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The L be thankit that we've tint the
Gaunt, ghastly, ghaist-alluring edifices,
Hanging with threatening jut, like precipices;
And still the second dread command be free, Their likeness is not found on earth, in air, or
Mansions that would disgrace the building taste Of any mason reptile, bird or beast;
Fit only for a doited monkish race,
Or frosty maids forsworn the dear embrace;
That sullen gloom was sterling true devotion; Fancies that our good Brugh denies protection!1 And soon may they expire, unblest with resurrection!
Oh ye, my dear remembered ancient
1 An allusion to the moderatism of the Ayr clergy.
Were ye but here to share my wounded feelings!
Ye worthy Proveses, and monie a Bailie,
A' ye douce folk I've borne aboon the broo, water
Nae langer thrifty citizens and douce,
Meet owre a pint, or in the council-house; But staumrel, corky-headed, graceless half-witted gentry,
The herryment and ruin of the country; plunder Men three parts made by tailors and by barbers, Wha waste your weel-hained gear on
new brigs and harbours!
1 A sly hint at the easy professions of the Ayr writers or lawyers now known to Burns.
Now haud you there, for faith you've said enough,
And muckle mair than ye can mak to make
As for your Priesthood I shall say but little,
Men wha grew wise priggin' owre hops haggling and raisins,
Or gathered liberal views in bonds and seisins;
1 Inserted in MS. copy:
"That's aye a string auld doited Graybeards harp on,
A topic for their peevishness to carp on."
2 Variation in MS.:
"Nae mair down street the Council quorum waddles,
No difference but bulkiest or tallest,
With comfortable dulness in for ballast:
Nor shoals nor currents need a pilot's caution,
For regularly slow, they only witness motion."
And would to Common-sense for once betrayed them,
Plain, dull Stupidity stept kindly in to aid them.
What further clish-ma-claver might palaver been said,
What bloody wars, if sprites had blood to shed,
They footed o'er the watery glass so neat,
Or when they struck old Scotia's melting airs,
1 A well-known performer of Scottish music on the violin. -B. James M'Lachlan, a Highlander, had been once footman to Lord John Campbell at Inverary. He came to Ayrshire in a fencible regiment, and was patronized by Hugh Montgomery of Coilsfield (afterwards Earl of Eglintoune), who was himself both a player and a composer.
And even his matchless hand with finer touch
No guess could tell what instrument appeared,
The Genius of the stream in front appears, A venerable chief advanced in years; His hoary head with water-lilies crowned, His manly leg with garter tangle bound. Next came the loveliest pair in all the ring, Sweet Female Beauty hand in hand with Spring;
Then, crowned with flowery hay, came Rural
And Summer, with his fervid-beaming eye;
Then Winter's time-bleached locks did hoary show,
By Hospitality with cloudless brow;
Next followed Courage, with his martial stride, From where the Feal wild woody coverts hide; 1 Benevolence, with mild, benignant air,
1 We have here a compliment to Montgomery of Coilsfield -Soger Hugh--alluded to in the preceding note. Coilsfield is situated on the Feal, or Faile, a tributary of the Ayr.