Elegy on the Year 1788

by Robert Burns

FOR lords or kings I dinna mourn,
E’en let them die-for that they’re born:
But oh! prodigious to reflec’!
A Towmont, sirs, is gane to wreck!
O Eighty-eight, in thy sma’ space,
What dire events hae taken place!
Of what enjoyments thou hast reft us!
In what a pickle thou has left us!

The Spanish empire’s tint a head,
And my auld teethless, Bawtie’s dead:
The tulyie’s teugh ’tween Pitt and Fox,
And ’tween our Maggie’s twa wee cocks;
The tane is game, a bluidy devil,
But to the hen-birds unco civil;
The tither’s something dour o’ treadin,
But better stuff ne’er claw’d a middin.

Ye ministers, come mount the poupit,
An’ cry till ye be hearse an’ roupit,
For Eighty-eight, he wished you weel,
An’ gied ye a’ baith gear an’ meal;
E’en monc a plack, and mony a peck,
Ye ken yoursels, for little feck!

Ye bonie lasses, dight your e’en,
For some o’ you hae tint a frien’;
In Eighty-eight, ye ken, was taen,
What ye’ll ne’er hae to gie again.
Observe the very nowt an’ sheep,
How dowff an’ daviely they creep;
Nay, even the yirth itsel’ does cry,
For E’nburgh wells are grutten dry.

O Eighty-nine, thou’s but a bairn,
An’ no owre auld, I hope, to learn!
Thou beardless boy, I pray tak care,
Thou now hast got thy Daddy’s chair;
Nae handcuff’d, mizl’d, hap-shackl’d Regent,
But, like himsel, a full free agent,
Be sure ye follow out the plan
Nae waur than he did, honest man!
As muckle better as you can.January, 1, 1789.

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