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lish Borderers, commanded by Thomas Dacre and John Musgrave, perceived this Auctuation, and charged the numerous squadrons of the invading army. The Scots fled without even attempting to fight. Numbers of noblemen and persons of note suffered themselves to be made prisoners rather than face the displeasure of their disappointed sovereign.
The unfortunate James had lately been assailed by various calamities. The death of his two sons, and the disgrace of the defection at Fala, had made a deep impression on his mind, and haunted him even in the visions of the night. He dreamed he saw the fierce Sir James Hamilton, whom he had caused to be put to death upon slight evidence, approach him with a drawn sword, the bloody shade said, “Cruel tyrant, thou hast unjustly murdered me, who was indeed barbarous to other men, but always faithful and true to thee; wherefore now shalt thou have thy deserved punishment.” So saying, it seemed to him as if Sir James Hamilton cut off first one arm and then another, and then left him, threatening to come back soon and cut his head off. Such a dream was very likely to arise in the King's mind, perturbed as it was by misfortunes, and even perhaps internally reproaching himself for Sir James Hamilton's death. But to James the striking off his arms appeared to allude to the death of his two sons, and he became convinced that the ultimate threats of the vision presaged his own death.
The disgraceful news of the battle, or rather the rout of Solway, filled
up the measure of the King's despair and desolation. He shut himself up in the palace of Falkland, and refused to listen to any consolation.
A burning fever, the consequence of his grief and shame, seized on the unfortunate monarch. They brought him tidings that his wife had given birth to a daughter ; but he only replied, Is it so ?” reflecting on the alliance which had placed the Stewart family on the throne ;
" then God's will be done. It came with a lass, and it will go with
With these words, presaging the extinction of his house, he made a signal of adieu to his courtiers, spoke little more, but turned his face to the wall, and died of the most melancholy of all diseases, a broken heart. 14th Dec.
1542. He was scarcely thirty-one years old ; in the very prime, therefore, of life.
After the success of Marmion, I felt inclined to exclaim with Ulysses in the Odysseys :
Ούτος μεν δη άεθλος αάατος εκτετέλεσται.
Odys. xxii. 5.
Another, gallants, yet remains to play.' The ancient manners, the habits and customs of the aboriginal race by whom the Highlands of Scotland were inhabited, had always appeared to me peculiarly adapted to poetry. The change in their manners, too, had taken place almost within my own time, or at least I had learned many particulars concerning the ancient state of the Highlands from the old men of the last generation. I had always thought the old Scottish Gael highly adapted for poetical composition. The feuds and political dissensions which, half a century earlier, would have rendered the richer and wealthier part of the kingdom indisposed to countenance a poem, the scene of which was laid in the Highlands, were now sunk in the generous compassion which the English, more than any other nation, feel for the misfortunes of an honorable foe. The Poems of Ossian had by their popularity sufficiently shown that if writings on Highland subjects were qualified to interest the reader, mere national prejudices were, in the present day, very unlikely to interfere with their success.
I had also read a great deal, seen much, and heard more, of that romantic country where I was in the habit of spending some time every autumn ; and the scenery of Loch Katrine was connected with the recollection of many a dear friend and merry expedition of former days. This poem, the action of which lay among scenes so beautiful and so deeply imprinted on my recollections, was a labor of love, and it was no less so to recall the manners and incidents introduced. The frequent custom of James IV., and particularly of James V., to walk through the kingdom in disguise, afforded me the hint of an incident which never fails to be interesting if managed with the slightest address or dexterity.