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The Twa Herds: or, The Holy Tulyie

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation



The Twa Herds: or, The Holy Tulyie
An Unco Mournfu' Tale

Blockheads with reason wicked wits abhor But fool with fool is barbarous civil war. POPE


1.
O a' ye pious godly flocks,
Weel fed on pastures orthodox,
Wha now will keep you frae the fox
Or worrying tykes?
Or wha will tent the waifs an' crocks
About the dykes?
2.
The twa best herds in a' the wast,
That e'er gae gospel horn a blast
These five an' twenty simmers past -
O, dool to tell! -
Hae had a bitter, black out-cast
Atween themsel.
3.
O Moodie, man, an' wordy Russel,
How could you raise so vile a bustle?
Ye'll see how New-Light herds will whistle,
An' think it fine!
The Lord's cause gat na sic a twistle
Sin' I hae min'.

(Moodie and Russel were well known 'fire and brimstone preachers, in Burns time.)

4.
O Sirs! whae'er wad hae expeckit
Your duty ye wad sae negleckit?
Ye wha were no by lairds respeckit
To wear the plaid,
But by the brutes themselves eleckit
To be their guide!
5.
What flock wi' Moodie's flock could rank,
Sae hale an' hearty every shank?
Nae poison'd, soor Arminian stank
He let them taste;
But Calvin's fountainhead they drank -
O, sic a feast!

(Note: - Arminian refers to the followers of Arminius, a Dutch divine who denied the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination.)

6.
The thummaart, wilcat, brock, an' tod
Weel kend his voice thro' a' the wood;
He smell'd their ilka hole an' road,
Baith out and in;
An' weel he lik'd to shed their bluid
An' sell their skin.
7.
What herd like Russel tell'd his tale?
His voice was heard thro' muir and dale;
He kend the Lord's sheep, ilka tail,
O'er a' the height;
An' tell'd gin they were sick or hale
At the first sight.
8.
He fine a mangy sheep could scrub;
Or nobly swing the gospel club;
Or New-Light herds could nicely drub
Or pay their skin;
Or hing them o'er the burning dub
Or heave them in.
9.
Sic twa - O, do I live to see't? -
Sic famous twa sud disagree't,
An' names like villain, hypocrite,
Ilk ither gi'en,
While New-light herds wi' laughin spite
Say neither's liein!
10.
A' ye wha tent the gospel fauld,
Thee Duncan deep, an' Peebles shaul',
But chiefly great apostle Auld,
We trust in thee,
That thou wilt work them hot an' cauld
Till they agree!
11.
Consider, Sirs, how we're beset:
There's scarce a new herd that we get
But comes frae 'mang that cursed set
I winna name:
I hope frae heav'n to see them yet
In fiery flame!
12.
Dalrymple has been lang our fae,
M'Gill has wrought us meikle wae,
An' that curs'd rascal ca'd M'Quhae,
An' baith the Shaws,
That aft hae made us black an' blae
Wi' vengefu' paws.
13.
Auld Wodrow lang has hatch'd mischief:
We thought ay death wad bring relief,
But he has gotten to our grief
Ane to succeed him,
A chield wha'll soundly buff our beef -
I meikle dread him.
14.
An' monie mae that I could tell,
Wha fain would openly rebel,
Forby turn-coats amang oursel:
There's Smith for ane -
I doubt he's but a greyneck still,
An' that ye'll fin'!
15.
O a' ye flocks o'er a' the hills,
By mosses, meadows, moors, an' fells,
Come, join your counsel and your skills
To cowe the lairds,
An' get the brutes the power themsels
To chuse their herds!
16.
Then Orthodoxy yet may prance,
An Learning in a woody dance,
An' that fell cur ca'd Common-sense,
That bites sae sair,
Be banish'd o'er the sea to France -
Let him bark there!
17.
Then Shaw's an' D'rymple's eloquence,
M'Gill's close, nervous excellence,
M'Quhae's pathetic, manly sense,
An' guid M'Math
Wha thro' the heart can brawly glance,
May a' pack aff!

 



The Two Herds: or, The Holy Squabble
An Uncommonly Mournful Tale






O all you pious godly flocks,
Well fed on pastures orthodox,
Who now will keep you from the fox
Or worrying dogs?
Or who will tend the straglers and old ewes
About the stone fences?

The two best herds in all the west,
That ever gave gospel horn a blast
These five and twenty summers past -
O, sad to tell! -
Have had a bitter, black quarrel
Between themselves.

O Moodie, man, and wordy Russel,
How could you raise so vile a bustle?
You will see how New-Light herds will whistle,
And think it fine!
The Lord's cause got not such a twist
Since I can remember.





O Sirs! whoever would have expected
Your duty you would so neglected?
You who were not by lairds repected
To wear the plaid,
But by the brutes themselves elected
To be their guide!

What flock with Moodie's flock could rank,
So healthy and hearty every shank?
No poisoned, sour Arminian pond
He let them taste;
But Calvin's fountainhead they drank -
O, such a feast!





The polecat, wildcat, badger, and fox
Well knew his voice through all the wood;
He smelled their every hole and road (track),
Both out and in;
And well he liked to shed their blood
And sell their skin.

What (shep)herd like Russel told his tale?
His voice was heard through moorland and dale;
He knew the Lord's sheep, every tail,
Over all the height;
And told if they were sick or healthy
At the first sight.

He fine a scabby sheep could scrub;
Or nobly swing the gospel club;
Or New-Light herds could nicely drub
Or pay (reward) their skin;
Or hang them over the burning puddle
Or heave them in.

Such two - O, do I live to see it? -
Such famous two should have disagreed it,
And names like villain, hypocrite,
Each other given,
While New-light herds with laughing spite
Say neither is lieing!

All you who care for the gospel fold,
You Duncan deep, and Peebles shallow,
But chiefly great apostle Old,
We trust in you,
That you will work them hot and cold
Till they agree!

Consider, Sirs, how we are beset:
There is scarce a new herd that we get
But comes from among that cursed set
I will not name:
I hope from heaven to see them yet
In fiery flame!

Dalrymple has been long our foe,
M'Gill has wrought (worked) us much woe,
And that cursed rascal called M'Quhae,
And both the Shaws,
That often has made us black and blue
With vengeful paws (hands).

Old Wodrow long has hatched mischief:
We thought one death would bring relief,
But he has gotten (obtained) to our grief
One to succeed him,
A fellow who will soundly bang our beef (body) -
I much dread him.

And many more that I could tell,
Who fondly would openly rebel,
Besides turn-coats among ourselves:
There is Smith for one -
I doubt he is but a greyneck still,
And that you will find!

Of all you flocks over all the hills,
By bogs, meadows, moors, and hill-sides,
Come, join your counsel and your skills
To daunt the lairds,
And get the brutes the power themselves
To choose their herds!

Then Orthodoxy yet may prance,
And Learning in a halter dance,
And that formidable churlish dog called Common-sense,
That bites so sore,
Be banished over the sea to France -
Let him bark there!

Then Shaw's and Dalrymple's eloquence,
M'Gill's close, nervous excellence,
M'Quhae's pathetic, manly sense,
And good M'Math
Who through the heart can cheerfully glance,
May all pack off!

 

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