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Sandford, speaking of them, says (which indeed was applicable to most of the Borderers on both sides,) " They were all stark moss-troopers, and arrant thieves: Both to England and Scotland outlawed; yet sometimes connived at, because they gave intelligence forth of Scotland, and would raise 400 horse at any time upon a raid of the English into Scotland. A saying is recorded of a mother to her son (which is now become proverbial,) Ride, Rotcley, hough's i' the pot; that is, the last piece of beef was in the pot, and therefore it was high time for him to go and fetch more."—Introduction to the History of Cumberland.
The residence of the Graemes being chiefly in the Debateable Land, so called because it was claimed by both kingdoms, their depredations extended both to England and Scotland, with impunity; for as both wardens accounted them the proper subjects of their own prince, neither inclined to demand reparation for their excesses from the opposite officers, which would have been an acknowledgment of his jurisdiction over them.—See a long correspondence on this subject betwixt Lord Dacre and the English Privy Council, in Introduction to History of Cumberland. The Debateable Land was finally divided betwixt England and Scotland, by commissioners appointed by both nations.
The sun shines fair on Carlisle wall.—P. 186.
She leaned ber back against a thorn,
And there she has her young babe boru,
Who has not heard of Surrey's fame ?—P. 188.
The gallant and unfortunate Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was unquestionably the most accomplished cavalier of his time; and his sonnets display beauties which would do honour to a more polished age. He was beheaded on Tower-hill in 1546; a victim to the mean jealousy of Henry VIII., who could not bear so brilliant a character near his throne.
The song of the supposed bard is founded on an incident said to have happened to the earl in his travels. Cornelius Agrippa, the celebrated alchemist, showed him, in a lookingglass, the lovely Geraldine, to whose service he had devoted his pen and his sword. The vision represented her as indisposed, and reclined upon a couch, reading her lover's verses by the light of a waxen taper.
Note XIV. ——— The storm-swept Or cades; Where erst St Clairs held princely sway, O'er isle and islet, strait and bay.—P. 193. The St Clairs are of Norman extraction, being descended from William de St Clair, second son of Walderne Compte de St Clair, and Margaret, daughter to Richard Duke of Normandy. He was called, for his fair deportment, the Seemly St Clair; and settling in Scotland during the reign of Malcolm Ceanmore, obtained large grants of land in Mid-Lothian.— These domains were increased by the liberality of succeeding monarchs to the descendants of the family, and comprehended the baronies of Rosline, Pentland, Cowsland, Cardaine, and several others. It is said a large addition was obtained from Robert Bruce, on the following occasion: The king, in following the chase upon Pentland hills, had often started a" white faunch deer," which had always escaped from his bounds; and he asked the nobles, who were assembled around him, whether any of them had dogs, which they thought might be more successful. No courtier would affirm that his hounds were fleeter than those of the king, until Sir William St Clair of Rosline unceremoniously said, he would wager his head that his two favourite dogs, Help and Hold, would kill the deer before she could cross the March-burn. The king instantly caught at his unwary offer, and betted the forest of Pentlandmoor against the life of Sir William St Clair. All the hounds were tied up, except a few ratches, or slow hounds, to put up the deer; while Sir William St Clair, posting himself in the best situation for slipping his dogs, prayed devoutly to Christ, the blessed Virgin, and St Katherine. The deer was shortly after roused, and the hounds slipped; Sir William following on a gallant steed, to cheer his dogs. The hind, however, reached the middle of the brook, upon which the hunter threw himself from his horse in despair. At this critical moment, however, Hold stopped her in the brook; and Help, coming up, turned her back, and killed her on Sir William's side. The king descended from the hill, embraced Sir William, and bestowed on him the lands of Kirkton, Logan-House, Earncraig, &c. in free forestrie. Sir William, in acknowledgment of St Katherine's intercession, built the chapel of St Katherine in the Hopes, the church-yard of which is still to be seen. The hill, from which Robert Bruce beheld this memorable chase, is still called the King's Hill; and the place where Sir William hunted is called the Knight's Field,*—MS, History of the Fa
* The tomb of Sir William St Clair, on which he appears sculptured in armour, with a greyhound at his feet, is still to be seen in Roslin chapel. The person who shows it always tells the story of his bunting-match, with some addition to Mr Hay's account; as that the knight of Radio's fright made him poetical, and that, in the last emergency, he shouted,
Help, baud, an' ye may,
Or Roslin will lose his head this day.
mill/ of St Clair, by R.ICUARD AuGUSTIN Hay, Canon of St Genevieve.
This adventurous huntsman married Elizabeth, daughter of Malice Spar, Earl of Orkney and Stratherne, in whose right their son Henry was, in 1379, created Earl of Orkney, by Haco, king of Norway. His title was recognised by the kings of Scotland, and remained with his successors until it was annexed to the crown, in 1471, by act of parliament. In exchange for this earldom, the castle and domains of Ravenscraig, or Ravensheuch, were conferred on William Saintclair, Earl of Caithness.
Note XV. Still nods their palace to itsJail, Thy pride and sorrozefair KirkwalL—P. 193. The castle of Kirkwall was built by the St Clairs, while Earls of Orkney. It was dismantled by the Earl of Caithness about 1615, having being garrisoned against the government by Robert Stewart, natural son to the Earl of Orkney.
Its ruins afforded a sad subject of contemplation to John, Master of St Clair, who, flying from his native country, on self this couplet does him no great honour as a poet, the conclusion of the story does him still less credit. He set his foot on the dog, says the narrator, and killed him on the spot, saying, he would never again put his neck in such a risque. As Mr Hay does not mention this circumstapce, 1 hope it is only founded on the couchant posture of the hound on the monument.