["I had taken," says Burns, "the last farewell of my friends, my chest
was on the road to Greenock, and I had composed the last song I should
ever measure in Caledonia--
'The gloomy night is gathering fast.'"]
The gloomy night is gath'ring fast,
Loud roars the wild inconstant blast;
Yon murky cloud is foul with rain,
I see it driving o'er the plain;
The hunter now has left the moor,
The scatter'd coveys meet secure;
While here I wander, prest with care,
Along the lonely banks of Ayr.
The Autumn mourns her rip'ning corn,
By early Winter's ravage torn;
Across her placid, azure sky,
She sees the scowling tempest fly:
Chill runs my blood to hear it rave--
I think upon the stormy wave,
Where many a danger I must dare,
Far from the bonnie banks of Ayr.
'Tis not the surging billow's roar,
'Tis not that fatal deadly shore;
Tho' death in ev'ry shape appear,
The wretched have no more to fear!
But round my heart the ties are bound,
That heart transpierc'd with many a wound;
These bleed afresh, those ties I tear,
To leave the bonnie banks of Ayr.
Farewell old Coila's hills and dales,
Her heathy moors and winding vales;
The scenes where wretched fancy roves,
Pursuing past, unhappy loves!
Farewell, my friends! farewell, my foes!
My peace with these, my love with those--
The bursting tears my heart declare;
Farewell, the bonnie banks of Ayr!