Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
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Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
223. Song—The Chevalier’s Lament
 
 
Air—“Captain O’Kean.”
 
 
THE SMALL birds rejoice in the green leaves returning,
The murmuring streamlet winds clear thro’ the vale;
The primroses blow in the dews of the morning,
And wild scatter’d cowslips bedeck the green dale:
But what can give pleasure, or what can seem fair,        5
When the lingering moments are numbered by care?
No birds sweetly singing, nor flow’rs gaily springing,
Can soothe the sad bosom of joyless despair.
 
The deed that I dared, could it merit their malice?
A king and a father to place on his throne!        10
His right are these hills, and his right are these valleys,
Where the wild beasts find shelter, tho’ I can find none!
But ’tis not my suff’rings, thus wretched, forlorn,
My brave gallant friends, ’tis your ruin I mourn;
Your faith proved so loyal in hot bloody trial,—        15
Alas! I can make it no better return!
 

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