Robert Burns

On Scaring Some Water Fowl In Loch-Turit, a Wild Scene Among the Hills of Ochtertyre

WHY, ye tenants of the laks,
For me your watíry haunt forsake?
Tell me, fellow-creatures, why
At my presence thus you fly?
Why disturb your social joys,
Parent, filial, kindred ties?-
Common friend to you and me,
Natureís gifts to all are free:
Peaceful keep your dimpling wave,
Busy feed, or wanton lave;
Or, beneath the sheltering rock,
Bide the surging billowís shock.
  Conscious, blushing for our race,
Soon, too soon, your fears I trace.
Man, your proud, usurping foe,
Would be lord of all below;
Plumes himself in Freedomís pride,
Tyrant stern to all beside.
  The eagle, from the cliffy brow,
Marking you his prey below,
In his breast no pity dwells,
Strong Necessity compels.
But Man, to whom alone is givín
A ray direct from pitying Heavín,
Glories in his heart humane-
And creatures for his pleasure slain.
  In these savage, liquid plains,
Only known to wandíring swains,
Where the moasy rivílet strays,
Far from human haunts and ways;
All on Nature you depend,
And lifeís poor season peaceful spend.
  Or, if manís superior might
Dare invade your native right,
On the lofty ether borne,
Man with all his powírs you scorn;
Swiftly seek, on clanging wings,
Other lakes and other springs;
And the foe you cannot brave,
Scorn at least to be his slave.

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