A Winter Night

By Robert Burns 1759–1796 Robert Burns
When biting Boreas, fell and doure,
Sharp shivers thro' the leafless bow'r;
When Phoebus gies a short-liv'd glow'r,
         Far south the lift,
Dim-dark'ning thro' the flaky show'r,
         Or whirling drift:

Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi' snawy wreeths upchoked,
         Wild-eddying swirl,
Or thro' the mining outlet bocked,
         Down headlong hurl.

List'ning, the doors an' winnocks rattle,
I thought me on the ourie cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
         O' winter war,
And thro' the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle,
         Beneath a scar.

Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing!
That, in the merry months o' spring,
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
         What comes o' thee?
Whare wilt thou cow'r thy chittering wing
         An' close thy e'e?

Ev'n you on murd'ring errands toil'd,
Lone from your savage homes exil'd,
The blood-stain'd roost, and sheep-cote spoil'd
         My heart forgets,
While pityless the tempest wild
         Sore on you beats.

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Poet Robert Burns 1759–1796

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Social Commentaries, Nature, Winter, Class, Money & Economics, Weather

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Mixed

 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 Social Commentaries, Nature, Winter, Class, Money & Economics, Weather

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Mixed

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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