1813 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Anonymous, in "Genius. Pronounced before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at their last Anniversary" General Repository and Review [Cambridge MA] 4 (October 1813) 385.



In luckless hour, bard of the minstrel's land!
Was left the rustic's for the poet's band.
Better to hide thy beams in night and gloom,
Than light the flames that blind thee, and consume:
More calm had been the life, more pure the breast,
Of Burns unhonoured than of Burns caressed.
Behold him now — his lofty spirit bowed
To the gross joys that catch the vulgar crowd!
His fervor led him passion's wildering way,
And flashed its lightnings o'er his stormy day;
Yet if we trust himself, through frenzy driven,
The light that led astray was light from heaven.