Robert Wilson

Elegy on the Death of Burns

	     “Quis desiderio sit pudor, aut modus, 
		Tam cari capitis? Ðraecipe lugubris 
		Cantus, Melpomene, cui liquidam pater 
			Vocem cum cithara dedit.” –– Hor. 

COME a’ ye minstrels, auld an’ gray,
An’ stent yer strings, an’ saftly play
Some waefu’ dowie langsyne lay,
		An’ sadly mourn;
For Robin’s gane, alack-a-day!
		Ne’er to return.
His sangs war a’ sae saft an’ clever,
They gar’d a body’s heart-strings quiver;
Alake! that grousome death sou’d ever,
		Wi’ shaft sae keen,
Gar’d him sae soon an’ laithfu’ sever
		Frae his dear Jean.
Wha cou’d hae thought it wad been sae,
When they forgether’d on the brae.
An’ unco frien’ship seem’d to hae.
		Ere they did part;
I wonder sair gin death was wae
		To throw the dart.
Now cauld’s the breast that us’d to glow
Wi’ nature’s fire, the purest lowe;
His harp, that charm’d ilk heigh an’ howe,
		Wi’ chearfu’ strain,
Hangs tuneless on a laurel bough,
		To wind an’ rain.
Mourn, lovely Rose, o’ flow’rs the wale!
Mourn, humble daisy, in the dale!
Mourn, gentle breeze, an’ stormy gale,
		That swell the wave!
O whisper saft my waefu’ tale,
		Owre Robin’s grave!
Ye ragweeds wavin’ owre the lee,
Wi’ yellow taps sae fair to see;
Ye whins an’ broom sae bonnilie
		That gild the plain,
Ilk little flow’r an’ blossom tree,
		Come join my mane.
Alack-a-day! nae mair he’ll view
Or sing yer crimson-tipped hue,
Bedeck’d wi’ clearest blobs o’ dew,
		Like siller sheen;
While wand’rin’ ’hint the halesome plew
		At morn an’ e’en.
Mourn, cushats wild, in brake an’ shaw,
At mornin’s dawn, or e’enin’s fa’;
Ilk chirpin’ bird, an’ croakin’ craw,
		For Robin mourn;
In Charon’s boat he’s e’en awa’,
		Ne’er to return!
Nae mair ye’ll hear him i’ the spring,
Ahint the plew sae blythesome sing,
Or see him stauk, an’ furthy fling
		Athwart the seed;
Or build the joyfu’ harvest bing,
		For now he’s dead,
Mourn, wimplin’ burnies, as ye rin
Down ’mang the stanes wi’ tinklin’ din,
Or whar owre brae or rocky linn
		Ye roarin’ fa’,
Tell ilka trout that spreads a fin,
		Robin’s awa’.
Nae mair he’ll sing yer siller stream,
Bright glancin’ ’neath sweet Luna’s beam;
Yer braes, whar wild-flow’rs sweetly teem,
		Or rocky steeps;
Alack-a-day! in death’s lang dream
		He soundly sleeps!
Now winter may wi’ fury blaw
Its bitter storms o’ hail or snaw,
An’ burns swoll’n grit wi’ sudden thaw
		May tummlin’ roar,
An’ Chanticleer in vain may craw,
		To wake him more.

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