Elegy on the Death of Scots Music

by Robert Fergusson published March 1771

1. On Scotia's plains, in days of yore,
When lads and lasses tartan wore,
Saft Music rang on ilka shore,
In hamely weid;
But Harmony is now no more,
And Music dead.

2. Round her the feather'd choir would wing,
Sae bonnily she wont to sing,
And sleely wake the sleeping string,
Their sang to lead,
Sweet as the zephyrs o' the Spring;
But now she's dead.

3. Mourn, ilka nymph and ilka swain,
Ilk sunny hill and dowie glen;
Let weeping streams and Naiads drain
Their fountain head;
Let Echo swell the dolefu' strain,
Sin' Music's dead.

4. Whan the saft vernal breezes ca',
The grey-hair'd Winter fogs awa',
Naebody than is heard to blaw,
Near hill or mead,
On chaunter, or on aiten straw,
Sin' Music's dead.

5. Nae lasses now, on summer days,
Will lilt at bleachin' o' their claes;
Nae herds on Yarrow's bonny braes,
Or banks o' Tweed,
Delight to chant their hamely lays,
Sin' Music's dead.

6. At glomin' now the bagpipe's dumb,
Whan weary owsen hameward come;
Sae sweetly as it wont to bum,
An' pibrachs skreed;
We never hear its warlike hum;
For Music's dead.

7.Macgibbon's gane! ah! waes my heart!
The man in Music maist expert,
Wha could sweet melody impart,
An' tune the reed,
Wi' sic a slee an' pawky art;
But now he's dead.

8. Ilk carline now may grunt an' grane,
Ilk bonny lassie mak great mane,
Sin' he's awa', I trow there's nane
Can fill his stead;
The blythest sangster on the plain
Alack he's dead!

9. Now foreign sonnets bear the gree,
An' crabbit queer variety
O' sounds fresh sprung frae Italy,
A bastard breed!
Unlike that saft-tongu'd Melody
Whilk now lies dead.

10.Could lavrocks, at the dawnin' day,
Could linties, chirmin' frae the spray,
Or todlin' burns that smoothly play
Owr gowden bed,
Compare wi' Birks o' Invermay?
But now they're dead.

11. O Scotland! that could ance afford
To bang the pith o' Roman sword,
Winna your sons, wi' joint accord,
To battle speed,
And fight till Music be restor'd,
Whilk now lies dead?