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As I stood by yon roofless tower,
Where the howlet mourns in her ivy bower,
The winds were laid, the air was still,
The fox was howling on the hill,
The stream, adown its hazelly path,
Hasting to join the sweeping Nith,
The cauld blue north was streaming forth
Athort the lift they start and shift,
*A favourite walk of Burns during his residence in Dumfries was one along the right bank of the river above the town, terminating at the ruins of Lincluden Abbey and Church, which occupy a romantic situation on a piece of rising ground in the angle at the junction of the Cluden Water with the Nith. These ruins include many fine fragments of ancient decorative architecture, and are enshrined in a natural scene of the utmost beauty. Burns, according to his eldest son, often mused amidst the Lincluden ruins. There is one position on a little mount, to the south of the church, where a couple of landscapes of witching loveliness are obtained, set, as it were, in two of the windows of the ancient building. It was probably the “Calvary of the ancient church precinct. This the younger Burns remembered to have been a favourite resting-place of the poet.
Such is the locality of the grand and thrilling ode, entitled A Vision, in which he hints—for more than a hint could not be ventured upon—his sense of the degradation of the ancient manly spirit of his country under the conservative terrors of the "'s era.-Chambers's Burns.
By heedless chance I turned mine eyes,
A stern and stalwart ghaist arise,
Had I a statue been o' stane,
And on his bonnet graved was plain,
And frae his harp sic strains did flow,
But oh! it was a tale of woe,
He sang wi' joy the former day,
But what he said it was nae play—
Man was Made to Mourn—a Dirge.
When chill November's surly blast
‘Young stranger, whither wanderest thou?'