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and Plotcock, so far from implying any thing fabulous, was a synonyme of the grand enemy of mankind. “ Yet all thir warnings, and uncouth tidings, nor no good counsel, might stop the king, at this present, from his vain purpose, and wicked enterprize, but hasted him fast to Edinburgh, and there to make his provision and furnishing, in having forth of his army against the day appointed, that they should meet in the Burrow-muir of Edinburgh: That is to say, seven cannons that he had forth of the castle of Edinburgh, which were called the Seven Sisters, casten by Robert Borthwick, the master-gunner, with other small artillery, bullet, powder, and all manner of order, as the master-gunner could devise.
“In this mean time, when they were taking forth their artillery, and the king being in the Abbey for the time, there was a cry heard at the Market-cross of Edinburgh, at the hour of midnight, proclaiming as it had been a summons, which was named and called by the proclaimer thereof, The Summons of Plotcock; which desired all men to compear, both Earl and Lord, and Baron, and all honest gentlemen within the town (every man specified by his own name,) to compear, within the space of forty days, before his master, where it should happen him to appoint, and be for the time, under the pain of disobedience. But whether this summons was proclaimed by vain persons, night-walkers, or drunken men, for their pastime, or if it was a spirit, I cannot tell truly; but it was shown to me, that an indweller of the town, Mr Richard Lawson, being evil-disposed, ganging in
his gallery-stair foreanent the cross, hearing this voice proclaiming this summons, thought marvel what it should be, cried on his servant to bring him his purse; and when he had brought him it, he took out a crown, and cast over the stair, saying, I appeal from that summons, judgment, and sentence thereof, and takes me all whole in the mercy of God, and Christ Jesus his son. Verily the author of this, that caused me write the manner of the summons, was a landed gentleman, who was at that time twenty years of age, and was in the town the time of the said summons; and thereafter, when the field was stricken, he swore to me, there was no man that escaped that was called in this summons, but that one man alone which made his protestation, and appealed from the said summons; but all the lave were pe rished in the field with the king.”
Before a venerable pile.-P. 286. The convent alluded to is a foundation of Cestertian nuns, near North Berwick, of which there are still some remains. It was founded by Duncan Earl of Fife, in 1216.
Drove the Monks forth of Coventry.-P. 290. This relates to the catastrophe of a real Robert de Marmion, in the reign of King Stephen, whom William of New
bury describes with some attributes of my fictitious hero: “ Homo bellicosus, ferocia, et astucia, fere nullo suo tempore impar.” This Baron, having expelled the monks from the church of Coventry, was not long of experiencing the divine judgment, as the same monks no doubt termed his disaster. Having waged a feudal war with the Earl of Chester, Marmion's horse fell, as he charged in the van of his troop, against a body of the Earl's followers: the rider's thigh being broken by the fall, his head was cut off by a common foot-soldier, ere he could receive any succour. The whole story is told by William of Newbury,
NOTES TO CANTO SIXTH.
the savage Dane At Iol more deep the mead did drain.-P. 299. The Iol of the heathen Danes, (a word still applied to Christmas in Scotland,) was solemnized with great festivity. The humour of the Danes at table displayed itself in pelting each other with bones; and Torfæus tells a long and curious story, in the history of Hrolfe Kraka, of one Hottus, an inmate of the court of Denmark, who was so generally assailed with these missiles, that he constructed, out of the bones with which he was overwhelmed, a very respectable entrenchment, against those who continued the raillery. The dances of the northern warriors round the great fires of pine-trees are commemorated by Olaus Magnus, who says, they danced with such fury, holding each other by the hands, that, if the grasp of any failed, he was pitched into the fire with the velocity of a sling. The sufferer, on such occasions, was instantly plucked out, and obliged to quaff off a certain measure of ale, as a penalty for “ spoiling the king's
Note II. On Christmas eve the mass was sung.-P. 300. In Roman Catholic countries, mass is never said at night, excepting on Christmas eve. Each of the frolics with which that holiday used to be celebrated, might admit of a long and
curious note; but I shall content myself with the following ; description of Christmas, and his attributes, as personified in one of Ben Jonson's Masques for the court.
“ Enter Christmas, with two or three of the Guard. He is attired in round hose, long stockings, a close doublet, a high-crowned hat, with a broach, a long thin beard, a trun- : cheon, little ruffs, white shoes, his scarfs and garters tied cross, and his drum beaten before him.”—
“ The names of his children, with their attires. .“ Miss-Rule, in a velvet cap, with a sprig, a short cloak, great yellow ruff, like a reveller ; his torch-bearer bearing a rope, a cheese, and a basket.
“ Caroll, a long tawny coat, with a red cap, and a flute at his girdle; his torch-bearer carrying a song-book open.
“ Minc'd-pie, like a fine, cook's wife, drest neat, her man carrying a pie, dish, and spoons.
* Gamboll, like a tumbler, with a hoop and bells; his torch-bearer arm’d with cole-staff, and blinding cloth.
“ Post and Pair, with a pair-royal of aces in his hat, his garment all done over with pairs and purs ; his squire carrying a box, cards, and counters.