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Best Famous Robert Burns Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Robert Burns poems. This is a select list of the best famous Robert Burns poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Robert Burns poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of robert burns poems.

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Written by Robert Burns |

A Red Red Rose

O, my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my Luve's like a melodie That's sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair as thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in luve am I; And I will love thee still, my dear, Till a' the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi' the sun: I will love thess till, my dear, While the sands o' life shall run: And fare thee well, my only luve! And fare thee weel, a while! And I will come again, my luve, Tho' it ware ten thousand mile.

Written by Robert Burns |

To a Mouse

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
          Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
          Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
          Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
          An' fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
          'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
          An' never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
          O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
          Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
          Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
          Out thro' thy cell.
That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble Has cost thee mony a weary nibble! Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble, But house or hald, To thole the winter's sleety dribble, An' cranreuch cauld! But Mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain: The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain For promised joy! Still thou art blest, compared wi' me! The present only toucheth thee: But och! I backward cast my e'e On prospects drear! An' forward, tho I canna see, I guess an' fear!

Written by Robert Burns |

403. The Soldier's Return: A Ballad

 WHEN wild war’s deadly blast was blawn,
 And gentle peace returning,
Wi’ mony a sweet babe fatherless,
 And mony a widow mourning;
I left the lines and tented field,
 Where lang I’d been a lodger,
My humble knapsack a’ my wealth,
 A poor and honest sodger.
A leal, light heart was in my breast, My hand unstain’d wi’ plunder; And for fair Scotia hame again, I cheery on did wander: I thought upon the banks o’ Coil, I thought upon my Nancy, I thought upon the witching smile That caught my youthful fancy.
At length I reach’d the bonie glen, Where early life I sported; I pass’d the mill and trysting thorn, Where Nancy aft I courted: Wha spied I but my ain dear maid, Down by her mother’s dwelling! And turn’d me round to hide the flood That in my een was swelling.
Wi’ alter’d voice, quoth I, “Sweet lass, Sweet as yon hawthorn’s blossom, O! happy, happy may he be, That’s dearest to thy bosom: My purse is light, I’ve far to gang, And fain would be thy lodger; I’ve serv’d my king and country lang— Take pity on a sodger.
” Sae wistfully she gaz’d on me, And lovelier was than ever; Quo’ she, “A sodger ance I lo’ed, Forget him shall I never: Our humble cot, and hamely fare, Ye freely shall partake it; That gallant badge-the dear cockade, Ye’re welcome for the sake o’t.
” She gaz’d—she redden’d like a rose— Syne pale like only lily; She sank within my arms, and cried, “Art thou my ain dear Willie?” “By him who made yon sun and sky! By whom true love’s regarded, I am the man; and thus may still True lovers be rewarded.
“The wars are o’er, and I’m come hame, And find thee still true-hearted; Tho’ poor in gear, we’re rich in love, And mair we’se ne’er be parted.
” Quo’ she, “My grandsire left me gowd, A mailen plenish’d fairly; And come, my faithfu’ sodger lad, Thou’rt welcome to it dearly!” For gold the merchant ploughs the main, The farmer ploughs the manor; But glory is the sodger’s prize, The sodger’s wealth is honor: The brave poor sodger ne’er despise, Nor count him as a stranger; Remember he’s his country’s stay, In day and hour of danger.

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Written by Robert Burns |

395. Sonnet on the Author's Birthday

 SING on, sweet thrush, upon the leafless bough,
 Sing on, sweet bird, I listen to thy strain,
 See aged Winter, ’mid his surly reign,
At thy blythe carol, clears his furrowed brow.
So in lone Poverty’s dominion drear, Sits meek Content with light, unanxious heart; Welcomes the rapid moments, bids them part, Nor asks if they bring ought to hope or fear.
I thank thee, Author of this opening day! Thou whose bright sun now gilds yon orient skies! Riches denied, thy boon was purer joys— What wealth could never give nor take away! Yet come, thou child of poverty and care, The mite high heav’n bestow’d, that mite with thee I’ll share.

Written by Robert Burns |

11. Song—Here's to thy health my bonie lass

 HERE’S to thy health, my bonie lass,
 Gude nicht and joy be wi’ thee;
I’ll come nae mair to thy bower-door,
 To tell thee that I lo’e thee.
O dinna think, my pretty pink, But I can live without thee: I vow and swear I dinna care, How lang ye look about ye.
Thou’rt aye sae free informing me, Thou hast nae mind to marry; I’ll be as free informing thee, Nae time hae I to tarry: I ken thy frien’s try ilka means Frae wedlock to delay thee; Depending on some higher chance, But fortune may betray thee.
I ken they scorn my low estate, But that does never grieve me; For I’m as free as any he; Sma’ siller will relieve me.
I’ll count my health my greatest wealth, Sae lang as I’ll enjoy it; I’ll fear nae scant, I’ll bode nae want, As lang’s I get employment.
But far off fowls hae feathers fair, And, aye until ye try them, Tho’ they seem fair, still have a care; They may prove waur than I am.
But at twal’ at night, when the moon shines bright, My dear, I’ll come and see thee; For the man that loves his mistress weel, Nae travel makes him weary.

Written by Robert Burns |

42. A Poet's Welcome to his Love-Begotten Daughter

 THOU’S 1 welcome, wean; mishanter fa’ me,
If thoughts o’ thee, or yet thy mamie,
Shall ever daunton me or awe me,
 My bonie lady,
Or if I blush when thou shalt ca’ me
 Tyta or daddie.
Tho’ now they ca’ me fornicator, An’ tease my name in kintry clatter, The mair they talk, I’m kent the better, E’en let them clash; An auld wife’s tongue’s a feckless matter To gie ane fash.
Welcome! my bonie, sweet, wee dochter, Tho’ ye come here a wee unsought for, And tho’ your comin’ I hae fought for, Baith kirk and queir; Yet, by my faith, ye’re no unwrought for, That I shall swear! Wee image o’ my bonie Betty, As fatherly I kiss and daut thee, As dear, and near my heart I set thee Wi’ as gude will As a’ the priests had seen me get thee That’s out o’ h—ll.
Sweet fruit o’ mony a merry dint, My funny toil is now a’ tint, Sin’ thou came to the warl’ asklent, Which fools may scoff at; In my last plack thy part’s be in’t The better ha’f o’t.
Tho’ I should be the waur bestead, Thou’s be as braw and bienly clad, And thy young years as nicely bred Wi’ education, As ony brat o’ wedlock’s bed, In a’ thy station.
Lord grant that thou may aye inherit Thy mither’s person, grace, an’ merit, An’ thy poor, worthless daddy’s spirit, Without his failins, ’Twill please me mair to see thee heir it, Than stockit mailens.
For if thou be what I wad hae thee, And tak the counsel I shall gie thee, I’ll never rue my trouble wi’ thee, The cost nor shame o’t, But be a loving father to thee, And brag the name o’t.
Note 1.
Burns never published this poem.

Written by Robert Burns |

25. My Father was a Farmer: A Ballad

 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 ne’er 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: Resolv’d was I at least to try to mend my situation, O.
In many a way, and vain essay, I courted Fortune’s favour, O; Some cause unseen still stept between, to frustrate each endeavour, O; Sometimes by foes I was o’erpower’d, sometimes by friends forsaken, O; And when my hope was at the top, I still was worst mistaken, O.
Then sore harass’d and tir’d at last, with Fortune’s 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 pow’r, 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 moil, 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 I’m doom’d to wander, O, Till down my weary bones I lay in everlasting slumber, O: No view nor care, but shun whate’er might breed me pain or sorrow, O; I live to-day as well’s I may, regardless of to-morrow, O.
But cheerful still, I am as well as a monarch in his palace, O, Tho’ Fortune’s frown still hunts me down, with all her wonted malice, O: I make indeed my daily bread, but ne’er 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 gen’rally upon me, O; Mischance, mistake, or by neglect, or my goodnatur’d folly, O: But come what will, I’ve sworn it still, I’ll ne’er 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.

Written by Robert Burns |

130. Nature's Law: A Poem

 LET other heroes boast their scars,
 The marks of sturt and strife:
And other poets sing of wars,
 The plagues of human life:
Shame fa’ the fun, wi’ sword and gun
 To slap mankind like lumber!
I sing his name, and nobler fame,
 Wha multiplies our number.
Great Nature spoke, with air benign, “Go on, ye human race; This lower world I you resign; Be fruitful and increase.
The liquid fire of strong desire I’ve pour’d it in each bosom; Here, on this had, does Mankind stand, And there is Beauty’s blossom.
” The Hero of these artless strains, A lowly bard was he, Who sung his rhymes in Coila’s plains, With meikle mirth an’glee; Kind Nature’s care had given his share Large, of the flaming current; And, all devout, he never sought To stem the sacred torrent.
He felt the powerful, high behest Thrill, vital, thro’ and thro’; And sought a correspondent breast, To give obedience due: Propitious Powers screen’d the young flow’rs, From mildews of abortion; And low! the bard—a great reward— Has got a double portion! Auld cantie Coil may count the day, As annual it returns, The third of Libra’s equal sway, That gave another Burns, With future rhymes, an’ other times, To emulate his sire: To sing auld Coil in nobler style With more poetic fire.
Ye Powers of peace, and peaceful song, Look down with gracious eyes; And bless auld Coila, large and long, With multiplying joys; Lang may she stand to prop the land, The flow’r of ancient nations; And Burnses spring, her fame to sing, To endless generations!

Written by Robert Burns |

100. Inscribed on a Work of Hannah More's

 THOU flatt’ring mark of friendship kind,
Still may thy pages call to mind
 The dear, the beauteous donor;
Tho’ sweetly female ev’ry part,
Yet such a head, and more the heart
 Does both the sexes honour:
She show’d her taste refin’d and just,
 When she selected thee;
Yet deviating, own I must,
 For sae approving me:
 But kind still I’ll mind still
 The giver in the gift;
 I’ll bless her, an’ wiss her
 A Friend aboon the lift.

Written by Robert Burns |

118. A Bard's Epitaph

 IS there a whim-inspirèd fool,
Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule,
Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool,
 Let him draw near;
And owre this grassy 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 the 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.

Written by Robert Burns |

115. The Farewell to the Brethren of St. James's Lodge Tarbolton

 ADIEU! a heart-warm fond adieu;
 Dear brothers of the mystic tie!
Ye favourèd, enlighten’d few,
 Companions of my social joy;
Tho’ I to foreign lands must hie,
 Pursuing Fortune’s slidd’ry ba’;
With melting heart, and brimful eye,
 I’ll mind you still, tho’ far awa.
Oft have I met your social band, And spent the cheerful, festive night; Oft, honour’d with supreme command, Presided o’er the sons of light: And by that hieroglyphic bright, Which none but Craftsmen ever saw Strong Mem’ry on my heart shall write Those happy scenes, when far awa.
May Freedom, Harmony, and Love, Unite you in the grand Design, Beneath th’ Omniscient Eye above, The glorious Architect Divine, That you may keep th’ unerring line, Still rising by the plummet’s law, Till Order bright completely shine, Shall be my pray’r when far awa.
And you, farewell! whose merits claim Justly that highest badge to wear: Heav’n bless your honour’d noble name, To Masonry and Scotia dear! A last request permit me here,— When yearly ye assemble a’, One round, I ask it with a tear, To him, the Bard that’s far awa.

Written by Robert Burns |

466. Ode for General Washington's Birthday

 NO Spartan tube, no Attic shell,
 No lyre Æolian I awake;
’Tis liberty’s bold note I swell,
 Thy harp, Columbia, let me take!
See gathering thousands, while I sing,
A broken chain exulting bring,
 And dash it in a tyrant’s face,
And dare him to his very beard,
And tell him he no more is feared—
 No more the despot of Columbia’s race!
A tyrant’s proudest insults brav’d,
They shout—a People freed! They hail an Empire saved.
Where is man’s god-like form? Where is that brow erect and bold— That eye that can unmov’d behold The wildest rage, the loudest storm That e’er created fury dared to raise? Avaunt! thou caitiff, servile, base, That tremblest at a despot’s nod, Yet, crouching under the iron rod, Canst laud the hand that struck th’ insulting blow! Art thou of man’s Imperial line? Dost boast that countenance divine? Each skulking feature answers, No! But come, ye sons of Liberty, Columbia’s offspring, brave as free, In danger’s hour still flaming in the van, Ye know, and dare maintain, the Royalty of Man! Alfred! on thy starry throne, Surrounded by the tuneful choir, The bards that erst have struck the patriot lyre, And rous’d the freeborn Briton’s soul of fire, No more thy England own! Dare injured nations form the great design, To make detested tyrants bleed? Thy England execrates the glorious deed! Beneath her hostile banners waving, Every pang of honour braving, England in thunder calls, “The tyrant’s cause is mine!” That hour accurst how did the fiends rejoice And hell, thro’ all her confines, raise the exulting voice, That hour which saw the generous English name Linkt with such damned deeds of everlasting shame! Thee, Caledonia! thy wild heaths among, Fam’d for the martial deed, the heaven-taught song, To thee I turn with swimming eyes; Where is that soul of Freedom fled? Immingled with the mighty dead, Beneath that hallow’d turf where Wallace lies Hear it not, WALLACE! in thy bed of death.
Ye babbling winds! in silence sweep, Disturb not ye the hero’s sleep, Nor give the coward secret breath! Is this the ancient Caledonian form, Firm as the rock, resistless as the storm? Show me that eye which shot immortal hate, Blasting the despot’s proudest bearing; Show me that arm which, nerv’d with thundering fate, Crush’d Usurpation’s boldest daring!— Dark-quench’d as yonder sinking star, No more that glance lightens afar; That palsied arm no more whirls on the waste of war.

Written by Robert Burns |

28. Poor Mailie's Elegy

 LAMENT in rhyme, lament in prose,
Wi’ saut tears trickling down your nose;
Our bardie’s fate is at a close,
 Past a’ remead!
The last, sad cape-stane o’ his woes;
 Poor Mailie’s dead!

 It’s no the loss o’ warl’s gear,
That could sae bitter draw the tear,
Or mak our bardie, dowie, wear
 The mourning weed:
He’s lost a friend an’ neebor dear
 In Mailie dead.
Thro’ a’ the town she trotted by him; A lang half-mile she could descry him; Wi’ kindly bleat, when she did spy him, She ran wi’ speed: A friend mair faithfu’ ne’er cam nigh him, Than Mailie dead.
I wat she was a sheep o’ sense, An’ could behave hersel’ wi’ mense: I’ll say’t, she never brak a fence, Thro’ thievish greed.
Our bardie, lanely, keeps the spence Sin’ Mailie’s dead.
Or, if he wanders up the howe, Her living image in her yowe Comes bleating till him, owre the knowe, For bits o’ bread; An’ down the briny pearls rowe For Mailie dead.
She was nae get o’ moorland tips, Wi’ tauted ket, an’ hairy hips; For her forbears were brought in ships, Frae ’yont the Tweed.
A bonier fleesh ne’er cross’d the clips Than Mailie’s dead.
Wae worth the man wha first did shape That vile, wanchancie thing—a raip! It maks guid fellows girn an’ gape, Wi’ chokin dread; An’ Robin’s bonnet wave wi’ crape For Mailie dead.
O, a’ ye bards on bonie Doon! An’ wha on Ayr your chanters tune! Come, join the melancholious croon O’ Robin’s reed! His heart will never get aboon— His Mailie’s dead!

Written by Robert Burns |

551. Ballad on Mr. Heron's Election—No. 4

 WHA will buy my troggin, fine election ware,
Broken trade o’ Broughton, a’ in high repair?

—Buy braw troggin frae the banks o’ Dee; Wha wants troggin let him come to me.
There’s a noble Earl’s fame and high renown, For an auld sang—it’s thought the gudes were stown— Buy braw troggin, &c.
Here’s the worth o’ Broughton in a needle’s e’e; Here’s a reputation tint by Balmaghie.
Buy braw troggin, &c.
Here’s its stuff and lining, Cardoness’ head, Fine for a soger, a’ the wale o’ lead.
Buy braw troggin, &c.
Here’s a little wadset, Buittle’s scrap o’ truth, Pawn’d in a gin-shop, quenching holy drouth.
Buy braw troggin, &c.
Here’s an honest conscience might a prince adorn; Frae the downs o’ Tinwald, so was never worn.
Buy braw troggin, &c.
Here’s armorial bearings frae the manse o’ Urr; The crest, a sour crab-apple, rotten at the core.
Buy braw troggin, &c.
Here’s the worth and wisdom Collieston can boast; By a thievish midge they had been nearly lost.
Buy braw troggin, &c.
Here is Satan’s picture, like a bizzard gled, Pouncing poor Redcastle, sprawlin’ like a taed.
Buy braw troggin, &c.
Here’s the font where Douglas stane and mortar names; Lately used at Caily christening Murray’s crimes.
Buy braw troggin, &c.
Here is Murray’s fragments o’ the ten commands; Gifted by black Jock to get them aff his hands.
Buy braw troggin, &c.
Saw ye e’er sic troggin? if to buy ye’re slack, Hornie’s turnin chapman—he’ll buy a’ the pack.
Buy braw troggin, &c.

Written by Robert Burns |

39. Ballad on the American War

 WHEN Guilford good our pilot stood
 An’ did our hellim thraw, man,
Ae night, at tea, began a plea,
 Within America, man:
Then up they gat the maskin-pat,
 And in the sea did jaw, man;
An’ did nae less, in full congress,
 Than quite refuse our law, man.
Then thro’ the lakes Montgomery takes, I wat he was na slaw, man; Down Lowrie’s Burn he took a turn, And Carleton did ca’, man: But yet, whatreck, he, at Quebec, Montgomery-like did fa’, man, Wi’ sword in hand, before his band, Amang his en’mies a’, man.
Poor Tammy Gage within a cage Was kept at Boston-ha’, man; Till Willie Howe took o’er the knowe For Philadelphia, man; Wi’ sword an’ gun he thought a sin Guid Christian bluid to draw, man; But at New York, wi’ knife an’ fork, Sir-Loin he hacked sma’, man.
Burgoyne gaed up, like spur an’ whip, Till Fraser brave did fa’, man; Then lost his way, ae misty day, In Saratoga shaw, man.
Cornwallis fought as lang’s he dought, An’ did the Buckskins claw, man; But Clinton’s glaive frae rust to save, He hung it to the wa’, man.
Then Montague, an’ Guilford too, Began to fear, a fa’, man; And Sackville dour, wha stood the stour, The German chief to thraw, man: For Paddy Burke, like ony Turk, Nae mercy had at a’, man; An’ Charlie Fox threw by the box, An’ lows’d his tinkler jaw, man.
Then Rockingham took up the game, Till death did on him ca’, man; When Shelburne meek held up his cheek, Conform to gospel law, man: Saint Stephen’s boys, wi’ jarring noise, They did his measures thraw, man; For North an’ Fox united stocks, An’ bore him to the wa’, man.
Then clubs an’ hearts were Charlie’s cartes, He swept the stakes awa’, man, Till the diamond’s ace, of Indian race, Led him a sair faux pas, man: The Saxon lads, wi’ loud placads, On Chatham’s boy did ca’, man; An’ Scotland drew her pipe an’ blew, “Up, Willie, waur them a’, man!” Behind the throne then Granville’s gone, A secret word or twa, man; While slee Dundas arous’d the class Be-north the Roman wa’, man: An’ Chatham’s wraith, in heav’nly graith, (Inspired bardies saw, man), Wi’ kindling eyes, cry’d, “Willie, rise! Would I hae fear’d them a’, man?” But, word an’ blow, North, Fox, and Co.
Gowff’d Willie like a ba’, man; Till Suthron raise, an’ coost their claise Behind him in a raw, man: An’ Caledon threw by the drone, An’ did her whittle draw, man; An’ swoor fu’ rude, thro’ dirt an’ bluid, To mak it guid in law, man.