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The Vision

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation



Duan First.

1.
The sun had clos'd the winter day,
The curlers quat their roaring play,
And hunger'd maukin taen her way,
To kail-yards green,
While faithless snaws ilk step betray
Whare she has been.
2.
The thresher's weary flingin-tree,
The lee-lang day had tired me;
And when the day had clos'd his e'e,
Far i' the west,
Ben i' the spence, right pensivelie,
I gaed to rest.
3.
There, lanely by the ingle-cheek,
I sat and ey'd the spewing reek,
That fill'd, wi' hoast-provoking smeek,
The auld clay biggin;
An' heard the restless rattons squeak
About the riggin.
4.
All in this mottie, misty clime,
I backward mus'd on wasted time:
How I had spent my youthfu' prime,
An' done naething,
But stringing blethers up in rhyme,
For fools to sing.
5.
Had I to guid advice but harkit,
I might, by this, hae led a market,
Or strutted in a bank and clarkit
My cash-account:
While here, half-mad, half-fed, half-sarkit,
Is a' th' amount.
6.
I started, mutt'ring 'Blockhead ! coof!"
An' heav'd on high my waukit loof
To swear by a' yon starry roof,
Or some rash aith,
That I henceforth would be rhyme-proof,
Till my last breath ---
7.
When click! the string the snick did draw;
And jee! the door gaed to the wa';
And by my ingle-lowe I saw,
Now bleezin bright,
A tight, outlandish hizzie, braw,
Come full in sight.
8.
Ye need na doubt, I held my whisht;
The infant aith, half-form'd, was crusht;
I glowr'd as eerie's I'd been dusht,
In some wild glen;
When sweet, like modest Worth, she blusht,
And stepped ben.
9.
Green, slender, leaf-clad holly-boughs
Were twisted, gracefu', round her brows;
I took her for some Scottish Muse,
By that same token;
And come to stop those reckless vows,
Would soon been broken.
10.
A ' hair-brain'd, sentimental trace'
Was strongly marked in her face;
A wildly-witty, rustic grace
Shone full upon her;
Her eye, ev'n turn'd on empty space,
Beam'd keen with honor.
11.
Down flow'd her robe, a tartan sheen,
Till half a leg was scrimply seen;
And such a leg! my bonie Jean
Could only peer it;
Sae straught, sae taper, tight an' clean
Nane else came near it.

(The reference to Jean in this stanza was probably to Burns' wife Jean Armour)

12.
Her mantle large, of greenish hue,
My gazing wonder chiefly drew;
Deep lights and shades, bold-mingling, threw
A lustre grand;
And seem'd, to my astonish'd view,
A well-known land.
13.
Here, rivers in the sea were lost;
There, mountains to the skies were toss't;
Here, tumbling billows mark'd the coast
With surging foam;
There, distant shone Art's lofty boast,
The lordly dome.
14.
Here, Doon pour'd down his far-fetch'd floods;
There, well-fed Irwine stately thuds:
Auld hermit Ayr staw thro' his woods,
On to the shore;
And many a lesser torrent scuds
With seeming roar.

(Doon, Irvine and Ayr are rivers.)

15.
Low, in a sandy valley spread,
An ancient borough rear'd her head;
Still, as in Scottish story read,
She boasts a race
To ev'ry nobler virtue bred,
And polish'd grace.
16.
By stately tow'r, or palace fair,
Or ruins pendent in the air,
Bold stems of heroes, here and there,
I could discern;
Some seem'd to muse, some seem'd to dare
With feature stern.
17.
My heart did glowing transport feel,
To see a race heroic wheel,
And brandish round the deep-dyed steel
In sturdy blows;
While, back-recoiling, seem'd to reel
Their suthron foes.
18.
His Country's Saviour, mark him well!
Bold Richardton's heroic swell;
The chief, on Sark who glorious fell
In high command;
And he whom ruthless fates expel
His native land.
19.
There, where a sceptr'd Pictish shade
Stalk'd round his ashes lowly laid,
I mark'd a martial race, pourtray'd
In colours strong:
Bold, soldier-featur'd, undismay'd,
They strode along.
20.
Thro' many a wild, romantic grove,
Near many a hermit-fancied cove
(Fit haunts for friendship or for love
In musing mood),
An aged Judge, I saw him rove,
Dispensing good.
21.
With deep-struck, reverential awe,
The learned Sire and Son I saw:
To Nature's God, and Nature's law,
They gave their lore;
This, all its source and end to draw,
That, to adore.
22.
Brydon's brave ward I well could spy,
Beneath old Scotia's smiling eye;
Who call'd on Fame, low standing by,
To hand him on,
Where many a patriot-name on high,
And hero shone.

Duan Second

1.
With musing-deep, astonish'd stare,
I view'd the heavenly-seeming Fair;
A whisp'ring throb did witness bear
Of kindred sweet,
When with an elder sister's air
She did me greet.
2.
'All hail! my own inspired Bard!
In me thy native Muse regard!
Nor longer mourn thy fate is hard,
Thus poorly low!
I come to give thee such reward,
As we bestow.
3.
'Know, the great Genius of this land
Has many a light aerial band,
Who, all beneath his high command,
Harmoniously,
As arts or arms they understand,
Their labors ply.
4.
'They Scotia's race among them share:
Some fire the soldier on to dare;
Some rouse the patriot up to bare
Corruption's heart;
Some teach the bard - a darling care --
The tuneful art.
5.
''Mong swelling floods of reeking gore,
They, ardent, kindling spirits pour;
Or, 'mid the venal Senate's roar,
They, sightless, stand,
To mend the honest patriot lore,
And grace the hand.
6.
'And when the bard, or hoary sage,
Charm or instruct the future age,
They bind the wild poetic rage
In energy;
Or point the inconclusive page
Full on the eye.
7.
'Hence, Fullarton, the brave and young;
Hence, Dempster's zeal-inspired tongue;
Hence, sweet, harmonious Beattie sung
His Minstrel lays,
Or tore, with noble ardour stung,
The sceptic's bays.
8.
'To lower orders are assign'd
The humbler ranks of human-kind,
The rustic bard, the laboring hind,
The artisan;
All chuse, as various they're inclin'd,
The various man.
9.
'When yellow waves the heavy grain,
The threat'ning storm some strongly rein,
Some teach to meliorate the plain,
With tillage-skill;
And some instruct the shepherd-train,
Blythe o'er the hill.
10.
'Some hint the lover's harmless wile;
Some grace the maiden's artless smile;
Some soothe the laborer's weary toil
For humble gains,
And make his cottage-scenes beguile
His cares and pains.
11.
'Some, bounded to a district-space,
Explore at large man's infant race,
To mark the embryotic trace
Of rustic bard;
And careful note each opening grace,
A guide and guard.
12.
'Of these am I -- Coila my name:
And this district as mine I claim,
Where once the Campbells, chiefs of fame,
Held ruling pow'r:
I mark'd thy embryo-tuneful flame,
Thy natal hour.
13.
'With future hope I oft would gaze,
Fond, on thy little early ways:
Thy rudely caroll'd, chiming phrase,
In uncouth rhymes;
Fir'd at the simple, artless lays
Of other times.
14.
'I saw thee seek the sounding shore,
Delighted with the dashing roar;
Or when the North his fleecy store
Drove thro' the sky,
I saw grim Nature's visage hoar
Struck thy young eye.
15.
'Or when the deep green-mantled earth
Warm cherish'd ev'ry flow'ret's birth,
And joy and music pouring forth
In ev'ry grove;
I saw thee eye the gen'ral mirth
With boundless love.
16.
'When ripen'd fields and azure skies
Call'd forth the reapers' rustling noise,
I saw thee leave their ev'ning joys,
And lonely stalk,
To vent thy bosom's swelling rise,
In pensive walk.
17.
'When youthful Love, warm-blushing, strong,
Keen-shivering, shot thy nerves along,
Those accents grateful to thy tongue,
Th' adored Name,
I taught thee how to pour in song
To soothe thy flame.
18.
'I saw thy pulse's maddening play,
Wild-send thee Pleasure's devious way,
Misled by Fancy's meteor-ray,
By passion driven;
But yet the light that led astray
Was light from Heaven.
19.
'I taught thy manners-painting strains
The loves, the ways of simple swains,
Till now, o'er all my wide domains
Thy fame extends;
And some, the pride of Coila's plains,
Become thy friends.
20.
'Thou canst not learn, nor can I show,
To paint with Thomson's landscape glow;
Or wake the bosom-melting throe
With Shenstone's art;
Or pour, with Gray, the moving flow
Warm on the heart.
21.
'Yet, all beneath th' unrivall'd rose,
The lowly daisy sweetly blows;
Tho' large the forest's monarch throws
His army-shade,
Yet green the juicy hawthorn grows
Adown the glade.
22.
'Then never murmur nor repine;
Strive in thy humble sphere to shine;
And trust me, not Potosi's mine,
Nor king's regard,
Can give a bliss o'ermatching thine,
A rustic Bard.
23.
'To give my counsels all in one:
Thy tuneful flame still careful fan;
Preserve the dignity of Man,
With soul erect;
And trust the Universal Plan
Will all protect.
24.
'And wear thou this.' She solemn said,
And bound the holly round my head:
The polish'd leaves and berries red
Did rustling play;
And, like a passing thought, she fled
In light away.






The sun had closed the winter day,
The curlers ceased their roaring play,
And hungered hare taken her way,
To kitchen gardens green,
While faithless snows each step betray
Where she has been.

The thresher's weary flail,
The live long day had tired me;
And when the day had closed his eye,
Far in the west,
Back in the parlour, right pensively,
I went to rest.

There, lonely by the fire side,
I sat and eyed the spewing smoke,
That filled, with cough provoking smoke,
The old clay structure;
And heard the restless rats squeak
About the rooftree.

All in this dusty, misty climate,
I backward mused on wasted time:
How I had spent my youthful prime,
And done nothing,
But stringing nonsense up in rhyme,
For fools to sing.

Had I to good advice but listened,
I might, by this, have led a market,
Or strutted in a bank and clerked
My cash account:
While here, half-mad, half-fed, half-shirted,
Is all the amount.

I started, muttering 'Blockhead ! dolt!'
And heaved on high my waking palm of my hand
To swear by all yonder starry roof,
Or some rash oath,
That I henceforth would be rhyme-proof,
Till my last breath ---

When click! the string the lock did draw (open);
And gee! the door went to the wall;
And by my fireplace light I saw,
Now blazing bright,
A tight, outlandish young woman, lovely,
Come full in sight.

You need not doubt, I held my silence;
The infant oath, half-formed, was crushed;
I stared as eerie as I had been touched,
In some wild glen (valley);
When sweet, like modest Worth, she blushed,
And stepped inside.

Green, slender, leaf-clad holly-boughs
Were twisted, graceful, round her brows (forehead);
I took her for some Scottish Muse,
By that same token;
And come to stop those reckless vows,
(That) Would soon been broken.

A ' hair-brained, sentimental trace'
Was strongly marked in her face;
A wildly-witty, rustic grace
Shone full upon her;
Her eye, even turned on empty space,
Beamed keen with honour.

Down flowed her robe, a tartan sheen,
Till half a leg was barely seen;
And such a leg! my lovely Jean
Could only stare at it;
So straight, so tapered, tight and clean
None else came near it.





Her mantle large, of greenish hue,
My gazing wonder chiefly drew;
Deep lights and shades, bold-mingling, threw
A lustre grand;
And seemed, to my astonished view,
A well-known land.

Here, rivers in the sea were lost;
There, mountains to the skies were tossed;
Here, tumbling billows marked the coast
With surging foam;
There, distant shone Art's lofty boast,
The lordly dome.

Here, Doon poured down his far-fetched floods;
There, well-fed Irwine stately beats:
Old hermit Ayr stole through his woods,
On to the shore;
And many a lesser torrent scuds
With seeming roar




Low, in a sandy valley spread,
An ancient borough reared her head;
Still, as in Scottish story read,
She boasts a race
To every nobler virtue bred,
And polished grace.

By stately tower, or palace fair,
Or ruins pendent in the air,
Bold stems of heroes, here and there,
I could discern;
Some seemed to muse, some seemed to dare
With feature stern.

My heart did glowing transport feel,
To see a race heroic wheel,
And brandish round the deep-dyed steel
In sturdy blows;
While, back-recoiling, seemed to reel
Their southern (English) foes.

His Country's Saviour, mark him well!
Bold Richardton's heroic swell;
The chief, on Sark who glorious fell
In high command;
And he whom ruthless fates expel
His native land.

There, where a sceptred Pictish shade
Stalked round his ashes lowly laid,
I marked a martial race, portrayed
In colours strong:
Bold, soldier-featured, undismayed,
They strode along.

Through many a wild, romantic grove,
Near many a hermit-fancied cove
(Fitting haunts for friendship or for love
In musing mood),
An aged Judge, I saw him rove,
Dispensing good.

With deep-struck, reverential awe,
The learned Sire and Son I saw:
To Nature's God, and Nature's law,
They gave their lore;
This, all its source and end to draw,
That, to adore.

Brydon's brave ward I well could spy,
Beneath old Scotia's smiling eye;
Who called on Fame, low standing by,
To hand him on,
Where many a patriot-name on high,
And hero shone.




With musing-deep, astonished stare,
I viewed the heavenly-seeming Fair;
A whispering throb did witness bear
Of kindred sweet,
When with an elder sister's air
She did me greet.

'All hail! my own inspired Bard!
In me thy native Muse regard!
Nor longer mourn your fate is hard,
Thus poorly low!
I come to give you such reward,
As we bestow.

'Know, the great Genius of this land
Has many a light aerial band,
Who, all beneath his high command,
Harmoniously,
As arts or arms they understand,
Their labours ply.

'They Scotia's race among them share:
Some fire the soldier on to dare;
Some rouse the patriot up to bare
Corruption's heart;
Some teach the bard - a darling care -
The tuneful art.

'Among swelling floods of smelling gore,
They, ardent, kindling spirits pour;
Or, amid the venal Senate's roar,
They, sightless, stand,
To mend the honest patriot lore,
And grace the hand.

'And when the bard, or hoary sage,
Charm or instruct the future age,
They bind the wild poetic rage
In energy;
Or point the inconclusive page
Full on the eye.

'Hence, Fullarton, the brave and young;
Hence, Dempster's zeal-inspired tongue;
Hence, sweet, harmonious Beattie sung
His Minstrel lays,
Or tore, with noble ardour stung,
The sceptic's bays.

'To lower orders are assign'd
The humbler ranks of human-kind,
The rustic bard, the laboring farm servant,
The artisan;
All choose, as various they are inclined,
The various man.

'When yellow waves the heavy grain,
The threatening storm some strongly rein,
Some teach to meliorate the plain,
With tillage-skill;
And some instruct the shepherd-train,
Blythe over the hill.

'Some hint the lover's harmless wile;
Some grace the maiden's artless smile;
Some soothe the labourer's weary toil
For humble gains,
And make his cottage-scenes beguile
His cares and pains.

'Some, bounded to a district-space,
Explore at large man's infant race,
To mark the embryotic trace
Of rustic bard;
And careful note each opening grace,
A guide and guard.

'Of these am I -- Coila my name:
And this district as mine I claim,
Where once the Campbells, chiefs of fame,
Held ruling power:
I marked your embryo-tuneful flame,
Your natal hour.

'With future hope I often would gaze,
Fond, on your little early ways:
Your rudely carolled, chiming phrase,
In uncouth rhymes;
Fired at the simple, artless lays
Of other times.

'I saw you seek the sounding shore,
Delighted with the dashing roar;
Or when the North his fleecy store
Drove through the sky,
I saw grim Nature's visage greyish-white
Struck your young eye.

'Or when the deep green-mantled earth
Warm cherished every floweret's birth,
And joy and music pouring forth
In every grove;
I saw you eye the general mirth
With boundless love.

'When ripened fields and azure skies
Called forth the reapers' rustling noise,
I saw you leave their evening joys,
And lonely stalk,
To vent thy bosom's swelling rise,
In pensive walk.

'When youthful Love, warm-blushing, strong,
Keen-shivering, shot your nerves along,
Those accents grateful to your tongue,
The adored Name,
I taught you how to pour in song
To soothe your flame.

'I saw your pulse's maddening play,
Wild-send you Pleasure's devious way,
Misled by Fancy's meteor-ray,
By passion driven;
But yet the light that led astray
Was light from Heaven.

'I taught your manners-painting strains
The loves, the ways of simple swains,
Till now, over all my wide domains
Your fame extends;
And some, the pride of Coila's plains,
Become your friends.

'You can not learn, nor can I show,
To paint with Thomson's landscape glow;
Or wake the bosom-melting suffering
With Shenstone's art;
Or pour, with Gray, the moving flow
Warm on the heart.

'Yet, all beneath the unrivalled rose,
The lowly daisy sweetly blows;
Though large the forest's monarch throws
His army-shade,
Yet green the juicy hawthorn grows
Adown the glade.

'Then never murmur nor repine;
Strive in thy humble sphere to shine;
And trust me, not Potosi's mine,
Nor king's regard,
Can give a bliss overmatching yours,
A rustic Bard.

'To give my counsels all in one:
Your tuneful flame still careful fan;
Preserve the dignity of Man,
With soul erect;
And trust the Universal Plan
Will all protect.

'And wear you this.' She solemn said,
And bound the holly round my head:
The polished leaves and berries red
Did rustling play;
And, like a passing thought, she fled
In light away.

 

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