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Holy Fair, The Analysis

Author: Poetry of Robert Burns Type: Poetry Views: 389

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1Upon a simmer Sunday morn,

2When Nature's face is fair,

3I walked forth to view the corn

4An' snuff the caller air.

5The risin' sun owre Galston muirs

6Wi' glorious light was glintin,

7The hares were hirplin down the furrs,

8The lav'rocks they were chantin

9Fu' sweet that day.

10As lightsomely I glowr'd abroad

11To see a scene sae gay,

12Three hizzies, early at the road,

13Cam skelpin up the way.

14Twa had manteeles o' dolefu' black,

15But ane wi' lyart linin;

16The third, that gaed a wee a-back,

17Was in the fashion shining

18Fu' gay that day.

19The twa appear'd like sisters twin

20In feature, form, an' claes;

21Their visage wither'd, lang an' thin,

22An' sour as ony slaes.

23The third cam up, hap-step-an'-lowp,

24As light as ony lambie,

25An' wi' a curchie low did stoop,

26As soon as e'er she saw me,

27Fu' kind that day.

28Wi' bonnet aff, quoth I, "Sweet lass,

29I think ye seem to ken me;

30I'm sure I've seen that bonie face,

31But yet I canna name ye."

32Quo' she, an' laughin as she spak,

33An' taks me by the han's,

34"Ye, for my sake, hae gien the feck

35Of a' the ten comman's

36A screed some day.

37"My name is Fun--your cronie dear,

38The nearest friend ye hae;

39An' this is Superstition here,

40An' that's Hypocrisy.

41I'm gaun to Mauchline Holy Fair,

42To spend an hour in daffin:

43Gin ye'll go there, you runkl'd pair,

44We will get famous laughin

45At them this day."

46Quoth I, "With a' my heart, I'll do't:

47I'll get my Sunday's sark on,

48An' meet you on the holy spot;

49Faith, we'se hae fine remarkin!"

50Then I gaed hame at crowdie-time

51An' soon I made me ready;

52For roads were clad frae side to side

53Wi' monie a wearie body

54In droves that day.

55Here, farmers gash, in ridin graith,

56Gaed hoddin by their cotters,

57There swankies young, in braw braidclaith

58Are springin owre the gutters.

59The lasses, skelpin barefit, thrang,

60In silks an' scarlets glitter,

61Wi' sweet-milk cheese in mony a whang,

62An' farls, bak'd wi' butter,

63Fu' crump that day.

64When by the plate we set our nose,

65Weel heaped up wi' ha'pence,

66A greedy glowr Black Bonnet throws,

67An' we maun draw our tippence.

68Then in we go to see the show:

69On ev'ry side they're gath'rin,

70Some carryin dails, some chairs an' stools,

71An' some are busy bleth'rin

72Right loud that day.


82Here some are thinkin on their sins,

83An' some upo' their claes;

84Ane curses feet that fyl'd his shins,

85Anither sighs an' prays:

86On this hand sits a chosen swatch,

87Wi' screw'd-up grace-proud faces;

88On that a set o' chaps at watch,

89Thrang winkin on the lasses

90To chairs that day.

91O happy is that man and blest!

92Nae wonder that it pride him!

93Whase ain dear lass that he likes best,

94Comes clinkin down beside him!

95Wi' arm repos'd on the chair back,

96He sweetly does compose him;

97Which by degrees slips round her neck,

98An's loof upon her bosom,

99Unken'd that day.

100 Now a' the congregation o'er

101Is silent expectation;

102 For Moodie speels the holy door,

103Wi' tidings o' salvation.

104 Should Hornie, as in ancient days,

105'Mang sons o' God present him,

106 The vera sight o' Moodie's face

107To's ain het hame had sent him

108Wi' fright that day.

109 Hear how he clears the points o' faith

110Wi' rattlin an' wi' thumpin!

111 Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath

112He's stampin, an' he's jumpin!

113 His lengthen'd chin, his turn'd-up snout,

114His eldritch squeal and gestures,

115 Oh, how they fire the heart devout

116Like cantharidian plaisters,

117On sic a day!

118 But hark! the tent has chang'd its voice:

119There's peace and rest nae langer;

120 For a' the real judges rise,

121They canna sit for anger.

122 Smith opens out his cauld harangues,

123On practice and on morals;

124 An' aff the godly pour in thrangs,

125To gie the jars an' barrels

126A lift that day.

127 What signifies his barren shine

128Of moral pow'rs and reason?

129 His English style an' gesture fine

130Are a' clean out o' season.

131 Like Socrates or Antonine

132Or some auld pagan heathen,

133 The moral man he does define,

134But ne'er a word o' faith in

135That's right that day.

136 In guid time comes an antidote

137Against sic poison'd nostrum;

138 For Peebles, frae the water-fit,

139Ascends the holy rostrum:

140 See, up he's got the word o' God

141An' meek an' mim has view'd it,

142 While Common Sense has ta'en the road,

143An's aff, an' up the Cowgate

144Fast, fast that day.

145 Wee Miller niest the Guard relieves,

146An' Orthodoxy raibles,

147 Tho' in his heart he weel believes

148An' thinks it auld wives' fables:

149 But faith! the birkie wants a Manse,

150So cannilie he hums them;

151 Altho' his carnal wit an' sense

152Like hafflins-wise o'ercomes him

153At times that day.

154 Now butt an' ben the change-house fills

155Wi' yill-caup commentators:

156 Here's cryin out for bakes an gills,

157An' there the pint-stowp clatters;

158 While thick an' thrang, an' loud an' lang,

159Wi' logic an' wi' Scripture,

160 They raise a din, that in the end

161Is like to breed a rupture

162O' wrath that day.

163 Leeze me on drink! it gies us mair

164Than either school or college

165 It kindles wit, it waukens lear,

166It pangs us fou o' knowledge.

167 Be't whisky-gill or penny-wheep,

168Or ony stronger potion,

169 It never fails, on drinkin deep,

170To kittle up our notion

171By night or day.

172 The lads an' lasses, blythely bent

173To mind baith saul an' body,

174 Sit round the table weel content,

175An' steer about the toddy,

176 On this ane's dress an' that ane's leuk

177They're makin observations;

178 While some are cozie i' the neuk,

179An' forming assignations

180To meet some day.

181 But now the Lord's ain trumpet touts,

182Till a' the hills rae rairin,

183 An' echoes back return the shouts--

184Black Russell is na sparin.

185 His piercing words, like highlan' swords,

186Divide the joints an' marrow;

187 His talk o' hell, whare devils dwell,

188Our vera "sauls does harrow"

189Wi' fright that day.

190 A vast, unbottom'd, boundless pit,

191Fill'd fou o' lowin brunstane,

192 Whase ragin flame, an' scorching heat

193Wad melt the hardest whun-stane!

194 The half-asleep start up wi' fear

195An' think they hear it roarin,

196 When presently it does appear

197'Twas but some neibor snorin,

198Asleep that day.

199 'Twad be owre lang a tale to tell,

200How mony stories past,

201 An' how they crouded to the yill,

202When they were a' dismist:

203 How drink gaed round in cogs an' caups

204Amang the furms an' benches:

205 An' cheese and bred frae women's laps

206Was dealt about in lunches

207An' dauds that day.

208 In comes a gausie, gash guidwife

209An' sits down by the fire,

210 Syne draws her kebbuck an' her knife;

211The lasses they are shyer:

212 The auld guidmen, about the grace

213Frae side to side they bother,

214 Till some ane by his bonnet lays,

215And gi'es them't like a tether

216Fu' lang that day.

217 Waesucks! for him that gets nae lass,

218Or lasses that hae naething!

219 Sma' need has he to say a grace,

220Or melvie his braw clathing!

221 O wives, be mindfu' ance yoursel

222How bonie lads ye wanted,

223 An' dinna for a kebbuck-heel

224Let lasses be affronted

225On sic a day!

226 Now Clinkumbell, wi' rattlin tow,

227Begins to jow an' croon;

228 Some swagger hame the best they dow,

229Some wait the afternoon.

230 At slaps the billies halt a blink,

231Till lasses strip their shoon:

232 Wi' faith an' hope, an' love an' drink,

233They're a' in famous tune

234For crack that day.

235 How monie hearts this day converts

236O' sinners and o' lasses

237 Their hearts o' stane, gin night, are gane

238As saft as ony flesh is.

239 There's some are fou o' love divine,

240There's some are fou o' brandy;

241 An' monie jobs that day begin,

242May end in houghmagandie

243Some ither day.


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