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The Exciseman

Tax Days

Apr 15

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"There’s threesome reels, there’s foursome reels,
there’s hornpipes and strathspeys, man,
But the ae best dance ere cam to the land was
The Deil’s Awa wi’ the Exciseman."

~ The Deil's Awa Wi' The Exciseman, Robert Burns, 1792

Taxes, taxes, taxes! In the United States and the UK, April is the month associated with tax bills or the calculation thereof. Tax Freedom Day, in contrast, is the first day of the year in which a nation as a whole has theoretically earned enough income to pay its taxes. Varying from country to country, and calculated separately throughout regional tax jurisdictions, Tax Freedom day is effectively the first day you work for yourself! 💸

The Exciseman

In one of his last careers, Robert Burns spent time as an exciseman (tax collector), 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

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

The Exciseman

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