Burns

So, just a few hundred yards into the park stands a statue to the great Scottish poet Robert Burns. I makes me feel very secure that he is standing there just a half a mile from my house.

The Bard

There is a stanza from “To a Mountain Daisy” on the plinth.

Just so

This is not a very happy poem. But it again makes me feel secure that a strong dose of Scottish Protestant gloom is carved into stone just up the road. Here is the whole poem.

To a Mountain Daisy

on turning one down with plough in April 1786


Wee, modest, crimson-tipped 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’ 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 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 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’rys 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!

Oh dear.

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