Robert Louis Stevenson > A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods > VIII. The Counterblast—1886
Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894).  A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods.  1913.
VIII. The Counterblast—1886

MY bonny man, the warld, it’s true, 
Was made for neither me nor you; 
It’s just a place to warstle through, 
      As Job confessed o’t; 
And aye the best that we’ll can do         5
      Is mak the best o’t. 
There’s rowth o’ wrang, I’m free to say: 
The simmer brunt, the winter blae, 
The face of earth a’ fyled wi’ clay 
      An’ dour wi’ chuckies,  10
An’ life a rough an’ land’art play 
      For country buckies. 
An’ food’s anither name for clart; 
An’ beasts an’ brambles bite an’ scart; 
An’ what would WE be like, my heart!  15
      If bared o’ claethin’? 
—Aweel, I cannae mend your cart: 
      It’s that or naethin’. 
A feck o’ folk frae first to last 
Have through this queer experience passed;  20
Twa-three, I ken, just damn an’ blast 
      The hale transaction; 
But twa-three ithers, east an’ wast, 
      Fand satisfaction. 
Whaur braid the briery muirs expand,  25
A waefü’ an’ a weary land, 
The bumblebees, a gowden band, 
      Are blithely hingin’; 
An’ there the canty wanderer fand 
      The laverock singin’.  30
Trout in the burn grow great as herr’n; 
The simple sheep can find their fair’n; 
The wind blaws clean about the cairn 
      Wi’ caller air; 
The muircock an’ the barefit bairn  35
      Are happy there. 
Sic-like the howes o’ life to some: 
Green loans whaur they ne’er fash their thumb, 
But mark the muckle winds that come, 
      Soopin’ an’ cool.  40
Or hear the powrin’ burnie drum 
      In the shilfa’s pool. 
The evil wi’ the guid they tak; 
They ca’ a gray thing gray, no black; 
To a steigh brae, a stubborn back  45
      Addressin’ daily; 
An’ up the rude, unbieldy track 
      O’ life, gang gaily. 
What you would like’s a palace ha’, 
Or Sinday parlour dink an’ braw  50
Wi’ a’ things ordered in a raw 
      By denty leddies. 
Weel, than, ye cannae hae’t: that’s a’ 
      That to be said is. 
An’ since at life ye’ve ta’en the grue,  55
An’ winnae blithely hirsle through, 
Ye’ve fund the very thing to do— 
      That’s to drink speerit; 
An’ shüne we’ll hear the last o’ you— 
      An’ blithe to hear it!  60
The shoon ye coft, the life ye lead, 
Ithers will heir when aince ye’re deid; 
They’ll heir your tasteless bite o’ breid, 
      An’ find it sappy; 
They’ll to your dulefü’ house succeed,  65
      An’ there be happy. 
As whan a glum an’ fractious wean 
Has sat an’ sullened by his lane 
Till, wi’ a rowstin’ skelp, he’s taen 
      An’ shoo’d to bed—  70
The ither bairns a’ fa’ to play’n’, 
      As gleg’s a gled. 



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