Robert Burns

(1759-1796 / Ayrshire / Scotland)

A Winter Night

Poem by Robert Burns

When biting Boreas, fell and doure,
Sharp shivers thro' the leafless bow'r;
When Phoebus gies a short-liv'd glow'r,
Far south the lift,
Dim-dark'ning thro' the flaky show'r,
Or whirling drift:

Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi' snawy wreeths upchoked,
Wild-eddying swirl,
Or thro' the mining outlet bocked,
Down headlong hurl.

List'ning, the doors an' winnocks rattle,
I thought me on the ourie cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
O' winter war,
And thro' the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle,
Beneath a scar.

Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing!
That, in the merry months o' spring,
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
What comes o' thee?
Whare wilt thou cow'r thy chittering wing
An' close thy e'e?

Ev'n you on murd'ring errands toil'd,
Lone from your savage homes exil'd,
The blood-stain'd roost, and sheep-cote spoil'd
My heart forgets,
While pityless the tempest wild
Sore on you beats.


Comments about A Winter Night by Robert Burns

  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (1/25/2020 11:40:00 PM)

    O' winter war,
    And thro' the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle,
    Beneath a scar......./// beautiful poetic expression(Report)Reply

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  • Kingsley EgbukoleKingsley Egbukole (1/25/2020 10:04:00 PM)

    Very interesting and beautifully composed. Lovely reading(Report)Reply

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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (1/25/2020 12:45:00 PM)

    Swirl! ! !
    Drift of life with,
    The romance of nature.


    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.(Report)Reply

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  • Rajnish MangaRajnish Manga (1/25/2020 11:40:00 AM)

    With the publication of this amazing poem, PH has given a befitting tribute to Robert Burns today. He was born on 25th January,1759.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (1/25/2020 5:38:00 AM)

    Winter night knocks the door of beauty of benevolence and it glorifies life. This poem is definitely very nicely motivates mind.(Report)Reply

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  • Adeeb AlfatehAdeeb Alfateh (7/4/2019 12:33:00 AM)

    List'ning, the doors an' winnocks rattle,
    I thought me on the ourie cattle,
    Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
    O' winter war,
    And thro' the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle,
    Beneath a scar.


    superb and beautiful
    great
    great 10++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++(Report)Reply

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    0 person did not like.
  • Wanda Dilbeck (12/20/2017 3:53:00 PM)

    I like them pretty(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Bill Wright (10/12/2016 7:07:00 AM)

    Winter nights can be pretty cold in that part of Scotland!(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (8/29/2014 4:33:00 PM)

    Winter on a farm in Scotland very picturesque...(Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Mohammad SkatiMohammad Skati (8/29/2014 3:39:00 AM)

    Very pretty lines of poetry. We felt it.(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • * Sunprincess * (3/9/2014 1:57:00 AM)

    .........nice lines..
    ~Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing!
    That, in the merry months o' spring,
    Delighted me to hear thee sing, ~(Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Sixtus Unfailingdreams OsimSixtus Unfailingdreams Osim (8/29/2013 1:02:00 PM)

    Indeed this poem is written by a wizard of poesy, and it takes a wizard analyst to analyze it.... Whao strikes most is the brevity and dexterity so far displayed in this piece of poesy. Though i wouldn't fail to mention that the vigour of winter breeze is seriously felt, even though i wasn't there. It is eve running through me now. I'm afraid if such wind comes now our glass windows will be bashed.(Report)Reply

    12 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • Gajanan MishraGajanan Mishra (8/29/2013 11:00:00 AM)

    pitiless the tempest wild, good write, thanks.(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Kevin StrawKevin Straw (8/29/2012 1:06:00 PM)

    As Michael Harmon says there is a lot of this poem missing. Link http: //www.bbc.co.uk/arts/robertburns/works/a_winter_night/(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • Kevin StrawKevin Straw (8/29/2012 9:30:00 AM)

    One has to wonder at the user rating of 5.9 for a classic poem such as this. Perhaps it takes a bit or work to understand. For my money, it is as good as any poem of the 19th century., and out-classes anything in the top ten poems featured on this page. Ramesh is right - Burns does not simply describe the scene, he pushes us into it.(Report)Reply

    15 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Ramesh T ARamesh T A (8/29/2011 11:06:00 AM)

    Effect of storm is very well exposed in this poem by a special of action also! Wonderfully composed poem takes us to the very scene!(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Michael Harmon (8/29/2009 8:45:00 PM)

    Doing a little search, I found that, apparently, there are several more stanzas to this poem. If it that is correct, a proper analysis of the theme of this would not be possible.(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Kevin StrawKevin Straw (8/29/2009 5:40:00 AM)

    A definition of some of these words is needed to get the whole poem. It is a masterful poem. It is in a dialect, but then what poem written in English is not! I must admit to being a little emotionally lost at the end, there am I (with Burns in feeling) in a warm room feeling for the sheep etc in the storm - but is that it? Is Burns saying that the plight of these animals is unavoidable?(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • Rebekah Gamble (3/2/2008 6:42:00 PM)

    This poem is beautiful and shows some rare qualities of genius in it's writer. For instance, Burns gives an abstract idea the human verb of sleep, solidifying something that could never be solid. Then, in likening winter to war, he describes natural weather and natural phenomenon in not only a unique way, but a very human way as well. Finally, he gives unusual notice of the small simple things and captures the uncertainty of them in his questioning of the bird. He sets mood through the use of sister words like 'biting, ' 'shivers, ' and 'dark' in the beginning, and unites this mood at the end of his work with the language such as 'tempest, ' 'pitiless, ' ans 'sore.' Through there traits, this poem teaches us a great deal about well-balanced poetry and truly genius work.(Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
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Read poems about / on: winter, war, spring, sleep, night, heart



Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 13, 2001

Poem Edited: Wednesday, August 29, 2012


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