Arts & Culture - Poetry

2007 - 2022

Poem Of The Week: Why Should We Idly Waste Our Prime?

Why should we idly waste our prime
Repeating our oppressions?
Come rouse to arms! ‘Tis now the time
To punish past transgressions.
‘Tis said that Kings can do no wrong —
Their murderous deeds deny it,
And, since from us their power is sprung,
We have a right to try it.
Now each true patriot’s song shall be: —
‘Welcome Death or Libertie!’

Proud Priests and Bishops we’ll translate
And canonize as Martyrs;
The guillotine on Peers shall wait;
And Knights shall hang in garters.
Those Despots long have trode us down,
And Judges are their engines:
Such wretched minions of a Crown
Demand the people’s vengeance!
To-day ’tis theirs. To-morrow we
Shall don the Cap of Libertie!

The Golden Age we’ll then revive:
Each man will be a brother;
In harmony we all shall live,
And share the earth together;
In Virtue train’d, enlighten’d Youth
Will love each fellow-creature;
And future years shall prove the truth
That Man is good by nature:
Then let us toast with three times three
The reign of Peace and Libertie!

Robert Burns is a spoken word artist and slam poet who lives on a farm near Mauchline

Comments (3)

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  1. Mary MacCallum Sullivan says:

    Promising Young Poets of Our Time Award for Mr Burns!

  2. Wul says:

    There’s enough in this poem to have it’s author arrested these days. ( and anyone who decided to protest outside the police station/court room)

  3. Mary McCabe says:

    LIke many similarly radical poems Burns had to write it anonymously. So although it’s attributed to Burns it’s omitted from some collections of his work.
    Alasdair MacDonald does a song version with a jaunty wee melody.

    It’s definitely one to perform at a Burns Supper to waken them all up after the whisky!

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