Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
102. To a Mountain Daisy
On turning 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,        5
                Thou bonie gem.
Alas! it’s no thy neibor sweet,
The bonie lark, companion meet,
Bending thee ’mang the dewy weet,
                Wi’ spreckl’d breast!        10
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        15
                Amid the storm,
Scarce rear’d above the parent-earth
                Thy tender form.
The flaunting flow’rs our gardens yield,
High shelt’ring woods and wa’s maun shield;        20
But thou, beneath the random bield
                O’ clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble field,
                Unseen, alane.
There, in thy scanty mantle clad,        25
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!        30
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        35
                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,        40
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        45
                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;        50
Stern Ruin’s plough-share drives elate,
                Full on thy bloom,
Till crush’d beneath the furrow’s weight,
                Shall be thy doom!

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