Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
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Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
20. Stanzas, on the same Occasion
 
 
  WHY am I loth to leave this earthly scene?
    Have I so found it full of pleasing charms?
  Some drops of joy with draughts of ill between—
    Some gleams of sunshine ’mid renewing storms,
    Is it departing pangs my soul alarms?        5
  Or death’s unlovely, dreary, dark abode?
    For guilt, for guilt, my terrors are in arms:
    I tremble to approach an angry God,
And justly smart beneath His sin-avenging rod.
 
  Fain would I say, “Forgive my foul offence,”        10
    Fain promise never more to disobey;
  But, should my Author health again dispense,
    Again I might desert fair virtue’s way;
    Again in folly’s part might go astray;
  Again exalt the brute and sink the man;        15
    Then how should I for heavenly mercy pray
  Who act so counter heavenly mercy’s plan?
Who sin so oft have mourn’d, yet to temptation ran?
 
  O Thou, great Governor of all below!
    If I may dare a lifted eye to Thee,        20
  Thy nod can make the tempest cease to blow,
    Or still the tumult of the raging sea:
    With that controlling pow’r assist ev’n me,
  Those headlong furious passions to confine,
    For all unfit I feel my pow’rs to be,        25
  To rule their torrent in th’ allowed line;
O, aid me with Thy help, Omnipotence Divine!
 

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