Verses written with a Pencil over the Chimney-piece, In the Parlour of the Inn at Kenmore, Taymouth


Admiring Nature in her wildest grace, These northern scenes with weary feet I trace; O'er many a winding dale and painful steep, Th' abodes of coveyed grouse and timid sheep, My savage journey, curious, I pursue, Till fam'd Breadalbaine opens to my view. The meeting cliffs each deep-sunk glen divides, The woods, wild-scattered, clothe their ample sides; Th' outstretching lake, imbosomed 'mong the hills, The eye with wonder and amazement fills; The Tay meandering sweet in infant pride, The palace rising on his verdant side; The lawns wood-fringed in Nature's native taste; The hillocks dropt in Nature's careless haste, The arches striding o'er the new-born stream; The village glittering in the noontide beam. Poetic ardours in my bosom swell, Lone wandring by the hermit's mossy cell: The sweeping theatre of hanging woods; Th' incessant roar of headlong tumbling floods Here Poesy might wake her heaven taught lyre, And look through Nature with creative fire; Here, to the wrongs of Fate half reconcil'd, Misfortune's lightened steps might wander wild; And Disappointment, in these lonely bounds, Find balm to soothe her bitter rankling wounds: Here heart-struck Grief might heavenward stretch her scan, And injured Worth forget and pardon Man.

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Joyce Falconer

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1787 and is read here by Joyce Falconer.

Themes for this poem

nature poetry

Selected for 26 August

A grumpy Burns was reduced to scraping yesterday’s poem on the outside of a hotel window. Today in a howff farther north he has got as far as the fireplace. And a pencil replaces his diamond ring as the writing implement of choice. Readers with an aversion to the kind of effusive guff flowing here in graphite screeds as 'poetic ardours in [his] bosom swell' may be tempted to get out their erasers! Let us hope not, for the poem is still on display in the hotel and the chair that took the weight off the weary Bard's feet can be seen in Perth museum.

Donny O'Rourke

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