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Corspatrick, (Comes Patrick) Earl of March, but “ The neist curse lights on Branxton hills: more commonly taking his title from his castle of By Flodden's high and heathery side, Dunbar, acted a noted part during the wars of Ed Shall wave a banner red as blude, ward I. in Scotland. As Thomas of Ercildoune is said And chieftains throng wi' meikle pride. to have delivered to him his famous prophecy of King Alexander's death, the Editor has chosen to intro “ A Scottish King shall come full keen, duce him into the following ballad. All the prophetic The ruddy lion beareth he; verses are selected from Hart's publication.'
A feather'd arrow sharp, I ween,
Shall make him wink and warre to see.
1 An exact reprint of these prophecies, from the edition of 3 The uncertainty which long prevailed in Scotland, con Waldegrave, in 1613, collated with Hart's, of 1615, from the cerning the fate of James IV., is well known. copy in the Abbotsford Library, was completed for the Ban 4 One of Thomas's rhymes, preserved by tradition, run natyne Club, under the care of the learned antiquary, Mr. thus
“ The burn of breid David Laing of Edinburgh. -Ed. 1833.
Shall run fow reid." ? King Alexander, killed by a fall from his horse, near Bannock-burn is the brook here meant. The Scots give the Kinghorn.
name of bannuck to a thick round cake of unlearened bread
* A French Queen shall bear the son,
ferred to, by the minstrels of Normandy and Bretagno. Shall rule all Britain to the sea;
Having arrived at a part of the romance where reHe of the Bruce's blood shall come,
citers were wont to differ in the mode of telling the As near as in the ninth degree.
story, the French bard expressly cites the authority
of the poet of Ercildoune: “ The waters worship shall his race;
“ Plusurs de nos granter ne volent, Likewise the waves of the farthest sea;
Co que del naim dire se solent, For they shall ride over ocean wide,
Ki femme Kaherdin dut aimer,
Li naim redut Tristram narrer,
Enveiad Tristram Guvernal,
En Engleterre per Ysolt:
Et si volt par raisun mostrer,
Qu'ico ne put pas esteer,” &c.
burgh MS., is totally different from the voluminous BY WALTER SCOTT.
romance in prose, originally compiled on the same THOMAS THE Rhymer was renowned among his subject by Rusticien de Puise, and analyzed by M. de contemporaries, as the author of the celebrated ro-Tressan; but agrees in every essential particular with mance of Sir Tristrem. Of this once-admired poem the metrical performance just quoted, which is a work only one copy is now known to exist, which is in the of much higher antiquity. Advocates' Library. The Editor, in 1804, published The following attempt to commemorate the Rhyma small edition of this curious work; which, if it does er’s poetical fame, and the traditional account of his not revive the reputation of the bard of Ercildoune, marvellous return to Fairy Land, being entirely mois at least the earliest specimen of Scottish poetry dern, would have been placed with greater propriety hitherto published. Some account of this romance has among the class of Modern Ballads, had it it not been already been given to the world in Mr. Ellis's Speci- for its immediate connexion with the first and second mens of Ancient Poetry, vol. i. p. 165, iii. p. 410; a parts of the same story. work to which our predecessors and our posterity are alike obliged; the former, for the preservation of the best-selected examples of their poetical taste; and the latter, for a history of the English language, which will only cease to be interesting with the existence of
THOMAS THE RHYMER. our mother-tongue, and all that genius and learning have recorded in it. It is sufficient here to mention, that so great was the reputation of the romance of Sir Tristrem, that few were thought capable of reciting it after the manner of the author-a circumstance al
When seven years more were come and gone, luded to by Robert de Brunne, the annalist :
Was war through Scotland spread,
And Ruberslaw show'd high Dunyon?
His beacon blazing red.
Then all by bonny Coldingknow,
Pitch'd palliouns took their room,
And crested helms, and spears a-rowe,
Glanced gaily through the broom.
It appears, from a very curious MS. of the thirteenth century, penes Mr. Douce of London, containing a French metrical romance of Sir Tristrem, that the work of our Thomas the Rhymer was known, and re
The Leader, rolling to the Tweed,
Resounds the ensenzie ;3
To distant Torwoodlee.
! Ruberslaw and Dunyon, are two hills near Jedburgh. The spot is rendered classical by its having given name to
2 An ancient tower near Ercildoune, belonging to a family the beautiful melody called the Broom o' the Cowdenknows. of the name of Home. One of Thomas's prophecies is said to have run thus:-
3 Ensenzie-War-cry, or gathering word. “ Vengeance ! vengeance! when and where?
4 Torwoodlee and Caddenhead are places in Selkirkshire ; On the house Colding know, now and ever mair!" both the property of Mr. Pringle of Torwoodlee.
I Quaighs-Wooden cups, composed of staves hooped toge- 1804, as a noble contrast to the ordinary humility of the go ther.
nuine ballad diction.-ED.
4 See, in the Fabliaux of Monsieur le Grand, elegantly 9 Soe Introduction to this ballad.
translated by the late Gregory Way, Esq., the tale of the a This stanza was quoted by the Edinburgh Reviewer, of Knight and the Sword. [Vol. ii. p. 3.]
NOTE A.-P. 572.
dibus meis Magistro domus Sanctæ Trinitatis de Soltre et
fratribus ejusdem domus totam terram meam cum omnibus From the Chartulary of the Trinity House of Sollra. pertinentibus suis quam in tenemento de Ercildoun herediAdvocates' Library, W. 4. 14.
tarie tenui renunciando de toto pro me et heredibus meus ERSYLTON.
omni jure et clameo quæ ego seu antecessores mei in eadem
terra alioque tempore de perpetuo habuimus sive de futuro OMNIBUS has literas visuris vel audituris Thomas de Ercil habere possumus. In cujus rei testimonio presentibus his doun filius ct heres Thomæ Rymour de Ercildoun salutem in sigillum meum apposui data apud Ercildoun die Martis proxiDomino. Noveritis me per fustem et baculum in pleno judicio mo post festum Sanctorum Apostolorum Symonis et Jude resignasse ac per presentes quietem clamasse pro me et here- Anno Domini Millesimo cc. Nonagesimo Nono.
? An ancient seat upon the Tweed, in Selkirkshire. In a popular edition of the first part of Thomas the Rhymer, the Pairy Qucen thus addresses him :
“ Gin ye wad meet wi' me again,
Gang to the bonny banks of Fairnalie."
Note B.-P. 574. The reader is here presented, from an old, and unfortunately an imperfect MS., with the undoubted original of Thomas the Rhymer's intrigue with the Queen of Faery. It will afford great amusement to those who would study the nature of traditional poetry, and the changes effected by oral tradition, to compare this ancient romance with the foregoing ballad. The same incidents are narrated, even the expression is often the same; yet the poems are as different in appearance, as if the older tale had been regularly and systematically modernized by a poet of the present day.
Incipit Prophesia Thoma de Erscldoun.
In a lando as I was lent,
Queen of Heaven as you may well be.
Thomas, that were foly,
pray ye, Thomas, let me be.