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Scottish Epitaphs

The circular tomb of David Hume on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill bears the inscription:

Within this circular idea,
Called vulgarly a tomb,
The ideas and impressions lie
That constituted Hume.

Here lyes Bessy Bell,
But whereabouts I cannot tell.
Glasgow Necropolis

Here lies the bodeys of George Young
and Isobel Guthrie, and all their
posterity for fifty years backwards.
A stone, dated 1757, in Montrose.

Here lies one who might have been
trusted with untold gold, but not
with unmeasured whisky.

Sir Walter Scott loved no man more than his servant Torn
Purdie, a former poacher who had come before Sir Walter in his capacity as sheriff.

Here lies the bones of Tammy Messer,
Of tarry wool he was a dresser;
He had some faults and mony merits,
And died of drinking ardent spirits.
A Scots wool worker.

Here lies Willie Michie’s bones;
O Satan, when ye tak him,
Gie him the schoolin’ of your weans,
For clever deils he’ll mak them!
Robert Burns.


Ye maggots, feed on Nicol’s brain,
For few sic feasts you’ve gotten,
And fix your claws in Nicol’s heart,
For deil a bit o’t’s rotten.
Robert Burns.


Earthed up, here lies an imp of hell
Planted by Satan’s dibble:
Poor silly wretch, he’d damned himsel
To save the Lord the trouble.
Robert Burns.


Lament him, Mauchline husbands a’,
He aften did assist ye;
For had ye staid whole weeks awa,
Your wives they ne’er had miss’d ye.

Ye Mauchline bairns, as on ye pass
To school in bands thegither,
O tread ye lightly on his grass;
Perhaps he was your father.
Robert Burns.

Sound the fife, and cry the slogan,
Let the pibroch shake the air
With its wild triumphal music

Worthy of the freight we bear.
Let the ancient hills of Scotland
Hear once more the battle-song
Swell within their glens and valleys
As the clansmen march along!
W. E. Aytoun.

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