Robbie Burns, Walter Riddle, 'The Whistle'

John Riddle
Mar 20 2012 22:51

A notable family feat! But of course it would not have been OUR Walter (born 1744) referred to in the story






AS the authentic prose history of the Whistle is curious, I shall here give it---ln the train of Anne of Denmark, when she.came to Scotland with our James VI. there came over also a Danish Gentleman of gigantic stature- and great prowess, and a matchless champion of Bacchus. He had a little ebony Whis­tle, which, at the commencement of the orgies, he laid on the table, and whoever was last able to blow it, every body else being disabled by the potency of the bottle, was to carry off the Whistle as a trophy of victory. The Dane produced credentials of his victories, without a single defeat, at the Courts of Copen­hagen, Stockholm, Moscow, Warsaw, and several of the petty courts in Germany ; and challenged the Scots Bacchanalians to the alternative of trying his prowess, or else of acknowledging their inferiority.—After many overthrows on the part of the Scots, the Dane was encountered by Sir Robert Lawrie of Maxwelton, ancestor of the present worthy baronet of that name; who, after three day and three nights hard contest, left the Scandinavian under the table,

And blew on the Whistle his requiem shrill.

Sir Walter, son to Sir Robert before mentioned, afterwards lost the Whistle to Walter Riddle of Glenriddel, who had married a sister of Sir Walter's - On Friday, the 16th of October, 1790, at Friars Carse, the Whistle was once mare contended for, as related in the ballad, by the present Sir Robert Lawrie. of Maxwelton; Robert Riddle, Esq. of Glenriddel, lineal descendant and representative of Walter Riddle, who won the Whistle, and in whose family it had continued ; and Alexander Fergusson, Esq. of Craigdarrock, likewise descended of the great Sir Robert ; which last gentleman carried off the hard-one honours of the field.


I SING of a Whistle, a Whistle of worth,

I sing of a Whistle, the pride of the North,

Wasbrought to the court of our good Scotish king,

And long with this Whistle all Scotland shall ring.


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