1830 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Anonymous, "Song, for the Anniversary of Burns" Edinburgh Literary Journal (23 January 1830) 56.



As SCOTIA stood musing on days that are past,
Her eye all around her she pensively cast,
O'er her land of red heather and thistles so green;
A sigh came unbidden, when, far in a wild,
She Coila descried softly tending a child,
Whose looks beam'd with rapture, through ringlets profuse,
As conn'd he the Legends of Wallace and Bruce,
Entranced 'mong the heather and thistles so green.

"Hail, Coila, still dearest! whom now dost thou nurse?
A statesman or warrior? a blessing or curse
To my land of red heather and thistles so green?"—
"A child," she replied, "who is doom'd to inspire
The sons of the heather with patriot fire;
And yet no Belhaven, to combat the wrong,
Nor Wallace of war, but a Wallace of song,
Awakes to thy heather and thistles so green.

"From the thousands his spirit, resistless, shall lead,
As follow'd thy Wallace, a Bruce* may succeed
Our bard of the heather and thistle so green,
Though far hath the fame of thy heroes been heard,
Still farther the fame of thy Patriot Bard;
While roams the proud peasant thy mountains and plains,
So long shalt thou, SCOTIA, exult in his strains—
While blooms the red heather and thistle so green."

* Prophetic of Sir Walter Scott.