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But never closed the iron door
Though born in such a high degree;
When kindness had his wants supplied,
Of good Earl Francis, dead and gone,
Though stiff his hand, his voice though weak,
He could make music to her ear.
The humble boon was soon obtained
And then, he said, he would full fain
He never thought to sing again.
b Anne, duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth, representative of the ancient lords of Buccleuch, and widow of the unfortunate James, duke of Monmouth, who was beheaded in 1685.
e Francis Scott, earl of Buccleuch, father to the duchess.
d Walter, earl of Buccleuch, grandfather to the duchess, and a celebrated warrior.
It was not framed for village churls,
Amid the strings his fingers strayed,
In varying cadence, soft or strong,
Holyrood House is situated at the foot of the Canongate, in Edinburgh, and it was for many years the dwelling-place of the monarchs of Scotland. The abbey was founded in 1128, and a royal residence was soon afterwards built there. Very little of the ancient building now remains. In this palace David Rizzio was murdered; and here the unfortunate Mary kept her court. When Charles I. visited Scotland in 1633, for his coronation, he kept court at Holyrood. Clarendon says: "The king was very well pleased with his reception, and with all the transactions there; nor indeed was there anything to be blamed, but the luxury and vast expense, which abounded in all respects, of feasting and clothes with too much license."
LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.
THE feast was over in Branksomea tower,
No living wight, save the Ladye alone,
The tables were drawn, it was idlesse all;
Or crowded round the ample fire.
Nine-and-twerty knights of fameb
Hung their shields in Branksome Hall;
Brought them their steeds from bower to stall;
a In the reign of James I., Sir William Scott, of Buccleuch, chief of the clan bearing that name, exchanged with Sir Thomas Inglis, of Manor, the estate of Murdiestone, in Lanarkshire, for one half of the barony of Branksome, or Brankholm, on the Teviot, about three miles above Hawick. Tradition imputes this exchange to a conversation between Scott and Inglis, in which the latter, a man, it would appear, of a mild and forbearing nature, complained of the injuries to which he was exposed from the English borderers, who frequently plundered his lands of Branksome. Sir William Scott instantly offered him the estate of Murdiestone, in exchange for that which was subject to such forays. When the bargain was completed, he drily remarked, that the cattle in Cumberland were as good as those of Teviot-dale, and commenced a system of reprisals upon the English, which was regularly pursued by his successors.
The ancient barons of Buccleuch, both from feudal splendour and
Nine-and-twenty yeomen tall,
Ten of them were sheathed in steel,
Pillowed on buckler cold and hard;
Ten squires, ten yeomen, mail-clad men,
Why do these steeds stand ready dight?
They watch, against Southern force and guile,
From Warkworth, or Naworth, or merry Carlisle.a
Such is the custom of Branksome Hall.
from their frontier situation, retained in their household, at Branksome, a number of gentlemen of their own name, who held lands from their chief for the military service of watching and warding his castle.
e This was a sort of partizan, used by horsemen, as appears from the arms of Jedburgh, which bear a cavalier mounted and armed with this weapon. It is also called a Jedwood, or Jeddart staff.
d Branksome Castle was continually exposed to the attacks of the English, both from its situation and the restless military disposition of its inhabitants, who were seldom on good terms with their neighbours.
Bards long shall tell,
Can piety the discord heal,
Or stanch the death-feud's enmity?
Can love of blessed charity?
In mutual pilgrimage, they drew; b
For chiefs their own red falchions slew.
While Ettricke boasts the line of Scott,
Shall never, never be forgot!
In sorrow, o'er Lord Walter's bier
Old Teviot's maids and matrons lent:
Had locked the source of softer woe;
e Sir Walter Scott, of Buccleuch, succeeded to his grandfather, Sir David, in 1492. He was a brave and powerful baron, and warden of the west marches of Scotland. A deadly feud broke out betwixt the names of Scott and Kerr; and one of the acts of violence to which it gave rise, was the murder of Sir Walter Scott, of Buccleuch, who was slain by the Kerrs in the streets of Edinburgh, in 1552. This is the event alluded to, and the poem is supposed to open shortly after it had taken place.
f Edinburgh, i.e. Dun Edin, or "the hill of Edin."
The war-cry, or gathering word, of a Border clan.
h Among other expedients resorted to for stanching the feud betwixt the Scotts and the Kerrs, was a bond executed, in 1529, betwixt the heads of each clan, binding themselves to perform reciprocally the four pilgrimages of Scotland, for the benefit of the souls of those of the opposite name who had fallen in the quarrel. It never took effect, or else the feud broke out anew.
i The family of Ker, Kerr, or Carr, was very powerful on the Border. Cessford Castle, now in ruins, the ancient baronial residence of the family, is situated near the village of Morebattle, within two or three miles of the Cheviot Hills.