Complete Songs Of Robert Burns - online book

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No. 276. Dire was the hate at old Harlaw.
Tune : The Dragon ofWantley Durfey's Pills, 1719, iii. p. 10.
Dire was the hate at old Harlaw,
That Scot to Scot did carry; And dire the discord Langside saw
For beauteous, hapless Mary : But Scot to Scot ne'er met so hot,
Or were more in fury seen, sir, Than 'twixt Hal and Bob for the famous job,
Who should be the Faculty's Dean, sir.
This Hal, for genius, wit, and lore,
Among the first was number'd ; But pious Bob, 'mid learning's store
Commandment the tenth remem-ber'd : Yet simple Bob the victory got,
And won his heart's desire, Which shows that Heaven can boil the pot,
Tho' the deil piss in the fire.
Squire Hal, besides, had in this case Pretensions rather brassy ;
For talents, to deserve a place, Are qualifications saucy.
So their worships of the Faculty, Quite sick of merit's rudeness,
Chose one who should owe it all, d'ye see, To their gratis grace and goodness.
As once on Pisgah purg'd was the sight
Of a son of Circumcision, So, may be, on this Pisgah height
Bob's purblind mental vision ;— Nay, Bobby's mouth may be open'd yet,
Till for eloquence you hail him, And swear that he has the Angel met
That met the ass of Balaam.
In your heretic sins may ye live and die,
Ye heretic eight-and-thirty ! But accept, ye sublime majorit}',
My congratulations hearty! With your honors, as with a certain King,
In your servants this is striking, The more incapacity they bring,
The more they're to your liking.