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As thick a smoke these hearths have given 4t Hallow-tide or Christmas-even.—P. 364.
Such an exhortation was, in similar circumstances, actually given to his followers by a Welsh chieftain :
‘Enmity did continue betweene Howell ap Rys ap Howell Vaughan and the sonnes of John ap Meredith. After the death of Evan ap Rebert, Griffith *P Gronw (cosen-german to John ap Meredith’s sonnes of Gwynfryn, who had long served in France, and had charge there) comeing home to live in the countrey, it happened that a servant of his, comeing to fish in Stymllyn, his fish was taken away, and the fellow beaten by Howell ap Rys his servants, and by his commandment. Griffith ap John ap Gronw took the matter, in such dudgeon that he challenged Howell ap Rys to the field, which he refusing, assembling, his cosins John ap Meredith's sonnes and his friends together, assaulted Howell in his own house, after the maner he had seene in the French warres, and consumed with fire his barnes and his out-houses. Whilst he was thus assaulting the hall, which Howell ap Rys and many other people kept, being a very strong house, he was solo. of a crevice of the house, through the sight of his beaver into the head, and slayne outright, being otherwise armed at all points. Notwithstanding his death, the assault of the house was continued with great vehemence, the doores fired with thurthens of straw; besides this, the j the out-houses and barnes not farre distant annoyed greatly the defendants, for that most of them lay under boordes and benches upon the floore, in the hall, the better to avoyd the smoake. During this scene of confusion onely the old man. Howell ap Rys, never stooped, but stood valiantly in the midst of the floore, armed with a gleve in his hand, and called unto them, and bid “them arise like men, fer shame, for he had knowne there as great a smoake in that hall upon Christmas even.” In the end, seeing the house could noe longer defend them, being overlayed with a multitude, upon parley betweene them, Howell ap Rys was content to yeald himself prisoner to Morris ap John ap Meredith, John ap Meredith's eldest sonne, soe as he would swear unto him to bring him safe to Carnarvon Castle, to abide the triall of the law for the death of Graff” ap John ap Gronw, who was cosen-german removed to the said Howell ...? Ro and of the very same house he was of. hich Morris ap John ap Meredith undertaking, did put a guard about the said Howell of his trustiest friends and servants, who kept and defended him from the rage of his kindred, and especially of Owen ap j. ap Meredith, his brother, who was very eager
ainst him. They passed by leisure thence like a campe to Carnarvon; the whole coun
trie being assembled, Howell his friends
ted a horseback from one place or other y the way, who brought word that he was come thither safe, for they were in great fear lest he should be murthered, and that Morris ap_John ap Meredith could not be able to defend him, neither durst any of Howell's friends be there, for fear of the kindred. In the end, being delivered by Morris ap John ap Meredith to the Constable of Carnarvon Castle, and there kept safely in ward untill the assises, it fell out by law, that the burning of Howell's houses, and assaulting him in his owne house, was a more haynous offence in Morris ap John ap Meredith and the rest, than the death of Graff” ap John ap Gronw in Howell, who did it in his own defence; whereupon Morris ap John ap Meredith, with thirty-five more, were indicted of felony, as appeareth by the copic of the indictment, which I had from the records.”—SIR John WYNNE’s History of the Gwydir Family. Lond. 1770, 8vo, p. 116.
This custom among the Redesdale and Tynedale Borderers is mentioned in , the interesting Life of Bernard Gilpin, where some account is given of these wild districts, which it was the custom of that excellent man regularly to visit. ‘This custom (of duels) still prevailed on the Borders, where Saxon barbarism held its latest possession. . These wild Northumbrians, indeed, went beyond the ferocity of their ancestors. They were not content with a duel; each contending party used to muster what adherents he could, and commence a kind of petty war. So that a private grudge would often occasion much bloodshed. ‘It happened that a was on #. when Mr. Gilpin was at Rothbury, in those parts. During the two or three first days of his preaching, the contend: ing parties observed some decorum, and never appeared at church together. . At length, however, they met. One §§ been early at church, and just as Mr. Gilpin began his sermon, the othér entered. They stood not long silent. Inflamed at the sight of each other, they began to clash their weapons, for they were all armed with javelins and swords, and mutually approached. Awed, however, by the sacredness of the lace, the tumult in some degree ceased. r. Gilpin proceeded: when again the combatants began to brandish, their, weapons, and draw towards each other. As a fray seemed near, Mr. Gilpin stepped from the pulpit, went between them, and addressed the leaders, put an end to the quarrel for the present, but could not effect an entire recon
uarrel of this kind
ciliation. They promised him, however, that till the sermon was over they would make no more disturbance. He then went again into the pulpit, and spent the rest of the time in endeavouring, to make them ashamed of what they had done. His behaviour and discourse affected them so much, that, at his farther entreaty, they promised to forbear all acts of hostility while he continued in the country. And so much respected was he among them, that whoever was in fear of his enemy used to resort where Mr. Gilpin was, esteeming his presence the best protection. ‘One Sunday morning, coming to a church in those parts, before the people were assem: bled, he observed a glove hanging up, and was informed by the sexton, that it was meant as a challenge to any one who should take it down. Mr. Gilpin ordered the sexton to reach it to him; but upon his utterly refusing to touch it, he took it down himself, and put it into his breast. When the people were assembled, he went into the pulpit, and, before he concluded his sermon, took occasion to rebuke them severely for these inhuman challenges. “I kear,” saith he, “ that one among you hath hanged up a glove, even in this sacred place, threatening to fight any one who taketh it down: see, I have taken it down; ” and, pulling out the glove, he held it up to the congregation, and then showed them how unsuitable such savage practices were to the profession of Christianity, using such persuasives to mutual love as he thought would most affect them.'
This, and what follows, is taken from a real achievement of Major Robert Philipson, called from his desperate and adventurous courage, Robin, the Devil; which, as being very inaccurately noticed in this note upon the first edition, shall be now given in a more authentic form. The chief place of his retreat was not Lord's Island, in Derwentwater, but Curwen's Island, in the Lake of Winderinere : —
‘This island formerly belonged to the Philipsons, a family of note in Westmoreland. During the Civil Wars, two of them, an elder and a younger brother, served the King. The former, who was the proprietor of it, cominanded a regiment; the latter was a major.
‘The major, whose name was Robert, was a man of great spirit and enterprise; and for his many feats of personal bravery had obtained, among the Oliverians of those parts, the appellation of Robin the Devil.
“After the war had subsided, and the direful effects of public opposition had ceased, revenge and malice long kept alive the animosity of individuals. Colonel Briggs, a steady friend to usurpation, resided at this time at Kendal, and, under the double character of a leading magistrate (for he was a !. of Peace) and an active commander, eld the country in awe. This person having heard that Major Philipson was at his brother's house on the island in Windermere, resolved, if possible, to seize and punish a man who had made himself so particularly obnoxious. How it was conducted, my authority 1 does not inform us—whether he got together the navigation of the lake, .# blockaded the place by sea, or whether he landed and carried on his approaches in form. Neither do we learn the strength of the garrison within, nor of the works without. 11 we learn is, that Major Philipson endured a siege of eight months with great gallantry, till his brother, the Colonel, raised a party and relieved him. ‘It was now the Major's turn to make reprisals. He put himself, therefore, at the head of a little troop of horse, and rode to Kendal. Here, being informed that Colonel Briggs was at prayers, (for it was on a Sunday morning,) he stationed his men properly in the avenues, and himself armed, rode directly into the church. It probably was not a regular church, but some large place of meeting. It is said he intended to seize the Colonel and j him off; but as this seems to have been totally impracticable, it is, rather probable that his intention was to kill him on the spot, and in the midst of the confusion to escape. Whatever his intention was, it was frustrated, for Briggs happened to be elsewhere. “The congregation, as . be expected, was thrown into great confusion on seeing an armed man on horseback make his appearance among them; and the Major, taking advantage of their astonishment, §. his horse round, and rode quietly out. But having given an alarm, he was presently assaulted as he left the assembly, and being seized, his girths were cut, and he was unhorsed. “At this instant his party made a furious
attack on the assailants, and the Major killed
with his own hand the man who had seized him, clapped the saddle, ungirthed as it was, upon his horse, and, vaulting into it, rode full speed through the streets of Kendal, calling his men to follow him; and, with his whole party, made a safe retreat to his asylum in the lake. The action, marked the mán. Many knew him: and they who did not, knew as well from the exploit that it could be nobody but Robin the Devil.”
1 Dr. Burn's History of Westmoreland.
. The Scene of this Poem lies, at first, in the Castle of Artornish, on the coast of Argyleshire;
and, afterwards, in the Islands of Skye and Arran, and upon the coast of Ayrshire. Finally it is laid near .g. The story opens in the spring of the year 1307, when Bruce, who had been driven out of Scotland by the English, and the Barons who adhered to that foreign interest, returned from the Island of Rachrin on the coast of Ireland, again to assert § claims to the Scottish crown. Many of the personages and incidents introduced are of historical celebrity. The authorities used are chiefly those of the venerable Lord Hailes, as well entitled to be called the restorer of Scottish history, as Bruce the restorer of Scottish Monarchy; and of Archdeacon Barbour, author of a Metrical History of Robert Bruce.
No! do not scorn, although its hoarser note Scarce with the cushat's homely song can vie, Though faint its beauties as the tints remote That gleam through mistin autumn's evening sky, And few as leaves that tremble, sear and dry, When wild November hath his bugle wound; Normock my toil—alonely gleaner I, Through fields time-wasted, on sad inquest bound, Where happier bards of yore have richer harvest found.
As if wild woods and waves had
“Wake, Maid of Lorn!’’twas thus they
“O wake, while Dawn, with dewy shine, Wakes Nature's charms to vie with thine ! She bids the mottled thrush rejoice To mate thy melody of voice;
The dew that on the violet lies
Retired her maiden train among,
Nor could their tenderest numbers
O! lives there now so cold a maid,
But Morag, to whose fostering care