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Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell-
Till, crash! the cruel coulter passed
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,

To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,

An' lea'e us naught but grief an' pain
For promised joy!

Still, thou art blest compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!

An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY

ON TURNING ONE DOWN WITH THE PLOUGH IN APRIL, 1786

Wee, modest, crimson-tippèd flow'r,
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 pow'r,
Thou bonie gem.

Alas! it's no thy neebor sweet,
The bonie lark, companion meet,

Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet,
Wi' spreckled breast,

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
Amid the storm,

Scarce reared above the parent-earth
Thy tender form.

The flaunting flow'rs our gardens yield,
High shelt'ring woods and wa's maun shield;
But thou, beneath the random bield
O' clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble-field,
Unseen, alane.

There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie bosom sunward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head
In humble guise;

But now the share uptears thy bed,
And low thou lies!

Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet flow'ret of the rural shade!
By love's simplicity betray'd,
And guileless trust,

Till she, like thee, all soiled is laid,
Low i' 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,

Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,
And whelm him o'er!

Such fate to suffering worth is giv'n,
Who long with wants and woes has striv'n,

By human pride or cunning driv'n
To mis'ry's brink;

Till, wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n, He, ruined, sink!

Ev'n thou who mourn'st the daisy's fate, That fate is thine-no distant date; Stern Ruin's plough-share drives, elate, Full on thy bloom,

Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight Shall be thy doom!

EPISTLE TO A YOUNG FRIEND

I lang hae thought, my youthfu' friend
A something to have sent you,
Tho' it should serve nae ither end
Than just a kind memento.
But how the subject-theme may gang,
Let time and chance determine;
Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

Ye'll try the world soon, my lad;

And, Andrew dear, believe me, Ye'll find mankind an unco squad,

And muckle they may grieve ye: For care and trouble set your thought, Ev'n when your end's attainèd; And a' your views may come to nought, Where ev'ry nerve is strainèd.

I'll no say men are villains a';
The real, harden'd wicked,

Wha hae nae check but human law,
Are to a few restricket;

But, och! mankind are unco weak,
An' little to be trusted;

If self the wavering balance shake,
It's rarely right adjusted!

Yet they wha fa' in fortune's strife,
Their fate we shouldna censure,
For still th' important end of life

They equally may answer;
A man may hae an honest heart,

Tho' poortith hourly stare him; A man may tak a neebor's part,

Yet hae nae cash to spare him.

Aye free, aff-han', your story tell,
When wi a bosom crony;
But still keep something to yoursel
Ye scarcely tell to ony.
Conceal yoursel as weel's ye can
Frae critical dissection;
But keek thro' ev'ry other man,
Wi' sharpen'd, sly inspection.

The sacred lowe o' weel-placed love,
Luxuriantly indulge it;
But never tempt th' illicit rove,

Tho' naething should divulge it;
I wave the quantum o' the sin,
The hazard of concealing;
But, och! it hardens a' within,
And petrifies the feeling!

To catch dame Fortune's golden smile,
Assiduous wait upon her;
And gather gear by ev'ry wile
That's justified by honour;
Not for to hide it in a hedge,

Nor for a train attendant;
But for the glorious privilege
Of being independent.

The fear o' hell's a hangman's whip,
To haud the wretch in order;
But where ye feel your honour grip,
Let that aye be your border;

Its slightest touches, instant pause-
Debar a' side-pretences;
And resolutely keep its laws,
Uncaring consequences.

The great Creator to revere,

Must sure become the creature;
But still the preaching cant forbear,
And ev'n the rigid feature;

Yet ne'er with wits profane to range,
Be complaisance extended;
An atheist-laugh's a poor exchange
For Deity offended!

When ranting round in pleasure's ring,
Religion may be blinded;

Or, if she gie a random sting,
It may be little minded;
But when on life we're tempest-driv'n—
A conscience but a canker,
A correspondence fix'd wi' Heav'n
Is sure a noble anchor!

Adieu, dear amiable Youth!

Your heart can ne'er be wanting! May prudence, fortitude, and truth, Erect your brow undaunting!

In ploughman phrase, 'God send you speed,'
Still daily to grow wiser;

And may you better reck the rede,
Than ever did th' adviser!

A BARD'S EPITAPH

Is there a whim-inspirèd fool,

Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule,
Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool?
Let him draw near;
grassy heap sing dool,
And drap a tear.

And owre this

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