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these trees measure twenty-five feet, and upwards, in circumference; and the state of decay, in which they now appear, shows that they may have witnessed the rites of the Druids. The whole scenery is included in the magnificent and extensive park of the Duke of Hamilton. In this forest was long preserved the breed of the Scottish wild cattle, until their ferocity led to their extirpation, about forty years ago. Their appearance was beautiful, being milk-white, with black muzzles, horns, and hoofs. The bulls are described by ancient authors as having white manes; but those of latter days had lost that peculiarity, perhaps by intermixture with the tame breed.
In detailing the death of the regent Murray, which is made the subject of the following ballad, it would be injustice to my reader to use other words than those of Dr. Robertson, whose account of that memorable event forms a beautiful piece of historical painting.
"Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh was the person who committed this barbarous action. He had been condemned to death soon after the battle of Langside, as we have already related, and owed his life to the regent's clemency. But part of his estate had been bestowed upon one of the regent's favourites, who seized his house, and turned out his wife naked, in a cold night, into the open fields, where, before next morning, she became furiously mad. This injury made a deeper impression on him than the benefit he had received, and from that moment he vowed to be revenged of the regent. Party_rage strengthened and inflamed his private resentment. His kinsmen, the Hamiltons, applauded the enterprise. The maxims of that age justified the most desperate course he could take to obtain vengeance. He followed the regent for some time, and watched for an opportunity to strike the blow. He resolved, at last, to wait till his enemy should arrive at Linlithgow, through which he was to pass, in his way from Stirling to Edinburgh. He took his stand in a wooden gallery, which had a window towards the street; spread a feather-bed on the floor, to hinder the noise of his feet from being heard; hung up a black cloth behind him, that his shadow might not be observed from without; and, after all this preparation, calmly expected the regent's approach, who had lodged, during the night, in a house not far distant. Some indistinct information of the danger which threatened him, had been conveyed to the regent, and he paid so much regard to it, that he resolved to return by the same gate through which he had entered, and to fetch a compass round the town. But, as the crowd about the gate was great, and he himself unacquainted with fear, he proceeded directly along the street; and the throng of people obliging him to move very slowly, gave the assassin time to take so true an aim, that he shot him, with a single bullet, through the lower part of his belly, and killed the horse of a gentleman, who rode on his other
side. His followers instantly endeavoured to break into the house whence the blow had come; but they found the door strongly barricaded, and, before it could be forced open, Hamilton had mounted a fleet horse, which stood ready for him at a back passage, and was got far beyond their reach. The regent died the same night of his wound."-History of Scotland, book v.
The Regent died on the 23rd of January, 1569. Immediately after the murder Bothwellhaugh rode to Hamilton, where he was received in triumph.
WHEN princely Hamilton's abode
For thou, from scenes of courtly pride,
And mark the long-forgotten urn.
Then, noble maid! at thy command,
The past returns-the present flies.
Where with the rock's wood-covered side
And feudal banners flaunt between:
And ramparts frown in battled row.
Is chequering the moonlight beam.
The weary warder leaves his tower;
Steeds snort; uncoupled stag-hounds bay,
Urge the shy steed, and slack the rein.
Was fleeter than the mountain wind.
The Mountain Bull comes thundering on.
Spurns, with black hoof and horn, the sand,
Aimed well, the chieftain's lance has flown;
Sound, merry huntsmen! sound the pryse ! P
"Tis noon-against the knotted oak
Curls through the trees the slender smoke,
Proudly the chieftain marked his clan,
Why shares he not our hunter's fare?"
The head of the family of Hamilton, at this period, was James, earl of Arran, duke of Chatelherault, in France, and first peer of the Scottish realm. In 1569, he was appointed by Queen Mary her lieu. tenant-general in Scotland, under the singular title of her adopted father.
P The note blown at the death of the game.
Stern Claud replied, with darkening face,
No more the warrior shalt thou see.
The war-worn soldier turned him home.
And peaceful nursed her new-born child.
Where mountain Eske through woodland flows,
"The wildered traveller sees her glide,
And half unsheathed his Arran brand.
Lord Claud Hamilton, second son of the duke of Chatelherault, and commendator of the abbey of Paisley, acted a distinguished part during the troubles of Queen Mary's reign, and remained unalterably attached to the cause of that unfortunate princess. He led the van of her army at the fatal battle of Langside, and was one of the commanders at the Raid of Stirling, which had so nearly given complete success to the queen's faction. He was ancestor of the present marquis of Abercorn.
This barony, stretching along the banks of the Eske, near Auchendinny, belonged to Bothwellhaugh, in right of his wife. The ruins of the mansion, from whence she was expelled in the brutal manner which occasioned her death, are still to be seen in a hollow glen beside the river. Popular report tenants them with the restless ghost of the Lady Bothwellhaugh; whom, however, it confounds with Lady Anne Bothwell, whose Lament is so popular. This spectre is so tenacious of her rights that, a part of the stones of the ancient edifice having been employed in building or repairing the present Woodhouselee, she has deemed it a part of her privilege to haunt that house also; and, even of very late years, has excited considerable disturbance and terror among the domestics. This is a more remarkable vindication of the rights of ghosts, as the present Woodhouselee, which gives his title to the Honourable Alexander Fraser Tytler, a senator of the College of Justice, is situated on the slope of the Pentland hills, distant at least four miles from her proper abode. She always appears in white, and with her child in her arms.
But who, o'er bush, o'er stream, and rock,
Whose cheek is pale, whose eyeballs glare,
From gory selle,s and reeling steed,
He dashed his carbine on the ground.
Sternly he spoke-" "Tis sweet to hear
To drink a tyrant's dying groan.
And smiled, the traitorous pomp to see.
"With hack but bent,t my secret stand
"Dark Morton," girt with many a spear,
Saddle. A word used by Spenser, and other old authors.
t I. e. Gun cocked. The carbine with which the regent was shot is preserved at Hamilton Palace. It is a brass piece, of a middling length, very small in the bore, and what is rather extraordinary, appears to have been rified or indented in the barrel. It had a matchlock, for which a modern firelock has been injudiciously substituted.
u of this noted person it is enough to say, that he was active in the murder of David Rizzio, and at least privy to that of Darnley.
This clan of Lennox Highlanders were attached to the regent Murray.