Lines written on windows of the Globe Tavern, Dumfries

The greybeard, old wisdom, may boast of his treasures, Give me with gay folly to live; I grant him his calm-blooded, time-settled pleasures, But folly has raptures to give. I Murder hate by field and flood, Tho' glory's name may screen us; In wars at home I'll spend my blood, Life-giving wars of Venus: The deities that I adore Are social Peace and Plenty; I'm better pleased to make one more, Than be the death of twenty. I would not die like Socrates, For all the fuss of Plato; Nor would I with Leonidas, Nor yet would I with Cato: The Zealots of the Church, or State, Shall ne'er my mortal foes be, But let me have bold Zimri's fate, Within the arms of Cosbi! My bottle is a holy pool, That heals the wounds o' care an' dool; And pleasure is a wanton trout, An ye drink it, ye'll find him out. In politics if thou would'st mix, And mean thy fortunes be; Bear this in mind, be deaf and blind, Let great folks hear and see.


Kate Dickie

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1796 and is read here by Kate Dickie.

Themes for this poem

humour religion politics

Locations for this poem


Selected for 11 November

'I murder hate'... For Armistice Day we present Robert Burns's most scathingly anti war 'protest' poem. The Bard (usually) deplored war and his revisions of old songs and poems often deleted all glorifying allusions to armed conflict. Yet he was not a strict pacifist and served with the Dumfries Militia. Indeed, contrary to his unambiguous wishes, he was buried in their uniform. Today's selection is his 18th century anticipation of the Sixties slogan, 'make love not war'. As he disarmingly puts it: 'I'm better pleased to make one more than be the death of twenty...'.

Donny O'Rourke

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