farm gate in watercolour

Robert Burns: The Wounded Hare

Robert Burns was inspired by nature, often referred to as ‘Nature’s Poet’ The Wounded Hare is another example of this.

wounded in the field in watercolour
Wounded in the Field in Watercolour

The Wounded Hare was written by Robert Burns after he saw an injured hare limping after a man had tried to shoot it. Burns absorbed the animals, nature and life that surrounded him. This short poem portrays his feelings towards this creature and the pain caused by man.

“On seeing a wounded hare limp by me,

which a fellow had just shot.”

Robert Burns

Written in 1789, during his time living on Ellisland Farm in Dumfries, the language used is a little more universal throughout the poem than some of his other work.

The Wounded Hare

Inhuman man! curse on thy barb'rous art,
And blasted be thy murder-aiming eye;
May never pity soothe thee with a sigh,
Nor ever pleasure glad thy cruel heart.

Go live, poor wanderer of the wood and field!
The bitter little that of life remains:
No more the thickening brakes and verdant plains
To thee shall home, or food, or pastime yield.

Seek, mangled wretch, some place of wonted rest,
No more of rest, but now thy dying bed!
The sheltering rushes whistling o'er thy head,
The cold earth with thy bloody bosom prest.

Oft as by winding Nith, I, musing, wait
The sober eve, or hail the cheerful dawn;
I'll miss thee sporting o'er the dewy lawn,
And curse the ruffian's aim, and mourn thy hapless fate.

the hare on the nith in watercolour
The Hare on the Nith in Watercolour

Whilst living with his wife Jean Armour at Scotland’s Ellisland farm, Robert Burns was greatly inspired by the nature that surrounded him. The open fields stretched far and wide at one side whilst the river Nith flowed at the other.

Robert Burns wrote some of his most famous poems and songs at the farm, including ‘The Wounded Hare’. Ellisland Farm is now open to visitors, showing the rural life of Burns. The farm is also a good starting point for a Burns themed riverside walk, absorbing the same river and fields that the writer took his inspiration from.

Other examples of how Robert Burns was inspired by nature can be found in To A Mouse and Red Red Rose.

A View to Inspire in Watercolour

The images used in this article may be used solely after obtaining a licence through the image links provided. They are also available as wall art.

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