1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

W. B., "On the Death of Robert Burns" Morning Chronicle (6 August 1796).



Come, ilka Caledonian Swain,
An' crune awa' the dulefu' strain:
Relentless DEATH, wha spareth nane,
Our Prayers spurns;
An's hurried aff to's dark domain
Poor RABIE BURNS.

Poor Scotland! — Sure, you'll miss him fair;
Your Sangsters a' may greet an' blear:—
Poor hapless Orphans! never mair,
Alas, he'll cheer ye!
No: — he wha sang sa sweet at Ayr
Has cross'd the Ferry!

Aftimes, at Glomin', on the green,
The Younkers, auld Fock, Wife, an' Wean
Set up, wi' joyfu' heart, I've seen;
The loud gafaa,
'Till wi' a strae we might ha' been
Tied, ane an' a'.

In Winter, whan the eens grew lang,
What could divert like RABIE'S Sang?—
By carelessly the busiest flang
The needfu'st turns,
An' joyfu' join'd the merry thrang—
To laugh wi' BURNS.

But, greedy DEATH pays nae regard
To Prince or Poet, Hind or Laird,
Else RABIE in a cauld Kirk-yard
Had ne'er been laid:
E'en Hornbook sel' was unprepar'd
To face his blade.

Dry up, auld Scotland; dinna mourn:—
Altho' your Poet's in his urn,
The day may aiblins yet return,
When to your praise
Some chaps within your borders born
My tune their Lays.

You've still your YATES, a hopefu' son,
Wha has already gi'en's some fun;
The Laurel now I hope he'll win:—
My Heav'n him spare!
An', O, may Airdric clachan soon
E'en vie wi' Ayr!

Cheer up, my Friends; your grief forbear;—
Come, strew a Laurel o'er his bier;
An' may, as lang's this rotund sphere
On'ts axis turns,
To Scotsmen, ay, the name be dear
O' ROBERT BURNS!