Janet Little

An Epistle to Mr. Robert Burns

FAIRFA' the honest rustic swain,
The pride o' a' our Scottish plain;
Thou gi'es us joy to hear thy strain,
And notes sae sweet;
Old Ramsay's shade, reviv'd again,
In thee we greet.
Lov'd Thallia, that delightful Muse,
Seem'd long shut up as a recluse:
To all she did her aid refuse,
Since Allan's day,
Till Burns arose, then did she choose
To grace his lay.
To hear thy song, all ranks desire;
Sae well thou strik'st the dormant lyre.
Apollo, wi' poetic fire,
Thy breast did warm,
An' critics silently admire
Thy art to charm.
Cæsar an' Luath weel can speak;
'Tis pity e'er their gabs should steek:
They into human nature keek,
An' knots unravel;
To hear their lectures ance a week,
Ten miles I'd travel.
Thy dedication to G---- H----,
In unco bonny, hamespun speech,
Wi' winsome glee the heart can teach
A better lesson,
Than servile bards wha fawn an' fleech,
Like beggar's messin.
When slighted love becomes thy theme,
An' woman's faithless vows you blame,
With so much pathos you exclaim,
In your Lament,
But glanc'd by the most frigid dame,
She wad relent.
The daisy too, you sing wi' skill;
An' weel ye praise the whiskey gill.
In vain I blunt my feckless quill,
Your fame to raise,
While echo sounds, frae ilka hill,
To Burns's praise.
Did Addison or Pope but hear,
Or Sam, that critic most severe,
A plough-boy sing, wi' throat sae clear,
They, in a rage,
Their works wad a' in pieces tear
An' curse your page.
If I should strain my rupy throat,
To raise thy praise wi' swelling note,
My rude, unpolish'd strokes wad blot
Thy brilliant shine,
An' ev'ry passage I would quote
Seem less sublime.
The talk I'll drop; wi' heart sincere
To heav'n present a humble prayer,
That a' the blessings mortals share
May be, by turns,
Dispens'd with an indulgent care
To Robert Burns. 

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