Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No 2

Stephen Clark D1797

Organist of the Cowgate Chapel

Clarke was an Edinburgh musician and music teacher whom James Johnson had brought in to harmonise the airs for his Scots Musical Museum. In 1787, when Burns became involved in the project, Clarke was organist of the Episcopal Chapel in the Cowgate, Edinburgh. In July 1792, Burns undertook to get Clark to come to Drumlanrig to give singing lessons to two of the M'Murdo girls, Clarke seems to have ignored the first request, and on 16th July Burns followed it up with a humorous letter:


'Mr Burns begs leave to present his most respectful Compliments to Mr Clarke, Mr B some time ago did himself the honour of writing Mr C respecting coming out to the country to give a little Musical instruction in a highly respectable family, where Mr C may have his own terms, and may be as happy as Indolence, the Devil and the Gout will permit him. Mr B knows well that Mr C is engaged so long with another family; but cannot Mr C find two or three weeks to spare to each of them? Mr B is deeply impressed with, and awefully conscious of, the high importance of Mr C's time, whether in the winged moments of symphonious exhibition at the keys of Harmony, while listening Seraphs cease from their own less delightful strains; or in the drowsy hours of slumbrous repose, in the arms of his dearly beloved elbow chair, where the frowsy but potent Power of Indolence, circumfuses her vapours round, and sheds her dews on the head of her DARLING SON — but half a line conveying half a meaning from Mr C would make Mr B the very happiest of mortals.'