Robert Burns




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 aréa 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 and 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.