Beginners
Experts
Burns Supper
Top Features
Discussion Forum
Newsletter
Poems & Songs
The Letters
Federation
E- Membership
Schools
Contributions
Links
Search the Site
Scottish History
The Burns Shop

Translation
Index


Ode, Sacred To The Memory Of
Mrs. Oswald Of Auchencruive

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

Dweller in yon dungeon dark,
Hangman of creation, mark!
Who in widow-weeds appears,
Laden with unhonoured years,
Noosing with care a bursting purse,
Baited with many a deadly curse?

STROPHE

View the wither'd beldam's face:
Can thy keen inspection trace
Aught of Humanity's sweet, melting grace?
Note that eye, 'tis rheum o'erflows -
Pity's flood there never rose.
See those hands, ne'er stretch'd to save,
Hands that took but never gave.
Keeper of Mammon's iron chest,
Lo, there she goes, unpitied and unblest,
She goes, but not to realms of everlasting rest!

ANTISTROPHE

Plunderer of Armies! Lift thine eyes
(A while forbear, ye torturing fiends),
Seest thou whose step, unwilling, hither bends?
No fallen angel, hurl'd from upper skies!
'Tis thy trusty, quondam Mate,
Doom'd to share thy fiery fate:
She, tardy, hell-ward plies.

EPODE

And are they of no more avail,
Ten thousand glittering pounds a-year?
In other worlds can Mammon fail,
Omnipotent as he is here?
O bitter mockery of the pompous bier!
While down the wretched vital part is driven,
The cave-lodg'd beggar, with a conscience clear,
Expires in rags, unknown, and goes to Heaven.

 

 

Dweller in yonder dungeon dark,
Hangman of creation, mark!
Who in widow-weeds appears,
Laden with unhonoured years,
Noosing with care a bursting purse,
Baited with many a deadly curse?



View the withered old woman's face:
Can your keen inspection trace
Anything of Humanity's sweet, melting grace?
Note that eye, it is rheum overflows -
Pity's flood there never rose.
See those hands, never stretched to save,
Hands that took but never gave.
Keeper of Mammon's (the god of riches) iron chest,
Look, there she goes, unpitied and unblessed,
She goes, but not to realms of everlasting rest!



Plunderer of Armies! Lift your eyes
(A while forbear, you torturing fiends),
See you whose step, unwilling, hither bends?
No fallen angel, hurled from upper skies!
It is your trusty, quondam (former) Mate,
Doomed to share your fiery fate:
She, tardy, hell-ward plies.



And are they of no more avail,
Ten thousand glittering pounds a-year?
In other worlds can Mammon fail,
Omnipotent as he is here?
O bitter mockery of the pompous bier!
While down the wretched vital part is driven,
The cave-lodged beggar, with a conscience clear,
Expires in rags, unknown, and goes to Heaven.

 

2004 WBC. Under no circumstances can any  of the contents of this site be copied, reproduced,  or represented without prior written consent.