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446. A Vision

 AS I stood by yon roofless tower,
 Where the wa’flower scents the dewy air,
Where the howlet mourns in her ivy bower,
 And tells the midnight moon her care.
The winds were laid, the air was still, The stars they shot alang the sky; The fox was howling on the hill, And the distant echoing glens reply.
The stream, adown its hazelly path, Was rushing by the ruin’d wa’s, Hasting to join the sweeping Nith, Whase distant roaring swells and fa’s.
The cauld blae North was streaming forth Her lights, wi’ hissing, eerie din; Athwart the lift they start and shift, Like Fortune’s favors, tint as win.
By heedless chance I turn’d mine eyes, And, by the moonbeam, shook to see A stern and stalwart ghaist arise, Attir’d as Minstrels wont to be.
Had I a statue been o’ stane, His daring look had daunted me; And on his bonnet grav’d was plain, The sacred posy—“LIBERTIE!” And frae his harp sic strains did flow, Might rous’d the slumb’ring Dead to hear; But oh, it was a tale of woe, As ever met a Briton’s ear! He sang wi’ joy his former day, He, weeping, wailed his latter times; But what he said—it was nae play, I winna venture’t in my rhymes.

Poem by Robert Burns
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