1797 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Anonymous, "Monody on the Death of Robert Burns" Scots Magazine 59 (May 1797) 337-38.



Melpomene, thou mournfu' muse,
Dinna to aid me now refuse,
My paper mony a tear bedews,
My heart's like lead,
Now while I write the waefu' news,
That Robin's dead.

For sterling genius, blyth and free,
Fam'd Robin's match when shall we see?
Ye sons o' music rise and gi'e
A waefu' screed,
The pith and saul o' mirth and glee
Wi' Burns are fled.

Ye lasses, gathering heather bells,
By Scotia's mosses, glens, or fells,
Ye bardies "crooning to yoursels,"
By burn or brae,
Echo thro' a' yon hills and dells
The sang of wae.

Let poor dull rhymers rack their brains,
His native wild enchanting strains
Shall charm a' Caledonia's swains,
Baith young and aul',
While mountain daisies deck our plains
They'll touch the saul.

His death wi' far mair grief we learn,
That on reflection we discern,
Long might we had our fav'rit bairn,
In health fu' sicker:
O curse the fallows did him learn
To toom the bicker.

But let us not, as chatt'ring fools,
Proclaim his faults, like envy's tools,
Wha seek out darkness just like owls,
Dark, dark indeed,
But a' his failings co'er wi' the mools,
Now since he's dead.

As bright a genius death has torn
As thee fram'd Scotia did adorn;
Like Phoebus when he springs at morn,
Clear was his head;
What news could mak' us mair forlorn,
Than "Robin's dead?"

The winter nights I've cheer'd by turns,
Wi' Ramsay, Fergusson, and Burns:
The first twa cauld are in their urns,
Their sauls at rest:
Now weeping Caledonia mourns,
Him last and best.