Robert Louis Stevenson > A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods > XI. Embro Hie Kirk
Stevenson, Robert Louis (1850–1894).  A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods.  1913.
XI. Embro Hie Kirk

THE LORD HIMSEL’ in former days 
Waled out the proper tünes for praise 
An’ named the proper kind o’ claes 
      For folk to preach in: 
Preceese and in the chief o’ ways         5
      Important teachin’. 
He ordered a’ things late and air’; 
He ordered folk to stand at prayer. 
(Although I cannae just mind where 
      He gave the warnin’.)  10
An’ pit pomatum on their hair 
      On Sabbath mornin’. 
The hale o’ life by His commands 
Was ordered to a body’s hands; 
But see! this corpus juris stands  15
      By a’ forgotten; 
An’ God’s religion in a’ lands 
      Is deid an’ rotten. 
While thus the lave o’ mankind’s lost, 
O’ Scotland still God maks His boast—  20
Puir Scotland, on whase barren coast 
      A score or twa 
Auld wives wi’ mutches an’ a hoast 
      Still keep His law. 
In Scotland, a wheen canty, plain,  25
Douce, kintry-leevin’ folk retain 
The Truth—or did so aince—alane 
      Of a’ men leevin’; 
An’ noo just twa o’ them remain— 
      Just Begg an’ Niven.  30
For noo, unfaithfü to the Lord 
Auld Scotland joins the rebel horde; 
Her human hymn-books on the board 
      She noo displays: 
An’ Embro Hie Kirk’s been restored  35
      In popish ways. 
O punctum temporis for action 
To a’ o’ the reformin’ faction, 
If yet, by ony act or paction, 
      Thocht, word, or sermon,  40
This dark an’ damnable transaction 
      Micht yet determine! 
For see—as Doctor Begg explains— 
Hoo easy ’t’s düne! a pickle weans, 
Wha in the Hie Street gaither stanes  45
      By his instruction, 
The uncovenantit, pentit panes 
      Ding to destruction. 
Up, Niven, or ower late—an’ dash 
Laigh in the glaur that carnal hash;  50
Let spires and pews wi’ gran’ stramash 
      Thegether fa’; 
The rumlin’ kist o’ whustles smash 
      In pieces sma’. 
Noo choose ye out a waie hammer;  55
About the knottit buttress clam’er; 
Alang the steep roof stoyt an’ stammer, 
      A gate mis-chancy; 
On the aul’ spire, the bells’ hie cha’mer, 
      Dance your bit dancie.  60
Ding, devel, dunt, destroy, an’ ruin, 
Wi’ carnal stanes the square bestrewin’, 
Till your loud chaps frae Kyle to Fruin, 
      Frae Hell to Heeven, 
Tell the guid wark that baith are doin’—  65
      Baith Begg an’ Niven. 



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