1801 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

D., "Elegiac Ode to the Memory of the late Robert Burns" The Monthly Magazine 11 (May 1801) 329.



As late, in museful mood, I stray'd,
When twilight darken'd on the dale,
Beneath a silvery willow's shade
I heard an Angel-semblance wail,
And thus her piteous plaint declare,
All on the lonely banks of AYR.

"Ah youth belov'd! to whom I gave
The richest bounty of my charms,
Mute dost thou fill the gloomy grave,
No genial spark thy bosom warms;
While sad I breathe my deep despair,
All on the lonely banks of AYR!

"How gentle was thy gifted breast!
How wildly grand thy witching rhime!
Of all my copious pow'rs possest,
Sweet could'st thou sing, or soar sublime
Thou wer't, indeed, beyond compare;
Tho' on the lonely banks of AYR.

"If thou did'st our the hum'rous strain,
What transport danc'd in every eye!
All save grim Superstition's train,
That pass'd, denouncing vengeance, by:
But, jovial, little did'st thou care,
While on the lonely banks of AYR.

"Thy gen'rous warmth, thy youthful pride,
Thy zeal in every bold design,
Tho' sober Dulness might deride,
But only more proclaim'd thee MINE;
And fondly didst thou woo the fair
That, whilom, grac'd the banks of AYR.

"Not to rich blockheads I impart,
Nor titled fools, my raptur'd glow;
That most I bless the humble heart,
Let my unrivall'd SHAKESPEARE shew!
And thou, sweet swain! whose ditties rare
So charm'd the echoing banks of AYR."

She ceas'd; nor ken'd I what bright dame
Might chuse a refuge, so forlorn,
When, sudden, thro' the air her name
Was from low-hailing voices borne;
'Twas FANCY! who indulg'd her care
Along the lonely banks of AYR.