burns

Robert Burns wrote this poem shortly after he arrived in the capital in November 1786.

It is written in English Augustan verse, which was a popular form of composition at the end of the eighteenth century.

 

Edina! Scotia’s darling seat!

All hail thy palaces and tow’rs,

Where once beneath a Monarch’s feet,

Sat Legislation’s sov’reign pow’rs!

From marking wildly-scatt’red flow’rs,

As on the banks of Ayr I stray’d,

And singing, lone, the ling’ring hours,

I shelter in thy honour’d shade.

 

Here Wealth still swells the golden tide,

As busy Trade his labours plies;

There Architecture’s noble pride

Bids elegance and splendour rise:

Here Justice, from her native skies,

High wields her balance and her rod;

There Learning, with his eagle eyes,

Seeks Science in her coy abode.

 

Thy sons, Edina, social, kind,

With open arms the stranger hail;

Their views enlarg’d, their lib’ral mind,

Above the narrow, rural vale:

Attentive still to Sorrow’s wail,

Or modest Merit’s silent claim;

And never may their sources fail!

And never envy blot their name!

 

Thy daughters bright thy walks adorn,

Gay as the gilded summer sky,

Sweet as the dewy, milk-white thorn,

Dear as the raptur’d thrill of joy!

Fair Burnet strikes th’ adoring eye,

Heav’n’s beauties on my fancy shine;

I see the Sire of Love on high,

And own His work indeed divine!

 

There, watching high the least alarms,

Thy rough, rude fortress gleams afar;

Like some bold vet’ran, grey in arms,

And mark’d with many a seamy scar:

The pond’rous wall and massy bar,

Grim-rising o’er the rugged rock,

Have oft withstood assailing war,

And oft repell’d th’ Invader’s shock.

 

With awe-struck thought, and pitying tears,

I view that noble, stately Dome,

Where Scotia’s kings of other years,

Fam’d heroes! had their royal home:

Alas, how chang’d the times to come!

Their royal name low in the dust!

Their hapless race wild-wand’ring roam!

Tho’ rigid Law cries out ’twas just!

 

Wild-beats my heart to trace your steps,

Whose ancestors, in days of yore,

Thro’ hostile ranks and ruin’d gaps

Old Scotia’s bloody lion bore:

Ev’n I who sing in rustic lore,

Haply my Sires have left their shed,

And fac’d grim Danger’s loudest roar,

Bold – following where your fathers led!

 

Edina! Scotia’s darling seat!

All hail thy palaces and tow’rs,

Where once, beneath a Monarch’s feet,

Sat Legislation’s sov’reign pow’rs:

From marking wildly-scatt’red flow’rs,

As on the banks of Ayr I stray’d,

And singing, lone, the ling’ring hours,

I shelter in thy honor’d shade.