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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

To a Mountain Daisy

Robert Burns (1759–1796)

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 bonnie gem.

Alas! it’s no thy neibor sweet,

The bonnie lark, companion meet,

Bending thee ’mang the dewy weet,

Wi’ spreckl’d 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 rear’d above the parent-earth

Thy tender form.

The flaunting flowers 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 sun-ward 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 soil’d, is laid

Low i’ the dust.

Such is the fate of simple bard,

On life’s rough ocean luckless starr’d!

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, ruin’d, 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!