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Fox. Neither was the extent of the sale inferior to the character of the judges who received the poem with approbation. wards of thirty thousand copies of the Lay were disposed of by the trade; and the author had to perform a task difficult to human vanity, when called upon to make the necessary deductions from his own merits, *
in a calm attempt to account for his popularity.
A few additional remarks on the author's literary attempts after this period, will be found in the Introduction to the Poem of Marmion.
ABBotsford, April 1830.
NOTE I. The feast was over in Branksome for. —P. 3. In the reign of James I, Sir William Scott of Buccleuch, chief of the clan bearing that name, exchanged, with Sir Thomas Inglis of Manor, the estate of Murdiestone, in Lanarkshire, for one-half of the barony of Branksome, or Brankholm ", lying upon the Teviot, about three miles above Hawick. He was probably induced to this transaction from the vicinit of Branksome to the extensive domain whic he possessed in Ettrick Forest and in Teviotdase. In the former district he held by occupancy the estate of Buccleuch?, and much §f the forest land on the river Ettrick in Teviotdale, he enjoyed the #. of Eckford, by a grant from o: II to his ancestor, alter Scott of Kirkurd, for the apprehending of Gilbert Ridderford, confirmed by Robert III 3d May 1424. Tradition imputes the exchange betwixt Scott and Inglis to a conversation, in which the latter—a man, it would appear, of a mild and forbearin nature, complained much of the injuries whic he was exposed to from the English Borderers, who frequently plundered his lands of Branksoine. §. illiam Scott instantly offered him the estate of Murdiestone, in exchange for that which was subject to such egregious inconvenience. When the bargain was completed, he dryly remarked, that the cattle in Cumberland were as good as those of Teviotdale; and proceeded to commence a system of reprisals upon the English, which was regularly pursued by his successors. In the next reign, James II granted to Sir Walter Scott of Branksome, and to Sir David, his son, the remaining half of the barony of Branksome, to be held in blanche for the ayment of a red rose. The cause assigned of the grant is, their brave and faithful
1 Branxholm is the proper name of the barony; but Branksome has been adopted, as suitable to the prouunciation, and more proper for poetry.
* There are novestiges of any building at Buccleuch, except the site of a chapel, where, according to a tradition current in the time of Scott of Satchells, many of the ancient barons of Buccleuch lie buried. There is also said to have been a mill near this solitary spot; an extraordinary circumstance, as little or no corn grows within several miles of Buccleuch. Satchells says it was used to grind corn for the hounds of the chieftain.
exertions in favour of the King against the house of Douglas, with whom James had been recently tugging for the throne of Scotland. This charter is dated the 2d February 1443; and, in the same month, part of the barony of Langholm, and many lands in Lanarkshire, were conferred upon Sir Walter and his son by the same monarch.
After the §. of the exchange with Sir Thomas Inglis, Branksome became the principal seat of the Buccleuch family. The castle was enlarged and strengthened by Sir David Scott, the grandson of Sir William, its first possessor. But, in 1570–1, the vengeance of Elizabeth, provoked by the inroads of Buccleuch, and his attachment to the cause of Queen Mary, destroyed the castle, and laid waste the lands of Branksome. In the same year the castle was repaired and enlarged by Sir Walter Scott, its brave pos: sessor; but the work was not completed until after his death, in 57% when the widow finished the building. This appears from the following inscriptions. Around a stone, bearing the arms of Scott of Buccleuch, ap.
*ars §. following legend:— Sir W. Scott of
ranxheim Kngtoe of Sir William Scott of Kirkurd Kngt began ye work upon ye 24 of Marche 1571 zear quha departit at God's pleisour ye 17 April 1574.” On a similar copartment are sculptured the arms of Douglas, with this inscription, “DAME MARGAREr Douglas His spous compleTIT THE FOREsAID work in October 1576.' . Over an arched door is inscribed the following moral verse :
In varld. is. nocht. nature. hes, wrought. gat. sal lest. ay.
Tharefore, serve. God. keip. veil. ye. rod, thy fame. sal. nocht. dekay.
Sir Walter Scott of Branxholm Knight. Margaret Douglas. 1571.
Branksome Castle continued to be the principal seat of the Buccleuch family, while security was any object in their choice of a mansion. It has since been the residence of the Commissioners, or Chamberlains, of the family. From the various alterations which the building has undergone, it is not only greatly restricted in its dimensions, but re. tains little of the castellated form, if we except one square tower of massy thickness, the only part of the original building which now remains. The whole forms a handsome modern residence, lately inhabited by my deceased friend, Adam Ogilvy, Esq. of Hartwoodmyres, Commissioner of his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch. The extent of the ancient edifice can still be traced by some vestiges of its foundation, and its strength is obvious from the situation, on a deep bank surrounded by the Teviot, and flanked by a deep ravine, formed by a precipitous brook. It was anciently surrounded wood, as appears from the survey of Roxburghshire, made for Pont's Atlas, and preserved in the Advocates' Library. This wood was cut about fifty years ago, but is now replaced by the thriving plantations, which have been formed by the noble proprietor, for miles around the ancient mansion of his forefathers.
“No baron was better served in Britain;
Accordingly, dismounting from his Pegasus, Satchells gives us, in prose, the names of twenty-four gentlemen, younger brothers of ancient families, who were pensioners to the house of Buccleuch, and describes the lands which each possessed for his Border service. In time of war with England, the garrison was doubtless augmented. Šaj. adds, ‘These twenty-three pensioners, all of his own name of §: and Walter Gladstanes of Whitelaw, a near cousin of my lord's, as aforesaid, were ready on all occasions, when his honour pleased cause to advertise them.
* Room, portion of land.
Branksome Castle was continually exposed to the attacks of the English, both from its situation and the restless military disposition of its inhabitants, who were seldom on good terms with their neighbours. The following letter from the Earl of Northumberland to ...Y VIII in 1533, gives an account of a successful inroad of the English, in which the country was plundered up to the gates of the castle, although the invaders failed in their principal object, which was to kill, or make prisoner, the Laird of Buccleuch. It occurs in the Cotton MS. Calig. b. viii. f. 222.
‘Pleaseth yt your most gracious highness to be †† that my §: with Raynald Carnaby, desyred licence of me to invade the realme of Scotlande, for the annoysaunce of your highnes enemys, where they thought best exploit by they me might be done, and to haue to concur withe theyme the inhabitants of Northumberland, suche as was towardsme according to theyreassembly, and as by theyre discretions vpone the same they o: thinke most convenient; and soo they dyde meet vppone Monday, before night, being the iii day of this instant monethe, at Wawhope, upon Northe Tyne water, above łoś. they were to the number of xv c men, and soo invadet Scotland at the hour of viii of the clok at nyght, at a place called Whele Causay; and before xi of the clok dyd send forth a forrey of Tyndaill and Ryddisdail, and laide all the resydewe in a bushment, and actyvely did set vpon a towne
called Branxholme, where the Lord of Buclough dwellythe, and purpesed theymeselves with a trayne for hymlyke to his accustomed manner, in rysynge to all frayes; albeit, that knyght he was not at home, and so they brynt the said Branxholm, and other townes, as to say Whichestre, Whichestre-helme, and Whelley, and haid ordered theymself, soo that sundry of the said Lord Buclough's servants, who dyd issue fourthe of his gates, was takyn prisoners. They dyd not leve one house, one stak of corne, nor one shyes, without the gate of the said Lord Buclough vnbrynt; and thus scrymaged and frayed, supposing the Lord of Buclough to be within iii or iiii myles to have trayned him to the bushment; and soo in the breyking of the day dyd the forrey and the bushment mete, and reculed homeward, making theyre way westward from theyre invasion to be over Lyddersdaill, as intending yf the fray frome theyre furst entry by the Scotts waiches, or otherwyse by , warnying, shuld haue bene gyven to Gedworth and the countrey of Scotland theyreabouts of theyre, invasion: whiche Gedworth is from the Wheles Causay vi miles, that thereby the Scotts shulde have comen further vnto theyme, and more out of ordre ; and soo upon sundry good considerations, before they entered Lyddersdaill, as well accompting the inhabitants of the same to be towards your highness, and to enforce theyme the more thereby, as alsoo to put an occasion of suspect to the Kinge of Scotts, and his counsaill, to be taken anenst theyme, amonges theymeselves, made proclamacions, commanding, vpon payne of dethe, assurance to be for the said inhabitants of Lyddersdaill, without any prejudice or hurt to be done by any Inglysman vnto theyme, and soo in good ordre abowte the howre of ten of the clok before none, XPro. o dyd pass through the said Lyddersdail, * dyd come diverse of the said inhabitants there to . servauntes, under the said assurance, offerring theymselfs with any service the
couthe make; and thus, thanks be to Godde, your highnes' subjects, abowte the howre of xii of the clok at none the same daye, came into this your highnes realme, bringing wt theyme above xl Š. prisoners, one of theyme named Scot, of the surname and kyn of the said Lord of Buclough, and of #. howsehold; they brought alsocce nowte, and above lx horse and mares, keping in savetie frome losse, or hurte all your said highnes subjects. There was alsoo a towne, called Newbyggins, by diverse fotmen of Tyndaill and §, takyn vp of the night, and spoyled, when was slayne ii Scottsmen of the said towne, and many Scotts there hurte; your highnes subjects was xiii myles within the grounde of Scotlande, and is from my house at Werkworthe, above lx miles of the most evil passage, where great snawes doth lye heretofore the same townes now brynt
haith not at any tyme in the mynd of man in
any warrs been enterprised unto nowe; your subjects were thereto more encoura id for the better advancement of your #. hnes service, the said Lord of Buclough §". always a mortall enemy to this your Graces realme, and he dyd say, within xiii days before, he woulde see who durst lye near hym; wt many other cruell words, the knowledge whereof was certainly haid to my said servaunts, before theyre enterprice maid vpon him; most humbly beseeching your majesty, that youre highnes thanks may concur vnto theyme, whose names be here inclosed, and to have in your most gracious memory, the paynfull and diligent service of my pore servaunte Wharton, and thus, as I am most bounden, shall dispose wt them that be under me f. . . ... annoysaunce of your highnes enemys.' In resentment of this foray, Buccleuch, with other Border chiefs, assembled an army of 3000 riders, with which they penetrated into Northumberland, and laid waste the country as far as the banks of Bramish. They § or defeated, the English forces |P. to them, and returned loaded with prey.— PINKERTON's History, vol. ii. p. 318.
Bards long shall tel/
Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch succeeded to his grandfather, Sir David, in 1492. He was a brave and powerful baron, and Warden of the West Marches of Scotland. His death was the consequence of a feud betwixt the Scotts and Kerrs, the history of which is necessary, to explain repeated allusions in the romance. In the year 1526, in the words of Pitscottie, ‘the Earl of Angus, and the rest of the Douglasses, ruled all which they liked, and no man durst say the contrary; wherefore the King (James V, then a minor) was heavily displeased, and would fain have been out of their hands, if he might by any way: And, to that effect, wrote a quiet . secret letter with his own hand, and sent it to the Laird of Buccleuch, beseeching him that he would come with his kin and friends, and all the force that he might be, and meet him at Melross, at his home passing, and there to take him out of the Douglasses hands, and to put him to liberty, to use himself among the lave (rest) of his lords, as he thinks ex: dient. ‘This letter was quietly directed, and sent by one of the King's own secret servants, which was received very thankfully by the Laird of Buccleuch, who was .# ad thereof, to be put to such charges and familiarity with his prince, and did great diligence to perform the King's writing, and to bring the matter to pass as the King desired: And, to that effect, convened all his kin and friends, and all that would do for him, to ride with him to Melross, when he knew of the King's homecoming. And so he brought with him six hundred spears, of Liddesdale, and Annandale, and countrymen, and clans thereabout, and held themselves quiet while that the King returned out of Jedburgh, and came to Melross, to remain there all that night. “But when the Lord Hume, Cessfoord, and Fernyherst, (the chiefs of the clan of Kerr,) took their leave of the King, and returned home, then appeared the Lord of Buccleuch in sight, and his company with him in an arrayed battle, intending to have fulfilled the R. petition, and §o. canne stoutly forward on the back side of Haliden hill. By that the Earl of Angus, with George Douglas, his brother, and sundry other of his friends, seeing this army coming, they marvelled what the matter meant; while at the last they knew the Laird of Buccleuch, with a certain company of the thieves of Annandale. With him they were less affeared, and made them manfully to the field contrary them, and said to the King in this manner, “Sir, yon is Buccleuch, and thieves of Annandale with him, to unbeset your Grace from the gate” (i.e. interrupt your passage). “I vow to § they shall either fight or flee; and ye shall tarry here on this know, and my brother George with you, with any other company you please; and I shall F. and put yon thievo of the ground, and rid the gate unto your Grace, or else die for it.” The King tarried still, as was devised; and George Douglas with him, and sundry other lords such as the Earl of Lennox, and the Lor Erskine, and some of the King's own servants; but all the lave (rest) past with the Earl of Angus to the field against the Laird of Buccleuch, who joyned and countered cruelly both the .." parties in the field of Darnelinver, either against other, with uncertain victory. But at the last, the Lord of Hume, hearing word of that matter how, it stood, returned again to the King in all possible haste, with him the Lairds of Cessfoord and Fernyhirst, to the number of sourscore spears, and set freshly on the lap and wing of the Laird of Buccleuch's field, and shortly bare them backward to the ground; which caused the Laird of Buccleuch, and the rest of his friends, to go back and flee, whom they followed and chased; and especially the Lairds of Cessfoord and Fernyhirst followed suriouslie, till at the foot of a path the Laird of Cessfoord was slain by the stroke of a spear by an Elliot, who was then servant to the Laird of Buccleuch. But when the Laird of Cessfoord was slain, the chase ceased. The Earl of Angus returned again with great merriness and victory, and thanked God that he saved him from that chance, and passed with the King to Melross, where they remained all that night. On the morn they past to Edinburgh with the King, who was
very sad and dolorous of the slaughter of the
Laird of Cessfoord, and many other gentlemen and yeomen slain by the Laird of Buccleuch, containing the number of fourscore and fifteen, which died in defence of the King and at the command of his writing.’ I am not the first who has attempted to celebrate in verse the renown of this ancient baron, and his hazardous attempt to procure his sovereign's freedom. In a Scottish Latin poet we find the following verses:–
VALTERIUS SCOTUS BALCLUCHIUS, Egregio suscepto facinore, libertate Regis, ac aliis rebus gest is clarus, sub JACOBO V. Ao. Christi, 1526.
“Intentata aliis, nullique audita priorum
Heroes ex omni Historia Scoticalectissimi, Auctore Johan Jonstonia Abredonense Scoto, 1603.
In consequence of the battle of Melrose, there ensued a deadly feud betwixt the names of Scott and Kerr, which, in spite of all means used to bring about an agreement, raged for many years upon the Borders. Buccleuch was imprisoned, and his estates forfeited, in the year 1535, for levying war against the Kerrs, and restored by act of Parliament, dated 15th March, 1542, during the regency of Mary of Lorraine. But the most signal act of violence to which this quarrel gave rise, was the murder of Sir Walter himself, who was slain by the Kerrs in the streets of Edinburgh in 1552. This, is the event alluded to in stanza vii; and the poem is supposed to open shortly after it had taken place.
The feud between these two families was not reconciled in 1596, when both chieftains paraded the streets of Edinburgh with their followers, and it was expected their first meeting would decide their quarrel. But, on July #" of the same year, Colvil, in a letter to Mr. Bacon, informs him, ‘that there Was #. trouble upon the Borders, which would continue till order should be taken by the Queen of England and the King, by reason of the two young Scots chieftains, Cesford and Baclugh, and of the present necessity and scarcity of corn amongst the Scots Borderers and riders. That there had been a private quarrel betwixt, those two lairds on the Borders, which was like to have turned to blood ; but the fear of the general trouble had reconciled them, and the injuries which they thought to have committed against each other were now transferred upon England: not unlike that emulation in France between the Baron de Biron and Mons. Jeverie, who, being both ambitious of honour, undertook more hazardous enterprises against the enemy than they would have done if they had been at concord together."—Birch's Memorials, vol. ii. p. 67.
While Cess/ord owns the rule of Carr, While Ettrick boasts the line of Scott,
The slaughter'd chiefs, the mortal far,
The havoc of the feudal war,
Among other expedients resorted to for stanching the feud betwixt the Scotts and the Kerrs, there was a bond executed in 1529, between the heads of each clan, binding them. selves to perform §§. the four principal pilgrimages of Scotland, for the benefit ...}. souls of those of the opposite name who had fallen in the quarrel. This indenture is printed in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, vol. i. But either it never took effect, or else the feud was renewed shortly afterwards.
Such pactions were not uncommon in feudal times; and, as might be expected, they were often, as in the present case, void of the effect desired. When Sir Walter, Mauny, the renowned follower of Edward III, had taken the town of Ryol in Gascony, he remembered to have heard that his father lay there buried, and offered a hundred crowns to any who could show him his grave. A very old man appeared before Sir Walter, and informed him of the manner of his father's death, and the place of his sepulture. It seems the Lord of Mauny had, at a great tournament, unhorsed and wounded to the death, a Gascon knight, of the house of Mirepoix, whose kinsman was Bishop of Cambray. For this deed he was held at feud by the relations of the knight, until he agreed to undertake a pilgrimage to the §. of St. James of ‘...]. for the benefit of the soul of the deceased. But as he returned through the town of Ryol, after accomplishment of his vow, he was beset and treacherously slain, by the kindred of the knight whom he had kissed. Sir Walter, guião by the old man, visited the lowly tomb of his father; and, having read the inscription, which was in Latin, he caused the body to be raised, and transported to his native city of Valenciennes, where masses were, in the days of Froissart, duly, said for the soul of the unfortunaté pilgrim.—Chronycle of Froissart, vol. i. p. 123.
place of great strength and consequence, but is now ruinous. Tradition affirms that it was founded by Halbert, or Habby Kerr, a gigantic warriór, concerning whom many stories are current in Roxburghshire. The Duke of Roxburghe represents err of Cessford. A distinct and powerful branch of the same name own the Marquis of Lothian as their chief. Hence the distinction betwixt Kerrs of Cessford and Fairnihirst.
NOTE VIII. Lord Cranstoun.—P. 4.
The Cranstouns, Lord Cranstoun, are an ancient Border family, whose chief seat was at Crailing, in Teviotdale. They were at this time at feud with the clan of Scott; for it appears that the Lady of Buccleuch, in 1557, beset the Laird of Cranstoun, seeking his life. Nevertheless, the same Cranstoun, or perhaps his son, was married to a daughter of the same iady.
NoTE IX. Of Bethune's line of Picardie.—P. 4.
The Bethunes were of French origin, and derived their name from a small town in Artois. There were several distinguished families of the Bethunes in the neighbouring province of Picardy; they numbered among their descendants the celebrated Duc de Sully; and the name was accounted among the most noble in France, while aught noble remained in that country 1. The family of Bethune, or Beatoun, in Fife, produced three learned and dignified prelates; namely, Cardinal Beaton, and two successive Archbishops of Glasgow, all of whom flourished about the date of the romance. Of this family was descended Dame W. Beaton, Lady Buccleuch, widow of Sir Walter Scott of Branksome. She was a woman of masculine spirit, as appeared from her riding at the head of her son's clan, after her husband's murder. She also possessed the hereditary abilities of her family in such a degree that the superstition of the vulgar imputed them to supernatural knowledge. With this was mingled, by faction, the foul accusation of her having influenced Queen Mary to the murder of her husband. One of the placards, preserved in Buchanan's Detec. tion, accuses of Darnley's murder ‘the Erle of Bothwell, Mr. James Balfour, the persoun of, Fliske, Mr. David Chalmers, black Mr. John Spens, who was principal deviser of the murder; and the Quene, assenting thairto, throw the persuasion of the Erle Bothwell, and the witchcraft of Lady Buckleuch.”
' This expression and sentiment were dictated by the situation of France, in the year 1803, when the poem was originally written. 1821.