A WOUNDED HARE
LIMP BY ME,
WHICH A FELLOW HAD JUST SHOT.
[This Poem is founded on fact. A young man of the name of Thomson told
me--quite unconscious of the existence of the Poem--that while Burns
lived at Ellisland--he shot at and hurt a hare, which in the twilight
was feeding on his father's wheat-bread. The poet, on observing the
hare come bleeding past him, "was in great wrath," said Thomson, "and
cursed me, and said little hindered him from throwing me into the
Nith; and he was able enough to do it, though I was both young and
strong." The boor of Nithside did not use the hare worse than the
critical Dr. Gregory, of Edinburgh, used the Poem: when Burns read his
remarks he said, "Gregory is a good man, but he crucifies me!"]
Inhuman man! curse on thy barb'rous art,
And blasted be thy murder-aiming eye;
May never pity soothe thee with a sigh,
Nor ever pleasure glad thy cruel heart.
Go live, poor wanderer of the wood and field!
The bitter little that of life remains:
No more the thickening brakes and verdant plains
To thee shall home, or food, or pastime yield.
Seek, mangled wretch, some place of wonted rest,
No more of rest, but now thy dying bed!
The sheltering rushes whistling o'er thy head,
The cold earth with thy bloody bosom prest.
Oft as by winding Nith, I, musing, wait
The sober eve, or hail the cheerful dawn;
I'll miss thee sporting o'er the dewy lawn,
And curse the ruffian's aim, and mourn thy hapless fate.