1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Anonymous, "Lines on the celebrated Scottish Bard Robert Burns" Alexandria Herald [Virginia] (22 July 1818).



O, Burns, thy wand'rings I deplore,
Why didst thou leave the peaceful shore,
Where virtue dwelt in times of yore,
And still doth dwell?
Why give the ways of wisdom o'er,
For paths of hell?

Hadst thou in virtue's paths still mov'd,
And still the ways of wisdom prov'd,
Thou hadst by all men been belov'd,
Who wisdom knew;
And thine own heart had still approv'd
Thy course below.

Thou couldst the patriot bosom warm,
Thou couldst the ear of learning charm,
Thou couldst excite love's SOFT ALARM,
With master verse;
Thou couldst keen malice's hand disarm,
And anger fierce.

But wisdom's ways thou didst forego,
Thou didst the paths of folly know,
And blindly run a course below,
Of sin and shame—
"Thy thoughless follies laid thee low,
And stain'd thy name!"