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Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
12. Song—The Lass of Cessnock Banks
 
 
A Song of Similes 1
Tune—“If he be a Butcher neat and trim.”
 
 
ON Cessnock banks a lassie dwells;
  Could I describe her shape and mein;
Our lasses a’ she far excels,
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.
 
She’s sweeter than the morning dawn,        5
  When rising Phoebus first is seen,
And dew-drops twinkle o’er the lawn;
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.
 
She’s stately like yon youthful ash,
  That grows the cowslip braes between,        10
And drinks the stream with vigour fresh;
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.
 
She’s spotless like the flow’ring thorn,
  With flow’rs so white and leaves so green,
When purest in the dewy morn;        15
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.
 
Her looks are like the vernal May,
  When ev’ning Phoebus shines serene,
While birds rejoice on every spray;
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.        20
 
Her hair is like the curling mist,
  That climbs the mountain-sides at e’en,
When flow’r-reviving rains are past;
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.
 
Her forehead’s like the show’ry bow,        25
  When gleaming sunbeams intervene
And gild the distant mountain’s brow;
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.
 
Her cheeks are like yon crimson gem,
  The pride of all the flowery scene,        30
Just opening on its thorny stem;
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.
 
Her bosom’s like the nightly snow,
  When pale the morning rises keen,
While hid the murm’ring streamlets flow;        35
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.
 
Her lips are like yon cherries ripe,
  That sunny walls from Boreas screen;
They tempt the taste and charm the sight;
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.        40
 
Her teeth are like a flock of sheep,
  With fleeces newly washen clean,
That slowly mount the rising steep;
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.
 
Her breath is like the fragrant breeze,        45
  That gently stirs the blossom’d bean,
When Phoebus sinks behind the seas;
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.
 
Her voice is like the ev’ning thrush,
  That sings on Cessnock banks unseen,        50
While his mate sits nestling in the bush;
  An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een.
 
But it’s not her air, her form, her face,
  Tho’ matching beauty’s fabled queen;
’Tis the mind that shines in ev’ry grace,        55
  An’ chiefly in her roguish een.
 
Note 1. The lass is identified as Ellison Begbie, a servant wench, daughter of a farmer.—Lang. [back]
 

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