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ever, the housekeeper does not allow visitors to enter, they being only permitted to look through between the brass bars which are across the door. In this room is Rob Roy's gun; the shield made of bull's hide, studded with large brass nails, as described in the Lady of the Lake, &c. In several of the rooms are fine paintings, many of which illustrate scenes in Scott's works ; among those of a miscellaneous character, one of the most striking represents the head of Queen Mary in a charger, the day after she was beheaded. There are also portraits of Cromwell, Claverhouse, Charles II., Walter Scott's grandfather, &c. The Tweed flows past the house, and through the surrounding grounds are many beautiful winding walks, with benches and bowers, where Sir Walter often sat. The housekeeper hurried me so rapidly through the house, (the whole time allowed me was but fifteen minutes,) and took so little pains to explain the nature and names of things, that my visit was much less satisfactory than I expected.
It was with melancholy feelings that I walked through these deserted halls, once the abode of Scotland's mighty minstrel, whose magic strains have been borne to the most distant climes, and still awaken a responsive echo in unnumbered hearts.
“ Bosomed in woods where mighty rivers run,
Kelso's fair vale expands before the sun;
Kelso is distant from Earlstown twelve miles. The day on which I visited it was remarkably fine. From every bush and tree the little birds were carroling their melodious songs. Early in the morning it had been raining, and as the sun burst forth from the passing cloud, all seemed gay and joyous beneath his sparkling beams. My road lay through the garden of Scotland. On both sides of the way the hedges were profusely covered with beautiful blossoms, and the air was richly perfumed with their delightful fragrance.
Kelso stands in one of the most lovely spots on the banks of that most romantic of rivers, the Tweed, just where its waters unite with those of the Teviot. It is surrounded on all sides by an amphitheatre of hills, whose summits are clothed with foliage. The town contains a population of about 6000, and is remarkable for its cleanliness, and for the city-like appearance which it presents.
The most striking object in Kelso is the venerable Abbey, which, though long since a dilapidated ruin, is a noble specimen of that majestic style of architecture called the Saxon or early Norman. Procuring a little urchin for a guide, I proceeded into the sacred enclosure. With great difficulty we clambered up a pair of broken stairs, and, making our way through a narrow opening scarcely large enough to allow of egress, we stood on what remains of the venerable roof. From this point the view was very fine. The whole country, for miles around, lay spread out like a panorama. Before me the waters of the Tweed and the Teviot kissed each other, as they united to roll on in unison to the ocean. Beyond were the ruins of the ancient castle of Roxburgh ; farther to the right the Duke of Roxburgh's splendid palace, Floors Castle, with its encircling woods and lawns, sloping to the water's edge; to the left, on the south bank of the Teviot, lie the woods and mansion of Springwood Park. The grandeur of the scene was heightened by a distant view of the picturesque Eildon hills. Kelso Bridge, which here spans the Tweed, is a very beautiful structure; Waterloo Bridge across the Thames at London is a fac simile, and was built by the same architect, Mr. Rennie. The singular elegance of this bridge is the more fortunate, as its situation, when viewed from different points, renders it the most prominent object in one of the finest landscapes on the Tweed.
This venerable edifice was built in 1128, by David, King of Scotland, and given to the monks of the reformed class of Benedictines. Kelso being so near the English border, suffered severely during the border warfare. The abbey was twice burned, as early as the contest that rose out of the conflicting claims of Bruce and Baliol to the Scottish throne, and was reduced to its present ruinous state by the English, under the Earl of Hertford in 1545. Old Roxburg Castle, the ruins of which yet remain, within about a stone's throw of the town, was the stronghold of Kelso and its vicinity, many centuries ago, when“ might was right” and the strongest was the best man. This castle was erected by the Saxons while they held the sovereignty of the Northumbrian kingdom, of which
Roxburgh, at that time, was a province. King David made it his royal residence. In 1295 it was beseiged by William Wallace, being at that time in the possession of the English, but he was forced to abandon his attack by the approach of a superior force. In 1306, Edward, of England, imprisoned Mary, the sister of Bruce, who had fallen into his hands, in an iron cage, placed in one of the turrets. It changed owners frequently during the border feuds. While in the hands of the English, in 1406, it was beseiged by James II. of Scotland, and this monarch lost his life, by the bursting of a cannon, before its walls. It was subsequently captured by his widowed queen, and to prevent its future occupancy by the English, was entirely demolished, after having been for centuries the object of the hottest dispute and the scene of the alternate triumphs of the contending parties.
Within its venerable precincts kings have held their courts. Its walls have resounded alternately with the noise of mirth and revelry and the direful clang of arms, where now nought is to be heard but the “gentle bleating of the lamb, and the swelling note of the winged chorister."