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While by their nose the tears will revel,
Like ony bead ;·

Death's gien the lodge an unco devel – blow
Tam Samson's dead!

When Winter muffles up his cloak,
And binds the mire like a rock;
When to the loch the curlers 1 flock,
Wi' gleesome speed,


Wha will they station at the cock?
Tam Samson's dead!

He was the king o' a' the core,
To guard, or draw,2 or wick a bore,3
Or up the rink like Jehu roar

In time o' need ;

But now he lags on Death's hog-score
Tam Samson's dead!

proper line

Now safe the stately sawmont sail,
And trouts be-dropped wi' crimson hail,
And eels weel kenned for souple tail,



1 Curling is a game played on the ice with large round stones. The object of the player is to lay his stone as near the mark as possible, to guard that of his partner, if well laid before, and to strike off that of his antagonist; and the great art in the game is to make the stones bend in towards the mark, when it is so blocked up that they cannot be directed in a straight line. See Jamieson's Dict.

2 Go straight to the mark.

3 Strike a stone in an oblique direction.

4 The hog-score is a line crossing the course (rink), near its extremity: a stone which does not pass it is set aside.


And geds for greed, Since dark in Death's fish-creel we wail basket Tam Samson dead!

Rejoice, ye birring paitricks a'; whirring partridges Ye cootie moorcocks crously craw; feather-legged Ye maukins, cock your fud fu' braw, hares-tail Withouten dread;

Your mortal fae is now awa'
Tam Samson's dead!

That woefu' morn be ever mourned
Saw him in shootin' graith adorned,
While pointers round impatient burned,
Frae couples freed;

But, och he gaed, and ne'er returned!
Tam Samson's dead!

In vain auld age his body batters ;
In vain the gout his ankles fetters;
In vain the burns cam' down like waters
An acre braid!


Now every auld wife, greetin', clatters weeping Tam Samson's dead!

Owre many a weary hag he limpit, break in a moss
And aye the tither shot he thumpit,
Till coward Death behind him jumpit,
Wi' deadly feide ;
Now he proclaims, wi' tout o' trumpet,
Tam Samson's dead!


When at his heart he felt the dagger,
He reeled his wonted bottle-swagger,
But yet he drew the mortal trigger
Wi' weel-aimed heed ;

L—, five!" he cried, and owre did stagger— Tam Samson's dead!

Ilk hoary hunter mourned a brither;
Ilk sportsman youth bemoaned a father;
Yon auld gray stane, amang the heather,
Marks out his head,

Where Burns has wrote, in rhyming

Tam Samson's dead!

There low he lies, in lasting rest;
Perhaps upon his mouldering breast
Some spitefu' muirfowl bigs her nest,
To hatch and breed;
Alas! nae mair he'll them molest!
Tam Samson's dead!

When August winds the heather wave,
And sportsmen wander by yon grave,
Three volleys let his memory crave
O' pouther and lead,
Till Echo answer frae her cave,
Tam Samson's dead!

Heaven rest his saul, where'er he be!
Is th' wish o' monie mae than me;


He had twa fauts, or maybe three,
Yet what remead?

Ae social, honest man want we:
Tam Samson's dead!


Tam Samson's weel-worn clay here lies,
Ye canting zealots spare him;
If honest worth in heaven rise,
Ye'll mend or ye win near him.

To cease his grievin',

For yet, unskaithed by Death's gleg


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Go, Fame, and canter like a fillie


Through a' the streets and neuks o' Killie ;
Tell every social, honest billie


Tam Samson's leevin'! 2





1 Killie is a phrase the country-folks sometimes use for Kilmarnock. B.

2 When this worthy old sportsman went out last muirfowl season, he supposed it was to be, in Ossian's phrase, "the last of his fields," and expressed an ardent wish to die and be buried in the muirs. On this hint the author composed his elegy and epitaph. - B.

"The following anecdote was communicated by an intimate friend of Burns, the late William Parker, Esq., of Assloss, a gentleman whose excellent social qualities, and kind, hospitable disposition, will be long remembered in Ayrshire:

"At a jovial meeting one evening in Kilmarnock, at which Burns, Mr. Parker, and Mr. Samson were present, the poet,

after the glass had circulated pretty freely, said 'He had indited a few lines, which, with the company's permission, he would read to them.' The proposal was joyfully acceded to, and the poet immediately read aloud his inimitable Tam Samson's Elegy

'Has auld Kilmarnock seen the deil?' etc.


The company was convulsed with laughter, with the exception of one individual the subject, videlicet, of the verses. As the burden, Tam Samson's dead,' came round, Tam twisted and turned his body into all variety of postures, evidently not on a bed of roses. Burns saw the bait had taken, and fixing his keen black eye on his victim (Sir Walter Scott says that Burns had the finest eyes in his head he had ever seen in mortal,) mercilessly pursued his sport with waggish glee. At last flesh and blood could stand it no longer. Tam, evidently anything but pleased, roared out vociferously: 'Ou ay, but I'm no deid yet!' Shouts of laughter followed from the rest, and Burns continued to read, ever and anon interrupted with Tam's 'Ay, but I'm no deid yet!' After he had finished, Burns took an opportunity of slipping out quietly, and returned in a few minutes with his well-known


Go, Fame, and canter like a fillie

Through a' the streets and neuks o' Killie;
Tell every social, honest billie

To cease his grievin',
For yet, unskaithed by Death's gleg gullie,
Tam Samson's leevin'.'

We need not say that Tam was propitiated. Like the 'humble auld beggar,' in our humorous old Scotch ballad, 'He helpit to drink his ain dregie,' and the night was spent in the usual joyous manner where Burns was the presiding genius. - MERCATOR." (From a Glasgow newspaper, Dec. 7, 1850.)

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