Robert Burns and Trout

In celebration of Burns’ Night, the holiday honoring the great Scottish poet Robert Burns, I post a poem (a song, actually) in which he honors the trout.

To Alexander Cunningham (1795)

Now spring has clad the groves in green,
And strew’d the lea wi’ flowers;
The furrow’d, waving corn is seen
Rejoice in fostering showers;
While ilka thing in nature join
Their sorrows to forego,
O why thus all alone are mine
The weary steps o’ woe!

The trout within yon wimpling burn
Glides swift, a silver dart,
And safe beneath the shady thorn,
Defies the angler’s art:
My life was ance that careless stream,
That wanton trout was I;
But Love, wi’ unrelenting beam,
Has scorch’d my fountain dry.

That little flow’ret’s peaceful lot,
In yonder cliff that grows;
Which, save the linnet’s flight, I wot,
Nae ruder visit knows,
Was mine; till Love has o’er me past,
And blighted a my bloom,
And now, beneath the withering blast,
My youth and joy consume.

The waken’d lav’rock warbling springs,
And climbs the early sky,
Winnowing blithe his dewy wings
In morning’s rosy eye;
As little reck’d I sorrow’s power,
Until the flowery snare
O’witching Love, in luckless hour,
Made me the thrall o care.

O had my fate been Greenland snows,
Or Afric’s burning zone,
Wi ‘man and nature leagu’d my foes,
So Peggy ne’er I’d known!
The wretch whase doom is, “Hope nae mair!”
What tongue his woes can tell!
Within whase bosom, save despair,
Nae kinder spirits dwell.

One Response to “Robert Burns and Trout”

  1. “To my Daughter”: Burns Night, 2016 | The Literary Fly Fisher Says:

    […] poet Robert Burns, is one of my favorite times of the year; I have indicated as much, in my many previous mentions of the bard. Tonight, as in most recent years,  I am spending the holiday at home. Earlier this […]


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