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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


where he spent many a jovial hour with Willie Xcol and Allan Masterton. ?? Three blyther lads? never gladdened the old place; and so associated did it become with Burns, that, according to a writer in the ?Year Book,? ?his name was assumed as its distinguishing and alluring cognomen. Until it was finally closed, it was visited nightly by many a party of jolly fellows. . . . . Few strangers omitted to call in to gaze upon the ? coftin ? of the bard-this was a small, dark room, which would barely accommodate, even by squeezing, half a dozen, but in which Burns used to sit. ROBERT GQURLAY?S HOUSE. Here he composed one or two of his best songs, and here were preserved to the last the identical seats and table which had accommodated him.? In his edition of Scottish songs published in 1829, five years before the demolition of the tavern, Chambers notes that in the ale-house was sung that sweetest of all Bums?s love songs :- ?I 0, poortith cauld, and restless love, Ye wreck my peace between ye ; Yet poortith a? I could forgie, An ?twere M for my Jeanie. ?I Oh, why should fate sic pleasure have, Life?s dearest bonds untwining ? Or why sae sweet a flower as love Depend on fortune?s shining? ? The moment the clock of St. Giles?s struck midnight not another cork would Johnnie Dowie draw. His unvarying reply to a fresh order was, ?Gentlemen, it is past twelve, and time to go home.? In the same corner where Burns sat Christopher North has alluded to his own pleasant meetings with Tom Campbell. A string of eleven verses in honour of his tavern were circulated among his customers by Dowie, who openly ascribed them to Bums. Two of these will suffice, as what was at least a good imitation of the poet?s style :- I( 0 Dowie?s ale ! thoa art the thing That gars us crack and gars us sing, Cast by our cares, our wants a? fling Thou e?en mak?st passion tak the wing, Frae us wi? anger ; Or thou wilt hang her. I? How blest is he wha has a groat, To spare upon the cheering pot ; He may look blythe as ony Scot Gie?s a? the like, but wi? a coat, ?Now these men are all gone,? wrote one, who, alas ! has followed them; ?their very habits are becoming matters of history, while, as for their evening haunt, the place which knew it once knows it no more, the new access to the Lawnmarket, by George IV. bridge, passing over the area where it stood.? Liberton?s Wynd is mentioned io far back as in a charter by James III., in 1477, and in a more subsequent time it was the last permanent place of execution, after the demolition of the old Tolbooth. Here at its head have scores of unhappy wretches looked their last upon the morning sun-the infamous Burke, whom we shall meet again, among them. The socket of the gallows-tree was removed, like many other objects of greater interest, in 1834. Before quitting this ancient alley we must not omit to note that therein, in the house of his father Dr. Josiah Mackenzie (who died in 1800) was born in August, 1745, Henry Mackenzie, author of the ?? Man of Feeling,? one of the most illustrious names connected with polite literature in Scotland. He was one of the most active members of the Mirror Club, which met sometimes at Clenheugh?s in Writers? Court; sometimes in Sonier?s, opposite the Guard-house in the High Street; sometimes in Stewart?s oyster-house, in the old
Volume 1 Page 120
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