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But, twenty times, I rather would be,

An atheist clean, Than under gospel colours hid be,

Just for a screen.

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An honest man may like a glass,
An honest man may like a lass,
But mean revenge, an' malice fause,

He'll still disdain,
An' then cry zeal for gospel laws,

Like some we ken.

They tak religion in their mouth;
They talk o' mercy, grace, an' truth,
For what? to gie their malice skouth

On some puir wight,
An' hunt him down, o'er right an' ruth,

To ruin straight.

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All hail, Religion ! maid divine !
Pardon a muse sae mean as mine,
Who in her rough imperfect line

Thus daurs to name thee;
To stigmatize false friends of thine

Can ne'er defame thee.

Tho' blotch't an’ foul wi' monie a stain,
An' far unworthy of thy train,
Wi' trembling voice I tune my strain

To join wi' those,
Who boldly daur thy cause maintain

In spite o' foes :

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In spite o'crowds, in spite o’mobs,
In spite of undermining jobs,
In spite o' dark banditti stabs

At worth an' merit,
By scoundrels, even wi' holy robes,

But hellish spirit.

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0 Ayr! my dear, my native ground !
Within thy presbytereal bound,
A candid, lib'ral band is found

Of public teachers,
As men, as christians too, renown'd,

An' manly preachers.

Sir, in that circle you are nam'd;
Sir, in that circle you are fam'd;
An' some, by whom your doctrine’s blam'd,

(Which gies you honour), Even, Sir, by them your heart's esteemid,

An' winning manner.

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Pardon this freedom I have ta’en,
An' if impertinent I've been,
Impute it not, good Sir, in ane

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

bounden duty,
To warn you how that Master Tootie,

Alias, Laird M.Gaun,*
Was here to lure the lad

away
'Bout whom ye spak the tither day,

An' wad hae don't aff han':
But lest he learn the callan tricks,

As faith I muckle doubt him,
Like scrapin' out auld Crummie's nicks,

An' tellin' lies about them;
As lieve then I'd have then,

Your clerkship he should sair,
If sae be, ye may be

Not fitted otherwhere.

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Altho' I say't, he's gleg enough,
An' 'bout a house that's rude an' rough,

The boy might learn to swear ;
But then wi' you, he'll be sae taught,

* 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

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An' get sic fair example straught,

fear. Ye'll catechize him every quirk,

An’ shore him weel wi' hell;
An' gar him follow to the kirk--

-Aye when ye gang yoursel.
If ye then, maun be then

Frae hame this comin' Friday,
Then please, Sir, to lea'e, Sir,

The orders wi' your lady.

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My word of honour I hae gi’en,
In Paisley John's, that night at e'en,

To meet the Warld's worm :
To try to get the twa to gree,
An' name the airlesan' the fee,

In legal mode an' form :
I ken he weel a snick can draw,

When simple bodies let him ;
An' if a Devil be at a',

In faith he's sure to get him.
To phrase you an' praise you,

Ye ken your Laureat scorns :
The pray'r still, you share still,
Of grateful Minstrel

BURNS.

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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.

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IR, o'er a gill I gat your card,

I trow it made me proud ;
“ See wha taks notice o' the Bard !"

I lap and cry'd fu’ loud.
“Now deil-ma-care about their jaw,

“ The senseless gawky million ;
I'll cock my nose aboon them a’,

“I'm roos’d by Craigen-Gillan !"
'Twas noble, Sir; 'twas like yoursel,

To grant your high protection :
A great man's smile, ye ken fu’weel,

Is aye a blest infection.
Tho', by his banes wha in a tub

Match'd Macedonian Sandy!
On my ain legs, thro' dirt and dub,
I independent stand

ay:

10

And when those legs to gude, warm kail,

Wi' welcome canna bear me ;
A lee dyke-side, a sybow-tail,

And barley-scone shall cheer me.

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