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And the third blast rang with such a din,
BORDER WARS. The history of the border wars of Scotland is highly interesting. Scotland is only divided from England by an artificial boundary, but the two regions were once governed by different kings and laws, and the people thought they had different and clashing interests. Those who lived on the border, or contiguous territories of the two dominions, paid little regard to any laws. They took justice into their own hands, or rather they defied justice, and devastated each oiher's property as much as they could, and they kept up for ages the hostilities which some needy robber had begun. .
In the third canto of The Lady of the Lake-The Gathering-Sir Walter Scott represents, in a very vivid manner, the spirit and alacrity with which the clansmen assembled themselves at the call of their chiefs. When they were suddenly summoned to his defence, or that of his allies, a signal was carried through the tract of country which they inhabited, and with almost incredible speed they assembled themselves at the “ trysting place,” or as we say from the French, at the Rendezvous. The Funeral and the Wedding were alike suspended at this
summons, and the mourner and the bride were forgotten in the claim of a Scottish chief.
“ Fast as the fatal symbol flies,
The plough was in mid-furrow staid,
The hunter left the stag at bay;
The predatory habits of these clans originated in their rapacity and indolence, and were carried on by the
spirit of retaliation. The chiefs, however, possessed some high qualities in conjunction with the passions which produced such shocking results. Ellen, in The Lady of the Lake, describes this combination of revolting and praise-worthy traits. She speaks of Roderick Dhu, the chief of Clan Alpine :
“ I grant him liberal, to fling
And in the Lowland leave behind,
The story of Sir Walter Scott's Minstrel is one of the warfare of the Scotts, (the family of the Dukes of Buceleuch,) with southern force and guile,
66 When Scrope, and Howard, and Percy's powers
Threatened Branksome's lordly towers." Branksome was the castle of the Buccleuch family, and the English names are those of English noblemen from “Warkworth, and Naworth, and merry Carlisle," who were open enemies of the Scotts of Buccleuch. The action of the poem is dated about 1550.
In anticipation of an attack from the southern powers, the Scotts mustered the clans, their neighbours and allies. The alarm is exhibited with wonderful animation,
the evening fell,
The air was mild, the wind was calm, The stream was smooth, the dew was balm, E'en the rude watchman, on the tower, Enjoyed and blessed the lovely hour. Far more fair Margaret loved and blessed The hour of silence and of rest. On the high turret sitting lone, She waked at times the lute's soft tone; Touched a wild note, and all between Thought of the bower of hawthorns green. Her golden hair streamed free from band, Her fair cheek rested on her hand, Her blue eye sought the west afar, For lovers love the western star. Is yon the star, o'er Penchryst Pen, That rises slowly to her ken, And, spreading broad its wavering light, Shakes its loose tresses on the night? Is yon red glare the western star ? o, 'tis the beacon blaze of war! Scarce could she draw her tightened breath For well she knew the fire of death! The warder viewed it blazing strong, And blew his war-note loud and long, Till, at the high and haughty sound, Rock, wood, and river, rang around. The blast alarmed the festal hall, And startled forth the warriors all; Far downward, in the castle-yard, Full many a torch and cresset glared; And helms and plumes confusedly tossed, Were in the blaze half-seen, half-lost; And spears in wild disorder shook,' Like reeds beside a frozen brook.
The Seneschal, whose silver hair
And issued forth his mandates loud, • On Penchryst glows a bale of fire And three are kindling on Priesthaughswire ;
Ride out, ride out,
The foe to scout!
That ever are true and stout.
Fair Margaret, from the turret head,
While loud the harness rung,
The ready horsemen sprung ;
And out! and out!
In hasty route,
And east, and west, and north,
The ready page, with hurried hand,
And ruddy blushed the heaven:
All flaring and uneven ;