1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Hamilton Paul, "Verses read at Burns's Cottage" 1806; Port Folio [Philadelphia] NS 5 (2 January 1808) 8.



The surviving friends and compatriots of the late celebrated Robert Burns, continue to commemorate his birthday, in his native Cottage, where verses in imitation of his manner are always expected from some of the company, on the occasion. On the 19th of July, 1806, when a numerous and respectable company were assembled, the following Verses were produced by the Rev. Hamilton Paul, who formerly had gratified kindred affection in the same way. Q.

The Lark up springing from the dewy lawn,
Mounts high and higher still, to meet the dawn,
And as he floats the fleecy clouds among,
Regales his partner with his matin song.
Meanwhile reclining on the bed of love,
She bids her songs regard their sire above;
And tells that they shall soon extend the wing,
Like him shall learn to soar, like him to sing.
Thus emulation animates the young,
Aids the first warblings of the tuneful tongue,
Bids fancy glow, and the warm soul inspires,
With all the Lover's, all the Poet's fires.
Thus Coila's lark near Doon's meand'ring tide,
First treads the mead, by modest daisies pied,
His new fledged pinion, next he trembling tries,
Gains, by degrees, possession of the skies.
And Heav'nward urging his unwearied flight,
Is lost to vulgar view amid the blaze of light,
Happy could I ascend on equal wing,
And soaring high, with equal vigour sing.
Then Doon should roll more rapidly his floods,
Ayr, more majestick wander through his woods,
Beloved streams; where'er my footsteps roam,
Your grateful murmurs seem to call me home.
By fancy led, I linger in your shades,
And gaze enamour'd on your lovely maids,
Revive your palaces and wizard towers,
And tread again your honey suckle bowers.
O could my tributary verse display
The varying beauties which your banks display,
Then should the Seasons in succession run,
Those to pursue, and these to meet the Sun.
Spring's greener garniture should grace the plain,
And Summer with more dazzling glory reign,
With mellower fruits the Autumn should be crown'd,
And Winter rage more awfully around.
But daring he, who hopes to wake the Lyre
With Burns's heav'n-taught strain, on Thomson's fire:
Enough for me to claim the kind regard,
Of you, the friends and patrons of the Bard.
And should my name descend in future times,
And lovesick maids with tears embalm my rhymes,
"When memory would award my feeble lays,
The votive offering of Affection's praise,"
'Twould be the highest earthly honour paid,
To sooth and gratify my hov'ring shade,
That in this mansion, by the muses lov'd,
I sang of Burns — you listen'd and approv'd.