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The future legal sage, 't was ours to see,
But now, astounding each poor mimic elf, Instead of lawyers comes the law herself; Tremendous neighbour, on our right she dwells, Builds high her towers and excavates her cells; While on the left, she agitates the town, With the tempestuous question, Up or down?1 'Twixt Scylla and Charybdis thus stand we, Law's final end, and law's uncertainty. But, soft! who lives at Rome the Pope must flatter, And jails and lawsuits are no jesting matter. Then just farewell! We wait with serious awe Till your applause or censure gives the law. Trusting our humble efforts may assure ye, We hold you Court and Counsel, Judge and Jury.
1 At this time, the public of Edinburgh was much agitated by a lawsuit betwixt the Magistrates and many of the Inhabitants of the City, concerning a range of new buildings on the western side of the North Bridge; which the latter insisted should be removed as a deformity.
VOL. V. - 33
TO THE DRAMA FOUNDED ON “ST. RONAN'S WELL."
["After the play, the following humorous address (ascribed to an eminent literary character) was spoken with infinite effect by Mr. Mackay, in the character of Meg Dodds."-Edinburgh Weekly Journal, 9th June, 1824.]
[Enter MEG DODDS, encircled by a crowd of unruly boys, whom a town's-officer is driving off.]
THAT's right, friend-drive the gaitlings back,
I've seen the day they would been scaur'd,
For Jamie Laing' The Water-hole was right weel wared On sic a gang.
[James Laing was one of the Depute-Clerks of the city of Edinburgh, and in his official connexion with the Police and the Council-Chamber, his name was a constant terror to evil-doers. He died in February, 1806.]
But whar's the gude Tolbooth' gane now?
Yoursells are changed frae head to heel,
Mysell being in the public line,
But deil a soul gangs there to dine,
' [The Tolbooth of Edinburgh, The Heart of Mid-Lothian, was pulled down in 1817.]
[The ancient Town Guard. The reduced remnant of this body of police was finally disbanded in 1817.]
* [John Doo, or Dhu-a terrific-looking and high-spirited member of the Town Guard, and of whom there is a print by Kay, etched in 1784.]
[The Weigh-House, situated at the head of the West Bow, Lawnmarket, and which had long been looked upon as an encumbrance to the street, was demolished in order to make way for the royal procession to the Castle, which took place on the 22d of August, 1822.]
Fortune's and Hunter's 2
The deevil Hottle them for Meg!
"And wha may ye be," gin ye speer,
That kens the roads,
I'll haud ye Burgundy to beer,
He kens Meg Dodds.
[Fortune's Tavern -a house on the west side of the Old Stamp Office Close, High Street, and which was, in the early part of the last century, the mansion of the Earl of Eglintoun.— The Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the day held his levees and dinners in this tavern.]
' [Hunter's-another once much-frequented tavern, in Writer's Court, Royal Exchange.]
[Bayle's Tavern and Coffeehouse, originally on the North Bridge, east side, afterwards in Shakspeare Square, but removed to admit of the opening of Waterloo Place. Such was the dignified character of this house, that the waiter always appeared in full dress, and nobody was admitted who had not a white neckcloth - then considered an indispensable insignium of a gentleman.]
I came a piece frae west o' Currie ;
Plays are auld-fashion'd things, in truth,
But ye take care of a' folk's pantry;
Is claims as gude's to be a ventri-
Weel, sirs, gude'en, and have a care,
As sure as ever ye sit there,
She'll tell the Bailie."
'[Mr. Wm. Murray became manager of the Edinburgh Theatre in 1815.]