Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
308. The Epitaph on Captain Matthew Henderson
STOP, passenger! my story’s brief,
  And truth I shall relate, man;
I tell nae common tale o’ grief,
  For Matthew was a great man.
If thou uncommon merit hast,        5
  Yet spurn’d at Fortune’s door, man;
A look of pity hither cast,
  For Matthew was a poor man.
If thou a noble sodger art,
  That passest by this grave, man;        10
There moulders here a gallant heart,
  For Matthew was a brave man.
If thou on men, their works and ways,
  Canst throw uncommon light, man;
Here lies wha weel had won thy praise,        15
  For Matthew was a bright man.
If thou, at Friendship’s sacred ca’,
  Wad life itself resign, man:
Thy sympathetic tear maun fa’,
  For Matthew was a kind man.        20
If thou art staunch, without a stain,
  Like the unchanging blue, man;
This was a kinsman o’ thy ain,
  For Matthew was a true man.
If thou hast wit, and fun, and fire,        25
  And ne’er guid wine did fear, man;
This was thy billie, dam, and sire,
  For Matthew was a queer man.
If ony whiggish, whingin’ sot,
  To blame poor Matthew dare, man;        30
May dool and sorrow be his lot,
  For Matthew was a rare man.
But now, his radiant course is run,
  For Matthew’s was a bright one!
His soul was like the glorious sun,        35
  A matchless, Heavenly light, man.


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