REMORSE — A FRAGMENT
OF all the numerous ills that hurt our peace—
That press the soul, or wring the mind with anguish,
Beyond comparison the worst are those
By our own folly, or our guilt brought on:
In ev'ry other circumstance, the mind
Has this to say, 'it was no deed of mine:'
But, when to all the evil of misfortune
This sting is added, 'blame thy foolish self!'
Or worser far, the pangs of keen remorse,
The torturing, gnawing consciousness of guilt—
Of guilt, perhaps, where we've involved others,
The young, the innocent, who fondly lov'd us;
Nay more, that very love their cause of ruin!
O burning hell! in all thy store of torments
There's not a keener lash!
lives there a man so firm, who, whilst his heart
Feels all the bitter horrors of his crime,
Can reason down its agonizing throbs;
And, after proper purpose of amendment,
Can firmly force his jarring thoughts of peace?
O happy, happy, enviabl man!
O glorious magnanimity of soul!
PEGASUS AT WANLOCKHEAD
WITH Pegasus upon a day,
Apollo weary flying,
Through frosty hills the journey lay,
On foot the way was plying.
Poor slipshod giddy Pegasus
Was but a sorry walker;
To Vulcan and Apollo goes
To get a frosty caulker.
Obliging Vulcan fell to work,
There by his coat and bonnet,
And did Sol's business in a crack;
Sol paid him with a sonnet.
Ye Vulcan's sons of Wanlockhead,
Pity my sad disaster;
My Pegasus is poorly shod,
I'll pay you like my master.
(To John Taylor, Ramage's, 3 o' clock.)
ROBERT BURNS (1759-1796)