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Why Should We Idly Waste Our Prime

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

1.
Why should we idly waste our prime
Repeating our oppressions?
Come rouse to arms! 'Tis now the time
To punish past transgressions.
'Tis said that Kings can do no wrong --
Their murderous deeds deny it,
And, since from us their power is sprung,
We have a right to try it.
Now each true patriot's song shall be: -
'Welcome Death or Libertie!'
2.
Proud Priests and Bishops we'll translate
And canonize as Martyrs;
The guillotine on Peers shall wait;
And Knights shall hang in garters.
Those Despots long have trode us down,
And Judges are their engines:
Such wretched minions of a Crown
Demand the people's vengeance!
To-day 'tis theirs. To-morrow we
Shall don the Cap of Libertie!
3.
The Golden Age we'll then revive:
Each man will be a brother;
In harmony we all shall live,
And share the earth together;
In Virtue train'd, enlighten'd Youth
Will love each fellow-creature;
And future years shall prove the truth
That Man is good by nature:
Then let us toast with three times three
The reign of Peace and Libertie!

 


Why should we idly waste our prime
Repeating our oppressions?
Come rouse to arms! It is now the time
To punish past transgressions.
It is said that Kings can do no wrong -
Their murderous deeds deny it,
And, since from us their power is sprung,
We have a right to try it.
Now each true patriot's song shall be: -
'Welcome Death or Liberty!'

Proud Priests and Bishops we will translate
And canonize as Martyrs;
The guillotine on Peers shall wait;
And Knights shall hang in garters.
Those Despots long have trod us down,
And Judges are their engines:
Such wretched minions of a Crown
Demand the people's vengeance!
To-day it is theirs. To-morrow we
Shall don the Cap of Liberty!

The Golden Age we will then revive:
Each man will be a brother;
In harmony we all shall live,
And share the earth together;
In Virtue trained, enlightened Youth
Will love each fellow-creature;
And future years shall prove the truth
That Man is good by nature:
Then let us toast with three times three
The reign of Peace and Liberty!

 

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