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Turn’d o’er in one bumper a bottle of red,
Then worthy Glenriddel, so cautious and sage,
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
SECOND EPISTLE TO DAVIE,
A BROTHER POET.*
* 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.
Of a' the thoughtless sons o' man,
They ever think.
An' while ought's there,
An' fash nae mair.
The Muse, poor hizzie !
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.
An' ye have laid nae tax on misses;
And now, remember, Mr. Aiken,
This list wi' my ain han' I wrote it,
ROBERT BURNS. Mossgiel, February 22nd, 1786.
* Vide the notes on “ the Poet's welcome to his illegitimate child.”
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.
* 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