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The Vision (1786)
by [?]

“When youthful love, warm-blushing, strong,
Keen-shivering, shot thy nerves along,
Those accents grateful to thy tongue,
Th’ adored Name,
I taught thee how to pour in song,
To soothe thy flame.

“I saw thy pulse’s maddening play,
Wild send thee Pleasure’s devious way,
Misled by Fancy’s meteor-ray,
By passion driven;
But yet the light that led astray
Was light from Heaven.

“I taught thy manners-painting strains,
The loves, the ways of simple swains,
Till now, o’er all my wide domains
Thy fame extends;
And some, the pride of Coila’s plains,
Become thy friends.

“Thou canst not learn, nor I can show,
To paint with Thomson’s landscape glow;
Or wake the bosom-melting throe,
With Shenstone’s art;
Or pour, with Gray, the moving flow
Warm on the heart.

“Yet, all beneath th’ unrivall’d rose,
T e lowly daisy sweetly blows;
Tho’ large the forest’s monarch throws
His army shade,
Yet green the juicy hawthorn grows,
Adown the glade.

“Then never murmur nor repine;
Strive in thy humble sphere to shine;
And trust me, not Potosi’s mine,
Nor king’s regard,
Can give a bliss o’ermatching thine,
A rustic bard.

“To give my counsels all in one,
Thy tuneful flame still careful fan:
Preserve the dignity of Man,
With soul erect;
And trust the Universal Plan
Will all protect.

“And wear thou this”–she solemn said,
And bound the holly round my head:
The polish’d leaves and berries red
Did rustling play;
And, like a passing thought, she fled
In light away.


[To Mrs. Stewart of Stair, Burns presented a manuscript copy of the Vision. That copy embraces about twenty stanzas at the end of Duan First, which he cancelled when he came to print the price in his Kilmarnock volume. Seven of these he restored in printing his second edition, as noted on p. 174. The following are the verses which he left unpublished.]

[Footnote 1: Duan, a term of Ossian’s for the different divisions of a digressive poem. See his Cath-Loda, vol. 2 of M’Pherson’s translation.–R. B.]

[Footnote 2: The seven stanzas following this were first printed in the Edinburgh edition, 1787. Other stanzas, never published by Burns himself, are given on p. 180.]

[Footnote 3: The Wallaces.–R. B.]

[Footnote 4: William Wallace.–R.B.]

[Footnote 5: Adam Wallace of Richardton, cousin to the immortal preserver of Scottish independence.–R.B.]

[Footnote 6: Wallace, laird of Craigie, who was second in command under Douglas, Earl of Ormond, at the famous battle on the banks of Sark, fought anno 1448. That glorious victory was principally owing to the judicious conduct and intrepid valour of the gallant laird of Craigie, who died of his wounds after the action.–R.B.]

[Footnote 7: Coilus, King of the Picts, from whom the district of Kyle is said to take its name, lies buried, as tradition says, near the family seat of the Montgomeries of Coilsfield, where his burial–place is still shown.–R.B.]

[Footnote 8: Barskimming, the seat of the Lord Justice– Clerk.–R.B.]

[Footnote 9: Catrine, the seat of the late Doctor and present Professor Stewart.–R.B.]

[Footnote 10: Colonel Fullarton.–R.B. This gentleman had travelled under the care of Patrick Brydone, author of a well-known “Tour Through Sicily and Malta.”]