James Orr’s poems have been printed and reprinted a number of times, the last being in The Country Rhymes of James Orr, by Dr. Philip Robinson, in the Folk Poets of Ulster series (ISBN 0-948868-18-X). This website does not attempt to provide a comprehensive list, but merely a small sample of Orr’s works.

On the death of Mr. Robert Burns, The Ayrshire Poet
A great man, solely of God Almighty’s making such

The lift begud a storm to brew,
The cloudy sun was vext, an’ dark;
A forket flash cam skeltin’ thro’
Before a hawk, that chas’d a lark;
Then, as I ran to reach a booth,
I met a swain an’ ax’t “what news?”
When thus he mourned the far-famed youth
Wha fills the dark, an’ narrow hoose.
Sad news! He’s gane, wha baith amus’d
The man o’ taste, an’ taught the rude;
Whase warks hae been mair read an’ roos’d
Than onie, save the word o’ Gude:
Him genius foster’d on her lap,
An’ for his fa’ fand fancy mourns;
Dumfries might weel steek ev’ry shap,
An’ sen’ her tribes to bury Burns
Oh Burns! oh Burns! the wale o’ swains,
Wi’ thee the Scottish music fell;
Till nature change, thy artless strains
Shall last, an’ seem her second sel:
Was pain thy theme; or pastime daft?
Thou rais’dst the roar, or mov’dst the tear;
Thy “woodnotes wild” were sweet, an’ saft,
As grace divine to sauls sincere
Oh Scotia! Bards of note you’ve rear’d:
E’en kings were counted I’ their train;
But lo! A barefoot moorlun’ herd
Frae a’ their pipes the praise has ta’en:
What e’er before sae finely felt?
Sae “strongly mark’d” your rustic rings?
What mopin’ min’ unapt to melt,
Was cauldrife when he swept the strings?
Nae mair wi’ rash, repentant share,
He’ll breeze the Daisies modest breast;
Nor thro’ the fur claut here-an’-there
The poor wee Mousie’s motley nest;
Nae mair, at night, frae toil releas’d,
In “social key” Scotch drink he swigs;
Nor on a palpitating breast
Is blest amang the Barley Rigs.

Nae mair in kirk he stan’s tip-tae,
To see the Rooks ordain the Raven;
Nor hears his Cotter read an’ pray,
An’ tell the weans the way to heav’n;
But till, unsair’t by ear an’ e’e,
Auld mem’rys types ilk image tine,
Wi’ a’ I hear, and a’ I see,
Instinctive thought shall Burns combine.
Death, wha delay’d, and doff’d his shaft,
An leugh, langsyne, to hear his strain,
Has pent him in the cell, which aft
He wiss’d to close him in frae pain:
An’ now th’ aerial Wreath he wears,
Adjudg’d him by the Phantom Fair,
An’ comes wi’ shadowy compeers
To warble on the Brigs o’ Ayr.
But while the poet we applaud,
We manna less approve the man;
A heart to beauty ay he had,
An’ to the brave a frienly han’;
Nane felt the love o’ country mair,
Nor wiss’d the brethren’s peace an’ health;
For Independence, firm, an’ fair,
He strave as much as fools for wealth.
An’ maun his fam’lie I’ the slough;
O’ dreary poortith, pining, lye?
The want o’ him is hard enough,
Without the want o’ ought forbye:
Monie fine chiels hae set their hearts,
Like him, owre much on wine an’ mirth;
The failin’s o’ a man o’ parts
Are nobler than a numscull’s worth
In times to come, thro’ now obscure,
His line may flourish for his sake:
An’ sons o’ sang frae monie a shore
Cleave reliques frae his plough or braik:
sublime, yet simple; wild, yet wise;
He ne’er was march’d wham Scotia mourns-
A noble peal convuls’d the skies,
‘Twas Nature’s sel’ respectin’ BURNS.