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Wallace, as tradition states him to be. The truth seems to be, that Menteith thoroughly engaged in the English interest, pursued Wallace closely, and made him prisoner through the treachery of an attendant, whom Peter Langtoft calls Jark Short.
« William Waleis is nomen that master was of theves,
From this it would appear that the infamy of seizing Wallace, must rest between a degenerate Scottish nobleman, the vassal of England, and a domestic, the obscure agent of his treachery; between Sir John Menteith, son of Walter, Earl of Menteith, and the traitor Jack Short.
And Fraser, flower of chivalry &-St. XXVI. p. 70. When these lines were written, the author was remote from the means of correcting his indistinct recollection concerning the individual fate of Bruce's followers, after the bat.
tle of Methven. Hugh de la Haye and Thomas Somerville of Lintoun and Cowdally, ancestor of Lord Somerville, were both made prisoners at that defeat, but neither was executed.
Sir Nigel Bruce was the younger brother of Robert, to whom he committed the charge of his wife and daughter, Marjorie, and the defence of his strong castle of Kildrummie, near the head of the Don, in Aberdeenshire. Kildrummie long resisted the arms of the Earls of Lancaster and Hereford, until the magazine was treacherously burnt. The garrison was then compelled to surrender at discretion, and Nigel Bruce, a youth remarkable for personal beauty, as well as for gallantry, fell into the hands of the unrelenting Edward. He was tried by a special commission at Berwick, was condemned, and executed.
Christopher Seatoun shared the same unfortunate fate. He also was distinguished by personal valour, and signalized himself in the fatal battle of Methven. Robert Bruce adventured his person in that battle like a knight of romance. He dismounted Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, but was in his turn dismounted by Sir Philip Mowbray. In this emergence Seatoun came to his aid, and remounted him. Langtoft mentions, that in this battle the Scottish wore white surplices, or shirts, over their armour, that those of rank might not be known. In this manner both Bruce and Seatoun escaped. But the latter was afterwards betrayed to the English, through means, according to Barbour, of one Mac-Nab, “ a disciple of Sudas,” in whom the unfortunate knight reposed entire con
fidence. There was some peculiarity respecting his punishment; because, according to Matthew of Westminster, he was considered not as a Scottish subject, but an Englishman. He was therefore taken to Dumfries, where he was triell, condemned, and executed, for the murder of a soldier slain hy him. His brother, John de Seton, had the same fate at Newcastle; both were considered as accomplices in the slaughter of Comyn, but in what manner they were particularly accessary to that deed does not appear.
The fate of Sir Simon Frazer, or Frizel, ancestor of the family of Lovat, is dwelt upon at great length, and with savage exultation, by the English historians. This knight, who was renowned for personal gallantry and high deeds of chivalry, was also made prisoner, after a gallant defence, in the battle of Methven. Some stanzas of a ballad of the times, which, for the sake of rendering it intelligible, I have translated out of its rude orthography, give minute particulars of his fate. It was written immediately at the period, for it mentions the Earl of Athole as not yet in custody. It was first published by the indefatigable Mr Ritson, but with so many contractions and peculiarities of character, as to render it illegible, excepting by antiquaries.
This was before Saint Bartholomew's mass,
Soon after the tiding to the king come,
For he should be y-know
For the traitour I ween,
Y-fettered were his legs under his horse's wombe,
So to be brought in hand.
This was upon our lady's even, forsooth I understand,
And Sir John Abel,
Ye know sooth well.
Then said the justice, that gentil is and free,
In water and in land that mony mighten see,
So foul he him wist,
For to say pay.
With fetters and with gins' y-hot he was to draw
Thitherward can leap.
Though he cam to the gallows first he was on hung,
Thus, little to stand. 3
He rideth through the city, as I tell may,
And said, alas!
So fair man he was.5
I He was condemned to be drawn.
2 Burned. 3 Meaning, at one time' he little thought to stand thus. 4 viz. Saith Lack-a-day.
5 The gallant knight, like others in the same situation, was pitied by the female spectators as a proper young man."