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earth. But the pool, on the brink of which we stood, surrounded by the most fanciful mouldings, in a substance resem. bling white marble, and distinguished by the depth and purity of its waters, might have been the bathing grotto of a naiad. The groups of combined figures projecting, or embossed, by which the pool is surrounded, are exquisitely elegant and fanciful. A statuary might catch beautiful hints from the singular and romantic disposition of those stalactites. There is scarce a form, or group, on which active fancy may not trace figures or grotesque ornaments, which have been gradually moulded in this cavern by the dropping of the calcareous water hardening into petrifactions. Many of those fine groupes have been injured by the senseless rage of appropriation of recent tourists; and the grotto has lost, (I am informed,) through the smoke of torches, something of that vivid silver tint which was originally one of its chief distinctions. But enough of beauty remains to compensate for all that may be lost.”—Mr Mac-Allister of Strathaird, has, with great propriety, built up. the exterior entrance to this cave, in order that strangers may enter properly attended by a guide, to prevent any repetition of the wanton and selfish injury which this singular scene has already sustained
NOTES TO CANTO FOURTH.
My joy o'er Edward's bier.-St. IV. p. 181. THE generosity which does justice to the character of an enemy, often marks Bruce's sentiments, as recorded by the faithful Barbour. He seldom mentions a fallen enemy without praising such good qualities as he might possess. I shall only take one instance. Shortly after Bruce landed in Carrick, in 1306, Sir Ingram Bell, the English governor of Ayr, engaged a wealthy yeoman, who had hitherto been a follower of Bruce, to undertake the task of assassinating him. The king learned this treachery, as he is said to have done other secrets of the enemy, by means of a female with whom he had an intrigue. Shortly after he was possessed of this information, Bruce, resorting to a small thicket at a distance from his men, with only a single page to attend him, met the traitor, accompanied by
two of his sons. They approached him with their wonted familiarity, but Bruce, taking his page's bow and arrow, commanded them to keep at a distance. As they still pressed forward with professions of zeal for his person and service, he, after a second warning, shot the father with the arrow; and being assaulted successively by the two sons, dispatched first one, who was armed with an axe, then as the other charged him with a spear, avoided the thrust, struck the head from the spear, and cleft the skull of the assassin with a blow of his two. handed sword.
“ He rushed down of blood all red,
The king said, ' So our lord me see,
BARBOUR'S BEUCE, Book V. p. 152.
Note II. Such hate was his on Solway's strand, When dengeance clench'd his palsied hand, That pointed yet to Scotland's land.-Št. IV. p. 131. To establish his dominion in Scotland had been a favourite object of Edward's ambition, and nothing could exceed the pertinacity with which he pursued it, unless his inveterate resentment against the insurgents, who so frequently broke the English yoke when die deemed it most firmly rivetted. After the battles of Falkirk and Methven, and the dreadful examples which he had made of Wallace and other champions of national independence, he probably concluded every chance of insurrection was completely annihilated. This was in 1306, when Bruce, as we have seen, was utterly expelled from Scotland: yet, in the conclusion of the same year, Bruce was again in arms and formidable; and in 1307, Edward, though exhausted by a long and wasting malady, put himself at the head of the army destined to destroy him utterly. This was, perhaps, partly in consequence of a vow which he had taken upon him, with all the pomp of chivalry, upon the day in which he dubbed his son a knight, for which see a subsequent note. But even his spirit of vengeance was unable to restore his exhausted strength. He reached Burgh-upon-Sands, a petty village of Cumberland, on the shores of the Solway Firth, and there, 6th July, 1307, expired in sight of the detested and devoted country of Scotland. His dying injunctions to his son required him to continue the Scottish war, and never to recall Gaveston, Edward II. disobeyed both charges. Yet more to mark his animosity, the dying monarch ordered his bones to be carried with the invading army. Froissart, who probably had the authority of eye-witnesses, has given us the following account of this remarkable charge :
“ In the said forest, the old king Robert of Scotland dyd kepe hymselfe, whan King Edward the Fyrst conquered nygla all Scotland; for he was so often chased, that none durst logo him in castell, nor fortresse, for feare of the said kyng.
“ And ever whan the king was returned into Ingland, than he would gather together agayn his people, and conquere townes, castells, and fortresses, iuste to Berwick, some by battle, and some by fair speech and love : and when the said King Edward heard thereof, than would he assemble his power, and wyn the realme of Scotland again; thus the chance went between these two foresaid kings. It was shewed me, how that this King Robert wan and lost his realme v. times. So this continued till the said King Edward died at Berwick : and when he saw that he should die, he called before him his eldest son, who was king after him, and there, before all the barones, he caused him to swear, that as soon as he were dead, that he should take his body, and boyle it in a cauldron, till the flesh departed clean from the bones, and than to bury the flesh, and keep still the bones; and that as often as the Scotts should rebell against him, he should assemble the people against them, and carry with him the bones of his father; for