Prayer—o Thou Dread Power

written by Robert Burns

Prayer—o Thou Dread Power

— Robert Burns

O THOU dread Power, who reign'st above,
I know thou wilt me hear,
When for this scene of peace and love,
I make this prayer sincere.


The hoary Sire—the mortal stroke,
Long, long be pleas'd to spare;
To bless this little filial flock,
And show what good men are.


She, who her lovely offspring eyes
With tender hopes and fears,
O bless her with a mother's joys,
But spare a mother's tears!


Their hope, their stay, their darling youth.
In manhood's dawning blush,
Bless him, Thou God of love and truth,
Up to a parent's wish.


The beauteous, seraph sister-band—
With earnest tears I pray—
Thou know'st the snares on ev'ry hand,
Guide Thou their steps alway.


When, soon or late, they reach that coast,
O'er Life's rough ocean driven,
May they rejoice, no wand'rer lost,
A family in Heaven!

About the poet


Robert Burns

Burns, sometimes known as the 'ploughman poet', was the eldest son of a poverty-stricken farmer. Though his father had moved to Ayrshire, where Burns was born, in order to attempt to improve his fortunes, he eventually died as a bankrupt - after taking on first one farm and then, unsuccessful, moving to another - in 1784. Robert, who had been to school since the age of six, and was also educated at home by a teacher, had, by the age of fifteen, already become the farm's chief labourer. He had also acquired a reading knowledge of French and Latin and had read Shakespeare, Dryden, Milton and the Bible. After his father's death, he and his brother continued farming together, working now...

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