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    Address to the Shade of Thomsen

    by Robert Burns
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    ["Lord Buchan has the pleasure to invite Mr. Burns to make one at the
    coronation of the bust of Thomson, on Ednam Hill, on the 22d of
    September: for which day perhaps his muse may inspire an ode suited to
    the occasion. Suppose Mr. Burns should, leaving the Nith, go across
    the country, and meet the Tweed at the nearest point from his farm,
    and, wandering along the pastoral banks of Thomson's pure parent
    stream, catch inspiration in the devious walk, till he finds Lord
    Buchan sitting on the ruins of Dryburgh. There the Commendator will
    give him a hearty welcome, and try to light his lamp at the pure flame
    of native genius, upon the altar of Caledonian virtue." Such was the
    invitation of the Earl of Buchan to Burns. To request the poet to lay
    down his sickle when his harvest was half reaped, and traverse one of
    the wildest and most untrodden ways in Scotland, for the purpose of
    looking at the fantastic coronation of the bad bust of on excellent
    poet, was worthy of Lord Buchan. The poor bard made answer, that a
    week's absence in the middle of his harvest was a step he durst not
    venture upon--but he sent this Poem.

    The poet's manuscript affords the following interesting variations:--

    "While cold-eyed Spring, a virgin coy,
    Unfolds her verdant mantle sweet,
    Or pranks the sod in frolic joy,
    A carpet for her youthful feet:

    "While Summer, with a matron's grace,
    Walks stately in the cooling shade,
    And oft delighted loves to trace
    The progress of the spiky blade:

    "While Autumn, benefactor kind,
    With age's hoary honours clad,
    Surveys, with self-approving mind,
    Each creature on his bounty fed."]

    While virgin Spring, by Eden's flood,
    Unfolds her tender mantle green,
    Or pranks the sod in frolic mood,
    Or tunes Æolian strains between:

    While Summer, with a matron grace,
    Retreats to Dryburgh's cooling shade,
    Yet oft, delighted, stops to trace
    The progress of the spiky blade:

    While Autumn, benefactor kind,
    By Tweed erects his aged head,
    And sees, with self-approving mind,
    Each creature on his bounty fed:

    While maniac Winter rages o'er
    The hills whence classic Yarrow flows,
    Rousing the turbid torrent's roar,
    Or sweeping, wild, a waste of snows:

    So long, sweet Poet of the year!
    Shall bloom that wreath thou well hast won;
    While Scotia, with exulting tear,
    Proclaims that Thomson was her son.
    If you're writing a Address to the Shade of Thomsen essay and need some advice, post your Robert Burns essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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