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The golden hours, on angel-wings,
Flew o'er me and my dearie;
Was my sweet Highland Mary.
Our parting was fu' tender;
We tore ourselves asunder;
That nipt my flower sae early !
That wraps my Highland Mary.
I aft hae kissed sae fondly !
That dwelt on me sae kindly !
The heart that loved me dearly !
Shall live my Highland Mary.
TO MARY IN HEAVEN.*
That lovest to greet the early morn!
My Mary from my soul was torn.
Highland Mary (Mary Campbell), to whom Burns was much attached, and to whom he was about to be married. Before visiting her relatives in order to make preparations for her wedding, she met Burns in a sequestered spot on the banks of the river Ayr. There, on a Sunday, they plighted their vows over an open Bible, and took water in their hands from the river, and scattered it in the air to intimate that as the stream was pure so were their intentions. They then parted, but never met again. On returning from her friends, Mary caught a malignant fever, and died before Burns even heard of her illness.
O Mary! dear departed shade!
Where is thy place of blissful rest ? Seest thou thy lover lowly laid ?
Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast? That sacred hour can I forget,
Can I forget the hallowed grove, Where by the winding Ayr we met,
To live one day of parting love ! Eternity will not efface
Those records dear of transports past ; Thy image at our last embrace;
Ah ! little thought we 'twas our last ! Ayr, gurgling, kissed his pebbled shore,
O'erhung with wild woods, thickening, green; The fragrant birch, and hawthorn hoar,
Twined amorous round the raptured scene : The flowers sprang wanton to be prest,
The birds sang love on every spray, Till too, too soon, the glowing west
Proclaimed the speed of winged day. Still o'er these scenes my memory wakes
And fondly broods with miser-care ! Time but the impression deeper makes,
As streams their channels deeper wear. My Mary! dear departed shade!
Where is thy blissful place of rest? Seest thou thy lover lowly laid ?
Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast.
BRUCE TO HIS TROOPS, BEFORE THE
BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN.
Or to victory!
Now's the day, and now's the hour;
Chains and slavery !
Let him turn and flee !
Let him follow me !
But they shall be free !
Let us do, or die !
LAMENT FOR JAMES, EARL OF GLENCAIRN.
The wind blew hollow frae the hills,
By fits the sun's departing beam
That waved o'er Lugar's winding stream:
Laden with years and meikle pain,
Whom death had all untimely ta’en.
Whose trunk was mouldering down with years
His hoary cheek was wet wi' tears !
And as he touched his trembling harp,
And as he tuned his doleful sang, The winds, lamenting through their caves,
To echo bore the notes alang.
“ Ye scattered birds, that faintly sing,
The relics of the vernal quire !
The honours of the aged year !
Again ye'll charm the ear and e'e;
Can gladness bring again to me.
I am a bending aged tree,
That long has stood the wind and rain, But now has come a cruel blast, And my last hald of earth is
gane : Nae leaf o' mine shall greet the spring,
Nae simmer sun exalt my bloom; But I maun lie before the storm,
And ithers plant them in my room.
I've seen sae monie changefu' years,
On earth I am a stranger grown ; I wander in the ways of men,
Alike unknowing and unknown : Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved,
I bare alane my lade o' care, For silent, low on beds of dust,
Lie a' that would my sorrows share.
And last (the sum of a' my griefs !)
My noble master lies in clay ; The flower amang our barons bold,
His country's pride, his country's stay : In weary being now I pine,
For a' the life of life is dead, And hope has left my aged ken,
On forward wing for ever fled. Awake thy last sad voice, my harp!
The voice of woe and wild despair ; Awake, resound thy latest lay,
Then sleep in silence evermair : And thou, my last, best, only friend,
That fillest an untimely tomb ! Accept this tribute from the bard
Thou brought from fortune's mirkest gloom. In Poverty's low barren vale,
Thick mists obscure, involved me round; Though oft I turned the wistful eye,
Nae ray of fame was to be found : Thou found'st me, like the morning sun
That melts the fog in limpid air; The friendless bard and rustic song
Became alike thy fostering care. Oh why has worth so short a date ?
While villains ripen grey with time, Must thou, the noble, generous, great,
Fall in bold manhood's hardy prime ? Why did I live to see that day!
A day to me so full of woe ! Oh, had I met the rtal shaft
Which laid my benefactor low ! The bridegroom may forget the bride
Was made his wedded wife yestreen; The monarch may forget the crown
That on his head an hour has been ; The mother may forget the child
That smiles sae sweetly on her knee; But I'll remember thee, Glencairn,
And a' that thou hast done for me !"