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For I maun crush


the stoure
Thy slender stem :

thee now is past my power,
Thou bonny gem.

5 To

Alas! it's no thy neebor sweet,
The bonny lark, companion meet,
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet,

Wi' speckled breast,
When upward-springing, blithe, to greet

The purpling east !


Cauld blew the bitter biting north

Upon thy early, humble birth;
15 Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth

Amid the storm,
Scarce reared above the parent earth

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,

Unseen, alane.

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 ;
But now the share uptears thy bed,

And low thou lies!

Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet floweret of the rural shade!
By love's simplicity betrayed,

And guileless trust,
35 Till she, like thee, all soiled, 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, 45 By human pride or cunning driven

To misery's brink,
Till wrenched of every stay but Heaven,

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,
Till crushed beneath the furrow's weight

Shall be thy doom.
39. card, the face of the compass.


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,
Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule,
Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool,

Let him draw near;
5 And owre this grassy heap sing dool,

And drap a tear.

Is there a bard of rustic song,
Who, noteless, steals the crowds among,
That weekly this area throng,

Oh, pass not by!
But, with a frater-feeling strong,

Here heave a sigh.


Is there a man whose judgment clear

Can others teach the course to steer,
15 Yet runs himself life's mad career,

Wild as the wave ;
Here pause — and, through the starting tear,

Survey this grave.

The poor inhabitant below
20 Was quick to learn, and wise to know,
And keenly felt the friendly glow,

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,
Or darkling grubs this earthly hole,

In low pursuit;
Know, prudent, cautious self-control

Is wisdom's root.




Is there, for honest poverty,

That hangs his head, and a' that!
The coward slave, we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, and a' that,

Our toils obscure, and a' that;
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,

The man 's the gowd for a' that!



What though on hamely fare we dine,

Wear hodden-gray, and a' that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
A man 's a man for a' that!
For a' that, and a' that,

Their tinsel show, and a' that;
The honest man, though e'er sae poor,

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;
Though hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that.
For a' that, and a' that,

His ribbon, star, and a' that;
The man of independent mind,

He looks and laughs at a' that.

25 A prince can mak a belted knight,

A marquis, duke, and a' that;
But an honest man's aboon his might,
Guid faith, he maunna fa’ that!
For a' that, and a' that,

Their dignities, and a' that;
The pith o’ sense, and pride o' worth,

Are higher rank than a' that.


Then let us pray that come it may

As come it will for a' that
35 That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth,

May bear the gree, and a' that.
For a' that, and a' that,

It's coming yet, for a' that,
That man to man, the warld o'er,

Shall brothers be for a' that!


17. birkie, fellow.
20. coof, fool.
25. mak, make.
27. aboon, above.

28. he maunna fa' that, he must not think an honest man is not “aboon his might.”

36. gree, prize. 39. warld, world.

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