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Sonnet written on the Birthday of the Author


SONNET,

WRITTEN ON THE TWENTY-FIFTH OF JANUARY, 1793,

THE BIRTHDAY OF THE AUTHOR, ON HEARING A

THRUSH SING IN A MORNING WALK.

[Burns was fond of a saunter in a leafless wood, when the winter storm
howled among the branches. These characteristic lines were composed on
the morning of his birthday, with the Nith at his feet, and the ruins
of Lincluden at his side: he is willing to accept the unlooked-for
song of the thrush as a fortunate omen.]


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 furrow'd 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 aught 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 Heaven bestow'd, that mite with thee I'll share.


Robert Burns


Poetry