177. Elegy on the Death of Sir James Hunter Blair by Robert Burns
THE LAMP of day, with-ill presaging glare, Dim, cloudy, sank beneath the western wave; Thâ€™ inconstant blast howlâ€™d throâ€™ the darkâ€™ning air, And hollow whistled in the rocky cave.
Lone as I wanderâ€™d by each cliff and dell, Once the lovâ€™d haunts of Scotiaâ€™s royal train; 1 Or musâ€™d where limpid streams, once hallowâ€™d well, 2 Or mouldâ€™ring ruins mark the sacred fane. 3
Thâ€™ increasing blast roarâ€™d round the beetling rocks, The clouds swift-wingâ€™d flew oâ€™er the starry sky, The groaning trees untimely shed their locks, And shooting meteors caught the startled eye.
The paly moon rose in the livid east. And â€™mong the cliffs disclosâ€™d a stately form In weeds of woe, that frantic beat her breast, And mixâ€™d her wailings with the raving storm
Wild to my heart the filial pulses glow, â€™Twas Caledoniaâ€™s trophied shield I viewâ€™d: Her form majestic droopâ€™d in pensive woe, The lightning of her eye in tears imbued.
Reversâ€™d that spear, redoubtable in war, Reclined that banner, erst in fields unfurlâ€™d, That like a deathful meteor gleamâ€™d afar, And bravâ€™d the mighty monarchs of the world.
â€śMy patriot son fills an untimely grave!â€ť With accents wild and lifted armsâ€”she cried; â€śLow lies the hand oft was stretchâ€™d to save, Low lies the heart that swellâ€™d with honest pride.
â€śA weeping country joins a widowâ€™s tear; The helpless poor mix with the orphanâ€™s cry; The drooping arts surround their patronâ€™s bier; And grateful science heaves the heartfelt sigh!
â€śI saw my sons resume their ancient fire; I saw fair Freedomâ€™s blossoms richly blow: But ah! how hope is born but to expire! Relentless fate has laid their guardian low.
â€śMy 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.
â€śAnd I will join a motherâ€™s tender cares, Throâ€™ future times to make his virtues last; That distant years may boast of other Blairs!â€ťâ€” She said, and vanishâ€™d with the sweeping blast.
Note 1. The Kingâ€™s Park at Holyrood House.â€”R. B. [back] Note 2. St. Anthonyâ€™s well.â€”R. B. [back] Note 3. St. Anthonyâ€™s Chapel.â€”R. B. [back]