Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
To a Mountain Daisy
By Robert Burns (1759–1796)
On Turning One Down with the Plow

WEE, modest, crimson-tippèd flower,
Thou’s met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure 1
            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, blithe, to greet
            The purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth,
Yet cheerfully thou glinted 2 forth        15
            Amid the storm,
Scarce reared above the parent earth
            Thy tender form.
The flaunting flowers our gardens yield,
High shelt’ring woods and wa’s maun shield;        20
But thou beneath the random bield 3
            O’ clod or stane,
Adorns the histie 4 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 flow’ret of the rural shade!
By love’s simplicity betrayed,
            And guileless trust,
Till she, like thee, all soiled, is laid        35
            Low i’ the dust.
Such is the fate of simple bard,
On life’s rough ocean luckless starred!
Unskillful 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 mis’ry’s brink,
Till wrenched of every stay but Heaven,
            He, ruined, sink!
Ev’n thou who mourn’st the Daisy’s fate,
That fate is thine—no distant date;        50
Stern Ruin’s plowshare drives, elate,
            Full on thy bloom,
Till crushed beneath the furrow’s weight
            Shall be thy doom!
Note 1. Dust. [back]
Note 2. Peeped. [back]
Note 3. Shelter. [back]
Note 4. Barren. [back]

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