1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Anne Powell, "Robert Burns, occasioned, by the Prince of Wales contributing Fifty Guineas, toward erecting a Monument" Powell, Clifton (1821) 111-14.



Thy closing tomb was seal'd with care,
And bath'd with friendship's warmest tear,
And fann'd with many a sigh!
Thy social spirit took its flight,
Through aether, to the realms of light,
A seraph's wings to try!
Now backward couldst thou cast thy view,
And see what scenes appear!
What honors thou art passing through,
And what thy ashes bear.
But soaring, adoring,
The great almighty King!
Thy woes o'er, thy joys more,
Than even seraphs sing!

Now here, the "sons of busy life,"
Protect thy children and thy wife,
And e'en thy dust "regard!"
For now, "the busy means are ply'd,"
Nor has thy tomb its charge "deny'd,"
To take thy just "reward."
Whilst here, thou sang'st with soft delight,
Unheeded, in thy youth;
And thought thyself a hapless wight,
Then nature stamp'd thee truth!
And smiling, beguiling,
Thro' pleasure, care and pain,
Whilst toiling, recoiling,
To shew thee all was vain.

O happy hours! arcadian days!
A prince to crown a poet's lays,
And gild the trophied urns;
Of British bards and poets rare,
Our Dryden, Milton, and Shakespeare,
And Scottish Robert Burns.
Ye muses too, his much lov'd nine,
Dwell nigh his honour'd bed;
And snow-drops with your myrtles twine,
A chaplet for his head:
Nor weeping, sit drooping,
Around the poet's tomb;
For changing, tho' mould'ring,
Is yet poor Robert's doom.

"Ye tiny elves," with nimble feet,
Rest here, you'll find his sod most sweet,
For here the violets bloom;
And here, his "crimson-tipped flower,"
That met him "in an evil hour,"
Shall grace his honor'd tomb.
Thou "mousie" too, with "leaves an' stibble,"
That touch'd his gentle mind;
"It cost thee many a weary nibble,"
He said, in soothing kind;
Whilst trembling, and wand'ring
Along the mountain's brow;
Then sighing, decrying
He held the fatal plough.

Now, mem'ry! o'er his sonnets, fling,
Beauties, more lasting than the spring,
And Oh! his prose sublime!
Where truth, and heav'n-born genius speak,
His pathos strong, his spirit meek,
Nor shall it waste by time!
Here weave your amaranthine bowers,
Ye graces! — well ye may!
And dress his tomb with lasting flowers—
This tribute to him pay:
Who fear'd once, and car'd once,
To catch your glowing fire;
Retiring, expiring,
He touch'd your golden lyre!