Address to the Deil is a poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns. It was written in Mossgiel in 1785 and published in the Kilmarnock volume in 1786.
The poem was written as a humorous portrayal of the Devil and the pulpit oratory of the Presbyterian Church. The poem starts by quoting from Milton's Paradise Lost as a contrast with the first two lines of the poem itself:
- "O thou! Whatever title suit thee,
- Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick or Clootie"
These lines are also a parody of a couplet in Alexander Pope's satire The Dunciad.
The poem was written in a Habbie stanza with the stanza six lines long and the rhyme aaabab. Burns used a similar stanza in Death and Doctor Hornbrook.
The poem is also skeptical of the Devil's existence and of his intentions to punish sinners for all eternity as in the stanza.
- Hear me, auld Hangie, for a wee,
- An’ let poor damned bodies be;
- I’m sure sma’ pleasure it can gie,
- Ev’n to a deil,
- To skelp an’ scaud poor dogs like me,
- An’ hear us squeel!
This contrasts with the views contained in works such as Paradise Lost and the preachings of the Church.