“Jam jam residunt cruribus aspera.” – CAR. II., 20.
THE bards are birds an’ born to flee!
If I were ane, an’ choice were free,
I’d be an Eagle! wha but he
To rule the air!
The very sun wi’ open ee
He can ootstare!
His flicht is owre the cluds o’ heaven,
He screams abune the flashin’ levin
That sends the wee fools, terror-driven,
Hame when they see’t;
The hieche4st hills are thunder-riven
Aneth his feet!
Nae peer has he; an’ wha wad daur
The rushin’ o’ his wings in war?
Or seek wi’ impious bolt to bar
His plumag’d pride?
Nae fear has he; his flicht is far,
His empire wide.
Already doun my sides I feel
The feathers creepin’! on my heel
A spur sticks oot as sharp as steel!
My wings are risin’!
I’m ready for the lift! fareweel!
I’m aff, bird-guizin’.
Wi’ ae waff o’ my wings I soar
A mile abune the city’s roar;
Then round the globe, shore after shore,
Wi’ pinions regal,
I flee a strang flicht wi’ the core,
A brither eagle!
Homer flees first – for wha wad seek
To tak’ that honour fra the Greek?
Then Pindar wi’ triumphant beak
An’ bluidy talons, –
Tho’, whyles, he whummles wi’ a shriek
Clean aff his balance!
Then comes a lower flicht, but still
Far, far abune oof loftiest hill;
Yon’s Virgil wi’ his weel-preen’s quill
A band o’ Eaglets screamin’ shrill
Comes next in chorus.
But wha is this wi’ brunt ee-bree,
An’ scowther’d on the wings awee?
It’s Dante: he delichts to flee
A’ by himsel’.
The fire that’s in his flamin’ ee
He stole fra hell!
An’ yonder, noo, ye may descry
Shakespeare an’ MIlton ridin’ by,
Dimmin’ the haill dome o’ the sky,
Their ain dominion;
While far within their shadow I Streek oot my pinion.
But yet it’s grand to sail the air
Altho’ a mile aneth the pair, –
To flap your wings owre yearthly care,
Owre kirk an’ steeple,
An’ see them point Lo here! lo lthere!
The gapin’ people.
Nae mound nor monument for me!
An Eagle-poet canna dee!
But when the lightnin’ flashes free,
The tempest sings,
Look up, an’ in the tumult see
My soaring wings!