Robert Tannahill

The Wandering Bard

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Chill the wintry winds were blowing,
Foul the murky night was snowing,
Through the storm the minstrel, bowing,
Sought the inn on yonder moor.
All within was warm and cheery,
All without was cold and dreary,
There the wand'rer, old and weary,
Thought to pass the night secure.

Softly rose his mournful ditty,
Suiting to his tale of pity;
But the master, scoffing, witty,
Check'd Inns strain with scornful jeer:
"Hoary vagrant, frequent comer,
Canst thou guide thy gains of summer?--
No, thou old intruding thrummer,
Thou canst have no lodging here."

Slow the bard departed, sighing;
Wounded worth forbade replying;
One last feeble effort trying,
Faint he sunk no more to rise.
Through his harp the breeze sharp ringing,
Wild his dying dirge was singing,
While his soul, from insult springing,
Sought its mansion in the skies.

Now, though wintry winds be blowing,
Night be foul, with raining, snowing,
Still the trav'ller, that way going,
Shuns the inn upon the moor
Though within 'tis warm and cheery,
Though without 'tis cold and dreary,
Still he minds the minstrel weary,
Spurn'd from that unfriendly door.

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