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Click to listen: https://soundcloud.com/words-of-burns/epigram-at-roslin-inn

In 1787, when Robert Burns had found growing fame after the first publication of his work, he stayed overnight at the Roslin Inn along with the painter, Nasmyth. He reportedly wrote the following epigram addressed to the landlady on the back of the bill. There are two published versions of the second last line – I have chosen the one from the MacKay collection.

“My blessings on ye, honest wife!

I ne'er was here before;

Ye've wealth o' gear for spoon and knife-

Heart could not wish for more.

Heav'n keep you clear o' sturt and strife,

Till far ayont fourscore,

And by the Lord o’ death and life,

I'll ne'er gae by your door!”


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