled brow,
And humbly begs youll mind the important-_Now!_
To crown your happiness he asks your leave,
And offers bliss to give and to receive.
  For our sincere, tho haply weak endeavours,
With grateful pride we own your many favours;
And howsoeer our tongues may ill reveal it,
Believe our glowing bosoms truly feel it.



                      Robert Burns


Robert Burns's other poems:
  1. Scroggam
  2. Lines Written on a Bank-note
  3. Lines Written at Loudon Manse
  4. To Alex Cunningham, Writer
  5. How Lang And Dreary


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