Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Scottish literature


Robert Burns wrote this famous satire on religious hypocrisy in 1785, but he did not include it in his first book Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1786) or in any edition published in his life-time. This edition makes accessible for the first time the locally-produced chapbook in which the poem was first printed, in 1789. The introduction discusses why the poem was written, the controversial background to the poem's first printed version, and the reasons for thinking the 1789 chapbook version was printed by John Wilson of Kilmarnock, who had printed Burns's first book three years before. An appendix gives extracts from early comments about the poem, both admiring and hostile.