ページの画像
PDF

ters by 1 cial Ver nu

pottiswoode, an honest, but credulous historian, warm woms to have been a firm believer in the authenticity

of the prophetic wares, vesded in the same of Thomas

of Ercildoun. « The prophecies, yet extant in Scottish in de la taymes, whereupon he was commonly called Thomas

the Rhymer, may justly be admired; baring foretold, Wandem'in so many ages before, the union of England and Scot

bymer land ior the ninth degree of the Bruce's blood, with the o e*. ww huis succession of Bruce himself to the crove, being yet a

betul. It child, and other divers particulars, which the event hath wieantess of ratified and made good. Boethius, in his story, it

sulting | lateth his prediction of King Alexander's death, and

ex that she that he did foretel the same to the Earl of March, the com macters, pre-day before it fell out; saying, that before the next day

voung, or at noon, such a tempest should blow, as Scotland bad Der being be- not felt for many years before.' The next mornide, wel defended. If the day being clear, and no change appearing in the

he would sup- air, the nobleman did challenge Thomas of his saying, en for the encou-calling him an impostor. He replied, that noon was dit durag the Scottish yet passed. About which time, a post came to adver

aless of Dunbar, tise the earl of the king his sudden death. Then,

sed for the greater said Thomas, this is the tempest I foretold; and so ** this hypothesis, it shall it prove to Scotland.' Whence, or how, he had

se after the siege of this knowledge, can hardly be affirmed; but sure it be Wed June of the countess that he did divine and answer truly of many things to

a the reign of Edward come.»--SPOTTISWOODE, P. 47. Besides that notable

ac prophecy is to aver, voucher, Master Hector Boece, the good archbishop w of the Seottish war (con- might, had he been so minded, have referred to Fordon w was proposed), till a final for the prophecy of King Alexander's death. That bis

w England, attended by all storian calls our bard « ruralis ille vates. -Fordus, lib.

When the cultivated coun- / *. cap. 40. was the prophecy:-when the What Spottiswoode calls « the prophecies extant en small the abode of men ;-when Scottish rhyme,» are the metrical predictions ascribed

to escape the English, should to the prophet of Ercildoun, wbich, with many other

their form»---all these denun- compositions of the same nature, bearing the names of me the time of Edward II. upon Bede, Merlin, Gildas, and other approved soothsavers,

durion was probably founded. arc contained in one small volume, published by Andre hange betwixt a colt worth ten Hart, at Edinburgh, 1615. The late excellent Lord

e whaty (indifferent) wheat,» Bailes made these compositions the subject of a disserhar vadful famine about the year tation, published in his Remarks on the History of Scak

. . W e

land. His attention is chictly directed to the celebrated of Scotland was, however, as I land Cho thues of superstition, as to the prophecy of our bard, mentioned by Bishop Spottis wowerful and more wealthy neigh-woode, bearing, that the crowns of England and Scope

Sotland is, thank God, at an land should be united in the person of a king, son of a sed without her people having either | French queen, and related to Bruce in the ninth degret. M e their form, or being drowned Lord Hailes plainly proves, that this prophecy is per **

fineste of shep,»--thank God forverted from its original purpose, in order to apply it to wwboy quoted in p. 350, is probably the succession of James VI. The ground-work of the Nintended for the same purpose. A forgery is to be found in the prophecies of Berlingtos,

reords of the time would, pro- contained in the same collection, and runs thus: .. de bal light upon the allusions con

Of Bruce's left side shall spring out as a leafe,
Been legends. Among various rhymes

As neere as the ninth degree;
on whertwhich are at this day current

And shall be fleemed of faire Scotland: www of Teviotdale, is one, supposed to

In France farra beyond the sea.
i Thomas the Rhymer, presaging the

And then shall come againe ryding,
With eyes that many men may see.

At Aberladie he shall light,
welke tiuter) on my hearth-stane,

With bempen helteres and borse of tre, ever be a Laird Learmont again.

However it happen for to fall, bene lines is obviously borrowed from

The lyon shal be lord of all; w the Harl. Library.—« When hares

The French quen shal bearre tbe sonne,

Shal rule all Brittaine to the sea : am berstons-an emphatic image of de

Ane from the Bruce's blood shal come also,
i also inaccurately quoted in the pro-

As neere as the ninth degree.
Wate, published by Andro Hart, 1613:

Yet sbal there come a keene knight over the salt sia, wesball birple on the bard (beartb) stane.

A keene man of cocrage and bold man of armes ;

[ocr errors]

verfilm

-

[ocr errors]

without her people ha

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

neords of the

[ocr errors][merged small]

boa habitation and family:

we talking that Thomas of tells.

A duke's son dowbled (i, e. dubbed), a borne man in France, i 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 .513, and thrice three thereafter ; Which sbal brooke all the broad isle to himself,

of the prophet to that question : Between 13 and thrice three the threip shal be ended,

'Then to the Rairne could I say, The Sarons sall dever recover after.

Where dwells thou, or in what countrio!

[Or wbo sball 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 queane sball beare the sonne, in the Duke of Albany, regent of Scotland, who arrived

Shall rule all Britane to the sea; from France in 1515, two years after the death of

Which of the Bruce's blood shall come,

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

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

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

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

Thomas Rymour men cals me. · 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 cight lines, inclosed in brackets, pested 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 duri

| during the regency of Albany, so those of Sybilla and Rhymer, as it stands in 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 bim many emblematical vi

period of similar calamity. This is obvious from the sions, described in no mean strain of poetry. They following verses: cbielly relate to the fields of Flodden and Pinkie, to the national distress which followed these defeats, and

Take a thousand in calculation,

And the longest of the Iyon, 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 keepo,

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

And never againe rise.
A feddered arrow sharp, I weene,

In that yere there sball a king.
Sbal make him winke and warre to see.

A duke, and no crowned king:
Ont of tbe field he shal be led

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

And tender of yeares.
Yet to bis men sball he say,
. For God's lave, turn you againe,

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

the Scottish regent, by means of some succours derived Why should I lose the rigbt is mine!

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 conceru

fained hart» (the Earl of Angus). The regent is de! ing 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 Doux I 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

rulers appeared to stand in need of it. The regent was The sternes three that day sball die,

not, indeed, till after this period, created Duke of ChaThat bears the harte in silver sheen.

telberault; but that honour was the object of his hopes The well-known arms of the Douglas family are thc 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

published by Andro Hart. Besides those expressly put At Pioken Cluch there shall be spilt Mach gentle blood that day;

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

supposed to derive his knowledge from him; for he 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.

The Prophecy of Gildas. Hart, a new edition of Berlington's verses, before quoted, altered and manufactured so as to bear refer- In the prophecy of Berlington, already quoted, we eace to the accession of James VI, wbich had just then are told, taken place. The insertion is made, with a peculiar de

Marvellous Merlin, that many men 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, thc 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 appa: ed, like a second Nebuchadnezzar, the woods of Tweed- rition leaves the objects of his pursuit and assaults bim 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. ii, 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 be Merlin, then in this distracted and miserable state. He lives upon, « to do him no harm. This done, be is said to have been called Lailoken, from his mode of permits him to arise, and marvels at his strange ap! life. 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, foarfal 10 soe. of which battle he had been the cause. According to

cording to He answers briefly to Waldhave's inquiry concerning his own prediction, he perished at once by wood, earth,

; earth, his name and nature, that he « drees his weird, is 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:

concludes,
Sade perfossus, lapide percussus et unda,

Go musing upon Merling if thou wilt;
Hæc tria Merlinum fertur inire necem,

For I mean no more man at this time.
Sicque ruit, mersusque 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 bebolds Herlia vict the prophet of falsehood, because he had betrayed

engaged, derives some illustration from a curious passage in Geolher intrigues, introduced to him, under three various frey of Monmouth's life of Merlin, above quoted. The poem, afer disguises, enquiring each time in what manner the narrating that the propbet had fled to the forests in a state of dias

traction, proceeds to mention, that, looking upon the stars ose deur person should die. To the first demand Merlin ap

evening, he discerned, from his astronomical knowledge, that is swered, the party should perish by a fall from a rock; wife, Guendolen, had resolved, upon the next morning, to take a to the second, that he should die by a tree; to the third, other husband. As he had presaged to her tbat this would bappe, that he should be drowned. The youth perished, while

and had promised her a nuptial rift (cautioning ber, however, to

keep the bridegroom out of his sight), he now resolved to make hunting, in the mode imputed by Fordun to Merlin

good bis word. Accordingly, he collected all the stags and lesoch himself.

game 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 Cumberland, where this person with the Merlin of Arthur: but concludes Guendolen resided. Bat her lover's curiosity leading bim to in by informing us, that many believed him to be a dif- lawakened, and he slew him, with a stroke of an antler of the

spect too nearly this extraordinary cavalcade, Merlia's rago na ferent person. The grave of Merlin is pointed out at The original runs thus : Drummelzier, in Tweeddale, beneath an aged thorn

Dixerat : et silyas et saltas circuit omnes, tree. On the east side of the church-yard, the brook,

Cervorumque greges agmen collegit in unum, called Pausayl, falls into the Tweed; and the following

Et damas, capreasque simul, cerroque resedir; prophecy is said to have been current concerning their

Et veniente die, compellens agmina pre se, union:

Festinans vadit quo nubit Guendolæna.

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

Cervos ante fores, proclamaps, Guendolæns,
Scotland and England shall one monarch have.

Guendolæpa, veni, te talia munera spectant..

Ocius ergo venit subridens Guendolana, On the day of the coronation of James VI., the

Gestarique virum cervo miratur, et illum Tweed accordingly overflowed, and joined the Pausayi

Sic parere viro, tantum quoque posse ferarum

Unici numerum quas præ se solos agebat, at the prophet's grave. – PENNYCUICK's History of

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

Stabat ab excelsa sponsus spectabsque ferestra to infer a communication betwixt the south-west of

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

Ast ubi vidit eum vates, animoque quis esiet,

Calluit, extemplo divulsit cornua cervo for I presume that Merlin world retain sense enough to

Quo gestabatur, vibrataque jocit in illum chuse, for the scene of his wanderings, a country hav

Et caput illius penitus contrivit, eumque ing a language and manners similar to his own.

Reddidit exanimem, vitamque fugavit in nuras;

Ocius inde soum, taloram verbere, cervum Be this as it may, the memory of Merlin Sylvester, or

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

of a perosal of this curious poem, accurately copied from 15 in the Colton library, nearly coeval with the author, I was indebire

to my learned friend, the late Mr Ritson. There is an exce 1 I do not know whether the person here meant be Waldhare, an paraphrase of it in the curious and entertaining Specimens a albot of Melrose, who died in the odour of sanctity, about 1160. English Romances, published by Mr Ellis.

are

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 all earthlie princes to their diademe and crowne, and

ed Leones. How these two shall subdue, and overcome very ancient prophecy, addressed to the Countess of Dunbar:

also be glorified and crowned in the heaven among

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 Wben a ladda 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 weddetb 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 modern. Nevertheless, as burgh, Spottiswoode says that he asked, «'Who was

there are to be found, in these compositions, some unEarl of Arrant 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 . beart' by the mouth of Arran,' should then be fulfilled. him, 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,

bat 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 too ear Fleming. For example: nest, to say, that he stood in fear of this prediction,

But then the lilye shall be loused when they least think; and went that course only to disappoint it. But, if so Then clear king's blood shal 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 beirns, the mouth of another Arran than he imagined.»—

And carfe of the crowns that Christ bath appointed. SPOTTISWOODE, 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 der y dong down without any dome.

Taking the lily for the emblem of France, can there

be a more plain prophecy of the murder of her moTo return from these desultory remarks, into which march the destruction of her nobility, and the desolathe editor has been led by the celebrated name of Mer

tion of her hierarchy ? lin, the style of all these prophecies, published by Hart,1

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

vel 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

prove of his application of the last prophecy quoted in to some of them an earlier date than the reign of

the ballad. James V., did we not know that Sir Gallorun of Gal- Hart's collection of prophecies has been frequently loway, and Gawaine and Gologras, two romances

| printed within the century, probably to favour the prerendered almost unintelligible by the extremity of af

tensions of the unfortunate family of Stuart. For the fected alliteration, are perbaps 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, dat, as in the case of Sir John Cutler's transmigrated

Betide, betide, whate'er betide, ! stockings, very little of the original materials now re

Haig shall be laig of Bemerside. mains. I cannot refrain from indulging my readers with the pablisher's title to the last prophecy; as it con- The grandfather of the present proprietor of Bemer tains certain curious information concerning the Queen side had twelve daughters, before his lady brought him of Sheba, who is identified with the Cumxan Sybil :

a male heir. The common people trembled for the

The late Mr Haig flere followeth a prophecie, pronounced by a nob!c / credit of their favourite soothsayer. 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 Abbev,

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 locathery 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,

A brige ower Tweed you there may sec. 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 sball 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 ye sall 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.

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

« 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 shall be.

He was a stalwart knight, and strong;

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

Wi' gilded spurs, of faushion free.
Says-Well met, well met, true Thomas !

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

Thrice welcome, good Dunbar, to me! a Light down, light down, Corspatrick brave,

And I will show thee curses three, Shall gar fair Scotland greet and 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.»

« 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!

'King Alexander; killed by a fall from his borse, Dear Kinghera

2 Tbe uncertainty which long prevailed in Scotland concert, the fate of James IV. is well known. One of Thomas's rhymes, preserved by tradition, ram thus:

The burn of breid

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

« 前へ次へ »