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Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
259. A New Psalm for the Chapel of Kilmarnock
 
 
On the Thanksgiving-Day for His Majesty’s Recovery.
 
 
O SING a new song to the Lord,
  Make, all and every one,
A joyful noise, even for the King
  His restoration.
 
The sons of Belial in the land        5
  Did set their heads together;
Come, let us sweep them off, said they,
  Like an o’erflowing river.
 
They set their heads together, I say,
  They set their heads together;        10
On right, on left, on every hand,
  We saw none to deliver.
 
Thou madest strong two chosen ones
  To quell the Wicked’s pride;
That Young Man, great in Issachar,        15
  The burden-bearing tribe.
 
And him, among the Princes chief
  In our Jerusalem,
The judge that’s mighty in thy law,
  The man that fears thy name.        20
 
Yet they, even they, with all their strength,
  Began to faint and fail:
Even as two howling, ravenous wolves
  To dogs do turn their tail.
 
Th’ ungodly o’er the just prevail’d,        25
  For so thou hadst appointed;
That thou might’st greater glory give
  Unto thine own anointed.
 
And now thou hast restored our State,
  Pity our Kirk also;        30
For she by tribulations
  Is now brought very low.
 
Consume that high-place, Patronage,
  From off thy holy hill;
And in thy fury burn the book—        35
  Even of that man M’Gill. 1
 
Now hear our prayer, accept our song,
  And fight thy chosen’s battle:
We seek but little, Lord, from thee,
  Thou kens we get as little.        40
 
Note 1. Dr. William M’Gill of Ayr, whose “Practical Essay on the Death of Jesus Christ” led to a charge of heresy against him. Burns took up his cause in “The Kirk of Scotland’s Alarm” (p. 351).—Lang. [back]
 

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