Welcome to Poetry.com

Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.

Navigate through our poetry database by subjects, alphabetically or simply search by keywords. You can submit a new poem, discuss and rate existing work, listen to poems using voice pronunciation and even translate pieces to many common and not-so-common languages.

The Holy Fair

Robert Burns 1759 (Alloway) – 1796 (Dumfries)

Upon a simmer Sunday morn,
When Nature's face is fair,
I walked forth to view the corn
An' snuff the caller air.
The risin' 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 linin;
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 ony slaes.
The tird cam up, hap-step-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 Superstitionhere,
An' that's Hypocrisy.
I'm gaun to Mauchline Holy Fair,
To spend an hour in daffin:
Gin ye'll go there, you runkl'd pair,
We will get famous laughin
At them this day.'
Quoth I, 'With 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' monie a wearie body
In droves that day.
Here, farmers gash, in ridin graith,
Gaed hoddin by their cotters,
There swankies young, in braw braidclaith
Are springin 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 carryin dails, some chairs an' stools,
An' some are busy bleth'rin
Right loud that 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' screw'd-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 and blest!
Nae wonder that it pride him!
Whase ain dear lass that he likes best,
Comes clinkin down beside him!
Wi' arm repos'd on the chair back,
He sweetly does compose him;
Which by degrees slips round her neck,
An's loof upon her bosom,
Unken'd that day.
Now a' the congregation
o'er
Is silent expectation;
For Moodie speels the holy door,
Wi' tidings o' salvation.
Should Hornie, as in ancient days,
'Mang sons o' God present him,
The vera sight o' Moodie's face
To's ain het hame had sent him
Wi' fright that day.
Hear how he clears the points o' faith
Wi' rattlin an' wi' thumpin!
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath
He's stampin, an' he's jumpin!

His lengthen'd chin, his turn'd-up snout,
His eldritch squeal and gestures,
Oh, how they fire the heart devout
Like cantharidian
plaisters,
On sic a day!

But hark! the tent has chang'd its voice:
There's peace and rest nae langer;
For a' the real judges rise,
They canna sit for anger.
Smith opens out his cauld harangues,
On practice and on morals;
An' aff the godly pour in thrangs,
To gie the jars an' barrels
A lift that day.
What signifies his barren shine
Of moral pow'rs and reason?
His English style an' gesture fine
Are a' clean out o' season.
Like Socrates or Antonine
Or some auld pagan heathen,
The moral man he does define,
But ne'er a word o' faith in
That's right that day.
In guid time comes an antidote
Against sic poison'd nostrum;
For Peebles, frae the water-fit,
Ascends the holy rostrum:
See, up he's got the word o' God
An' meek an' mim has view'd it,
While Common Sense has ta'en the road,
An's aff, an' up the Cowgate
Fast, fast that day.
Wee Miller niest the Guard relieves,
An' Orthodoxy raibles,
Tho' in his heart he weel believes
An' thinks it auld wives' fables:
But faith! the birkie wants a Manse,
Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
Font size:
Collection  Edit     
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

4:11 min read
332 Views

Robert Burns

Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and lyricist. more…

All Robert Burns poems | Robert Burns Books

FAVORITE (1 fan)

Discuss this Robert Burns poem with the community:

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "The Holy Fair" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 25 Feb. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/30576/the-holy-fair>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest poetry community and poems collection on the web!

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    "Now I become myself. It's taken time, many years and places."
    • A. W.H. Auden
    • B. Robert Frost
    • C. Rita Dove
    • D. May Sarton

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets

    »
    Poetry.com

    Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.