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Embro Hie Kirk

by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1885

The lord himsel' in former days
Waled out the proper tünes for praise
An' named the proper kind o' claes
      For folk to preach in:
Preceese and in the chief o' ways
      Important teachin'.

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, unfaithfü 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 düne! 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 waie 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.

Published in A Child's Garden of Verses

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