On Turning One Down with the Plow, in April, 1786
Thou's met me in an evil hour;For I maun crush amang the stoureThy slender stem:To spare thee now is past my pow'r,Thou bonie gem.
Alas! it's no thy neibor sweet,The bonie lark, companion meet,Bending thee 'mang the dewy weetWi' spreck'd breast,When upward-springing, blythe, to greetThe purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting northUpon thy early, humble birth;Yet cheerfully thou glinted forthAmid the storm,Scarce rear'd above the parent-earthThy tender form.
The flaunting flowers our gardens yieldHigh shelt'ring woods an' wa's maun shield:But thou, beneath the random bieldO' clod or stane,Adorns the histie stibble-fieldUnseen, alane.
There, in thy scanty mantle clad,Thy snawie-bosom sun-ward spread,Thou lifts thy unassuming headIn humble guise;But now the share uptears thy bed,And low thou lies!
Such is the fate of artless maid,Sweet flow'ret of the rural shade!By love's simplicity betray'dAnd guileless trust;Till she, like thee, all soil'd, is laidLow i' the dust.
Such is the fate of simple bard,On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd!Unskilful he to note the cardOf prudent lore,Till billows rage and gales blow hard,And whelm him o'er!
Such fate to suffering Worth is giv'n,Who long with wants and woes has striv'n,By human pride or cunning driv'nTo mis'ry's brink;Till, wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n,He ruin'd sink!
Ev'n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,That fate is thine—no distant date;Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives elate,Full on thy bloom,Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weightShall be thy doom.