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Annotations in Verse


Wisdom and Science - honor'd Powers! Pardon the truth a sinner tells; I owe my dearest, raptured hours To folly with her cap and bells. Grant me, indulgent Heaven, that I may live To see the miscreants feel the pains they give: Deal Freedom's sacred treasures free as air, Till Slave and Despot be but things which were! Perish their names, however great or brave, Who in the Despot's cursed errands bleed! But who for Freedom fills a hero's grave, Fame with a Seraph-pen, record the glorious deed! Love's records, written on a heart like mine, Not Time's last effort can efface a line.

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Lorraine McIntosh

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1793 and is read here by Lorraine McIntosh.

More about this poem

These short lines were written by Burns in John Syme’s copy of the ‘Della Cruscan’, which was contained in the British Album. Syme himself noted that it was, ‘wrote by Rob[ert] Burns who had the loan of this book June 1793’.

Ralph McLean

Themes for this poem

life future

Selected for 02 October

Chemist, Sir William Ramsay, discoverer of radon, helium, neon and krypton was born on this day in 1852. Today is also the anniversary of his fellow Scot, Patrick Geddes, who was born two years later. The philosopher and founder of the science of urban planning took inspiration from Burns's democratic ideals and love of nature and community. Our chosen poem opens with a salute to wisdom and science.

Donny O'Rourke

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