On a Schoolmaster in Cleish Parish, Fifeshire

HERE lie Willie Michie's banes, O Satan when ye tak him, Gie him the schulin'o' your weans; For clever Deils he'll mak'em!


Joyce Falconer

About this work

This is an epitaph by Robert Burns. It was written in 1787 and is read here by Joyce Falconer.

Themes for this epitaph

brotherhood humour

Selected for 10 August

It was on August 10th, 1872, that the Education Act came into force in Scotland ensuring elementary school provision for every child. The Kirk played an important role in widening access to and raising the standards of schooling. Though taught at home by a tutor, Burns had an excellent education across a variety of subjects. William Murdoch was as effective a pedagogue as the school master complimented backhandedly in today's little poem. Michie, visited convivially by the bard and Willie Nicol, himself a teacher, fell asleep and was immediately the victim of one of Burns's mock epitaphs. He soon woke up and lived on until 1812.

Donny O'Rourke

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