To A Mountain Daisy

by Robert Burns

[On turning down with the 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 bonnie gem.


Alas! it's no thy neebor 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 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'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!

Notes to the poem:

Mr. Chambers says: "The 'Mountain Daisy' was composed, as the poet has related, at the plough. The field where he crushed the 'Wee, modest, crimson tipped flower' lies next to that in which he turned up the nest of the mouse, and both are on the farm of Mossgeil, and still shown to anxious inquirers by the neighboring peasantry."


The Poetical Works Of Robert Burns
Copyright 1910
Ward, Lock, and Co., Ltd
Link To This Page