Elegy On The Death Of Robert Ruisseaux

Now Robin lies in his last lair, He'll gabble rhyme, nor sing nae mair; Cauld poverty, wi' hungry stare, Nae mair shall fear him; Nor anxious fear, nor cankert care, E'er mair come near him. To tell the truth, they seldom fash'd him, Except the moment that they crush'd him; For sune as chance or fate had hush'd 'em Tho' e'er sae short. Then wi' a rhyme or sang he lash'd 'em, And thought it sport. Tho'he was bred to kintra-wark, And counted was baith wight and stark, Yet that was never Robin's mark To mak a man; But tell him, he was learn'd and clark, Ye roos'd him then!


Tom Fleming

About this work

This is an epitaph by Robert Burns. It is read here by Tom Fleming.

More about this epitaph

This is actually a mock-elegy and the subject is Burns himself. Ruisseaux is French for brooks, streams – or, burns, and is therefore a play on his surname.

It dates from around 1787.

Ralph McLean

Themes for this epitaph


Selected for 25 July

Robert Burns was buried on July 25th, 1796 with all the pomp he had deplored in life and stipulated against in his will. The entire town of Dumfries turned out in the late Bard's honour. Later, there would be a mausoleum in Dumfries and monuments all over the world. Burns the tireless writer of epitaphs for the living had wryly anticipated his own funeral. With the facts and feelings he expresses, it is difficult to disagree.

Donny O'Rourke

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