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WRITTEN IN THE COTTAGE WHERE BURNS WAS BORN.
HIS mortal body of a thousand days
Now fills, O Burns, a space in thine own room, Where thou didst dream alone on budded bays, Happy and thoughtless of thy day of doom! My pulse is warm with thine old Barley-bree, My head is light with pledging a great soul, My eyes are wandering, and I cannot see, Fancy is dead and drunken at its goal; Yet can I stamp my foot upon thy floor, Yet can I ope thy window-sash to find The meadow thou hast tramped o'er and o'er Yet can I think of thee till thought is blind, Yet can I gulp a bumper to thy name, O smile among the shades, for this is fame!
TO THE NILE.
ON of the old moon-mountains African! Stream of the Pyramid and Crocodile! We call thee fruitful, and that very while A desert fills our seeing's inward span : Nurse of swart nations since the world began, Art thou so fruitful? or dost thou beguile Those men to honour thee, who, worn with toil, Rest them a space 'twixt Cairo and Decan ? O may dark fancies err! They surely do; 'Tis ignorance that makes a barren waste Of all beyond itself. Thou dost bedew Green rushes like our rivers, and dost taste The pleasant sun-rise. Green isles hast thou too, And to the sea as happily dost haste.
ON SITTING DOWN TO READ "KING LEAR ONCE
GOLDEN-TONGUED Romance with serene
Fair plumed Syren! Queen! if far away!
EAD me a lesson, Muse, and speak it loud
I look into the chasms, and a shroud
Vaporous doth hide them, just so much I wist Mankind do know of hell; I look o'erhead, And there is sullen mist, even so much Mankind can tell of heaven; mist is spread Before the earth, beneath me, even such, Even so vague is man's sight of himself!
Here are the craggy stones beneath my feet, Thus much I know that, a poor witless elf,
I tread on them, that all my eye doth meet Is mist and crag, not only on this height, But in the world of thought and mental might!