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Here, some are thinkin' on their sins,

And some upo' their claes;
Ane curses feet that fyl'd his shins,

Anither sighs and prays:

On this hand sits a chosen swatch,
Wi' screwed-up, grace-proud faces;
On that a set o' chaps at watch,
Thrang winkin' on the lasses
To chairs that day.


busily occupied

Oh happy is that man and blest!
Nae wonder that it pride him,
Wha's ain dear lass, that he likes best,
Comes clinkin' down beside him!

Wi' arm reposed on the chair back,
He sweetly does compose him ;

Which, by degrees, slips round her neck,
An's loof upon her bosom,

Unkenn'd that day.

Now a' the congregation o'er

Is silent expectation :

For Moodie speels the holy door,
Wi' tidings o' d-tion.1




1 In the Kilmarnock edition, the word was salvation; it was changed at the suggestion of Dr. Blair of Edinburgh. Moodie was the minister of Riccarton, and one of the heroes of The Twa Herds. He was a never-failing assistant at the Mauchline sacraments. His personal appearance and style of oratory were exactly such as described by the poet. He dwelt chiefly on the terrors of the law. On one occasion, he told the audience that they would find the text in John viii.

Should Hornie, as in ancient days
'Mang sons o' God present him,
The very sight o' Moodie's face
To's ain het hame had sent him
Wi' fright that day.

Hear how he clears the points o' Faith
Wi' rattlin' and wi' thumpin'!

Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath,
He's stampin' and he's jumpin'!
His lengthened chin, his turned-up snout,
His eldritch squeel and gestures,

Oh how they fire the heart devout,
Like cantharidian plasters,

On sic a day!



But hark! the tent has changed its voice; There's peace and rest nae langer;

For a' the real judges rise,

They canna sit for anger.

Smith opens out his cauld harangues,1
On practice and on morals;
And aff the godly pour in thrangs,
To gie the jars and barrels

A lift that day.

44, but it was so applicable to their case, that there was no need of his reading it to them. The verse begins: "Ye are of your father the devil," etc.

1 Mr. (afterwards Dr.) George Smith, minister of Galstonthe same whom the poet introduces in a different feeling, under the appellation of Irvine-side in The Kirk's Alarm. Burns meant on this occasion to compliment him on his

What signifies his barren shine
Of moral powers and reason?
His English style and gesture fine
Are a' clean out o' season.
Like Socrates or Antonine,

Or some auld pagan heathen,
The moral man he does define,
But ne'er a word o' faith in
That's right that day

In guid time comes an antidote
Against sic poisoned nostrum ;
For Peebles, frae the Water-fit,1
Ascends the holy rostrum:


See, up he's got the Word o' God,
And meek and mim has viewed it,
While Common Sense has ta'en the road,
And aff and up the Cowgate,2

Fast, fast that day.

rational mode of preaching, but the friends of the divine regarded the stanza as calculated to injure his popularity.

1 The Rev. Mr. (afterwards Dr.) William Peebles, minister of Newton-upon-Ayr, often called, from its geographical situation, the Water-fit. He was in great favor at Ayr among the orthodox party, though much inferior in ability to the moderate ministers of that ancient burgh.

2 The Cowgate is a street running off the main one of Mauchline, exactly opposite the entrance to the church-yard. The sense of the passage might be supposed allegorical, and this is the theory which the present editor is inclined to adopt. He must, however, state that a more literal sense is attached to it by the best-informed persons in Mauchline. It is said that Mr. Mackenzie, the surgeon of the village, and a friend of Burns, had recently written on some controversial topic

Wee Miller 1 niest the guard relieves,

And orthodoxy raibles,

Though in his heart he weel believes,
And thinks it auld wives' fables:
But, faith! the birkie wants a manse,
So, cannily he hums them;
Although his carnal wit and sense
Like hafflins-ways o'ercomes him
At times that day.





Now but and ben the change-house fills, throughout Wi' yill-caup commentators;


Here's crying out for bakes and gills, biscuits

And there the pint-stoup clatters;

While thick and thrang, and loud and lang, Wi' logic and wi' scripture,

They raise a din, that, in the end,

Is like to breed a rupture

O' wrath that day.

under the title of Common Sense. On the particular day which Burns is supposed to have had in view, Mackenzie was engaged to join Sir John Whitefoord of Ballochmyle, and go to Dumfries House, in Auchinleck parish, in order to dine with the Earl of Dumfries. The doctor, therefore, after attending church, and listening to some of the out-door harangues, was seen to leave the assembly, and go off along the Cowgate, on his way to Ballochmyle, exactly as Peebles ascended the rostrum.

1 The Rev. Mr. Miller, afterwards minister of Kilmaurs. He was of remarkably low stature, but enormous girth. Burns believed him at the time to lean at heart to the moderate party. This stanza, virtually the most depreciatory in the whole poem, is said to have retarded Miller's advance


Leeze me on drink! it gies us mair Commend to
Than either school or college:
It kindles wit, it waukens lair,

It pangs us fou o' knowledge..
Be 't whisky gill, or penny wheep,
Or ony stronger potion,

It never fails, on drinking deep,
To kittle up our notion

By night or day.

The lads and lasses, blithely bent
To mind baith saul and body,
Sit round the table weel content,
And steer about the toddy.




On this ane's dress, and that ane's leuk,
They're making observations;
While some are cozie i' the neuk,

And formin' assignations

To meet some day.

But now the L-'s ain trumpet touts,
Till a' the hills are rairin',

And echoes back return the shouts

Black Russell1 is na sparin':



1 The Rev. John Russell, at this time minister of the Chapelof-Ease, Kilmarnock, afterwards minister of Stirling, one of the heroes of The Twa Herds. A correspondent says: "He was the most tremendous man I ever saw: Black Hugh Macpherson was a beauty in comparison. His voice was like thunder, and his sentiments were such as must have shocked any class of hearers in the least more refined than those whom he usually addressed."

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