Poem Hunter
A Winter Night
(1759-1796 / Ayrshire / Scotland)

A Winter Night

Poem By Robert Burns

When biting Boreas, fell and doure,
Sharp shivers thro' the leafless bow'r;
When Phoebus gies a short-liv'd glow'r,
Far south the lift,
Dim-dark'ning thro' the flaky show'r,
Or whirling drift:

Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi' snawy wreeths upchoked,
Wild-eddying swirl,
Or thro' the mining outlet bocked,
Down headlong hurl.

List'ning, the doors an' winnocks rattle,
I thought me on the ourie cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
O' winter war,
And thro' the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle,
Beneath a scar.

Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing!
That, in the merry months o' spring,
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
What comes o' thee?
Whare wilt thou cow'r thy chittering wing
An' close thy e'e?

Ev'n you on murd'ring errands toil'd,
Lone from your savage homes exil'd,
The blood-stain'd roost, and sheep-cote spoil'd
My heart forgets,
While pityless the tempest wild
Sore on you beats.

User Rating: 3,1 / 5 ( 135 votes ) 20

Comments (20)

Burns' spelling of a Scottish dialect reminds me somewhat of Kipling, complete with commas for omitted letters. 'An' close thy e'e? ' The poem shows compassion for the helpless bird.
O' winter war, And thro' the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle, Beneath a scar......./// beautiful poetic expression
Very interesting and beautifully composed. Lovely reading
Swirl! ! ! Drift of life with, The romance of nature. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
With the publication of this amazing poem, PH has given a befitting tribute to Robert Burns today. He was born on 25th January,1759.