This is one of the earliest of the poet’s recorded compositions: it
was written before the death of his father, and is called by Gilbert
Burns, ‘a juvenile production.’ To walk by a river while flooded, or
through a wood on a rough winter day, and hear the storm howling among
the leafless trees, exalted the poet’s thoughts. “In such a season,”
he said, “just after a train of misfortunes, I composed Winter, a
Robert Burns – Winter. A Dirge Poem
The wintry west extends his blast,
And hail and rain does blaw;
Or the stormy north sends driving forth
The blinding sleet and snaw;
While tumbling brown, the burn comes down,
And roars frae bank to brae;
And bird and beast in covert rest,
And pass the heartless day.
“The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast,”
The joyless winter day
Let others fear, to me more dear
Than all the pride of May:
The tempest’s howl, it soothes my soul,
My griefs it seems to join;
The leafless trees my fancy please,
Their fate resembles mine!
Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme
These woes of mine fulfil,
Here, firm, I rest, they must be best,
Because they are Thy will!
Then all I want (O, do thou grant
This one request of mine!)
Since to enjoy Thou dost deny,
Assist me to resign!