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The Holy Fair
by [?]


[1]

A robe of seeming truth and trust
Hid crafty Observation;
And secret hung, with poison’d crust,
The dirk of Defamation:

A mask that like the gorget show’d,
Dye-varying on the pigeon;
And for a mantle large and broad,
He wrapt him in Religion.
Hypocrisy A-La-Mode

Upon a simmer Sunday morn
When Nature’s face is fair,
I walked forth to view the corn,
An’ snuff the caller air.
The rising sun owre Galston muirs
Wi’ glorious light was glintin;
The hares were hirplin down the furrs,
The lav’rocks they were chantin
Fu’ sweet that day.

As lightsomely I glowr’d abroad,
To see a scene sae gay,
Three hizzies, early at the road,
Cam skelpin up the way.
Twa had manteeles o’ dolefu’ black,
But ane wi’ lyart lining;
The third, that gaed a wee a-back,
Was in the fashion shining
Fu’ gay that day.

The twa appear’d like sisters twin,
In feature, form, an’ claes;
Their visage wither’d, lang an’ thin,
An’ sour as only slaes:
The third cam up, hap-stap-an’-lowp,
As light as ony lambie,
An’ wi’a curchie low did stoop,
As soon as e’er she saw me,
Fu’ kind that day.

Wi’ bonnet aff, quoth I, “Sweet lass,
I think ye seem to ken me;
I’m sure I’ve seen that bonie face
But yet I canna name ye.”
Quo’ she, an’ laughin as she spak,
An’ taks me by the han’s,
“Ye, for my sake, hae gien the feck
Of a’ the ten comman’s
A screed some day.”

“My name is Fun–your cronie dear,
The nearest friend ye hae;
An’ this is Superstitution here,
An’ that’s Hypocrisy.
I’m gaun to Mauchline Holy Fair,
To spend an hour in daffin:
Gin ye’ll go there, yon runkl’d pair,
We will get famous laughin
At them this day.”

Quoth I, “Wi’ a’ my heart, I’ll do’t;
I’ll get my Sunday’s sark on,
An’ meet you on the holy spot;
Faith, we’se hae fine remarkin!”
Then I gaed hame at crowdie-time,
An’ soon I made me ready;
For roads were clad, frae side to side,
Wi’ mony a weary body
In droves that day.

Here farmers gash, in ridin graith,
Gaed hoddin by their cotters;
There swankies young, in braw braid-claith,
Are springing owre the gutters.
The lasses, skelpin barefit, thrang,
In silks an’ scarlets glitter;
Wi’ sweet-milk cheese, in mony a whang,
An’ farls, bak’d wi’ butter,
Fu’ crump that day.

When by the plate we set our nose,
Weel heaped up wi’ ha’pence,
A greedy glowr black-bonnet throws,
An’ we maun draw our tippence.
Then in we go to see the show:
On ev’ry side they’re gath’rin;
Some carrying dails, some chairs an’ stools,
An’ some are busy bleth’rin
Right loud that day.

Here stands a shed to fend the show’rs,
An’ screen our countra gentry;
There Racer Jess, [2] an’ twa-three whores,
Are blinkin at the entry.
Here sits a raw o’ tittlin jads,
Wi’ heaving breast an’ bare neck;
An’ there a batch o’ wabster lads,
Blackguarding frae Kilmarnock,
For fun this day.

Here, some are thinkin on their sins,
An’ some upo’ their claes;
Ane curses feet that fyl’d his shins,
Anither sighs an’ prays:
On this hand sits a chosen swatch,
Wi’ screwed-up, grace-proud faces;
On that a set o’ chaps, at watch,
Thrang winkin on the lasses
To chairs that day.

O happy is that man, an’ blest!
Nae wonder that it pride him!
Whase ain dear lass, that he likes best,
Comes clinkin down beside him!
Wi’ arms repos’d on the chair back,
He sweetly does compose him;
Which, by degrees, slips round her neck,
An’s loof upon her bosom,
Unkend that day.