Imágenes de páginas

possessions in the counties of Dumbarton and Stirling. Few families can boast of more historical renown, having claim to three of the most remarkable characters in the Scottish annals. Sir John the Græme, the faithful and undaunted partaker of the labours and patriotic warfare of Wallace, fell in the unfortunate field of Falkirk, in 1298. The celebrated Marquis of Montrose, in whom De Retz saw realized his abstract idea of the heroes of antiquity, was the second of these worthies. And, notwithstanding the severity of his temper, and the rigour with which he executed the oppressive mandates of the princes whom he served, I do not hesitate to name as the third, John Grahame, of Claverhouse, Viscount of Dundee, whose heroic death, in the arms of victory, may be allowed to cancel the memory of his cruelty to the non-conformists, during the reigns of Charles II. and James II.

Note III.

This harp, which erst Saint Modun swayed.-St. VII. p. 41.

I am not prepared to show that Saint Modan was a performer on the harp. It was, however, no uusaintly accomplishment; for Saint Dunstan certainly did play upon that instrument, which, retaining, as was natural, a portion of the sanctity attached to its master's character, announced future events by its spontaneous sound. "But labouring once in these mechanic arts for a devoute matrone that had sette him on worke, his violl that hung by him on the wall, of its owne accord, without anie man's helpe, distinctly sounded this anthime: Gaudent in cœlis animæ sanctorum qui Christi vestigia sunt secuti: et quia pro eius amore sanguinem suum fuderunt, ideo cum Christo gaudent in æternum.' Whereat all the companie being much astonished, turned their eyes from behoulding him working, to looke on that strange accident."....."Not long after, manie of the court that hitherunto had born a kind of fayned friendship towards him, began now greatly to envie at his progresse and rising in goodness, using manie crooked backbiting meanes to diffame his vertues with the black marks of hypocrisie. And the better to authorize their calumnie, they brought in this that happened in the violl, affirming it to have been done by art magick. What more? this wicked rumour encreased dayly, till the king and others of the nobilitie taking hould thereof, Dunstan grew odious in their sight. Therefore he resolued to leaue the court, and goe to Elphegus, surnamed the Bald, then Bishop of Winchester, who was his

Which his enemies understanding, they layd wayte for him in the way, and hauing throwne him off his horse, beate him, and draged him in the durt in the most miserable manner, meaning to haue slaine him, had not a companie of mastiue dogges, that came unlookt uppon

them, defended and redeemed him from their crueltie. When with sorrow he was ashamed to see dogges more humane than they. And giuing thankes to Almightie God, he sensibly againe perceaued that the tunes of his violl had giuen him a warning of future accidents."Flower of the Lives of the most renowned Saincts of England, Scotland, and Ireland, by the R. FATHER HIEROME PORTER. Doway, 1632, 4to. tome i. p. 438.

The same supernatural circumstance is alluded to by the anonymous author of "Grim, the Collier of Croydon."

"[Dunstan's harp sounds on the wall.]

Forrest. Hark, hark, my lord, the holy abbot's harp

Sounds by itself so hanging on the wall!

Dunstan, Unhallowed man, that scorn'st the sacred read,

Hark, how the testimony of my truth

Sounds heavenly music with an angel's hand,

To testify Dunstan's integrity,

And prove thy active boast of no effect."

Note IV.

Ere Douglasses, to ruin driven,

IVere exiled from their native heaven.-St. VIII. p. 41.

The downfall of the Douglasses of the house of Angus, during the reign of James V., is the event alluded to in the text. The Earl of Angus, it will be remembered, had married the queen dowager, and, availed himself of the right which he thus acquired, as well as of his extensive power, to retain the king in a sort of tutelage, which ap-. proached very near to captivity. Several open attempts were made to rescue James from this thraldom, with which he was well known to be deeply disgusted; but the valour of the Douglasses, and their ailies, gave them the victory in every conflict. At length, the king, while residing at Falkland, contrived to escape by night out of his own court. and palace, and rode full speed to Stirling Castle, where the governor, who was of the opposite faction, joyfully received him. Being thus at liberty, James speedily summoned around him such peers as he knew to be most inimical to the domination of Angus, and laid his complaint before them, says Piscottie, "with great lamentations: showing to them. how he was holden in subjection, thir years bygone, by the Earl of Angus, and his kin and friends, who oppressed the whole country, and spoiled it under the pretence of justice and his authority; and had stalu many of his leges, kinsmen and friends, because they would have had it mended at their hands, and put him at liberty, as he ought to have been, at the counsel of his whole lords, and not have been subjected and

corrected with no particular men, by the rest of his nobles: Therefore, said he, I desire, my lords,' that I may be satisfied of the said earl, his kin, and friends; for I avow, that Scotland shall not hold us both, while (i. e. till) I be revenged on him and his.

"The lords hearing the king's complaint and lamentation, and also the great rage, fury, and malice, that he bure toward the Earl of Angus, his kin and friends, they concluded all and thought it best, that he should be summoned to underly the law; if he fand not caution, nor yet compear himself, that he should be put to the horn, with all his kin and friends, so many as were contained in the letters. And further, the lords ordained, by advice of his majesty, that his brother and friends should be summoned to find caution to underly the law within a certain day, or else be put to the horn. But the earl appeared not, nor none for him; and so he was put to the horn, with all his kin and friends: su many as were contained in the summons, that compeared not, were banished, and holden traitors to the king."-Lindsay of Piscottie's History of Scotland. Edinburgh, fol. p. 142.

Note V.

In Holy Rood a knight he slew.-St. XII. p. 44.

This was by no means an uncommon occurrence in the court of Scotland; nay, the presence of the sovereign himself scarcely restrained the ferocious and inveterate feuds which were the perpetual source of bloodshed among the Scottish nobility. The following instance of the murder of Sir George Stuart of Ochiltree, called The Bloody, by the celebrated Francis, Earl of Bothwell, may be produced among many; but as the offence given in the royal court will hardly bear a vernacular translation, I shall leave the story in Johnstone's Latin, referring for further particulars to the naked simplicity of Birrell's Diary, 30th July, 1588:"Mors improbi hominis non tam ipsa immerita, quam pessimo exemplo in publicum fœdé perpetrata. Gulielmus Stuartus Alkiltrius, Arani frater, naturâ ac moribus, cujus sæpius memini, vulgo propter sitim sanguinis sanguinarius dictus, a Bothvelio, in Sanctæ Crucis Regiâ, ex ardescente ira, mendacii probro lacessitus, obscoenum osculum liberius retorquebat; Bothvelius hanc contumeliam tacitus tulit, sed ingentem irarum molem animo concepit. Utrinque postridie Edinburghi conventum, totidem numero comitibus armatis, præsidii causa, et acriter pugnatum est; cæteris amicis et clientibus metu torpentibus, aut vi absterritis, ipse Stuartus fortissimè dimicat, tandem excusso gladio a Bothvelio, Scythicâ feritate transfoditur, sine cujusquam misericordiâ; habuit. itaque quem debuit exitum. Dignus erat Stuartus qui pateretur; Both. velius qui faceret. Vulgus sanguinem sanguine prædicabat, et horum

craore innocuorum manibus egregiè parentatum."-R. JOHNSTONI Historia Rerum Britannicarum, ab anno 1572, ad annum 1628. Amstelo dami, 1655, fol. p. 135.

Note VI.

The Douglas, like a stricken deer,

Disown'd by every noble peer.-St. XII. p. 44.

The exiled state of this powerful race is not exaggerated in this and subsequent passages. The hatred of James against the race of Douglas was so inveterate, that numerous as their allies were, and disregarded as the regal authority had usually been in similar cases, their nearest friends, even in the most remote parts of Scotland, durst not entertain them, unless under the strictest and closest disguise. James Douglas, son of the banished Earl of Angus, afterwards well known by the title of Earl of Morton, lurked, during the exile of his family, in the north of Scotland, under the assumed name of James Innes, otherwise James the Grieve-i, e. Reve or Bailiff. "And as he bore the name," says Godscroft, "so did he also execute the office of a grieve or overseer of the lands and rents, the corn and cattle, of him with whom he lived." From the habits of frugality and observation which he acquired in this humble. zituation, the historian traces that intimate acquaintance with popular character which enabled him to rise so high in the state, and that honourable economy by which he repaired and established the shattered estates of Angus and Morton.-History of the House of Douglas. Edinburgh, 1743, vol. ii. p. 160.

Note VII.

Maronnan's cell.-St. XIII. p. 45.

The parish of Kilmaronock, at the eastern extremity of Loch-Lomond, derives its name from a cell or chapel, dedicated to Saint Maronoch, or Marnoch, or Maronan, about whose sanctity very little is now remembered. There is a fountain devoted to him in the same parish, but its virtues, like the merits of its patron, have fallen into oblivion.

Note VIII.

Bracklin's thundering wave.--St. XIV. p. 46.

This is a beautiful cascade made at a place called the Bridge of Bracklinn, by a mountain stream called the Keltie, about a mile from the village of Callender, in Menteith. Above a chasm where the brook precipitates itself from a height of at least fifty feet, there is thrown, for the convenience of the neighbourhood, a rustic foot bridge, of about

three feet in breadth, and without ledges, which is scarcely to be crossed by a stranger without awe and apprehension.

Note IX.

For Tine-man forged by fairy lore.-St. XV. p. 47.

Archibald, the third Earl of Douglas, was so unfortunate in all his enterprizes that he acquired the epithet of TINK-MAN, because he tined or lost his followers in every battle which he fought. He was vanquished, as every reader must remember, in the bloody battle of Homildon-hill, near Wooler, where he himself lost an eye, and was made. prisoner by Hotspur. He was no less unfortunate when allied with Percy, being wounded and taken at the battle of Shrewsbury. He was so unsuccessful in an attempt to besiege Roxburgh Castle, that it was called the Foul Ruid, or disgraceful expedition. His ill fortune left him indeed at the battle of Beauge, in France; but it was only to return with double emphasis at the subsequent action of Vernoil, the last and most unlucky of his encounters, in which he fell, with the flower of the Scottish chivalry then serving as auxiliaries in France, and about two thousand common soldiers, A.D. 1424.

Note X.

Did, self-unscabbarded, foreshow

The footstep of a secret foc.-St. XV. p. 47.

The ancient warriors, whose hope and confidence rested chiefly in their blades, were accustomed to deduce omens from them, especially from such as were supposed to have been fabricated by enchanted skill, of which we have various instances in the romances and legends of the time. The wonderful sword SKOFFNUNG, wielded by the celebrated Hrolf Kraka, was of this description. It was deposited in the tomb of the monarch at his death, and taken from thence by Skeggo, a celebrated pirate, who bestowed it upon his son-in-law, Kormak, with the following curious directions:-"The manner of using it will appear strange to you. A small bag is attached to it, which, take heed not to violate. Let not the rays of the sun touch the upper part of the handle, nor unsheath it unless thou art ready for battle. But when thou comest to the place of fight, go aside from the rest, grasp and extend the sword, and breathe upon it. Then a small worm will creep out of the handle: lower the handle that he may more easily return into it." Kormak, after having received the sword, returned home to his mother. He showed the sword, and attempted to draw it, as unnecessarily as ineffectually, for he could not pluck it

« AnteriorContinuar »