Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

wives and children, and their most valuable effects, from the rapacity of Cromwell's soldiers, during their inroad into this country, in the time of the republic. These invaders not venturing to ascend by the ladders, along the side of the lake, took a more circuitous road, through the heart of the Trosachs, the most frequented path at that time, which penetrates the wilderness about half way between Binean and the lake, by a tract called Yea-chailleach, or the Old Wife's Bog.

In one of the defiles of this by-road, the men of the country at that time hung upon the rear of the invading enemy, and shot one of Cromwell's men, whose grave marks the scene of action, and gives name to that pass. In revenge of this insult, the soldiers resolved to plunder the island, to violate the women, and put the children to death. With this brutal intention, one of the party, more expert than the rest, swam towards the island, to fetch the boat to his comrades, which had carried the women to their asylum, and lay moored in one of their creeks. His companions stood on the shore of the main land, in full view of all that was to pass, waiting anxiously for his return with the boat ; but, just as the swimmer had got to the nearest point of the island, and was laying hold of a black rock to get on shore, a heroine, who stood on the very point where he meant to land, hastily snatching a dagger from below her apron, with one stroke severed his head from the body. His party seeing this disaster, and relinquishing all future hope of revenge or conquest, made the best of their way out of their perilous situation. This amazon's great-grandson lives at Bridge of Turk, who, besides others, attests the anecdote."--Sketch of the Scenery near Callander. Stirling, 1806, p. 20. I have only to add to this account, that the heroine's name was Helen Stuart.

Note V. And Snowdoun's knight is Scotland's king.--St. XXVI. p. 218. This discovery will probably remind the reader of the beautiful Arabian tale of n Bondocani; yet the incident is not borrowed from that elegant story, but from Scottish tradition. James V., of whom we are treating, was a monarch whose good and benevolent intentions often rendered his romantic freaks venial, if not respectable, since, from his anxious attention to the interests of the lower and most oppressed class of his subjects, he was, as we have seen, popularly termed the King of the Commons. For the purpose of seeing that justice was regularly administerer, and frequently from the less justifiable motive of gallantry, he used to traverse the vicinage of his several palaces in various dis.

• Beallach an duine,

guises. The two excellent comic songs intitled “The Gaberlunzie Man,” and “We'll gae nae mair a roving,” are said to have been founded upon the success of his amorous adventures when travelling in the disguise of a beggar. The latter is perhaps the best comic ballad in any language.

Another adventure, which had nearly cost James his life, is said to have taken place at the village of Cramond, near Edinburgh, where he had rendered his addresses acceptable to a pretty girl of the lower rank. Four or five persons, whether relations or lovers of his mistress is uncertain, beset the disguised monarch as he returned from his rendezvous. Naturally gallant, and an admirable master of his weapon, the king took post on the high and narrow bridge over the Almond river, and defended himself bravely with his sword. A peasant who was threshing in a neighbouring barn came out upon the noise, and, whether moved by compassion or by natural gallantry, took the weaker side, and laid about with his fail so effectually as to disperse the assailants, well threshed, even according to the letter. He then conducted the king into his barn, where his guest requested a basin and towel to remove the stains of the broil. This being procured with difficulty, James employed himself in learning what was the summit of his deliverer's earthly wishes, and found that they were bounded by the desire of possessing, in property, the farm of Braehead, upon which he laboured as a bondsman. The lands chanced to belong to the crown; and James directed him to come to the palace of Holy-Rood, and inquire for the Gaid-man (i. e. farmer) of Ballangiech-a name by which he was known in his excursions, and which answered to Il Bondocani of Haroun Alraschid. He presented himself accordingly, and found, with due astonishment, that he had saved his monarch's life, and that he was to be gratified with a crown charter of the lands of Brachead, under the service of presenting an ewer, basin, and towel, for the king to wash his hands, when he shall happen to pass the Bridge of Crainond. This person was ancestor of the Howisons of Braehead, in Mid-Lothian, a respectable family, who continue to hold the lands (now passed into the female line) under the same tenure.

Another of James's frolics is thus narrated by Mr. Campbell, from the Statistical Account :-“Being once benighted, when out a hunting, and separated from his attendants, he happened to enter a cottage in the midst of a moor, at the foot of the Ochil hills, near Alloa, where, unknown, he was kindly received. In order to regale their unexpected guest, the gude-man (i. e. landlord, farmer) desired the gude-wife to fetch the hen that roosted nearest the cock, which is always the plumpest, for the stranger's supper. The king, highly pleased with his night's lodging and hospitable entertainment, told mine host, at parting,

that he should be glad to return his civility, and requested that the first time he came to Stirling he would call at the castle, and inquire for the gude-man of Ballinguich. Donaldson, the landlord, did not fail to call on the gude-man of Ballinguich, when his astonishment at finding that the king had been his guest afforded no small amusement to the merry monarch and his courtiers; and, to carry on the pleasantry, he was thenceforth designated by James with the title of King of the Moors, which name and designation have descended from father to son ever since; and they have continued in possession of the identical spot, the property of Mr. Erskine of Mar, till very lately, when this gentleman, with reluctance, turned out the descendant and representative of the King of the Moors, on account of his majesty's invincible indolence, and great dislike to reform or innovation of any kind, although, from the spirited example of his neighbour tenants on the same estate, he is couvinced similar exertion would promote his advantage.”

The author requests permission yet farther to verify the subject of his poem, by an extract from the genealogical work of Buchanan of Auchmar, upon Scottish surnames.

This John Buchanan of Auchmar and Arnpryor was afterwards tern.ed King of Kippen,* upon the following account :-King James V., a very sociable, debonair prince, residing at Stirling, in Buchanan of Arnpryor's time, carriers were very frequently passing along the common road, being near Arnpryor's house, with necessaries for the use of the King's family; and he having some extraordinary occasion, ordered one of these carriers to leave his load at his house, and he would pay him for it, which the carrier refused to do, telling him he was the king's carrier, and his load for bis majesty's use; to which Arnuryor seemed to have small regard, compelling the carrier, in the end, to leave his load, telling him, if King James was king of Scotland, he was king of Kippen, so that it was reasonable he should share with his neighbour king in some of these loads so frequently carried that road. The carrier representing this usage, and telling the story, as Arnpryor spoke it, to some of the king's servants, it came at length to his majesty's ears, who, shortly thereafter, with a few attendants, came to visit his neighbour king, who was in the mean time at dinner. King James having sent a servant to demand access, was denied the same by a tall fellow with a battle-axe, who stood porter at the gate, telling there could be no access till dinner was over. This answer not satisfying the king, he sent to demand access a second time, upon which he was desired by the porter to desist, otherwise he would find cause to repent his rudeness. His majesty, finding this method would not do, desired the porter to tell his master that the good-man of Ballageigh desired to speak with the king

* A small district of Perthshire.

of Kippen. The porter telling Arnpryor so much, he, in ali humble manner, came and received the king; and having entertained him with much sumptuousness and jollity, became so agreeable to King James that he allowed hiin to take so much of any provision he found carrying that road as he had occasion for; and, seeing he made the first visit, desired Arnpryor in a few days to return him a second at Stirling, which he performed, and continued in very much favour with the king, always thereafter being termed King of Kippen while he lived."-BUCHANAN'S Essay upon the Family of Buchanan. Edin. 1775, 8vo. p. 74.

The readers of Ariosto inust give credit for the amiable features with which he is represented, since he is generally considered as the prototype of Zerbino, the most interesting hero of the Orlando Furioso.

Note VI.

Stirling's Tower of yore the name of Snowdoun clains.--St. XXVIII. p. 220. William of Worcester, who wrote about the middle of the fifteenth century, calls Stirling Castle Snowdoun. Sir David Lindsay bestows the same epithet upon it in his Complaint of the Papingo.

Adieu, fair Snawdonn, with thy towers high,
Thy chaple-royal, park, and table round;
May, June, and July would I dwell in thee,
Were I a man, to hear the birdis sound,

Whilk doth agane thy royal rock rebound. Mr. Chalmers, in his late excellent edition of Sir David Lindsay's works, has refuted the chimerical derivation of Snawdoun from snedding, or cutting. It was probably derived from the romantic legend which connected Stirling with King Arthur, to which the mention of the Round Table gives countenance. The ring within which justs were formerly practised, in the castle park, is still called the Round Table. Snawdoun is the official title of one of the Scottish heralds, whose epithets seem in all countries to have been fantastically adopted from ancient history or romance.

It appears from the preceding note, that the real name by which James was actually distinguished in his private excursions, was the Goodman of Ballenguich, derived from a steep pass lcading up to the Castle of Stirling, so called ; but the cpithet would not have suited poetry, and would, besides, at once and prematurely, have announced the plot to many of my countrymen, among whom the traditional stories above mentioned are still current.

THE END

T. Baker & Co., Printers, Holborn Hill.

« AnteriorContinuar »