Tyrannic Man’s Dominion

Avaunt, away! the cruel sway, / Tyrannic man’s dominion; / The sportsman’s joy, the murd’ring cry / the flutt’ring, gory pinion! –Robert Burns, “Song Composed in August” (1786)

If you love birds but love to shoot them, and love the world and some of its people, too, and not much of anything makes sense to you, then read this poem. The Scottish singer/songwriter Dick Gaughan recorded a beautiful version of this in the 1980s.

NOW westlin winds and slaught’ring guns
  Bring Autumn’s pleasant weather;
The moorcock springs on whirring wings
  Amang the blooming heather:
Now waving grain, wide o’er the plain,        5
  Delights the weary farmer;
And the moon shines bright, when I rove at night,
  To muse upon my charmer.
The partridge loves the fruitful fells,
  The plover loves the mountains;        10
The woodcock haunts the lonely dells,
  The soaring hern the fountains:
Thro’ lofty groves the cushat roves,
  The path of man to shun it;
The hazel bush o’erhangs the thrush,        15
  The spreading thorn the linnet.
Thus ev’ry kind their pleasure find,
  The savage and the tender;
Some social join, and leagues combine,
  Some solitary wander:        20
Avaunt, away! the cruel sway,
  Tyrannic man’s dominion;
The sportsman’s joy, the murd’ring cry,
  The flutt’ring, gory pinion!
But, Peggy dear, the ev’ning’s clear,        25
  Thick flies the skimming swallow,
The sky is blue, the fields in view,
  All fading-green and yellow:
Come let us stray our gladsome way,
  And view the charms of Nature;        30
The rustling corn, the fruited thorn,
  And ev’ry happy creature.
We’ll gently walk, and sweetly talk,
  Till the silent moon shine clearly;
I’ll grasp thy waist, and, fondly prest,        35
  Swear how I love thee dearly:
Not vernal show’rs to budding flow’rs,
  Not Autumn to the farmer,
So dear can be as thou to me,
  My fair, my lovely charmer!        40

Chirp away

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