Page:Merry Muses of Caledonia.djvu/141

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( 133 )

Exculpate proof ye needna bring,
For we're resolved about the thing;[1]
Yet, as reluctantly we punish,
And rather would with zeal admonish,[2]
Since better punishment prevented,
Than obstinacy sair repented,[3]
We, for that ancient secret's sake
Ye have the honour to partake,
And for that noble badge you wear,
You, Sandy Dow, our brither dear,
We give you as a man and mason,
This serious, sober, frien'ly lesson;
Your crime—a manly deed we trow it,
For men, and men alone, can do it,
And he's nae man that won't avow it;[4]
Therefore, confess, and join our core,
And keep reproach outside the door,
For in denial persevering,
Is to a scoundrel's name adhering;[5]
The best o' men hae been surprised,
The doucest women been advised,
The cleverest lads hae had a trick o't,
The bonniest lasses ta'en a lick o't,
Kings hae been proud our name to own,[6]
As adding glory to their crown,
The rhyming sons o' bleak Parnassus,
Were aye red-wud about the lasses,
And saul and body baith would venture,
Rejoicing in our lists to enter,
E'en (wha wad trow't), the cleric order,
Aft slyly break the hallowed border,
And show, in kittle time and place,
They are as scant o' boasted grace

As ony o' the human race:
  1. This couplet is found only in S. D.'s Ver.
  2. And rather mildly would admonish.—Eg. Ver.
  3. This couplet is found only in the Eg. Ver.
  4. This line is awanting in the Eg. Ver.
  5. This couplet is found only in the Eg. Ver.
  6. This and the ten lines immediately following are found only in S. D.'s Ver.