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Sketch For An Elegy

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

1.
Craigdarroch, fam'd for speaking art
And every virtue of the heart,
Stops short, nor can a word impart
To end his sentence,
When mem'ry strikes him like a dart
With auld acquaintance.
2.
Black James - whase wit was never laith,
But, like a sword had tint the sheath,
Ay ready for the work o' death -
He turns aside,
And strains wi' suffocating breath
His grief to hide.
3.
Even Philosophic Smellie tries
To choak the stream that floods his eyes:
So Moses wi' a hazel-rice
Came o'er the stane;
But, tho' it cost him speaking twice,
It gush'd amain.
4.
Go to your marble graffs, ye great.
In a' the tinkler-trash of state!
But by thy honest turf I'll wait,
Thou man of worth,
And weep the ae best fallow's fate
E'er lay in earth!


Craigdarroch, famed for speaking art
And every virtue of the heart,
Stops short, nor can a word impart
To end his sentence,
When memory strikes him like a dart
With old acquaintance.

Black James - whose wit was never loath,
But, like a sword which had lost the sheath,
Always ready for the work of death -
He turns aside,
And strains with suffocating breath
His grief to hide.

Even Philosophic Smellie tries
To choke the stream that floods his eyes:
So Moses with a hazel-rod
Came over the stone;
But, though it cost him speaking twice,
It gushed with strength.

Go to your marble vaults, you great.
In all the tinker-trash of state!
But by your honest turf I will wait,
You man of worth,
And weep the one best fellow's fate
Ever lay in earth!

 

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