ON Burn’s first appearance in Edinburgh, he was introduced, among many others, to Mr. Taylor, the overweening parochial schoolmaster of Currie, who was also a competitor in verse-making, and whose opinion of his own merits far overbalanced what little estimation he might have formed of the plain unlettered peasant of Ayrshire, whose name was as yet new to the public.
Mr. H——, at whose table Burns was a frequent guest, invited Taylor one day to dine with him, when the evening was spent with the usual good humour and jocularity. Taylor had brought his manuscript poems, a few of which were read to Burns for his favourable opinion previous to printing. Some of the passages read were odd, such as:-
“Rin, little bookie, round the world loup,
Whilst I in grave do lie wi’ a cauld doup!”
At which Burns laughed exceedingly. Notwithstanding the pedantic and absurd perversity of the poems, Burns gave him a recommending line to the printer. Next morning Mr. H——, meeting Taylor, enquired of him what he thought of the Ayrshire poet.
“Hoot,” quoth the self-admiring pedagogue, “the lad ‘ill do – considerin’ his want o’ learnin’, the lad’s weel eneugh!”