Richard Gall

Epistle Addressed to Robert Burns

	Hail, Robin, blest wi’ ilka gift 
 	To spread your fame aneath the lift! 
 	Lang may your Lassie keep in tift 
 		To rant an’ sing, 
 	An’ mak thy bonny ballads swift 
 		O’er Scotia ring.

 	Whan Fergusson (whase blythsome horn 
 	Beguiled the waes he lang had borne) 
 	Frae Caledonia’s arms was torn, 
		In youthfu’ pride, 
 	Unsparing Death deep fixed his thorn 
		In Scotia’s side.

 	For, wi’ the youth, oh, sad to tell! 
	Her wonted glee an’ spirit fell; 
	In ilka howm an’ flowery dell 
		Mirth fled awa; 
 	Her pipe hung silent as the shell 
 		In Fingal’s ha’.

	Yet though baith cauld an’ laigh he’s laid, 
	Blest ever be his gentle shade! 
 	Since Taste a lightsome charm has spread 
		O’er ilka measure, 
 	By auld an’ young he’ll aye be read 
		Wi’ waefu’ pleasure.

	But whan dowf Scotia sighed in pain 
 	For Robin’s fate – for Robin gane – 
	Apollo fired a hamely swain 
		Wi’ mirth an’ glee, 
        An’ Burns revived the joyfu’ strain, 
		In tunefu’ key.

 	The Scotian Muse, nae langer seen 
 	Wi’ bluthered cheeks an’ watery een, 
	Wad lead you through the woodlands green, 
 		Frae out the thrang, 
	Wi’ her upo’ the knowe to lean, 
		An’ souf a sang.

 	Fast spreading like a bleezing flame, 
 	The haughs an’ vallies rang your fame; 
	O’er glens an’ braes its echoes came, 
 		Baith far an’ near: 
	You justly gained a deathless name, 
		Beyond compeer.

	Your sangs are sought by grit an’ sma’, 
	Frae cotter’s hut to lordly ha’; 
 	The Doric pipe sae saft you blaw, 
		Wi’ breath an’ skill, 
 	As gars auld Scotia crousely craw 
		On ilka hill.

 	Fu’ aft on bonny simmer days, 
 	Whan Flora wears her gaudy claise, 
 	I dander to the gowany braes, 
 		Or lanely glens, 
 	To con thy saftly-melting lays, 
 		Or pawky strains.

 	O how delightfu’ then to lie, 
 	Nor tent the hour that’s stealing by, 
 	Till aft you gar me heave a sigh 
 		’Twixt joy an’ grief, 
 	Till ance anither tune you try, 
 		That brings relief!

 	Baith fools an’ knaves you crousely bang, 
 	An’ wightly wag the skelping whang, 
 	In words sae pithy, sharp, an’ strang, 
 		An’ nicely jointed; – 
 	Lord pity him wha tholes the stang, 
 		Sae glegly pointed!

 	Though little worth your pains I gie, 
 	It’s nae for want o’ will in me; 
	Yet could I think my sangs to thee 
 		Wad pleasure bring, 
 	Gosh, man! I’d gladly sit the lee – 
		Lang day, an’ sing.

	Now, wale o’ hearty cocks, I feel 
	I e’en, though laith, maun say, Fareweel; 
	For Time, in spite o’ ane, will steal 
 		An’ slip awa: 
 	Meanwhile, that I’m your servant leal, 
		I’m blythe to shaw.

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