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Robert Burns Anniversary (1820)

Verses composed for the Anniversary of ROBERT BURNS' Birth-Day, celebrated at Sheffield, 1820.

What bird in beauty, flight, or song,
Can with the Bard compare,
Who sang as sweet, and soar'd as strong,
As ever child of air ?

His plume, his note, his form, could Burns
For whim or pleasure change ;
He was not one, but all by turns,
With transmigration strange.

The Blackbird, oracle of spring,
When flow'd his moral lay ;
The Swallow, wheeling on the wing,
Capriciously at play :

The Humming--bird, from bloom to bloom,
Inhaling heavenly balm ;
The Raven, in the tempest gloom ;
The Halcyon in the calm :

In "Auld Kirk Alloway" the Owl
At 'witching time of night ;
By "Bonny Doon" the earliest fowl
That carol'd to the light :

He was the Wren amidst the grove,
When in his homely vein ;
At "Bannockburn" the Bird of Jove,
With thunder in his train :

The Woodlark in his mournful hours;
The Goldfinch in his mirth ;
The Thrush, a spendthrift of his pow'rs,
Enrapt'ring heaven and earth :

The Swan in majesty and grace,
Contemplative and still ;
But rous'd--no Falcon in the chace
Could, like his satire, kill :

The Linnet in simplicity ;
In tenderness the Dove ;
But, more than all beside, was he
The Nightingale in love !

Oh! had he never stoop'd to shame,
Nor lent a charm to vice ;
How had Devotion lov'd to name
That Bird of Paradise.

Peace to the dead ! in Scotia's choir
Of Minstrels great and small ;
He springs from his spontaneous fire,
The Phoenix of them all !


From the Tasmanian newspaper Tasmanian and Port Dalrymple Advertiser Feb 1825 p. 4.

The poetry of Robert Burns was a firm favorate for many Australian newspapers from the first years of colonisation


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory