Nature's Law

Let other heroes boast their scars, The marks of sturt and strife; And other poets sing of wars, The plagues of human life; Shame fa' the fun; wi' sword and gun To slap mankind like lumber! I sing his name, and nobler fame, Wha multiplies our number. Great Nature spoke, with air benign, 'Go on, ye human race; This lower world I you resign; Be fruitful and increase. The liquid fire of strong desire I've pour'd it in each bosom; Here, on this hand, does Mankind stand, And there, is Beauty's blossom.' The Hero of these artless strains, A lowly bard was he, Who sung his rhymes in Coila's plains, With meikle mirth an' glee; Kind Nature's care had given his share Large, of the flaming current; And, all devout, he never sought To stem the sacred torrent. He felt the powerful, high behest Thrill, vital, thro' and thro'; And sought a correspondent breast, To give obedience due: Propitious Powers screen'd the young flow'rs, From mildews of abortion; And lo! the Bard - a great reward - Has got a double portion! Auld cantie Coil may count the day, As annual it returns, The third of Libra's equal sway, That gave another Burns, With future rhymes, an' other times, To emulate his sire: To sing auld Coil in nobler style, With more poetic fire. Ye Powers of peace, and peaceful song, Look down with gracious eyes; And bless auld Coila, large and long, With multiplying joys; Lang may she stand to prop the land, The flow'r of ancient nations; And Burnses spring, her fame to sing, To endless generations!


Paul Young

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1786 and is read here by Paul Young.

Themes for this poem

fatherhood poetry future nature

Selected for 03 September

On this day in 1786 Jean Armour gave birth to twins. Her husband-to-be, immediately postponed his plans to emigrate and exulted in the new arrivals. There was already a daughter by one of his farm servants. The poet is writing here to his friend and sometime landlord, Gavin Hamilton, preferring the man, 'wha multiplies our number', to the life destroying war monger. Ever the 'proud father', Burns wryly celebrates his double good fortune as a parent: 'And lo! the Bard - a great reward - Has got a double portion!'.

Donny O'Rourke

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