Page 15

He ordered a' things late and air'; He ordered folk to stand at prayer, (Although I cannae just mind where He gave the warnin',) An' pit pomatum on their hair On Sabbath mornin'.

The hale o' life by His commands Was ordered to a body's hands; But see! this CORPUS JURIS stands By a' forgotten; An' God's religion in a' lands Is deid an' rotten.

While thus the lave o' mankind's lost, O' Scotland still God maks His boast - Puir Scotland, on whase barren coast A score or twa Auld wives wi' mutches an' a hoast Still keep His law.

In Scotland, a wheen canty, plain, Douce, kintry-leevin' folk retain The Truth - or did so aince - alane Of a' men leevin'; An' noo just twa o' them remain - Just Begg an' Niven.

For noo, unfaithfu', to the Lord Auld Scotland joins the rebel horde; Her human hymn-books on the board She noo displays: An' Embro Hie Kirk's been restored In popish ways.

O PUNCTUM TEMPORIS for action To a' o' the reformin' faction, If yet, by ony act or paction, Thocht, word, or sermon, This dark an' damnable transaction Micht yet determine!

For see - as Doctor Begg explains - Hoo easy 't's dune! a pickle weans, Wha in the Hie Street gaither stanes By his instruction, The uncovenantit, pentit panes Ding to destruction.

Up, Niven, or ower late - an' dash Laigh in the glaur that carnal hash; Let spires and pews wi' gran' stramash Thegether fa'; The rumlin' kist o' whustles smash In pieces sma'.

Noo choose ye out a walie hammer; About the knottit buttress clam'er; Alang the steep roof stoyt an' stammer, A gate mis-chancy; On the aul' spire, the bells' hie cha'mer, Dance your bit dancie.

Ding, devel, dunt, destroy, an' ruin, Wi' carnal stanes the square bestrewin', Till your loud chaps frae Kyle to Fruin, Frae Hell to Heeven, Tell the guid wark that baith are doin' - Baith Begg an' Niven.

XII - THE SCOTSMAN'S RETURN FROM ABROAD In a letter from Mr. Thomson to Mr. Johnstone.

In mony a foreign pairt I've been, An' mony an unco ferlie seen, Since, Mr. Johnstone, you and I Last walkit upon Cocklerye. Wi' gleg, observant een, I pass't By sea an' land, through East an' Wast, And still in ilka age an' station Saw naething but abomination. In thir uncovenantit lands The gangrel Scot uplifts his hands

At lack of a' sectarian fush'n, An' cauld religious destitution. He rins, puir man, frae place to place, Tries a' their graceless means o' grace, Preacher on preacher, kirk on kirk - This yin a stot an' thon a stirk - A bletherin' clan, no warth a preen, As bad as Smith of Aiberdeen!

At last, across the weary faem, Frae far, outlandish pairts I came. On ilka side o' me I fand Fresh tokens o' my native land. Wi' whatna joy I hailed them a' - The hilltaps standin' raw by raw, The public house, the Hielan' birks, And a' the bonny U.P. kirks! But maistly thee, the bluid o' Scots, Frae Maidenkirk to John o' Grots, The king o' drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, Isla, or Glenlivet!

For after years wi' a pockmantie Frae Zanzibar to Alicante, In mony a fash and sair affliction I gie't as my sincere conviction - Of a' their foreign tricks an' pliskies, I maist abominate their whiskies. Nae doot, themsel's, they ken it weel, An' wi' a hash o' leemon peel, And ice an' siccan filth, they ettle The stawsome kind o' goo to settle; Sic wersh apothecary's broos wi' As Scotsmen scorn to fyle their moo's wi'.

An', man, I was a blithe hame-comer Whan first I syndit out my rummer. Ye should hae seen me then, wi' care The less important pairts prepare; Syne, weel contentit wi' it a', Pour in the sperrits wi' a jaw! I didnae drink, I didnae speak, - I only snowkit up the reek. I was sae pleased therein to paidle, I sat an' plowtered wi' my ladle.

An' blithe was I, the morrow's morn, To daunder through the stookit corn, And after a' my strange mishanters, Sit doun amang my ain dissenters. An', man, it was a joy to me The pu'pit an' the pews to see, The pennies dirlin' in the plate, The elders lookin' on in state; An' 'mang the first, as it befell, Wha should I see, sir, but yoursel'

I was, and I will no deny it, At the first gliff a hantle tryit

To see yoursel' in sic a station - It seemed a doubtfu' dispensation. The feelin' was a mere digression; For shune I understood the session, An' mindin' Aiken an' M'Neil, I wondered they had dune sae weel. I saw I had mysel' to blame; For had I but remained at hame, Aiblins - though no ava' deservin' 't - They micht hae named your humble servant.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book