MS: 'On Seeing a Wounded Hare limp by me, which a Fellow had just shot at'

Date:
1789 
Creator:
Robert Burns, Author 
Object Number:
3.6215.m

Summary

Written in April 1789, the theme of this poem is the hare, Burns's 'poor wanderer of the wood and field', which has been shot.

In the opening quatrain, the poet furnishes the perpetrator of this heinous act with the epithet 'inhuman man!' The Poet goes on to wish numerous misfortunes to the fellow. Then there is a turn - Burns's sensibilities now switch to the hare, the little 'mangled wretch' who seeks his 'dying bed', all the while pressing 'The cold earth with thy bloody bosom'.

Burns wrote to Mrs Dunlop on 21 April 1789: '[while] sowing in the fields, I heard a shot, and presently a poor little hare limped by me, apparently very much hurt. ... this set my humanity in tears...'.

This particular manuscript is part of the Afton Manuscript collection. This collection of thirteen poems was presented by Robert to Mrs Alexander Stewart of Stair in 1791.

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