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The Burns Encyclopedia
Home | Introduction | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Coilus or Coila

Coilus or Coel Hen, was a King of the Picts, from whose name the Ayrshire district of Kyle derives. He is also said to be the original of the nursery rhyme 'Old King Cole'. Tradition has it that he is buried near the family seat of the Montgomeries of Cilsfield, where the place is said to be a small mound marked by a few trees. When it was opened up in 1837, 2 urns were revealed containing ashes, but whose they were was, naturally, not discoverable! In 'The Vision'the reference to Coilus is:
"There where a sceptr'd Pictish shade
Stalk'd round his ashes lowly laid."

Burns took the name Coila for his muse (see The Vision: Coila my name; and this district as mine I claim.')

When Mrs Dunlop informed the poet that a woman painter was engaged in painting Coila, Burns replied, writing from Mossgiel on 7th Mary 1788: 'I am highly flattered by the news you tell me of Coila. I may say to the fair painter who does me so much honor, as Dr Beattie says to Ross, the poet of his muse Scota, from which, by the by, I took the idea of Coila ('tis a poem of Beatties in the Scottish dialect, which perhaps you have never seen) —

"Ye shake your head, but o' my fets,
Ye've set auld Scota on her legs;
Land had she been in beffs and flegs,
Bunbaz'd and dizzie,
Her fiddle wanted strings and pegs,
Wae's me, poor hizzie."

The poem, Dr James Beatties only excursion into Scots, is titled 'To Mr Alexander Ross at Lochlee, author of The Fortunate Shepherdess and other poems in the broad Scottish dialect.'

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
Search our huge CD and music store for any Burns-related phrase!
Hint: Type "lang syne" or "peck maut" etc. into the Search box there for all artists, titles, descriptions or track listings with the words entered.
Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

ScotwebThe finest Scottish shopping site in the world, with the world's largest choice of kilts and tartans, exclusive jewelry, Highland Dress, Bagpipes and piping supplies, cashmere, and much more. Buying from these sites helps pay for the upkeep of Burns Country! Click here...