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Best Famous Robert Burns Poems

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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.

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!

by William Topaz McGonagall | |

Robert Burns

 Immortal Robert Burns of Ayr,
There's but few poets can with you compare;
Some of your poems and songs are very fine:
To "Mary in Heaven" is most sublime;
And then again in your "Cottar's Saturday Night,"
Your genius there does shine most bright,
As pure as the dewdrops of the night.
Your "Tam O'Shanter" is very fine, Both funny, racy, and divine, From John O'Groats to Dumfries All critics consider it to be a masterpiece, And, also, you have said the same, Therefore they are not to blame.
And in my own opinion both you and they are right, For your genius there does sparkle bright, Which I most solemnly declare To thee, Immortal Bard of Ayr! Your "Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon" Is sweet and melodious in its tune, And the poetry is moral and sublime, And in my opinion nothing can be more fine.
Your "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled" Is most beautiful to hear sung or read; For your genius there does shine as bright, Like unto the stars of night Immortal Bard of Ayr! I must conclude my muse To speak in praise of thee does not refuse, For you were a mighty poet, few could with you compare, And also an honour to Scotland, for your genius it is rare.

More great poems below...

by Robert Burns | |

124. Motto prefixed to the Author’s first Publication

 THE SIMPLE Bard, unbroke by rules of art,
He pours the wild effusions of the heart;
And if inspir’d ’tis Nature’s pow’rs inspire;
Her’s all the melting thrill, and her’s the kindling fire.

by Robert Burns | |

135. Epigram on Rough Roads

 I’M now arrived—thanks to the gods!—
 Thro’ pathways rough and muddy,
A certain sign that makin roads
 Is no this people’s study:
Altho’ Im not wi’ Scripture cram’d,
 I’m sure the Bible says
That heedless sinners shall be damn’d,
 Unless they mend their ways.

by Robert Burns | |

Coming Through The Rye

 Coming thro' the rye, poor body,
Coming thro' the rye,
She draiglet a' her petticoatie
Coming thro' the rye.
O, Jenny's a' wat, poor body; Jenny's seldom dry; She draiglet a' her petticoatie Coming thro' the rye.
Gin a body meet a body Coming thro' the rye, Gin a body kiss a body— Need a body cry? Gin a body meet a body Coming thro' the glen, Gin a body kiss a body— Need the warld ken?

by Robert Burns | |

253. Rhyming Reply to a Note from Captain Riddell

 DEAR SIR, at ony time or tide,
I’d rather sit wi’ you than ride,
 Though ’twere wi’ royal Geordie:
And trowth, your kindness, soon and late,
Aft gars me to mysel’ look blate—
 The Lord in Heav’n reward ye!R.

by Robert Burns | |

179. To Miss Ferrier enclosing Elegy on Sir J. H. Blair

 NAE heathen name shall I prefix,
 Frae Pindus or Parnassus;
Auld Reekie dings them a’ to sticks,
 For rhyme-inspiring lasses.
Jove’s tunefu’ dochters three times three Made Homer deep their debtor; But, gien the body half an e’e, Nine Ferriers wad done better! Last day my mind was in a bog, Down George’s Street I stoited; A creeping cauld prosaic fog My very sense doited.
Do what I dought to set her free, My saul lay in the mire; Ye turned a neuk—I saw your e’e— She took the wing like fire! The mournfu’ sang I here enclose, In gratitude I send you, And pray, in rhyme as weel as prose, A’ gude things may attend you!

by Robert Burns | |

175. Epigram to Miss Jean Scott

 O HAD each Scot of ancient times
 Been, Jeanie Scott, as thou art;
The bravest heart on English ground
 Had yielded like a coward.

by Robert Burns | |

Ye Banks And Braes OBonnie Doon

 Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fair!
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae fu' o' care!

Thou'll break my heart, thou bonnie bird
That sings upon the bough;
Thou minds me o' the happy days
When my fause Luve was true.
Thou'll break my heart, thou bonnie bird That sings beside thy mate; For sae I sat, and sae I sang, And wist na o' my fate.
Aft hae I roved by bonnie Doon To see the woodbine twine, And ilka bird sang o' its love; And sae did I o' mine.
Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose Frae aff its thorny tree; And my fause luver staw the rose, But left the thorn wi' me.

by Robert Burns | |

341. Song—My Bonie Bell

 THE SMILING Spring comes in rejoicing,
 And surly Winter grimly flies;
Now crystal clear are the falling waters,
 And bonie blue are the sunny skies.
Fresh o’er the mountains breaks forth the morning, The ev’ning gilds the ocean’s swell; All creatures joy in the sun’s returning, And I rejoice in my bonie Bell.
The flowery Spring leads sunny Summer, The yellow Autumn presses near; Then in his turn comes gloomy Winter, Till smiling Spring again appear: Thus seasons dancing, life advancing, Old Time and Nature their changes tell; But never ranging, still unchanging, I adore my bonie Bell.

by Robert Burns | |

540. Inscription to Chloris

 ’TIS Friendship’s pledge, my young, fair Friend,
 Nor thou the gift refuse,
Nor with unwilling ear attend
 The moralising Muse.
Since thou, in all thy youth and charms, Must bid the world adieu, (A world ’gainst Peace in constant arms) To join the Friendly Few.
Since, thy gay morn of life o’ercast, Chill came the tempest’s lour; (And ne’er Misfortune’s eastern blast Did nip a fairer flower.
) Since life’s gay scenes must charm no more, Still much is left behind, Still nobler wealth hast thou in store— The comforts of the mind! Thine is the self-approving glow, Of conscious Honour’s part; And (dearest gift of Heaven below) Thine Friendship’s truest heart.
The joys refin’d of Sense and Taste, With every Muse to rove: And doubly were the Poet blest, These joys could he improve.

by Robert Burns | |

Oh Wert Thou In The Cauld Blast

 Oh wert thou in the cauld blast,
On yonder lea, on yonder lea,
My plaidie to the angry airt,
I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee;
Or did misfortune's bitter storms
Around thee blaw, around thee blaw,
Thy bield should be my bosom,
To share it a', to share it a'.
Or were I in the wildest waste, Sae black and bare, sae black and bare, The desart were a paradise, If thou wert there, if thou wert there.
Or were I monarch o' the globe, Wi' thee to reign, wi' thee to reign, The brightest jewel in my crown Wad be my queen, wad be my queen.

by Robert Burns | |

486. Song—Inconstancy in love

 LET not Woman e’er complain
 Of inconstancy in love;
Let not Woman e’er complain
 Fickle Man is apt to rove:
Look abroad thro’ Nature’s range,
Nature’s mighty Law is change,
Ladies, would it not seem strange
 Man should then a monster prove!

Mark the winds, and mark the skies,
 Ocean’s ebb, and ocean’s flow,
Sun and moon but set to rise,
 Round and round the seasons go.
Why then ask of silly Man To oppose great Nature’s plan? We’ll be constant while we can— You can be no more, you know.

by Robert Burns | |

82. Song—Kissing my Katie

 O MERRY hae I been teethin’ a heckle,
 An’ merry hae I been shapin’ a spoon;
O merry hae I been cloutin’ a kettle,
 An’ kissin’ my Katie when a’ was done.
O a’ the lang day I ca’ at my hammer, An’ a’ the lang day I whistle and sing; O a’ the lang night I cuddle my kimmer, An’ a’ the lang night as happy’s a king.
Bitter in dool I lickit my winnins O’ marrying Bess, to gie her a slave: Blest be the hour she cool’d in her linnens, And blythe be the bird that sings on her grave! Come to my arms, my Katie, my Katie; O come to my arms and kiss me again! Drucken or sober, here’s to thee, Katie! An’ blest be the day I did it again.

by Robert Burns | |

170. Epigram to Miss Ainslie in Church

 FAIR maid, you need not take the hint,
 Nor idle texts pursue:
’Twas guilty sinners that he meant,
 Not Angels such as you.

by Robert Burns | |

153. Inscription for the Headstone of Fergusson the Poet

 NO 1 sculptured marble here, nor pompous lay,
 “No storied urn nor animated bust;”
This simple stone directs pale Scotia’s way,
 To pour her sorrows o’er the Poet’s dust.
ADDITIONAL STANZASShe mourns, sweet tuneful youth, thy hapless fate; Tho’ all the powers of song thy fancy fired, Yet Luxury and Wealth lay by in state, And, thankless, starv’d what they so much admired.
This tribute, with a tear, now gives A brother Bard-he can no more bestow: But dear to fame thy Song immortal lives, A nobler monument than Art can shew.
Note 1.
The stone was erected at Burns’ expenses in February-March, 1789.

by Robert Burns | |

23. I’ll go and be a Sodger

 O WHY the deuce should I repine,
 And be an ill foreboder?
I’m twenty-three, and five feet nine,
 I’ll go and be a sodger!

I gat some gear wi’ mickle care,
 I held it weel thegither;
But now it’s gane, and something mair—
 I’ll go and be a sodger!

by Robert Burns | |

359. Song—O May thy Morn

 O MAY, thy morn was ne’er so sweet
 As the mirk night o’ December!
For sparkling was the rosy wine,
 And private was the chamber:
And dear was she I dare na name,
 But I will aye remember:
And dear was she I dare na name,
 But I will aye remember.
And here’s to them that, like oursel, Can push about the jorum! And here’s to them that wish us weel, May a’ that’s guid watch o’er ’em! And here’s to them, we dare na tell, The dearest o’ the quorum! And here’s to them, we dare na tell, The dearest o’ the quorum.

by Robert Burns | |

305. Song—Gudewife count the lawin

 GANE is the day, and mirk’s the night,
But we’ll ne’er stray for faut o’ light;
Gude ale and bratdy’s stars and moon,
And blue-red wine’s the risin’ sun.
—Then gudewife, count the lawin, The lawin, the lawin, Then gudewife, count the lawin, And bring a coggie mair.
There’s wealth and ease for gentlemen, And simple folk maun fecht and fen’; But here we’re a’ in ae accord, For ilka man that’s drunk’s a lord.
Then gudewife, &c.
My coggie is a haly pool That heals the wounds o’ care and dool; And Pleasure is a wanton trout, An ye drink it a’, ye’ll find him out.
Then gudewife, &c.

by Robert Burns | |

531. Song—’Twas na her bonie blue e’e

 ’TWAS na her bonie blue e’e was my ruin,
Fair tho’ she be, that was ne’er my undoin’;
’Twas the dear smile when nae body did mind us,
’Twas the bewitching, sweet, stown glance o’ kindness:
’Twas the bewitching, sweet, stown glance o’ kindness.
Sair do I fear that to hope is denied me, Sair do I fear that despair maun abide me, But tho’ fell fortune should fate us to sever, Queen shall she be in my bosom for ever: Queen shall she be in my bosom for ever.
Chloris, I’m thine wi’ a passion sincerest, And thou hast plighted me love o’ the dearest! And thou’rt the angel that never can alter, Sooner the sun in his motion would falter: Sooner the sun in his motion would falter.

by Robert Burns | |

512. Song—Guid ale keeps the heart aboon

 Chorus—O gude ale comes and gude ale goes;
Gude ale gars me sell my hose,
Sell my hose, and pawn my shoon—
Gude ale keeps my heart aboon!

I HAD sax owsen in a pleugh,
And they drew a’ weel eneugh:
I sell’d them a’ just ane by ane—
Gude ale keeps the heart aboon!
 O gude ale comes, &c.
Gude ale hauds me bare and busy, Gars me moop wi’ the servant hizzie, Stand i’ the stool when I hae done— Gude ale keeps the heart aboon! O gude ale comes, &c.

by Robert Burns | |

291. Song—The Captive Ribband

 DEAR Myra, the captive ribband’s mine,
 ’Twas all my faithful love could gain;
And would you ask me to resign
 The sole reward that crowns my pain?

Go, bid the hero who has run
 Thro’ fields of death to gather fame,
Go, bid him lay his laurels down,
 And all his well-earn’d praise disclaim.
The ribband shall its freedom lose— Lose all the bliss it had with you, And share the fate I would impose On thee, wert thou my captive too.
It shall upon my bosom live, Or clasp me in a close embrace; And at its fortune if you grieve, Retrieve its doom, and take its place.

by Robert Burns | |

251. Impromptu Lines to Captain Riddell

 YOUR News and Review, sir.
I’ve read through and through, sir, With little admiring or blaming; The Papers are barren Of home-news or foreign, No murders or rapes worth the naming.
Our friends, the Reviewers, Those chippers and hewers, Are judges of mortar and stone, sir; But of meet or unmeet, In a fabric complete, I’ll boldly pronounce they are none, sir; My goose-quill too rude is To tell all your goodness Bestow’d on your servant, the Poet; Would to God I had one Like a beam of the sun, And then all the world, sir, should know it!

by Robert Burns | |

498. Song—For the sake o’ Somebody

 MY heart is sair—I dare na tell,
 My heart is sair for Somebody;
I could wake a winter night
 For the sake o’ Somebody.
O-hon! for Somebody! O-hey! for Somebody! I could range the world around, For the sake o’ Somebody.
Ye Powers that smile on virtuous love, O, sweetly smile on Somebody! Frae ilka danger keep him free, And send me safe my Somebody! O-hon! for Somebody! O-hey! for Somebody! I wad do—what wad I not? For the sake o’ Somebody.