1809 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Allan Ramsay

J. M'D., "Lines written at Habby's How, 22d Sept. 1809" Scots Magazine 72 (January 1810) 48.



Ye lovers of the Scottish Muse,
Who warm at Ramsay's honour'd name,
Approach, survey the scene recluse,
That lighted his poetic flame.

Approach with fancy's eye, and view
Where now a heath, the rill and grove,
Where once the Gentle Shepherd breath'd
His sweet, his tender tale of love.

Oft on yon mountain's sloping side,
So bright with Phoebus' parting ray,
Where now the raven hoarsely croaks,
And screech-owl skims at twilight grey.

There at the shut of sober eve,
When toil had lent its turn to play,
And man enjoys his sweet reprieve,
Would Patie and his Peggy stray.

Or where yon hawthorn's flowery breast
Diffuses grateful odour round,
While Nature hush'd, retires to rest,
The youthful lovers would be found:

There to unfold no tale of art,
Nor passion known to cold controul;
Love flow'd in rapture from the heart,
And sacred lovers would be found:

O thou that hast a lover kind,
Some dear, some sweet, some lovely maid,
The Gentle Shepherd keep in mind,
Do all he did, say all he said.

What tho' the blind decree of fate
Has doom'd her to the russet gown,
While Fortune, smiling at thy gate,
Has made thee rest on bed of down.

See beauty beam on either eye,
See grace on every action dwell;
A bosom true to pity's sigh,
A heart humanity can swell.

And will the love of lucre vile,
"The world's dread laugh," or kindred's frown,
Make thee this treasure sweet forego,
And Nature's first impulse disown?

No, Nature, I will love thy works,
And love them for themselves alone;
Give me thy sweetest, fairest child,
And earthly bliss I'll call my own.
Roslin,
15th Oct. 1809.