Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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No. 324. When chill November s surly blast.
Tune : Peggy BawnScots Musical Museum, 1803, No. 509.
When chill November's surly blast
Made fields and forests bare, One ev'ning, as I wander'd forth,
Along the banks of Ayr, I spy'd a man whose aged step
Seera'd weary, worn with care; His face was furrow'd o'erwithyears,
And hoary was his hair.
' Young stranger, whither wand'rest 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 labour to sup­port A haughty lordling's pride :—
I've seen yon weary winter-sun Twice forty times return ;
And ev'ry time has added proofs, That man was made to mourn.
' O man ! while in thy early years,
How prodigal of time ! Mis-spending 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 is his right: But see him on the edge of life,
With cares and sorrows worn ; Then age and want—O ill-matched pair 1—
Show man was made to mourn.