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Robert Burns: the Shakespeare of Scotland

Burns Day is January 25

  • A Winter’s Night
  • When biting Boreas, fell and doure, 
  • Sharp shivers thro’ the leafless bow’r; 
  • When Phoebus gies a short-liv’d glow’r, 
  • Far south the lift, 
  • Dim-dark’ning thro’ the flaky show’r, 
  • Or whirling drift:
  • Ae night the storm the steeples rocked, 
  • Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked, 
  • While burns, wi’ snawy wreeths upchoked, 
  • Wild-eddying swirl, 
  • Or thro’ the mining outlet bocked, 
  • Down headlong hurl.
  • List’ning, the doors an’ winnocks rattle, 
  • I thought me on the ourie cattle, 
  • Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle 
  • O’ winter war, 
  • And thro’ the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle, 
  • Beneath a scar.
  • Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing! 
  • That, in the merry months o’ spring, 
  • Delighted me to hear thee sing, 
  • What comes o’ thee? 
  • Whare wilt thou cow’r thy chittering wing 
  • An’ close thy e’e?
  • Ev’n you on murd’ring errands toil’d, 
  • Lone from your savage homes exil’d, 
  • The blood-stain’d roost, and sheep-cote spoil’d 
  • My heart forgets, 
  • While pityless the tempest wild 
  • Sore on you beats.
  • A Bard’s Epitaph
  • Is there a whim-inspired fool, 
  • Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule, 
  • Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool, 
  • Let him draw near; 
  • And owre this grassy heap sing dool, 
  • And drap a tear.
  • Is there a bard of rustic song, 
  • Who, noteless, steals the crowds among, 
  • That weekly this area throng, 
  • O, pass not by! 
  • But, with a frater-feeling strong, 
  • Here, heave a sigh.
  • Is there a man, whose judgment clear 
  • Can others teach the course to steer, 
  • Yet runs, himself, life’s mad career, 
  • Wild as the wave, 
  • Here pause and, thro’ the starting tear, 
  • Survey this grave.
  • The poor inhabitant below 
  • Was quick to learn the wise to know, 
  • And keenly felt the friendly glow, 
  • And softer flame; 
  • But thoughtless follies laid him low, 
  • And stain’d his name!
  • Reader, attend! whether thy soul 
  • Soars fancy’s flights beyond the pole, 
  • Or darkling grubs this earthly hole, 
  • In low pursuit: 
  • Know, prudent, cautious, self-control 
  • Is wisdom’s root.
Robert Burns

Robert Burns (1759-1796) was the premiere Scottish poet and balladeer, regarded in Scotland with the same reverence as Shakespeare in England. Echoing Shakespeare’s creative use of Elizabethan English, Burns’s style is immediately recognizable through his use of colloquial Scottish dialect interwoven into the English of his day. He is celebrated throughout the world on his birthday, Jan. 25, known as Burns Day, with haggis, tripe, and various and sundry malted barley distillations.

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  • A Winter’s Night
  • When biting Boreas, fell and doure, 
  • Sharp shivers thro’ the leafless bow’r; 
  • When Phoebus gies a short-liv’d glow’r, 
  • Far south the lift, 
  • Dim-dark’ning thro’ the flaky show’r, 
  • Or whirling drift:
  • Ae night the storm the steeples rocked, 
  • Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked, 
  • While burns, wi’ snawy wreeths upchoked, 
  • Wild-eddying swirl, 
  • Or thro’ the mining outlet bocked, 
  • Down headlong hurl.
  • List’ning, the doors an’ winnocks rattle, 
  • I thought me on the ourie cattle, 
  • Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle 
  • O’ winter war, 
  • And thro’ the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle, 
  • Beneath a scar.
  • Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing! 
  • That, in the merry months o’ spring, 
  • Delighted me to hear thee sing, 
  • What comes o’ thee? 
  • Whare wilt thou cow’r thy chittering wing 
  • An’ close thy e’e?
  • Ev’n you on murd’ring errands toil’d, 
  • Lone from your savage homes exil’d, 
  • The blood-stain’d roost, and sheep-cote spoil’d 
  • My heart forgets, 
  • While pityless the tempest wild 
  • Sore on you beats.
  • A Bard’s Epitaph
  • Is there a whim-inspired fool, 
  • Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule, 
  • Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool, 
  • Let him draw near; 
  • And owre this grassy heap sing dool, 
  • And drap a tear.
  • Is there a bard of rustic song, 
  • Who, noteless, steals the crowds among, 
  • That weekly this area throng, 
  • O, pass not by! 
  • But, with a frater-feeling strong, 
  • Here, heave a sigh.
  • Is there a man, whose judgment clear 
  • Can others teach the course to steer, 
  • Yet runs, himself, life’s mad career, 
  • Wild as the wave, 
  • Here pause and, thro’ the starting tear, 
  • Survey this grave.
  • The poor inhabitant below 
  • Was quick to learn the wise to know, 
  • And keenly felt the friendly glow, 
  • And softer flame; 
  • But thoughtless follies laid him low, 
  • And stain’d his name!
  • Reader, attend! whether thy soul 
  • Soars fancy’s flights beyond the pole, 
  • Or darkling grubs this earthly hole, 
  • In low pursuit: 
  • Know, prudent, cautious, self-control 
  • Is wisdom’s root.
Robert Burns

Robert Burns (1759-1796) was the premiere Scottish poet and balladeer, regarded in Scotland with the same reverence as Shakespeare in England. Echoing Shakespeare’s creative use of Elizabethan English, Burns’s style is immediately recognizable through his use of colloquial Scottish dialect interwoven into the English of his day. He is celebrated throughout the world on his birthday, Jan. 25, known as Burns Day, with haggis, tripe, and various and sundry malted barley distillations.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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