VERSES INTENDED TO BE WRITTEN BELOW A NOBLE EARL'S PICTURE
Robert Burns wrote these verses in praise of James Cunningham, 14th Earl of Glencairn who had been one of his greatest supporters in advancing both his poetic and excise careers. He wanted to publish them but Glencairn was modest and asked him not to. They didn’t become public until 1851, half a century after both men had died.
"Whose is that noble, dauntless brow? And whose that eye of fire?
And whose that generous, Princely mien, Ev'n rooted Foes admire?
Stranger, to justly show that brow, And mark that eye of fire,
Would take His hand, whose vernal tints, His other Works admire.
Bright as a cloudless Summer-sun, With stately port he moves;
His guardian Seraph eyes with awe The noble Ward he loves.
Among th' illustrious Scottish Sons That Chief thou may'st discern,
Mark Scotia's fond-returning eye, It dwells upon Glencairn."