The Exciseman

Income Tax Due Date

Apr 15

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Titanic Day
Income Tax Due Date
The Exciseman
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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

The Exciseman

Today is the day taxes are due in the U.S., a result of the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1913, which gave Congress the power to levy taxes on income.   The new amendment inspired a whole new generation of increased tax aversion, tax avoidance, and continual calls to repeal.  


An exciseman (or tax collector)  are often portrayed in fiction negatively, and in the modern world share a somewhat similar stereotype to that of lawyers and politicians.


In one of his last careers, Robert Burns spent time as an exciseman, and although he started out enthusastically, poor health and probable disillusionment with the duties yielded the following poem:


The Deil's Awa Wi' The Exciseman, 1792

The deil cam fiddlin' thro' the town, 
And danc'd awa wi' th' Exciseman, 
And ilka wife cries, "Auld Mahoun, 
I wish you luck o' the prize, man." 

Chorus-The deil's awa, the deil's awa, 
The deil's awa wi' the Exciseman, 
He's danc'd awa, he's danc'd awa, 
He's danc'd awa wi' the Exciseman. 

We'll mak our maut, and we'll brew our drink, 
We'll laugh, sing, and rejoice, man, 
And mony braw thanks to the meikle black deil, 
That danc'd awa wi' th' Exciseman. 
The deil's awa, &c. 

There's threesome reels, there's foursome reels, 
There's hornpipes and strathspeys, man, 
But the ae best dance ere came to the land 
Was-the deil's awa wi' the Exciseman. 
The deil's awa, &c.

If taxes are due for you today, why not try the Income Tax cocktail, a blend of gin, vermouth, and of course, bitters.   Click the illustration for this poem by Thomas Stothard (1755-1834) for the recipe.

The Exciseman
The Exciseman

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The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the


Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 


Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

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