Epitaph on John Dove, Innkeeper

Here lies Johnny Pidgeon, What was his religion, Whae-er desires to ken, To some other warl Maun follow the carl, For here Johnny Pidgeon had nane. Strong ale was ablution, Small beer persecution, A dram was memento mori; But a full flowing bowl, Was the saving his soul, And Port was celestial glory.


Daniela Nardini

About this work

This is an epitaph by Robert Burns. It was written in 1785 and is read here by Daniela Nardini.

More about this epitaph

'Epitaph on John Dove' was first published in 1801, although the verses may have been composed as early as 1785.

John Dove (also referred to as John Dow) was publican of the Whiteford Arms in Mauchline and an acquaintance of Robert Burns. Burns's conflation of religious language and alcohol in these verses might be considered a humorous, if somewhat sardonic, allusion to the eighteenth-century kirk's voiced disapproval of alcohol and public houses.

Pauline Mackay

Themes for this epitaph

man drink religion

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.