1810 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Robert Tannahill, "Ode, recited by the President of the Burns' Anniversary Society, Paisley" Scots Magazine 72 (February 1810) 127.



Again the happy day returns,
A day to Scotchmen ever dear,
Tho' bleakest of the changeful year,
It blest us with a BURNS.
Fierce the whirling blast may blow,
Drifting wide the crispy snow;
Rude the ruthless storm may sweep,
Howling round our mountains steep,
While the heavy lashing rains,
Swell our rivers, drench our plains,
And the angry ocean roars
Round our broken, craggy shores,
But mindful of our poet's worth,
We hail the honour'd day that gave him Birth.

Come, ye Vot'ries of the Lyre,
Trim the torch of heav'nly fire,
Raise the song in Scotia's praise,
Sing anew her bonnie braes,
Sing her thousand siller streams,
Bickering to the sunny beams;
Sing her songs beyond compare,
Sing her dochters peerless fair;
Sing, till winter's storms be o'er,
The matchless Bards that sung before;
And I, the meanest of the muses train,
Shall join my feeble aid to swell the strain.

Dear Scotia, tho' thy clime be cauld,
Thy sons were ever brave and bauld,
Thy dochters, modest, kind, and leal,
The fairest in creation's fiel';
Alike inur'd to every toil,
Thou'rt foremost in the battle broil,
Prepar'd alike in peace or weir,
To guide the plow or weild the spear;
As the mountain torrent raves,
Dashing thro' its rugged caves,
So the Scottish Legions pour,
Dreadful, in th' avenging hour:
But when Peace, with kind accord,
Bids them sheath the sated sword,
See them in their native vales,
Jocund as the summer gales,
Cheering labour all the day,
With some merry roundelay.

Dear Scotia, tho' thy nights be drear,
When surly Winter rules the year,
Around thy cottage hearths are seen,
The glow of health, the cheerful mien;
The mutual glance that fondly share
A neibour's joys, a neibour's cares.
Here oft, while raves the wind and weet,
The canty lads and lasses meet,
Sae light of heart, sae full of glee,
Their gaits sae artless and sae free,
The hours of joy come dancin' on,
To share their frolic and their fun.
Here many a song and jest goes round,
With tales of ghosts, and rites profound,
Perform'd, in dreary, wizzard glen,
By runkl'd hags and warlock men;
Or of the hell-fee'd crew combin'd
Carousing on the midnight wind,
On some infernal errand bent,
While darkness shrouds their black intent.
But chiefly BURNS, thy songs delight,
To charm the weary winter night,
And bid the lingering moments flee,
Without a care, unless for thee,
Wha sang sae sweet, and dee't sae soon,
And sought the native sphere aboon.
Thy "Lovely Jean," thy "Nannie O,"
Thy much-lov'd "Caledonia,"
Thy "Wat ye wha's in yonder town,"
Thy "Banks and braes o' bonnie Doon";
Thy "Shepherdess on Afton braes,"
Thy "Logan lassie's bitter waes,"
Are a' gane o'er, sae sweetly tun'd,
That e'en the storm, pleas'd with the sound,
Fa's lown, and sings, with eerie slight,
"O let me in this ae, ae night."

Alas! our best, our dearest Bard,
How poor, how great was his reward!
Unaided, he has fixt his name,
Immortal in the rolls of fame;
Yet who can hear without a tear,
What sorrows wrung his manly breast,
To see his little, helpless, filial band,
Imploring succour from a father's hand,
And there no succour near?
Himself, the while, with sick'ning woes opprest,
Fast hast'ning on to where the weary rest:
For this let Scotia's bitter tears atone,
She reck'd not half his worth till he was gone.