Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
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Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
5. Tragic Fragment—All villain as I am
 
 
ALL villain as I am—a damnèd wretch,
A hardened, stubborn, unrepenting villain,
Still my heart melts at human wretchedness;
And with sincere but unavailing sighs
I view the helpless children of distress:        5
With tears indignant I behold the oppressor
Rejoicing in the honest man’s destruction,
Whose unsubmitting heart was all his crime.—
Ev’n you, ye hapless crew! I pity you;
Ye, whom the seeming good think sin to pity;        10
Ye poor, despised, abandoned vagabonds,
Whom Vice, as usual, has turn’d o’er to ruin.
Oh! but for friends and interposing Heaven,
I had been driven forth like you forlorn,
The most detested, worthless wretch among you!        15
O injured God! Thy goodness has endow’d me
With talents passing most of my compeers,
Which I in just proportion have abused—
As far surpassing other common villains
As Thou in natural parts has given me more.        20
 

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