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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Samson, Thomas (1722 - 95)

A Kilmarnock friend of Burns, he was 'a seedsman of good credit, a zealous sportsman. and a good fellow'. Burns recalled that when he had been out moor-fowling, Samson believed it to be his last such outing, and had expressed a desire to he buried in the moors. On this hint the author composed his 'Elegy and Epitaph'. The epitaph was:
"Tarn Samson's weel-worn clay here
Ye canting Zealots, spare him !
If Honest Worth in Heaven rise,
Ye'll mend or ye win near him."

Burns was said to have often met Samson in the 'Bowling-green House', an inn which Alexander Patrick, the nurseryman's son-in-law, kept. It was here, at a convivial party, that Burns read 'Tam Samson's Elegy' to the company. Samson kept reiterating that he wasn't dead. So, after Burns had finished reading, he went out and returned with the additional 'per contra' stanza:

"Go, Fame, an' canter like a filly,
Thro' a' the streets an' neuks o' Killie,
Tell ev'ry social, honest billie
To cease his grievin' ,
For yet, unskaithed by Death's gleg gullie, [unharmed, sharp knife
Tam Samson's livin' !"

Along with the Ministers Robertson and Mackinlay, mentioned in the first stanza, Samson lies buried in the Laigh Kirkyard, Kilmarnock, beneath Burns's epitaph. The firm was still in business in Kilmarnock in 1969.

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Hint: Type "lang syne" or "peck maut" etc. into the Search box there for all artists, titles, descriptions or track listings with the words entered.
Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

ScotwebThe finest Scottish shopping site in the world, with the world's largest choice of kilts and tartans, exclusive jewelry, Highland Dress, Bagpipes and piping supplies, cashmere, and much more. Buying from these sites helps pay for the upkeep of Burns Country! Click here...