A duke's son dowbled (i. e. dubbed), a borne man in France, narrator, concerning the name and abode of the person That sbal our mirths augment, and mend all our barmes;

who showed him these strange matters, and the answer After the date of our Lord 1513, and thrice three thereafter ;

of the prophet to that question : Which shal brooke all the broad isle to himself, Between 13 and thrice three the threip shal be ended,

Then to the Bairne could I say, The Saxons sall never recover after.

Where dwells thou, or in what countrie!

[Or who shall rule the isle of Britane, There cannot be any doubt, that this prophecy was

From the north to the south sey? intended to excite the confidence of the Scottish nation

A French queene shall beare the sonne,

Shall rale all Britane to the sea ; in the Duke of Albany, regent of Scotland, who arrived

Which of the Bruce's blood shall como, from France in 1515, two years after the death of

As neere as the nint degree: James IV. in the fatal field of Flodden. The regent

I frained fast what was his name, was descended of Bruce by the left, i. e. by the female

Where that he came, from wbat country.] side, within the ninth degree. His mother was daugh

In Erslingtoun I dwell at hame, ter to the Earl of Boulogne, his father banished from

Thomas Rymour men cals mo. his country—« fleemed of faire Scotland.» His arrival

There is surely no one, who will not conclude, with must necessarily be by sea, and his landing was ex-Lord Hailes, that the eight lines, inclosed in brackets, pected at Aberlady, in the Frith of Forth. He was a

are a clumsy interpolation, borrowed from Berlington, duke's son, dubbed knight; and nine years from 1513, with such alterations as might render the supposed are allowed him, by the pretended prophet, for the ac- prophecy applicable to the union of the crowns. complishment of the salvation of his country, and the While we are on this subject, it may be proper exaltation of Scotland over her sister and rival. All this briefly to notice the scope of some of the other prewas a pious fraud, to excite the confidence and spirit of dictions in Hart's collection. As the prophecy of Berthe country.

lington was intended to raise the spirits of the nation, The prophecy, put in the name of our Thomas the during the regency of Albany, so those of Sybilla and Rhymer, as it stands ini Hart's book, refers to a later Eltraine refer to that of the Earl of Arran, afterwards period. The narrator meets the rhymer upon a land, Duke of Chatelherault, during the minority of Mary, a beside a lee, who shows him many emblematical vi period of similar calamity. This is obvious from the sions, described in no mean strain of poetry. They following verses: chiefly relate to the fields of Flodden and Pinkie, to

Take a thousand in calculation, the national distress which followed these defeats, and

And the longest of the lyon, to future halcyon days, which are promised to Scot

Four crescents under one crowno, land. One quotation or two will be sufficient to es

With Saint Andrew's croce thrise, tablish this fully:

Then threescore and thrise three :

Take tent to Merling truely,
Oar Scottish king sal come ful keeno,

Then shall the warres ended be,
The red lyon beareth he;

And never againo rise.
A feddered arrow sharp, I woene,

In that yere there shall a king.
Shal make him winke and warre to see.

A duke, and no crowned king;
Ont of the field he sbal be led

Becaus the prince shall be yong.
When he is bludie and woo for blood;

And tender of yeares.
Yet to his men shall be say,
-For God's luve, turn you againe,

The date, above hinted at, seems to be 1549, when
And give yon southerne folk a froy!

the Scottish regent, by means of some succours derived Why should I lose the right is mino?

from France, was endeavouring to repair the conseMy date is not to die this day.”

quences of the fatal battle of Pinkie: Allusion is made Who can doubt for a moment, that this refers to the to the supply given to the « Moldwarte (England) by the battle of Flodden, and to the popular reports concern

fained hart» (the Earl of Angus). The regent is deing the doubtful fate of James IV.? Allusion is im- scribed by his bearing the antelope ; large supplies are mediately afterwards made to the death of George Doug- promised from France, and complete conquest predicted las, heir apparent of Angus, who fought and fell with to Scotland and her allies. Thus was the same hackhis sovereign :

neyed stratagem repeated, whenever the interest of the The sternes three that day shall die,

rulers appeared to stand in need of it.

The regent was That bears the harte in silver sheen.

not, indeed, till after this period, created Duke of Cha

telherault; but that honour was the object of his hopes The well-known arms of the Douglas family are the and expectations. heart and three stars. In another place, the battle of The name of our renowned soothsayer is liberally Pinkie is expressly mentioned by name:

used as an authority, throughout all the prophecies At Pinken Cluch there shall be spilt

published by Andro Hart.

Besides those expressly put Much gentle blood that day;

in his name, Gildas, another assumed personage, is There shall the bear lose the guilt,

supposed to derive his knowledge from him; for be And the eagill bear it away.

concludes thus : To the end of all this allegorical and mystical rhap

True Thomas me told in a troublesome time sody is interpolated, in the later edition by Andro

In a barvest morn at Eldoun hills. Hart, à new edition of Berlington's verses, before

The Prophecy of Gildas. quoted, altered and manufactured so as to bear refer In the prophecy of Berlington, already quoted, we ence to the accession of James VI., which had just then are told, taken place. The insertion is made, with a peculiar de

Marvellous Morlin, that many meu of tells, gree of awkwardness, betwixt a question put by the

And Thomas's sayings comes all at once.

While I am upon the subject of these prophecies, prophecies was published, describes himself as lying may I be permitted to call the attention of antiquaries upon Lomond Law; he hears a voice, which bids him 10 Merdwynn Wyllt, or Merlin the Wild, in whose stand to his defence; he looks around, and beholds a name, and by no means in that of Ambrose Merlin, the flock of hares and foxes ' pursued over the mountains friend of Arthur, the Scottish prophecies are issued. by a savage figure, to whom he can hardly give the That this personage resided at Drummelzier, and roam name of man. At the sight of Waldhave, the appaed, like a second Nebuchadnezzar, the woods of Tweed- rition leaves the objects of his pursuit and assaults liim dale, in remorse for the death of his nephew, we learn with a club. Waldhave defends himself with his from Fordun. In the Scotichronicon, lib. iii, cap. 31, sword, throws the savage to the earth, and refuses to is an account of an interview betwixt St Kentigern and let him arise, till he swears by the law and lead he Merlin, then in this distracted and miserable state. He lives upon, « to do him no harm.» This done, he is said to have been called Lailoken, from his mode of permits bim to arise, and marvels at his strange aplife. On being commanded by the saint to give an ac- pearance: count of himself, he says, that the penance which he per

He was formed like a freike (man) all his four quarters; forms was imposed on him by a voice from heaven, And then his chin and his face haired so thick, during a bloody contest betwixt Lidel and Carwanolow,

With haire growing so grime, fearful to see. of which battle he had been the cause. According to

Ile answers briefly to Waldhave's inquiry concerning his own prediction, he perished at once by wood, carth, bis name and nature, that he « drees his weird,» i. e. and water; for, being pursued with stones by the rus- does penance, in that wood; and having hinted that tics, he fell from a rock into the river Tweed, and was

questions as to his own state are offensive, he pours transfixed by a sharp stake, fixed there for the purpose forth an obscure rhapsody concerning futurity, and of extending a fishing net :

Sude perfossus, lapide percussus et unda,

Go musing upon Merling if thou wilt;
Haec tria Merlinum fertur inire neem,

For I mean no more man at this time.
Sicque ruit, mersosque fuit lignoque pependit,
Et fecit vatem per terna pericula verum.

This is exactly similar to the meeting betwixt Merlin But, in a metrical history of Merlin of Caledonia, and Kentigern in Fordun. These prophecies of Mercompiled by Geoffrey of Monmouth, from the tradi- lin seem to have been in request in the minority of tions of the Welch bards, this mode of death is attributed to a page, whom Merlin's sister, desirous to con

" The strange occupation, in which Waldhave beholds Merlin vict the prophet of falsehood, because he had betrayed engaged, dorives some illustration from a curious passage in Geofher intrigues, introduced to him, under three various frey of Monmouth's life of Merlin, alove quoted. The poem, after disguises, enquiring each time in what manner the narrating ibat ibe prophet had flad to the forests in a state of dis

iraction, proceeds to mention, that, looking upon tbe stars one clear person should die. To the first demand Merlin an

evening, he discerned, from his astronomical knowledge, that his swered, the party should perish by a fall from a rock; wife, Guendolen, had resolved, upon the next morning, 10 lake anto the second, that he should die by a tree; to the third, other husband. As he had presa șed to her that this would happen, that he should be drowned. The youth perished, while and had promised her a nuptial gilt (cautioning ber, however

, to

keep the bridegroom out of bis sight), he now resolved to make hunting, in the mode imputed by Fordun to Merlin good his word. Accordingly, he collaced all the stags and lesser himself.

fame in his neighbourhood, and, having seated himself on a buck, Fordun, contrary to the Welch authorities, confounds drove the herd before him to the capital of Comb rland, where

Gucndolen resided. this person with the Merlin of Arthur; but concludes

But her lover's curiosity lending him to in

spect too pearly this extraordinary cavalcade, Nerlin's rage was by informing us, that many believed him to be a dif- awakened, and be slew him, with a stroke of an antler of the stag. ferent person. The grave of Merlio is pointed out at The original runs thus: Drummelzier, in Tweeddale, beneath an aged thorn

Dixerat : et silmas et saltus cirenit omnes, tree. On the east side of the church-yard, the brook, Cervorumque greges ngmen collegit in unum, called Pausayl, falls into the Tweed; and the following Et damas, capreasque simul, cervoque resedit; prophecy is said to have been current concerning their

Ei reniente die, compellens agmina prie se,

Festinans vadit quo nubit Guendolana, union:

Postquam venit eo, patienter coegit
When Tweed and Pausayl join at Merlin's prave,

Cervos ante fores, proclamaos, Guendolæna.
Scotland and England shall one monarch have.

Guendelana, Feni, te talia munera spectant,'.

Ocius ergo venit subsidens Guendolana, On the day of the coronation of James VI., the Gestarique virum cervo miratur, et illum Tweed accordingly overflowed, and joined the Pausayi

Sie parere viro, tintum quoque posse ferarum

Uniri numerum quas prie se solus agebat, at the prophet's grave. — PENNYCUICK'S History of

Sicut pastor ores, quas ducere suevit ad herbas; Tweeddale, p. 26. These circumstances would seem

Stalai ab excelsa sponsus spectansque fenestra to infer a communication betwixt the south-west of

In solio mirans equitem, risumque movebat. Scotland and Wales, of a nature peculiarly iutimate;

Ast ubi vidit cum rates, animoque quis esset,

Calluit, extemplo divuls i cornua cerro for 1 presume that Merlin world retain sense enough to

Quo gestabatur, vibrataque jecit in illum chuse, for the scene of liis wanderings, a country hav Et caput illius penitus contrivit, cumque ing a language and manners similar to his own.

Reddidit esanimem, vitamque fuavit in suras;

Ocius inde suum, talorum verbure, cervum Be this as it may, the memory of Merlin Sylvester, or

Diffugiens egit, silvasque redire paravit. the Wild, was freslı among the Scots during the reign of James V. ,Waldhave,. under whose name a set of

For a perasal of this carious poem, accurately copied from a NS. in the Cotton library, nearly coural with the author, I was indebted

10 myl arned friend, the late Mr Ritson. There is an excellent ! I do not know whether the person here meant be Waldhave, an paraphrase of it in the curious and entertaining Specimens of Early abbot of Melroso, who died in th: odour of sanctity, about 1160. English Romances, published ! Mr Ellis.


James V.; for among the amusements with which Sir four bookes, at the instance and request of the said David Lindsay diverted that prince during his infancy, King Sol, and other divers: and the fourth book was

directed to a noble king, called Baldwine, king of the The prophecies of Rymer, Bede, and Merlin.

broad isle of Britain ; in the which she maketh mention Sir David Lindsay's Epistle to the King. of two noble princes and emperours, the which is callAnd we find, in Waldhave, at least one allusion to the ed Leones. How these two shall subdue, and overcome

all earthlie princes

their diademe and crowne, and very ancient prophecy, addressed to the Countess of

also be clorified and crowned in the heaven among Dunbar:

saints. The first of these two is Constantinus Magnus; This is a true token that Thomas of tells,

that was Leprosus, the son of Saint Helene, that found When a ladde with a ladye shall go over the fields.

the croce.

The second is the sixt king of the name of The original stands thus :

Steward of Scotland, the which is our most noble

king. With such editors and commentators, what When laddes weddeth lovedies.

wonder that the text became unintelligible, even beyond Another prophecy of Merlin seems to have been cur- the usual oracular obscurity of prediction? rent about the time of the regent Morton's execution.

If there still remain, therefore, among these pre--When that nobleman was committed to the charge dictions, any verses having a claim to real antiquity, of his accuser, Captain James Stewart, newly created it seems now impossible to discover them from those Earl of Arran, to be conducted to his trial at Edin- which are comparatively moderri. Nevertheless, as burgh, Spottiswoode says that he asked, « 'Who was

there are to be found, in these compositions, some unEarl of Arran?' and being answered that Captain James commonly wild and masculine expressions, the editor was the man, after a short pause he said, ' And is it so?

has been induced to throw a few passages together, into I know then what I may look for!' meaning, as was the sort of ballad to which this disquisition is prefixed. thought, that the old prophecy of the Falling of the it would, indeed, have been no difficult matter for heart' by the mouth of Arran,' should then be fulfilled. liim, by a judicious selection, to have excited, in favour Whether this was his mind or not, it is not known; of Thomas of Ercildoun, a share of the admiration, but some spared not, at the time when the Hamiltons bestowed by sundry wise persons upon Mass Robert were banished, in which business he was held 100 ear- Fleming. For example: nest, to say, that he stood in fear of this prediction,

Bat then the lilye shall be loused wben they least think; and went that course only to disappoint it. But, if so Then clear king's blood sbal quake for fear of death ; it was, he did find himself now deluded; for he fell by For churls shal chop off beads of their chief beiros, the mouth of another Arran than he imagined.»—

And carfe of the crowns that Christ bath appointed. SportISWOODE, p. 313. The fatal words alluded to seem

Thereafter on every side sorrow shal arise ; to be these in the prophecy of Merlin:

The barges of clear barons down shal be sunken ;

Seculars shal sit in spiritual seats,
In the mouth of Arrane a selcouth shall fall,

Occupying offices anointed as they were.
Two bloodie hearts shall be taken with a false traine,
And derfly dung down without any dome.

Taking the lily for the emblem of France, can there To return from these desultory remarks, into which narchi, the destruction of her nobility, and the desola

be a more plain prophecy of the murder of her mothe editor has been led by the celebrated name of Mer

tion of her hierarchy? lin, the style of all these prophecies, published by Ilari,

But, without looking farther into the signs of the is very much the same. The measure is alliterative,

times, the editor, though the least of all the prophets, and somewhat similar to that of Pierce Plowman's Vi

cannot help thinking that every true Briton will apsions; a circumstance which might entitle us to ascribe to some of them an earlier date than the reign of prove of luis application of the last propliecy quoted in

the ballad. James V., did we not know that Sir Gallorun of Galloway, and Gawaine and Gologras, two romances

Hart's collection of prophecies has been frequently rendered almost unintelligible by the extremity of af- printed within the century, probably to favour the pre

tensions of the unfortunate family of Stuart. For the fected alliteration, are perhaps not prior to that period. prophetic renown of Gildas and Bede, see Fordun, Indeed, although we may allow, that during much ear

lib. 3. lier times, prophecies, under the names of those cele

Before leaving the subject of Thomas's predictions, brated soothsayers, have been current in Scotland, yet it may be noticed, that sundry rhymes, passing for his those published by Hart have obviously been so often prophetic effusions, are still current among the vulgar. vamped and re-vamped, to serve the political purposes Thus, he is said to have prophesied of the very ancient of different periods, that it may be shrewdly suspected, family of Haig of Bemerside, that, as in the case of Sir Jolin Cutler's transmigrated stockings, very little of the original materials now re

Betide, betide, whate'er betide, mains. I cannot refrain from indulging my readers

Haig shall be Haig of Bemerside. with the publisher's title to the last prophecy; as it con

The grandfather of the prescut proprietor of Bemertains certain curious information concerning the Queen side had twelve daughters, before his lady brought him of Sheba, who is identified with the Cumæan Sybil:- a male heir. The common people trembled for the «. Here followeth a prophecie, pronounced by a noble credit of their favourite soothisayer. The late Mr Haig queene and matron, called Sybilla, Regina Austri, that

was at length born, and their belief in the prophecy came to Solomon. Through the which she compiled confirmed beyond a shadow of doubt.

Another memorable prophecy bore, that the Old Kirk * The heart was the cognizance of Morton.

of Kelso, constructed out of the ruins of the Abbey.

He put his hand on the earlie's head;

He shew'd him a rock, beside the sea, Where a king lay stiff, beneath his steed,

And steel-dight nobles wiped their ee.

« The neist curse lights on Branxton Hills:

By Flodden's high and heathery side, Shall wave a banner red as blude,

And chieftains throng wi' meikle pride.

« A Scottish king shall come full keen;

The ruddy lion beareth he;
A feather'd arrow sharp, I ween,

Shall make him wink and warre to see.

should fall when « at the fullest. At a very crowded sermon, about thirty years ago, a piece of lime fell from the roof of the church. The alarm, for the fulfilment of the words of the seer, became universal; and happy were they who were nearest the door of the predestined edifice. The church was in consequence deserted, and has never since had an opportunity of tumbling upon a full congregation. I hope, for the sake of a beautiful specimen of Saxo-Gothic architecture, that the accomplishment of this prophecy is far distant.

Another prediction, ascribed to the Rhymer, seems to have been founded on that sort of insight into futurity, possessed by most men of a sound and combining judgment. It runs thus:

At Eildon Tree if you shall be,

brige ower Tweed you there may see. The spot in question commands an extensive prospect of the course of the river; and it was easy to foresee, that when the country should become in the least degree improved, a bridge would be somewhere thrown over the stream. In fact, you now see no less than three bridges from that elevated situation.

Corspatrick (Comes Patrick), Earl of March, but more commonly taking his title from his castle of Dunbar, acted a noted part during the wars of Edward I. in Scotland. As Thomas of Ercildoun is said to have delivered to him his famous prophecy of King Alexander's death, the author has chosen to introduce him into the following ballad. All the prophetic verses are selected from Hart's publication.

«When he is bloody, and all to bledde,

Thus to his men he still shall say“ 'For God's sake turn ye back again,

And give yon southern folk a fray! Why should I lose the right is mine?

My doom is not to die this day.'?

« Yet turn ye to the eastern hand,
And woe and wonder


see; How forty thousand spearmen stand,

Where yon rank river meets the sea.

« There shall the lion lose the gylte,

And the libbards bear it clean away; At Pinkyn Cleuch there shall be spilt

Much gentil blude that day.»


« Enough, enough, of curse and ban;

Some blessing show thou now to me, Or, by the faith o' my bodie,» Corspatrick said,

« Ye shall rue the day ye e'er saw me!»


« The first of blessings I shall thee show,

Is by a burn, that's calld of bread;3 Where Saxon men shall tine the bow,

And find their arrows lack the head.

« Beside that brige, out-ower that burn,

Where the water bickereth bright and sheen, Shall many a falling courser spurn,

And knights shall die in battle keen.

WAÉN seven years were come and gane,

The sun blink'd fair on pool and stream; And Thomas lay on Huntlie bank,

Like one awaken’d from a dream. He heard the trampling of a steed,

He saw the flash of armour flee, And he beheld a gallant knight,

Come riding down by the Eildon Tree.
He was a stalwart knight, and strong;

Of giant make he 'peard to be :
He stirr'd his horse, as he were wode,

Wi' gilded spurš, of faushion free.
Says—« Well met, well met, true Thomas!

Some uncouth ferlies show to me.» Says—«Christ theç save, Corspatrick brave!

Thrice welcome, good Dunbar, to me!

« Beside a headless cross of stone, The libbards there shall lose the

gree; The raven shall come, the erne shall go,

And drink the Saxon blood sae free. The cross of stone they shall not know,

So thick the corses there sball be.»

« But tell me now,» said brave Dunbar,

« True Thomas, tell now unto me, What man shall rule the isle Britain,

Even from the north to the southern sea ?»

«Light down, light down, Corspatrick brave,

And I will show thee curses three,

fair Scotland


grane, And change the green to the black livery. «A storm shall roar, this very hour,

From Rosse's Hills to Solway sea.» « Ye lied, ye lied, ye warlock hoar!

For the sun shines sweet on fauld and lea.»

1 King Alexander ; killed by a fall from his horse, near Kinghorn

2 The uncertainty which long prevailed in Scotland concerning the fate of James IV. is well known. 3 One of Thomas's rhymes, preserved by tradition, rans thus :

The burn of breid

Shall run fow reid. Bannockburn is the brook here meant. The Scots give the name of bannock to a thick round cake of unleavened bread,

[blocks in formation]

Then all by bonnie Coldingknow, (2)

Pitch'd palliouns took their room, And crested helms, and spears a rowe,

Glanced gaily through the broom,

The Leader, rolling to the Twoed,

Resounds the enseozie;' They roused the deer from Caddenhead,

To distant Torwoodlee. (3)

The feast was spread in Ercildoune,

In Learmont's high and ancient hall; And there were knights of great renown,

And ladies laced in pall.

Nor lack'd they, while they sat at dine,

The music nor the tale,
Nor goblets of the blood-red wine,

Nor mantling quaighs 2 of ale.

THOMAS THE RHYMER was renowned among his contemporaries, as the author of the celebrated romance of Sir Tristrem. Of this once admired poem only one copy is known to exist, which is in the Advocates' Library. The author, in 1804, published a small edition of this curious work, which, if it does not revive the reputation of the bard of Ereildoun, is at least the earliest specimen of Scottish poetry hitherto published. Some account of this romance has already been given to the world in Mr Ellis's Specimens of Ancient Poetry, vol. I, p. 165, III, p. 410; a work, to which our predecessors and our posterity are alike obliged; the former, for the preservation of the best selected examples of their poetical taste; and the latter, for a history of the English language, which will only cease to be interesting with the existence of our mother-tongue, and all that genius and learning have recorded in it. It is sufficient here to mention, that, so great was the reputation of the romance of Sir Tristrem, that few were thought capable of reciting it after the manner of the author ;-a circumstance alluded to by Robert de Brune, the annalist :

I see in song, in sedgeyng talo,
Of Erceldoun, and of Kendale.
Now thame says as they thame wroght,
And in thare saying it semes nocht,
That thou may here in Sir Tristrem,
Over gestes it has the steme,
Over all that is or was;

If men it said as made Thomas, etc. It appears, from a very curious MS. of the thirteenth century, penes Mr Douce of London, containing a French metrical romance of Sir Tristrem, that the work of our Thomas thic Rhymer was known, and referred to, by the minstrels of Normandy and Bretagne, Having arrived at a part of the romance, where reciters were wont to differ in the mode of telling the story,

the French bard expressly cites the authority of the poet of Ercildoun:

True Thomas rose, with harp in hand,

When as the feast was done; (In minstrel strife, in Fairy Land,

The elfin harp he won.)

Hush'd were the throng, both limb and tongue, And harpers for

envy pale; And armed lords lean'd on their swords,

And hearken'd to the tale.

In numbers bigh, the witching tale

The prophet pour'd along; No after bard might e'er avail3

Those numbers to prolong.

Yet fragments of the lofty strain

Float down the tide of years, As, buoyant on the stormy main,

A parted wreck appears.

He sung King Arthur's Table Round:

The warrior of the lake; How courteous Gawaine met the wound, (4)

And bled for ladies' sake.

Plusurs de nos granter ne volent, Co que del maim dire se solent, Ki femme Kaherdin dut aimer, Li naim redut Tristram parrer, E entusché par grant engin, Qnant il afole kaherdin; Pur cest plaie e pur cest mal, En veiad Tristran Guvernal, En Engleterre par Ysolt Tromas ico granter ne volt, Et si volt par raisun mostrer, Qu'ico ne put pas esteer, etc,

But chief, in gentle Tristrem's praise,

The notes melodious swell;
Was none excell'd, in Arthur's days,

The knight of Lionelle. | Enscarie-War-cry, or gathering-word. ? Quaighs-Wooden cups, composed of staves hooped together. * Seo introduction to this Ballad.

The tale of Sir Tristrem, as narrated in the Edinburgh MS., is totally different from the voluminous romance

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