On being invited to a dinner hosted by a nobleman, allegedly Sir Dalrymple, Robert Burns was sent to the servants entrance and made to wait in the kitchen. After being summoned to join the guests of Dalrymple, Burns is purported to recite to Dalrymple and his guests the following:
My Lord, I would not fill your chair,
Tho' ye be proudest noble's heir.
I came this night to join your feast
As equal of the best at least!
'Tis true that cash with me is scant,
And titles trifles that I want.
The King has never made me kneel
To stamp my manhood with his seal
But what of that? The King on high
Who took less pains with you than I,
Has filled my bosom and my mind
With something better in its kind
Than your broad acres, something which
I cannot well translate to speech.
But by its impulse I can know
'Tis deeds, not birth, that make men low.
Your rank, my Lord, is but a loan!
But mine, thank Heaven, is all my own.
A peasant tis my pride to be;
Look round and round your Hall and see
Who boasts a higher pedigree!
I was not fit, it seems, to dine
With these fox-hunting heroes fine,
But only came to play and jest
Among your Lordship's hopeful guests.
There must be here some sad mistake –
I would not play for such a stake,
Be a buffoon for drink and meat,
And a poor earl's tax-paid seat!
No, die, my heart, ere such a stain,
Descend on Robert Burns's name!
Robert Burns [date unknown]