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Skie, where there were but a few sorry cowhouses, thatched with straw, yet in a very few years after, the vision, which appeared often, was accomplished, by the building of several good houses on the very spot represented b the seers, and by the planting of orchards there. “To see a spark of fire fall upon one's arm or breast, is a forerunner of a dead child to be seen in the arms of those persons; of which there are several fresh instances. “To see a seat empty at the time of one's sitting in it, is a presage of that person's death soon after. 'When a novice, or one that has lately obtained the second-sight, sees a vision in the night-time without doors, and he be near a fire, he presently falls into a swoon. “Some find themselves as it were in a crowd of people, having a corpse which they carry along with them; and after such visions, the seers come in sweating, and describe the people that appeared: if there be any of their acquaintance among 'em, they give an account of their names, as also of the bearers, but they know nothing concerning the corpse. “All those who have the second-sight do not always see these visions at once, though they be together at the time. But if one who has this faculty, designedly touch his fellow-seer at the instant of a vision's appearing, then the second sees it as well as the first; and this is sometimes discerned by those that are near them on such occasions.”—MARTIN's Description of the Western Islands, 1716, 8vo, p. 300 et seq. To these particulars innumerable examples might be added, all attested by grave and credible authors. But, in despite of evidence which neither Bacon, Boyle, nor Johnson were able to resist, the Zaisch, with all its
visionary properties, seems to be now universally abandoned to the use of poetry. The exquisitely beautiful poem of Lochiel
will at once occur to the recollection of every reader.
Here, for retreat in dangerous hour, Some chief had framed a rustic bower. - —P. 2I4.
The Celtic chieftains, whose lives were continually exposed to peril, had usually, in the most retired spot of their domains, some place of retreat for the hour of necessity, which, as circumstances would admit, was a tower, a cavern, or a rustic hut, in a strong and secluded situation. One of these last gave refuge to the unfortunate Charles Edward, in his perilous wanderings after the battle of Culloden.
'It was situated in the face of a very rough, high, and rocky mountain, called Letternilichk, still a part of Benalder, full of great stones and crevices, and some scattered wood
interspersed. The habitation called the Cage, in the face of that mountain, was within a small thick bush of wood. There were first some rows of trees laid down, in order to level the floor for a habitation ; and as the place was steep, this raised the lower side to an equal height with the other ; and these trees, in the way, of joists or planks, were levelled with earth and gravel. There were betwixt the trees, growing naturally on their own roots, some stakes fixed in the earth, which, with the trees, were interwoven with ropes, made of heath and birch twigs, up to the top of the Cage, it being of a of or rather oval shape; and the whole thatched and covered over with fog. The whole fabric hung, as it were, by a large tree, which reclined from the one end, all along the roof, to the other, and which gave it the name of the Cage; and by chance there happened to be two stones at a small distance from one another, in the side next the precipice, resembling the pillars of a chimney, where the fire was placed. The smoke ...?.. vent out here, all along the fall of the rock, which was so much of the same colour, that one could discover no difference in the clearest day."— HoME's History of the Rebellion, Lond. 1802, 4to, p. 381.
‘On a day come tiding
Romance of Charlemagne, ll. 461–484.
3 Measured. & Black.
1 Found, proved.
Ascapart, or , Ascabart, makes a very material figure in the History of Bevis of Hampton, § whom he was conquered. . His effigies may be seen guarding one side of a gate at Southampton, while the other is occupied by Sir Bevis himself. The dimensions of Ascabart were little inferior to those of Ferragus, if the following description be correct:
“They metten with a geaunt,
Beues hadde of him wondergret,
strings of the clairschoes are made of brass wire, and the strings of the harps of sinews; which strings they strike, either with their nayles, growing long, or else with an instrument appointed for that use. They take great pleasure to decke, their harps and clairschoes with silver and precious stones; the poore ones that cannot attayne hereunto, decke them with christall. They sing verses prettily compound, contayning (for the most part) prayses of valiant men. There is not almost any other argument, whereof their rhymes intreat. They speak, the ancient French language altered a little 1.'—‘The harp and clairschoes are now only heard of in the Highlands in ancient song. At what riod these instruments ceased to be used, is not on record; and tradition is silent on this head. But, as Irish harpers occasionally visited the Highlands and Western Isles till lately, the harp might have been extant so late as the middle of the last century. Thus far we know, that from remote times down to the present, harpers were received as welcome guests, particularly in the Highlands of Scotland; and so late as the latter end of the sixteenth century, as appears by the above quotation, the harp was in common use among the natives of the Western Isles. How it happened that the noisy and unharmonious bagpipe banished the soft and expressive harp, we cannot say; but certain it is, that the bagpipe is now the only instrument that obtains universally in the Highland districts.' —Campbell's }}; through North Britain. Lond 18O8. 4to. i. 175. Mr. Gunn, of Edinburgh, has lately pub: lished a curious Essay upon the Harp and Harp Music of the Highlands of Scotland. That the instrument was once in common use there is most certain. Clelland numbers an acquaintance with it among the few accomo: which his satire allows to the ighlanders:– “In nothing they're accounted sharp, • Except in bagpipe or in harp.’
Morm's genial influence roused a minstrel &rey.—P. 217.
That Highland chieftains, to a late period, retained in their service the bard, as a family officer, admits of very easy proof. The author of the Letters from the North of Scotland, an officer of engineers, quartered at Inverness about 1720, who certainly cannot be deemed a favourable witness, gives the following account of the office, and of a bard whom he heard exercise his talent of recita
1 P'ide “Certayne Matters concerning the Realme of Scotland, &c. as they were Anno Domini 1597." lond. 1603, 4to.
tion :- The bard is skilled in the genealogy of all the Highland families, sometimes preceptor to the young laird, celebrates in Irish verse the original of the tribe, the famous warlike actions of the successive heads, and sings his own lyricks as an opiate to the chief when indisposed for sleep; but poets are not equally esteemed and honoured in all countries. I happened to be a witness of the dishonour done to the muse at the house of one of the chiefs, where two of these bards were set at a good distance, at the lower end of a long table, with a parcel of Highlanders of no extraordinary appearance, over a cup of ale. Poor inspiration'. They were not asked to drink a glass of wine at our table, though the whose company consisted only of the great man, one of his near relations, and my: self. After some little time, the chief ordered one of them to sing me a Highland song. The bard readily obeyed, and with a hoarse voice, and in a tune of few various notes, began, as I was told, one of his own lyricks; and when he had proceeded to the fourth or fifth stanza, I perceived, by the names of several persons, glens, and mountains, which I had known or heard of before, that it was an account of some clan battle. But in his fog on the chief (who piques himself upon is school-learning), at some particular passage, bid him cease, and cried out, “There's nothing like that in Virgil or Homer.” I bowed, and told him I believed so. This you may believe was very edifying and delightful."—Zetters, ii. 167.
The ancient and powerful family of Graham (which, for metrical reasons, is here spelt after the Scottish pronunciation) held extensive possessions in the counties of Dumbarton and Stirling. Few families can boast of more historical renown, having claim to three of the most remarkable characters in the Scottish annals. Sir John the Graeme, the faithful and undaunted partaker of the labours and patriotic warfare of Wallace, fell in the unfortunate field of Falkirk, in 1298. The celebrated Marquis of Montrose, in whom De Retz saw realized his abstract idea of the heroes of antiquity, was the second of these worthies. A. notwithstanding the severity of his temper, and the rigour with which he executed the oppressive mandates of the princes whom he served, I do not hesitate to name as a third, John Graeme of Claverhouse, Wiscount of Dundee, whose heroic death in the arms of victory may be allowed to cancel the memory of his cruelty to the Nonconformists during the reigns of Charles II and James II.
I am not prepared to show that Saint Modan was a performer on the harp. It was, however, no unsaintly accomplishment; for Saint Dunstan . did play upon that instrument, which retaining, as was natural, a portion of the sanctity attached to its master's character, announced future events by its spontaneous sounds. “But labouring once in these mechanic arts for a devout matrone that had sett him on work, his violl, that hung by him on the wall, of its own accord, without anie man's helpe, distinctly sounded this anthime:–Gaudent in coe/is animae sanctorum qui Christi vestigia suzzi secuzi , et outa pro eius amtore sanguinema sztume fuderunt, ideo cum Christo gaudent aetermum. Whereat all the companie being much astonished, turned their eyes from beholding him working, to looké on that strange accident. ... Not long after, manie of the court that hitherunto had borne a kind of fayned friendship towards him, began now greatly to envie at his progress and rising in goodnes, using manie crooked, backbiting meanes to diffame his vertues with the black maskes of hypocrisie. And the better to authorize their calumnie, . brought in this that happened in the violl, affirming it to have been done by art magick: What more? This wicked rumour encreased § till the king and others of the nobilitie taking hould thereof, Dunstan grew odious in their sight. Therefore he resolued to leaue the court and go to Elphegus, surnamed the Bauld, then Bishop of Winchester, who was his cozen. Which his enemies understanding, they layd wayt for him in the way, and hauing throwne him off his horse, beate him, and dragged him in the durt in the most miserable manner, meaning to have slaine him, had not a companie of mastiue dogges that came unlookt uppon them, defended and redeemed him from their crueltie. When with sorrow he was ashamed to see dogges more humane than they. And giuing j to Almightie, God, he sensibly againe perceiued that the tunes of his violl had giuen him a warning of suture accidents.’—Flower of the Lives of the most renowned Saincés of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by the R. Father Hierome Porter. Doway, 1632, 4to, tome i. p. 438.
The same supernatural circumstance, is alluded to by the anonymous author of 'Grim, the Collier of Croydon.'
“[Dunstan's harp sounds on the wall.] Forest Hark, hark, my lords, the holy abbot's harp Sounds by itself so hanging on the wall ! Dunstan. Unhallow'd man, that scorn'st the sacred rede, Hark, how the testimony of my truth Sounds heavenly music with an angel's hand, To testify Dunstan's integrity And prove thy active boast of no effect.”
The downfall of the Douglases of the house of Angus during the reign of James V is the event alluded to in the text. The Earl of Angus, it will be remembered, had married the queen dowager, and availed him. self of the right which he thus acquired, as well as of his extensive power, to retain the king in a sort of tutelage, which approached very near to captivity. Several open attempts were made to rescue James from this thraldom, with which he was well known to be deeply disgusted; but the valour of the Douglases and their allies gave them the victory in every conflict, . At length, the king, while residing at Falkland, contrived to escape by night out of his own court and palace, and rode full speed to Stirling Castle, where the governor, who was of the opposite faction, joyfully received him. Being thus at liberty, }. speedily summoned around him such peers as he knew to be most in: imical to the domination of Angus—and laid his complaint before them, says Pitscottie, with great lamentations; showing to them how he was holden in subjection, thir years bygone, by the Earl of Angus and his kin j friends, who oppressed the whole country and spoiled it, under the pretence of justice and his authority; and had slain many of his lieges, kinsmen, and friends, because they would have had it mended at their hands, and put him at liberty, as he ought to have been at the counsel of his whole lords, and not have been subjected and corrected with no particular men, by the rest of his nobles. Therefore, said he, I desire, my lords, that I may be satisfied of the said earl, his kin, and friends; for I avow that Scotland shall not hold us both while [i. e. till] I be revenged on him and his.
‘The lords, hearing the king's complaintand lamentation, and also the great rage, fury, and malice that he bore toward the Earl of Angus, his kin, and friends, they concluded all, and thought it best that he should be summoned to underly the law; if he found no caution, nor yet compear himself, that he should be put to the horn, with all his kin and friends, so many as were contained in the letters. And farthér, the lords ordained, by advice of his majesty, that his brother and friends should be summoned to find caution to underly the law within a certain day, or else be put to the horn. But the earl appeared not, nor none for him ; and so he was put to the horn, with all his kin and }..." so Inany as were contained in the summons that compeared not were banished, and holden traitors to the king.’
This was by no means an uncommon occurrence in the Court of Scotland; nay, the presence of the sovereign himself scarcely restrained the ferocious and inveterate feuds which were the perpetual source of bloodshed among the Scottish nobility. The following instance of the murder of Sir William Stuart of Ochiltree, called 7/ke Bloody, by the celebrated Francis, Earl of Bothwell, may be produced among many; but as the offence given in the royal court will hardly bear a vernacular translation, I shall leave the story in Johnstone's Latin, referring for further particulars to the naked simplicity of Birrell's Diary, July 30, 1588. 'Mors improbi hominis mom fami ipsa immerita, quame pessimo eacemplo in publicum, faede perpetrata. Gu/ie/mus Stuartus A/kiltrius, Arami frater, matură ac moribus, cujus saepius memini, vulgo Aroffersitem sanguinissanguinarius dicties, a Bothvelio, in Sanctae Crucis Regia ea-ardescente irá, mendacio probro lačessitus, offscaemum osculum liberius retorquebat; Bothvelius hanc contumeliam tacitus tulis, sed in gezz/ume frarum molem aazimo cozzcepit. Ulringue postridie Edinburgi contventum, totidem numero comitibusarmatis, praesidit causa, et acrifer pugmastem est; caeteris amicis et clientibus metre torpentihus, aut of absterritis, ipse Stuartus for: fissime dimica?, tandem excusso gladio a Both ve/io, Scythica seritate transfoditur, sine cujusquam misericordid; haëuit ifa. gue quiem debuit exitum. /)igmus eras Stuartus qui pateretur; Bothvelius gui Jaceres. Vulgus sanguineme sanguine praedicabit, ess horze me cruore innocuorum, 77tanibus egregie parentatum." —Johnstoni Asistoria Rerum Britannicaruzze, ab anno 1572 ad annum 1628. Amstelodami 1665,
The Douglas, like a strickem deer, Disown'd by every noble peer.—P. 220.
The exile state of this powerful race is not exaggerated in this and subsequent passages. The hatred of James against the race of Douglas was so inveterate, that numerous as their allies were, and disregarded as the regal authority had usually been in similar cases, their nearest friends, even in the most remote parts of Scotland, durst not entertain them, unless under the strictest and closest disguise. James Douglas, son of the ban. ished Earl of Angus, afterwards well known by the title of Earl of Morton, lurked, during the exile of his family, in the north of Scotland,
under the assumed name of James Innes, otherwise James the Grieve (i.e. Reve or Bailiff). “And as he bore the name,” says Godscroft, 'so did he also execute the office of a grieve or overseer of the lands and rents, the corn and cattle of him with whom he lived. From the habits of frugality and observation which he acquired in ; humble situation, the historian traces that intimate acquaintance with popular character which enabled him to rise so high in the state, and that honourable economy by which he repaired and established the shattered estates of Angus and Morton.—History of the House of Douglas, Edinburgh, 1743, vol. ii. p. 160.
Roxburgh Castle, that it was called the Fou? A’aid, or disgraceful expedition. His ill-fortune left him indeed at the battle of Beaugé, in France; but it was only to return with double emphasis at the subsequent action of Vernoil, rhe last and most unlucky of his encounters, in which he fell, with the flower of the Scottish chivalry, then serving as auxiliaries in France, and about two thousand common soldiers, A.D. 1424.
The ancient warriors, whose hope and confidence rested chiefly in their blades, were accustomed to deduce omens from them, especially from such as were supposed to have been fabricated by enchanted skill, of which we have various instances in the romances and legends of the time. The wonderful sword Škofsu.NG, wielded by the celebrated Hrolf Kraka, was of this description. It was deposited in the tomb of the monarch at his death, and taken from thence by Skeggo, a celebrated pirate, who bestowed it upon his son-in-law, Kormak, with the following curious directions:– “The manner of using , it will appear strange to you. A jí bag is attached to it, which take heed not to violate. Let not the rays of the sun touch the upper part of the handle, nor unsheathe it, unless thou art ready for battle. But when thou comest to the place of fight, go aside from the rest, grasp and extend the sword, and breathe upon it. Then a small worm will creep out of the handle; lower the handle, that he may more easily return into it.” Kormak, after having received the sword, returned home to his mother. He showed the sword, and attempted to draw it, as unnecessarily as ineffectually, for he could not pluck it out of the sheath. His mother, Dalla, exclaimed, “Do not despise the counsel given to thee, my son.” Kormak, however, repeating his efforts, pressed down the handle with his feet, and tore off the bag, when Skofinung omitted a hollow groan; but still he could not unsheathe the sword. Kormak then went out with Bessus, whom he had challenged to fight with him, and drew apart at the place of combat. He sat down
upon the ground, and ungirding the sword,
reader must remember, in the bloody
battle of Homildon-hill, near Wooler, where
he himself lost an eye, and was made prisoner by Hotspur. He was no less unfortunate when allied with Percy, being wounded and taken at the battle of §. He was so unsuccessful in an attempt to besiege
which he bore above his vestments, did not remember to shield the hilt from the rays of the sun. In vain he endeavoured to draw it, till he placed his foot against the hilt; then the worm issued from it. But Kormak did not rightly handle the weapon, in consequence whereof good fortune deserted it; As he unsheathed Skofaung, it emitted a hollow murmur.”—Bar/ho/izzz de Catts's Contemptae a Dam is adhuc Gentilibus