1791 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Thomas Scotus, "To A' Scots Poets" Morning Chronicle (6 September 1791).



In Scotland, now, thro' ilka neuk,
Grit grief an' sorrow ay shall leuk;
Tho' anes a-day ay gladness bruke
Through a' the land,
In like vale or wimplin' brook
Shall dule be fand.

Ah! Scotia, anes the randevouse
O' mony's a hamely-cracking muse!
Wi' you Apollo ay did goose
His tunefu' horn,
But now he's gane an' left our knows
Waif an' forlorn.

Now English fops may o'er you craw,
An' a' your kintry's bairns misca';
There's nane to punish them wha thraw
Reproaches on ye,
Synce a' your bards are een awa,
An' left you lonely.

Wae's me, for now the day is gane,
When our auld tongue by ilka ane
Was ay thought best; ilk lad was fain,
An' foucht nae ither,
But now they've left their hamely strain,
An' taen anither.

Wi' gude braid Scots nane cane be faird,
Fouks now maun leave their native eard,
French, Dutch, an' German maun be lear'd,
An' tongues uncouth,
An "Frae the cottar to the laird
They a' rin south."

Now English sangsters blaw the horn,
An' wi' their trash the land is storin';
Ilk senseless coif is o'er them porin'
Fu' fair an lang,
But Scotland's sitting a' forlorn
Without a sang.

It's now lang syn since death took Allan
Frae here up to a better dwallin';
'Mang a' that sang, that hamely lawlan'
Was aye the bangster,
Rob Fergie, too, is likewise fallen,
That bonny sangster.

Wow but my heart great pleasure teuk,
Whan Ayrshire Rob sent out his buik,
Aft' wau'd I steal into a neuk
An hour unseen,
An' read wi' pleasure Horn-book,
Or Halloween.

But now he's taen'd in till his head,
To quit the sang an' aiten reed:
Trouth, Robby, ye've cause to dreid
Your kintry's anger:
Cou'd we get ane to fill your stead,
I'd mourn nae langer.

O! but it maks me fair complain,
To think the days o' auld are gaen;
Fu' fair a' lang I mak' my mane
What I think on it,
In our auld hamely tongue there's nane
Can gies a sonnet.

Ye Scottish bards, whare'er ye be,
Now lift your pen fu' merrilee;
Stand furth, an' let your kintry see
Her ancient days:
Ilk Scotsman till the task wi' glee,
In's kintry's praise.

Ca' down the muses frae the lift,
An' tell them, tho' you've done nae thrift
This lang time past, you're now in tift
To treat them weel;
To serve you, lads, they will be swift:
Sae fare-ye-weel.