259. A New Psalm for the Chapel of Kilmarnock
O SING a new song to the Lord,
Make, all and every one,
A joyful noise, even for the King
The sons of Belial in the land
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;
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,
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.
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,
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;
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—
Even of that man M’Gill.
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.
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.
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