To a Mountain Daisy

By Robert Burns 1759–1796 Robert Burns

On Turning One Down with the Plow, in April, 1786

Wee, modest, crimson-tippèd flow'r,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
            Thy slender stem:
To spare thee now is past my pow'r,
            Thou bonie gem.

Alas! it's no thy neibor sweet,
The bonie lark, companion meet,
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet
            Wi' spreck'd breast,
When upward-springing, blythe, to greet
            The purpling east.

Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth;
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 shelt'ring woods an' wa's maun shield:
But thou, beneath the random bield
            O' clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble-field
            Unseen, alane.

There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie-bosom sun-ward spread,
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 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 giv'n,
Who long with wants and woes has striv'n,
By human pride or cunning driv'n
            To mis'ry's brink;
Till, wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n,
            He ruin'd sink!

Ev'n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
That fate is thine—no distant date;
Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives elate,
            Full on thy bloom,
Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight
            Shall be thy doom.

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Poet Robert Burns 1759–1796

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Nature, Arts & Sciences, Living, Trees & Flowers, Death, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Robert  Burns

Biography

Born on 25 January 1759 in Alloway, Scotland, to William and Agnes Brown Burnes, Robert Burns followed his father's example by becoming a tenant farmer. Unlike William Burnes, however, Burns was able to escape the vicissitudes and vagaries of the soil in two ways: toward the end of his life he became an excise collector in Dumfries, where he died in 1796; and throughout his life he was a practicing poet. As a poet he recorded . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Arts & Sciences, Living, Trees & Flowers, Death, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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