Robert Burns


    I see amid the fields of Ayr
    A ploughman, who, in foul and fair,
            Sings at his task
    So clear, we know not if it is
    The laverock's song we hear, or his,
            Nor care to ask.

    For him the ploughing of those fields
    A more ethereal harvest yields
            Than sheaves of grain;
    Songs flush with Purple bloom the rye,
    The plover's call, the curlew's cry,
            Sing in his brain.

    Touched by his hand, the wayside weed
    Becomes a flower; the lowliest reed
            Beside the stream
    Is clothed with beauty; gorse and grass
    And heather, where his footsteps pass,
            The brighter seem.

    He sings of love, whose flame illumes
    The darkness of lone cottage rooms;
            He feels the force,
    The treacherous undertow and stress
    Of wayward passions, and no less
            The keen remorse.

    At moments, wrestling with his fate,
    His voice is harsh, but not with hate;
            The brushwood, hung
    Above the tavern door, lets fall
    Its bitter leaf, its drop of gall
            Upon his tongue.

    But still the music of his song
    Rises o'er all elate and strong;
            Its master-chords
    Are Manhood, Freedom, Brotherhood,
    Its discords but an interlude
            Between the words.

    And then to die so young and leave
    Unfinished what he might achieve!
            Yet better sure
    Is this, than wandering up and down
    An old man in a country town,
            Infirm and poor.

    For now he haunts his native land
    As an immortal youth; his hand
            Guides every plough;
    He sits beside each ingle-nook,
    His voice is in each rushing brook,
            Each rustling bough.

    His presence haunts this room to-night,
    A form of mingled mist and light
            From that far coast.
    Welcome beneath this roof of mine!
    Welcome! this vacant chair is thine,
            Dear guest and ghost!
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Read some of the works by the Scottish National Poet, Robert Burns.


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