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THE HOLY FAIR.*
A robe of seeming truth and trust
Hid crafty Observation;
The dirk of Defamation:
Dye-varying on the pigeon;
When Nature's face is fair,
An' snuff the caller air,
Wi' glorious light was glintin ;
Fu' sweet that day.
To see a scene sae gay,
Cam skelpin up the way;
But ane wi' lyart lining ;
Fu' gay that day. • Holy Fair is a common phrase in the West of Scotland for a sacramental occasion.
The twa appear'd like sisters twin,
In feature, form, an' claes !
An' sour as ony slaes :
As light as ony lambie,
Fu' kind that day.
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' laughin 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.
• The nearest friend ye hae; • An' this is Superstition here,
• An' that's Hypocrisy. I'm gaun to
**** Holy Fair, 'To spend an hour in daffin : • Gin ye'll go there, yon runkld pair, • We will get famous laughin
* At then this day.'
Quoth I,. With 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 ;
In droves that day.
Gaed hoddin by their cotters;
Are springin o’er the gutters.
In silks an' scarlets glitter;
Fu' crump that day.
When by the plate we set our nose,
Weel heap'd up wi' ha'pence,
An' we maun draw our tippence.
On ev'ry side they're gathrin, Some carrying dales, some chairs an' stools, An' some are busy blethrin
Right loud that day.
Here stands a shed to fend the show'rs,
An' screen our countra Gentry. There, racer Jess, an' twa-three wh-res,
Are blinkin at the entry. Here sits a raw of tittlin jades,
Wi' heaving breast and bare neck, An' there a batch of of wabster lads, Blackguarding frae K -ck
For fun this day.
Here some are thinkin on their sins,
An' some upo' their claes;
Anither sighs an' prays:
Wi’ screw'd up grace-proud faces ;
To chairs that day.
Nae wonder that it pride him!
Comes clinkin 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,
Unken'd that day.
Now a’ the congregation o'er
Is silent expectation ;
Wi' tidings o' d-mn-t-n.
'Mang sons o' G- present him, The vera sight o' *****'s face, To's ain het hame had sent him
Wi' fright that day.
Wi’ rattlin an' thumpin !
He's stampin an' he's jumpin !
His eldritch squeel and gestures, Oh how they fire the heart devout, Like cantharidian plasters,
On sic a day!
But hark! the tent has chang'd its voice ;
There's peace an' rest nae langer :
opens out his cauld harangues,
A lift that day.