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The Lament
Occasioned by The Unfortunate Issue Of
A Friend's Amour

Alas! how oft does Goodness wound itself,
And sweet Affection prove the spring of Woe!Home

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation


1.
O thou pale Orb that silent shines
While care-untroubled mortals sleep!
Thou seest a wretch who inly pines,
And wanders here to wail and weep!
With Woe I nightly vigils keep,
Beneath thy wan, unwarming beam;
And mourn, in lamentation deep,
How life and love are all a dream!
2.
I joyless view thy rays adorn
The faintly-marked, distant hill;
I joyless view thy trembling horn
Reflected in the gurgling rill:
My fondly fluttering heart, be still!
Thou busy pow'r, Remembrance, cease!
Ah! must the agonizing thrill
For ever bar returning Peace?
3.
No idly-feign'd, poetic pains
My sad, love-lorn lamentings claim:
No shepherd's pipe - Arcadian strains;
No fabled tortures quaint and tame.
The plighted faith, the mutual flame,
The oft-attested Pow'rs above,
The promis'd father's tender name,
These were the pledges of my love!
4.
Encircled in her clasping arms,
How have the raptur'd moments flown!
How have I wished for Fortune's charms,
For her dear sake, and her's alone!
And, must I think it! is she gone,
My secret heart's exulting boast?
And does she heedless hear my groan?
And is she ever, ever lost?
5.
O! can she bear so base a heart,
So lost to honour, lost to truth,
As from the fondest love part,
The plighted husband of her youth?
Alas! Life's path may be unsmooth!
Her way may lie thro' rough distress!
Then, who her pangs and pains will soothe,
Her sorrows share, and make them less?
6.
Ye winged Hours that o'er us pass'd,
Enraptur'd more the more enjoy'd,
Your dear remembrance in my breast
My fondly treasur'd thoughts employ'd:
That breast, how dreary now, and void,
For her too scanty once of room!
Ev'n ev'ry ray of Hope destroy'd,
And not a wish to gild the gloom!
7.
The morn, that warns th' approaching day,
Awakes me up to toil and woe;
I see the hours in long array,
That I must suffer, lingering slow:
Full many a pang, and many a throe,
Keen Recollection's direful train,
Must wring my soul, ere Phoebus, low,
Shall kiss the distant western main.
8.
And when my nightly couch I try,
Sore-harass'd out with care and grief,
My toil-beat nerves and tear-worn eye
Keep watchings with the mighty thief:
Or, if I slumber, Fancy, chief,
Reigns, haggard-wild, in sore affright:
Ev'n day, all-bitter, brings relief
From such a horror-breathing night.
9.
O thou bright Queen, who, o'er th' expanse
Now highest reign'st, with boundless sway!
Oft has thy silent-marking glance
Observ'd us, fondly-wand'ring, stray!
The time, unheeded, sped away,
While Love's luxurious pulse beat high,
Beneath thy silver-gleaming ray,
To mark the mutual-kindling eye.
10.
O scenes in strong remembrance set!
Scenes, never, never to return!
Scenes if in stupor I forget,
Again I feel, again I burn!
From ev'ry joy and pleasure torn,
Life's weary vale I wander thro';
And hopeless, comfortless, I'll mourn
A faithless woman's broken vow!



O you pale Orb that silent shines
While care-untroubled mortals sleep!
You see a wretch who only pines,
And wanders here to wail and weep!
With Woe I nightly vigils keep,
Beneath thy wan, unwarming beam;
And mourn, in lamentation deep,
How life and love are all a dream!

I joyless view thy rays adorn
The faintly marked, distant hill;
I joyless view your trembling horn
Reflected in the gurgling rill:
My fondly fluttering heart, be still!
You busy power, Remembrance, cease!
Ah! must the agonizing thrill
For ever bar returning Peace?

No idly feigned, poetic pains
My sad, love-lorn(lost) lamentations claim:
No shepherd's pipe - Arcadian strains;
No fabled tortures quaint and tame.
The plighted faith, the mutual flame,
The often attested Powers above,
The promised father's tender name,
These were the pledges of my love!

Encircled in her clasping arms,
How have the rapturous moments flown!
How have I wished for Fortune's charms,
For her dear sake, and hers alone!
And, must I think it! is she gone,
My secret heart's exulting boast?
And does she heedless hear my groan?
And is she ever, ever lost?

O! can she bear so base a heart,
So lost to honour, lost to truth,
As from the fondest love part,
The plighted husband of her youth?
Alas! Life's path may be unsmooth (troubled)!
Her way may lie through rough distress!
Then, who her pangs and pains will soothe,
Her sorrows share, and make them less?

You winged Hours that over us passed,
Enraptured more the more enjoyed,
Your dear remembrance in my breast
My fondly treasured thoughts employed:
That breast, how dreary now, and void,
For her too scanty once of room!
Even every ray of Hope destroyed,
And not a wish to gild the gloom!

The morning, that warns the approaching day,
Awakes me up to toil and woe;
I see the hours in long array,
That I must suffer, lingering slow:
Full many a pang, and many a throe (suffering),
Keen Recollection's direful train,
Must wring my soul, before Phoebus (Appolo), low,
Shall kiss the distant western main.

And when my nightly couch I try,
Sore harassed out with care and grief,
My toil-beat nerves and tear-worn eye
Keep watchings (watch) with the mighty thief:
Or, if I slumber, Fancy, chief,
Reigns, haggard-wild, in sore affright:
Even day, all bitter, brings relief
From such a horror-breathing night.

O you bright Queen, who, over the expanse
Now highest reigns, with boundless sway!
Often has your silent-marking glance
Observed us, fondly wandering, stray!
The time, unheeded, sped away,
While Love's luxurious pulse beat high,
Beneath your silver-gleaming ray,
To mark the mutual-kindling eye.

O scenes in strong remembrance set!
Scenes, never, never to return!
Scenes if in stupor I forget,
Again I feel, again I burn!
From every joy and pleasure torn,
Life's weary vale I wander through;
And hopeless, comfortless, I will mourn
A faithless woman's broken vow!

 

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