1805 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Thomas Stott, "Extemporaneous Effusion, on seeing the Birth-Place of Robert Burns" St. James's Chronicle (19 October 1805).



A Painted Monitor* now meets the eye,
Where Ayrshire's gifted Bard his breath first drew:
The sight, like magic, caught me passing by,
And caus'd sensations exquisite as new.

"Blest be the spot, where Scotia's choicest flow'r
Its charms unfolded to the light of day,"
My soul exclaim'd — "upon whose natal hour
The Sun of Genius shed its brightest ray!"

I paus'd — and then, with reverential awe,
Enter'd the Cot where once the Wonder dwelt;
And while his pictur'd Semblance there I saw,
My heart successive strong emotions felt.

Enchantment's chain a while my senses bound:
Aerial Forms around me seem'd to float;
Methought I heard his past'ral pipe resound,
Sweet as the warbling woodland's vernal note.

COILA, adorned in Beauty's green attire,
Attended by her Nymphs and Naiads fair;
LUGAR'S weird sisters, CASSILLIS' fairy choir,
And those that haunt the banks of Doon and Ayr;

KIRK-ALLOWAY'S witches, Tam O'Shanter's bale,
In fleet succession rise before my view;
And as Illusion's plastic pow'rs prevail,
Death, Hornbook, and Auld Nick were present too.

Fav'rite of Genius! Soul of fun and fire!
Whose strains in spells of rapture Mem'ry bind—
What Bard like thee could strike Mirth's social lyre,
And rouse the tuneful energies of mind!

From Nature's fount thy Muse her knowledge drew;
Wit's glowing rays thy rapid sketches warm;
At thy command mild Pity shed her dew,
Or kindling Passion burst into a storm.

Well could'st thou trace the secret springs that move
Deceit's dark aim, Hypocrisy's deep art;
Suspicion, Grief, Fear, Hatred, Friendship, Love,
And all the Inmates of the human heart!

Ah! Son of Fancy! soon, too soon, that flame,
Which round thee, like a halo, beam'd so bright,
Consum'd, by its intensity, thy frame—
And Earth resign'd thee to the Realms of Light!
HAFIZ
Dromore.

* In the little village of Alloway stands the Cottage in which Burns was born. It is pointed out to the notice of travellers, by an inscription painted on a board, which is affixed to the wall. The Cottage itself is now converted into an Ale-house; and there is a painted likeness of the Poet in the parlour.