Awa Whigs Awa

Awa whigs awa, Awa whigs awa, Ye're but a pack o' traitor louns, Ye'll do nae gude at a'. Our thrissles flourish'd fresh and fair, And bonie bloom'd our roses; But whigs cam like a frost in June, And wither'd a' our posies. Our ancient crown's fa'n in the dust; Deil blin' them wi' the stoure o't, And write their names in his black beuk Wha gae the whigs the power o't! Our sad decay in church and state Surpasses my descriving: The whigs cam o'er us for a curse, And we have done wi'thriving. Grim Vengeance lang has taen a nap, But we may see him wauken: Gude help the day when royal heads Are hunted like a maukin. Awa whigs awa, Awa whigs awa, Ye're but a pack o' traitor louns, Ye'll do nae gude at a'.


Alison Peebles

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1790 and is read here by Alison Peebles.

More about this song

This song was modelled on a fragment which appeared in the Herd MSS. David Herd (1732-1810) brought out a collection, Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc (1769).

The English folklorist Joseph Ritson (1752-1803) reprinted the lines that Burns wrote in his edition, Collection of Scottish Songs (1794), and James Hogg did the same for his work, The Jacobite Relics of Scotland (1819), which this time was accompanied by three additional stanzas.

The song itself is a lampoon of the Whigs and the values that they attach to the Revolution of 1688.

Ralph McLean

Themes for this song

religion politics

Selected for 01 March

On this day in 1979, despite a majority of 'Yes' votes amongst those going to the polls, a rancorously contested referendum failed to endorse the idea of a devolved Assembly for Scotland. It might be inferred from his actions and writings that Burns would have been in favour of a restored Parliament, but with so contradictory a character, one can never be sure. What is certain is the Bard's contempt for the unions of Crown and Parliament. This poem leaves no doubt as to his views on a contentious constitutional issue from his own time.

Donny O'Rourke

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