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Translation
Index

Elegy On The Death Of Sir James Hunter Blair

 

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

1.
The lamp of day with ill-presaging glare,
Dim, cloudy, sank beneath the western wave;
Th' inconstant blast howl'd thro' the darkening air,
And hollow whistled in the rocky cave.
2.
Lone as I wander'd by each cliff and dell,
Once the lov'd haunts of Scotia's royal train;
Or mus'd where limpid streams, once hallow'd, well,
Or mould'ring ruins mark the sacred Fane.
3.
Th' increasing blast roared round the beetling rocks,
The clouds, swift-wing'd, flew o'er the starry sky,
The groaning trees untimely shed their locks,
And shooting meteors caught the startled eye.
4.
The paly moon rose in the livid east,
And 'mong the cliffs disclos'd a stately form
In weeds of woe, that frantic beat her breast,
And mix'd her wailings with the raving storm.
5.
Wild to my heart the filial pulses glow:
'Twas Caledonia's trophied shield I view'd,
Her form majestic droop'd in pensive woe,
The lightning of her eye in tears imbued;
6.
Revers'd that spear redoubtable in war.
Reclined that banner, erst in fields unfurl'd,
That like a deathful meteor gleam'd afar,
And brav'd the mighty monarchs of the world.
7.
'My patriot son fills an untimely grave!'
With accents wild and lifted arms, she cried;
'Low lies the hand that oft was stretch'd to save,
Low lies the heart that swell'd with honor's pride.
8.
'A weeping country joins a widow's tear;
The helpless poor mix with the orphan's cry;
The drooping Arts surround their patron's bier;
And grateful Science heaves the heart-felt sigh.
9.
'I saw my sons resume their ancient fire;
I saw fair Freedom's blossoms richly blow.
But ah! how hope is born to expire!
Relentless fate has laid their guardian low.
10.
'My patriot falls, but shall he lie unsung,
While empty greatness saves a worthless name?
No: every Muse shall join her tuneful tongue,
And future ages hear his growing fame.
11.
'And I will join a mother's tender cares
Thro' future times to make his virtues last,
That distant years may boast of other Blairs!' -
She said, and vanish'd with the sweeping blast.


The lamp of day with ill-presaging glare,
Dim, cloudy, sank beneath the western wave;
The inconstant blast howled through the darkening air,
And hollow whistled in the rocky cave.

Lone as I wandered by each cliff and dell,
Once the loved haunts of Scotia's royal train;
Or mused where limpid streams, once bubbled up, well,
Or mouldering ruins mark the sacred Fane.

The increasing blast roared round the beetling rocks,
The clouds, swift-winged, flew over the starry sky,
The groaning trees untimely shed their locks,
And shooting meteors caught the startled eye.

The pale moon rose in the livid east,
And among the cliffs disclosed a stately form
In weeds of woe, that frantic beat her breast,
And mixed her wailings with the raving storm.

Wild to my heart the filial pulses glow:
It was Caledonia's trophied shield I viewed,
Her form majestic drooped in pensive woe,
The lightning of her eye in tears imbued;

Reversed that spear redoubtable in war.
Reclined that banner, erst (at first) in fields unfurled,
That like a deathful meteor gleamed afar,
And braved the mighty monarchs of the world.

'My patriot son fills an untimely grave!'
With accents wild and lifted arms, she cried;
'Low lies the hand that often was stretched to save,
Low lies the heart that swell'd with honor's pride.

'A weeping country joins a widow's tear;
The helpless poor mix with the orphan's cry;
The drooping Arts surround their patron's bier;
And grateful Science heaves the heart-felt sigh.

'I saw my sons resume their ancient fire;
I saw fair Freedom's blossoms richly blow.
But ah! how hope is born to expire!
Relentless fate has laid their guardian low.

'My patriot falls, but shall he lie unsung,
While empty greatness saves a worthless name?
No: every Muse shall join her tuneful tongue,
And future ages hear his growing fame.

'And I will join a mother's tender cares
Through future times to make his virtues last,
That distant years may boast of other Blairs!' -
She said, and vanished with the sweeping blast.

 

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