1804 5

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Ode On The Anniversary of the Birthday of Burns
The Hull Packet (February 28, 1804)

While Gaul's martial Demon, inflated with pride,
Of Invasion sends threat after threat o'er the tide,
And the Sons of the Britons with banners unfurl'd,
By patience heroic astonish the world:
    In wielding our arms, and our glasses by turns,
        We will spend the convivial hours;
    And fir'd by the bold independence of BURNS,
        Wake our social, our patriot powers:
And till the loud roar of the battle shall cease,
Round the chaplet of war wreath the garland of peace.

Should the menacing host e'er by stealth gain the land,
Shall they marshall their minions secure on the strand?
No—the AIR and the DOON, deeply stain'd by our blood,
Shall first widely crimson the sea with the flood!
    At sight of the Tyrant, what fury will rise
        In the breasts of brave Scotia's sons!
    What noble resentment will flash from their eyes,
        As they handle their swords or their guns!
Nor warlike exertion, nor conduct, shall cease,
Till again we repose on the pillow of peace.

How throbs my proud bosom, oppress'd with delight,
As I view these lov'd patrons of Genius so bright,
Who befriended the unfriended poet, and drew
From his pen the encomiums so justly their due.[1]
    O far, distant far, be the sorrowful day,
        When the Bard's benefactors and mine
    Shall like him bid me weave the funereal lay,
        And the Yew with the Cypress entwine.
On earth, with your years, may your blessings increase,
And may BURNS at last greet you in regions of peace.


1. [Author's note]: "The Twa Brigs o' Air, and the Cotter's Saturday Night, dedicated to two gentlemen of the party." [2]

2. The occasion of the poem was a birthday celebration in memory of Burns at which a select party of friends and admirers met at the cottage in which he was born on January 28, 1804.

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