Lines Inscribed In A Lady's Pocket Almanac

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 that were.


Phyllis Logan

About this work

This is an epigram by Robert Burns. It was written in 1793 and is read here by Phyllis Logan.

More about this epigram

The lines here (supposedly rendered extempore) have been glossed by editors as perhaps advocating support for the French Revolution, but are more likely Burns' indictment of the Pitt government in the late 1790s.

The political impetus here allies with the sentiments of other poems such as Why Should We Idly Waste our Prime?, Perish Their Names, On the Year 1793, and certainly in the egalitarian effort behind [A Man's a Man] For A' That.

Lines such as these, rendered upon the pages of an acquaintance's pocketbook and not in print or public, remind us that Burns during the late 1790s probably had much to say about the political climate, but perhaps cannily limited his venting of spleen for private consumption, private letters or conversation only.

Lisa Harrison

Themes for this epigram

revolution equality

Skip to top

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.