Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
A Winter Night
By Robert Burns (1759–1796)
 
(See full text.)

WHEN biting Boreas, fell and doure,
Sharp shivers thro’ the leafless bow’r;
When Phœbus gies a short-liv’d glow’r
            Far south the lift,
Dim dark’ning thro’ the flaky show’r,        5
            Or whirlin’ drift:
 
Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor labor sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi’ snawy wreaths upchocked,
            Wild-eddying swirl,        10
Or thro’ the mining outlet bocked,
            Down headlong hurl.
 
Listening, the doors an’ winnocks rattle.
I thought me on the ourie cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle        15
            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,        20
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
            What comes o’ thee?
Whare wilt thou cow’r thy chitt’ring wing,
            An’ close thy e’e?
 
E’en you on murd’ring errands toil’d,        25
Lone from your savage homes exiled,
The blood-stained roost, and sheepcote spoiled,
            My heart forgets,
While pitiless the tempest wild
            Sore on you beats.        30
 
Now Phœbe, in her midnight reign,
Dark muffled, viewed the dreary plain;
Still crowding thoughts, a pensive train,
            Rose in my soul,
While on my ear this plaintive strain,        35
            Slow, solemn, stole:—
 
  “O ye! who, sunk in beds of down,
Feel not a want but what yourselves create,
Think for a moment on his wretched fate,
    Whom friends and fortune quite disown!        40
Ill satisfied keen Nature’s clamorous call,
    Stretched on his straw, he lays himself to sleep,
While thro’ the ragged roof and chinky wall,
    Chill o’er his slumbers piles the drifty heap!”
*        *        *        *        *
I heard nae mair, for Chanticleer        45
  Shook off the pouthery snaw,
And hailed the morning with a cheer,—
  A cottage-rousing craw!
 
 
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