Chapter 138 – Robert Burns, Poet

We enter the Tavern, “Two pints of Belhaven, please?”, I asked and we take our seats.

“Belhaven has brewed on the East Lothian coast, since 1719.”, said James Hogg, “The Austrian Emperor once declared Belhaven beers as the ‘Burgundy of Scotland’.”

“Those accolades transform a company.”

“Some transformations are better than others. By day, William Brodie was Deacon of the Wrights, trusted member of the Town Council, socialising with Edinburgh Society and installing their locks.”

“And by night?”

“A scoundrel. Brodie made wax copies of the keys and stole from them as they slept. He was eventually caught and hanged at the Tollbooth in 1788.”

I laugh, “That was around the time of our next man. Born in Alloway, Robert Burns inherited his father’s farm but fell into problems after pursuing women outside of wedlock.”

“A fornicator in the Kirk’s eyes?”

“Yes. Burns’ only option was to escape to the West Indies, as a bookeeper, and sold his first poetry book to finance the trip.”

“What brought him to Edinburgh?”

“Burns’ book was read by Thomas Blacklock in 1786, the ingenious blind poet, who was part of Edinburgh’s literary circle. He asked Burns to Edinburgh to make a second edition. This intervention eventually produced our National Bard.”

“Number four?”

“No matter how difficult, chase your dream. Dreams do come true.”

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