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"A robe of seeming truth and trust
Hid crafty observation;

And secret hung, with poisoned crust,
The dirk of Defamation:

A mask that like the gorget showed,
Dye-varying on the pigeon;
And for a mantle large and broad,
He wrapt him in Religion."

Hypocrisy à-la-Mode.

The transactions described in this piece are those which attended a rural celebration of the communion in Scotland till a very recent period, if not till the present day. But it is important to notice that the rite itself, and even the place where it was administered, form no part of the picture. Burns limits himself to the assemblage, partly composed of parishioners and partly of strangers, which takes place on such occasions, in some open space near the church, where a succession of clergymen, usually from the neighboring parishes, give from a tent or movable pulpit a succession of services, while a lesser body are attending the more solemn ritual within doors. That Burns's de

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scription is not exaggerated in any particular, is rendered certain by a passage which we shall take leave to adduce from a pamphlet published in the year of the poet's birth, under the title of A Letter from a Blacksmith to the Ministers and Elders of the Church of Scotland. "In Scotland," says this writer, "they run from kirk to kirk, and flock to see a sacrament, and make the same use of it that the papists do of their pilgrimages and processions; that is, indulge themselves in drunkenness, folly, and idleness. Most of the servants, when they agree to serve their masters in the western parts of the kingdom, make a special provision that they shall have liberty to go to a certain number of fairs, or to an equal number of sacraments; and as they consider a sacrament, or an occasion (as they call the administration of the Lord's Supper), in a neighboring parish in the same light in which they do at a fair, so they behave at it much in the same manner."

It may be added, that the Leith Races of Fergusson served Burns as a literary model. The Edinburgh poet is there conducted to the festive scene by an imaginary being, whom he names MIRTH, exactly as Burns is conducted to the Holy Fair by FUN; but the poetical painting of the Ayrshire bard far distances that of his predecessor.

UPON a simmer Sunday-morn,

When Nature's face is fair,
I walked forth to view the corn,
And snuff the cauler air.
The rising sun o'er Galston muirs,


Wi' glorious light was glintin'; flashing

The hares were hirplin' down the

The lav'rocks they were chantin'
Fu' sweet that day.

As lightsomely I glowr'd abroad,
To see a scene sae gay,

Three hizzies, early at the road,
Cam skelpin' up the way.





walking along

Twa had manteeles o' dolefu' black,

But ane wi' lyart lining;

The third, that gaed a-wee a-back,
Was in the fashion shining,

Fu' gay that day.

The twa appeared like sisters twin,
In feature, form, and claes;
Their visage withered, lang, and thin,
And sour as ony slaes.

The third cam up, hap-step-an'-lowp,1

As light as ony lambie,

And wi' a curchie low did stoop,
As soon as e'er she saw me,
Fu' kind that day.

Wi' bonnet aff, quoth I: "Sweet lass,
I think ye seem to ken me;
I'm sure I've seen that bonny face,
But yet I canna name ye.”

1 Hop-skip-and-leap.


Quo' she, and laughin' as she spak,

And taks me by the hands:

"Ye, for my sake, hae gien the feck

Of a' the ten commands

A screed some day.

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And that's Hypocrisy.

I'm gaun to Mauchline Holy Fair,

To spend an hour in daffin':

Gin ye'll go there, yon runkled pair,

We will get famous laughin'

At them this day."

Quoth I: "With a' my heart, I'll do't;
I'll get my Sunday's sark on,
And meet you on the holy spot

Faith, we'se hae fine remarkin'!
Then I gaed hame at crowdie-time,
And soon I made me ready;


For roads were clad, from side to side,

Wi' mony a weary body,

In droves that day.




Here farmers gash, in ridin' graith, sensible-attire Gaed hoddin by their cotters;


There, swankies young, in braw braid striplings


Are springin' o'er the gutters.

The lasses, skelpin' barefit, thrang,

walking along

In silks and scarlets glitter;

Wi' sweet-milk cheese, in monie a whang, cut And farls baked wi' butter,

Fu' crump that day.

When by the plate we set our nose,
Weel heaped up wi' ha'pence,
A greedy glowr Black-bonnet throws,
And we maun draw our tippence.1
Then in we go to see the show;
On every side they're gath'rin',




Some carrying dails, some chairs, and stools, portions, And some are busy blethrin'

Right loud that day.

Here stands a shed to fend the showers,
And screen our country gentry,
There, Racer Jess, and twa-three w
Are blinkin' at the entry.

Here sits a raw of tittlin' jauds,

Wi' heaving breast and bare neck, And there a batch o' wabster lads, Blackguarding frae Kilmarnock

For fun this day,

(of food)? chatting


1 Black-bonnet, a cant name for the elder stationed beside the plate at the door for receiving the offerings of the congregation.

2 A poor half-witted girl of the name of Gibson (daughter of Poosie Nansie), who was remarkable for pedestrian powers, and sometimes went with messages for hire.

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