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.
 
To a Mountain Daisy
By Robert Burns (1759–1796)
 
On Turning One down with the Plough, in April, 1786

WEE, modest, crimson-tippèd flower,
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 power,        5
Thou bonnie gem.    
 
Alas! it’s no thy neebor sweet,
The bonnie lark, companion meet!
Bending thee ’mang the dewy weet!
Wi’ spreckled breast,    
        10
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        15
Amid the storm,    
Scarce reared above the parent-earth
Thy tender form.    
 
The flaunting flowers our gardens yield
High sheltering woods and wa’s maun shield;        20
But thou, beneath the random bield
O’ clod, or stane,    
Adorns the histie stibble-field,
Unseen, alane.    
 
There, in thy scanty mantle clad,        25
Thy snawy bosom sunward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head
In humble guise;    
But now the share uptears thy bed,
And low thou lies!    
        30
 
Such is the fate of artless Maid,
Sweet floweret of the rural shade!
By love’s simplicity betrayed,
And guileless trust,    
Till she, like thee, all soiled, is laid        35
Low in the dust.    
 
Such is the fate of simple Bard,
On life’s rough ocean luckless starred!
Unskilful he to note the card
Of prudent lore,    
        40
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,
By human pride or cunning driven        45
To misery’s brink,    
Till, wrenched of every stay but Heaven,
He, ruined, sink!    
 
Even thou who mourn’st the daisy’s fate,
That fate is thine—no distant date;        50
Stern Ruin’s ploughshare drives, elate,
Full on thy bloom,    
Till crushed beneath the furrow’s weight
Shall be thy doom!    
 
 
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