A POEM HUMBLY INSCRIBED TO G. H. ESQ.
"Great nature spoke, observant man obey'd."--Pope.
[This Poem was written by Burns at Mossgiel, and "humbly inscribed to
Gavin Hamilton, Esq." It is supposed to allude to his intercourse with
Jean Armour, with the circumstances of which he seems to have made
many of his comrades acquainted. These verses were well known to many
of the admirers of the poet, but they remained in manuscript till
given to the world by Sir Harris Nicolas, in Pickering's Aldine
Edition of the British Poets.]
Let other heroes boast their scars,
The marks of sturt and strife;
And other poets sing of wars,
The plagues of human life;
Shame fa' the fun; wi' sword and gun
To slap mankind like lumber!
I sing his name, and nobler fame,
Wha multiplies our number.
Great Nature spoke with air benign,
"Go on, ye human race!
This lower world I you resign;
Be fruitful and increase.
The liquid fire of strong desire
I've pour'd it in each bosom;
Here, in this hand, does mankind stand,
And there, is beauty's blossom."
The hero of these artless strains,
A lowly bard was he,
Who sung his rhymes in Coila's plains
With meikle mirth an' glee;
Kind Nature's care had given his share,
Large, of the flaming current;
And all devout, he never sought
To stem the sacred torrent.
He felt the powerful, high behest,
Thrill vital through and through;
And sought a correspondent breast,
To give obedience due:
Propitious Powers screen'd the young flowers,
From mildews of abortion;
And lo! the bard, a great reward,
Has got a double portion!
Auld cantie Coil may count the day,
As annual it returns,
The third of Libra's equal sway,
That gave another B[urns],
With future rhymes, an' other times,
To emulate his sire;
To sing auld Coil in nobler style,
With more poetic fire.
Ye Powers of peace, and peaceful song,
Look down with gracious eyes;
And bless auld Coila, large and long,
With multiplying joys:
Lang may she stand to prop the land,
The flow'r of ancient nations;
And B[urns's] spring, her fame to sing,
Thro' endless generations!