1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

W. G., "Song, written for the Anniversary of the Birth-Day of Burns" The Star (5 February 1820).



Tune — "Dear Tom, this brown jug."
O come, ye choice band! let us form, with one soul,
A circle to Friendship, whose centre's the bowl,—
That bowl, which to Genius we now set apart,
Whose warm-breathing spirit's the type of each heart;
The day dear to Scotsmen, oft welcom'd, returns,
Then your glasses fill high, — 'tis the birth-day of BURNS!

How sweet are the strains that, wherever we rove,
Recal to our bosoms the land which we love;
Which, tho' sterile and wild, yet rich are its charms,
In the triumphs of Beauty, of Genius, and Arms;
Let us moisten the bay which our Poet adorns,
And drink, in full bumpers, — the birth-day of BURNS!

We are free, as we're brave, but by order confin'd,
Or the chains of the fair, which the Graces have twin'd;
Are we summon'd to battle, at home or afar,
With the spirit of Wallace we march to the war;
Then, with "Scots wha ha'e bled," every echo returns,
And Victory shouts, — in the language of BURNS!

O! his was the fancy that soar'd in its flight,
Like the eagle sublime, when she basks in the light;
And his was the spirit no tyrant could bend,
So dark to the foe, yet so warm to the friend;
So impassion'd in love, which our nature adorns,
Then, in rapture, fill high, — 'tis the birth-day of BURNS!

O BURNS! thy dear name e'er remember'd shall be,
While heaves the green wave round the isle of the free;
Thy fame we shall cherish, and honour thy bust,*
That seems, like a phoenix, to rise from thy dust;
Strew with wild-flow'rs thy grave, where each Muse sadly mourns,
Then, in silence, let's drink — to the memory of BURNS!

*Alluding to the new Bust.