202. On the Death of Robert Dundas, Esq., of Arniston by Robert Burns
LONE on the bleaky hills the straying flocks Shun the fierce storms among the sheltering rocks; Down from the rivulets, red with dashing rains, The gathering floods burst o’er the distant plains; Beneath the blast the leafless forests groan; The hollow caves return a hollow moan. Ye hills, ye plains, ye forests, and ye caves, Ye howling winds, and wintry swelling waves! Unheard, unseen, by human ear or eye, Sad to your sympathetic glooms I fly; Where, to the whistling blast and water’s roar, Pale Scotia’s recent wound I may deplore.
O heavy loss, thy country ill could bear! A loss these evil days can ne’er repair! Justice, the high vicegerent of her God, Her doubtful balance eyed, and sway’d her rod: Hearing the tidings of the fatal blow, She sank, abandon’d to the wildest woe.
Wrongs, injuries, from many a darksome den, Now, gay in hope, explore the paths of men: See from his cavern grim Oppression rise, And throw on Poverty his cruel eyes; Keen on the helpless victim see him fly, And stifle, dark, the feebly-bursting cry: Mark Ruffian Violence, distained with crimes, Rousing elate in these degenerate times, View unsuspecting Innocence a prey, As guileful Fraud points out the erring way: While subtle Litigation’s pliant tongue The life-blood equal sucks of Right and Wrong: Hark, injur’d Want recounts th’ unlisten’d tale, And much-wrong’d Mis’ry pours the unpitied wail!
Ye dark waste hills, ye brown unsightly plains, Congenial scenes, ye soothe my mournful strains: Ye tempests, rage! ye turbid torrents, roll! Ye suit the joyless tenor of my soul. Life’s social haunts and pleasures I resign; Be nameless wilds and lonely wanderings mine, To mourn the woes my country must endure— That would degenerate ages cannot cure.