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Would then my noble master please
To grant my highest wishes, He'll shade my banks wi' tow'ring trees, And bonnie spreading bushes. Delighted doubly then, my Lord, You'll wander on my banks, And listen mony a grateful bird Return you tuneful thanks.
The sober laverock, warbling wild,
The gowdspink, music's gayest child,
The blackbird strong, the lintwhite clear,
This, too, a covert shall insure
To shield them from the storm;
Here shall the shepherd make his seat,
Or find a shelt'ring safe retreat
From prone descending show'rs.
And here, by sweet endearing stealth, Shall meet the loving pair,
Despising worlds with all their wealth As empty idle care.
The flow'rs shall vie in all their charms The hour of heav'n to grace,
And birks extend their fragrant arms To screen the dear embrace.
Here haply too, at vernal dawn,
Let lofty firs, and ashes cool,
My lowly banks o'erspread, And view, deep-bending in the pool, Their shadows' wat'ry bed!
Let fragrant birks in woodbines drest My craggy cliffs adorn;
And, for the little songster's nest,
The close embow'ring thorn.
So may old Scotia's darling hope,
Spring, like their fathers, up to prop
Their honour'd native land!
The grace be" Athole's honest men,
And Athole's bonnie lasses!"
"The first object of interest," says Chambers, occurs upon the public road after leaving Blair, is a chasm in the hill on the right hand, through which the little river Bruar falls over a series of beautiful cascades. Formerly, the falls of the Bruar were unadorned by wood; but the Poet Burns, being conducted to see them (Sep. 1787), by his friend the Duke of Athole, recommended that they should be invested with that necessary decoration-a plantation. Trees have been thickly planted along the chasm, and are now far advanced to maturity. Throughout this young forest, a walk has been cut, and a number of fantastic little grottoes erected for the conveniency of those who visit the spot. The river not only makes several distinct falls, but rushes on through a channel, whose roughness and haggard sublimity adds greatly to the merits of the scene, as an object of interest among tourists."
Speaking of this visit of Burns to the Bruar, and of the origin of the poem, Professor Walker says, "He passed two or three days with the Duke of Athole, and was highly delighted by the attention he received, and the
company to whom he was introduced. These, on the other hand, were no less pleased with the correct and manly deportment of the interesting stranger. As the hour of supper was distant, he begged I would guide him through the grounds. It was already growing dark; yet the softened, though faint and uncertain, view of their beauties which the moonlight afforded us, seemed exactly suited to the state of his feelings at the time. When we reached a rustic hut on the river Tilt, where it is overhung by a woody precipice, he threw himself on the heathy seat, and gave himself up to a tender, abstracted, and voluptuous enthusiasm of imagination. By the Duke's advice he visited the Falls of Bruar, and in a few days I received a letter from Inverness, with the verses enclosed."
I have just time," says the Poet to Walker," to write the foregoing, and to tell you that it was (at least most part of it) the effusion of an half-hour I spent at Bruar. I do not mean it was extempore, for I have endeavoured to brush it up as well as Mr. Nicol's chat and the jogging of the chaise would allow. It eases my heart a good deal, as rhyme is the coin with which a poet pays his debts of honour or gratitude. What I owe to the noble family of Athole, of the first kind, I shall ever proudly boast; what I owe to the last, so help me God in my hour of need! I shall never forget."
SCARING SOME WATER-FOWL
A WILD SCENE AMONG THE HILLS OF OCHTERTYRE.
WHY, ye tenants of the lake,
For me your wat'ry haunt forsake?
At my presence thus you fly?
Parent, filial, kindred ties ?-
Conscious, blushing for our race,
Plumes himself in Freedom's pride,