« AnteriorContinuar »
scription of Christmas, and his attributes, as personified in Since the first edition of Marrian appeared, this subject has one of Ben Jolson's Masques for the Court.
received much elucidation from the leaned and extensive la ** Enter CHRISTMAS, with two or three of the Guard. He is bours of Mr. Douce; and the Chester Mysteries (edited by J. attired in round hose, long stockings, a close doublet, a high H. Markland, Esq.) have been printed in a style of great ele crowned hat, with a brooch, a long thin beard, a truncheon, gance and accuracy, (in 1818.) by Bensley and Sons, London, little ruffs, wbite shoes, his scarfs and garters tied cross, and for the Roxburghe Club. 1830. his drum beaten before him.-The names of his children, with their attires: Bliss- Rule, in a velvet cap, with a sprig, a short cloak, great yellow ruff, like a reveller; his torch-bearer bearing a rope, a cheese, and a basket ;-Caroil, a long taway coat,
NOTE 4 F. with a red cap, and a flute at his girdle ; his torch-bearer car. rying a song book open ;--Minc'd-pie, like a fide cook's wife,
Where my great granlsire came of old, drest neat, her man carrying a pie, dish, and spoons ;--Gam
With amber beard and flaxen hair.-P. 129. boll, like a tumbler, with a hoop and bells ; his torch-bearer arm'd with cole-staff, and blinding cloth ;-- Post and Pair, Mr. Scott of Harden, my kind and affectionate friend, and with a pair-royal of aces in his hat, his garment all done over distant relation, has the original of a poetical invitation, adwith pairs and purs; his squire carrying a box, cards, and dressed from his grandfather to my relative, from which a few counters ;-Neu-year's-Gif, in a blue coat, serving-man like, lines in the text are imitated. They are dated, as the epistle with an orange, and a sprig of rosemary gilt on his head, his in the text, from Mertoun-house, the seat of the Harden fahat full of brooches, with a collar of gingerbread; his torch- mily. bearer carrying a march-pain, with a bottle of wine on either arm ;-Numming, in a masquing pied suit, with a visor; his
« With amber beard, and flaxen hair, torch-bearer carrying the box, and ringing it;-W'assal, like a
And reverend apostolic air, neat sempster and songster; her page bearing a brown bowl,
Free of anxiety and care, drest with ribbands, and rosemary, before her;-Offering, in
Come hither, Christmas-day, and dine; a short gown, with a porter's staff in his hand; a wyth borne
We'll mix sobriety with wine, before him, and a bason, by his torch-bearer ;-Baby Cocke,
And easy mirth with thoughts divine. drest like a boy, in a tine long coat, biggin, bib, muckender,
We Christians think it holiday, and a little dagger; his usher bearing a great cake, with a bean
On it no sin to feast or play; and a pease."
Others, in spite, may fast and pray.
Why may not we, as well as they,
Be innocently blithe that day,
On goose or ple, on wine or ale,
and scorn enthusiastic zeal ?-
Pray come, and welcome, or plague rott
Your friend and landlord, Walter Scott. It seems certain, that the Mummers of England, who (in
“Mr. Walter Scott, Lessuden." Northumberland at least) used to go about in disguise to the neighbouring houses, bearing the then useless ploughshare ; The venerable old gentleman, to whom the lines are adand the Guisards of Scotland, not yet in total disuse, present, dressed, was the younger brother of William Scott of Rap in some indistinct degree, a shadow of the old mysteries, burn. Being the cadet of a cadet of the Harden family, he which were the origin of the English drama. In Scotland, had very little to lose ; yet he contrived to lose the small pro(me ipso teste,) we were wont, during my boyhood, to take the perty he had, by engaging in the civil wars and intrigues of the characters of the apostles, at least of Peter, Paul, and Judas house of Stuart. His veneration for the exiled family was so Iscariot; the first had the keys, the second carried a sword, great, that he swore he would not shave his beard till they and the last the bag, in which the dole of our neighbours were restored: a mark of attachment, which, I suppose, had plumb-cake was deposited. One played a champion, and re- been common during Cromwell's usurpation; for, in Cowley's cited some traditional rhymes ; another was
“ Cutter of Coleman Street," one drunken cavalier upbraids
another, that, when he was not able to afford to pay a bar. "Alexander, King of Macedon,
ber, he affected to " wear a beard for the King." I sincerely Who conquer'd all the world but Scotland alone : hope this was not absolutely the original reason of my ancesWhen he came to Scotland his courage grew cold, tor's beard; which, as appears from a portrait in the possesTo see a little nation courageous and bold."
sion of Sir Henry Hay Macdougal, Bart., and another painted
for the famous Dr. Pitcairn, 2 was a beard of a most dignified These, and many such verses, were repeated, but by rote, and and venerable appearance. unconnectedly. There was also, occasionally, I believe, a Saint George. In all, there was a confused resemblance of the ancient mysteries, in which the characters of Scripture, the Nine Worthies, and other popular personages, were usually exhit'ted. It were much to be wished that the Chester
NOTE 4 G. Mystenes were published from the MS. in the Museum, with the annotations which a diligent investigator of popular anti
The Spirit's Blasted Tree.-P. 130. quities might still supply. The late acute and valuable antiquary, Mr. Ritson, showed me several memoranda towards I am permitted to illustrate this passage, by inserting such a task, which are probably now dispersed or lost. See,“ Ceubren yr Ellyll, or The Spirit's Blasted Tree," a legendary however, his Remarks on Shakspeare, 1783, p. 38.
tale, by the Reverend George Warrington :
1 Now Lord Polwarth.
genius. By the favour of the late Earl of Kellie, descended
on the maternal side from Dr. Pitcairn, my father became The old gentleman was an intimate of this celebrated possessed of the portrait in question.
" Yet Fancy, in a thousand shapes,
Bore to his home the Chief once more: Some saw him on high Moal's top,
Some saw him on the winding shore.
• The event, on which this tale is founded, is preserved by tradition in the family of the Vaughans of Hengwyrt ; nor is it entirely lost, even among the common people, who still point out this oak to the passenger. The enmity between the two Welsh chieftains, Howel Sele, and Owen Glendwr, was extreme, and marked by vile treachery in the one, and ferocious cruelty in the other. The story is somewhat changed and softened, as more favourable to the character of the two chiefs, and as better answering the purpose of poetry, by admitting the passion of pity, and a greater degree of sentiment in the description. Some trace of Howel Sele's mansion was to be seen a few years ago, and may perhaps be still visible, in the park of Nannau, now belonging to Sir Robert Vaughan, Baronet, in the wild and romantic tracks of Merionethshire. The abbey mentioned passes under two names, Vener and Cymmer. The former is retained, as more generally used.
“ With wonder fraught the tale went round,
Amazement chain'd the hearer's tongue : Each peasant felt his own sad loss,
Yet fondly o'er the story hung.
“Oft by the moon's pale shadowy light,
His aged nurse and steward grey Would lean to catch the storied sounds,
Or mark the flitting spirit stray.
THE SPIRIT'S BLASTED TREE.
“ Pale lights on Cader's rocks were seen,
And midnight voices heard to moan; 'Twas even said the Blasted Oak,
Convulsive, heaved a hollow groan:
Ccubren yr Elyu. " Through Nannau's Chase, as Howel pass'd,
A chief esteem'd both brave and kind, Far distant borne, the stag-hounds' cry
Came murmuring on the hollow wind.
“And to this day the peasant still,
With cautious fear, avoids the ground: In each wild branch a spectre sees,
And trembles at each rising sound.
Gladly my tongue would tell its tale,
" With bitter taunt and keen reproach, My words at ease unfetter'd flow!
He, all impetuous, pour d his rage;
Reviled the Chief, as weak in arms, ""Now, lady, give attention due,
And bade him loud the battle wage.
“«Glyndwr for once restrain'd his sword, Suspense removed is some relief.
And, still averse, the fight delays ;
But soften'd words, like oil to fire, «• Though worn by care, see Madoc here,
Made anger more intensely blaze.
** They fought; and doubtful long the frey For now that mighty Chief lies low.
The Glyndwr gave the fatal wound!
Still mournful must my tale proceed, " " E'en from the day, when, chain'd by fate,
And its last act all dreadful sound.
“« How could we hope for wish'd retreat, 'Reft of his aid the Percy fell ;
His eager vassals ranging wide,
His bloodhounds' keen sagacious scent, «« E'en from that day misfortune still,
O'er many a trackless mountain tried.
“I mark'd a broad and Blasted Oak, Vindictive still for Hotspur's death.
Scorch'd by the lightning's livid glare ;
Hollow its stem from branch to root, " "Vanquish'd at length, the Glyndwr fled,
And all its shrivell’d arms were bare.
« « Be this, I cried, his proper grave!In some lole cot, or desert wood.
(The thought in me was deadly sin,)
Aloft we raised the hapless Chief, ""Clothed in a shepherd's humble guise,
And dropp'd his bleeding corpse withia.'
“A shriek from all the damsels burst, And her brave sons to glory led!
That pierced the vaulted roofs below;
While horror-struck the Lady stood, ""To penury extreme, and grief,
A living form of sculptured woe.
“With stupid stare and vacant gaze, Such as with pain I now convey.
Full on his face her eyes were cast,
Absorb'd!-she lost her present grief, « * To Sele's sad widow bear the tale,
And faintly thought of things long past.
"Like wild-fire o'er a mossy heath, Then may my parting soul be blest.' –
The rumour through the hamlet ran;
The peasants crowd at morning dawn, «« « Dim wax'd the eye that fiercely shone,
To hear the tale--behold the man.
* He led them near the Blasted Oak, Which oft had dealt the mortal stroke.
Then, conscious, from the scene withdrew.
The peasants work with trembling haste, “How could I then his mandate bear?
And lay the whitend bones to view !--
" Back they recoil'd !-the right hand still, With him I shunn'd the light of day.
Contracted, grasp'd a rusty sword;
Which erst in many a battle gleam'd, « Proscribed by Henry's hostile rage,
And proudly deck'd their slaughter'd lord.
“They bore the corse to Vener's shrine, And fought on Syria's distant strand.
With holy rites and prayers address d;
Nine white-robed monks the last dirge sang, "Oh, had thy long-lamented lord
And gave the angry spirit rest." The holy
oss and banner view'd, Died in the sacred canse! who fell
Sad victim of a private feud!
NOTE 4 H.
Will, on a Friday morn, look pale,
If ask'd to tell a fairy tale."-P. 131 * • With head aloft and antlers wide, A red buck roused then cross'd in view:
The Daoine shi, or Men of Peace, of the Scottish HighStung with the sight, and wild with rage,
landers, rather resemble the Scandinavian Duergar than the Swift from the wood fierce Howel flew.
English Fairies. Not withstanding their name, they are, if
not absolutely malevolent, at least peevish, discontented, of the highest windows there, the resemblance of a woman and apt to do mischief on slight provocation. The belief of arrayed in a shroud. Though we are certain this is only a their existence is deeply impressed on the Highlanders, who reflection caused by the splendour of the sunbeams, yet fame think they are particularly offended at mortals who talk of reports it, and it is constantly believed among the vulgar, to them, who wear their favourite colour green, or in any re- be an appearance of Lady Hilda in her shroud, or rather in a spect interfere with their affairs. This is especially to be glorified state; before which, I make no doubt, the Papists, avoided on Friday, when, whether as dedicated to Venus, even in these our days, offer up their prayers with as much with whom, in Germany, this subterraneous people are held zeal and devotion as before any other image of their most nearly connected, or for a more solemn reason, they are more glorified saint.”—CHARLTON'S History of Whilby, p. 33. active, and possessed of greater power. Some curious particulars concerning the popular superstitions of the Highlanders may be found in Dr. Graham's Picturesque Sketches of Perth
NOTE 4 L.
NOTE 4 I.
the huge and sweeping brand
The towers of Franchémont.-P. 130,
The journal of the friend to whom the Fourth Canto of the The Earl of Angus had strength and personal activity colo Poem is inscribed, furnished me with the following account responding to his courage. Spens of Kilspindie, a favourito of a striking superstition.
of James IV., having spoken of him lightly, the Earl met him " Passed the pretty little village of Franchémont, (near while hawking, and, compelling him to single combat, at one Spaw), with the romantic ruins of the old castle of the Counts blow cut asunder his thighbone, and killed him on the spot. of that name. The road leads through many delightful vales But ere he could obtain James's pardon for this slaughter, on a rising ground; at the extremity of one of them stands Angus was obliged to yield his castle of Hermitage, in exthe ancient castle, now the subject of many superstitious change for that of Both well, which was some diminution to legends. It is firmly believed by the neighbouring peasantry, the family greatness. The sword with which he struck so that the last Baron of Franchémont deposited, in one of the remarkable a blow, was presented by his descendant James, Taults of the castle, a ponderous chest, containing an im- Earl of Morton, afterwards Regent of Scotland, to Lord Linmense treasure in gold and silver, which, by some magic spell, desay of the Byres, when he defied Bothwell to single combat was intrusted to the care of the Devil, who is constantly found on Carberry Hill. Sce Introduction to the Minstrelsy of the sitting on the chest in the shape of a huntsman. Any one Scottish Border, adventurous enough to touch the chest is instantly seized with the palsy. Upon one occasion, a priest of noted piety was brought to the vault: he used all the arts of exorcism to persuade his infernal majesty to vacate his seat, but in vain ; the huntsman remained immovable. At last, moved by the
NOTE 4 M. earnestness of the priest, he told him that he would agree to resign the chest, if the exorciser would sign his name with
And hopest thou hence unscathed to go blood. But the priest understood his meaning, and refused,
No! by St. Bride of Bothwell, no! as by that act he would have delivered over his soul to the
Up drawbridge, grooms !-What, Warder, ho! Devil. Yet if any body can discover the mystic words used
Let the portcullis fall.-P. 135. by the person who deposited the treasure, and pronounce them, the fiend must instantly decamp. I had many stories This ebullition of violence in the potent Earl of Angus is of a similar nature from a peasant, who had himself seen the not without its example in the real history of the house of Devil in the shape of a great cat.
Douglas. whose chieftains possessed the ferocity, with the heroic virtues of a savage state. The most curious instance occurred in the case of Maclellan, Tutor of Bombay, who, having refused to acknowledge the pre-eminence claimed by Douglas over the gentlemen and Barons of Galloway, was
seized and imprisoned by the Earl, in his castle of the Thrieve, NOTE 4 K.
on the borders of Kirkcudbrightshire. Sir Patrick Gray,
commander of King James the Second's guard, was uncle to The very form of Hilda fair,
the Tutor of Bombay, and obtained from the King a “sweet Hovering upon the sunny air,
letter of supplication," praying the Earl to deliver his prisoner And smiling on her votaries' prayer.-P. 132. into Gray's hand. When Sir Patrick arrived at the castle,
he was received with all the honour due to a favourite ser"I shall only produce one instance more of the great vene vant of the King's household; but while he was at dinner, ration paid to Lady Hilda, which still prevails even in these the Earl, who suspected his crrand, caused his prisoner to be our days ; and that is, the constant opinion that she rendered, led forth and beheaded. After dinner, Sir Patrick presented and still renders, herself visible, on some occasions, in the the King's letter to the Earl, who received it with great affec· Abbey of Streanshalh or Whitby, where she so long resided. tation of reverence; “and took him by the hand, and led him At a particular time of the year (viz. in the summer months), forth to the green, where the gentleman was lying dead, and at ten or eleven in the forenoon, the sunbeams fall in the in- showed him the manner, and said, “Sir Patrick, you are come side of the northern part of the choir; and 'tis then that the a little too late ; yonder is your sister's son lying, but he wants spectators, who stand on the west side of Whitby churchyard, the head : take his body, and do with it what you will. -Sir so as just to see the most northerly part of the abbey pass the Patrick answered again, with a sore heart, and said, 'My Dorth end of Whitby church, imagine they perceive, in one lord, if ye have taken from him his head, dispone upon tho
budy as ye please ;' and with that called for his horse, and, of the river in his front. But as the passage, both over the leaped thereon; and when he was on horseback, he said to bridge and through the ford, was difficult and slow, it seems the Farl on this manner, ‘My lord, if I live you shall be re- possible that the English might have been attacked to great warded for your labours that you have used at this time, ac- advantage while struggling with these natural obstacles. I cording to your demerits.'
know not if we are to impute James's forbearance to want of "At this saying the Earl was highly offended, and cried for military skill, or to the romantic declaration which Pitscottie horse. Sir Patrick, seeing the Earl's fury, spurred his horse, puts in his mouth, " that he was determined to have his enebut he was chased near Edinburgh ere they left him; and mies before him on a plain field," and therefore would suffer had it not been his led horse was so tried and good, he had no interruption to be given, even by artillery, to their passing been taken."-- PITscottie's History, p. 39.
The ancient bridge of Twisel, by which the English crossed the Till, is still standing beneath Twisel Castle, a splendid pile of Gothic architecture, as now rebuilt by Sir Francis Blake, Bart., whose extensive plantations have so much improved the country around. The glen is romantic and delight
ful, with steep banks on each side, covered with copse, parti. Note 4 N.
cularly with hawthorn. Beneath a tall rock. Dear the bridge,
is a plentiful fountain, called St. Helen's Well.
Lest the reader should partake of the Earl's astonishment, and consider the crime as inconsistent with the manners of
NOTE 4 Q. the period, I have to remind him of the numerous forgeries (partly executed by a female assistant) devised by Robert of
Hence might they see the full array, Artois, to forward his suit against the Countess Matilda ;
Of either host, fur dearlly tray.-P. 138. which, being detected, occasioned his flight into England, and proved the remote cause of Edward the Third's memor The reader cannot here expect a full account of the battle able wars in France. John Harding. also, was expressly of Flodden; but, so far as is necessary to understand the rohired by Edward VI. to forge such documents as might ap- mance, I beg to remind him, that, when the English army, by pear to establish the claim of fealty asserted over Scotland by their skilful countermarch, were fairly placed between King the English monarchs.
James and his own country, the Scottish monarch resolved to fight ; and, setting fire to his tents, descended from the ridge of Flodden to secure the neighbouring eminence of Brankstone, on which that village is built. Thus the two armies
met, almost without seeing each other, when, according to • NOTE 4 0.
the old poem of “Flodden Field," Lenne's convent.-P. 136.
“ The English line stretch'd east and west,
And southward were their faces set; This was a Cistertian house of religion, now almost entirely The Scottish northward proudly prest, demolished. Lennel House is now the residence of my vene
And manfully their foes they met." rable friend, Patrick Brydone, Esquire, so well known in the literary world. It is situated near Coldstream, almost oppo- The English army advanced in four divisions. On the right, mite to Cornbill, and consequently very near to Flodden Field. which first engaged, were the sons of Earl Surrey, namely,
Thomas Howard, the Admiral of England, and Sir Edmund, the Knight Marshal of the army. Their divisions were sepa. rated from each other; but, at the request of Sir Edmund, his
brother's battalion was drawn very near to his own. The NOTE 4 P.
centre was commanded by Surrey in person; the left wing by
Sir Edward Stanley, with the men of Lancashire, and of the Tuisul bridge.-P. 136.
palatinate of Chester. Lord Dacres, with a large body of
horse, formed a reserve. When the smoke, which the wind On the evening previous to the memorable battle of Flod bad driven between the armies, was somewhat dispersed, they den, Surrey's head-quarters were at Barmoor Wood, and King perceived the Scots, who had mored down the hill in a similar James held an inaccessible position on the ridge of Flodden- order of battle, and in deep silence. The Earls of Huntley hill, one of the last and lowest eminences detached from the and of Home commanded their left wing, and charged Sir ridge of Cheviot. The Till, a deep and slow river, winded Edmund Howard with such success as entirely to defeat his between the armies. On the morning of the 9th September part of the English right wing. Sir Edmund's banner was 1513, Surrey marched in a north-westerly direction, and beaten down, and he himself escaped with difficulty to his crossed the Till, with his van and artillery, at Twisel-bridge, brother's division. The Admiral, however, stood firm; and nigh where that river joins the Tweed, his rear-guard column Dacre advancing to his support with the reserve of cavalry, passing about a mile higher, by a ford. This movement had probably between the interval of the divisions commanded by the double effect of placing his army between King James and the brothers Howard, appears to have kept the victors in his supplies from Scotland, and of striking the Scottish mo- effectual check. Home's men, chiefly Borderers, began to narch with surprise, as he seems to have relied on the depth pillage the baggage of both armies; and their leader is branded
1 First Edition. --Mr. Brydone has been many years dead. ordre, en la maniere que marchent les Allemans sans parler, ne 1825.
faire aucun bruit."-Gazette of the battle, PINKERTON'S His 9" Lesquel: Escossois descendirent la montaigne en bonne tory, Appendix, vol. ii. p. 456.