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Poem by Robert Burns

My Father Was a Farmer

MY Father was a Farmer upon the Carrick border O,
And carefully he bred me in decency and order O;
He bade me act a manly part, though I had neer a farthing O,
For without an honest manly heart, no man was worth regarding O.

Then out into the world my course I did determine O;
Tho to be rich was not my wish, yet to be great was charming O:
My talents they were not the worst; nor yet my education O;
Resolvd was I, at least to try, to mend my situation O.

In many away, and vain essay, I courted fortunes favour O:
Some cause unseen still stept between, to frustrate each endeavour O;
Sometimes by foes I was oerpowerd; sometimes by friends forsaken O;
And when my hope was at the top, I still was worst mistaken O.

Then sore harassd, and tird at last, with fortunes vain delusion O,
I dropt my schemes, like idle dreams, and came to this conclusion O-
The past was bad, and the future hid; its good or ill untried O;
But the present hour was in my powr, and so I would enjoy it O.

No help, nor hope, nor view had I: nor person to befriend me O;
So I must toil, and sweat and broil, and labour to sustain me O;
To plough and sow, to reap and mow, my father bred me early O;
For one, he said, to labour bred, was a match for fortune fairly O.

Thus all obscure, unknown, and poor, thro life Im doomd to wander O,
Till down my weary bones I lay in everlasting slumber O;
No view nor care, but shun whateer might breed me pain or sorrow O,
I live to-day as wells I may, regardless of to-morrow O.

But cheerful still, I am as well as a monarch in a palace O,
Tho fortunes frown still hunts me down, with all her wonted malice O;
I make indeed my daily bread, but neer can make it farther O;
But as daily bread is all I need, I do not much regard her O.

When sometimes by my labour I earn a little money O,
Some unforeseen misfortune comes generally upon me O-
Mischance, mistake, or by neglect, or my good-naturd folly O;
But come what will, Ive sworn it still, Ill neer be melancholy O.

All you who follow wealth and power, with unremitting ardour O,
The more in this you look for bliss, you leave your view the farther O;
Had you the wealth Potosi boasts, or nations to adore you O,
A cheerful honest-hearted clown I will prefer before you O.

Robert Burns

Robert Burns's other poems:
  1. The Chevaliers Lament
  2. Last May a Braw Wooer
  3. When First I Saw
  4. Frae the Friends and Land I Love
  5. Young Jamie, Pride Of A the Plain

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