89. The Ordination Poem by Robert Burns

89. The Ordination

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KILMARNOCK wabsters, fidge an' claw,
An' pour your creeshie nations;
An' ye wha leather rax an' draw,
Of a' denominations;
Swith to the Ligh Kirk, ane an' a'
An' there tak up your stations;
Then aff to Begbie's in a raw,
An' pour divine libations
For joy this day.

Curst Common-sense, that imp o' hell,
Cam in wi' Maggie Lauder; 1
But Oliphant 2 aft made her yell,
An' Russell 3 sair misca'd her:
This day Mackinlay 4 taks the flail,
An' he's the boy will blaud her!
He'll clap a shangan on her tail,
An' set the bairns to daud her
Wi' dirt this day.

Mak haste an' turn King David owre,
And lilt wi' holy clangor;
O' double verse come gie us four,
An' skirl up the Bangor:
This day the kirk kicks up a stoure;
Nae mair the knaves shall wrang her,
For Heresy is in her pow'r,
And gloriously she'll whang her
Wi' pith this day.

Come, let a proper text be read,
An' touch it aff wi' vigour,
How graceless Ham 5 leugh at his dad,
Which made Canaan a nigger;
Or Phineas 6 drove the murdering blade,
Wi' whore-abhorring rigour;
Or Zipporah, 7 the scauldin jad,
Was like a bluidy tiger
I' th' inn that day.

There, try his mettle on the creed,
An' bind him down wi' caution,
That stipend is a carnal weed
He taks by for the fashion;
And gie him o'er the flock, to feed,
And punish each transgression;
Especial, rams that cross the breed,
Gie them sufficient threshin;
Spare them nae day.

Now, auld Kilmarnock, cock thy tail,
An' toss thy horns fu' canty;
Nae mair thou'lt rowt out-owre the dale,
Because thy pasture's scanty;
For lapfu's large o' gospel kail
Shall fill thy crib in plenty,
An' runts o' grace the pick an' wale,
No gi'en by way o' dainty,
But ilka day.

Nae mair by Babel's streams we'll weep,
To think upon our Zion;
And hing our fiddles up to sleep,
Like baby-clouts a-dryin!
Come, screw the pegs wi' tunefu' cheep,
And o'er the thairms be tryin;
Oh, rare to see our elbucks wheep,
And a' like lamb-tails flyin
Fu' fast this day.

Lang, Patronage, with rod o' airn,
Has shor'd the Kirk's undoin;
As lately Fenwick, sair forfairn,
Has proven to its ruin: 8
Our patron, honest man! Glencairn,
He saw mischief was brewin;
An' like a godly, elect bairn,
He's waled us out a true ane,
And sound, this day.

Now Robertson 9 harangue nae mair,
But steek your gab for ever;
Or try the wicked town of Ayr,
For there they'll think you clever;
Or, nae reflection on your lear,
Ye may commence a shaver;
Or to the Netherton 10 repair,
An' turn a carpet weaver
Aff-hand this day.

Mu'trie 11 and you were just a match,
We never had sic twa drones;
Auld Hornie did the Laigh Kirk watch,
Just like a winkin baudrons,
And aye he catch'd the tither wretch,
To fry them in his caudrons;
But now his Honour maun detach,
Wi' a' his brimstone squadrons,
Fast, fast this day.

See, see auld Orthodoxy's faes
She's swingein thro' the city!
Hark, how the nine-tail'd cat she plays!
I vow it's unco pretty:
There, Learning, with his Greekish face,
Grunts out some Latin ditty;
And Common-sense is gaun, she says,
To mak to Jamie Beattie
Her plaint this day.

But there's Morality himsel',
Embracing all opinions;
Hear, how he gies the tither yell,
Between his twa companions!
See, how she peels the skin an' fell,
As ane were peelin onions!
Now there, they're packed aff to hell,
An' banish'd our dominions,
Henceforth this day.

O happy day! rejoice, rejoice!
Come bouse about the porter!
Morality's demure decoys
Shall here nae mair find quarter:
Mackinlay, Russell, are the boys
That heresy can torture;
They'll gie her on a rape a hoyse,
And cowe her measure shorter
By th' head some day.

Come, bring the tither mutchkin in,
And here's—for a conclusion—
To ev'ry New Light 12 mother's son,
From this time forth, Confusion!
If mair they deave us wi' their din,
Or Patronage intrusion,
We'll light a spunk, and ev'ry skin,
We'll rin them aff in fusion
Like oil, some day.

Friday, October 24, 2014
Topic(s) of this poem: nation
Edward Kofi Louis 25 April 2017

From this time forth! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

1 3 Reply
Bernard F. Asuncion 25 April 2017

Heresy can torture.... thanks for posting....

1 1 Reply
Ratnakar Mandlik 07 April 2019

Pour divine libations', What a conceptualization?

0 1 Reply
Shaun Cronick 10 September 2020

Good old Robbie Burns you can't understand a b l o o d y word he says. It like reading Irvine Welsh.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 29 October 2023

Many of his works were written in Scots, a dialect of English spoken in Scotland, while others were written in English

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Sylvia Frances Chan 29 October 2023

You can read these names in this poem: Referring to a mocking ballad made upon the admission of the late Rev. and Worthy Mr. Lihdsay to the 'Laigh Kirk.' Rev. James Oliphant, Minister of Chapel of Ease, Kilmarnock and Rev. John Russell also of Kilmarnock.

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Sylvia Frances Chan 29 October 2023

Many of his works were written in Scots, a dialect of English spoken in Scotland, while others were written in English. Ordination was written in Scots. TOP Marks Full. Congrats to the family of the late great poet

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Sylvia Frances Chan 29 October 2023

He was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated for his work in both the Scots and English. Auld Lang Syne is also his work. Very lovely!

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Mahtab Bangalee 01 December 2020

it's also poetic genre to play with words meaninglessly; sometimes some poets play with words and words not for any good reason but for aimlessly play; just a game of coreless aspects; reading this poem it seems to this poem such type coreless........! ! !

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Khairul Ahsan 01 December 2020

Alsa! I have to repeat the same words that I said on 09/10/2020 when it was selected as the Poem of the Day, baely three months ago!

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Robert Burns

Robert Burns

Ayrshire / Scotland
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