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Sylvander To Clarinda

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation


1.
When dear Clarinda, matchless fair,
First struck Sylvander's raptur'd view,
He gaz'd, he listened to despair -
Alas! 'twas all he dared to do.
2.
Love from Clarinda's heavenly eyes
Transfix'd his bosom thro' and thro',
But still in Friendship's guarded guise -
For more the demon fear'd to do.
3.
That heart, already more than lost,
The imp beleaguer'd all perdue;
For frowning Honor kept his post -
To meet that frown he shrunk to do.
4.
His pangs the Bard refus'd to own,
Tho' half he wish'd Clarinda knew;
But Anguish wrung the unweeting groan -
Who blames what frantic Pain must do?
5.
That heart, where motley follies blend,
Was sternly still to Honor true:
To prove Clarinda's fondest friend
Was what a lover, sure, might do!
6.
The Muse his ready quill employ'd;
No nearer bliss he could pursue;
That bliss Clarinda cold deny'd -
'Send word by Charles how you do!'
7.
The chill behest disarm'd his Muse,
Till Passion all impatient grew:
He wrote, and hinted for excuse,
' 'Twas 'cause he'd nothing else to do.'
8.
But by those hopes I have above!
And by those faults I dearly rue!
The deed, the boldest mark of love,
For thee that deed I dare to do!
9.
O, could the Fates but name the price
Would bless me with your charms and you,
With frantic joy I'd pay it thrice,
If human art or power could do!
10.
Then, take, Clarinda, friendship's hand
(Friendship, at least, I may avow),
And lay no more your chill command -
I'll write, whatever I've to do.



When dear Clarinda, matchless fair,
First struck Sylvander's raptured view,
He gazed, he listened to despair -
Alas! it was all he dared to do.

Love from Clarinda's heavenly eyes
Transfixed his bosom through and through,
But still in Friendship's guarded guise -
For more the demon feared to do.

That heart, already more than lost,
The imp beleaguered all perdue;
For frowning Honour kept his post -
To meet that frown he shrunk to do.

His pangs the Bard refused to own,
Though half he wished Clarinda knew;
But Anguish wrung the unwitting groan -
Who blames what frantic Pain must do?

That heart, where motley follies blend,
Was sternly still to Honour true:
To prove Clarinda's fondest friend
Was what a lover, sure, might do!

The Muse his ready quill employed;
No nearer bliss he could pursue;
That bliss Clarinda cold denied -
'Send word by Charles how you do!'

The chill behest disarmed his Muse,
Till Passion all impatient grew:
He wrote, and hinted for excuse,
' It was because he had nothing else to do.'

But by those hopes I have above!
And by those faults I dearly rue!
The deed, the boldest mark of love,
For you that deed I dare to do!

O, could the Fates but name the price
Would bless me with your charms and you,
With frantic joy I would pay it thrice,
If human art or power could do!

Then, take, Clarinda, friendship's hand
(Friendship, at least, I may avow),
And lay no more your chill command -
I will write, whatever I have to do.

 

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