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Hail, Majesty Most Excellent !
While nobles strive to please ye, Will ye except a compliment
A simple poet gi’es ye? Thae bonnie bairntime, Heav'n has lent,
Still higher may they heeze ye In bliss, till fate some day is sent, For ever to release ye
Frae care that day.
For you, young potentate o' Wales,
I tell your Highness fairly,
I'm tauld ye're driving rarely ;
An' curse your folly sairly,
By night or day.
Yet aft a ragged cowte's been known
To mak a noble aiver ;
For a' their clish-ma-claver:
Few better were or braver ;
For monie a day..
For you, right rev’rend Osnaburg,
Nane sets the lawn-sleeve sweeter,
Wad been a dress completer :
That bears the keys of Peter,
Some luckless day.
Young, royal Tarry Breeks, I learn,
Ye've lately come athwart her ;
Weel rigg'd for Venus' barter ;
Your hymeneal charter,
Come full that day.
Ye, lastly, bonnie blossoms a',
Ye royal lasses dainty,
An' gie you lads a-plenty:
For kings are unco scant ay ;
On onie day. * Alluding to the newspaper account of a certain Royal sailor's amour,
God bless you a'! consider now,
Ye're unco muckle dautet;
It may be bitter sautet:
That yet hae tarrow't at it;
Fu' clean that day.
To“The Dream,” I have heard, the neglect shown by the Government to the Poet imputed. No doubt it was otherwise than acceptable at court, and we know that Mrs.Dunlop and Mrs. Stewart of Stair, solicited, in vain, to have it omitted in the Edinburgh edition. It is likely that the suppression of the poem would have been of no benefit to the bard. The ear of his Majesty, like that of Pitt and Dundas, was not to be charmed by sweet sounds: he who mistook Pye for a poet was not likely to regard Burns as one. Nor were his ministers more merciful than their master to the tuneful and the inspired: What bard could command a dozen votes for a borough? Interest and influence were every thing, and genius was as nothing. Few of the commentators have ventured to discuss the merits of “ The Dream.” They are of a high order-the gaiety as well as keenness of the satire, and the vehement rapidity of the verse, are not the only attractions. Even the prose introduction is sarcastic—the Poet, on reading the Laureate's Ode, fell asleep-a likely consequence, for the birth-day strains of those times were something of the dullest.
The poem seems prophetic ; the young potentate of
Wales lived to rue that he had “ broken Diana's pales, and rattled dice with Charlie;" por was the Bishop of Osnaburg long in getting a wife, as well as a ribbon to his lug, but this did not hinder him from going wrong in the very way intimated by the Poet. The hymeneal charter, which he proposes to the Royal Sailor, in the affair of the “glorious galley,” or the early marriage which he recommends to the “ bonnie blossoms—the royal lasses dainty”—might have been beneficial to Britain. The last verse of the poem seems to intimate the coming of some great change among the nations : had the island spirit not stood firm, a scattering, such as France and other kingdoms endured, might have taken place. The poem, it must be acknowledged, is uncommonly bold and audacious.
A B A R D'S EPITAP H.
Is there a whim-inspired fool,
Let him draw near ;
And drap a tear.
Is there a bard of rustic song,
0, pass not by! But, with a frater-feeling strong,
Here, heave a sigh.
Is there a man, whose judgment clear,
Wild as the wave ;
Survey this grave.