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his helmet. The family of Swinton is one of the most
ancient in Scotland, and produced many celebrated warriors.
Down the steep mountain glittering far,
The Earls of Home, as descendants of the Dunbars, ancient Earls of March, carried a lion rampant, argent; but as a difference, changed the colour of the shield from gules to vert, in allusion to Greenlaw their ancient possession. The slogan or war-cry, of this powerful family, was, “A Home ! a Home !” It was anciently placed in an escrol above the crest. The helmet is armed with a lion's head erased gules, with a cap of state gules, turned up ermine. The Hepburns, a powerful family in East Lothian, were usually in close alliance with the Homes. The chief of this clan was Hepburn, Lord of Hailes; a family which terminated in the too famous Earl of Bothwell. NOTE. W. Pursued the foot-ball play.—P.91.
* The soot-ball was anciently a very favourite sport all through Scotland: but especially upon the Borders. Sir John Carmichael, of Carimichael, warden of the middle marches, was killed in 1600 by a band of the Armstrongs, returning from a foot-ball match. Sir Robert Carey, in his Memoirs, mentions a great meeting, appointed by the Scottish riders to be held at Kelso, for the purpose of playing at foot-ball, but which terminat“d in an incursion upon England. At present, the foot-bali is often played by the inhabitants of adjacent parishes, or of the opposite banks of a stream. The v story is contested with the utmost tury, and very se
rious accidents have sometimes taken place in the struggle.
Was not unfrequent, nor held strange,
Notwithstanding the constant wars upon the Borders, and the occasional cruelties which marked the mutual inroads, the inhabitants on either side do not appear to have regarded each other with that violent and personal animosity, which might have been expected. On the contrary, like the outposts of hostile armies, they often carried on something resembling friendly intercourse, even in the middle of hostilities; and it is evident, from various ordinances against trade and intermarriages between English and Scottish Borderers, that the governments of both countries were jealous of their cherishing too intimate a connection. Froissart says of both nations, that “Englyshemen on the one party, and Scottes on the other party, are good men of warre; for when they meet, there is a harde fight without sparynge. There is no hoo (truce) between them, as long as spears, swords, axes or daggers, will endure, but lay on eche upon uther; and whan they be well beaten, and that the one party hath obtained the victory, they then glorysye so in theyre dedes of armes, and are so joyfull, that such as be taken they shall be ransomed, or that they go out of the felde; so that shortly etche of them is so content with other, that, at their departynge, curtyslye they will say, God thank you.”—Berners' Froissart, vol. II. p. 153. The Border meetings of truce, which, although places of merchandise and merriment, often witnessed the most bloody scenes, may serve to illustrate the description in the text. They are vividly portrayed in the old ballad of the Reidsquair. Both parties came armed to a meeting of the wardens, yet they intermixed fearlessly and peaceably with each other in mutual sports and familiar intercourse, until a casual fray arose :
Then was there nought but bow and spear; And every man pulled out a brand. In the 29th stanza of this Canto, there is an attempt to express some of the mixed feelings, with which the Borderers on eaeh side were led to regard their neighbours. :
And frequent, on the darkening plain,
As bands, their stragglers to regain,
Patten remarks, with bitter eensure, the disorderly conduct of the English Borderers, who attended the Protector Somerset on his expedition against Scotland. “As we wear then a setling, and the tents a setting up, among all things els commendable in our hole jourmey, one thing seemed to me an intollerable disorder and abuse: that whearas allways, both in all tounes of war, and in all eampes of armies, quietnes and stilnes without nois, is, principally in the night, after the watch is set, observed, (I hede not reason why,) our northern prikkers, the Borderers, notwithstandyng, with great enormitie (as thought me,) and not unlike (to be playn) unto a masterles hounde howlyng in a hie wey when he hath lost him he waited upon, sum hoopynge, sum whistlyng, and most with crying. A Berwyke, a Berwyke. A Fenwyke, a Fenwyke A Bulmer, a Bulmer! or so otherwise as theyr captains names wear, never lin'de these troublous and dangerous noyses all the nyghte longe. They said, they did it to finde their captain and fellows; but if the soldiers of our oother countreys and sheres had used the same maner, in that case we should have oft tymes had the state ofcureamp more like the outrage of a dissolute huntyng, than the guiet of a well ordred armye. It is a feat of war, in mine opinion, that might right well be left. I could reherse causes (but yf I take it, they are better un* than uttred, unless the faut wear sure to be
amended) that might shew thei move alweis more pe. ral to our armie, but in their one nyght's so doynges than they shew good service (as sum sey) in a hooke vyage.”—Apud Dalzell's Fragments, p. 75.
Cheer the dark blood-hound on his way,
The pursuit of Border marauders was followed by the injured party and his friends with blood-hounds and bugle-horn, and was called the hot-trod. He was entitled, if his dog could trace the scent, to follow the invaders into the opposite kingdom ; a privilege which often occasioned blood-shed. In addition to what has been said of the blood-hound, I may add, that the breed was kept up by the Buccleuch family on their Border estates till within the 18th century. A person was alive in the memory of man, who remembered a blood-hound being kept at Eldinhope, in Ettricke Forest, for whose maintenance the tenant had an allowance of meal. At that time the sheep were always watched at night. Upon one occasion, when the duty had fallen on the narrator, then a lad, he became exhausted with fatigue, and fell asleep, upon a bank, near sun-rising. Suddenly he was awakened by the tread of horses, and saw five men, well mounted and armed, ride briskly over the edge of the hill. They stopped and looked at the flock; but the day was too far broken to admit the chance of their carrying any of them off. One of them, in spite, leaped from his horse, and, coming to the shepherd, seized him by the belt he wore round his waist; and, setting his foot upon his body, pulled it till it broke, and carried it away with him. They rode off at the gallop; and, the shepherd giving the alarm, the blood-hound was turned loose, and the people in the neighbourhood alarmed. The marauders, however, escaped, notwithstanding a sharp pursuit. This circumstance serves to show how very long the license of the Borderers continued in some degree to manifest itself.
Popular belief, though contrary to the doctrines of the church, made a favourable distinction betwixt magicians, and necromancers, or wizards; the former were supposed to command the evil spirits, and the latter to serve, or at least to be in league and compact with those enemies of mankind. The arts of subjecting the daemons were manifold; and sometimes the fiends were actually swindled by the magicians, as in the case of the bargain betwixt one of their number and the poet Virgil. The classical reader will doubtless be curious to peruse this anecdote:
“Virgilius was at scole at Tolenton, where he stodyed dylygently, for he was of great understandynge. Upon a tyme, the scolers had lycense to go to play and sporte them in the fyldes, after the usance of the holde tyme. And there was also Virgilius therebye, also walkynge among the hylles alle about. It fortuned he spyed a great hole in the syde of a great hyll, wherein he went so depe, that he culd not see no more lyght; and then he went a lytell farther therin, and than he saw some lyght agayne, and than he went fourth streyghte, and within a lytyll wyle after he harde a voyce that called, ‘Virgilius ! Virgilius I and looked aboute, and he colde nat see no body. Than sayd he, (i.e. the voice) “Virgilius, see ye not the lytyll bourde lying bysyde you there markd with that word?" Than *wered Virgilius, ‘I see that borde weil anough.” The voyce said, ‘Peo awaye that borde, and lette me