Tune, Gilderoy.


BY AYR'S sweet banks and wimpling stream,
One ev'ning, in the Spring,
I walked forth to view the plain,
And her the birds all sing:
A place remote I there did choose,
Well shelter'd and retir'd,
And there I sung great Nature's praise,
Whate'er the Muse inspir'd.


When sun was past his scorching heat,
And birds to thickets flown,
And maids, in bands, their lads do meet,
Their lab'ring task b'ing done:
There I heard music fill the grove,
Beyond description's pow'r;
Such music as my heart did move
Till past the twilight hour.


Harmonious to the stream that glides,
Their lays melodious flow:
They sang; I join'd the tuneful tribe,
Till all my heart did glow.
The Zephyrs mild did gently fawn,
With whispers soft and low,
O'er waving corn, and flow'ry lawns,
And brooks and streams also.


Amid those banks the primrose grows,
With vari'd pinks and flow'rs,
That much adorns the banks and braes,
And beaut'ous, verdant bow'rs:
No dreary frosts e'er dry those streams,
The flocks, with wand'ring pace,
Go nibbling round yon hills and plains,
And round yon banks and braes.


Far from the din of baleful strife,
The shepperd here doth dwell;
He lives a qui't contented life,
In his small, humble cell:
He hears the songsters in the woods,
That warble through their throat:
Sweet flow'rs, around, their odours spread,
That much perfume the spot.


The whisp'rings of the gentle breeze
Do yield much sweet delight;
They fan and shake the leaves of trees
Most pleasant to the sight:
Now rustling silks and high drest hair,
Where are your boasted joys?
Your face a borrow'd smile does wear,
While drest in idle toys.


No bold ambition here is seen,
Nor tricks for catching gold;
The shepherds here, though they live mean,
Their joys cannot be told:
They court no favours of the great;
Wild passions don't them sway;
Nor do they with a great estate;
Their time slips soft away.


No shepherd here would cross the seas
In quest of paultry gain,
Nor measure leagues from quay to quay,
For all they could obtain:
They still will toil and be content,
As long's they here may stay;
With faithful dog, and plaid, and kent,
From truth's paths they won't stray.


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