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Poem by Robert Burns


Address To The Unco Guid, Or The Rigidly Righteous


My Son, these maxims make a rule,
    An' lump them aye thegither;
The Rigid Righteous is a fool,
    The Rigid Wise anither:
The cleanest corn that ere was dight
    May hae some pyles o' caff in;
So ne'er a fellow-creature slight
    For random fits o' daffin.

       Solomon.-Eccles. ch. vii. verse 16.

O YE wha are sae guid yoursel.
  See pious and sae holy,
Yeve nought to do but mark and tell
  Your neibours fauts and folly!
Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill,
  Supplied wi store o water:
The heaped happers ebbing still,
  And still the clap plays clatter:

Hear me, ye venerable core,
  As counsel for poor mortals,
That frequent pass douce Wisdoms door,
  For glaikit Follys portals;
I, for their thoughtless careless sakes,
  Would here propone defences,-
Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes,
  Their failings and mischances.

Ye see your state wi theirs compard,
  And shudder at the niffer;
But cast a moments fair regard-
  What maks the mighty differ?
Discount what scant occasion gave,
  That purity ye pride in,
And (whats aft mair than a the lave)
  Your better art o hidin.

Think, when your castigated pulse
  Gies now and then a wallop,
What ragings must his veins convulse,
  That still eternal gallop!
Wi wind and tide fair i your tail,
  Right on ye scud your sea-way;
But in the teeth o baith to sail,
  It maks an unco leeway.

See Social life and Glee sit down,
  All joyous and unthinking,
Till, quite transmogrifled, theyre grown
  Debauchery and Drinking:
O would they stay to calculate
  Th eternal consequences;
Or your more dreaded hell to state,
  Damnation of expenses!

Ye high, exalted, virtuous Dames,
  Tied up in godly laces,
Before ye gie poor Frailty names,
  Suppose a change o cases;
A dear lovd lad, convenience snug,
  A treacherous inclination-
But, let me whisper i your lug,
  Yere aiblins use temptation.

Then gently scan your brother man,
  Still gentler sister woman;
Tho they may gang a kennin wrang,
  To step aside is human.
One point must still be greatly dark,
  The moving why they do it;
And just as lamely can ye mark
  How far perhaps they rue it.

Who made the heart, tis He alone
  Decidedly can try us;
He knows each chord, its various tone,
  Each spring, its various bias.
Then at the balance lets be mute,
  We never can adjust it;
Whats done we partiy may compute,
  But know not whats resisted.

1786

                      Robert Burns


Robert Burns's other poems:
  1. Tam Samsons Elegy
  2. To The Same
  3. O Whare Bid Ye Get
  4. It Is Na, Jean, Thy Bonnie Face
  5. My Ladys Gown Theres Gairs Upont


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