To a Mountain Daisy by Jesse Russell
CDs – The Poetry & Music of Robert Burns
Introduction 2. To a Mouse 3. Introduction 4. Death and Dr Hornbook 5. Introduction 6. The Address to the Unco Guid 7.
The field at Mossgiel where he turned down the Daisy is said to be the same field where some five months before he turned up the Mouse; but this seems likely only to those who are little acquainted with tillage--who think that in time and place reside the chief charms of verse; and who feel not the beauty of "The Daisy," till they seek and find the spot on which it grew. Sublime morality and the deepest emotions of the soul pass for little with those who remember only what the genius loves to forget. Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r, Thou's met me in an evil hour; For I maun crush amang the stoure Thy slender stem: To spare thee now is past my pow'r, Thou bonnie gem. Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet, Wi' spreckl'd breast, When upward-springing, blythe, to greet The purpling east. Cauld blew the bitter-biting north Upon thy early, humble birth; Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth Amid the storm, Scarce rear'd above the parent earth Thy tender form. The flaunting flowers our gardens yield, High shelt'ring woods and wa's maun shield But thou, beneath the random bield O' clod or stane, Adorns the histie stibble-field, Unseen, alane.
Burns had a knowledge of traditional verse forms but used the Standard Habbie so extensively that it has become known as the 'Burns Stanza'. Critics have said that if we compare the wholly successful 'Mouse' with the less successful 'Daisy', we see that Burns tried to repeat the success of the former poem but this time with his eye on the Literati of Edinburgh. Both poems were included in the Kilmarnock Volume. This poem was written in April but if the view was to insert this in the Kilmarnock Volume purely for the attention of the literati, was Burns aware, at this time, of the adulation he would receive from them, or even if they would pay any attention to the volume? If so this belittles Burns fierce independence.