ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
Rev. William Wilkie
, "An Eclogue, to the Memory of Dr. William Wilkie" Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement 18 (29 October 1772) 145-46.
Rev. William Wilkie:
1759: David Hume
1759: William Shenstone
1759: Alexander Carlyle
1772: Robert Fergusson
1789: James Beattie
1795: Dr. Robert Anderson
1800: Charles Lamb
1804: David Irving
1806: Alexander Fraser Tytler
1807: Robert Southey
1822: Joseph Robertson
1844: Leigh Hunt
1772: Rev. William Wilkie
1773: John Cunningham
1773: John Gay
1773: Samuel Johnson
Blaw saft, my reed, and kindly to my maen,
Weel may ye thole a saft and dowie strain;
Nae mair to you shall shepherds in a ring,
Wi' blythness skip, or lasses lilt an' sing;
Sic sorrow now maun sadden ilka eie,
An' ilka waefu' shepherd grieve wi' me.
Wharefor begin a sad an' dowie strain,
Or banish lilting frae the Fifan plain.
Tho' simmer's gane, an' we nae langer view
The blades o' claver wat wi' pearls o' dew,
Cauld winter's bleakest blasts we'll eithly cowr,
Our eldin's driven, an' our har'st is owr;
Our rucks fu' thick are stackit i' the yard,
For the Yule feast a sautit mart's prepar'd;
The ingle-nook supplies the simmer fields,
An' aft as mony gleefu' moments yields.
Swyth man! fling a' your sleepy springs awa',
An' on your canty whistle gie's a blaw:
Blythness, I trow, maun lighten ilka eie,
An' ilka canty callant sing like me.
Na, na! a canty spring wad now impart
Just threefald sorrow to my heavy heart.
Thof to the weet my ripen'd aits had fawn,
Or shakewinds owr my rigs wi' pith had blawn,
To this I cou'd hae said, "I carena by,"
Nor found occasion now my cheeks to dry.
Crosses like thae, or lake o' warld's gear,
Are naething whan we tyne a friend that's dear.
Ah! waes me for you, Willy! mony a day
Did I wi' you on yon broom-thackit brae,
Hound aff my sheep, an' let them careless gang
To harken to your cheery tale or sang;
Sangs that for ay, on Caledonia's strand,
Shall fit the foremost 'mang her tunefu' band.
I dreamt yestreen his deadly wraith I saw
Gang by my ein as white's the driven snaw;
My colley, Ringie, youf'd an' yowl'd a' night,
Cour'd an' crap near me in an unco fright,
I waken'd fley'd, an' shook baith lith an' limb;
A cauldness took me, an' my sight grew dim;
I kent that it forspak approachin' wae
Whan my poor doggie was disturbit sae.
Nae sooner did the day begin to dawn,
Than I beyont the know fu' speedy ran,
Whare I was keppit wi' the heavy tale
That sets ilk dowie sangster to bewail.
An' wha on Fifan bents can weel refuse
To gie the tear o' tribute to his muse?—
Fareweel ilk cheery spring, ilk canty note,
Be daffin an' ilk idle play forgot;
Bring ilka herd the mournfu', mournfu' boughs,
Rosemary sad, and ever dreary yews;
Thae lat be steepit i' the saut, saut tear,
To weet wi' hallow'd draps his sacred bier,
Whase sangs will ay in Scotland be rever'd,
While slow-gawn owsen turn the flow'ry swaird;
While bonny lambies lick the dews of spring,
While gaudsmen whistle, or while birdies sing.
'Twas na for weel tim'd verse or sangs alane,
He bore the bell frae ilka shepherd swain.
Nature to him had gi'en a kindly lore,
Deep a' her mystic ferlies to explore:
For a' her secret working he could gie
Reasons that wi' her principles agree.
Ye saw yoursel how weel his mailin thrave,
Ay better faugh'd an' snodit than the lave;
Lang had the thristles an' the dockans been
In use to wag their taps upo' the green,
Whare now his bonny riggs delight the view,
An' thrivin hedges drink the caller dew.
They tell me, Geordie, he had sic a gift
That scarce a stanie blinkit frae the lift,
But he wou'd some auld warld name for't find,
As gart him keep it freshly in his mind:
For this some ca'd him an uncanny wight;
The clash gaed round, "he had the second sight;"
A tale that never fail'd to be the pride
Of grannies spinnin' at the ingle-side.
But now he's gane, an' Fame, that whan alive,
Seenil lats ony o' her vot'ries thrive,
Will frae his shinin name a' motes withdraw,
And on her loudest trump his praises blaw.
Lang may his sacred banes untroubl'd rest!
Lang may his truff in gowans gay be drest!
Scholars and bards unheard of yet shall come,
And stamp memorials on his grassy tomb,
Which in yon antient kirk-yard shall remain,
Fam'd as the urn that hads the MANTUAN swain.