Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
 
V. Trees: Flowers: Plants
To a Mountain Daisy
Robert Burns (1759–1796)
 
On Turning One Down with the Plough in April, 1786

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,        5
        Thou bonny gem.
 
Alas! it ’s no thy neebor sweet,
The bonnie lark, companion meet,
Bending thee ’mang the dewy weet,
        Wi’ spreckled breast,        10
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        15
        Amid the storm,
Scarce reared above the parent earth
        Thy tender form.
 
The flaunting flowers our gardens yield
High sheltering woods and wa’s maun shield:        20
But thou beneath the random bield
        O’ clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble-fleld,
        Unseen, alane.
 
There, in thy scanty mantle clad,        25
Thy snawie bosom sunward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head
        In humble guise;
But now the share uptears thy bed,
        And low thou lies!        30
 
Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet floweret of the rural shade!
By love’s simplicity betrayed,
        And guileless trust,
Till she, like thee, all soiled, is laid        35
        Low i’ the dust.
 
Such is the fate of simple bard,
On life’s rough ocean luckless starred!
Unskilful he to note the card
        Of prudent lore,        40
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        45
        To misery’s brink,
Till, wrenched of every stay but Heaven,
        He, ruined, sink!
 
Even thou who mourn’st the daisy’s fate,
That fate is thine,—no distant date:        50
Stern Ruin’s ploughshare drives, elate,
        Full on thy bloom,
Till crushed beneath the furrow’s weight
        Shall be thy doom!
 
 
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