After quoting unaccredited from Burns poem Scotch Drink in his previous report on Glen Grant, Barnard does the same again for Glen Rothes ending his 1887 report with the preface to that poem:
Gie him strong drink until he wink,
That's sinking in despair;
An' liquor guid to fire his bluid,
That's prest wi' grief and care:
There let him bouse, an' deep carouse,
Wi' bumpers flowing o'er,
Till he forgets his loves or debts,
An' minds his griefs no more.
This is a reworking into Scots of Solomon’s Proverbs 31, v6-7, a practice that Burns adopts occasionally when using biblical verses as prefaces to his own works. Barnard had previously quoted this verse in his Glengyle distillery report, and he also concludes his 1899 return visit to Glen Rothes with another verse he has used before, this time in his Kinloch distillery report from Campbeltown and which is from Burns’ Third Epistle To J. Lapraik, 1785:
Your friendship, Sir, I winna quat it,
An' if ye mak' objections at it,
Then hand in neive some day we'll knot it,
An' witness take,
An' when wi' usquabae we've wat it
It winna break.
I noted on my Kinloch report that this was the poetic equivalent of ‘you're ma best mate, so ye are’ when you’ve had a few too many of the falling down water, although Barnard doesn’t record having tasted any whisky on either visit to Glen Rothes.
|All The Glenrothes releases|
I don’t think Burns ever visited Rothes. The only recorded journey of his that ventured this far north took him along the Moray coast, where he had stops at nearby Elgin and Fochabers, before continuing on east to Banff and returning to Edinburgh via the east coast, all in the summer of 1787 (Cairney, 2000). However, continuing the tenuous connection between his poetry and Rothes, the whisky brand Cutty Sark also owes its name in part to him.
|Cutty Sark Visitors' Centre at Glenrothes Distillery|
|Brig o' Doon at Alloway, where Tam's mare Meg met her fate|
Tam o' Shanter tells of the dangers that can befall drunken behaviour and Burns concluded the poem with a word of warning to us menfolk:
Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read,
Ilk man, and mother's son, take heed:
Whene'er to drink you are inclin'd,
Or cutty-sarks run in your mind,
Think, ye may buy the joys o'er dear;
Remember Tam o' Shanter's mare.
Cheers Rabbie, thanks a lot! Regardless, I know what whisky I will be sharing with friends in the pub tonight on this anniversary, and I shall try to avoid any auld kirks on the way home. Slàinte!