Robert Burns


A Bard's Epitaph


Is there a whim-inspired fool,
Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule,
Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool,
    Let him draw near;
And owre this greasy heap sing dool,
    And drap a tear.

Is there a bard of rustic song,
Who, noteless, steals the crowds among,
That weekly this area throng,
    O, pass not by!
But, with a frater-feeling strong,
    Here heave a sigh.

Is there a man whose judgment clear,
Can others teach the course to steer,
Yet runs, himself, life’s mad career,
    Wild as the wave;
Here pause-and, thro’ the starting tear,
    Survey this grave.

The poor inhabitant below
Was quick to learn and wise to know,
And keenly felt the friendly glow,
    And softer flame;
But thoughtless	follies laid him low,
    And stain’d his name!

Reader, attend! whether thy soul
Soars fancy’s flights beyond the pole,
Or darkling grubs this earthly hole,
    In low pursuit;
Know prudent cautious self-control
    Is wisdom’s root.

1786


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