From Lines to William Simson

By Robert Burns 1759–1796 Robert Burns
Auld Coila now may fidge fu' fain,
She's gotten poets o' her ain—
Chiels wha their chanters winna hain,
            But tune their lays,
Till echoes a' resound again
            Her weel-sung praise.

Nae poet thought her worth his while
To set her name in measur'd style:
She lay like some unken'd-of isle
            Beside New Holland,
Or whare wild-meeting oceans boil
            Besouth Magellan.

Ramsay and famous Fergusson
Gied Forth and Tay a lift aboon;
Yarrow and Tweed to mony a tune
            Owre Scotland rings;
While Irvin, Lugar, Ayr an' Doon
            Naebody sings.

Th' Ilissus, Tiber, Thames, an' Seine
Glide sweet in mony a tunefu' line;
But, Willie, set your fit to mine
            And cock your crest,
We'll gar our streams and burnies shine
            Up wi' the best!

We'll sing auld Coila's plains an' fells,
Her moors red-brown wi' heather bells,
Her banks an' braes, her dens an' dells,
            Where glorious Wallace
Aft bure the gree, as story tells,
            Frae Southron billies.

At Wallace' name what Scottish blood
But boils up in a spring-tide flood!
Oft have our fearless fathers strode
            By Wallace' side,
Still pressing onward red-wat-shod,
            Or glorious dy'd.

O sweet are Coila's haughs an' woods,.
When lintwhites chant amang the buds,
And jinkin hares in amorous whids
            Their loves enjoy,
While thro' the braes the cushat croods
            Wi' wailfu' cry!

Ev'n winter bleak has charms to me,
When winds rave thro' the naked tree;
Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree
            Are hoary gray;
Or blinding drifts wild-furious flee,
            Dark'ning the day!

O Nature! a' thy shews an' forms
To feeling, pensive hearts hae charms!
Whether the summer kindly warms
            Wi' life an' light,
Or winter howls in gusty storms
            The lang, dark night!

The Muse, nae poet ever fand her,
Till by himsel he learn'd to wander
Adoun some trottin burn's meander,
            And no think lang;
O sweet to stray and pensive ponder
            A heart-felt sang!

The warly race may drudge and drive,
Hog-shouther, jundie, stretch an' strive:
Let me fair nature's face descrive,
            And I wi' pleasure
Shall let the busy, grumbling hive
            Bum owre their treasure.

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Poet Robert Burns 1759–1796

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Nature, Heroes & Patriotism, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Epistle

 Robert  Burns

Biography

Born on 25 January 1759 in Alloway, Scotland, to William and Agnes Brown Burnes, Robert Burns followed his father's example by becoming a tenant farmer. Unlike William Burnes, however, Burns was able to escape the vicissitudes and vagaries of the soil in two ways: toward the end of his life he became an excise collector in Dumfries, where he died in 1796; and throughout his life he was a practicing poet. As a poet he recorded . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Heroes & Patriotism, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Epistle

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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