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But, twenty times, I rather would be,
An atheist clean, Than under gospel colours hid be,
Just for a screen.
An honest man may like a glass,
He'll still disdain,
Like some we ken.
They tak religion in their mouth;
On some puir wight,
To ruin straight.
All hail, Religion ! maid divine !
Thus daurs to name thee;
Can ne'er defame thee.
Tho' blotch't an’ foul wi' monie a stain,
To join wi' those,
In spite o' foes :
In spite o'crowds, in spite o’mobs,
At worth an' merit,
But hellish spirit.
0 Ayr! my dear, my native ground !
Of public teachers,
An' manly preachers.
Sir, in that circle you are nam'd;
(Which gies you honour), Even, Sir, by them your heart's esteemid,
An' winning manner.
Pardon this freedom I have ta’en,
Whase heart ne'er wrang'd ye, But to his utmost would befriend
Ought that belang'd ye.
TO GAVIN HAMILTON, ESQ., MAUCHLINE.
RECOMMENDING A BOY.
Mosgaville, May 3, 1786.
HOLD it, Sir, my
Alias, Laird M.Gaun,*
An' wad hae don't aff han':
As faith I muckle doubt him,
An' tellin' lies about them;
Your clerkship he should sair,
Not fitted otherwhere.
Altho' I say't, he's gleg enough,
The boy might learn to swear ;
* Cromek says, “Master Tootie then lived in Mauchline; a dealer in Cows. It was his common practice to cut the nicks or markings from the horns of cattle, to disguise their age. He was an artful trick-contriving character; hence he is called a Snick-drawer. Burns styles the Devil, in his address to that personage, 'an auld, snick-drawing dog.'
I hae na ony
An' get sic fair example straught,
fear. Ye'll catechize him every quirk,
An’ shore him weel wi' hell;
-Aye when ye gang yoursel.
Frae hame this comin' Friday,
The orders wi' your lady.
My word of honour I hae gi’en,
To meet the Warld's worm :
In legal mode an' form :
When simple bodies let him ;
In faith he's sure to get him.
Ye ken your Laureat scorns :
VAR. ' Earnest money.
EPISTLE TO MR. MADAM,
OF CRAIGEN-GILLAN, IN ANSWER TO AN OBLIGING
LETTER HE SENT IN THE COMMENCEMENT
OF MY POETIC CAREER.
IR, o'er a gill I gat your card,
I trow it made me proud ;
I lap and cry'd fu’ loud.
“ The senseless gawky million ;
“I'm roos’d by Craigen-Gillan !"
To grant your high protection :
Is aye a blest infection.
Match'd Macedonian Sandy!
And when those legs to gude, warm kail,
Wi' welcome canna bear me ;
And barley-scone shall cheer me.