THE Rev. Dr. George Lawrie, minister of the Parish of Loudoun, was one of the best and earliest friends of the poet, who was a frequent and welcome visitor at the Manse. Returning from Kilmarnock, after failing to secure a second edition of his poems in that town, he called at the Manse, and spent an evening in innocent enjoyment and intellectual conversation with the members of the family. He retired to rest deeply touched by the simple refinement and mutual affection of the family, as well as by the marked attention which had been shown to himself. Next morning, when the family were waiting breakfast, Burns had not come down, and young Mr. Lawrie was sent up-stairs to see what detained him. he met him coming down.
“Well, Mr. Burns, how did you sleep last night?”
“Sleep, my young friend, I have scarcely slept at all. I have been praying all night, and if you go up to the room you will find the prayer on the table.”
Mr. Lawrie did so and found a poem, the original of which is now kept as an heirloom in the family. It is the well known and much admired “O Thou dread Power, who reign’st above,” etc.