« PreviousContinue »
A TRIBUTE TO BURNS
Give lettered pomp to teeth of Time,
But spare his "Highland Mary."
There have been loftier themes than his,
Purer and holier fires:
Yet read the names that know not death;
Than that which binds his hair.
His is that language of the heart
In which the answering heart would speak, Thought, word, that bids the warm tear start, Or the smile light the cheek;
And his that music to whose tone
The common pulse of man keeps time,
In cot or castle's mirth or moan,
In cold or sunny clime.
And who hath heard his song, nor knelt
O'er the mind's sea, in calm and storm,
O'er the heart's sunshine and its showers, O'er Passion's moments, bright and warm, O'er Reason's dark, cold hours;
On fields where brave men "die or do,"
What sweet tears dim the eyes unshed,
Pure hopes, that lift the soul above,
Come with his "Cotter's" hymn of praise, And dreams of youth, and truth, and love With "Logan's" banks and braes.
And when he breathes his master-lay
Imagination's world of air,
And our own world, its gloom and glee, Wit, pathos, poetry, are there,
And death's sublimity.
And Burns-though brief the race he ran,
Through care, and pain, and want, and woe,
He kept his honesty and truth,
His independent tongue and pen,
And moved in manhood as in youth,
Praise to the bard! his words are driven,
Praise to the man! a nation stood
Such graves as his are pilgrim-shrines,
Sages, with Wisdom's garland wreathed, Crowned kings, and mitred priests of power, And warriors with their bright swords sheathed, The mightiest of the hour;
And lowlier names, whose humble home
Is lit by Fortune's dimmer star,
o'er wave and mountain come,
From countries near and far;
Pilgrims, whose wandering feet have pressed
All ask the cottage of his birth,
Gaze on the scenes he loved and sung,
They linger by the Doon's low trees,
But what to them the sculptor's art,
His funeral columns, wreaths, and urns!
Wear they not graven on the heart
The name of Robert Burns?
T. B. READ
For sheer beauty of expression it would be hard to find anything surpassing this. It should be read with a very slow voice movement, and a light, musical tone.
My soul to-day
Is far away,
Sailing the Vesuvian Bay;
My winged boat,
A bird afloat,
Swims round the purple peaks remote:
Round purple peaks
It sails and seeks
Blue inlets, and their crystal creeks,
Where high rocks throw,
Through deeps below,
A duplicated golden glow.
Far, vague and dim,
The mountains swim;
The gray smoke stands,
Here Ischia smiles
O'er liquid miles;