On Mr Pit's hair-powder tax


Pray Billy Pit explain thy rigs, This new poll-tax of thine! 'I mean to mark the Guinea Pigs From other common Swine'

Listen

Lorraine McIntosh

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1795 and is read here by Lorraine McIntosh.

Themes for this poem

politics war

Selected for 06 June

Today, some more political satire to add to the topical tomfoolery in yesterday's piece. Although very proud of his 'French Queue', or pony tail, Robert Burns never wore a wig and had no need therefore of hair powder. On May 5th, 1795 the Prime Minister, William Pitt had introduced a much derided and resented tax on this grooming product, much affected by the fashionable and effete. In fact 'periwigs' had already begun to go out of style. Within the month, many former wig wearers had begun to follow the Bard's example. Even that dandy's dandy, Beau Brummell, decided upon a more natural and less expensive look.

Donny O'Rourke

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.