On Elphinston’s Translation of Martial’s Epigrams (Poem by Robert Burns)

Old Poem



On Elphinston’s Translation of Martial’s Epigrams
By Robert Burns


O thou, whom poesy abhors,
Whom prose has turned out of doors,
Heard’st thou that groan? proceed no further;
’Twas laurell’d Martial roaring murther!

[Burns thus relates the origin of this sally:—“Stopping at a merchant’s shop in Edinburgh, a friend of mine one day put Elphinston’s Translation of Martial into my hand, and desired my opinion of it. I asked permission to write my opinion on a blank leaf of the book; which being granted, I wrote this epigram.”]

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