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The golden hours, on angel-wings,
Wi' mony a vow, and locked embrace,
O pale, pale now, those rosy lips,
And closed, for aye, the sparkling glance
The heart that loved me dearly!
Shall live my Highland Mary.
TO MARY IN HEAVEN.*
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!
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 wingèd 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.
SCOTS, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Or to victory!
Now's the day, and now's the hour;
Wha will be a traitor knave ?
Let him turn and flee !
Wha for Scotland's king and law
Let him follow me !
By oppression's woes and pains!
Lay the proud usurpers low !
LAMENT FOR JAMES, EARL OF GLENCAIRN.
That waved o'er Lugar's winding stream:
Laden with years and meikle pain,
He leaned him to an ancient aik,
Whose trunk was mouldering down with years His locks were bleachèd white wi' time,
His hoary cheek was wet wi' tears!
And as he touched his trembling harp,
"Ye scattered birds, that faintly sing,
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,
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 !)
In weary being now I pine,
The voice of woe and wild despair;
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 mortal 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 !"