Document 672

Dipper: 60 - Profit or Loss

Author(s): Dr James A Begg

Copyright holder(s): Dr James A Begg


'What profit a man if he lose his own soul
And gains all the wealth of the world?'
What profit the world from the damage untold,
As great Multinationals, like pirates of old,
Treat our birthright as loot to be pillaged and sold:
- With the dread Skull and Crossbones unfurled

On the drums and containers of chemical waste,
Cancer-spawned by industrial blight,
Being buried or dumped off with indecent haste,
Wherever there's minimum chance of being traced;
Ignoring the consequent perils then faced
By all creatures - from man to mere mite?

Industrial sewers from Seine to the Rhine
Slip their cocktails of death to the seas;
And a brew much more lethal than Borgia's wine,
Sends our seal stocks and fish in a spiral decline,
While our Governments tell us that 'Everything's fine',
As they pocket their V.A.T. Fees!

Meanwhile spiralling upwards, an incense profane
Accompanies their Mammon-god prayers,
As sulphur and nitrogen oxides sustain
Tree-deadly deposits of acidic rain;
And aerosol chlorfluorocarbons maintain
Giant holes in our Earth's ozone layers.

Whole rain forests toppled at frightening speed,
Himalayas denuded of trees;
One - victim of folly and rapacious greed,
The other of poverty, ignorance and need;
But both desecrations are destined to lead
To fair Earth being brought to her knees.

For our life-giving oxygen sources are these;
Photosynthesis must be maintained;
We cannot let others just do as they please -
- Our very existence depends on those trees:
So before we expire in a terminal wheeze,
We must ponder - 'Just what have we gained?'

Each person must wake up and see for himself,
The lands that have withered and curled;
The tired, tainted seas which, with sick silent stealth,
Are slowly and surely destroying our health:
What profit Mankind if some gain all this wealth?
- And WE finish up LOSING THE WORLD!

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The SCOTS Project and the University of Glasgow do not necessarily endorse, support or recommend the views expressed in this document.


Cite this Document

APA Style:

Dipper: 60 - Profit or Loss. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 24 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Dipper: 60 - Profit or Loss." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 24 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Dipper: 60 - Profit or Loss," accessed 24 July 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 672

Dipper: 60 - Profit or Loss


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1988
Word count 312
General description Anthology of prizewinning and other Scots poems, and short stories in Ayrshire Scots.

Text medium

Other Audiocassette

Text publication details

Publisher Luath Press
Publication year 1991
Place of publication Barr, Ayrshire
ISBN/ISSN 0946487227
Edition First
Part of larger text
Contained in The Dipper an the Three Wee Deils: Tales and Poems in Ayrshire Scots
Editor Authors: Dr. J. A. Begg and J. Reid
Page numbers 146-147

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 623
Title Dr
Forenames James
Initials A
Surname Begg
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Medical Practitioner
Place of birth New Cumnock
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Ayr
Region of residence S Ayr
Residence CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Clerical Officer, NCB
Father's place of birth Sandbank
Father's region of birth Argyll
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Arg
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Primary Teacher
Mother's place of birth New Cumnock
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
Danish No No No No A little
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially, at work
French Yes Yes Yes Yes Holidaying in France
Norwegian No No No No A little
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially, at work