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The Kirk's Alarm

TUNE: Come let us prepare

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation



The Kirk's Alarm
1.
Orthodox! Orthodox! -
Wha believe in John Knox -
Let me sound an alarm to your conscience:
A heretic blast
Has been blawn i' the Wast,
That what is not sense must be nonsense -
Orthodox!
That what is not sense must be nonsense.
2.
Dr. Mac! Dr. Mac!
You should stretch on a rack,
To strike wicked Writers wi' terror:
To join faith and sense,
Upon onie pretence,
Was heretic, damnable error -
Dr. Mac!
'Twas heretic, damnable error.
3.
Town of Ayr! Town of Ayr!
It was rash, I declare,
To meddle wi' mischief a-brewing:
Provost John is still deaf
To the church's relief,
And Orator Bob is its ruin -
Town of Ayr!
And Orator Bob is its ruin.
4.
D'rymple mild! D'rymple mild!
Tho' your heart's like a child,
An' your life like the new-driven snaw,
Yet that winna save ye:
Auld Satan must have ye,
For preaching that three's ane and twa -
D'rymple mild!
For preaching that three's ane and twa.
5.
Calvin's sons! Calvin's sons!
Seize your sp'ritual guns,
Ammunition you never can need:
Your hearts are the stuff
Will be powther enough,
And your skulls are store-houses o' lead -
Calvin's sons!
Your skulls are store-houses o' lead.
6.
Rumble John! Rumble John!
Mount the steps with a groan,
Cry:-- ' The book is wi' heresy cramm'd';
Then lug out your ladle,
Deal brimstone like adle,
And roar every note o' the damn'd -
Rumble John!
And roar every note of the damned.
7.
Simper James! Simper James!
Leave the fair Killie dames -
There's a holier chase in your view:
I'll lay on your head
That the pack ye'll soon lead,
For puppies like you there's but few -
Simper James!
For puppies like you there's but few.
8.
Singet Sawnie! Singet Sawnie!
Are ye herding the penny,
Unconscious what evils await?
Wi' a jump, yell, and howl
Alarm every soul,
For the Foul Thief is just at your gate -
Singet Sawnie!
The Foul Thief is just at your gate.
9.
Daddie Auld! Daddie Auld!
There's a tod in the fauld,
A tod meikle waur than the clerk:
Tho' ye can do little skaith,
Ye'll be in at the death,
And gif ye canna bite, ye may bark -
Daddie Auld!
For gif ye canna bite, ye may bark.
10.
Davie Rant! Davie Rant!
In a face like a saunt
And a heart that would poison a hog,
Raise an impudent roar,
Like a breaker lee-shore,
Or the Kirk will be tint in a bog -
Davie Rant!
Or the Kirk will be tint in a bog.
11.
Jamie Goose! Jamie Goose!
Ye hae made but toom roose
In hunting the wicked lieutenant;
But the Doctor's your mark,
For the Lord's haly ark,
He has cooper'd, and ca'd a wrang pin in't -
Jamie Goose!
He has cooper'd, and ca'd a wrang pin in't.
12.
Poet Willie! Poet Willie!
Gie the Doctor a volley,
Wi' your ' Liberty's chain' and your wit:
O'er Pegasus' side
Ye ne'er laid a stride,
Ye but smelt, man, the place where he shit -
Poet Willie!
Ye smelt but the place where he shit.
13.
Andro Gowk! Andro Gowk!
Ye may slander the Book,
And the Book not the waur, let me tell ye:
Ye are rich, and look big,
But lay by hat and wig,
And ye'll hae a calf's head o' sma' value -
Andro Gowk!
Ye'll hae a calf's head o' sma' value.
14.
Barr Steenie! Barr Steenie!
What mean ye? What mean ye?
If ye'll meddle nae mair wi' the matter,
Ye may hae some pretence
To havins and sense
Wi' people wha ken ye nae better -
Barr Steenie!
Wi' people wha ken ye nae better.
15.
Irvine-side! Irvine-side!
Wi' your turkey-cock pride,
Of manhood but sma' is your share:
Ye've the figure, 'tis true,
Even your faes will allow,
And your friends daurna say ye hae mair -
Irvine-side!
Your friends daurna say ye hae mair.
16.
Muirland Jock! Muirland Jock!
Whom the Lord gave a stock
Was set up a tinkler in brass,
If ill manners were wit,
There's no mortal so fit
To prove the poor Doctor an ass -
Muirland Jock!
To prove the poor Doctor an ass.
17.
Holy Will! Holy Will!
There was wit i' your skull,
When ye pilfer'd the alms o' the poor:
The timmer is scant,
When ye're taen for a saunt
Wha should swing in a rape for an hour -
Holy Will!
Ye should swing in a rape for an hour.
18.
Poet Burns! Poet Burns!
Wi' your Priest-skelping turns,
Why desert ye your auld native shire?
Your Must is a gipsy,
Yet were she ev'n tipsy,
She could ca' us nae waur than we are -
Poet Burns!
Ye could ca' us nae waur than we are.

Postscripts

1.
Afton's Laird Afton's Laird!
When your pen can be spared,
A copy of this I bequeath,
On the same sicker conditions
As I mentioned before,
To that trusty auld worthy, Clackleith -
Afton's Laird!
To that trusty auld worthy, Clackleith -
2.
Factor John! Factor John!
Whom the Lord made alone,
And ne'er made another thy peer,
Thy poor servant, the Bard,
In respectful regard
He presents thee this token sincere -
Factor John!
He presents thee this token sincere.

 



The Church's Alarm

Orthodox! Orthodox! -
Who believe in John Knox -
Let me sound an alarm to your conscience:
A heretic blast
Has been blown in the West,
That what is not sense must be nonsense -
Orthodox!
That what is not sense must be nonsense.

Dr. Mac! Dr. Mac!
You should stretch on a rack,
To strike wicked Writers with terror:
To join faith and sense,
Upon any pretence,
Was heretic, damnable error -
Dr. Mac!
It was heretic, damnable error.

Town of Ayr! Town of Ayr!
It was rash, I declare,
To meddle with mischief a-brewing:
Provost John is still deaf
To the church's relief,
And Orator Bob is its ruin -
Town of Ayr!
And Orator Bob is its ruin.

Dalrymple mild! Dalrymple mild!
Though your heart is like a child,
And your life like the new-driven snow,
Yet that will not save you:
Old Satan must have you,
For preaching that three is one and two -
Dalrymple mild!
For preaching that three is one and two.

Calvin's sons! Calvin's sons!
Seize your spiritual guns,
Ammunition you never can need:
Your hearts are the stuff
Will be powder enough,
And your skulls are store-houses of lead -
Calvin's sons!
Your skulls are store-houses of lead.

Rumble John! Rumble John!
Mount the steps with a groan,
Cry:-- ' The book is with heresy crammed';
Then lug out your ladle,
Deal brimstone like cow-lant (putrid water),
And roar every note of the damned -
Rumble John!
And roar every note of the damned.

Simper James! Simper James!
Leave the fair Killie (Killmarnock) dames -
There is a holier chase in your view:
I will lay on your head
That the pack you will soon lead,
For puppies like you there is but few -
Simper James!
For puppies like you there is but few.

Shrivelled Sawnie! Shrivelled Sawnie!
Are you guarding the penny,
Unconscious what evils await?
With a jump, yell, and howl
Alarm every soul,
For the Foul Thief (Devil) is just at your gate -
Shrivelled Sawnie!
The Foul Thief (Devil) is just at your gate.

Daddie Old! Daddie Old!
There is a fox in the fold,
A fox much worse than the lawyer:
Though you can do little damage,
You will be in at the death,
And if you can not bite, you may bark -
Daddie Auld!
For if you can not bite, you may bark.

Davie Rant! Davie Rant!
In a face like a saint
And a heart that would poison a hog,
Raise an impudent roar,
Like a breaker lee-shore,
Or the Church will be lost in a bog -
Davie Rant!
Or the Church will be lost in a bog.

Jamie Goose! Jamie Goose!
You have made but empty reputation
In hunting the wicked lieutenant;
But the Doctor is your mark,
For the Lord's holy ark,
He has coopered, and knocked a wrong pin in it -
Jamie Goose!
He has coopered, and knocked a wrong pin in it.

Poet Willie! Poet Willie!
Give the Doctor a volley,
With your ' Liberty's chain' and your wit:
Over Pegasus' side
You never laid a stride,
You but smelt, man, the place where he shit -
Poet Willie!
You smelt but the place where he shit.

Andrew Fool! Andrew Fool!
You may slander the Book,
And the Book not the worse, let me tell you:
You are rich, and look big,
But lay by hat and wig,
And you will have a calf's head of small value -
Andrew Fool!
You will have a calf's head of small value.

Barr Steenie! Barr Steenie!
What mean you? What mean you?
If you will meddle no more with the matter,
You may have some pretence
To conduct and sense
With people who know you no better -
Barr Steenie!
With people who know you no better.

Irvine-side! Irvine-side!
With your turkey-cock pride,
Of manhood but small is your share:
You have the figure, it is true,
Even your foes will allow,
And your friends dare not say you have more -
Irvine-side!
Your friends dare not say you have more.

Muirland Jock! Muirland Jock!
Whom the Lord gave a stock
Would set up a gypsy tinker in brass (money),
If ill manners were wit,
There is no mortal so fit
To prove the poor Doctor an ass -
Muirland Jock!
To prove the poor Doctor an ass.

Holy William! Holy William!
There was wit in your skull,
When you pilfered the alms of the poor:
The material is scant,
When you are taken for a saint
Who should swing in a rope for an hour -
Holy William!
You should swing in a rope for an hour.

Poet Burns! Poet Burns!
With your Priest-slapping turns,
Why desert you your old native shire?
Your Muse is a gypsy,
Yet were she even tipsy,
She could call us no worse than we are -
Poet Burns!
You could call us no worse than we are.




Afton's Laird Afton's Laird!
When your pen can be spared,
A copy of this I bequeath,
On the same strict conditions
As I mentioned before,
To that trusty old worthy, Clackleith -
Afton's Laird!
To that trusty old worthy, Clackleith -

Factor John! Factor John!
Whom the Lord made alone,
And never made another your peer,
Your poor servant, the Bard,
In respectful regard
He presents you this token sincere -
Factor John!
He presents you this token sincere.

 

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