1828 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Arion, "To Burns" Saturday Evening Post [Philadelphia] 7 (24 May 1828).



Eternal thy harvest, thou Bard of the soul!
Immortal the blossoms that bloom on thy bay!
The heart is the seat of thy witching control;
And while sympathies vibrate to gladness or dole,
The feelings will bend to thy sway.

When the heart's vows are breathed to a listening ear
And recorded by love on the willing cheek's blush;
Or when sighs sadly summon the love-distill'd tear;
Thy spirit is twined with each heart-flutter there,
Thro' thy lyrics their flooded loves gush.

When the champions of freedom go forth to the fight
And thy soul-stirring "Scots wha hae" rises on high,
While each heart owns its fire, the foe feels its might,
As spurr'd by the spirit, and marshall'd by right,
They rush on "to do or to die."

While the pulses of friendship enliven the breast,
A throb shall be found for the Bard of "Lang syne;"
If "Adieu" must be sigh'd, in thy verse it is drest;
Or, return'd, to the love-swollen bosom, when prest,
Each burst of the heart, there, is thine.

Let sublimity's poet soar proudly and far,
Still thro' lofty obscurity roam;
Thy flight is unerring, while passion's thy car,
While fancy's thy feeling, while nature's thy star,
And the warm human heart is thy home.

When melody's rays, which now beam on the soul,
Droop joyless, and wither'd, and drop to decay;
Then, will death dim the heart's love thy hand did unrol,
And the feelings will fall from thy vivid control,
As time, hoary time, faints away.