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Written on a Bank Note

[The bank-note on which these characteristic lines were endorsed, came
into the hands of the late James Gracie, banker in Dumfries: he knew
the handwriting of Burns, and kept it as a curiosity. The concluding
lines point to the year 1786, as the date of the composition.]

Wae worth thy power, thou cursed leaf,
Fell source o' a' my woe an' grief;
For lack o' thee I've lost my lass,
For lack o' thee I scrimp my glass.
I see the children of affliction
Unaided, through thy cursed restriction
I've seen the oppressor's cruel smile
Amid his hapless victim's spoil:
And for thy potence vainly wished,
To crush the villain in the dust.
For lack o' thee, I leave this much-lov'd shore,
Never, perhaps, to greet old Scotland more.

R. B.

Robert Burns