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WHAT needs this din about the town o' Lon'on,
How this new play an' that new sang is comin'?
Why is outlandish stuff sae meikle courted?
Does nonsense mend like whiskey, when imported?
Is there nae poet, burning keen for fame,
Will try to gie us songs and plays at hame ?
For comedy abroad he need nae toil,

A fool and knave are plants of every soil;
Nor need he hunt as far as Rome and Greece
To gather matter for a serious piece;
There's themes enough in Caledonian story,
Would shew the tragic muse in a' her glory.—

Is there no daring bard will rise, and tell
How glorious Wallace stood, how hapless fell?
Where are the muses fled that could produce

A drama worthy o' the name o' Bruce ;

How here, even here, he first unsheath'd the sword, 'Gainst mighty England and her guilty lord;

And after mony a bloody, deathless doing,
Wrench'd his dear country from the jaws of ruin ?
O for a Shakspeare or an Otway scene,

To draw the lovely, hapless Scottish Queen!
Vain all th' omnipotence of female charms
'Gainst headlong, ruthless, mad Rebellion's arms.
She fell, but fell with spirit truly Roman,
To glut the vengeance of a rival woman :
A woman-tho' the phrase may seem uncivil-
As able and as cruel as the Devil!

One Douglas lives in Home's immortal page,
But Douglases were heroes every age:
And tho' your fathers, prodigal of life,
A Douglas followed to the martial strife,
Perhaps if bowls row right, and Right succeeds,
Ye yet may follow where a Douglas leads!

As ye hae generous done, if a' the land

Would take the muses' servants by the hand;
Not only hear, but patronize, befriend them,

And where ye justly can commend, commend


And aiblins when they winna stand the test,

Wink hard and say the folks hae done their best !
Would a' the land do this, then I'll be caution

Ye'll soon hae poets o' the Scottish nation,
Will gar fame blaw until her trumpet crack,
And warsle time, an' lay him on his back!

For us and for our stage should ony spier,

"Whase aught thae chiels maks a' this bustle here ?"
My best leg foremost, I'll set up my brow,
We have the honour to belong to you!

We're your ain bairns, e'en guide us as ye like,
But like good mithers, shore before ye strike.—
And gratefu' still I hope ye'll ever find us.
For a' the patronage and meikle kindness
We've got frae a' professions, sets and ranks :
God help us! we're but poor-ye'se get but thanks.

To task the muse is dangerous, and this prologue was a task: Burns produced some vigorous lines, but on the whole it is not equal to many other of even his hurried compositions. The themes which he points out for the tragic muse are noble ones :-but the heroic Wallace and the beauteous Mary would require sentiment and pathos such as are rare in the modern drama. James Grahame, the author of the Sabbath, and Thomas Doubleday, of Newcastle, have composed dramas on the subject of Queen Mary, and both have produced scenes which cannot be perused without emotion. Scott, too, has thrown the charms of his genius around a life already sufficiently romantic. The words which Grahame ascribes to Mary when she looks from England towards her native land, are touching :


MARY.-O England! England! grave of murdered princes!
Why did I leave thee, Scotland, dearest land?
In thee I had some friends-they died for me:
O were I on the side of yon dim mountain!
Though wild and bleak it be, it is in Scotland.
ADELAIDE.-Alas! 'tis but a cloud.

MARY.-NO! 'tis a mountain of sweet Annerdale.

ADELAIDE.-Ah, no! 'tis but a cloud; you know our distance.
MARY.-Well, then, it is a cloud that hovers o'er

My dear, my native land: I love that cloud,
That misty robe of spirits. O, Adelaide,
Come soothe me with that mournful song-
'Tis an old thing; we heard it in the days

Of happiness, and yet it filled our eyes

With tears: we heard it in the vale of Morven :

'Twas something....'Twas about the voice of Cona.

ADELAIDE. The maiden with the distaff by the stream

'Twas she that sung it.

I do remember-and after she had sung it

She tried to tell it o'er in broken Scottish.

MARY.-Let me hear it.

ADELAIDE.-I feel my heart so full that but one note,

A single note, sung even by myself

Would quite untune my voice.

MARY.-The weary rook hies home-my home's a prison,

All things are free but me. Why did I leave

Lochleven's beauteous isle? There I could range

Along the shore, or, seated on the bank,

Hope still for better days."

The muse of Schiller, too, threw a halo round her name in a foreign land. Mary's woes still await some future Shakspeare, or pathetic Otway.




THIS day, Time winds th' exhausted chain,
To run the twelvemonth's length again :
I see the old, bald-pated fellow,
With ardent eyes, complexion sallow,
Adjust the unimpair'd machine,
To wheel the equal, dull routine.

The absent lover, minor heir,

In vain assail him with their prayer;
Deaf as my friend, he sees them press,
Nor makes the hour one moment less.
Will you (the Major's with the hounds,
The happy tenants share his rounds;
Coila's fair Rachel's care to-day,

And blooming Keith's engaged with Gray)
From housewife cares a minute borrow-

-That grandchild's cap will do to-morrowAnd join with me a moralizing,

This day's propitious to be wise in.

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