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Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

My Conscience!

From Underwoods
(See the Table of Common Scottish Vowel Sounds)
Of a' the ills that flesh can fear,
The loss o' frien's, the lack o' gear,
A yowlin' tyke, a glandered mear,
A lassie's nonsense -
There's just ae thing I cannae bear,
An' that's my conscience.

Whan day (an' a' excuse) has gane,
An' wark is dune, and duty's plain,
An' to my charmer a' my lane
I creep apairt,
My conscience! hoo the yammerin' pain
Stends to my heart!

A' day wi' various ends in view
The hairsts o' time I had to pu',
An' made a hash wad staw a soo,
Let be a man! -
My conscience! whan my han's were fu',
Whaur were ye than?

An' there were a' the lures o' life,
There pleesure skirlin' on the fife,
There anger, wi' the hotchin' knife
Ground shairp in Hell -
My conscience! - you that's like a wife! -
Whaur was yoursel'?

I ken it fine: just waitin' here,
To gar the evil waur appear,
To clart the guid, confuse the clear,
Mis-ca' the great,
My conscience! an' to raise a steer
Whan a's ower late.

Sic-like, some tyke grawn auld and blind,
Whan thieves brok' through the gear to p'ind,
Has lain his dozened length an' grinned
At the disaster;
An' the morn's mornin', wud's the wind,
Yokes on his master.

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