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Burns Original

Standard English Translation



1.
Hail, Poesie! thou nymph reserv'd!
In chase o' thee, what crowds hae swerv'd
Frae Common Sense, or sunk ennerv'd
'Mang heaps o' clavers;
And Och! o'er aft thy joes hae starv'd
'Mid a' thy favors!
2.
Say, Lassie why thy train amang,
While loud the trump's heroic clang,
And Sock and buskin skelp alang
To death or marriage;
Scarce ane has tried the Shepherd-sang
But wi' miscarriage?
3.
In Homer's craft Jock Milton thrives;
Eschylus' pen Will Shakespeare drives;
Wee Pope, the knurlin, 'till him rives
Horatian fame;
In thy sweet sang, Barauld, survives
E'en Sappho's flame.
4.
But thee, Theocritus, wha matches?
They're no' Herd's ballats, Maro's catches;
Squire Pope but busks his skinklin patches
O' Heathen tatters:
I pass by hunders, nameless wretches,
That ape their betters.
5.
In this braw age o' wit and lear,
Will nane the Shepherd's whistle mair
Blaw sweetly in its native air
And rural grace;
And wi' the far-fam'd Grecian share
A rival place?
6.
Yes! there is ane, -- a Scottish callan!
There's ane: come ferrit, honest Allan!
Thou need na jouk behint the hallan,
A chiel sae clever;
The teeth o' Time may gnaw Tatallan,
But thou's for ever.
7.
Thou paints auld Nature to the nines,
In thy sweet Caledonian lines;
Nae gowden stream thro' myrtles twines
Where Philomel,
While midnight gales rustle clustering vines,
Her griefs will tell!
8.
Thy rural loves are Nature's sel';
Nae bombast spates o' nonsense swell;
Nae snap conceits, but that sweet spell
O' witchin loove,
That charm that can the strongest quell,
The sternest move.
9.
In gowany glens thy burnie stray,
Where bonie lasses bleach their claes;
Or trots by hazelly shaws and braes
Wi' hawthorns gray,
Where blackbirds join the shepherd's lays
At close o' day.



Hail, Poesy! you nymph reserved!
In chase of you, what crowds have swerved
From Common Sense, or sunk ennerved
Among heaps of nonsense;
And Och! over often your sweethearts have starved
Amid all your favours!

Say, Lass why your train among,
While loud the trumpet's heroic clang,
And Sock and buskin spank along
To death or marriage;
Scarce one has tried the Shepherd-song
But with miscarriage?

In Homer's craft John Milton thrives;
Eschylus' pen William Shakespeare drives;
Little Pope, the dwarf, still him tugs
Horatian fame;
In your sweet song, Barauld, survives
Even Sappho's flame.

But you, Theocritus, who matches?
They are not Herd's ballads, Maro's catches;
Squire Pope but prepares his small patches
Of Heathen tatters:
I pass by hundreds, nameless wretches,
That ape their betters.

In this great age of wit and learning,
Will none the Shepherd's whistle more
Blow sweetly in its native air
And rural grace;
And with the far-famed Grecian share
A rival place?

Yes! there is one, -- a Scottish youth!
There is one: come forward, honest Allan!
You need not cower behind the youth,
A fellow so clever;
The teeth of Time may gnaw Tatallan,
But you are for ever.

You paint old Nature to the nines,
In your sweet Caledonian lines;
No golden stream through myrtles twines
Where Philomel,
While midnight gales rustle clustering vines,
Her griefs will tell!

Your rural loves are Nature's self;
No bombast floods of nonsense swell;
No snap conceits, but that sweet spell
Of witching love,
That charm that can the strongest quell,
The sternest move.

In daisied glens your brooklet stray,
Where lovely girls bleach their clothes;
Or trots by hazel woods and slopes
With hawthorns gray,
Where blackbirds join the shepherd's lays
At close of day.

 

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