Robert Louis Stevenson > A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods > XIV. My Conscience!
Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894).  A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods.  1913.
XIV. My Conscience!

OF a’ the ills that flesh can bear, 
The loss o’ frien’s, the lack o’ gear, 
A yowlin’ tyke, a glandered mear, 
      A lassie’s nonsense— 
There’s just ae thing I cannae bear,         5
      An’ that’s my conscience. 
Whan day (an’ a’ excüse) has gane, 
An’ wark is düne, and duty’s plain, 
An’ to my chalmer a’ my lane 
      I creep apairt,  10
My conscience! hoo the yammerin’ pain 
      Stends to my heart! 
A’ day wi’ various ends in view, 
The hairsts o’ time I had to pu’, 
An’ made a hash wad staw a soo,  15
      Let be a man!— 
My conscience! whan my han’s were fu’, 
      Whaur were ye then? 
An’ there were a’ the lures o’ life, 
There pleesure skirlin’ on the fife,  20
There anger, wi’ the hotchin’ knife 
      Ground shairp in Hell— 
My conscience!—you that’s like a wife— 
      Whaur was yoursel’? 
I ken it fine: just waitin’ here,  25
To gar the evil waur appear, 
To clart the guid, confüse the clear, 
      Misca’ the great, 
My conscience! an’ to raise a steer 
      When a’s ower late.  30
Sic-like, some tyke grawn auld and blind, 
Whan thieves brok’ through the gear to p’ind, 
Has lain his dozened length an’ grinned 
      At the disaster; 
An’ the morn’s mornin’, wud’s the wind,  35
      Yokes on his master. 



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