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ROBERT BURNS
The Address to the Haggis
Auld Lang Syne
The Bonny Wee Thing
Epistle to Dr. Blacklock
Farewell
Invitation to a Medical Gentleman
Is There for Honest Poverty
The Jolly Beggars: A Cantata
Masonic Song
The Master’s Apron
Miscellanea
Oh, were I on Parnassus' Hill
A Red Red Rose
Scots Wha Hae With Wallace Bled
Such a Parcel of Rogues
To a Mouse
Three Graces for dinner
The Tree of Liberty
The verse of Robert Burns
[Robbie
Detail from an unsigned, undated oil painting owned by Ancient Light Lodge No.88 in Delta, British Columbia. Download a grayscale version or silhouette.
This poem was taken from a MS. in the poet’s handwriting in the possession of Mr. James Duncan, Mosesfield, near Glasgow, and first printed in Mr Robert Chambers’s edition of the poet’s works, 1838.†
The tree of liberty
HEARD ye o' the tree o' France,
I watna1. what’s the name o't.
Around it a' the patriots dance,
Weel Europe kens the fame o't.
It stands where ance the Bastile stood,
A prison built by kings, man,
When Superstition’s hellish brood
Kept France in leading-strings, man.
Upo' this tree there grows sic fruit,
Its virtues a' can tell, man;
It raises man aboon the brute,
It maks him ken himsel, man.
Gif ance the peasant taste a bit,
He’s greater than a lord, man,
And wi' the beggar shares a mite
Of a' he can afford, man.
This fruit is worth a' Afric’s wealth,
To comfort us 'twas sent, man:
To gie the sweetest blush o' health,
And mak us a' content, man
It clears the een, it cheers the heart,
Maks high and low gude friends, man;
And he wha acts the traitor’s part,
It to perdition sends, man.
My blessings aye attend the chiel2.
Wha pitied Gallia’s slaves, man,
And staw3. a branch, spite o' the deil,
Frae yont4. the western waves, man.
Fair Virtue watered it wi' care,
And now she sees wi' pride, man,
How weel it buds and blossoms there,
Its branches spreading wide, man.
But vicious folk aye hate to see
The works o' Virtue thrive, man;
The courtly vermin’s banned the tree,
And grat5. to see it thrive, man;
King Louis thought to cut it down,
When it was unco6. sma', man
For this the watchman crack'd his crown,
Cut aff his head and a', man.
A wicked crew syne,7. on a time,
Did tak a solemn aith, man,
It ne'er should flourish to its prime,
I wat8. they pledged their faith, man.
Awa they gaed9. wi' mock parade
Like beagles hunting game, man,
But soon grew weary o' the trade,
And wish'd they'd been at hame, man.
For Freedom, standing by the tree,
Her sons did loudly ca', man;
She sang a sang o' liberty,
Which pleased them ane and a', man
By her inspired, the new-born race
Soon drew the avenging steel, man;
The hirelings ran--her foes gied10. chase,
And bang'd11. the despot weel, man
Let Britain boast her hardy oak,
Her poplar and her pine, man,
Auld Britain ance could crack her joke,
And o'er her neighbours shine, man
But seek the forest round and round,
And soon 'twill be agreed, man,
That sic a tree can not be found
'Twixt London and the Tweed, man.
Without this tree, alake this life
Is but a vale o' woe, man;
A scene o' sorrow mix'd wi' strife,
Nae real joys we know, man.
We labour soon, we labour late,
To feed the titled knave, man;
And a' the comfort we're to get,
Is that ayont the grave, man.
Wi' plenty o' sic trees, I trow,
The warld would live in peace, man;
The sword would help to mak a plough,
The din o' war wad cease, man.
Like brethren in a common cause,
We'd on each other smile, man;
And equal rights and equal laws
Wad gladden every isle, man.
Wae worth the loon wha wadna eat
Sic halesome dainty cheer, man;
I'd gie my shoon frae aff my feet,
To taste sic fruit, I swear, man.
Syne let us pray, auld England may
Sure plant this far-famed tree, man;
And blithe we'll sing, and hail the day
That gave us liberty, man.

1 Know not.^ 2 Man.^ 3 Stole.^
4 From beyond.^ 5 Wept.^ 6 Very. ^
7 Then.^ 8 Know.^ 9 Went.^
10 Gave.^ 11 Beat.^
Transcribed from The Complete Works of Robert Burns. William P. Nimmo, Edinburgh: 1867. p. 79.
† "This poem was from a MS. in the Poet’s handwriting in the possession of the late Mr James Duncan, Mosesfield, near Glasgow, and was first printed in Mr Robert Chambers’s edition of the Poetical Works of Robert Burns, 1838." The Works of Robert Burns; with Notes and Illustrations,John Wilson (1785-1854). Glasgow : Blackie and Son, 1859. p. 129.
Cf.: "The Tree of Liberty reads like a bad blend of Scots Wha Hae and Is There For Honest Poverty; and as the MS. has not been heard of since 1838, we may charitably conclude that Burns neither made the trash nor copied it." The Complete Poetical Works of Burns, William Ernest Henley and Thomas F. Henderson. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1897. p. 320.

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