Robert Burns

On a Certain Commemoration

DOST thou not rise, indignant Shade!
  And smile with spurning scorn,
When they wha would hae starved thy life
  Thy senseless turf adorn?

Helpless, alone, thou clamb the brae,
  Wi’ meikle honest toil,
And claught th’ unfading garland there,
  Thy sair-won rightful spoil.

And wear it thou!  And call aloud
  This axiom undoubted-
‘Wouldst thou hae nobles’ patronage?
  First learn to live without it!’

To whom hae much, more shall be given,
  Is every great man’s faith;
But he, the helpless needy wretch,
  Shall lose the mite he hath.

Autumn 1791

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