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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Smith, The Reverend George (1748 - 1823)

Minister at Galston from 1778 until his death. In 'The Holy Fair', Burns apparently meant to compliment him for the rationalism of his preaching though his friends regarded the lines in question as having injured his popularity:

"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 an' reason?
His English style, an' gesture fine,
Are a' clean out o' season..."

In 'The Twa Herds', Burns suggested that while pretending 'New Licht' sympathies, he was not to be trusted:

"An monie a ane that I could tell,
Wha fain would openly rebel,
Forby turn-coats amang oursel;
There's Smith for ane -
I doubt he's but a grey neck still
An' that ye'll fin'."

Angered by the criticism of his lines on Smith in 'The Holy Fair', Burns did not spare him in 'The Kirk's Alarm'.

"Cessnock-side, Cessnock-side, wi' your turkey-cock pride,
O' manhood but sma' is your share;
Ye've the figure, 'tis true, even your faes maun allow.
And your friends daurna say ye hae mair,
Cessnock-side! And your friends daurna say ye hae mair.'

Smith was great-grandfather of R. L. Stevenson.

Buy the Burns Encyclopedia online
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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

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