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Vain Kirkpatrick's bloody dirk,
seem, as materials for Archbishop Spottiswoode's History of the Church of Scotland, I find the following passage concerning Sir Niel Campbell:—“Moreover, when all the nobles in Scotland had left King Robert after his hard success, yet this noble knight was most faithful, and shrinked not, as it is to be seen in an indenture bearing these words: - Memorandum quod cum ab incarnatione Domini 1308 conventum fuit et concordatum inter nobiles viros Dominum Alexandrum de Seatoun militem et Dominum Gilbertum de Haye militem et Dominum Nigellum Campbell militem apud monasterium de Cambuskenneth 9" Septembris qui tacta sancta eucharista, magnoque juramento facto, jurarunt se debere libertatem regni et Robertum nuper regem coronatum contra omnes mortales Francos Anglos Scotos defendere usque ad ultimum terminum vitæ ipsorum. Their sealles are appended to the indenture in greene wax, togithir with the seal of Gulfrid, Abbot of Cambuskenneth.”.
*[See Appendix, Note G.]
· These knights are enumerated by Barbour among the small number of Bruce's adherents, who remained in arms with him after the battle of Methven.
“ With him was a bold baron,
Schyr Gilbert de la Haye alsua.” There were more than one of the noble family of Hay engaged in Bruce's cause; but the principal was Gilbert de la Haye, Lord of Errol, a stanch adherent to King Robert's interest, and whom he rewarded by creating him hereditary Lord High Constable of Scotland, a title which he used 16th March, 1308, where, in a letter from the peers of Scotland to Philip the Fair of France, he is designed Gilbertus de Hay Constabularius Scotiæ. He was slain at the battle of Halidoun-hill. Hugh de la Haye, his brother, was made prisoner at the battle of Methven.
When this broach, triumphant borne,
The character of the Highland bards, however high in an earlier period of society, seems soon to have degenerated. The Irish affirm, that in their kindred tribes severe laws became necessary to restrain their avarice. In the Highlands they seem gradually to have sunk into contempt, as well as the orators, or men of speech, with whose office that of family poet was often united.--" The orators, in their language called Isdane, were in high esteen both in these islands and the continent; until within these forty years, they sat always among the nobles and chiefs
Vol. V. - 6
Yet something might thy song have told
of families in the streah, or circle. Their houses and little villages were sanctuaries, as well as churches, and they took place before doctors of physick. The orators, after the Druids were extinct, were brought in to preserve the genealogy of families, and to repeat the same at every succession of chiefs; and upon the occasion of marriages and births, they made epithalamiums and panegyricks, which the poet or bard pronounced. The orators, by the force of their eloquence, had a powerful ascendant over the greatest men in their time; for if any orator did but ask the habit, arms, horse, or any other thing belonging to the greatest man in these islands, it was readily granted them, sometimes out of respect, and sometimes for fear of being exclaimed against by a satyre, which, in those days, was reckoned a great dishonour. But these gentlemen becoming insolent, lost ever since both the profit and esteem which was formerly due to their character; for neither their panegyricks nor satyres are regarded to what they have been, and they are now allowed but a small salary. I must not omit to relate their way of study, which is very singular: They shut their doors and windows for a day's time, and lie on their backs, with a stone upon their belly, and plads about their heads, and their eyes being covered, they pump their brains for rhetorical encomium or panegyrick; and indeed they furnish such a style from this dark cell as is understood by very few; and if they purchase a couple of horses as the reward of their meditation, they think they have done a great matter. The poet, or bard, had a title to the bridegroom's upper garb, that is, the plad and bonnet; but now he is satisfyed with what the bridegroom pleases to give him on such occasions.”— MARTIN's Western Isles,
What time a hundred foemen more
“ Now, by Columba's shrine, I swear,
XVI. Then up sprung many a mainland Lord, Obedient to their Chiestain's word. Barcaldine's arm is high in air, And Kinloch-Alline's blade is bare, Black Murthok's dirk has left its sheath, And clench'd is Dermid's hand of death. Their mutter'd threats of vengeance swell Into a wild and warlike yell; Onward they press with weapons high, The affrighted females shriek and fly, And, Scotland, then thy brightest ray Had darken’d ere its noon of day, But every chief of birth and fame, That from the Isles of Ocean came, At Ronald's side that hour withstood Fierce Lorn's relentless thirst for blood.
XVII. Brave Torquil from Dunvegan high, Lord of the misty hills of Skye, Mac-Niel, wild Bara's ancient thane, Duart, of bold Clan Gillian's strain, Fergus, of Canna's castled bay, Mac-Duffith, Lord of Colonsay, Soon as they saw the broadswords glance, With ready weapons rose at once, More prompt, that many an ancient feud, Full oft suppress’d, full oft renew'd, Glow'd 'twixt the chieftains of Argyle, And many a lord of ocean's isle. Wild was the scene-each sword was bare, Back stream'd each chieftain's shaggy hair,