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In the 29th stanza of this Canto, there is an attempt to express some of the mixed feelings, with which the Borderers on each side were led to regard their neighbours.
And frequent, on the darkening plain,
As bands, their stragglers to regain,
Gave the shrill watch-word of their clan.—P. 149. Patten remarks, with bitter censure, the disorderly conduct of the English Borderers, who attended the Protector Somerset on his expedition against Scotland. "As we wear then a setling, and the tents a setting up, among all things els commendable in our hole journey, one thing seemed to me an intolerable disorder and abuse; that whearas allways, both in all tounes of war, and in all campes of armies, quietnes and stilnes, without nois, is, principally in the night, after the watch is set, observed, (I nede not reason why,) our northern prikkers, the Borderers, notwithstandyng, with great enormitie, (as thought me,) and not unlike (to be playn) unto a masterles hounde howlyng in a hie wey when he hath lost him he waited upon, sum hoopynge, sum whistlyng, and most with crying, A Berwyke, a Berwyke! A Fenwyke, a Fenwyke! A Bulmer, a Bulmer! or so otherwise as theyr captains names wear, never lin'de these troublous and dangerous noyses all the nyghte longe. They said, they did it to finde their captain and fellows; but if the souldiers of our oother countreys and sheres had used the same maner, in that case we should have oft tymes had the state of our camp more like the outrage of a dissolute huntyng, than the quiet of a well ordred armye. It is a feat of war, in mine opinion, that might right well be left. I could reherse causes (but yf I take it, they are better unspoken than uttred, unless the faut wear sure to be amended) that might shew thei move alweis more peral to our armie, but in their one nyght's so doynge, than they shew good service (as sum sey) in a hool vyage."—Apud Dalzell's Fragments, p. 75.
Cheer the dark btood-hound on his way, And with the bugle rouse the fray.—P. 16,9. The pursuit of Border marauders was followed by the injured party and his friends with blood-hounds and bugle-horn, and was called the hot-trod. He was entitled, if his dog could trace the scent, to follow the invaders into the opposite kingdom; a privilege which often occasioned blood-shed. In addition to what has been said of the blood-bound, I may add, that the breed was kept up by the Buccleuch family on their Border estates till within the 18th century. A person was alive in the memory of man, who remembered a blood-hound being kept at Eldinhope, in Ettricke Forest, for whose maintenance the tenant had an allowance of meal. At that time the sheep were always watched at night Upon one occasion, when the duty had fallen on the narrator, then a lad, he became exhausted with fatigue, and fell asleep, upon a bank, near sun-rising. Suddenly he was awakened by the tread of horses, and saw five men, well mounted and armed, ride briskly over the edge of the hill. They stopped and looked at the flock; but the day was too far broken to admit the chance of their carrying any of them off One of them, in spite, leaped from his horse, and, coming to the shepherd, seized him by the belt he wore round his waist, and, setting his foot upon his body, pulled it till it broke, and carried it away with him. They rode off at the gallop; and, the shepherd giving the alarm, the blood-hound was turned loose, and the people in the neighbourhood alarmed. The marauders, however, escaped, notwithstanding a sharp pursuit. This circumstance serves to show how very long the licence of the Borderers continued in some degree to manifest itself.
NOTES TO CANTO VI.
Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, tfe,—P. 175. The influence of local attachment has been so exquisitely painted by my friend Mr Polwhele, in the poem which bears that title, as might well have dispensed with the more feeble attempt of any contemporary poet. To the reader who has not been so fortunate as to meet with this philosophical and poetical detail of the nature and operations of the love of our country, the following brief extract cannot fail to be acceptable :—
Yes—Home still charms: and he, who, clad in fur,
Would rather to the same wild tracts recur