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John Mackenzie was a medical practitioner in Mauchline. He became a close friend of Robert Burns through the Masonic lodge, St James, Tarbolton. He did much to assist the poet on his first visit to Edinburgh, by way of introductions and recommendations. The poem refers to a Masonic procession being held to celebrate the Nativity of St John the Baptist and was written by Burns in his capacity as Depute Master of the lodge.

“Friday first's the day appointed

By the Right Worshipful anointed,

To hold our grand procession;

To get a blad o' Johnie's morals,

And taste a swatch o' Manson's barrels

I' the way of our profession.

The Master and the Brotherhood

Would a' be glad to see you;

For me I would be mair than proud

To share the mercies wi' you.

If Death, then, wi' skaith, then,

Some mortal heart is hechtin,

Inform him, and storm him,

That Saturday you'll fecht him.”

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