1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

S. A. N., "Lines to the Memory of Burns" New Monthly Magazine 10 (November 1818) 329.



BURNS! could thy noble, vig'rous soul
Have known reflection's calm control,
How great had been thy fame!
The generous warmth that fired thy breast
Might then have made thee truly blest,
And freed thy life from blame.

Though reason seldom led aright
That genius, which with radiant light
Shone forth — by nature given—
When Virtue's lasting charms inspire
Thy verse, thou seem'st to draw thy fire—
Prometheus-like — from Heaven.

And though too often wont to stray
In error's wildly devious way—
Unruly Passion's slave—
Oh! may those follies — all forgot—
Which e'en thy fame, sweet Bard, would blot,
Be buried in thy grave!

Should the unfeeling few condemn
The strains that ne'er were breathed for them,
Or envious critics sneer,
Yet still, O BURNS! to every breast,
With genuine taste and feeling blest,
Thy memory shall be dear.

The Muses, while they mourn thy doom,
To deck their favour'd vot'ry's tomb,
Their fairest wreaths shall twine,
And if the tear by Pity shed
Can reach the mansions of the dead,
That tribute, BURNS, is thine!