Address to the Unco Guid
My son, these maxims make a rule,
An' lump them ay thegither:
The Rigid Righteous is a fool,
The Rigid Wise anither;
The cleanest corn that e’er was dight
May hae some pyles o’ caff in;
So ne’er a fellow-creature slight
For random fits o’ daffin
SOLOMON (Eccles.vii. 16)
O ye, wha are sae guid yoursel,
Sae pious and sae holy,
Ye’ve nought to do but mark and tell
Your neebours’ fauts and folly ;
Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill,
Supplied wi’ store o’ water ;
The heapet happer’s ebbing still,
An’ still the clap plays clatter !
As counsel for poor mortals
That frequent pass douce Wisdom’s door
For glaikit Folly’s portals :
I for their thoughtless, careless sakes
Would here propone defences -
Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes,
Their failings and mischances.
And shudder at the niffer ;
But cast a moment’s fair regard,
What makes the mighty differ ?
Discount what scant occasion gave ;
That purity ye pride in ;
And (what’s aft mair than a’ the lave)
Your better art o’ hidin.
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 makes an unco lee-way.
All joyous and unthinking,
Till, quite transmugrify’d, they’re grown
Debauchery and Drinking :
O, would they stay to calculate,
Th’ eternal consequences,
Or -your more dreaded hell to state -
Damnation of expenses !
Tied up in godly laces,
Before ye tie poor Frailty names,
Suppose a change o’ cases :
A dear-lov’d lad, convenience snug,
A treach’rous inclination-
But, let me whisper i’ your lug,
Ye’re ailblins nae temptation.
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.
Decidedly can try us :
He knows each chord, its various tone,
Each spring, its various bias :
Then at the balance let’s be mute,
We never can adjust it ;
What’s done we partly may compute,
But know not what’s resisted.