Monday, 17 July 2017

The Memory of Burns

Burns Monument and Gardens, Alloway
     I couldn't let this week pass without mentioning Scotland's great poet Robert Burns, as it will be the anniversary of his death on July 21. Therefore in my classic poet spot I'm featuring today not a poem by Robert Burns but a poem written as a tribute to him.

    The poem  was written by American poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier who was inspired by Burns as many others have.

The Memory of Burns   

Alloway Parish Church

How sweetly come the holy psalms
From saints and martyrs down
The waving of triumphal palms
Above the thorny crown

The choral praise, the chanted prayers
From harps by angels strung
The hunted Cameron's mountain airs
The hymns that Luther sung

Yet, jarring not the heavenly notes
The sounds of earth are heard
As through the open minster floats
The song of breeze and bird
Not less the wonder of the sky
That daisies bloom below
The brook sings on, though loud and high
The cloudy organs blow

And, if the tender ear be jarred
That, haply, hears by turns
The saintly harp of Olney's bard
The pastoral pipe of Burns,
No discord mars His perfect plan
Who gave them both a tongue
For he who sings the love of man
The love of God hath sung

To-day be every fault forgiven
Of him in whom we joy
We take, with thanks, the gold of Heaven
And leave the earth's alloy.
Be ours his music as of spring,
His sweetness as of flowers,
The songs the bard himself might sing
In holier ears than ours

Sweet airs of love and home, the hum
Of household melodies
Come singing, as the robins come
To sing in door-yard trees
And, heart to heart, two nations lean,
No rival wreaths to twine
But blending in eternal green
The holly and the pine

             John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

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