Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ELEGY ON CAPTAIN MATTHEW HENDERSON, by ROBERT BURNS



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ELEGY ON CAPTAIN MATTHEW HENDERSON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O death! Thou tyrant fell and bloody!
Last Line: E'er lay in earth.
Subject(s): Friendship


HE'S gane, he's gane! he's frae us torn,
The ae best fellow e'er was born!
Thee, Matthew, Nature's sel' shall mourn
by wood and wild,
Where, haply, pity strays forlorn,
Frae man exiled.
Ye hills, near neebors o' the starns,
That proudly cock your cresting cairns!
Ye cliffs, the haunts of sailing yearns,
Where echo slumbers!
Come join, ye Nature's sturdiest bairns,
My wailing numbers!
Mourn, ilka grove the cushat kens!
Ye hazelly shaws and briery dens!
Ye burnies, wimplin' down your glens,
Wi' toddlin' din,
Or foaming strang, wi' hasty stens,
Frae lin to lin!
Mourn, little harebells o'er the lea,
Ye stately foxgloves fair to see;
Ye woodbines hanging bonnilie
In scented bowers;
Ye roses on your thorny tree,
The first o' flowers.
At dawn, when every grassy blade
Droops with a diamond at his head,
At even, when beans their fragrance shed,
I' the rustling gale,
Ye maukins whiddin through the glade,
Come join my wail.
Mourn, ye wee songsters o' the wood;
Ye grouse that crap the heather bud;
Ye curlews calling through a clud;
Ye whistling plover;
And mourn, ye whirring paitrick brood;
He's gane forever!
Mourn, sooty coots, and speckled teals,
Ye fisher herons, watching eels;
Ye duck and drake, wi' airy wheels
Circling the lake;
Ye bitterns, till the quagmire reels,
Rair for his sake.
Mourn, clamoring craiks at close o' day,
'Mang fields o' flowering clover gay;
And when ye wing your annual way
Frae our cauld shore,
Tell thae far warlds wha lies in clay,
Wham we deplore.
Ye houlets, frae your ivy bower,
In some auld tree, or eldritch tower,
What time the moon, wi' silent glower,
Sets up her horn,
Wail thro' the dreary midnight hour
Till waukrife morn.
O rivers, forests, hills and plains!
Oft have ye heard my canty strains:
But now, what else for me remains
But tales of wo?
And frae my een the drapping rains
Maun ever flow.
Mourn, Spring, thou darling of the year!
Ilk cowslip cup shall keep a tear:
Thou, Simmer, while each corny spear
Shoots up its head,
Thy gay, green flowery tresses shear,
For him that's dead!
Thou, Autumn, wi' thy yellow hair,
In grief thy sallow mantle tear!
Thou, Winter, hurling through the air
The roaring blast,
Wide o'er the naked world declare
The worth we've lost.
Mourn him, thou sun, great source of light!
Mourn, empress of the silent night!
And you, ye twinkling starnies blight,
My Matthew mourn!
For thro' your orbs he's ta'en his flight,
Ne'er to return.
O Henderson, the man! the brother!
And art thou gone, and gone forever!
And hast thou crost that unknown river,
Life's dreary bound!
Like thee where shall I find another,
The world around!
Go to your sculptured tombs, ye great,
In a' the tinsel trash o' state!
But by thy honest turf I'll wait,
Thou man of worth!
And weep the ae best fellow's fate
E'er lay in earth.




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