The History of Leith

September 15, 2012

Upper Baxter’s Close

Upper Baxter’s Close, is associated with the name of Robert Burns. There
the latter, in 1786, saved from a heartless and
hopeless exile by the generosity of the blind poet,
Dr. Elacklock, came direct from the plough and
the banks of his native Ayr, to share the humble
room and bed of his friend Richmond, a lawyer’s
clerk, in the house of Mrs. Carfrae. But a few
weeks before poor Burns had made arrangements
to go to Jamaica as joint overseer on an estate; but
-the publication of his poems was deemed such a
success, that he altered his plans, and came to
Edinburgh in the November of that year. In one
of the numbers of the Lounger appeared a review
of the first (or Kilmarnock) edition of his poems,
written by Henry Mackenzie, who was thus the
means, together with Dr. Blacklock, of kindly
bringing Burns before the learned and fashionable
circles of Edinburgh. His merited fame had
j come before him, and he was now caressed by all
ranks. His brilliant conversational powers seem
to have impressed all who came in contact with
him as much as admiration of his poetry. Under
the patronage of Principal Robertson, Professor
Dugald Stewart, Henry Mackenzie, author of the
” Man of Feeling,” and Sir John Whiteford of that
ilk, ‘but more than all of James Earl of Glencairn,
and other eminent persons, a new edition of his
i poems was published in April, 1787 ; but arnid all
the adulation he received he ever maintained his
native simplicity and sturdy Scottish independence
] of character. By the Earl of Glencairn he was introduced
to the members of the Caledonian Hunt,
and he dedicated to them the second edition of
his poems. In verse he touchingly records his
gratitude to the earl;—
” The bridegroom may forget the bride
Was made his wedded wife yestreen ;
The monarch may forget the crown
That on his head an hour has been ;
The mother may forget the child
That smiles sae sweetly on her knee ;
But I’ll remember thee, Glencairn,
And all that thou hast done for me!”

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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