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Translation
Index

Lament For James, Earl Of Glencairn

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

1.
The wind blew hollow frae the hills;
By fits the sun's departing beam
Look'd on the fading yellow woods,
That wav'd o'er Lugar's winding stream.
Beneath a craigy steep a Bard,
Laden with years and meikle pain,
In loud lament bewail'd his lord,
Whom Death had all untimely taen.
2.
He lean'd him to an ancient aik,
Whose trunk was mould'ring down with years;
His locks were bleached white with time,
His hoary cheek was wet wi' tears;
And as he touch'd his trembling harp,
And as he tun'd his doleful sang,
The winds lamenting thro' their caves,
To echo bore the notes alang : -
3.
'Ye scatter'd birds that faintly sing,
The reliques of the vernal quire!
Ye woods that shed on a' the winds
The honours of the aged year!
A few short months, and, glad and gay,
Again ye'll charm the ear and e'e;
But nocht in all revolving time
Can gladness bring again to me.
4.
'I am a bending aged tree,
That long has stood the wind and rain;
But now has come a cruel blast
And my last hold of earth is gane;
Nae leaf o' mine shall greet the spring,
Nae simmer sun exalt my bloom;
But I maun lie before the storm,
And ither plant them in my room.
5.
'I've seen sae monie changefu' years,
On earth I am a stranger grown:
I wander in the ways of men,
Alike unknowing and unknown:
Unheard, unpitied, unreliev'd,
I bear alane my lade o' care;
For silent, low, on beds of dust,
Lie a' that would my sorrows share.
6.
'And last (the sum of a' my griefs!)
My noble master lies in clay;
The flow'r amang our barons bold,
His country's pride, his country's stay:
In weary being now I pine,
For a' the life of life is dead,
And hope has left my aged ken,
On forward wing for ever fled.
7.
'Awake thy last sad voice, my harp!
The voice of woe and wild despair!
Awake, resound thy latest lay,
Then sleep in silence evermair!
And thou, my last, best, only friend,
That fillest an untimely tomb,
Accept this tribute from the Bard
Thou brought from Fortune's mirkest gloom.
8.
'In Poverty's low barren vale,
Thick mists obscure involv'd me round;
Though oft I turn'd the wistful eye,
Nae ray of fame was to be found;
Thou found'st me, like the morning sun
That melts the fogs in limpid air:
The friendless Bard and rustic song
Became alike thy fostering care.
9.
'O, why has Worth so short a date,
While villains ripen grey with time!
Must thou, the noble, gen'rous, great,
Fall in bold manhood's hardy prime?
Why did I live to see the day,
A day to me so full of woe?
O, had I met the mortal shaft
Which laid my benefactor low!
10.
'The bridegroom may forget the bride
Was made his wedded wife yestreen;
The monarch may forget the crown
That on his head an hour has been;
The mother may forget the child
That smiles sae sweetly on her knee;
But I'll remember thee, Glencairn,
And a' that thou hast done for me!'


The wind blew hollow from the hills;
By fits the sun's departing beam
Looked on the fading yellow woods,
That waved over Lugar's winding stream.
Beneath a craggy cliff a Bard,
Laden with years and much pain,
In loud lament bewailed his lord,
Whom Death had all untimely taken.

He leaned him to an ancient oak,
Whose trunk was moldering down with years;
His locks were bleached white with time,
His hoary cheek was wet with tears;
And as he touched his trembling harp,
And as he tuned his doleful song,
The winds lamenting through their caves,
To echo bore the notes along : -

You scattered birds that faintly sing,
The relic of the vernal choir!
You woods that shed on all the winds
The honours of the aged year!
A few short months, and, glad and gay,
Again you will charm the ear and eye;
But nothing in all revoving time
Can gladness bring again to me.

'I am a bending aged tree,
That long has stood the wind and rain;
But now has come a cruel blast
And my last hold of earth is gone;
No leaf of mine shall greet the spring,
No summer sun exalt my bloom;
But I must lie before the storm,
And other plant them in my room (place).

'I have seen so many changeful years,
On earth I am a stranger grown:
I wander in the ways of men,
Alike unknowing and unknown:
Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved,
I bear alone my lode of care;
For silent, low, on beds of dust,
Lie all that would my sorrows share.

'And last (the sum of a' my griefs!)
My noble master lies in clay;
The flower among our barons bold,
His country's pride, his country's stay:
In weary being now I pine,
For all the life of life is dead,
And hope has left my aged knowledge,
On forward wing for ever fled.

'Awake your last sad voice, my harp!
The voice of woe and wild despair!
Awake, resound your latest lay,
Then sleep in silence evermore!
And you, my last, best, only friend,
That fills an untimely tomb,
Accept this tribute from the Bard
You brought from Fortune's darkest gloom.

'In Poverty's low barren vale,
Thick mists obscure involved me round;
Though often I turned the wistful eye,
No ray of fame was to be found;
You found me, like the morning sun
That melts the fogs in limpid air:
The friendless Bard and rustic song
Became alike your fostering care.

'O, why has Worth so short a date,
While villains ripen grey with time!
Must you, the noble, generous, great,
Fall in bold manhood's hardy prime?
Why did I live to see the day,
A day to me so full of woe?
O, had I met the mortal shaft
Which laid my benefactor low!

'The bridegroom may forget the bride
Was made his wedded wife last evening;
The monarch may forget the crown
That on his head an hour has been;
The mother may forget the child
That smiles so sweetly on her knee;
But I will remember you, Glencairn,
And all that you have done for me!'

 

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