Page images
PDF

Turn’d o’er in one bumper a bottle of red,
And swore 'twas the way that their ancestors did.

Then worthy Glenriddel, so cautious and sage,
No longer the warfare ungodly would wage;
A high-ruling elder to wallow in wine !
He left the foul business to folks less divine.

[ocr errors]

The gallant Sir Robert fought hard to the end ; But who can with Fate and quart bumpers contend? Though Fate said, a hero should perish in light; So uprose bright Phæbus—and down fell the knight.

Next up rose our bard, like a prophet in drink :• Craigdarroch, thou'lt soar when creation shall

sink ! • But if thou would flourish immortal in rhyme, • Come-one bottle more and have at the sublime!

* Thy line, that have struggled for freedom with

Bruce, Shall heroes and patriots ever produce: 70 • So thine be the laurel, and mine be the bay ; • The field thou hast won, by yon bright god of

day!'

VOL. II.

SECOND EPISTLE TO DAVIE,

A BROTHER POET.*

[ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic]

* This Epistle was prefixed to the edition of Sillar's Poems published at Kilmarnock in 1789. Burns' “First Epistle” to David Sillar produced the answer which will be found in the Appendix, and which he here calls Davie's

“auld-farrent, frien’ly letter.” The text is taken from the copy printed with other of Burns' pieces at Glasgow, in 1801, from the Poet's own manuscript.

[ocr errors]

Of a' the thoughtless sons o' man,
Commend me to the Bardie clan ;
Except it be some idle plan

O’rhymin clink,
The devil-haet, that I sud ban,

They ever think.
Nae thought, nae view, nae scheme o' livin',
Nae care tae gie us joy or grievin’;
But just the pouchie put the nieve in,

An' while ought's there,
Then hiltie skiltie, we gae scrievin',

An' fash nae mair.
Leeze me on rhyme ! it's aye a treasure,
My chief, amaist my only pleasure,
At hame, a-fiel', at wark, or leisure,

The Muse, poor hizzie !
Tho'rough an' raploch be her measure,

She's seldom lazy. Haud tae the Muse, my dainty Davie: The warl may play you monie a shavie; But for the Muse, she'll never leave ye,

Tho' e'er sae puir, Na, even tho’limpin' wi’ the spavie

Frae door tae door.

[ocr errors]

50

An' ye have laid nae tax on misses;
An' then if kirk folks dinna clutch me,
I ken the devils dare na touch me.
Wi' weans I'm mair than weel contented,
Heav'n sent me ane mae than I wanted.
My sonsie smirking dear-bought Bess*
She stares the daddy in her face,
Enough of ought ye like but grace.
But her, my bonie sweet wee lady,
I've paid enough for her already,
An' gin ye tax her or her mither,
B’ the Lord, ye’se get them a’ thegither! 60

And now, remember, Mr. Aiken,
Nae kind of license out I'm takin';
Frae this time forth, I do declare,
I’se ne'er ride horse nor hizzie mair;
Thro’ dirt and dub for life I'll paidle,
Ere I sae dear pay for a saddle ;
My travel a' on foot I'll shank it,
I've sturdy bearers, Gude be thankit !-
The Kirk an' you may tak’ you that,
It puts but little in your pat ;
Sae dinna put me in your buke,
Nor for my ten white shillings luke.

This list wi' my ain han' I wrote it,
Day an' date as under notet:
Then know all ye whom it concerns,
Subscripsi huic,

ROBERT BURNS. Mossgiel, February 22nd, 1786.

[ocr errors]

* Vide the notes on “ the Poet's welcome to his illegitimate child.”

THE WHISTLE.*

A BALLAD. SING of a Whistle, a Whistle of worth, 5 I sing of a Whistle, the pride of the

North, SO4 Was brought to the court of our good

Scottish king, And long with this Whistle all Scotland shall ring.

[ocr errors]

* Burns says, “ As the authentic prose history of the Whistle is curious, I shall here give it. - In the train of Anne of Denmark, when she came to Scotland with our James the Sixth, there came over also a Danish gentleman of gigantic stature and great prowess, and a matchless champion of Bacchus. He had a little ebony Whistle, which at the commencement of the orgies he laid on the table; and whoever was last able to blow it, everybody else being disabled by the potency of the bottle, was to carry off the Whistle as a trophy of victory.- The Dane produced credentials of his victories, without a single defeat, at the courts of Copenhagen, Stockholm, Moscow, Warsaw, and several of the petty courts in Germany; and challenged the Scots Bacchanalians to the alternative of trying his prowess, or else of acknowledging their inferiority.--After many overthrows on the part of the Scots, the Dane was encountered by Sir Robert Lawrie of Maxwelton, ancestor of the present worthy Baronet of that name; who, after three days' and three nights' hard contest, left the Scandinavian under the table,

“ And blew on the Whistle his requiem shrill.” Sir Walter, son to Sir Robert before mentioned, afterwards lost the Whistle to Walter Riddel of Glenriddel, who had married a sister of Sir Walter's.-On Friday, the 16th October, 1790, at Friars-Carse, the Whistle was once more contended for, as related in the ballad, by the present Sir Robert Lawrie of Maxwelton; Robert Riddel, Esq. of Glenriddel, lineal descendant and representative of Walter Riddel, who won the Whistle, and in whose family it had continued; and Alexander Ferguson, Esq. of Craigdarroch, likewise de

« PreviousContinue »