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

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

Introduction:
Written in April 1789, the theme of this poem is the hare, Burns' 'poor wanderer of the wood and field', which, alas, has been shot.
Image Rights Holder:
National Trust for Scotland
Ref:
BMT331.13
Project:
618:The Burns Manuscripts at Alloway
What:
Poem by Robert Burns: 'On Seeing a Wounded Hare limp by me, which a Fellow had just shot at'
Subject:
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...'.
Who:
Frances Anna Dunlop (1730-1815) (friend of Burns)
Robert Burns (author)
When:
April 1789 (period of composition)
Where:
The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, South Ayrshire
Background:
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...'.
Description:
In the opening quatrain, the poet furnishes the perpetrator of this heinous act with the epithet 2inhuman man!'. The Poet goes on to wish numerous misfortunes on the fellow. Then there is a turn - Burns' 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'.