1829 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

J. S., "Song, written for Burns's Anniversary, 1829" Edinburgh Literary Journal (14 February 1829) 198.



There's nae bard to charm us now,
Nae bard ava,
Can sing a sang to nature true,
Since Coila's bard's awa.

The simple harp o' earlier days
In silence slumbers now,
And modern art, wi' tuneless lays,
Presumes the Nine to woo,
But nae bard in a' our isle,
Nae bard ava,
Frae pauky Coila wins a smile,
Since Robin gaed awa.

His hamely style let Fashion spurn—
She wants baith taste and skill;
And wiser shou'd she ever turn,
She'll sing his sangs hersell;
For nae sang sic pathos speaks,
Nae sang ava,
And Fashion's foreign rants and squeaks
Shou'd a' be drumm'd awa.

How far-fetch'd figures aye maun fall,
To touch the feeling heart;
Simplicity's direct appeal
Excels sic learned art.
And nae modern minstrel's lay,
Nae lay ava,
Sae powerfully the heart can sway
As Robin's that's awa.

For o'er his numbers Coila's Muse
A magic influence breathed,
And roun' her darling poet's brows,
A peerless crown had wreath'd,
And nae wreath that e'er was seen,
Nae wreath ava,
Will bloom sae lang's the holly green
O' Robin that's awa.

Even Scotland's pride, Sir Walter Scott,
Who boldly strikes the lyre,
Maun yield to Robin's sweet love-note,
His native wit and fire;
For nae bard hath ever sung,
Nae bard ava,
In hamely or in foreign tongue,
Like Robin that's awa.

Frae feeling heart, Tom Campbell's lays
In classic beauty flow;
But Robin's artless sang displays
The soul's impassion'd glow.
For nae bard by classic lore,
Nae bard ava,
Has thrill'd the bosom's inmost core,
Like Robin that's awa.

A powerfu' harp did Byron sweep,
But not wi' happy glee,
And though his tones were strong and deep,
He ne'er could change the key.
For nae bard beneath the lift,
Nae bard ava,
Wi' master-skill the keys cou'd shift,
Like Robin that's awa.

He needs nae monumental stanes,
To keep alive his fame;
Auld Granny Scotland and her weans
Will ever sing his name.
For nae name does fame record,
Nae name ava,
By Caledonia mair adored,
Than Robin's that's awa.
Dalry.