ページの画像
PDF
[graphic][graphic][merged small][merged small]

To bite the thumb, or the glove, seems not to have been considered, upon the Border, as a gesture of contempt, though so used, by Shakspeare, but as a pledge of mortal revenge. it is yet remembered, that a young gentleman of Teviotdale, on the morning after a hard drinking-bout, observed, that he had bitten his glove. He instantly demanded of his companions, with whom he had quarrelled? and learning that he had bad words with one of the party, insisted on instant satisfaction, asserting that though he remembered nothing of the dispute, yet he was sure he never would have hit his glove unless he had received some unpardonable insult.

He fell in the duel, which was fought near Selkirk, in 1721.

Note 9. Stanza viii. —Arthur Fire-the-Braes.

The person hearing this redoubtable nont de guerre was an Elliot, and resided at Thorleshope, in Liddesdale. He occurs in the list of Border riders, in

1597.

Note to. Stanza viii.

Since old Buccleuch the name did gain, When in the cleach the buck was ta’en.

A tradition, preserved by Scott of Satchells, who published, in 1688, A true History of the [tight Honourable Name of Scott, gives the following romantic origin of that name. Two brethren, natives of Galloway, having been banished from that country for a riot, or insurrection, came to llankelburn, in Ettrick Forest, where the keeper, whose name was Brydone, received them joyfully, on account of their skill in winding the horn,and in the other mysteries of the chace.—Kenneth Mac-Alpin, then king of Scotland, came soon after to hunt in the royal forest, and pursued a buck frotn Ettriclt-heuch to the glen now called Bucltleuch, about two miles above the junction of Rankelburn with the river Ettricl-t.—Here the stag stood at bay; and the king and his attendants who followed on horseback, were thrown out by the steepness of the hill and the morass. John, one of the brethren from Galloway, had followed the chace on foot; and, now coming in, seized the buck by the horns, and, being a man of great strength and activity, threw him on his back, and ran with his burden about a mile up the steep hill, toa place called Cracra-Cross, where Kenneth had halted, and laid the buck at the sovereigns feet.I

[graphic][ocr errors]

The king did wash into a dish,
And Galloway John he wot;

He said, u Thy name now after this

Shall ever be call'd John Scot.

-1 The forest and the deer therein,
We commit to thy hand,
For thou shalt sure the ranger be,
if thou obey command:
And for the buck thou stoutly brought
To us up that steep hcugh,
Thy designation ever shall
Be John Scot in Buckscleugh.»
I U Q U

Q U

in Scotland no Buckcleuch was then,

Before the back in the cleach was slain;

Night's men ' at first they did appear,

Because moon and stars to their arms they bear. Their crest, supporters. and hunting-hora, Shews their beginning from bunting come; Their name, and stile, the book doth say,

[ocr errors]

The Buccleuch arms have been altered, and now allude less pointedly to this hunting, whether real or fabulous. The family now hear Or upon a bend azure, a mullet betwixt two crescents of the field; in addition to which they formerly bore in the field a hunting-horn. The supporters, now two ladies, were formerly a hound and buck, or, according to the old terms, a hart of leash and a hart of gveece. The family of Scott of Howpasley and Thirlestane long retained the bugle-horn: they also carried a bent bow and arrow in the sinister cantle, perhaps as a difference. it is said the motto was,—Best riding by moonlight, in alluding to the crescents on the shield and perhaps to the habits of those who bore it. The motto now given is Arno, applying to the female supporters.

Note 1 t. Stanza x.

— —old Albert Graeme, The minstrel of that ancient name.

Johne Grahame, second son of Malice, Earl of Monteith, commonly surnamed John with the Bright Sword, upon some displeasure risen against him at court, retired with many of his clan and kindred, into the English Borders, in the reign of King Henry the Fourth, where they seated themselves; and many of their posterity have continued there ever since. Mr Sandford, speaking of them, says (which indeed was applicable to most of the Borderers on both sides),

-*4;

The deer being curee‘d in that place,
At his majesty’: demand,

Then John of Galloway ran space,
And fetch‘d water to his hand.

' I-‘roissart relates, that a knight of the household of the Comte de Foix exhibited a similar feat of strength. The hall tire had waxed low. and wood was wanted to mend it. The knight went

down to the court-yard. where sl0od an ass laden with faggots,

seized on the animal and his burden, and carrying him up to the hall on his shoulders, tumbled him into the chimney with his heels uppermost; s humane plasantry. much applauded by the court and all the spectators.

__—.___—

1 it Minions of the moon,- as Falstaff would have said. The vocation pursued by our ancient Rorderers may be justified on the authority of the most polished of the ancient nations: ulior the Grecians in old time, and such barbarians as in the continent lived neere into the sea, or else inhabited the islands, after once they began to crosse over one to another in ships, became theeves, and went abroad under the conduct of their more puissant men, both to enrich themselves, and to fetch in maintenance for the weak, and falling upon towns unfortified. or scatteringly inhabited, rifled them, and made this the best means of their living; being a matter at that time nowhere in disgrace, but rather carrying with it something of glory. This is manifested by some that dwell upon the continent, amongst whom, so it be performed nobly. it is still esteemed as an ornament. The same is also proved by some of the ancient poets, who introduced men questioning of such as sail by, on all coasts alike. whether they be theeves or not; as a thing neyther scorned by such as were asked. nor upbraided by those that were desirous to know. They also robbed one another within the mainland: and much of Greece useth that old custotne, as the Locriaus, the Acammtinns, and those ofthe continent in that quarter, unto this day. Moreover, the fashion of wearing iron remaineth yet with the people of that continent, from their old trade of theeving.-—Hossss' Tltatcydides, p. 4. Lond. 1619.

‘I

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

I They were all stark moss-troopers, and arrant thieves: Both to England and Scotland outlawed; yet sometimes connived at because they gave intelligence forth of Scotland, and would raise .100 horse at any time upon a raid of the English into Scotland. A saying is recorded of a mother to her son (which is now become proverbial), Ride, Rawley, hough '.r 1" the put; that is, the last piece of beef was in the pot, and therefore it was high time for him to go and fetch more.n—Introduction to the History of Cumberland.

The residence of the Grazmes being chiefly in the Debateable Land, so called because it was claimed by both kingdoms, their depredations extended both to England and Scotland, with impunity; for as both wardens accounted them the proper subjects for their own prince, neither inclined to demand reparation for their excesses from the opposite officers, which would have been an acknowledgment of his jurisdiction over them.—-See a long correspondence on this subject betwixt Lord Dacre, and the English Privy Council, in introduction to History of Cumberland. The Debateable Land was finally divided betwixt England and Scotland, by commissioners appointed by both nations.

Note I2. Stanza xi. (The lllll thine: lair on Carlisle wall).

This burden is adopted, with some alteration, from an old Scottish song, beginning thus: She lesn'd her back against a thorn,

The sun shines fair on Carlisle we‘;

And there lhO has her young babe born, And the lyon shall be lord 0l'tI'.

Note 13. Stanza xiii. Who has not heard of Surrey't flame‘!

The gallant and unfortunate Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was unquestionably the most accomplished cavalier of his time; and his sonnets display beauties which would do honour to a more polished age. He was beheaded on Tower-hill in 1546; a victim to the mean jealousy of Henry VllI,who could not hear so brilliant a character near his throne.

The song of the supposed hard is founded on an incident said to have happened to the earl in his travels. Cornelius Agrippa, the celebrated alchemist, showed him, in a looking-glass, the lovely Geraldine, to whose service he had devoted his pen and his sword. The vision represented her as indisposed, and reclined upon a couch, reading her lover's verses by the light of a waxen taper.

Note 14. Stanza xxi.
-——the storm-swept Orcadal,
Where ertt St Cluirs held prinoely sway,
O'er isle and islet, strait and bay.

The St Clairs are of Norman extraction, being descended from William de St Clair, second son of Walderne Comte de St Clair, and Margaret, daughter to Richard Duke of Normandy. He was called, for his fair deportment, the Seemly St Clair; and, settling in Scotland during the reign of Malcolm Ceaumore, obtained large grants of land in lllid-l.othian.—These domains were increased by the liberality of succeeding monarchs to the descendants of the family, and comprehended the baronies of llosline, Pentland, Cowsland, Cardaine, and several others. It is said a large addition was obtained from Robert Bruce, on the following occasion 2 The king, in following the chase upon Pentland

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]

had always escaped from his hounds; and he asked the nobles who were assembled around him, whether any of them had dogs which they thought might be more successful. No courtier would affirm that his hounds were tleeter than those of the king, until Sir William St Clair of Rosline unceremoniously said, he would wager his head that his two favourite dogs, Help and Hold, would kill the deer before she should cross the March-burn. The king instantly caught at his unwary offer, and belted the forest of Pentland-moor against the life of Sir William St Clair. All the hounds were tied up, except a few ratches, or slow-hounds, to put up the deer; whilst Sir William St Clair, posting himselfin the best situation for slipping his dogs, prayed devoutly to Christ, the blessed Virgin, and St Katherine. The deer was shortly after roused, and the hounds slipped; Sir William following on s gallant steed, to cheer his dogs. The hind, however, reached the middle of the brook, upon which the hunter threw himself from his horse in despair. At this critical moment, however, Hold stopped her in the brook; and Help, coming up, turned her back, and killed her on Sir William’s side. The king descended from the hill, embraced Sir William, and bestowed on him the lands of Kirkton, Logan-house, Earncraig, etc. in free forestrie. Sir William in acknowledgment of St Katherine's intercession, built the chapel of St Katherine in the Hopes, the church-yard of which is still to be seen. The hill, from which Robert Bruce beheld this memorable chase, is still called the King's Hill; and the place where Sir William hunted is called the Knights Field.'—MS. History of the Family of St Clair, by Rtcalttw Aucusrtn HAY, Canon of S! Genevieve.

This adventurous huntsman married Elizabeth, daughter of Malice Spar, Earl of Orkney and Smitherne, in _whose right their son Henry was, in 1379, created Earl of Orkney, by Haco, king of Norway. His title was recognised by the kings of Scotland, and remained with his successors until it was annexed to the crown, in |47t, by act of parliament. in exchange for this earldom, the castle and domains of Bavenscraig, or Ravensheuch, were conferred on William Saintclair, Earl of Cailhness.

Note 15. Stanza xxi.

Still nods their palace to its fall,
Thy pride and sorrow, fair Kirkwull.

The castle of Kirkwall was built by the St Clairs_ while Earls of Orkney. It was dismantled by the Earl of Caithness about l6l5, having been garrisoned against the government by Robert Stewart, natural son to the Earl of Orkney.

Its ruins afforded a sad subject for contemplation to

_of the story does him still less credit.

' The tomb of Sir William St Clair. on which he appears sculptured in armour, with a greyhound at him feet, in still to boseen in Roslin chapel. The person who shows it always tells the story of hit hunting-match, with some addition to Mr Buy’: account; Its, that the knight of l'lmlin's fright. nude him poetical, and that, in the last emergency, he lhouteti.

Help. Hand, an‘ ye may,
Or lloslin will lose his head this day.

If this couple! does him no great honour at a poet, the conclusion He set his foot on the dog, lays the narrator, and killed him on the spot, saying he should never again put his neck in such it risk. A; Mr llsy does not mention

this circumstance, I hope it is only founded on the oonchant posture of the hound on the monument.

[graphic]

hills, had often started at a white fauuch deer,» whicly

[graphic]
[graphic]

‘ohn, Master of St Clair, who, flying from his native assumed the title of Stekonungr, or Sea-kings. Ships, country, on account of his share in the insurrection in in the inflated language of the Scalds, are often termed

17t5, made some stay at Kirkwall. - I had occasion to entertain myself at Kirkwall with the melancholy prospect of the ruins of an old castle, the seat of the old Earls of Orkney, my ancestors; and of a more melancholy reflection, of so great and noble an estate as the Orkney and Shetland Isles being taken from one of them by James the Third for faultre, after his brother Alexander, Duke of Albany, had married a daughter of my family, and for protecting and defending the said Alexander against the king, who wished to kill him, as he had done his youngest brother, the Earl of Mar; and for which, after the forfaltrie, he gratefully divorced my forfaulted ancesto1"s sister; though I cannot persuade myself that he had any misalliance to plead against a familie in whose veins the blood of Robert Bruce runs as fresh as in his own ; for their title to the crown was by a daughter of David Bruce, son to Robert; and ottr alliance was by marrying a grandchild of the same Robert Bruce, and daughter to the sister of the same David, out of the familie of Douglas; which at that time did not much sullie the blood, more than my ancestour’s having not long before had the honour of marrying a daughter of the king of Denmark's, who was named Florentine, and has left in the town of Kirkwall a. noble monument of the grandeur of the times, the finest church ever I saw entire in Scotland. I then had no small reason to think, in that unhappy state, on the many not inconsiderable services rendered since to the royal familie, for these many years by-gone, on all occasions when they stood most in need of friends, which they have thought themselves very often obliged to acknowledge by letters yet extant, and in a stile more like friends than souveraigns; our attachment to them, without any other thanks, having brought upon us considerable losses, and among others, that of our all in Cromwell's time; and left in that condition, without the least relief except what we found in our own virtue. I My father was the only man of the Scots nation who had courage enough to protest in parliament against King William's title to the throne, which was lost, God knows how: and this ata time when the losses in the cause of the royall familie, and their usual gratitude, had scarce left him bread to maintain a numerous familie of eleven children, who had soon after sprung up on him,.in spite of all which, he had honourably persisted in his principle. I say, these things considered, and after being treated as I was, and in that nnluckie state, when objects appear to men in their true light, as at the hour of death, couldl be blamed for making some bitter reflections to myself, and laughing at the extravagance and unaccountable humour of men, and the singularity of my own case (an exile for the cause of the Stuart family), when I ought to have known, that the greatest crime I, or my family, could have committed, was persevering, to my own destruction, in serving the royal family faithfully, though obstinately, after so great a share of depression, and after they had been pleased to doom me and my family to starve.:—M-S‘. Memoirs oflolm, Master of St

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

the serpents of the ocean.

Note 17. Stanza xxii.
Of that sen-inalte, tremendous c11rl'd,
Whose monstrous circle gird: the world.

The jormungandr, or snake of the ocean, whose folds surround the earth, is one of the wildest fictions of the Edda. It was very nearly caught by the god Thor, who went to fish for it with a hook baited with a bull's head. In the battle betwixt the evil demons and the divinities of Odin, which is to precede the Ragnaraalrr, or Twilight-of the Gods, this snake is to act a conspicuous part.

Note 18. Stanza xxii.
Of those dread maids, whose hideonl yell
Madden: the battle‘; bloody swell.

These were the Valli-yriur, or Selectors of the slain, dispatched by Odin from Valhalla, to chuse those who were to die, and to distribute the contest. They are well known to the English reader, as Grays Fatal Sisters.

' Note 19. Stanza xxii.
Ran|uck'd the graves of warriors old,
Their fnlchlons wrench'd from c0rp|os' hold.

The northern warriors were usually entombed with their arms, and their other treasures. Thus, Angantyr, before commencing the duel in which he was slain, stipulated, that if he fell, his sword Tyrfing should be buried with him. His daughter, Hervor, afterwards took it from his tomb. The dialogue which past betwixt her and Angantyr's spirit on this occasion has been often translated. The whole history may be found in the Harvarar-Saga. Indeed the ghosts of the northern warriors were not wont tamely to suffer their tombs to be plundered ; and hence the mortal heroes had an additional temptation to attempt such adventures; for they held nothing more worthy of their valour than to encounter supernatural beings.—BA11Tuot.1t~tus De vausi: contempue a Danis martis, lib. 1, cap. 2, 9, to, 13.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The beautiful chapel of Roslin is still in tolerable It was founded in 1446 by William St Clair, Prince of Orkney, Duke of Oldenbourgh, Earl of Caithness and Stratherne, Lord SaintClair, Lord Niddesdale, Lord Admiral of the Scottish seas, Lord Chief Justice of Scotland, Lord Warden of the three Marches, Baron of Roslin, Pentland, Pentland-moor, etc. Knight of the Cockle and of the Garter (as is affirmed), High Chancellor, Chamberlain, and Lieutenant of Scotland. This lofty person, whose titles, says Godscroft, might weary a Spaniard, built the castle of Roslin, where he resided in princely splendour, and founded the chapel, which is in the most rich and florid style of Gothic architecture. Among the profuse carving on the pillars and buttresses, the rose is frequently introduced, in allusion to the name, with which, however, the flower has no connexion; the etymology being Rosslinnhe, the promontory of the linn, or water-fall. The chapel is said to appear on fire previous to the death of any of his descendants. This superstition, noticed by Slezer in his Theatrmn Scoliw, and alluded to in the text, is probably of Norwegian derivation, and may have been imported by the Earls of Orkney into their Lothian domains. The tomb-fires of the north are mentioned in most of the sagas.

[graphic]
[graphic]

THE LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.

The Barons of Roslin were buried in a vault beneath the chapel floor. The manner of their interment is thus described by Father Hay, in the MS. history already quoted.

u Sir William Sinclair, the father, was a leud man. He kept a miller's daughter, with whom, it is alledged, he went to Ireland; yet I think the cause of his retreat was rather occasioned by the presbyterians, who vexed him sadly, because of his religion being Roman catho

[ocr errors]

lie. His son, Sir William, died during the troubles, and

was interred in the chapel of Boslin, the very same day that the battle of Dunbar was fought. When my good father was buried, his (i. e. Sir William's) corpse seemed to be entire at the opening of the cave; but when they came to touch his body, it fell into dust. He was laying in his armour, with a red velvet cap on his head, on a flat stone; nothing was spoiled except a piece of the white furring, that went round the cap, and answered to the hinder part of the head. All his predecessors were buried after the same manner, in their armour: late Bosline, my good-father, was the first that was buried in a coffin, against the sentiments of King James the Seventh, who was then in Scotland, and several other persons well versed in antiquity, to whom my mother would not hearken, thinking it beggarly to be buried after that manner. The great expenses she was at in burying her husband occasioned the sumptuary acts which were made in the following parliament.»

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Mautlte Doog, in the shape of a large black spaniel, with curled shaggy hair, was used to haunt Peel-castle; and has been frequently seen in every room, but particularly in the guard—chamher, where, as soon as can

in presence of all the soldiers, who, at length, by being so much accustomed to the sight of it, lost great part of the terror they were seized with at its first appearance. They still, however, retained a certain awe, as believing it was an evil spirit, which only waited permission to do them hurt; and, for that reason, forbore swearing, and all prophane discourse, while in its company. But though they endured the shock of such a guest when altogether in a body, none cared to be left alone with it. It being the custom, therefore, for one of the soldiers to lock the gates of the castle at a certain hour, and carry the keys to the captain, to whose apartment, as I said before, the way led through the church, they agreeed among themselves, that whoever was to succeed the ensuing night his fellow in this errand, should accompany him that went first, and by this means no man would be exposed singly to the danger; for I forgot to mention, that the Mauthe Doog, was always seen to come out from that passage at the close of day; and return to it again as soon as the morning dawned; which made them look on this place as its peculiar residence.

1-One night, a fellow being drttnk, and by the strength of his liquor rendered more daring than ordinarily, laughed at the simplicity of his companions; and, though it was not his turn to go with the keys, would needs take that office upon him to testify his courage. All the soldiers endeavoured to dissuade him , but the more they said, the more resolute he seemed, and swore that he desired nothing more than that the Mauthe Doog would follow him, as it had done the others; for he would try if it were dog or devil. After having talked in a very I‘U])I‘Ol)8[€ manner for some 1 time, he snatched up the keys, and went out of the guard-room; in some time after his departure, a great noise was heard, but nobody had the boldness to see what occasioned it, till, the adventurer returning, they demanded the knowledge of him; but as loud and noisy as he had been at leaving them, he was now hecome-rsober and silent enough; for he was never heard to speak more: and though all the time he lived, which was three days, he was entreated by all who came near him, either to speak, or if he could not do that, to make some signs, by which they might understand what had happened to him; yet nothing intelligible could be got from him, only that, by the distortion of his limbs and features, it might be guessed that he died in agonies more than is common‘ in a natural death. | e The Mauthe Doog was, however, never after seen in the castle, nor would any one attempt to go through , that passage; for which reason it was closed up, and another way made. This accident happened about threescore years since: and I heard it attested by several, but especially by an old soldier, who assured me he had seen it oftencr than he had then hairs on his head.»--W.\LoP.on’s Description of the Is.'e of Man, p. 107. _ __

Note 25. Stanza xxvzl. And he a solemn sacred plight Q Did to St Bride of Douglas make. This was a favourite saint of the house of Douglas, S

[graphic]
[graphic]

dles were lighted, it came and lay down before the fire, .

[ocr errors][graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[graphic]

No longer autumn's glowing red

Upon our Forest hills is shed ,1

No more, beneath the evening beam,
Fair Tweed reflects their purple gleam ;
Away hath pass'd the heather-bell
That hl0om'd so rich on Needpath-fell;
Sallow his brow, and russet hare

Are now the sister-heights of Yare.

The sheep, before the pinching heaven, To sheltz.-r'd dale and down are driven, Where yet some faded herbage pines, And yet a watery sun-beam shines:

ln mcck despondency they eye

The wither'd sward and wintry sky,
And far beneath their summer hill,
Stray sadlyiry Glenltinnon’s rill :

The shepherd shifts his mantlc's fold,
And wraps him closer from the cold;
His dogs no merry circles wheel,

But, shivering, follow at his heel;

A cowering glance they often cast,

As deeper moartsthe gathering blast.

[graphic]
[graphic]
« 前へ次へ »