A Schoolboy’s Toast, p.15.

[Anecdotes of Burns Contents]

AT the Schoolhouse of the Parish of Dalrymple, on the occasion of the New-Year offerings by the scholars, the customary treat to the pupils was given by the teacher, consisting of a glass of cold punch, in addition to the oranges and sweetmeats usually dealt on gala days of this kind. The senior boys were generally expected to give a toast, or drink the healths of the teacher and such strangers as happened to be present. Among the visitors on this occasion was the minister of the parish, Mr Walker. The toast coming at length to Burns, the incipient bard, disdaining to follow the commonplace fashion of his compeers, gave utterance to his good wishes in the following couplet:-

“Here’s to Walker in Dalrymple, and Dalrymple in Ayr;

To Shaw in Coylton, not forgetting Steele in the Stair!”

Walker, Dalrymple, Shaw, and Steele, were the names of the ministers of the respective Parishes of Dalrymple, Ayr, Coylton, and Stair. The lines possess no poetical value beyond the fact of their being one of the earliest impromptus of the Ayrshire Bard, and as evincing, in a youth of thirteen, no small readiness of talent.

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