Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 55 social nature, consisting chieffy of gentlemen connected with the medical profession. For their amusement he printed successively various pieces of poetry under the title of Carminunz Macaronicomm Delectus; and among his other publications is one containing a collection of Inscriptions on the Tombstones in the Churchyards of Edinburgh. The practice of visiting Arthur’s Seat early on the morning of the 1st of May, is, or rather was, observed with great enthusiasm by the inhabitants of Edinburgh. Dr. Duncan was one of the most regular in his devotion to the Queen of May, during the long period of nearly fifty years j and to the very last he performed his wonted pilgrimage with all the spirit, if not agility, of his younger years. These visits he not unfrequently celebrated by some poetic production, which he transmitted to his friends. On the 1st of May 1826, two years before his death, although agetl eighty-two, he paid his annual visit ; and, on the summit of the hill, read a few lines of an address to Alexander Duke of Gordon, then the oldest peer alive. To this the Duke furnished a reply ; and, as a memorial of the transaction, Dr. Duncan had both effusions lithographed and circulated among his friends, with this inscription :-‘( Lithographic Facsimile of the Hand-writing of two Octogenarians.” One page is the production of the Doctor ; the other of the Duke :- 1st. An octogenarian physician at Edinburgh, who has been long in the habit of walking to the top of Arthur’s Seat, at an early hour on the morning of May-day, took his wonted pedestrian exercise on Monday the 1st May 1826. He read to numerous hearers, on the top of the hill, the following short poetical address to the oldest Duke in Scotland :- * ‘ I Once more, good Duke, my duty to fulfil, I’ve reached the summit of this lofty hill, To thank my God for all his blessings given, And by my prayers to aid my way to heaven. Long may your Grace enjoy the same delight, Till to a better world we take our flight.” 2d. “A Pony Race proposed to the top of Arthur’s Seat by the oldest Duke in Scotland to the oldest Physician in Edinburgh, who walked to the top of Arthur’s Seat on the 1st of this month of May 1826. ‘I I’m eighty-two m well as you, And sound in lith and limb ; But dei1 a bit, I am not fit, Up Arthur’s Seat to climb. ‘I In such a feat I’ll not compete- I yield in ambulation ; But mount us baith on Highland shelts, !Cry first who gains the station. ‘I If such a race should e’er take place, None l i e it in the nation ; Nor Sands of Leith, nor Ascot Heath, Could show more population. ‘I Gordon Castle, May 19, 1826.”
Volume 9 Page 75
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