The Holy Fair

A robe of seeming truth and trust
Hid crafty Observation;
And secret hung, with poison'd crust,
The dirk of Defamation:
A mask that like the gorget show'd,
Dye-varying on the pigeon;
And for a mantle large and broad,
He wrapt him in Religion.--
HYPOCRISY a-la-Mode.

I
UPON a simmer Sunday morn,
When Nature's face is fair,
I walked forth to view the corn,
An' snuff the callor air:
The rising sun, owre GALSTON muirs,
Wi' glorious light was glintan;
The hares were hirplan down the furrs,
The lav'rocks they were chantan
Fu' sweet that day.

II
As lightsomely I glowr'd abroad,
To see a scene sae gay,
Three hizzies, early at the road,
Cam skelpan up the way,
Twa had manteeles o' dolefu' black,
But ane wi' lyart lining;
The third, that gaed a wee aback,
Was in the fashion shining
Fu'gay that day.

III
The twa appear'd like sisters twin,
In feature, form an' claes;
Their visage------wither'd, lang an' thin,
An' sour as onie slaes:
The third cam up, hap-step-an'-loup,
As light as onie lambie,------
An' wi' a curchie low did stoop,
As soon as e'er she saw me,
Fu' kind that day.

IV
Wi' bonnet aff, quoth I, 'Sweet lass,
I think ye seem to ken me;
I'm sure I've seen that bonie face,
But yet I canna name ye.------'
Quo' she, an' laughan as she spak,
An' taks me by the hands,
'Ye, for my sake, hae gi'en the feck
Of a' the ten commands
A screed some day.

V
'My name is FUN------your cronie dear,
The dearest friend ye hae;
An' this is SUPERSTITION here,
An' that 's HYPOCRISY.
I'm gaun to Mauchline holy fair,
To spend an hour in daffin;
Gin ye'll go there, yon runkl'd pair,
We will get famous laughin
At them this day.'

VI
Quoth I, 'Wi' a' my heart, I'll do 't;
I'll get my Sunday's sark on,
An' meet you on the holy spot;
Faith, we'se hae fine remarkin!'
Then I gaed hame, at crowdie-time,
An' soon I made me ready;
For roads were clad, frae side to side,
Wi' monie a weary body,
In droves that day.

VII
Here, farmers gash, in ridin graith,
Gaed hoddan by their cotters;
There, swankies young, in braw braid-claith,
Are springan owre the gutters.
The lasses, skelpan barefit, thrang,
In silks an' scarlets glitter;
Wi' sweet-milk cheese, in mony a whang,
An' farls, bak'd wi' butter,
Fu' crump that day.

VIII
When by the plate we set our nose,
Weel heaped up wi' ha'pence,
A greedy glowr Black-bonnet throws,
An' we maun draw our tippence.
Then in we go to see the show:
On ev'ry side they 're gath'ran;
Some carryan dails, some chairs an' stools,
An' some are busy bleth'ran
Right loud that day.

IX
Here, stands a shed to fend the show'rs,
An' screen our countra Gentry,
There, Racer-Jess, an' twathree whores,
Are blinkan at the entry:
Here sits a raw o' tittlan jads,
Wi' heavin breasts an' bare neck;
An' there, a batch o' Wabster lads,
Blackguardin frae Kilmarnock,
For fun this day.

X
Here, some are thinkan on their sins,
An' some upo' their claes;
Ane curses feet that fyl'd his shins,
Anither sighs an' pray’s:
On his hand sits a Chosen swatch,
Wi' screw'd-up, grace-proud faces;
On that, a set o' chaps, at watch,
Thrang winkan on the lasses
To chairs that day.

XI
O happy is that man, an' blest!
Nae wonder that it pride him!
Whase ain dear lass, that he likes best,
Comes clinkan down beside him!
Wi' arm repos'd on the chair back,
He sweetly does compose him;
Which, by degrees, slips round her neck,
An 's loof upon her bosom,
Unkend that day.

XII
Now a' the congregation o'er,
In silent expectation;
For Moodie speels the holy door,
Wi' tidings o' damnation:
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.

XIII
Hear how he clears the points o' Faith
Wi' rattlin and thumpin!
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath,
He 's stampan, an' he 's jumpan!
His lengthen'd chin, his turn'd up snout,
His eldritch squeel an' gestures,
O how they fire the heart devout,
Like cantharidian plaisters
On sic a day!

XIV
But hark! the tent has chang'd it’s voice;
There 's peace an' rest nae langer;
For a' the real judges rise,
They canna sit for anger:
Smith opens out his cauld harangues,
On practice and on morals;
An' aff the godly pour in thrangs,
To gie the jars an' barrels
A lift that day.

XV
What signifies his barren shine,
Of moral pow'rs an' reason;
His English style, an' 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.

XVI
In guid times comes an antidote
Against sic poison'd nostrum;
For Peebles, frae the water-fit,
Ascends the holy rostrum:
See, up he 's got the Word o' God,
An' meek an' mim has view'd it,
While COMMON-SENSE has taen the road,
An' aff, an' up the Cowgate
Fast, fast that day.

XVII
Wee Miller niest, the Guard relieves,
An' Orthodoxy raibles,
Tho' in his heart he weel believes,
An' thinks in auld wives' fables:
But faith! the birkie wants a Manse,
So, cannilie he hums them;
Altho' his carnal Wit an' Sense
Like hafflins-wise o'ercomes him
At times that day.

XVIII
Now, butt an’ ben the Change-house fills,
Wi’ yill-caup Commentators:
Here ‘s crying ou for bakes an’ gills,
An’ there the pint-stowp clatters;
While thick an’ thrang, an’ loud an’ lang,
Wi’ Logic, an’ wi’ Scripture,
They raise a din, that, in the end,
Is like to breed a rupture
O’ wrath that day.

XIX
Leeze me on Drink! It gies us mair
Than either School or College:
It kindles Wit, it waukens Lear,
It pangs us fou o’ Knowledge.
Be ‘t whisky-gill or penny-wheep,
Or onie stronger potion,
It never fail, on drinkin deep,
To kittle up our notion,
By night or day.

XX
The lads an’ lasses, blithely bent
To mind baith saul an’ body,
Sit round the table, weel content,
An’ steer about the Toddy.
On this ane’s dress, an that ane’s leuk,
They ‘re makin observations;
While some are cozie I’ the neuk,
An’ forming assignations
To meet some day.

XXI
But now the Lord’s ain trumpet touts,
Till a’ the hills are rairan,
An’ echos back return the shouts,
Black Russell is na spairan:
His piercing words, like highlan swords,
Divide the joints an’ marrow;
His talk o’ Hell, whare devils dwell,
Our vera ‘Sauls does harrow’
Wi’ fright that day.

XXII
A vast, unbottom’d, boundless pit,
Fill’d fou o’ lowan brunstane,
Whase raging flame, an’ scorching heat,
Wad melt the hardest whunstane!
The half-asleep start up wi’ fear,
An’ think they hear it roaran,
When presently it does appear,
‘Twas but some neebor snoran
Asleep that day.

XXIII
‘Twad be owre lang a tale to tell,
How monie stories past,
An’ how they crowded to the yill,
When they were a’ dismist:
How drink gaed round, in cogs an caups,
Amang the furms an’ benches;
An’ cheese an’ bread, frae women’s laps,
Was dealt about in lunches,
An’ dawds that day.

XXIV
In comes a gausie, gash Guidwife,
An’ sits down by the fire,
Syn draws her kebbuck an’ her knife;
The lasses they are shyer.
The auld Guidmen, about the grace,
Frae side to side they bother,
Till some ane by his bonnet lays,
An’ gies them ‘t like a tether,
Fu’ lang that day.

XXV
Wae sucks! For him that gets nae lass,
Or lasses that hae naething!
Sma’ need has he to say a grace,
Or melvie his braw claething!
O Wives be mindfu’, ance yourself,
How bonie lads ye wanted,
An’ dinna, for a kebbuck-heel,
Let lasses be affronted
On sic a day!

XXVI
Now Clinkumbell, wi’ rattlan tow,
Begins to jow an’ croon;
Some swagger hame, the best the dow,
Some wait the afternoon.
At slaps the billeis halt a blink,
Till lasses strip their shoon:
Wi’ faith an’ hope, an’ love an’ drink,
They’re a’ in famous tune
For crack that day.

XXVII
How monie hearts this day converts,
O’ Sinners and o’ Lasses!
Their hearts o’ stane, gin night are gane
As saft as ony flesh is.
There ‘s some are fou o’ love divine;
There ‘s some are fou o’ brandy;
An’ monie jobs that day begin,
May end in Houghmgandie
Some ither day.