Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Humble Petition of Bruar Water to the Noble Duke of Athole

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Bruar Water

The Humble Petition of Bruar Water to the Noble Duke of Athole

By Robert Burns (1759–1796)

MY lord, I know your noble ear

Woe ne’er assails in vain;

Emboldened thus, I beg you ’ll hear

Your humble slave complain,

How saucy Phœbus’ scorching beams,

In flaming summer-pride,

Dry-withering, waste my foamy streams,

And drink my crystal tide.

The lightly jumpin’ glowrin’ trouts,

That through my waters play,

If, in their random, wanton spouts,

They near the margin stray;

If, hapless chance! they linger lang,

I ’m scorching up so shallow,

They ’re left the whitening stanes amang,

In gasping death to wallow.

Last day I grat wi’ spite and teen,

As Poet Burns came by,

That to a bard I should be seen

Wi’ half my channel dry:

A panegyric rhyme, I ween,

Even as I was he shored me;

But had I in my glory been,

He, kneeling, wad adored me.

Here, foaming down the shelvy rocks,

In twisting strength I rin;

There, high my boiling torrent smokes,

Wild roaring o’er a linn:

Enjoying large each spring and well,

As nature gave them me,

I am, although I say’t mysel’,

Worth gaun a mile to see.

Would then my noble master please

To grant my highest wishes,

He ’ll shade my banks wi’ towering trees,

And bonny spreading bushes.

Delighted doubly then, my lord,

You ’ll wander on my banks,

And listen monie a grateful bird

Return you tuneful thanks.

The sober laverock, warbling wild,

Shall to the skies aspire;

The gowdspink, Music’s gayest child,

Shall sweetly join the choir;

The blackbird strong, the lintwhite clear,

The mavis mild and mellow,

The robin pensive autumn cheer,

In all her locks of yellow.

This, too, a covert shall insure

To shield them from the storm;

And coward maukin sleep secure,

Low in her grassy form.

Here shall the shepherd make his seat,

To weave his crown of flowers;

Or find a sheltering safe retreat

From prone descending showers.

And here, by sweet endearing stealth,

Shall meet the loving pair,

Despising worlds with all their wealth

As empty idle care.

The flowers shall vie in all their charms

The hour of heaven to grace,

And birks extend their fragrant arms

To screen the dear embrace.

Here haply too, at vernal dawn,

Some musing bard may stray,

And eye the smoking, dewy lawn,

And misty mountain gray;

Or by the reaper’s nightly beam,

Mild-checkering through the trees,

Rave to my darkly dashing stream,

Hoarse swelling on the breeze.

Let lofty firs, and ashes cool,

My lowly banks o’erspread,

And view, deep bending in the pool,

Their shadows’ watery bed!

Let fragrant birks in woodbines drest

My craggy cliffs adorn;

And, for the little songster’s nest,

The close embowering thorn.

So may old Scotia’s darling hope,

Your little angel band,

Spring, like their fathers, up to prop

Their honored native land!

So may, through Albion’s farthest ken,

To social-flowing glasses,

The grace be,—“Athole’s honest men,

And Athole’s bonny lasses!”