The following lines, copied from a pane in the window of a bedroom in the Cross Keys Inn, Falkirk, the time or occupy the space to say that they form one of the stray productions of our ploughman poet, Robert Burns. The second line the writer, now become acquainted with them for the first time. In the month of August 1787, Burns, accompanied by Mr M. Adair, afterwards Dr Adair of Harrowgate, set out from Edinburgh on a short tour. He rode on horseback, and came first to Linlithgow, where he was created a burgess of the town. From Linlithgow he passed on to Falkirk. Here he put up at the Cross Keys Inn, in those days important as the house in Falkirk at which the stage coach stopped to effect a change of horses. He left the following morning to visit Carron, where, on the window of the inn, he also inscribed a verse, the subject of which is Carron Iron Works, and the sentiment strictly satanic.
The bedroom which he occupied at the Cross Keys Inn, and which we have just seen, is a very small one. It is situated in the upper storey of the inn and looks into the main street. The lines which we give above written on the centre pane of the lower row in the upper portion of the window, and bear the date 25th August, 1787. The hand-writing is legible, what the schoolboy knows as half-text, and may be read without a pause. As a relic of Burns the value of the pane may be realised when we say that one hundred pounds has been offered for it.
In 1893, The Cross Keys Inn was the property of Mr W Gow who acquired the inn in 1887. It was visited from all parts, attracted by the pane alluded to. Until quite recently the members of the Falkirk Burns Club met twice a year, on the 25th August and on the anniversary of the poet’s birth, in one of the apartments of the inn. The room, however, in which they assembled, capable of seating from forty to sixty persons, was to small for the augmented membership of the club.