1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Anna, "Lines written for the Dinner in commemoration of Robert Burns" The Sun (5 June 1816).



Hither come! in the mist of morning!
Genius bold of the northern Lay!
And let the lamp in thy hand be burning,
From which thou pluckest thy meteor ray!

Let the Cloud to thy shoulder clinging,
Give the drops for thy pupil's pen!
That the strain may be sweet as an Angel singing
By the side of the brooks in a shady glen!

But ha! thou stay'st in the valley weeping!
And thy finger is cold, and thy lyre unstrung!
And Sorrow around thee her watch is keeping,
And Silence buries the strain thou'st sung!

Alas! thou hast been o'er his tombstone sighing,
Tracing with tears his elegy!
And He — thy Son in the dark grave lying,
Could send not an answ'ring tone to thee!

No longer he strolls in the cool of gloaming,
He wanders not on the banks of Doon!
But perhaps his shade o'er the spot is roaming,
Like the misty vapour around the Moon!

And yet may'st thou sleep in the Grave, and sweetly
We will twine the bay round the cypress tree!
And the death of Man seems not death completely
When he lives in his own sweet poesy!

There are brighter strains we may love to cherish,
But the tender tones to the heart are dear!
And Taste may hang down her head and perish,
If the carolling seem not sweet to her ear!

The Soul may hang o'er the page of feeling,
Like the brightest Sun on the fairest flow'r!
And the tear may over the leaf be stealing,
Like the softest rain o'er the jasmine bow'r!

And yet shall praise be thy name caressing,
As it lays the wreaths on thy simple tomb!
And the voice shall be like the voice of blessing,
When it speaks of joy in the days to come!
Seymour Place, May 14, 1816.