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Poem by Joaquin Miller


Burns


I LINGER in the autumn noon,
I listen to the partridge call,
I watch the yellow leaflets fall
And drift adown the dimpled Doon.
I lean me oer the ivy-grown
Old brig, where Vandal tourists tools
Have ribbed out names that would be known,
Are known,known as a herd of fools.

Down Ailsa Craig the sun declines,
  With lances levelled here and there,	 
The tinted thorns! the trailing vines!
  O braes of Doon! so fond, so fair!
So passing fair, so more than fond!
The Poets place of birth beyond,
  Beyond the mellow bells of Ayr!

  I hear the milkmaids twilight song
Come bravely through the storm-bent oaks;
Beyond, the white surfs sullen strokes
  Beat in a chorus deep and strong;
I hear the sounding forge afar,
And rush and rumble of the car,
  The steady tinkle of the bell
Of lazy, laden, home-bound cows
That stop to bellow and to browse;
  I breathe the soft sea-wind as well,
And now would fain arouse, arise;
I count the red lights in the skies;
  I yield as to a fairy spell.

  Heard ye the feet of flying horse?
Heard ye the bogles in the air
That clutch at Tam OShanters mare,
  That flies this mossy brig across?

*        *        *        *        *

  O Burns! another name for song,
Another name for passion,pride;
For love and poesy allied;
For strangely blended right and wrong.

  I picture you as one who kneeled
A stranger at his own hearthstone;
One knowing all, yet all unknown,
One seeing all, yet all concealed;
The fitful years you lingered here,
A lease of peril and of pain;
And I am thankful yet again
The gods did love you, ploughman! peer!

  In all your own and other lands,
I hear your touching songs of cheer;
The peasant and the lordly peer
Above your honored dust strike hands.

  A touch of tenderness is shown
In this unselfish love of Ayr,
And it is well, you earned it fair;
For all unhelmeted, alone,
You proved a ploughmans honest claim
To battle in the lists of fame;
You earned it as a warrior earns
His laurels fighting for his land,
And died,it was your right to go.
O eloquence of silent woe!
The Master leaning reached a hand,
And whispered, It is finished, Burns!	

  O sad, sweet singer of a Spring!
Yours was a chill, uncheerful May,
And you knew no full days of June;
You ran too swiftly up the way,
And wearied soon, so over-soon!
You sang in weariness and woe;
You faltered, and God heard you sing,
Then touched your hand and led you so,
You found lifes hill-top low, so low,
You crossed its summit long ere noon.
Thus sooner than one would suppose
Some weary feet will find repose.



Joaquin Miller

Poem Theme: Robert Burns

Joaquin Miller's other poems:
  1. The Defence of the Alamo


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