Page images

By heedless chance I turned mine eyes,

And, by the moonbeam, shook to see
A stern and stalwart ghaist arise,

Attired as minstrels wont to be 1

Had I a statue been o'stane,

His darin' look had daunted me;
And on his bonnet graved was plain,

The sacred posy – Libertie!'

And frae his harp sic strains did flow,

Might roused the slumb’ring dead to hear;
But oh! it was a tale of wo,

As ever met a Briton's ear.

He sang wi' joy the former day,

He weeping wailed his latter times;
But what he said it was nae play-

I winna ventur't in my rhymes.

A favourite walk of Burns during his residence in Dumfries was one along the right bank of the river above the town, terminating at the ruins of Lincluden Abbey and Church, which occupy a romantic situation on a piece of rising-ground in the angle at the junction of the Cluden Water with the Nith. These ruins include many fine fragments of ancient decorative architecture, and are enshrined in a natural scene of the utmost beauty. Burns, according to his eldest son, often mused amidst the Lin cluden ruins. There is one position on a little mount, to the south of the church, where a couple of landscapes of witching loveliness are obtained, set, as it were, in two of the windows of the ancient building. It was probably the ‘Calvary' of the ancient church precinct. This the younger Burns remembers to have been a favourite resting-place of the poet.

Such is the locality of the grand and thrilling ode, entitled A Vision, in which he hints-for more than a hint could not be ventured upon-his sense of the degradation of the ancient manly spirit of his country under the conservative terrors of the passing era.

i Var.-Now looking over firth and fauld

Her horn the pale-faced Cynthia reared; When, lol in form of minstrel auld,

A stern and stalwart ghaist appeared.




TUNE-Charlie Gordon's welcome Hame.

Out over the Forth I look to the north,

But what is the north and its Highlands to me?
The south nor the east gie ease to my breast,

The far foreign land, or the wild rolling sea.
But I look to the west, when I gae to rest,

That happy my dreams and my slumbers may be;
For far in the west lives he I loe best,

The lad that is dear to my babie and me.



TUNE-Louis, what reck I by thee ?
Louis, what reck I by thee,

Or Geordie on his ocean?
Dyvor, beggar loons to me-

I reign in Jeanie's bosom.
Let her crown my love her law,

And in her breast enthrone me:
Kings and nations-swith, awa!

Reif randies, I disown ye !


TUNE-For the sake of Somebody.
My heart is sair–I dare na tell-

My heart is sair for somebody;
I could wake a winter night
For the sake of somebody.

Oh-hon ! for somebody!

Oh-hey! for somebody!
I could range the world around,

For the sake o' somebody!
Ye powers that smile on virtuous love,

O sweetly smile on somebody!
Frae ilka danger keep him free,
And send me safe my somebody!

Oh-hon! for somebody!

Oh-hey! for somebody!
I wad do-what wad I not ?

For the sake oʻsomebody! [*The whole of this song was written by Burns, except the third and fourth linen of stanza first, which are taken from Ramsay's song to the same tune.'-Stenhouse.]


AIR-The Sutor's Dochler.

Wilt thou be my dearie ?
When sorrow wrings thy gentle heart,
Wilt thou let me cheer thee?
By the treasure of my soul,
That's the love I bear thee!
I swear and vow that only thou
Shall ever be my dearie.
Only thou, I swear and vow,
Shall ever be my dearie.
Lassie, say thou loes me;
Or if thou wilt na be my ain,
Say na thou'lt refuse me :
If it winna, canna be,
Thou, for thine may choose me,
Let me, lassie, quickly die,
Trusting that thou loes me.
Lassie, let me quickly die,
Trusting that thou loes me.


TUNE-Ye're welcome, Charlie Stewart.
O lovely Polly Stewart !

O charming Polly Stewart !
There's not a flower that blooms in May

That's half so fair as thou art.
The flower it blaws, it fades and fa's,

And art can ne'er renew it;
But worth and truth eternal youth

Will give to Polly Stewart.
May he whose arms shall fauld thy charme,

Possess a leal and true heart;
To him be given to ken the heaven

He grasps in Polly Stewart.
O lovely Polly Stewart !

O charming Polly Stewart !
There's ne'er a flower that blooms in May

That's half so sweet as thou art.

[Polly Stewart was the daughter of a certain Willie Stewart, on whom Burns wrote some impromptu stanzas. She was reared in comfortable circumstances, a few miles from Burns's residence at Ellisland, and was married to a gentleman of large property. Sad to relate of one for whom Burns promised that worth and truth would give her eternal youth, this poor woman fell aside from the path of honour, and sunk into the most humble circumstances in her old age. It was stated a few years ago, that she lived as "a poor lavender' (to use a phrase of Barbour's) in Maxwelltown. She is believed to have subsequently died in France.j

[blocks in formation]

Wae is my heart, and the tear's in my ee;
Lang, lang, joy's been a stranger to me:
Forsaken and friendless, my burden I bear,
And the sweet voice o' pity ne'er sounds in my ear.

Love, thou hast pleasures, and deep hae I loved :
Love, thou hast sorrows, and sair hae I proved;
But this bruised heart that now bleeds in my breast,
I can feel its throbbings will soon be at rest.

Oh, if I were happy, where happy I hae been,
Down by yon stream, and yon bonnie castle-green;
For there he is wand'ring, and musing on me,
Wha wad soon dry the tear frae Phillis's ee,

1 The air to which Burns wrote this song, was the production of Dr Samuel Howard, organist of St Clement's Danes in the middle of the last century.

It was composed for Ramsay's song, At Setting Day and Rising Morn, and in this connection attained some popularity.


TUNE-Laggan Burn.
Here's to thy health, my bonnie lass,

Guid-night, and joy be wi' thee;
I'll come nae mair to thy bower-door,

To tell thee that I loe thee.
O dinna think, my pretty pink,

But I can live without thee:
I vow and swear I dinna care

How lang ye look about ye.
Thou’rt aye sae free informing me

Thou hast nae mind to marry;
I'll be as free informing thee

Nae time hae I to tarry.
I ken thy friends try ilka means,

Frae wedlock to delay thee;
Depending on some higher chance--

But fortune may betray thee.
I ken they scorn my low estate,

But that does never grieve me;
But I'm as free as any he,

Sma’ siller will relieve me.
I count my health my greatest wealth,

Sae long as I'll enjoy it:
I'll fear nae scant, I'll bode nae want,

As lang’s I get employment.
But far-off fowls hae feathers fair,

And aye until ye try them:
Though they seem fair, still have a care,

They may prove waur than I am.
But at twal at night, when the moon shines bright,

My dear, I'll come and see thee;
For the man that loes his mistress weel,

Nae travel makes him weary. Of the songs which appeared in Johnson's fifth volume, there are others which Burns had to some extent amended as they passed through his hands; but as the songs themselves are of no great merit, and the improvements by Burns make no conspicuous appearance amidst their rough, and often indelicate stanzas, they are postponed to subordinate place in this work.

After all, the fifth volume of Johnson did not apparently exhaust the contributions of the poet, for in a sixth, published in 1803, there are a few pieces undoubtedly by him.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »