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To An Old Sweetheart
WRITTEN ON A COPY OF HIS POEMS

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

1.
Once fondly lov'd and still remember'd dear,
Sweet early object of my youthful vows,
Accept this mark of friendship, warm, sincere -
(Friendship! 'tis all cold duty now allows);
2.
And when you read the simple artless rhymes,
One friendly sigh for him - he asks no more -
Who, distant, burns in flaming torrid climes,
Or haply lies beneath th' Atlantic roar.

(Note:- At one period of Burns' life, he intended
to emigrate to the West Indies, hence the reference
to torrid climes, and since travel by sailing ship
was not considered to be the safest form of transport,
especially over the Atlantic, he indicated his
apprehension in the last line.)

 



Once fondly loved and still remembered dear,
Sweet early object of my youthful vows,
Accept this mark of friendship, warm, sincere -
(Friendship! It is all cold duty now allows);

And when you read the simple artless rhymes,
One friendly sigh for him - he asks no more -
Who, distant, burns in flaming torrid climes,
Or haply (by chance) lies beneath the Atlantic roar.

 

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