Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
V. Death and Bereavement
To Mary in Heaven
Robert Burns (1759–1796)
   [Written in September, 1789, on the anniversary of the day on which he heard of the death of his early love, Mary Campbell.]

THOU lingering star, with lessening ray,
  That lov’st to greet the early morn,
Again thou usher’st in the day
  My Mary from my soul was torn.
O Mary! dear departed shade!        5
  Where is thy place of blissful rest?
See’st thou thy lover lowly laid?
  Hear’st thou the groans that rend his breast?
That sacred hour can I forget,—
  Can I forget the hallowed grove,        10
Where by the winding Ayr we met
  To live one day of parting love?
Eternity will not efface
  Those records dear of transports past;
Thy image at our last embrace;        15
  Ah! little thought we ’t was our last!
Ayr, gurgling, kissed his pebbled shore,
  O’erhung with wild woods, thickening green;
The fragrant birch, and hawthorn hoar,
  Twined amorous round the raptured scene;        20
The flowers sprang wanton to be prest,
  The birds sang love on every spray,—
Till soon, too soon, the glowing west
  Proclaimed the speed of wingèd day.
Still o’er these scenes my memory wakes,        25
  And fondly broods with miser care!
Time but the impression stronger makes,
  As streams their channels deeper wear.
My Mary! dear departed shade!
  Where is thy place of blissful rest?        30
See’st thou thy lover lowly laid?
  Hear’st thou the groans that rend his breast?

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