1822 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Anonymous, "Sonnet, written after reading Dr. Currie's Life of Burns" Morning Post (26 October 1822).



BURNS! not the fairy songster's painted wings,
Shaking from tiny plumes Columbian dews,
Can match the changeful splendour of thy muse.
Now melting tenderness resistless flings
Delightful sorrow; now quick-flashing springs
The patriot glow; now wit the smile renews;
Now love with fancy blends his gayest hues,
And reason's self lies captive while he sings.
Idol and victim of a heartless train!
Bold was thy rhyme, impetuous, bold, and clear;
Not ARIOSTO'S, no, nor SHAKSPEARE'S strain,
Could sooner raise, or sooner quell the tear:
One only tear thy magic cannot chain—
Oh! BURNS' for thee it falls — thee, on thy bier!
(From the Museum)