Robert Burns

Prologue Spoken At The Theatre Of Dumfries

written in 1789

No song nor dance I bring from yon great city, That queens it o'er our taste - the more's the pity: Tho' by the bye, abroad why will you roam? Good sense and taste are natives here at home: But not for panegyric I appear, I come to wish you all a good New Year! Old Father Time deputes me here before ye, Not for to preach, but tell his simple story: The sage, grave Ancient cough'd, and bade me say, "You're one year older this important day," If wiser too - he hinted some suggestion, But 'twould be rude, you know, to ask the question; And with a would-be roguish leer and wink, Said - "Sutherland, in one word, bid them Think!" Ye sprightly youths, quite flush with hope and spirit, Who think to storm the world by dint of merit, To you the dotard has a deal to say, In his sly, dry , sententious, proverb way! He bids you mind , amid your thoughtless rattle, That the first blow is ever half the battle; That tho' some by the skirt may try to snatch him, Yet by the foreclock is the hold to catch him; That whether doing, suffering, or forbearing, You may do miracles by persevering. Last, tho' not least in love, ye youthful fair , Angelic forms, high Heaven's peculiar care! To you old Bald-pate smoothes his wrinkled brow, And humbly begs you'll mind the important - Now! To crown your happiness he asks your leave, And offers, bliss to give and to receive. For our sincere, tho' haply weak endeavours, With grateful pride we own your many favours; And howsoe'er our tongues may ill reveal it, Believe our glowing bosoms truly feel it.

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