1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Alpine, "To Robert Burns, the Airshire Poet" Virginia Gazette (17 September 1789).



A Bard, like thee, untaught by classic rules,
Alike, with thee, a stranger to the schools,
But glowing warm with his own native fire,
And kindred feelings, which the Muse inspire,
Hails Allan's genus in thy rural lays,
And Ramsay's fame associates with thy praise;
With his simplicity thy numbers glide,
And roll along — a rich poetic tide,
On which is born, in easy, graceful, state,
Thy SCOTIA'S portrait, which proclaims her great—
Great in those arts which happiness impart,
And deck, with nameless charms, the virtuous heart.
Let letter'd Elegance enjoy her praise,
And proudly boast the laurel and the bays;
Unenvy'd, let her sing her servile song,
And mix inglorious in the venal throng;
But thou, a stranger to Corruption's ways,
Shall sweetly tune thy independent lays;
And paint the language, feelings, manners, dress,
Which give to SCOTIA fame and happiness.
Go on, thou Heaven-taught Bard, pursue thy strains,
And sing the joy of thy dear native plains;
Sing Happiness, with Virtue for her guide,
And Chastity, and innocence, ally'd;
And sweet sincerity, with cherub face,
And god-like Truth, with dignity and grace;
And soft Simplicity, whose artless charms
The feeling bosom fire with love's alarms—
Sing these acknowledg'd virtues of thy plains,
In thy own genius, manly native strains,
And may you never taste of life's affliction,
But long enjoy the beggar's benediction.