WHEN Burns was in Edinburgh, he accompanied his friend Mr. Robert Ainslie, W.S., on a horseback excursion through the south of Scotland. When they arrived at Coldstream, where the dividing line between Scotland and England is the Tweed, Mr. Ainslie suggested going across to the other side of the river by the Coldstream Bridge, that Burns might have it to say he “had been in England.” They did so, and were pacing slowly along on English ground, enjoying their walk, when Mr. Ainslie was astonished to see the poet throw away his hat, and, thus uncovered, look towards Scotland, kneeling down with uplifted hands, and apparently in a state of great enthusiasm. Mr. Ainslie kept silence, uncertain what next would be done, when Burns, with extreme emotion, and an expression of countenance which his companion never forgot, prayed for and blessed Scotland most solemnly, by pronouncing aloud in terms of the deepest devotion, the two concluding stanzas of the “Cottar’s Saturday Night,” beginning:-
“Oh Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent!”