1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Anonymous, "The Grave of Burns. Written in Sight of the Monumental Temple, at Dumfries" Port Folio [Philadelphia] S4 20 (July 1825) 88.



Is yonder little snowy dome
The sacred shrine — the silent tomb,
Where thinking strangers love to come,
Where genius mourns,
The last, the solitary home
Of thee, poor Burns?

Yes — yes, that dome adorns thy bed,
'Twas given by those who scarcely bread
When living gave thee — not a shed
To hide thy wants;
But now would o'er thy mouldering head
Build monuments.

The little spot is thine. And who
Shall turn thee from thy tenure now?
Thy lease is long, thy landlord true,
Thy troubles cease:
The great possess no more than thou
From Heaven's lease.

Swan of the Nith! thy wing was light,
Thy plumes were whitest of the white,
But wild and wayward was thy flight,
From wave to wave;
One course was thine, headstrong and bright
E'en to thy grave.

Swan of the Nith! if aught in thee
Sullied thy whiteness, none should see
The blemish: men should view like me,
Thy life's short dream,
And let thy faults like Swan's feet, be
Sunk in the stream.