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And gane, alas! the shelt'ring tree,
Should shield thee frae the storm.

May He, who gives the rain to pour,
And wings the blast to blaw,
Protect thee frae the driving shower,
The bitter frost and snaw!

May He, the friend of woe and want,
Who heals life's various stounds,1
Protect and guard the mother-plant,
And heal her cruel wounds!

But late she flourish'd, rooted fast,
Fair on the summer morn;
Now, feebly bends she in the blast,
Unshelter'd and forlorn.

Blest be thy bloom, thou lovely gem,
Unscathed' by ruffian hand!
And from thee many a parent stem
Arise to deck our land!



On turning one down with the plough, in April, 1780.

WEE, modest, crimson-tippéd flower,
Thou'st met me in an evil hour;

For I maun crush amang the stoure*

Thy slender stem;

To spare thee now is past my power,
Thou bonnie gem.

Alas! it's no thy neebor sweet!
The bonnie Lark, companion meet!
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet!"
Wi' spreckled breast,

When upward-springing, blythe, to greet
The purpling East.

Cauld blew the bitter-biting North
Upon thy early, humble birth,

1 Acute pains.-2 Unhurt.—3 Small.-4 Dust.-5 Not.—6 Wet, wetness.

Yet cheerfully thou glinted' forth

Amid the storm,

Scarce rear'd above the parent earth
Thy tender form.

The flaunting flowers our gardens yield,
High sheltering woods and wa's maun shield;
But thou, beneath the random bield2

O' clod or stane,

Adorns the histies stibble-field,

Unseen, alane.

There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie bosom sunward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head

In humble guise;

But now the share up-tears thy bed,
And low thou lies!

Such is the fate of artless Maid,
Sweet flow'ret of the rural shade!
By love's simplicity betray'd,

And guileless trust,
Till she, like thee, all soil'd, is laid
Low i' the dust.

Such is the fate of simple Bard,
On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd:
Unskilful he to note the card

Of prudent lore,

Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,
And whelm him o'er!

Such fate to suffering worth is given,
Who long with wants and woes has striven,
By human pride or cunning driven,

To mis'ry's brink,

Till wrenched of ev'ry stay but Heaven,
He, ruin'd, sink!

Even thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
That fate is thine-no distant date;

: Peeped.-2 Shelter.-3 Dry, chapt, barren.

Stern Ruin's plough-share drives, elate,
Full on thy bloom,

Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight,
Shall be thy doom!1


On turning her up in her nest, with the plough, November, 1785.


WEE, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie,

Oh, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa' sae hasty,

Wi' bick'rin' brattle!"

I wad be laith" to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion.

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Which makes thee startle

At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal.

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve:
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live;
A daimen icker" in a thraves

'S a sma' request:

I'll get a blessing wi' the lave,9

And never miss 't.

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the wins10 are strewin'!
An' naething, now, to bigll a new ane,
O' foggage" green!

An' bleak December's wins ensuin',

Baith snell13 and keen!

1 When Burns first arrived in Edinburgh, the "Lounger," a weekly paper, edited by Henry Mackenzie, Esq., author of the "Man of Feeling," was in course of publication. In that periodical a whole number (the "Lounger for Saturday, December 9, 1786") was devoted to "An account of Robert Burns, the Ayrshire ploughman," in which were given the address "To a Mountain Daisy," and an extract from the "Vision," as specimens of his poetry.


2 Sleek.-3 Cowering.-4 A short race.-5 Loth.-6 Plough-staff.—7 An ear of corn now and then.-8 A shock of corn. The rest.-10 Winds.-11 To build.-12 Aftergrass.-13 Bitter, biting.

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
And weary winter comin' fast,

An' cozie1 here, beneath the blast,

Thou thought to dwell,

Till, crash! the cruel coulter pass'd
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble.
But house or hald,3

To thole1 the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men,
Gang aft a-gley,"

And lea'e us naught but grief and pain,
For promised joy.

Still thou art blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But, och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!

An' forward, tho' I canna see,

I guess an' fear.8



A wild scene among the hills of Ouchtertyre.

WHY, ye tenants of the lake,

For me your watery haunt forsake?
Tell me, fellow-creatures, why
At my presence thus you fly?
Why disturb your social joys,

1 Snugly.-2 Without.-3 Hold, home.-4 To endure.-5 The hoar frost6 Not alone.-7 Off the right time.

8 "The verses to the Mouse, and Mountain Daisy, were composed on the occasions mentioned, and while the author was holding the plough.”—Gilbert Burns.

Parent, filial, kindred ties,-
Common friend to you and me,
Nature's gifts to all are free:
Peaceful keep your dimpling wave,
Busy feed, or wanton lave;
Or beneath the shelt'ring rock,
Bide the surging billow's shock.
Conscious, blushing for our race,
Soon, too soon, your fears I trace:
Man, your proud usurping foe,
Would be lord of all below;
Plumes himself in Freedom's pride,
Tyrant stern to all beside.

The eagle from the cliffy brow,
Marking you his prey below,
In his breast no pity dwells,
Strong necessity compels:

But Man, to whom alone is given
A ray direct from pitying Heaven,
Glories in his heart humane-
And creatures for his pleasure slain.
In these savage, liquid plains,
Only known to wandering swains,
Where the mossy rivulet strays,
Far from human haunts and ways;
All on Nature you depend,

And life's poor season peaceful spend.
Or, if man's superior might,

Dare invade your native right,
On the lofty ether borne,

Man with all his powers you scorn;
Swiftly seek on clanging wings,
Other lakes and other springs;
And the foe you cannot brave,
Scorn at least to be his slave.


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