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For I maun crush
thee now is past my power,
Alas! it's no thy neebor sweet,
Wi' speckled breast,
The purpling east !
Cauld blew the bitter biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Amid the storm,
Thy tender form.
The flaunting flowers our gardens yield, 20 High sheltering woods and wa's maun shield, But thou, beneath the random bield
O'clod or stane, Adorns the histie stibble-field,
25 There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie bosom sunward spread,
3. stoure, dust. 6. bonny, beautiful. 9. weet, wet. 21. bield, shelter. 23. histie, dry, barren. 26. snawie, snowy.
Thou lifts thy unassuming head
In humble guise ;
And low thou lies!
Such is the fate of artless maid,
And guileless trust,
Low i' the dust.
Such is the fate of simple bard,
Of prudent lore,
And whelm him o'er!
Such fate to suffering worth is given,
Who long with wants and woes has striven, 45 By human pride or cunning driven
To misery's brink,
He, ruined, sink !
Even thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate, 50 That fate is thine no distant date; Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives, elate,
Full on thy bloom,
Shall be thy doom.
A BARD'S EPITAPH.
A Bard's Epitaph, written in 1786, is so sincere a confession of Burns's own faults that it seems an impertinence to rebuke them further.
Is there a whim-inspired fool,
Let him draw near;
And drap a tear.
Is there a bard of rustic song,
Oh, pass not by!
Here heave a sigh.
Is there a man whose judgment clear
Can others teach the course to steer,
Wild as the wave ;
Survey this grave.
The poor inhabitant below
And softer flame;
2. owre, over. 3. snool, submit tamely. 5. dool, sorrow. 6. drap, drop.
But thoughtless follies laid him low,
And stained his name !
25 Reader, attend — whether thy soul
Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole,
In low pursuit;
Is wisdom's root.
FOR A' THAT AND A' THAT.
Is there, for honest poverty,
That hangs his head, and a' that!
Our toils obscure, and a' that;
The man 's the gowd for a' that!
What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hodden-gray, and a' that;
Their tinsel show, and a' that;
Is king o' men for a' that!
8. gowd, gold. 11. gie, give.
Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, and stares, and a' that;
His ribbon, star, and a' that;
He looks and laughs at a' that.
25 A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, and a' that;
Their dignities, and a' that;
Are higher rank than a' that.
Then let us pray that come it may
As come it will for a' that
May bear the gree, and a' that.
It's coming yet, for a' that,
Shall brothers be for a' that!
17. birkie, fellow.
28. he maunna fa' that, he must not think an honest man is not “aboon his might.”
36. gree, prize. 39. warld, world.