Culture

Poetry Corner

I never need much of a reason to indulge in Burns and today is National Cereal Day so I have chosen, My Father was a Farmer by way of a tribute to all who grow the crops which supply our breakfast cereal.

 

My Father was a Farmer

My father was a farmer upon the Carrick border O
And carefully he bred me in decency and order O
He bade me act a manly part, though I had ne’er a farthing O
For without an honest manly heart, no man was worth regarding O

Then out into the world my course I did determine. O
Tho’ to be rich was not my wish, yet to be great was charming. O
My talents they were not the worst; nor yet my education: O
Resolv’d was I at least to try to mend my situation. O

In many a way, and vain essay, I courted fortune’s favour, O
Some cause unseen, still stept between, and frustrate each endeavour; O
Some times by foes I was o’erpower’d; sometimes by friends forsaken; O
And when my hope was at the top, I still was worst mistaken. O

Then sore harass’d, and tir’d at last, with fortune’s vain delusion, O,
I dropt my schemes, like idle dreams, and came to this conclusion; O
The past was bad, and the future hid, its good or ill untryd; O
But the present hour was in my pow’r, and so I would enjoy it, O

No help, nor hope, nor view had I; nor person to befriend me; O
So I must toil, and sweat and moil, and labor to sustain me, O
To plough and sow, to reap and mow, my father bred me early, O
For one, he said, to labour bred, was a match for fortune fairly, O.

Thus all obscure, unknown, and poor, thro’ life I’m doom’d to wander, O
Till down my weary bones I lay in everlasting slumber; O
No view nor care, but shun whate’er might breed me pain or sorrow; O
I live today as well’s I may, regardless of tomorrow, O

But chearful still, I am as well as a Monarch in a palace; O
Tho’ fortune’s frown still hunts me down with all her wonted malice: O
I make indeed, my daily bread, but ne’er can make it farther; O
But as daily bread is all I heed, I do not much regard her. O

When sometimes by my labour I earn a little money, O
Some unforeseen misfortune comes generally upon me; O
Mischance, mistake, or by neglect, or my good-natur’d folly; O
But come what will I’ve sworn it still, I’ll ne’er be melancholy, O

All you who follow wealth and power with unremitting ardour, O
The more in this you look for bliss, you leave your view the farther; O
Had you the wealth Potosi boasts, or nations to adore you, O
A cheerful honest-hearted clown I will prefer before you. O

By Robert Burns

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