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Gilbert Burns, the brother of the poet, says: "He (Burns) used to remark to me that he could not well conceive a more mortifying picture of human life than a man seeking work. In casting about in his mind how this sentiment might be brought forward, the elegy, 'Man was Made to Mourn' was composed."

When chill November's surly blast

Made fields and forests bare,
One evening, as I wandered forth

Along the banks of Ayr,
I spied a man whose aged step

Seemed weary, worn with care;
His face was furrowed o'er with years,

And hoary was his hair.

Young stranger, whither wanderest thou?
Began the reverend sage;
“Does thirst of wealth thy step constrain,

Or youthful pleasures rage?
Or haply, prest with cares and woes,

Too soon thou hast began
To wander forth, with me, to mourn

The miseries of man!

“ The sun that overhangs yon moors,

Outspreading far and wide,
Where hundreds labor to support

A haughty lordling's pride, -
I've seen yon weary winter sun
Twice forty times return;

And every time has added proofs

That man was made to mourn.

“O man, while in thy early years,

How prodigal of time! Misspending all thy precious hours,

Thy glorious youthful prime! Alternate follies take the sway:

Licentious passions burn; Which tenfold force gives Nature's law,

That man was made to mourn.

“Look not alone on youthful prime,

Or manhood's active might;
Man then is useful to his kind,

Supported in his right;
But see him on the edge of life,

With cares and sorrows worn,
Then age and want, О ill-matched pair!
Show man was made to mourn.

A few seem favorites of fate,

In pleasure's lap carest;
Yet think not all the rich and great

Are likewise truly blest.
But, 0, what crowds in


land Are wretched and forlorn! Through weary life this lesson learn,

That man was made to mourn.

“Many and sharp the numerous ills, Inwoven with our frame!

More pointed still we make ourselves,

Regret, remorse, and shame! And man,

whose heaven-erected face The smiles of love adorn, Man's inhumanity to man

Makes countless thousands mourn!

"See yonder poor, o'erlabored wight,

So abject, mean, and vile, Who begs a brother of the earth

To give him leave to toil; And see his lordly fellow-worm

The poor petition spurn, Unmindful, 'though a weeping wife

And helpless offspring mourn.

“If I'm designed yon lordling's slave,

By Nature's law designed, Why was an independent wish E’er planted in my

mind? If not, why am I subject to

His cruelty or scorn? Or why has man the will and power

To make his fellow mourn?

Yet let not this too much, my son,

Disturb thy youthful breast:
This partial view of humankind

Is surely not the last!
The poor, oppressed, honest man
Had never, sure, been born,

Had there not been some recompense

To comfort those that mourn!

“ O Death! the poor man's dearest friend,

The kindest and the best!
Welcome the hour my aged limbs

Are laid with thee at rest!
The great, the wealthy, fear thy blow,

From pomp and pleasure torn;
But 0, a blest relief to those

That weary-laden mourn!



Fare thee well! and if for ever,

Still for ever, fare thee well: Even though unforgiving, never

'Gainst thee shall my heart rebel.

Would that breast were bared before thee

Where thy head so oft hath lain, While that placid sleep came o'er thee

Which thou ne'er canst know again!

Would that breast, by thee glanced over,

Every inmost thought could show! Then thou wouldst at last discover

'Twas not well to spurn it so.

Though the world for this commend thee, Though it smile upon the blow,

Even its praises must offend thee,

Founded on another's woe:

Though my many faults defaced

me, Could no other arm be found, Than the one which once embraced me,

To inflict a cureless wound?

Yet, oh yet, thyself deceive not:

Love may sink by slow decay, But by sudden wrench, believe not

Hearts can thus be torn away:

Still thine own its life retaineth,

Still must mine, though bleeding, beat; And the undying thought which paineth

Is — that we no more may meet.

These are words of deeper sorrow

Than the wail above the dead; Both shall live, but every morrow

Wake us from a widowed bed.

And when thou wouldst solace gather,

When our child's first accents flow, Wilt thou teach her to say “Father!”

Though his care she must forego?

When her little hands shall press thee,
When her lip to thine is pressed,

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