Epitaph on John Bushby Esq


Here lies John Bushby - honest man, Cheat him, Devil - if you can

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Alan Cumming

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1796 and is read here by Alan Cumming.

More about this song

John Bushby was the Sherriff Clerk of the County when Burns moved to Dumfries, and supposedly the two did enjoy a friendship.

However after Bushby tricked the poet into burning his mouth on a hot pudding which he told him was cold, the friendship itself turned frosty.

If this tale is more than merely apocryphal, it would indicate why there such a play on honesty and cheating in the two lines. Burns also satirized him in John Bushby's Lamentation.

Ralph McLean

Themes for this song

death humour

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