A sonnet-stanza followed by four irregular Spenserians (abbacdcdeE) laud the powers of Scottish song and the union of Scotland and England. Dyer had visited Scotland in 1797. The complete title is given as "Ode addressed to Dr. Robert Anderson, of Heriot's Green, Edinburgh, after a Visit paid him by the Author, and various Pedestrial Excursions in Scotland. By Mr. Dyer." In the Albion and Evening Advertiser (1800) the ode is titled "Ode, written after various Pedestrian Excursions in Scotland. To Dr. Anderson" and signed G. Dyer." Dyer alludes to Robert Anderson's labors on his important edition of the British Poets: "Be mine, with chaplets Scotian Brows to bind, | While England's Bards thy studious hours engage."
The use of the stanza in this context is probably intended to recall Willam Collins's Superstition's Ode, written on the occasion of a visit by the Scottish poet John Home to England. Dyer was certainly thinking about Collins, for he alludes to the Superstitions Ode in another poem written to commemorate his visit to Scotland, "Verses occasioned by the Death of John Armstrong," in the Edinburgh Magazine or Literary Miscellany NS 10 (August 1797) 139-40. Dyer appears to have been already at work on the study of superstition and poetry he would eventually publish in the two volumes his Poetics (1812).
Where is the KING of SONGS? He sleeps in death:
No more around him press the warrior-throng;
He rolls no more the death-denouncing song;
Calm'd is the storm of war, and hush'd the poet's breath.
Yes! Anderson, he sleeps: but Carron's stream
Still seems responsive to his awful lyre;
And oft where Clutha's winding waters gleam,
Shall pilgrim-poets burn with kindred fire.
Sunk are Balclutha's walls, and shatter'd low
The fort high-beetling, gem of Roman pride;
Sleeps too Fingal, and sleeps th' Imperial foe,
Each in his narrow dwelling doom'd to bide.
Quench'd is the poet's eye — but shines his name,
As thro' a broken cloud the sun's far-darting flame.
Where now DUNBAR? The bard has run his race:
But glitters still the GOLDEN TERGE on high;
Nor shall the thunder storm that sweeps the sky,
'Mid its wide waste, the glorious orb deface.
DUNKELD, no more the heaven-directed chaunt
Within thy sainted wall may sound again.
But thou, as once a poet's favourite haunt—
Shalt live in DOUGLAS' pure Virgilian strain;
While time devours the castle's towering wall,
And roofless abbies pine, low tottering to their fall.
Oh! Tweed, say, does thy rolling stream betide
The patriot's ardour, or the bigot's rage?
In union dost thou distant friends engage?
Or flow, a boundary river, to divide?
If love direct, roll on, thou generous stream,
Thy banks, oh! Tweed, I kiss, and hail thee friend:
But while thy waters, serpent-winding gleam,
Should serpent treacheries on thy course attend,
Thy banks disdainful would I rove along,
Tho' every bard that sings, should raise thee in his song.
But no, my friend: I read thy candid page,
And catch the fervor of thy generous mind,
Be mine, with chaplets Scotian brows to bind,
While England's bards thy studious hours engage.
The Highland nymph shall melt with England's lay;
And English swains be charm'd with Scotia's song;
Tho' rude the language, yet to themes so gay,
The softest powers of melody belong.
Still Ramsay, shall thy GENTLE SHEPHERD please,
Still, BURNS, thy rustic mirths, and amorous minstrelsies.
When shall I view again with ravish'd sight,
As when with thee, my Anderson, I stray'd,
And all the wonder-varying scene survey'd,
Seas, hills, and city fair from Calton's height?
When hear, (for Scotia's rhymes ah! soon shall fail)
Some Ednam bard awake the trembling string,
Some tuneful youth of charming Tiviot-dale,
Some Kelso songstress love's dear raptures sing?
Language may change; but song shall never die,
Till beauty fail to charm, till love forget to sigh.