Holy Willie’s Prayer

O thou, wha in the heavens does dwell,
Wha, as it pleases best Thysel’,
Sends ane to heaven an’ ten to hell,
                A’ for Thy glory,
And no for ony gude or ill
                They’ve done afore Thee! 

I bless and praise Thy matchless might,
Whan thousands Thou hast left in night,
That I am here afore Thy sight,
                For gifts an’ grace
A burning and a shining light
                To a’ this place.

What was I, or my generation,
That I should get sic exaltation?
I wha deserve most just damnation
                For broken laws,
Sax thousand years ere my creation,
                Thro’ Adam’s cause? 

When frae my mither’s womb I fell,
Thou might hae plunged me in hell,
To gnash my gums, to weep and wail,
                In burnin lakes,
Where damned devils roar and yell,
                Chained to their stakes.

Yet I am here a chosen sample,
To show thy grace is great and ample;
I’m here a pillar o’ Thy temple,
                Strong as a rock,
A guide, a buckler, and example,
                To a’ thy flock. 

O Lord, Thou kens what zeal I bear,
When drinkers drink, an’ swearers swear,
And singin' there, and dancin' here,
                Wi’ great and sma’;
For I am keepit by Thy fear
                Free frae them a’.

But yet, O Lord! confess I must,
At times I’m fashed wi’ fleshly lust:
An’ sometimes, too, wi' wardly trust,
                Vile self gets in:
But Thou remembers we are dust,
                Defiled in sin. 

O Lord! yestreen, Thou kens, wi’ Meg--
Thy pardon I sincerely beg,
O! may’t ne’er be a livin plague
                To my dishonor,
An’ I’ll ne’er lift a lawless leg
                Again upon her.

Besides, I farther maun allow,
Wi’ Leezie’s lass, three times I trow--
But Lord, that Friday I was fou,
                When I cam near her;
Or else, Thou kens, Thy servant true
                Wad never steer her. 

Maybe Thou lets this fleshly thorn
Beset Thy servant e’en and morn,
Lest he owre proud and high should turn,
                That he’s sae gifted:
If sae, Thy hand maun e’en be borne,
                Until Thou lift it.

Lord, bless Thy chosen in this place,
For here Thou hast a chosen race:
But God confound their stubborn face,
                And blast their name,
Wha bring Thy elders to disgrace
                An’ public shame. 

Lord, mind Gawn Hamilton’s deserts;
He drinks, an’ swears, an’ plays at cartes,
Yet has sae mony takin arts,
                Wi’ great and sma’,
Frae God’s ain priest the people’s hearts
                He steals awa.

An’ when we chastened him therefor,
Thou kens how he bred sic a splore,
As set the warld in a roar
                O’ laughing at us;
Curse Thou his basket and his store,
                Kail an’ potatoes. 

Lord, hear my earnest cry and pray’r,
Against that Presbytery o’ Ayr;
Thy strong right hand, Lord, make it bare
                Upo’ their heads;
Lord, weigh it down, an’ dinna spare,
                For their misdeeds.

O Lord, my God! that glib-tongued Aiken,
My very heart and flesh are quakin',
To think how we stood sweatin’, shakin,
                An’ pissed wi’ dread,
While he, wi’ hingin lips and snakin,
                Held up his head. 

Lord, in The day of vengeance try him,
Lord, visit them wha did employ him,
And pass not in Thy mercy by ’em,
                Nor hear their pray’r,
But for Thy people’s sake, destroy ’em,
                An’ dinna spare.

But, Lord, remember me and mine
Wi’ mercies temp’ral and divine,
That I for gear and grace may shine,
                Excelled by nane,
And a’ the glory shall be thine,
                Amen, Amen!