Epigram on Captain Francis Grose, The Celebrated Antiquary


The devil got notice that Grose was a-dying, So whip! at the summons, old Satan came flying; But when he approach'd where poor Francis lay moaning, And saw each bed-post with its burden a-groaning, Astonished! Confounded! cry'd Satan, by God, I'll want 'im, ere I take such a damnable load.

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Simon Tait

About this work

This is an epigram by Robert Burns. It was written in 1790 and is read here by Simon Tait.

More about this epigram

Francis Grose (1731-1791) was the son of an immigrant Swiss jeweller, and first met Burns at Friars’ Carse in 1789 when he was collecting pieces for his Antiquities of Scotland (2 vols, 1789-1791).

Burns was impressed by Grose, and in a letter to Mrs Dunlop stated, "I have never seen a man of more original observation, anecdote and remark... His delight is to steal thro’ the country almost unknown, both as most favorable to his humour and his business."

Burns composed this poem after Grose had died in Dublin, collecting material for a proposed work on the antiquities of Ireland.

In this epigram, Burns overtly references the fact that Grose was heavily overweight, so much so that even Satan would think twice about taking him.

Ralph McLean

Themes for this epigram

death friendship

Selected for 07 July

To add to the previous selection for July 6th, a second piece in memory of the poem collector, George Grose.

Donny O'Rourke

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