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Holy Willlie's Prayer
And send the godly in a pet to pray.
Pope
Note 'pet' in the content of the above line by Pope, has the definition: - A slight or childish fit of aggrieved or resentful sulkiness, huff.

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation


1.
O Thou that in the Heavens does dwell,
Wha, as it pleases best Thysel,
Sends ane to Heaven an' ten to Hell
A' for Thy glory,
And no for onie guid or ill
They've done before Thee!
2.
I bless and praise Thy matchless might,
When thousands Thou hast left in night,
That I am here before Thy sight,
For gifts an' grace
A burning and a shining light
To a' this place.
3.
What was I, or my generation,
That I should get sic exaltation?
I, wha deserv'd most just damnation
For broken laws
Sax thousand years ere my creation,
Thro' Adam's cause!
4.
When from my mither's womb I fell,
Thou might hae plung'd me deep in hell
To gnash my gooms, and weep, and wail
In burning lakes,
Whare damned devils roar and yell,
Chain'd to their stakes.
5.
Yet I am here, a chosen sample,
To show Thy grace is great and ample:
I'm here a pillar o' Thy temple,
Strong as a rock,
A guide, a buckler, and example
To a' Thy flock!
6.
But yet O Lord! confess I must:
At times I'm fash'd wi' fleshly lust;
An' sometimes, too, in warldly trust,
Vile self gets in;
But Thou remembers we are dust,
Defiled wi' sin.
7.
O Lord! yestreen, Thou kens, wi' Meg --
Thy pardon I sincerely beg --
O, may't ne'er be a living plague
To my dishonour!
An' I'll ne'er lift a lawless leg
Again upon her.
8.
Besides, I farther maun avow --
Wi' Leezie's lass, three times, I trow --
But, Lord, that Friday I was fou,
When I cam near her,
Or else, Thou kens, Thy servant true
Wad never steer her.
9.
Maybe Thou lets this fleshly thorn
Buffet Thy servant e'en and morn,
Lest he owre proud and high should turn
That he's sae gifted:
If sae, Thy han' maun e'en be borne
Until Thou lift it.
10.
Lord, bless Thy chosen in this place,
For here Thou has a chosen race!
But God confound their stubborn face
An' blast their name,
Wha bring Thy elders to disgrace
An' open shame!
11.
Lord, mind Gau'n Hamilton's deserts:
He drinks, an' swears, an' plays at cartes,
Yet has sae monie takin arts
Wi' great and sma',
Frae God's ain Priest the peoples hearts
He steals awa.
12.
And when we chasten'd him therefore,
Thou kens how he bred sic a splore,
And set the warld in a roar
O' laughin at us:
Curse Thou his basket and his store,
Kail an' potatoes!
13.
Lord, hear my earnest cry and pray'r
Against that Presbyt'ry of Ayr!
Thy strong right hand, Lord, mak it bare
Upo' their heads!
Lord, visit them, an' dinna spare,
For their misdeeds!
14.
O Lord, my God! that glib-tongu'd Aiken,
My vera heart and flesh are quakin
To think how we stood sweatin, shakin,
An pish'd wi' dread,
While he, wi' hingin lip an' snakin,
Held up his head.
15.
Lord, in Thy day o' vengeance try him!
Lord, visit him wha did employ him!
And pass not in Thy mercy by them,
Nor hear their pray'r,
But for Thy people's sake destroy them,
An' dinna spare!
16.
But, Lord, remember me and mine
Wi' mercies temporal and divine,
That I for grace an' gear may shine
Excell'd by nane;
And a' the glory shall be Thine --
Amen, Amen!



O You that in the Heavens does dwell,
Who, as it pleases best Yourself,
Sends one to Heaven and ten to Hell
All for Your glory,
And not for any good or ill
They have done before You!

I bless and praise Your matchless might,
When thousands You have left in night,
That I am here before Your sight,
For gifts and grace
A burning and a shining light
To all this place.

What was I, or my generation,
That I should get such exaltation?
I, who deserved most just damnation
For broken laws
Six thousand years before my creation,
Through Adam's cause!

When from my mother's womb I fell,
You might have plunged me deep in hell
To gnash my gums, and weep, and wail
In burning lakes,
Where damned devils roar and yell,
Chained to their stakes.

Yet I am here, a chosen sample,
To show Your grace is great and ample:
I am here a pillar of Your temple,
Strong as a rock,
A guide, a buckler, and example
To all Your flock!

But yet O Lord! confess I must:
At times I am irked with fleshly lust;
And sometimes, too, in worldly trust,
Vile self gets in;
But You remembers we are dust,
Defiled with sin.

O Lord! last night, You know, with Meg -
Your pardon I sincerely beg -
O, may it never be a living plague
To my dishonour!
And I will never lift a lawless leg
Again upon her.

Besides, I further must avow -
With Leezie's girl (daughter), three times, I think -
But, Lord, that Friday I was drunk,
When I came near her,
Or else, You know, Your servant true
Would never meddle with her.

Maybe You let this fleshly thorn
Buffet Your servant evening and morning,
Lest he too proud and high should turn
That he is so gifted:
If so, Your hand must even be borne
Until You lift it.

Lord, bless Your chosen in this place,
For here You have a chosen race!
But God confound their stubborn face
And blast their name,
Who bring Your elders to disgrace
And open shame!

Lord, remember Gavin Hamilton's deserts:
He drinks, and swears, and plays at cards,
Yet has so many taking arts
With great and small,
From God's own Priest the peoples hearts
He steals away.

And when we chastened him therefore,
You know how he bred such a row,
And set the world in a roar
Of laughing at us:
Curse You his basket and his store,
Cabbage and potatoes!

Lord, hear my earnest cry and prayer
Against that Presbytery of Ayr!
Your strong right hand, Lord, make it bear
Upon their heads!
Lord, visit them, and do not spare,
For their misdeeds!

O Lord, my God! that glib-tongued Aiken,(preacher)
My very heart and flesh are quaking
To think how we stood sweating, shaking,
And pissed with dread,
While he, with hanging lip and sneering,
Held up his head.

Lord, in Your day of vengeance try him!
Lord, visit him who did employ him!
And pass not in Your mercy by them,
Nor hear their prayer,
But for Your people's sake destroy them,
And do not spare!

But, Lord, remember me and mine
With mercies temporal and divine,
That I for grace and wealth may shine
Excelled by none;
And all the glory shall be Yours -
Amen, Amen!

 

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