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In the retreat of the English, one of the strongest and bravest of the officers retired behind a bush, when he observed Lochiel pursuing, and seeing him unaccompanied with any, he leapt out, and thought him his prey. They met one another with equal fury. The combat was long and doubtful: the English gentleman had by far the advantage in strength and size; but Lochiel exceeding him in nimbleness and agility, in the end tript the sword out of his hand: they closed, and wrestled till both fell to the ground in each other's arms. The English officer got above Lochiel, and pressed him hard, but stretching forth his neck, by attempting to disengage himself, Lochiel, who by this time had his. hands at liberty, with his left hand seized him by the collar, and jumping at his extended throat, he bit it with his teeth quite through, and kept such a hold of his grasp that he brought away his mouthful. This, he said, was the sweetest bite he ever had in his lifetime."-Vol. i. p. 375.

Note VI.

Ye towers within whose circuit dread,

A Douglas by his sovereign bled;

And thou, O sad and fatal mound.

That oft hast heard the death-axe sound!-St. XX. p. 176. Stirling was often polluted with noble blood. It is thus apostrophized by J. Jonston;—

-Discordia tristis

Heu quoties procerum sanguine tinxit humum

Hoc uno infelix, et felix cetera, nusquam

Lætior aut cœli frons geniusve soli.

The fate of William, eighth Earl of Douglas, whom James II. stabbed in Stirling Castle with his own hand, and while under his royal safe. conduct, is familiar to all who read Scottish history. Murdack, Duke of Albany, Duncan, Earl of Lennox, his father-in-law, and his two sons. Walter and Alexander Stewart, were executed at Stirling in 1425. They were beheaded upon an eminence without the castle walls, but making part of the same hill, from whence they could behold their strong castle of Doune, and their extensive possessions. This "heading hill," as it was sometimes termed, bears commonly the less terrible name of Hurlyhacket, from its having been the scene of a courtly amusement alluded to by Sir David Lindsay, who says of the pastimes in which the young king was engaged,

"Some harled him to the Hurly-hacket;" which consisted in sliding, in some sort of chair, it may be supposed, from top to bottom of a smooth bank. The boys of Edinburgh, about

twenty years ago, used to play at the hurley-hacket on the Calton bill, using for their seat a horse's skull,

Note VII.

The burghers hold their sports to-day.-St. XX. p. 177.

Every burgh of Scotland, of the least note, but more especially the considerable towns, had their solemn play or festival, when feats of archery were exhibited, and prizes distributed to those who excelled in wrestling, hurling the bar, and the other gymnastic exercises of the period. Stirling, a usual place of royal residence, was not likely to be deficient in pomp upon such occasions, especially since James V. was very partial to them, His ready participation in these popular amusements was one cause of his acquiring the title of King of the Commons, or Rear Plebeiorum, as Leslie has latinized it. The usual prize to the best shooter was a silver arrow. Such a one is preserved at Selkirk and at Peebles. At Dumfries, a silver gun was substituted, and the contention transferred to fire-arms. The ceremony, as there performed, is the subject of an excellent Scottish poem, by Mr. John Mayne, intitled the Siller Gun, 1808, which surpasses the efforts of Ferguson, and comes

near those of Burns.

Note VIII.

-Robin Hood,-St. XXII. p. 178.

The exhibition of this renowned outlaw and his band was a favourite frolic at such festivals as we are describing. This sport, in which kings did not disdain to be actors, was prohibited in Scotland upon the Reformation, by a statute of the 8th parliament of queen Mary, c. 61, A. D. 1555, which ordered, under heavy penalties, that "na manner of person be chosen Robert Hude, nor Little John, Abbot of Unreason, queen of May, nor otherwise." But in 1561, "the rascal multitude," says John Knox, "were stirred up to make a Robin Hude, whilk enormity was of mony years left and damned by statute and act of parliament; yet would they not be forbidden." Accordingly they raised a very serious tumult, and at length made prisoners of the magistrates who endea voured to suppress it, and would not release them until they extorted a formal promise that no one should be punished for his share of the disturbance. It would seem, from the complaints of the General Assembly of the kirk, that these profane festivities were continued down to 1592. Bold Robin was, to say the least, equally successful in main

Book of the Universal Kirk, p. 414.

taining his ground against the reformed clergy of England; for the simple and evangelical Latimer complains of coming to a country church, where the people refused to hear him, because it was Robin Hood's day; and his mitre and rochet were fain to give way to the village pastime. Much curious information on this subject may be found in the Preliminary Dissertation to the late Mr. Ritson's edition of the songs respecting this memorable outlaw. The game of Robin Hood was usually acted in May; and he was associated with the morrice-dancers, on whom so much illustration has been bestowed by the commentators on Shakspeare. A very lively picture of these festivities, containing a great deal of curious information on the subject of the private life and Amusements of our ancestors, was thrown, by the late ingenious Mr. Strutt, into his romance intitled Queen-hoo Hall, published after his death, in 1808,

Note IX.

Indifferent as to archer wight,

The Monarch gave the arrow bright.-St. XXII. p. 179.

The Douglas of the poem is an imaginary person, a supposed uncle of the Earl of Angus. But the king's behaviour during an unexpected interview with the Laird of Kilspindie, one of the banished Douglasses, under circumstances similar to those in the text, is imitated from a real story told by Hume of Godscroft. I would have availed myself more fully of the simple and affecting circumstances of the old history, had they not been already woven into a pathetic ballad by my friend Mr. Finlay..

• See Scottish Historical and Romantic Ballads, Glasgow, 1808, vol. ii. p. 117. Godscroft's story may also be found in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border vol. i. Introduction, p. 21, note.




The Guard-room.


THE sun, awakening, through the smoky air
Of the dark city casts a sullen glance,
Rousing each caitiff to his task of care,
Of sinful man the sad inheritance:
Summoning revellers from the lagging dance,
And scaring prowling robbers to their den;
Gilding on battled tower the warder's lance,

And warning student pale to leave his pen,
And yield his drowsy eyes to the kind nurse of men.

What various scenes, and, O! what scenes of woe, Are witness'd by that red and struggling beam! The fever'd patient, from his pallet low,

Through crowded hospital beholds it stream; The ruin'd maiden trembles at its gleam,

The debtor wakes to thoughts of gyve and jail, The love-lorn wretch starts from tormenting dream; The wakeful mother, by the glimmering pale, Trims her sick infant's couch, and soothes his feeble


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At dawn the towers of Stirling rang
With soldier-step and weapon clang,
While drums, with rolling note, foretell
Relief to weary centinel.

Through narrow loop and casement barr'd
The sunbeams sought the Court of Guard,
And, struggling with the smoky air,
Deaden'd the torches' yellow glare.
In comfortless alliance shone

The lights through arch of blacken'd stone,
And show'd wild shapes in garb of war,
Faces deform'd with beard and scar,
All haggard from the midnight watch,
And fever'd with the stern debauch;
For the oak table's massive board,
Flooded with wine, with fragments stored,
And beakers drain'd, and cups o'erthrown,
Show'd in what sport the night had flown.
Some, weary, snored on floor and bench;
Some labour'd still their thirst to quench;

Some, chill'd with watching, spread their hands

O'er the huge chimney's dying brands,

While round them, or beside them flung,
At every step their harness rung.


These drew not for their fields the sword,
Like tenants of a feudal lord,

Nor own'd the patriarchal claim
Of chieftain in their leader's name;
Adventurers they, from far who roved,

To live by battle which they loved.

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