1791 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Thomson

Robert Burns, "Thomson's Birth-day" The Star (14 September 1791).



If the weather proves favourable, the Coronation of the Bust of THOMSON, the Poet, with a wreath of bays, will be performed on Ednam Hill, on Thursday the 22d inst. at two o'clock in the afternoon; if otherwise, in Horsington's ballroom, at the same hour. In contemplation of this interesting ceremony, Mr. Burns, the Ayrshire Bard, now settled in the honourable and useful occupation of his ancestors, in the neighbourhood of Dumfries, has composed the following address to the shade of the Bard of Ednam.

While virgin SPRING by EDEN'S flood
Unfolds her tender mantle green;
Or pranks the sod in frolic mood,
Or tunes Eolian strains between:—

While SUMMER, with a matron grace,
Retreats to DRYBURGH'S cooling shade,
Yet oft, delighted, stops to trace
The progress of the spiky blade:—

While AUTUMN, benefactor kind,
By TWEED erects his aged head,
And sees, with self-approving mind,
Each creature on his bounty fed:—

While maniac WINTER rages o'er
The hills whence classic YARROW flows,
Rousing the turbid torrents' roar,
Or sweeping wide a waste of snows:—

So long, sweet Poet of the Year,
Shall bloom that wreath thou well hast won!
While SCOTIA, with exulting tear,
Proclaims that THOMSON was her Son!

A couple of casts from Thomson's statue, in Westminster Abbey, have been sent to the Earl of Buchan by Mr. Coutts, who generously offered the mould also, that they might be uniques; but Lord Buchan chose rather that casts should be multiplied for the gratification of the taste and patriotism of the public.