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had been placed there by the king of the Netherlands, some weeks before, for the purpose of surveying the country." It is not meant to infer from these particulars that Napoleon showed, on that memorable occasion, the least deficiency in personal courage; on the contrary, he evinced the greatest composure and presence of mind during the whole action. But it is no less true that report has erred in ascribing to him any desperate efforts of valour for recovery of the battle; and it is remarkable, that during the whole carnage, none of his suite were either killed or wounded, whereas scarcely one of the Duke of Wellington's personal attendants escaped unhurt.
Note 5. Stanza x. • England shall tell the fight!In riding up to a regiment which was hard pressed, the duke called to the men, “Soldiers, we must never be beat, what will they say in England?» It is needless to say how this appeal was answered.
Note 6. Stanza xii. As plies the smith his clanging trade, Against the cuirass rang the blade. A private soldier of the 95th regiment compared the sound which took place immediately upon the British
| The mistakes concerning this observatory have been mutual. The English supposed it was erected for the use of Bonaparte; and a French writer affirms it was constructed by the Duke of Wellington.
cavalry mingling with those of the enemy, to 4 a thousand tinkers at work mending pots and kettles.”
Note 7. Stanza xiii.
No persuasion or authority could prevail upon the French troops to stand the shock of the bayonet. The imperial guards, in particular, hardly stood still till the British were within thirty yards of them, although the French author, already quoted, has put into their mouths the magnanimous sentiment, “ the guards never yield– they die.” The same author has covered the plateau, or eminence of St-Jean, which formed the British position, with redoubts and entrenchments which never had an existence. As the narrative, which is in many respects curious, was written by an eye-witness, he was probably deceived by the appearance of a road and ditch which runs along part of the hill. It may be also mentioned, in criticising this work, that the writer states the Château of Hougoumont to have been carried by the French, although it was resolutely and successfully defended during the whole action. The enemy, indeed, possessed themselves of the wood by which it is surrounded, and at length set fire to the house itself; but the British (a detachment of the guards, under the command of Colonel Macdonnell, and afterwards of Colonel Home) made good the garden, and thus preserved, by . their desperate resistance, the post which covered the return of the Duke of Wellington's right flank.
As A slight Testi Mony of the AUthon's High Respect for HER tAir Nts,
Though the public seldom takes much interest in such communications (nor is there any reason why they should), the author takes the liberty of stating, that these scenes were commenced with the purpose of contributing to a miscellany projected by a much esteemed friend. But instead of being confined to a scene or two as intended, the work gradually swelled to the size of an independent publication. It is designed to illustrate military antiquities, and the manners of chivalry. The Drama (if it can be termed one) is in no particular either designed or calculated for the stage; so that in case any attempt shall be made to produce it in action (as has happencil in similar cases), the author takes
the present opportunity to intimate, that it shall be solely at the peril of those who make such an experiinent. The subject is to be found in Scottish history; but not to overload so slight a publication with antiquarian research, or quotations from obscure chronicles, may be sufficiently illustrated by the following passage from Pinkerton's History of Scotland, vol. I, p. 71. • The Governor (anno 1402) dispatched a considerable force under Murdac, his eldest son; the Earls of Angus and Moray also joined Douglas, who entered England with an army of ten thousand men, carrying terror and devastation to the walls of Newcastle. • Henry IV was now engaged in the Welch war against Owen Glendour; but the Earl of Northumberland, and his son, the Hotspur Percy, with the Earl of March, collected a numerous array and awaited the return of the Scots, impeded with spoil, near Milfield, in the north part of Northumberland. Douglas had reached Wooler, in his return, and, perceiving the enemy, seized a strong post between the two armies, called Homildon-hill. In this inethod he rivalled his predecessor at the battle of Otterburn, but not with like success. The English advanced to the assault, and Henry Percy was about to lead them up the hill, when March caught his bridle, and advised him to advance no farther, but to pour the dreadful shower of English arrows into the enemy. This advice was followed with the usual fortune; for in all ages the bow was the English weapon of victory, and though the Scots, and perhaps the French, were superior in the use of the spear, yet this weapon was useless after the distant bow had decided the combat. Robert the Great, sensible of this at the battle of Bannockburn, ordered a prepared detachment of cavalry to rush among the English archers at the commencement, totally to disperse them, and stop the deadly effusion. But Douglas now used no such precaution; and the consequence was, that his people, drawn up on the face of the hill, presented one general mark to the enemy, none of whose arrows descended in vain. The Scots fell without fight, and unrevenged, till a spirited knight, Swinton, exclaimed aloud, “O my brave countrymen what fascination has seized you to-day, that you stand like deer to be shot, instead of indulging your ancient courage, and meeting your enemies hand to hand? Let those who will descend with me, that we may gain victory, or life, or fall like men.” This being heard by Adam Gordon, between whom and Swinton there existed an ancicnt deadly feud, attended with the mutual slaughter of many followers, he instantly fell on his knees before Swinton, begged his pardon, and desired to be dubbed a knight by him whom he must now regard as the wisest and the boldest of that order in Britain. The ceremony performed, Swinton and Gordon descended the hill, accompanied only by one hundred men; and a desperate valour led the whole body to death. Had a similar spirit been shown by the Scottish army, it is probable that the event of the day would have been different. Douglas, who was certainly deficient in the most important qualities of a general, seeing his army begin to disperse, at length attempted to descend the hill; but the English archers, retiring a little, sent a flight of arrows so sharp and strong, that no armour could withstand; and the Scottish leader himself, whose panoply was of remarkable temper, fell under five wounds, though not mortal. The English men-of-arms, knights, or squires, did not strike one blow, but remained spectators of the rout, which was now complete. Great numbers of Scots were slain, and near five hundred perished in the river Tweed upon their slight. Among the illustrious were Douglas, whose chief wound deprived him of an eye; Murdac, son of Albany; the Earls of Moray and Angus; and about four gentlemen of eminent rank and power. The chief slain were, Swinton, Gordon, Livingston of Calender, Ramsay of Dalhousie, Walter Sinclair, Roger Gordon, Walter Scott, and others. Such was the issue of the unfortunate battle of Homildon.” It may be proper to observe, that the scene of action has, in the following pages, been transferred from Isomildon to Halidon Hill. For this there was an obvious
reason, for who would again venture to introduce upon the scene the celebrated Hotspur, who commanded the English at the former battle? There arc, however, several coincidences which may reconcile even the severer antiquary to the substitution of Halidon Hill for Homildon. A Scottish army was defeated by the Fnglish on both occasions, and under nearly the same circumstances of address on the part of the victors, and mismanagement on that of the vanquished, for the English long-bow decided the day in both cases. In both case. also, a Gordon was left on the field of battle; and at Halidon, as at Homildon, the Scots were commanded by an ill-fated representative of the great house of Douglas. He of Homildon was surnamed Tine-man, i. e. Lose-man, from his repeated defeats and miscarriages, and with all the personal valour of his race, seems to have enjoyed so small a portion of their wagacity, as to be unable to learn military experience from reiterated calamity. I am far, however, from intimating, that the traits of imbecility and envy, at tributed to the regent in the following sketch, are to be historically ascribed either to the elder Douglas of Halidon Hill, or to him called Tine-man, who seems to have enjoyed the respect of his countrymen, notwithstanding that, like the celebrated Anne de Montmorency, he was either defeated, or wounded, or made prisoner in every battle which he fought. The Regent of the sketch is a character purely imaginary.
The tradition of the Swinton family, which still sur. vives in a lineal descent, and to which the author has the honour to be related, avers, that the Swinton who fell at Homildon, in the manner narrated in the preceding extract, had slain Gordon's father; which seems sufficient ground for adopting that circumstance into the following Dramatic Sketch, though it is rendered improbable by other authorities.
If any reader will take the trouble of looking at Froissart, Fordun, or other historians of the period, he will find, that the character of the Lord of Swinton, for strength, courage, and conduct, is by no means caatterated.
| Were all unknown to me.
The faces of the barons who display'd them
T is cowls like mine which hide them. 'Mongst the
Enter Swinton, followed by Reynald and others, to whom he speaks as he enters.
swinto N. Halt here, and plant my pennon, till the Regent Assign our band its station in the host. rew nald. That must be by the standard. We have had That right since good St David's reign at least. Fain would I see the Marcher would dispute it. Swinton. Peace, Reynald! Where the general plants the soldier, There is his place of honour, and there only His valour can win worship. Thou'rt of those, Who would have war's deep art bear the wild semblance Of some disorder'd hunting, where, pell-mell, Each trusting to the swiftness of his horse, Gallants press on to see the quarry fall. Yon steel-clad southrons, Reynald, are no deer; And England's Edward is no staff at bay. vipont (advancing). There needed not, to blazon forth the Swinton, His ancient burgonet, the sable Boar Chain'd to the gnarled oak, -nor his proud step, Nor giant stature, nor the ponderous mace, which only he of Scotland's realm can wield: His discipline and wisdom mark the leader, As doth his frame the champion. Hail, brave Swinton! Swinton. Brave Templar, thanks! Such your cross'd shoulder speaks you; But the closed visor, which conceals your features, Forbids more knowledge. Umfraville, perhapsvipont (unclosing his helmet). No; one less worthy of our sacred order. Yet, unless Syrian suns have scorch'd my features Swart as my sable visor, Alan Swinton Will welcome Symon Vipont. swixton (embracing him). As the blithe reaper Welcomes a practised mate, when the ripe harvest
Lies deep before him and the sun is high.
swintox. Templar, what think'st thou me?—See yonder rock, From which the fountain gushes—is it less Compact of adamant, though waters flow from it? Firm hearts have moister eyes.—They are avenged; I wept not till they were—till the proud Gordon Had with his life-blood dyed my father's sword, In guerdon that he thinn'd my father's lineage, And then I wept my sons; and, as the Gordon Lay at my feet, there was a tear for him, Which mingled with the rest.—We had been friends, Had shared the banquet and the chase together, Fought side by side—and our first cause of strife, Woe to the pride of both, was but a light one. vipoxt. You are at feud, then, with the mighty Gordon swixton. At deadly feud. Here in this Border-land, Where the sire's quarrels descend upon the son, As due a part of his inheritance As the strong castle and the ancient blazon, Where private vengeance holds the scales of justice, Weighing each drop of blood as scrupulously As Jews or Lombards balance silver pence, Not in this land, 'twixt Solway and Saint Abb's, Rages a bitterer feud than mine and theirs, The Swinton and the Gordon. wipont. You, with some threescore lances—and the Gordon Leading a thousand followers. Swinton. You rate him far too low. Since you sought Palestine, He hath had grants of baronies and lordships In the far-distant north. A thousand horse His southern friends and vassals always number'd. Add Badenoch kerne, and horse from Dee and Spey, He ‘ll count a thousand more.—And now, De Vipont, If the Boar-heads seem in your eyes less worthy, For lack of followers—seek yonder standard— The bounding Stag, with a brave host around it: There the young Gordon makes his earliest field, And pants to win his spurs. His father's friend, As well as mine, thou wert—go, join his pennon, And grace him with thy presence. wipoxt. When you were friends, I was the friend of both, And now I can be enemy to neither; But my poor person, though but slight the aid, Joins on this field the banner of the two Which hath the smallest following. swinton. Spoke like the generous knight, who gave up all, Leading and lordship, in a heathen land To fight a Christian soldier—yet in earnest I pray, De Vipont, you would join the Gordon In this high battle. "T is a noble youth, So fame doth vouch him, amorous, quick, and valiant; Takes knighthood, too, this day, and well may use His spurs too rashly in the wish to win them. A friend like thee beside him in the fight Were worth a hundred spears, to rein his valour And temper it with prudence:—'t is the aged eagle Teaches his brood to gaze upon the sun, With eye undazzled. vipont. Alas, brave Swinton Wouldst thou train the hunter
That soon must bring thee to the bay? Your custom,
Your most unchristian, savage, fiend-like custom,
Enter a PURsurvant.
- PUB sufi WANt. Sir Knights, to council!—'t is the Regent's order, That knights and men of leading meet him instantly Before the royal standard. Edward's army ls seen from the hill-summit. Swinton. Say to the Regent, we obey his orders. [Exit Pursuivant. [To REYNALD.] Hold thou my casque, and furl my pennon up Close to the staff. I will not show my crest, Nor standard, till the common foe shall challenge them. I'll wake no civil strife, nor tempt the Gordon With aught that's like defiance. vipont. Will be not know your features? sw inton. He never saw me. In the distant north, Against his will t is said, his friends detain'd him During his nurture—caring not, belike, To trust a pledge so precious mear the Boar-tusks. It was a natural but needless caution: I wage no war with children, for I think Too deeply on mine own. wipo Nt. I have thought on it, and will see the Gordon As we go hence to council. I do bear A cross, which binds me to be Christian priest, As well as Christian champion. God may grant, That I, at once his father's friend and yours, May make some peace betwixt you. swixton. when that your priestly zeal, and knightly valour, Shall force the grave to render up the dead. [Exeunt severally.
SCEN E II.
The summit of Halidon Hill, before the Regent's Tent. The Royal standard of Scotland is seen in the back ground, with the Pennons and Banners of the principal Nobles around it.
council of scottish Nobles and Chiefs. Suthenland, Ross, Lennox, Maxwell, and other Nobles of the highest rank, are close to the REGENT's person, and in the act of keen debate. Vipont, with Gordox and others, remain grouped at some distance on the right hand of the stage. On the left, standing also apart, i, Swinton, alone and bare-headed. The Noble, are dressed in Highland or Lowland habits as historical costume requires. Trumpets, Heralds, etc. are in attendance.
Len Nox. Nay, lordings, put no shame upon my counsels; I did but say, if we retired a little, 3 should have fairer field and better vantage. I've seen King Robert—ay, the Bruce himself— Retreat six leagues in length, and think no shame on 't. REGent. Ay, but King Edward sent a haughty message, Defying us to battle on this field, This very hill of Halidon; if we leave it Unfought withal, it squares not with our honour. swinton (apart), A perilous honour, that allows the enemy, And such an enemy as this same Edward, To chuse our field of battle! He knows how To make our Scottish pride betray its master Into the pitfall. [During this speech the debate among the Nobles seems to continue. suthERLAND (aloud). We will not back one furlong—not one yard, No, nor one inch; where'er we find the foe, Or where the foe finds us, there will we fight him. Retreat will dull the spirit of our followers, Who now stand prompt for battle. Ross. My lords, methinks great Morarchat has doubts, That, if his northern clans once turn the seam Of their check'd hose behind, it will be hard To halt and rally them. 5urth Erula Nd. Say'st thou, Mac-Donnell!—Add another falsehood, And name when Morarchat was coward or traitor! Thine island race, as chronicles can tell, Were oft affianced to the southron cause; Loving the weight and temper of their gold, More than the weight and temper of their steel. REGENt. Peace, my lords, ho! Ross (throwing down his glove). Mac-Donnell will not peace! There lies my pledge, Proud Morarchat, to witness thee a liar. MAxw E. I.L. Brought I all Nithsdale from the Western Border; Left I my towers exposed to foraying England, And thieving Annandale, to see such misrule? Jon NSTONE. who speaks of Annandale: Dare Maxwell slander The gentle house of Lochwood? REG ENT. Peace, lordings, once again. We represent The Majesty of Scotland—in our presence Brawling is treason. sutti ER LAND. Were it in presence of the king himself, What should prevent in y saying–
Enter LiN DESAY.
LiN DESAY. You must determine quickly. Scarce a mile parts our van-guard from Edward's. On the plain, Bright gleams of armour flash through clouds of dust, Like stars through frost-mist—steeds neigh, and wea
And arrows soon will whistle—the worst sound that waits on English war.—You must determine.