William Ernest Henley Robert Burns.

The complete poetical works of Robert Burns online

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** Being pursued by the dragoons,
Within my bed he laid him down,
And weel I wat he was worth his room,

For be was my Dainty Davie : " —

written to the praise of Mass David Williamson,
and preserved in full in The Merry Muses, ana
in part by Herd (1769). It sets forth an adven-
ture thus related by Captain Creichton in his Me-
moirs, as published by Swift ( Works, ed. Scott,
vol. xii. pp. 19, 20) : I had been assured that
Williamson did much frequent the house of
my Lady Cherrvtree. within ten miles of Edin-
burgh ; but when 1 arrived with my party
about the house, the lady, well knowing our
errand, put Williamson to bed to her daugh-
ter, disguised in a woman's night-dress. When
the troopers went to search in the young lady's
room, her mother pretended that she was not
well ; and Williamson so managed the matter
that, when the daughter raised herself a little
in the bed to let the troopers see her, they did
not discover him, and so went off disappointed.
But ^ the young lady proved with child, and
Williamson, to take off the scandal, married
her in some time after." Creichton is the sole
authority for this hi storiette, which is placed in
1674, and whose hero died, at seventy-nine, in
1702. But it is certain that Miss Cherrytree
became the third of his seven wives, although
there is no record of her bearing him a child.
Creichton's story was very generally believed.
Williamson, whose exploit so nearly touched
the heart of Charles II. that ('t is said) his at-
tendance was commanded at Whitehall, did
more, in fact, than endear himself both to writ-
ers of songs and to writers of such lampoons as
The Cardinal's Coach Couped (1711 : in Burns's
favourite stave) : —

" You need not think I 'ra speaking lies :
Bear witness, House of Cherrytrees,
Where Dainty Darie stroTe to please

My lady's daughter
And boldly crept . . .

For fear of slaughter : •• —

and the rather scandalous verses collected bv
Maidment in A Hanaful of Pestilent Pasquils
(Privately Printed, no date). He added, in the
44 Dainty Davie " of the text, a synonym (sus-
ceptible, it seems, of more than one interpreta-
tion) to Scots venereal slang. What, in effect,
is signified in Burns's lines is that there ana
then the Bard presented the Fiddler with that
doxy from his train of three whom he had taken
but now in .flagrante delicto ; and this is shown

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by the terms in which he presently (in the suc-
ceeding song) refers to the transaction : —
" I *re loat but ane, I We twa behln',
I 're wife enough for »* that."

Second Song. St. n. 1. 4. Helicon.

Bums's description may derive from Mont-
gomerie's 44 fontame Helicon " in The Cherry and
the Sloe. Again, it may be tliat. inasmuch
as whisky was, and still is, named after the
place of its prod action, and inasmuch as he re-
garded it as a source of inspiration, he simply
meant his Bard to talk of " Helicon " as nis
Caird had spoken of *' KUbaigie." Cf. Byron,
English Bards (1809) : u Fresh fish from Hel-
icon ; w corrected (MS. 1816) to " Hippocrene."

Last chorus, 1. 3. My clearest bluid, etc.

Cf . the sonnet attributed to Marlowe : —
" To do thee good,
1 11 freely spend my thrice-decocted blood.*'

Paee 107. The Twa Herds.

44 Herds " is old Scots for " shepherds. 1 '

Page 108. St. in. 1. 1. Moodie, man, an*
wordy Russell.

For notices of Moodie and Russell see ante,
pp. 326, 327, Notes to The Holy Fair.

St. in. 1. 3. New-Light.

See ante, p. 331, Notes to Epistle to William
Simpson of Ochiltree, and the humorous disser-
tation in tne Epistle itself (ante, p. 47).

St. IV. 11. 3-6. Ye wha were no by lairds re-
speckit, etc.

The construction is unusual, unless 44 re-
speckit " bears a somewhat strained meaning,
and 44 respeckit to wear the plaid" signifies
44 esteemed fit to wear the plaid." If *|re-
speckit " be used in its common sense, the lines
may be read thus : 44 Ye who were elected to
wear the plaid, not by respected lairds but by
the brutes themselves to be their guide."

St. IV. 1. 5. By the brutes themselves eleckit.
The reference is to popular election by the con-

St. x. 1. 2. Duncan deep, on* Peebles shard.

Robert Duncan, ordained minister at Dun-
donald 11th September, 1783; D. D., Univer-
sity of Glasjrow, 1806; died 14th April, 1815;
was deemed intellectual, and published Infidel-
ity the Growing Evil of the Times, a sermon, Air,
1794. For Peebles, see ante, p. 327, Notes to
The Holy Fair.

St. x. 1. 3. Apostle Auld.

William Auld, minister of Mauchline,
younger son of the laird of EUanton, Ayrshire,
was born in 1709: graduated M. A. at^ Edin-
burgh in 1733, ana afterwards studied divinity
at Glasgow and Leyden ; ordained minister of
Mauchline in April, 1742 ; died 12th December,
1791, in his 83d Vear. He published The Pasto-
ral Duty Brie/fy Explained, a sermon. Glas-
gow, 1763. Like hjs elder 44 Holy Willie,"
Auld was given to liquor, and, also like him,
was a bitter Calvinist and a rigid disciplinarian.
He is not alluded to in The Holy Fair, because
as minister of the parish he had to preside at the
services within the church. Auld's disciplinary
dealings with Burns are referred to in the Reply

to a Trimming Epistle from a Tailor (see ante,
p. 132). Several writers have credited him with
a certain magnanimity with regard to his satir-
ist. But Burns, though he certainly offended,
did not attack nira personally — except in the
rather flattering allusion in the text — before
he had left Ayrshire. He is not named in the
earlier version oi Holy Willie's Prayer except
as 4k God's ain Priest ; " and as for magnanim-
ity, there is no proof of any on his part. He
rebuked Burns and Armour in 1786, together
with other three, in terms applicable to all five.
He could not with decency single Burns out for
a special rebuke. On 5th August, 1788, Burns
ana Armour were rebuked for their irregular
marriage, after which discipline they could not
be rebuked for a second case of fornication.
Auld was now an old man ; hence the epithet
44 Daddie" in a stanza of The Kirk's Alarm,
with the line, 44 And gif ye canna bite, ye may

St. xu. 1. 1. Dalrymple.

William Dalrymple of Ayr, younger son of
James Dalrymple, sheriff-clerk of Ayr ; born at
Ayr, 2Dth August, 1723 ; ordained to die second
charge of Ayr, December, 1746; translated to
the first charge 13th May, 1756; D. D., St.
Andrews, 1779 : Moderator of the General As-
sembly of the Kirk of Scotland, 1781 ; died 20th
January, 1814, in his 91st year. Author of Ser-
mons, Glasgow, 1766 ; Edinburgh, 1782 : Family
Worship Explained, 1787 ; History of Christ (in
which he referred with approval to his colleague
M'Gill's Practical Essay), Edinburgh, 1787;
Faith in Jesus Christ, Air, 1790, etc. Dalrym-
ple was liked and respected even by his oppo-
nents. Burns, whom he baptized, devotes a
stanza of admirable eulogy to nim in The Kirk's
Alarm x p. 111. He told Ramsay of Ochtertvre
that his father was 44 so much pleased " with
Dalrymple's strain of preaching and benevo-
lent conduct that he embraced his religions
opinions, * 4 though he practically remained a
Calvinist." (Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eigh-
teenth Century, ii. 554.)

St. xu. 1. 3. M'Quhae.

William M'Quhae, son of a magistrate of
Wigton, was born 1st May, 1737; studied at
Glasgow, where he was a favourite pupil of
Adam Smith ; ordained at St. Quivox, 1st
March, 1764; D. D., St. Andrews, 1794; died 1st
March, 1823, in his 86th year. Author of Diffi-
culties which attend the Practice of Religion no
just Argument against it, a Sermon, Edinburgh,

St. xn. 1. 4. Baith the Shaws.

Andrew Shaw, son of Andrew Shaw, Profes-
sor of Divinity at St. Andrews, was born in
1730; ordained at Craigie, 26tn September,
1765; D. D., St. Andrews. 1795; died 14th
September, 1805. He was scholarly, but some-
what diffident. David Shaw, no relation of
Andrew, was son of Alexander Shaw, minister
of Edenkillie ; ordained at Coylton, 29th June.
1749 ; D. D., St. Andrews, 1775 ; Moderator of
the General Assembly, 1775 ; died 26th April,
1810, in his 92d year.

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St. xni. 1. 1 • Auld Wodrow.

Patrick Wodrow.Minister of Tarbolton.
second son of John Wodrow, the ecclesiastical
historian, born 1713: ordained at Tarbolton,
18th August, 1738 ; 1). D., St. Andrews, 1784 ;
died 17th April, 1793. in his 81st year. Author
of a Letter (signed John Gillies) addressed to the
Elders of the Synod of Glasgow and Air with
Observations Moral and TheoToaical, 1784.

St. xni. 1. 4. Ant to succeed him.

The assistant and successor was John M'Math
— referred to by name in stanza xvii. — or-
dained 16th May, 1782 ; demitted his charge —
on account of convivial habits — 21st Decem-
ber, 1791 ; retired to Mull, where he died 18th
December, 1825. M'Math was an acquaintance
of Burns, who at M'Math's request enclosed
him a copy of Holy Willie* s Prayer \ adding the
Rhymed Epistle (ante, p. 126), to himself.

St. hv. 1. 4. Smith.

Rev. George Smith of Galston. See ante,
p. 326, Notes to The Holy Fair.

St. xiv. 1. 5. Greyneck.

In English slang gray " signifies a coin (for
tossing) with two heads or two tails; while
44 grav-coat parson " signifies a lay-impropriator
of tithes. A '* groyneck," then, is a person of
indeterminate principles, — one who is neither
black nor white, but indifferent alike 44 to God
and to His enemies."

Page 109. St. xvi. 1. 3. Common-sense.

See ante, p. 332, Notes to The Ordination.

Page 110. Holy Willie's Prayeb.

St. xi. 1. 5. God's ain Priest.

William Auld, minister of Mauchline. See
ante, p. 336, Notes to The Two Herds.

St. xii. 1. 6. Kail an 1 potatoes.

One of the charges against Gavin Hamilton
was that he sent his servants to dig potatoes on
a Sunday.

St. xin. 1. 2. Against that PresbyCry of Ayr.

Because it vindicated Hamilton against the
Mauchline Session.

St. xiv. 1. 1. That glib-tongu'd Aiken.

Robert Aiken of Ayr, who successfully de-
fended Hamilton. See ante, p. 330, Notes to
The Cotter's Saturday Night.

Page 111. The Kirk's Alarm.

St. n. 1. 1. Dr. Mac.

Dr. M'Gill, of course. See the Prefatory

m St. m. 1. 3. To meddle wV mischief a-irew-

14 See the advertisement." (R. B.) The
magistrates of Ayr, when a complaint was laid
before the Synod against Dr. M'Gill, inserted
an advertisement in the newspapers, testifying
to the respect of the community towards him.

St. in. 1. 4. Provost John.

John Ballantine. Provost of Ayr, to whom
Burns dedicated The Brigs of Ayr (ante, p. 39).

St. in. 1. 6. Orator Bob.

Robert Aiken, Writer, who defended Dr.
M'Gill as well as he had already defended
Gavin Hamilton. See ante, p. 330, Notes to The
Cotter's Saturday Night.

St. IV. 1. 1. D'rymple mild.

William Dalrymple of Ayr. See ante, p. 336,
Notes to The Twa Herds.

St. vi. 1. 1. Rumble John.

John Russel of Kilmarnock. See ante, p.
327, Notes to The Holy Fair.

St. vii. 1. 1. Simper James.

James M'Kinlay of Kilmarnock, whose settle-
ment there is celebrated in The Ordination (see
ante, p. 63).

Page 112. St. vra. 1. 1. Singet Sawnie.

Alexander Hoodie of Riccarton. See ante, p.
326, Notes to The Holy Fair.

St. ix. 1.1. DaddteAuld.

William Auld of Mauchline. See ante, p.
336, Notes to The Twa Herds.

St. ix. 1. 3. A tod meikle waur than the

Gavin Hamilton, whom Auld had previously
prosecuted. See ante, p. 109, Prefatory Note to
Holy Willie's Prayer, and ante, p. 41, Prefatory
Note to A Dedication.

St. x. 1. 1. Davie Bant.

David Grant of Ochiltree ; born in Madderty,
Aberdeenshire, in 1750 ; for some time teacher
in George Watson's Hospital, Edinburgh; or-
dained Presbyterian minister at Newcastle-on-
Tyne, 14th November, 1781 ; admitted to Etter-
icK parish, 4th May, 1786; and translated to
Ochiltree, 7th November of the same year ; died
16th July, 1791. As convener of the Committee
on M k Gill's publications, and one of the most
persistent of his prosecutors, Grant made him-
self especially obnoxious to M 4 Gill's supporters ;
so much so, indeed, that his sudden death cre-
ated the impression that it had been brought
about by them. He was the author of two sin-
gle sermons (Edinburgh, 1779 and 1782), and
Sermons Doctrinal and Practical, 2 vols. (1785).

St. xi. 1. 1. Jamie Goose.

44 James Young of Cumnock, who had lately
been foiled in an ecclesiastical prosecution
against a Lieutenant Mitchell." (R. B.) He
was ordained at New Cumnock, 3d May, 1758,
and died 1st August, 1795. in his 85th year.

St. xii. 1. 1. Poet Willie.

"William Peebles in Newton-upon-AvT, a
poetaster who, among other things, published
an ode on the centenary of the Revolution, in
which was the line : * And bound in Liberty's
endearing chain. 1 " (R. B.) For Peebles see
also ante, p. 327, Notes to The Holy Fair.

St. xin. 1. 1. Andro' Gowk.

Andrew Mitchell of Monkton and Prestwick,
son of Hugh Mitchell of Dalgain, his mother
being one of the Campbells of Fairfield: or-
dained at Muirkirk, 11th July, 1751 ; translated
to Monkton in November, 1774; died 11th Oc-
tober, 1811, in his 87th year. He possessed the
estate of Avisyard, near Cumnock, and is said
to have " kept a carriage." Being rich, he had
a kind of influence among the Orthodox : but
he was mentally the weakest of the brethren.
He was author of Causes of Opposition to the
Gospel (Edinburgh, 1764).

St. xiv. 1. 1. Barr Steenie.

Stephen Toung of Barr, who, after acting
for some time as assistant at Ochiltree, was or-

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dained at Barr, 8th March, 1780, and died 21st
February, 1M9, in his 75th year.

St. xv. 1. 1. Irvine-tide.

George Smith of Galston. (See ante, p. 326,
Notes to The Holy Fair.) The town stands on
the Irvine.

St. xvi. 1. 1. Muir land Jock.

John Shepherd of Mnirkirk, son of Rev.
George Shepherd of New battle : ordained at
Hemel-Hempstead, Herts, 30th October, 1772 ;
translated to Muirkirk, 1st September, 1775;
died 14th August, 1799, in his 59th year.

St. xvu. 1. 1. Holy Will.

44 Vide the * Prayer* of this Saint." (R. B.)
See ante, p. 109, Prefatory Note to Holy Wil-
lie's Prayer.

Page 113. Postscript 1. 1. 1. A/ion's Laird.

John Logan of Knockshinnoch and Afton.

Postscript 1, 1. 6. ClacJcleith.

Mr. Johnson of Clackleith.

Postscript 2, 1. 1. Factor John.

Either John Kennedy, factor to the Earl of
Dumfries (see ante, p. 128, Prefatory Note to
To John Kennedy) , or John M'Murdo (see ante,
Prefatory Note to To John M'Murdo, p. 143).

Page 114. The Inventory.

My lan'-a-fore* etc.

The old wooden plough was drawn by four
horses : two on the left hand, named respectively
the 44 lan'-a-fore " (the foremost on the un-
ploughed land side) and the ** lan'-a-hind "
(the hindmost on the unploughed land side) ;
and two on the right hand, named respectively
the * 4 fur-a-fore " (the foremost in the furrow)
and the 44 fur-a-hind " (the hindmost in the

As e'er in tug or tow was traced.

See ante, p. 330, Notes to The Auld Farmer's

A gaud s man ane % a thrasher V other.

The gaudsman was the driver of the plough-
team. When it was drawn by oxen he used a
gaud (—goad). Before cornmills were in use a
" thrasher " had almost constant work with the

Wee Davoc.

David Hntchieson, whose father, Robert, had
been ploughman at Lochlie. The father died
of fever, and Burns took care of the boy, to
whom he also gave all the education he ever got.

J on the Questions tairge them tightly.

The Shorter Catechism of the Westminster
Divines, on which the Kirk compelled house-
masters to examine their servants and children
every Sunday. # To ** tairge " = to ** target,"
t. e. to pelt or riddle with importunities. Thus
Callnra Beg, intent on constraining Shamus an
Snachad, " as he expressed himself 4 targed him
tightlv * till the finishing of the job."

He Hi screed you off " Effectual Calling."

The answer to the question, " What is Effec-
tual Calling ? " embodies the essence of Calvin-

My sonsie, smirking, dear-bouaJit Hess.

His daughter Elizabeth, by Elizabeth Paton.
See ante, p. 113, Prefatory Note to The Poet's

Page 115. A Maccbune Wedding.

St. u. 1. 1. Blacksideen.

"A hill." (R.B.)

St. ii. 1.3. Nell and Bess.

"Miller's two sisters." (R. B.) Nell was
the eldest,— the Miss Miller of the Belles of
Mauchline (see post, p. 171).

St. iv. 11. 1, 2.

But now the gown wf rustling sound
Its silken pomp displays.

"The ladies' first silk gown, got for the oc-
casion." (R.B.)

St. v. 1. 1. Sandy.

44 Driver of the Post-chaise." (R. B.)

St. v. 1. 5. Auld John Trot.

44 Miller's father." (R.B.)

Page 116. Adam Armour's Prayer,

St. v. 1. 2. Auld drucken Nanse.

See ante, p. 334, Notes to The Jolly Beggars.

St. vi. 1. 1. Jock an' havWel Jean.

They were the son and daughter. Jean or
Jenny is the Racer Jess of The Holy Fair. See
ante, p. 10, st. ix. 1. 3, and Notes, p. 326.

Page 116. Nature's Law.

St. m. 1. 3. Coila's plains.

Coila, identical with ft Coil " in st. v., is poetic
for Kyle, one of the districts of Ayrshire.

Page 117. Lines on Meeting with Lord

St. ii. 1.5. O' the Quorum.

Certain Justices, without whom the Court
could not sit.

St. in. 1. 4. An' sic a Lord! — lang Scotch

A Scots ell is over a yard.

St. v. 1. 2. Or Scotia's sacred Demosth/nes.

This would seem to show that Dr. Hugh
Blair was of the company.

Page 118. Address to the Toothache.

St. iv. 1. 2. Cutty-stools.

Cutty = short or small. Some derive the use
of the word in 44 cutty-stools " from 44 cutty "
or " kitty," occasionally employed to signify a
loose woman, as in the delightful ballad of
JJofein Red-Breast (Herd, 1769): —

\ " Then Robin turned him round about,
E'en like a little king : —
* Go, pack ye out at my chamber door,
Te little cutty quean.' "

It is very commonly applied to a mischievous
ungrown girl ; it is also a nickname for a hare ;
it likewise signifies the three-legged milking-
stool. The present reference is, of course, to
the stool of repentance. This was conspicu-
ously placed in front of the pulpit, and the pen-
itent, the opening prayer being done, was con-
ducted to it by the beadle ; sat on it through
the service, — in the olden time clothed in sack-
cloth (Scottice', 44 a ham gown ") ; and at the
close arose from it to receive the rebuke. There
were two kinds of stools, a high and a low ; the
high being known as the 44 pillar."

Page 119. Lament for the Absence of
William Creech, Publisher.

St. 1. 1. 1. Auld chuckie Reekie.

44 Auld Reekie " = Edinburgh ; not because

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Edinburgh is abnormally smoky, but because
her smoke is visible from many heights.

St. iy. 1. 1. Gawkies, tawpies, gowks, and

"Gawkies" and "tawpies" are here the
diminutives or ferainines of " gowks " and
44 fools." "Gawkie" (cf. the song Bess the
Gawkie) is derived from "gowk " (the cuckoo, a
giddy-pated bird), which is Soots, as " cuckoo "
is Shakesp<3arian English (cf . First Henry IV. ,
U. iv. : "O' horseback, ye cuckoo ") for a daft
or stupid person.

St. vii. 1. 1. Worthy Greq'ry's Latin f cue.

James Gregory (o. 1753, a. 1821), the famous
Professor of Medicine, was a great hand at
Latin quotations, and is said by Cock burn to
have had " a strikingly powerful countenance."
For Gregory's stringent criticism of the
Wounded Hare, see ante, p. 93, Prefatory Note
to that poem.

St. vii. 1. 2. Tytler 1 s and Greenfield's modest

Not William Tytler the historian, then an old
man, but his son, A. F. Tytler (6. 1747, d. 1813),
afterwards Lord Woodhouselee, at this time
Professor of Civil History, who wrote a Life of
Lord Karnes (1807), an Historical and Critical

Essay on the Life of Petrarch (1810), and a see
The Genius and Writings of Alia

i sen-
sible essay on The Genius and Writings of Allan
Ramsay (1800). He sat on that '* jury of lite-
rati" to which Burns submitted the new mate-
rial for the First Edinburgh, and assisted him
in revising the proofs for a later edition. Wil-
liam Greenfield was minister of St. Andrew's
parish and Professor of Rhetoric, but in 1798,
being charged with a nameless offence, he de-
mitted his offices and left Scotland. In his Sec-
ond Common Place Book Burns extols "his
good sense, his joyous hilarity, his sweetness of
manners, and modesty."

St. vii. 1. 3. MKemie, Stewart, such a

Henry M'Kenzie, author of The Man of Feel-
ing, who had written an appreciation of Burns 's
Poems in The Lounger for December, 1786 , and
Dugald Stewart, dt scribed in the Second Com-
mon Place Book as " the most perfect character
I ever saw."

Page 120. Elegy on the Departed Year,

An y cry till ye be haerse an % roupet.

For " roupet " see ante, p. 325, Notes to The
Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer.

An 1 gied ye a 1 baith gear an 1 meal.

Even yet the clergymen of the Church of
Scotland are paid in kind — their stipend being
reckoned in cnalders.

For Embro' wells are grutten dry !

During December, 1788, there was the coldest
weather in Scotland, and the Edinburgh wells
were all frozen.

Nae hand-cuffed, mizzl'd, half-shackVd Re-

See ante, p. 154, Prefatory Note to Ode to the
Departed Regency Bill.

rage 121. On the Duchess of Gordon's
Heel Dancing.

St. 1. 1. 3. Walloped.

A motion, expressive at once of rapidity and
a certain awkwardness : as (e. g.) of a fish out of
water. It is used of galloping, as in David Lind-
say, Complaynt to the King, line 179: " And
wychtilie wallope ouer the sandis ; " also, and
very commonly, in a slightly sarcastic sense of
dancing, as in the text and in the song of Mag-
gie Lauder, sometimes attributed to Francis
Sempill : —

** Meg up an 1 wallop'd ower the green,
For brawly she could frisk it."

St. n. 1. 2. The midden dub.

Burns in his glossary defines the midden hole
as '* a gutter at the bottom of the dunghill."

Page 122. On Captain Grose.

St. v. 1. 3. As for the DeU, he dour na steer

That is, attempt to carry him off, the refer-
ence being to Grose's exceeding corpulence.
(See ante, p. 186, Epigram on Captain Francis

Page 123. New Year's Day, 1791.

Coila 's fair Rachel's care to-day.

" This young lady was drawing a picture of
Coila from The Vision." (Note in Currie, 1800,
probably supplied by Mrs. Dunlop.)

Page 124. From Esopus to Maria.

I see her face the, first of Ireland's sons.

This Irishman is said to have been an officer
named Gillespie.

The crafty Colonel.

Colonel M 4 Doual of Logan — " Sculdudd'ry "
ii. e. Bawdy) M'Doual of the Second Heron
Ballad (see ante, p. 166, St. x. 1. 5, and Prefa-
tory Note to Youna Peggie, ante, p. 201).

The hopeful youth, in Scottish senate bred,

Who owns a Bushby' s heart without the head.

Mr. Maitland Bushby, advocate, the "Wig-
ton's new sheriff " of the Second Heron Ballad
(p. 165, St. m. 1. 1), with " the heart " but not

the head " of his father, John Bushby, " hon-
est man." (See Epitaph on John Bushby, ante,
p. 198.)

Page 124. To John Rankine.

St. ii. 1. 6. A whaup 's i' the nest.

This is a modification of the Scottish proverb :
44 There 's a whaup in the rape " = 44 There is
something wrong." In Ayrshire, 4i whaup " was
also the name of a goblin supposed to haunt the
eaves of houses. But in Burns's line 44 whaup "
is probably curlew ; and the meaning seems to
be, 44 what is wrong will soon be known."

Page 125. To John Goldie.

St. ii. 1.3. Black Jock.

Russell of Kilmarnock. See ante, p. 327,
Notes to The Holy Fair.

St. iv. 1. 5. Haste, gie her name up in the

Persons at the point of death are accustomed
to request the prayers of the congregation.

Page 126. To J. Lapraik. Third Epistle.

St. ni. 1. 5. Whatt. #

From the Scots i4 white " or " wheat," mean-
ing: to cut with a knife, i.e. " whittle."

St. v. I. 5. Browster wives.

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The old-world ale-wife always brewed the
stuff she sold.

St. vu. 1. 2. Till kye be gaun without the herd.

The grain being all harvested, the cattle
sould be allowed to crop at large. In olden
times there were few or no fences on farms, and
cattle were watched by a boy.

St. ix. 1. 6. Yours, Rab the Ranter.
Cf . the old song Maggie Lauder : —

" For I 'm a piper to my trade,
My name l* Rab the Ranter.* 1

Page 126. To the Rev. John M'Math.

St. ii. 1. 2. Gown ah 1 ban* an 1 dome black-

The clergyman, who on Sundays wears a

iwn and band : and the elder, who in those

Online LibraryWilliam Ernest Henley Robert BurnsThe complete poetical works of Robert Burns → online text (page 53 of 64)