Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

And give yon sutherne folk a frey!

Take tent to Merling truely
Why should I lose, the right is mine?

Then shall the wars ended be,
My date is not to die this day.'"

And never again rise.

In that yere there shall a king, Who can doubt, for a moment, that this refers to

A duke, and no crown'd king: the battle of Flodden, and to the popular reports con

Becaus the prince shall be yong,

And tender of yeares." cerning the doubtful fate of James IV.? Allusion is immediately afterwards made to the death of The date, above hinted at, seems to be 1549, when George Douglas, heir apparent of Angus, who fought the Scottish Regent, by means of some succours deand fell with his sovereign :

rived from France, was endeavouring to repair the

consequences of the fatal battle of Pinkie. Allusion is “The sternes three that day shall die,

made to the supply given to the “Moldwarte [England] That bears the harte in silver sheen."

by the fained hart,” (the Earl of Angus.) The Regent The well-known arms of the Douglas family are the is described by his bearing the antelope ; large supheart and three stars. In another place, the battle of plies are promised from France, and complete conPinkie is expressly mentioned by name :

quest predicted to Scotland and her allies. Thus was

the same hackneyed stratagem repeated, whenever At Pinken Cluch there shall be spilt

the interest of the rulers appeared to stand in need of Much gentle blood that day; There shall the bear lose the guilt,

it. The Regent was not, indeed, till after this period, And the eagill bear it away.”

created Duke of Chatelherault; but that honour was

the object of his hopes and expectations. To the end of all this allegorical and mystical rhap

The name of our renowned soothsayer is liberally sody, is interpolated, in the later edition by Andro used as an authority, throughout all the prophecies Hart, a new edition of Berlington's verses, before published by Andro Hart. Besides those expressly quoted, altered and manufactured, so as to bear refer- put in his name, Gildas, another assumed personage, ence to the accession of James VI., which had just is supposed to derive his knowledge from him ; for he then taken place. The insertion is made with a pecu- concludes thus :liar degree of awkwardness, betwixt a question, put by

“ True Thomas me told in a troublesome time, the narrator, concerning the name and abode of the

In a harvest morn at Eldoun hills." person who showed him these strange matters, and the

The Prophecy of Gildas. answer of the prophet to that question :“ Then to the Beirne could I say,

In the prophecy of Berlington, already quoted, we Where dwells thou, or in what countrie?

are told, [Or who shall rule the isle of Britane,

“ Marvellous Merlin, that many men of tells,
From the north to the south sey?

And Thomas's sayings comes all at once."
A French queene shall bear the sonne,
Shall rule all Britaine to the sea;

While I am upon the subject of these prophecies,
Which of the Bruce's blood shall come,

may I be permitted to call the attention of antiquaries As neere as the nint degree: I frained fast what was his name,

to Merdwynn Wyllt, or Merlin the Wild, in whose Where that he came, from what country. ] name, and by no means in that of Ambrose Merlin, In Erslingtoun I dwell at hame,

the friend of Arthur, the Scottish prophecies are is. Thomas Rymour men cals me."

sued ? That this personage resided at Drummelziar, There is surely no one, who will not conclude, with and roamed, like a second Nebuchadnezzar, the woods Lord Hailes, that the eight lines, enclosed in brackets, of Tweeddale, in remorse for the death of his nephew, are a clumsy interpolation, borrowed from Berlington,

we learn from Fordun. In the Scotichronicon, lib. 3. with such alterations as might render the supposed cap. 31, is an account of an interview betwixt St. prophecy applicable to the union of the crowns.

Kentigern and Merlin, then in this distracted and

miserable state. He is said to have been called LaiWhile we are on this subject, it may be proper briefly to notice the scope of some of the other predic-loken, from his mode of life. On being commanded tions, in Hart's Collection. As the prophecy of Ber- by the saint to give an account of himself, he says, lington was intended to raise the spirits of the nation, that the penance which he performs was imposed on during the regency of Albany, so those of Sybilla and him by a voice from heaven, during a bloody contest Eltraine refer to that of the Earl of Arrau, afterwards betwixt Lidel and Carwanolow, of which battle he Duke of Chatelherault, during the minority of Mary, had been the cause. According to his own prediction, a period of similar calamity. This is obvious from the he perished at once by wood, earth, and water ; for,

being pursued with stones by the rustics, he fell from following verses :

a rock into the river Tweed, and was transfixed by a “ Take a thousand in calculation,

sharp stake, fixed there for the purpose of extending a And the longest of the lyon,

fishing-net :-
Four crescents under one crowne,
With Saint Andrew's croce thrise,

Sude perfossus, lapide percussus, et unda,
Then threescore and thrise three :

Hæc tria Merlinum fertur inire necet.

Sucque ruil, mersusque fuit lignoque prehensus, He answers briefly to Waldhave's enquiry concerning
El fecit valem per terna pericula verum."

his name and nature, that he “drces his weird," i. e. But, in a metrical history of Merlin of Caledonia, does penance in that wood ; and, having hinted that compiled by Geoffrey of Monmouth, from the tradi- questions as to his own state are offensive, he pours tions of the Welsh bards, this mode of death is attri-forth an obscure rhapsody concerning futurity, and

concludes, buted to a page, whom Merlin's sister, desirous to convict the prophet of falsehood, because he had be

Go musing upon Merlin if thou wilt: trayed her intrigues, introduced to him, under three

For I mean no more, man, at this time." various disguises, enquiring each time in what manner

This is exactly similar to the meeting betwixt Merthe person should die. To the first demand Merlin answered, the party should perish by a fall from a

lin and Kentigern in Fordun. These prophecies of rock ; to the second, that he should die by a tree; and Merlin seem to have been in request in the minority to the third, that he should be drowned. The youth of James V.; for, among the amusements with which perished, while hunting, in the mode imputed by For- Sir David Lindsay diverted that prince during his dun to Merlin himself.

infancy, are, Fordun, contrary to the French authorities, con

“The prophecies of Rymer, Bede, and Merlin." founds this person with the Merlin of Arthur; but

Sir DAVID LINDSAY's Epistle to the King. concludes by informing us, that many believed him to be a different person. The grave of Merlin is pointed And we find, in Waldhave, at least one allusion to out at Drummelziar, in Tweeddale, beneath an aged the very ancient prophecy, addressed to the Countess thorn-tree. On the east-side of the churchyard, the of Dunbar :brook, called Pausayl, falls into the Tweed; and the following prophecy is said to have been current con- “ This is a true token that Thomas of tells, cerning their union :

When a ladde with a ladye shall go over the fields." “When Tweed and Pausayl join at Merlin's grave,

The original stands thus :Scotland and England shall one monarch have."

“ When laddes weddeth lovedies," On the day of the coronation of James VI., the

Another prophecy of Merlin seems to have been I'weed accordingly overflowed, and joined the Pau- current about the time of the Regent Morton's exesayl at the prophet's grave.--PENNYCUICK'S Historycution. When that nobleman was committed to the of Tweeddale, p. 26. These circumstances would charge of his accuser, Captain James Stewart, newly seem to infer a communication betwixt the south- created Earl of Arran, to be conducted to his trial at west of Scotland and Wales, of a nature peculiarly Edinburgh, Spottiswoode says, that he asked, “ . Who intimate ; for I presume that Merlin would retain was Earl of Arran ?' and being answered that Capsense enough to choose for the scene of his wander- tain James was the man, after a short pause, he said, ings, a country having a language and manners simi- | And is it so? I know then what I may look for!' lar to his own.

meaning, as was thought, that the old prophecy of Be this as it may, the memory of Merlin Sylvester, the · Falling of the heart 3 by the mouth of Arran,' or the Wild, was fresh among the Scots during the should then be fulfilled. Whether this was his mind reign of James V. Waldhave,' under whose name a or not, it is not known; but some sparod not, at the set of prophecies was published, describes himself as time when the Hamiltons were banished, in which lying upon Lomond Law; he hears a voice, which business he was held too earnest, to say, that he stood bids him stand to his defence; he looks around, and in fear of that prediction, and went that course only beholds a flock of hares and foxes? pursued over the to disappoint it. But if so it was, he did find himself mountain by a savage figure, to whom he can hardly now deluded; for he fell by the mouth of another give the name of man. At the sight of Waldhave, Arran than he imagined.”-SPOTTISWOODE, 313. The the apparition leaves the objects of his pursuit, and fatal words alluded to seem to be these in the proassaults him with a club. Waldhave defends himself phecy of Merlin :with his sword, throws the savage to the earth, and refuses to let him arise till he swear, by the law and

“In the mouthe of Arrane a selconth shall fall, lead he lives upon,“ to do him no harm.” This done,

Two bloodie hearts shall be taken with a false traine,

And derfly dung down without any dome." he permits him to arise, and marvels at his strange appearance :

To return from these desultory remarks, into which

I have been led by the celebrated name of Merlin, “ He was formed like a freike (man) all his four quarters; And then his chin and his face haired so thick,

the style of all these prophecies, published by Hart, With haire growing so grime, fearful to see."

is very much the same. The measure is alliterative,

a

3

2

2 See Appendix, Note D.

1 I do not know whether the person here meant be Waldhare, an abbot of Melrose, who died in the odour of sanctity, about 1160.

3 Tho heart was the cognizance of Morton.

[graphic][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »