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The Battle of Sheriff-Muir.
But, cursed lot! the gates were shut;
“ My sister Kate cam' up the gate
Wi' crowdie unto me, man;
Frae Perth unto Dundee, man:
An' so it goes you see, man.
“They've lost some gallant gentlemen,
Amang the Highland clans, man:
Lord Panmure is slain,
An' Whigs to hell did flee, man."
SONG COMPOSED IN AUGUST.
TUNE—“I had a horse, I had nae mair,” or “O poortith cauld.” Now westlin' winds an' slaughtring guns
Bring autumn's pleasant weather;
Amang the blooming heather:
Delights the weary farmer;
To muse upon my charmer.
The partridge loves the fruitful fells:
The plover loves the mountains;
The soaring hern the fountains:
The path of man to shun it;
The spreading thorn the linnet.
Thus every kind their pleasure find,
and the tender;
Some solitary wander:
Tyrannic man's dominion;
The flutt'ring gory pinion.
But Peggy, dear, the ev'ning's clear,
Thick flies the skimming swallow;
All fading green and yellow:
An' view the charms of Nature;
An' every happy creature.
We'll gently walk, an' sweetly talk,
Till the silent moon shine clearly;
Swear how I love thee dearly:
Not autumn to the farmer,
Tune—“The last time I cam' o'er the muir,” or “Peggy, I must
[“This is one of the Poet's earliest compositions. It is copied from MS. book which he had before his first publication.”—Cromek.)
YOUNG Peggy blooms our bonniest lass,
Her blush is like the morning,
The rosy dawn, the springing grass,
With early gems adorning: Her eyes outshine the radiant beams
That gild the passing shower, And glitter o'er the crystal streams,
And cheer each fresh'ning flower.
Her lips, more than the cherries bright,
A richer dye has graced them; They charm th' admiring gazer's sight,
And sweetly tempt to taste them: Her smile is, as the evening, mild,
When feather'd tribes are courting, And little lambkins wanton wild,
In playful bands disporting.
Were fortune lovely Peggy's foe,
Such sweetness would relent her, As blooming spring unbends the brow
Of surly, savage winter. Detraction's eye no aim can gain,
Her winning powers to lessen; And fretful envy grins in vain
The poison'd tooth to fasten.
Ye powers of honour, love, and truth, From every
ill defend her; Inspire the highly-favour'd youth
The destinies intend her:
The gloomy Night is gathering fast.
Still fan the sweet connubial flame
Responsive in each bosom,
With many a filial blossom.
THE GLOOMY NIGHT IS GATHERING
TUNE—“Roslin Castle,” or “Hughie Graham.”
“I composed this song as I convoyed my chest so far on the road to Greenock, where I was to embark in a few days for Jamaica (November, 1786). I meant it as my farewell dirge to my native land.”—Burns. “I requested him to communicate some of his unpublished poems, and he recited his farewell song to the banks of Ayr, introducing it with a description of the circumstances in which it was composed, more striking than the poem itself. He had left Dr. Lawrie's family, after a visit, which he expected to be the last, and on his way home had to cross a wide stretch of solitary moor. His mind was strongly affected by parting for ever with a scene where he had tasted so much elegant and social pleasure; and, depressed by the contrasted gloom of his prospects, the aspect of nature harmonized with his feelings: it was a lowering and heavy evening in the end of autumn. The wind was up, and whistled through the rushes and long spear-grass which bent before it. The clouds were driving across the sky; and cold pelting showers at intervals added discomfort of body to cheerlessness of mind. Under these circumstances, and in this frame, Burns composed his poem.”—Professor Walker.]
The gloomy night is gath’ring fast,