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As the authentic prose history of the whistle is curious, I shall here give it.-In the train of Ann 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, every body else being disabled by the potency of the bottle, was to carry off the whistle as a trophy of vietory. 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 inferj. ority.-After many overthrows on the part of the Seots, 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 Ridda of Glenriddel, who had married a sister of Sir Walter's.-On Friday, the 16th of 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
descended of the great Sir Robert; which last gentleman carried off the hard-won honours of the field.
I sing of a whistle, a whistle of worth, I sing of a whistle, the pride of the north, Was brought to the court of our good Scottish king, And long with this whistle all Scotland shall ring.
Old Loda", still rueing the arm of Fingal, The god of the bottle sends down from his hall* This whistle's your challenge, to Scotland get
o'er, And drink them to hell, sir! or ne'er see me
Old poets have sung, and old chronicles tell, What champions ventur'd, what champions fell; The son of great Loda was conqueror still, And blew on the whistle his requiem shrill.
'Till Robert, the lord of the cairn and the
Thus Robert, victorious, the trophy has gain'd; Which now in his house has for ages remain'd; 'Till three noble chieftains, and all of his blood, The jovial contest again have renew'd.
Three joyous good fellows, with hearts clear of
flaw; Craigdarroch, so famous for wit, worth, and law; And trusty Glenriddel, so skill'd in old coins ; And gallant Sir Robert, deep-read in old wines.
* See Ossian's Caric-thura.
Craigdarroch began, with a tongue smooth as
oil, Desiring Glenriddel to yield up the spoil ; Or else he would muster the heads of the clan, And once more, in claret, try which was the man.
“ By the gods of the ancients !" Glenriddel
replies, “ Before I surrender so glorious a prize, " I'll conjure the ghost of the great Rorie More*,
And bumper his horn with him twenty times o’er."
Sir Robert, a soldier, no speech would pretend, But he ne'er turn'd his back on his foe-or his friend, Said, toss down the whistle, the prize of the field, And, knee-deep in claret, he'd die, or he'd yield.
To the board of Glenriddel our heroes repair, So noted for drowning of sorrow and care ; But for wine and for welcome not more known to
fame, Than the sense, wit, and taste of a sweet lovely
A bard was selected to witness the fray, And tell future ages the feats of the day; A bard who detested all sadness and spleen, And wish'd that Parnasgus a vineyard had been.
The dinner being over, the claret they ply, And ev'ry new cork is a new spring of joy ; In the bands of old friendship and kindred so set, And the bands grew the tighter the more they
Gay pleasure ran riot as bumpers ran o'er ; Bright Phoebus ne'er witness'd so joyous a core, And vow'd that to leave them he was quite forlorn, 'Till Cynthia hinted he'd see them next morn.
* See Johnson's tour to the Hebrides.
Six bottles a-piece had well wore out the night, When gallant Sir Robert, to finish the fight, Turn'd o'er in one bumper a bottle of red, And swore 'twas the way that their ancestor did.
Then worthy Grenriddel, so cautious and sage, No longer the warfare, ungodly, would wage ; A high-ruling elder to wallow in wine! He left the foul business to folks less divine.
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 uprose our bard, like a prophet in drink :-“ Craigdarroch, thoul't 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 : So thine be the laurel, and mine be the bay ; The field thou hast won, by yon bright god of day!”
SECOND EPISTLE TO DAVIE,
A BROTHER POET*.
I'm three times, doubly, o'er your debtor, For your auld-farrent, frien’ly letter;
* This is prefixed to the poems of David Sillar, published at Kilmarnock, 1789, and has not before appeared in our author's printed poemas.
Tho' I maun say't, I doubt ye flatter,
Ye speak sae fair; For my puir, silly, rhymin' clatter
Some less maun ser.
Hale be your heart, hale be your fiddle;
O' war'ly cares, 'Till bairns' bairns kindly cuddle
Your auld, gray hairs.
But, Davie, lad, I'm red ye're glaikit;
Until ye fyke;
Be hain't wha like.
For me, I'm on Parnassus brink, Rivin the words to gar them clink; Whyles daez't wi' love, whyles daez't wi' drink,
Wi' jads or masons ; An' whyles, but ay owre late, I think
Braw sober lessons.
Of a' the thoughtless sons o' man, Commen' me to the bardie clan; Except it be some idle plan
O'rhyrnin' clink, The devil-haet, that I sud ban,
They ever think.
Nae thought, nae view, nae scheme o' livin', Nae cares to gie us joy or grievin': But just the pouchie put the nieve in,
An' while ought's there, Then hiltie, skiltie, we gae scrivin',
An' fash nae mair.
Leeze me on rhyme! it's ay a treasure, My chief, amajst my only pleasure,