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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


a BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Tavern” unquestionably was, in the first place, the good cheer which his house afforded ; and, secondly, his own tact and address. He was uniformly attentive and obliging ; and, whether with a “ crum 0’ tripe, a fleuk, or whitin’,” no one knew better how to please the palate of a customer.l The situation of the house tended much to recommend it ; at once retired, and yet in the proximity of the most frequented portion of the Old Town, it afforded a convenient resort for those who took “ meridians ; l7 and at night the strong ale drinkers found it the very focus of excellent cheer and good company. A graphic and somewhat humorous description‘of ‘‘ Dowie’s Tavern ” is given in some verses by Mr. Hunter of Blackness. These were originally ascribed to Burns, and as such printed in slips by “Honest John,” and circulated among his acquaintances. They afterwards were included in a short biographical notice of John himself, in the Scots Magazine for 1806, to which his portrait was prefixed. In this article the writer says-“ We have met lately with the following anonymous peem, written a good many years ago, in which the praises and merits of John are duly set forth. It is generally supposed to be the composition of Burns, who, when in tom, was a frequent visitor of Mr. Dowie ; and at any rate is a, good imitation of his manner. Such of our readers as know what it is to weet their pipes, for little wrang,’ will readily acknowledge that the picture is drawn to the life, and will probably not be displeased with this opportunity of recognising an old acquaintance :- “ JOHNNIE DOWIE’S ALE. ‘‘ A’ ye wha wis’, on e’enings lang, To meet an’ crack, and sing a sang, And weet your pipes, for little wrang, To sere Johnnie Dowie’s gang, To purse or person, There thrum a verse on. “ 0, Dowie’s ale ! thou art the thing, That gars us crack, and gars us sing, Cast by our cares, our wants a’ fling fiae us wi’ anger ; Thou e’en mak’st passion tak the wing, Or thou wilt bang ’er. “ How blest is he wha has a groat To spare upon the cheering pot ; He may look blithe aa ony Scot Gie’s a’ the like, but wi’ a coat, “ Bnt thinkna that strong ale alone Is a’ that’s kept by dainty John ; Na, na ; for in the place there’s none, Frae end to end, Fur meat can set ye better on, Than can your friend. That e’er was born : And guide frae scorn. On being asked for something to eat, Johnnie’s invariable reply was1 “Ye can get a bufed herring.”
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BIOGRAPHICAL SRETCHES. ‘‘ Wi’ looks as mild BS mild can be, An’ smudgin’ laugh, wi’ winkin’ e’e ; An’ lowly bow down to his knee, Whe, gentlemen, stay t i i I see, He’ll say fu’ douce, What’s i’ the house. ‘‘ Anither bow-‘ Deed, gif ye please, Ye can get a bit toasted cheese, A crum 0’ tripe, ham, dish 0’ pease, An egg, or, cauler frae the seaa, (The season fittin’,) A fleuk or whitin’ ; A nice beef-steak, or ye may get A gude buffd herring, reisted skate, An’ ingans, an’ (tho’ past its date), A cut 0’ veal ; Ha, ha, it’s no that unco late, I’ll do it weel.’ 3 I‘ 0, Geordie Robertson, dreigh loun, An’ antiquarian Paton aoun’, Wi’ mony ithers i’ the tom, Gif Johmie Dowie should stap down, What wad come o’er ye, To the grave before ye 1 I‘ Ye sure wad break your hearts wi’ grief, An’ in strong ale find nae relief, War ye to lose your Dowie-chief Three years at least, now, to be brief, 0’ bottle-keepers ; Ye’d gang wi’ weepera “ But, gude forbid I for your sakes a’, That sic a useful man should fa’ ; For, fried8 0’ mine, between us twa, You’d lose a howff, baith warm an braw, Right i’ your lug, An‘ unco snug. “ Then, pray for’s health this mony year, Fresh three-’n-a-ha’penny, best 0’ beer,’ That can (tho’ dull) you brawly cheer- An’ gar you a’ forget your wear- Recant you weel up ; Your sorrows seal up. ” To this poetical description of “dainty John,” we may add the prose remarks of the Trultitions:--“Be was the sleekest and kindest of landlords. Nothing could equal the benignity of his smile, when he brought in a bottle of ale to a company of well-known and friendly customers j and it was a perfect 1 John’# best ale was only threepence the bottle. He had an infenor kind at twopence-half- ?my. When ordered to bring a bottle, he generally inquired if his customer wished the tippenny-ha’penny or the threepenny kind’’
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