Friday, 13 February 2009

Robert Burns' Doctor Hornbook

In an earlier posting I'd mentioned Robert Burns 1785 poem Death And Doctor Hornbook, with reference to Francis Boyle's Hornbook's Ghaist. I have to admit I wasn't familiar with the Burns poem so I looked it up. I thought the second stanza was interesting!

But this that I am gaun to tell,
Which lately on a night befell,
Is just as true's the Deil's in hell
Or Dublin city:
That e'er he nearer comes oursel'
'S a muckle pity.


  1. It's like that wee song:

    Some say the Divil's deid
    Some say he's hardly
    Some say the Divil's deid
    And buried in KIllarney!

    Your blog's great - keep it coming!

  2. I should also have said that this is believed to be the only reference Burns ever made to Ireland in his work

  3. Nice one, Mark!

    Maybe it's a case of life imitating art, but a Dublin man who killed a stranger with garden shears because he thought he was the devil has pleaded not guilty to murder by reason of insanity at the Central Criminal Court.

    The Scottish version of the song is:

    Some say the devil's dead
    And buried in Kirkcaldy
    More say he rose again
    And danced the Heiland Laddie