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How monie hearts this day converts
O’ sinners and o’lasses !
As saft as ony flesh is.
There's some are fou o brandy;
Some ither day.
The names of persons in this satiric drama are given from the Poet's manuscripts ; more about them will be found in the note to “ The Ordination." The scene is laid in the church-yard of Mauchline : the clergyman of the parish, with his assistants, are exhibited on the stage, while the lay members of the congregation, swelled by auxiliary weavers from Kilmarnock, compose the numerous persons of the under-plot of the piece. The Poet seems at first to have contemplated the introduction of allegorical figurantes. The parts which Fun, Hypocrisy, and Superstition have alloted to them in conceiving the poem have not been indicated; and, perhaps, it was but the aim of the Poet to awaken the attention of the reader to the scenes of fun, superstition, and hypocrisy which he proposed to disclose on “ the holy spot,” where he desired to meet them.
In these personages he had his eye on Fergusson's poem of “ Leith Races :".
“ In July month, ae bonny morn,
When Nature's robe lay green,
To charm our roving een ;
Glowrin' about I saw a quean,
The fairest 'neath the lift;
Sae white that day." This personage upbraids Fergusson for going idly musing along the streets of Edinburgh, when he should be at Leith races to observe and sing of the fun and folly of mankind; the poet naturally inquires the name of his fair counsellor ; she answers, like Fun in the “ Holy Fair,”—
"I dwell among the cauler springs,
That weet the land o' cakes,
At bridals and late wakes;
To grumble or look sour;
And pith this day," Mirth, in her allegorical quality, neglects to accompany the Poet to the races—though he meets "wi' muckle fun and daffin."-" There are traits of infinite merit,” says Jeffrey, “ in “Scotch Drink,' · The Holy Fair,' 'The Hallow E’en,' and several of the songs; in all of which it is very remarkable that he rises occasionally into a strain of beautiful description or lofty sentiment, far above the pitch of his original conception."
“ For sense they little owe to frugal heav'n
To please the mob they hide the little giv'n.”
KILMARNOCK wabsters fidge an' claw,
An' pour your creeshie nations ;
wha leather rax an' draw,
An' there tak up your stations ;
For joy this day.
Curst Common-sense, that imp o' hell,
Cam in wi' Maggie Lauder ;* But Oliphant aft made her yell,
An' Russell sair misca'd her ;
And he's the boy will blaud her !
Wi' dirt this day.
* Alluding to a scoffing ballad which was made on the admission of the late reverend and worthy Mr. Lindsay to the Laigh Kirk.
Mak haste an’turn king David owre,
An' lilt wi' holy clangor ;
An' skirl up the Bangor:
Nae mair the knaves shall wrang her,
Wi' pith this day.
An' touch it aff wi' vigour,
Which made Canaan a niger ;
Wi' wh-re-abhorring rigour;
I'th' inn that day. There, try his mettle on the creed,
And bind him down wi' caution,
He taks but for the fashion ;
And punish each transgression ;
Spare them nae day.
Genesis ix. 22.
† Numbers xxv. 8.
# Exodus iv. 25°
Now, auld Kilmarnock, cock thy tail,
And toss thy horns fu' canty ;
Because thy pasture's scanty ;
Shall fill thy crib in plenty,
But ilka day.
To think upon our Zion;
Like baby-clouts a-dryin':
And o'er the thairms be tryin';
Fu' fast this day ! Lang Patronage, wi' rod o' airn,
Has shor'd the Kirk's undoin',
Has proven to its ruin :
He saw mischief was brewin';
And sound this day.