The Husbandman of Heaven
[Lines written near the burial-place of Burns]
POET, whose very dust, here shed,
Is as the quick among the dead,
Where revels thy carousing soul?
What Hebe fills what mighty bowl,
Mantling with what immortal drink?
Nay, great and blissful one! I think
That, taught by Time himself to flee
The taverns of Eternity,
Amid yon constellations thou
Drivest all night the heavenly Plough,
Wooing with song some sky-nymph fair
Who sits in Cassiopeia's Chair,
Or half unravels on her knees
That tangled net, the Pleiades,
Or, at thy over amorous strain
Bridling with wrath she needs must feign,
Flits to a region pale and gray,
Shimmers through nebula away,
Coldly beyond thy fires to roam,
Hid in Orion's astral foam,
But wandering back, with starlike tears
Yields to the Ploughman of the Spheres.
William Watson. Retrogression and Other Poems. London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1917.