ページの画像
PDF
ePub

track, which destroyed the discriminating fineness of his scent. A captive was sometimes sacrificed on such occasions. Henry the Minstrel tells a romantic story of Wallace, founded on this circumstance. The hero's little band had been joined by an Irishman, named Fawdoun, or Fadzean, a dark, savage, and suspicious character. After a sharp skirmish at Black-Erne Side, Wallace was forced to retreat with only 16 followers. The English pursued with a Border sleuth-bratch, or bloodhound.

In Gelderland there was that bratchel bred,
Siker of scent, to follow them that fled;
So was she used in Eske and Liddisdail,
While (i.e. till) she gat blood no fleeing might avail.

In the retreat, Fawdoun, tired, or affected to be so, would go no farther: Wallace having in vain argued with him, in hasty anger, struck off his head, and continued his retreat. When the English came up, their hound stayed upon the dead body.

The slouth stopped at Fawdoun, still she stood,
Nor farther would fra time she fund the blood.

The story concludes with a fine scene of Gothic terror. Wallace took refuge in the solitary tower of Gask. Here he was disturbed at midnight by the blast of a horn: he sent out his attendants by two and two, but no one returned with tidings. At length, when he was left alone, the sound was heard still louder. The champion descended, sword in hand; and at the gate of the tower was encountered by the headless spectre of Fawdoun, whom he had slain so rashly. Wallace, in great ter

ror, fled up into the tower, tore open the boards of a window, leapt down fifteen feet in height, and continued his flight up the river. Looking back to Gask, he discovered the tower on fire, and the form of Fawdoun upon the battlements, dilated to immense size, and holding in his hand a blazing rafter. The Minstrel concludes,

Trust right wele, that all this be sooth indeed,
Supposing it be no point of the creed.

The Wallace, Book fifth. Mr Ellis has extracted this tale as a sample of Henry's poetry. Specimens of English Poetry, vol. i. p. 351.

Dimly he viewed the Moat-hill's mound.—St. XXV. p. 25.

This is a round artificial mount near Hawick, which, from its name (Mot Ang. Saa. Concilium ConventusJ, was probably anciently used as a place for assembling a national council of the adjacent tribe. There are many such mounds in Scotland, and they are sometimes, but rarely, of a square form.

Beneath the tower of Hazeldean.—St. XXV. p. 25. The estate of Hazeldean, corruptly Hassendean, belonged formerly to a family of Scotts thus commemorated by Satchells. o

“Hassenden came without a call,
The ancientest house among them all.”

On Minto-crags the moon-beams glint.--St. XXVII. p. 26.

A romantic assemblage of cliffs, which rise suddenly above the vale of Teviot, in the immediate vicinity of the familyseat, from which Lord Minto takes his title. A small platform, on a projecting crag, commanding a most beautiful prospect, is termed Barnhills' Bed. This Barnhills is said to have been a robber or outlaw. There are remains of a strong tower beneath the rocks, where he is supposed to have dwelt, and from which he derived his name. On the summit of the crags there are the fragments of another ancient tower, in a very picturesque situation. Among the houses cast down by the Earl of Hertforde, in 1545, occur the towers of Easter Barnhills, and of Minto-crag, with Minto town and place. Sir Gilbert Elliot, father to the present Lord Minto, was the author of a beautiful pastoral song, of which the following is a more correct copy than is usually published. The poetical mantle of Sir Gilbert Elliot has descended to his family.

My sheep I neglected, I broke my sheep-hook,
And all the gay haunts of my youth I forsook:
No more for Amynta fresh garlands I wove;
Ambition, I said, would soon cure me of love.
But what had my youth with ambition to do?
Why left I Amynta? Why broke I my vow

Through regions remote in vain do I rove,
And bid the wide world secure me from love.
Ah, fool, to imagine, that aught could subdue
A love so well-founded, a passion so true!
Ah, give me my sheep, and my sheep-hook restore,
And I’ll wander from love and Amynta no more

Alas! 'tis too late at thy fate to repine !
Poor shepherd, Amynta no more can be thine !
Thy tears all are fruitless, thy wishes are vain,
The moments neglected return not again.
Ah! what had my youth with ambition to do
Why left I Amynta? Why broke I my vow:

Ancient Riddel's fair domain.—St. XXVIII. p. 27.

The family of Riddell have been very long in possession of the barony called Riddell, or Ryedale, part of which still bears the latter name. Tradition carries their antiquity to a point extremely remote; and is in some degree sanctioned by the discovery of two stone coffins, one containing an earthen pot filled with ashes and arms, bearing a legible date, A. D. 727; the other dated 936, and filled with the bones of a man of gigantic size. These coffins were found in the foundations of what was, but has long ceased to be, the chapel of Riddell; and as it was argued, with plausibility, that they contained the remains of some ancestors of the family, they were deposited in the more modern place of sepulture, comparatively so termed, though built in 1110. But the following curious and authentic documents warrant most conclusively the epithet of ancient Riddell. 1st, A charter by David I. to Walter Rydale, sheriff of Roxburgh, confirming all the estates of Liliesclive, &c. of which his father, Gervasius de Rydale, died possessed. 2dly, A bull of Pope Adrian IV. confirming the will of Walter de Ridale, knight, in favour of his brother Anschittil de Ridale, dated 8th April, 1155. 3dly, A bull of Pope Alexander III., confirming the said will of Walter de Ridale, bequeathing to his brother Anschittil the lands of Liliesclive, Whettunes, &c. and ratifying the bargain betwixt Anschittil and Huctredus, concerning the church of Liliesclive, in consequence of the mediation of Malcolm II., and confirmed by a charter from that monarch. This bull is dated 17th June, 1160. 4thly, A bull of the same Pope, confirming the will of Sir Anschittil de Ridale, in favour of his son Walter, conveying the said lands of Liliesclive and others, dated 10th March, 1120. It is remarkable, that Liliesclive, otherwise Rydale, or Riddel, and the Whittunes, have descended, through a long train of ancestors, without ever passing into a collateral line, to the person of Sir John Buchanan Riddell, bart. of Riddell, the lineal descendant and representative of Sir Anschittel.

These circumstances appeared worthy of notice in a Border work.

As glanced his eye o'er Halidon.—St. XXX. p. 28. Halidon was an ancient seat of the Kerrs of Cessford, now demolished. About a quarter of a mile to the northward lay the field of battle betwixt Buccleuch and Angus, which is

called to this day the Skirmish Field. See the fourth note on this Canto.

Old Melros' rose, and fair Tweed ran.—St. XXXI. p. 29.

The ancient and beautiful monastery of Melrose was founded by King David I. Its ruins afford the finest specimen of Gothic architecture, and Gothic sculpture, which Scotland can boast. The stone, of which it is built, though it has resisted the weather for so many ages, retains perfect sharpness, so that even the most minute ornaments seem as entire as when newly wrought. In some of the cloisters, as is hinted in the next Canto, there are representations of flowers, vegetables, &c. carved in stone, with accuracy and precision so delicate, that we almost distrust our senses when we consider the

« 前へ次へ »