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And freely dealt to a' a footh
O' blame or praise.
An independent mind for me—
For empty fame,
As Steel's my name.
Forgie me, sir, and wi' me bear;
For your reflection;
'Twill stand inspection.
My theme is Roslin, sir, I ween;
And ruins grey,
Lang past away—
Of strife, and stratagem, and plot,
Blooms o'er a grave;
Where nettles wave.
A sacred awe the soul inspires;
The past renewin',
Ilk scene of ruin.
But moralizin's out o' time, . Hence ye perceive my subject's prime, Brave and heroic like the rhyme,
Which weel it suits— Pathetic, scenic, chaste, sublime,
Ayont a' doubts.
Hence your decision I'll await it— Be't guid or bad, I trust ye'll state it; But to contempt, sir, should ye fate it,
Deride or spurn it, I'll curse that day a blockhead wrate it,
An' hidlins burn it.
Meanwhile, immortal Bard, adieu:
The wish is fervent
'Ob Roslin ! time, war, flood, and fire,
Alas! thy lofty Castle, and alas!
When Sinclair made the dagger's edge surpass
fET other bards on wings of fancy rove—
With Milton talk of aromatic bowers
Where waves the pine, the mellow orange towers,
Or, in the ardour of poetic fire,
On every fairy landscape may they dwell
On towers and temples' ruins, which inspire
'Tia nought to me ! I'll sing of Scotia dear,
Her heath-clad mountains and her lovely plains—
Each valley, grove, and pebbled stream revere,
All teems with story of a bygone age—
Who glorious flourished on life's warlike stage,
When foul invasion, as the simoom blast
The lives and homes, and hopes of every cast
Ah! where like Roslin shall the wandering Muse
The vestal breath of inspiration hale; What through the care-struck heart can joy diffuse
If these enchanting sylvan glories fail 1
What art can touch their Eden-borrowed glow?
Or verse yon vales and craggy steeps portray, Swept by the classic Esk's meand'ring flow,
Immortalised by many a melting lay?
Oh hallowed scenes! embalmed in every heart,
Where bannered patriots rallied in war's art,
And championed death and danger blade to blade;
Where brave heroic Wallace waved on high
For her resolved to conquer or to die,
Nor shall the dauntless Fraser be forgot,
Brave Somerville and Lockhart's deathless fame;
The laurels here the fearless Cummin sought,
In Scotia's tale these guardian angels shine,
Presiding over sacred Freedom's van, Triumphing glorious in her cause divine—
The cause of God, of nature, and of man.
Methinks I see, in chivalric array,
Each on his trusty steed, at dawn of day,
'Gainst leagued oppression lead his kilted band.
Ah! well their foes the onset might deplore;
O heaven's eternity! O fatal hour! Revenge seemed glutted—Death could do no more
With his relentless devastating power.
On, on, they rushed, with fierce and furious yell,
As wheat before the sickle, thousands fell;
Chased by the sweeping whirlwind of the brave