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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

Thy slender stem;

To spare thee now is past my power,

Thou bonnie gem.

Alas! it’s no thy neebor sweet,

The bonnie lark, companion meet!

Bending thee ’mang the dewy weet,

Wi’ spreckled breast,

When upward-springing, blithe, 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 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 snawy 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 betrayed,

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!

Unskillful 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 given,

Who long with wants and woes has striven,

By human pride or cunning driven

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;

Stern Ruin’s plowshare drives, elate,

Full on thy bloom,

Till crushed beneath the furrow’s weight

Shall be thy doom!