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deep remorse, which manifested itself in severe
penances. The battle of Sauchie-burn, in which
James III. fell, was fought iSth June, 1488.

25. The Borough-moor. The Borough, or
Common Moor of Kdinburgh, was of very great
reaching from the southern walls of the
city to the bottom <-l Braid Hills. It was an-
ciently a fores! ; and, in that state, was so great
a nuisance, that the inhabitants of Edinburgh
had permission granted to them of building
wooden galleries, projecting over the street, in
order t<> encourage them t<> consume the tim-
lii< li they seem to have done very effec-
tually. When James IV. mustered the array of
the kingdom there, in 1513, the Borough-moor
was, according to Hawthornden, "a field spa-
cious, and delightful by the shade of many
stately and aged oaks.' Upon that, and similar
1 Meddle.

occasions, the royal standard is traditionally said
to have been displayed from the Hare Stone, a
high stone, now built into the wall, on the left
hand of the highway leading towards Braid, not
far from the head of Bruntsfield-links. The
Hare Stone probably derives its name from
the British word Har, signifying an army.

27. Borthwick's Sisters Seven. Seven culver-
ins, so called, cast by one Borthwick.

28. Scroll, pennon, etc. Each of these feudal
ensigns intimated the different rank of those
entitled to display them.


Caledonia's Queen, etc. The Old Town of
Edinburgh was secured on the north side by
a lake, now drained, and on the south by a
wall, which there was some attempt to make
defensible even so late as 1745. The gates,
and the greater part of the wall, have been
pulled down, in the course of the late extensive
and beautiful enlargement of the city.

To Henry meek she gave repose. Henry VI.,
with his queen, his heir, and the chiefs of his
family, fled to Scotland after the fatal battle of
; Towton.

Great Bourbon's relics, etc. In January, 1796,

the exiled Count d'Artois, afterwards Charles

; X. of France, took up his residence in Holy-

! rood, where he remained until August, 1799.

When again driven from his country by the

I Revolution of July, 1830, the same unfortunate

j prince, with all the immediate members of his

family, sought refuge once more in the ancient

palace of the Stuarts, and remained there until

18th September, 1832.


1. The cloth-yard arrows, etc. This is no po-
etical exaggeration. In some of the counties
of England, distinguished for archery, shafts of
this extraordinary length were actually used.
Thus, at the battle of Blackheath, between the
troops of Henry VII. and the Cornish insur-
gents, in 1496, the bridge of Dartford was de-
fended by a picked band of archers from the
rebel army, " whose arrows," savs Holinshed,
"were in length a full cloth yard/' The Scot-
tish, according to Ascham, had a proverb, that
every English archer carried under his belt
twenty-four Scots, in allusion to his bundle of
unerring shafts.

2. The hardy burghers. The Scottish bur-
gesses were, like yeomen, appointed to be armed
with bows and sheaves, sword, buckler, knife,
spear, or a good axe instead of a bow, if worth
£100; their armor to be of white or bright
harness. They wore white hats ; that is, bright
steel caps, without crest or visor. By an act
of James IV., their weapon-schawings are ap-
pointed to be held four times a year, under the
aldermen or bailiffs.



3. His arms were halbert, axe., or spear, etc.
Bows and quivers were in vain recommended
to the peasantry of Scotland, by repeated stat-
utes ; spears and axes seem universally to have
been used instead of them. Their defensive
armor was the plate-jack, hauberk, or brigan-
tine ; and their missile weapons cross-bows and
culverins. All wore swords of excellent tem-
per, according to Patten ; and a voluminous
handkerchief round their neck, " not for cold,
but for cutting." The mace also was much
used in the Scottish army. When the feudal
array of the kingdom was called forth, each
man was obliged to appear with forty days'
provision. When this was expended, which
took place before the battle of Flodden, the
army melted away of course. Almost all the
Scottish forces, except a few knights, men-at-
arms, and the Border-prickers, who formed
excellent light cavalry, acted upon foot.

9. His iron bell. Few readers need to be re-
minded of this belt, to the weight of which
James added certain ounces every year that he
lived. Pitscottie founds his belief that James
was not slain in the battle of Flodden, because
the English never had this token of the iron
belt to show to any Scottishman. The person
and character of James are delineated accord-
ing to our best historians. His romantic dis-
position, which led him highly to relish gayety
approaching to license, was, at the same time,
tinged with enthusiastic devotion. The pro-
pensities sometimes formed a strange contrast.
He was wont, during his fits of devotion, to
assume the dress, and conform to the rules, of
the order of Franciscans; and when he had
thus done penance for some time in Stirling, to
plunge again into the tide of pleasure. Prob-
ably, too, with no unusual inconsistency, he
sometimes laughed at the superstitious observ-
ances to which he at other times subjected

10. (J er James' 1 s heart, etc. It has been al-
ready noticed that King James's acquaintance
with Lady Heron of Ford did not commence
until he marched into England. Qur historians
impute to the king's infatuated passion the
delays which led to the fatal defeat of Flodden.
The author of The Genealogy of the Heron Fam-
ily endeavors, with laudable anxiety, to clear
the Lady Ford from this scandal : that she
came and went, however, between the armies
of James and Surrey, is certain.

10. For the fair Queen of France, etc. " Also
the Queen of France wrote a love-letter to the
King of Scotland, calling him her love, showing
him that she had suffered much rebuke in
France for the defending of his honor. She
believed surely that he would recompense her
again with some of his kingly support in her
necessity ; that is to say, that he would raise
her an army, and come three foot of ground on
English ground, for her sake. To that effect
she sent him a ring off her finger, with fourteen
thousand French crowns to pay his expenses "
(Pitscottie, p. no).

14. Archibald Bell-the-Cat. Archibald Doug-

las, Earl of Angus, a man remarkable for strength
of body and mind, acquired the popular name
of Bell-the-Cat upon the following remarkable
occasion : James the Third, of whom Pitscottie
complains that he delighted more in music and
"policies of building," than in hunting, hawking,
and other noble exercises, was so ill advised as
to make favorites of his architects and musi-
cians, whom the same historian irreverently
terms masons and fiddlers. His nobility, who
did not sympathize in the king's respect for the
fine arts, were extremely incensed at the honors
conferred on those persons, particularly on
Cochran, a mason, who had been created Earl '
of Mar; and seizing the opportunity, when, in
1482, the king had convoked the whole array
of the country to march against the English,
they held a midnight council in the church of
Lauder, for the purpose of forcibly removing
these minions from the king's person. When
all had agreed on the propriety of this measure,
Lord Gray told the assembly the apologue of
the Mice, who had formed a resolution that it
would be highly advantageous to their commu-
nity to tie a bell round the cat's neck, that they
might hear her approach at a distance ; but
which public measure unfortunately miscarried,
from no mouse being willing to undertake the
task of fastening the bell. " I understand the
moral," said Angus, " and, that what we propose
may not lack execution, I will bell the cat"

14. And chafed his royal lord. Angus was
an old man when the war against England was
resolved upon. He earnestly spoke against
that measure from its commencement, and, on
the eve of the battle of Flodden, remonstrated
so freely upon the impolicy of fighting, that the
king said to him, with scorn and indignation,
" if he was afraid, he might go home." The
earl burst into tears at this insupportable in-
sult, and retired accordingly, leaving his sons,
George, Master of Angus, and Sir William of
Glenbervie, to command his followers. They
were both slain in the battle, with two hundred
gentlemen of the name of Douglas. The aged
earl, broken-hearted at the calamities of his
house and his country, retired into a religious
house, where he died about a year after the
field of Flodden.

15. Tantallon Hold. The ruins of Tantal-
lon Castle occupy a high rock projecting into
the German Ocean, about two miles east of
North Berwick. The building is not seen till
a close approach, as there is rising ground be-
twixt it and the land. The circuit is of large
extent, fenced upon three sides by the precipice
which overhangs the sea, and on the fourth by
a double ditch and very strong outworks. Tan-
tallon was a principal castle of the Douglas
family, and when the Earl of Angus was ban-
ished, in 1527, it continued to hold out against
James V. The king was forced to raise the
siege, and only afterwards obtained possession
of Tantallon by treaty with the governor, Sim-
eon Panango. When the Earl of Angus re-
turned from banishment, upon the death of
James, he again obtained possession of Tan-



tallon, and it actually afforded refuge to an
English ambassador, under circumstances simi-
lar to those described in the text. This was no
other than the celebrated Sir Ralph Sadler,
who resided there for some time under Angus's
protection, after the failure of his negotiation
for matching the infant Mary with Edward VI.

15. He wears their motto, etc. A very an-
cient sword, in possession of Lord Douglas,
bears, among a great deal of flourishing, two
hands pointing to a heart, which is placed be-
twixt them, and the date 1329, being the year
in which Bruce charged the Good Lord Doug-
las to carry his heart to the Holy Land.

(21. Martin Swart. A German general who
commanded the auxiliaries sent by the Duchess
of Burgundy with Lambert Simnel. He was
defeated and killed at Stokefield. His name is
preserved by that of the field of battle, which
is called, after him, Swart-moor.

25. Dun-Ediris Cross, etc. The Cross of
Edinburgh was an ancient and curious struc-
ture. The lower part was an octagonal tower,
sixteen feet in diameter, and about fifteen feet
high. At each angle there was a pillar, and
between them an arch, of the Grecian shape.
Above these was a projecting battlement, with
a turret at each corner, and medallions, of rude
but curious workmanship, between them. Above
this rose the proper Cross, a column of one
stone, upwards of twenty feet high, surmounted
with an unicorn. This pillar is preserved at the
House of Drum, near Edinburgh. The Magis-
trates of Edinburgh, in 1756, with consent of
the Lords of Session {proh pudor !), destroyed
this curious monument, under a wanton pretext
that it encumbered the street. [Since the above
was written the shaft of the old Cross has been
set up within the railings of St. Giles's Church,
very near its original site. W. J. R.]

25. This awful summons came. This super-
natural citation is mentioned by all our Scottish
historians. It was, probably, like the appari-
tion at Linlithgow, an attempt, by those averse
to the war, to impose upon the superstitious
temper of James IV.

29. A venerable pile. The convent alluded to
is a foundation of Cistercian nuns near North
Berwick, of which there are still some remains.
It was founded by Duncan, Earl of Fife, in

31. Drove the monks forth of Coventry, etc.
This relates to the catastrophe of a real Robert
de M.trmion, in the reign of King Stephen,
whom William of Newbury describes with some
attributes of my fictitious hero. "Homo belli-
■ et astucia ft' re nullo suo tempore
impar." This baron, having expelled the monks
from the chun h of Coventry, was not long of
experiencing the divine judgment, as the same
monks, no doubt, termed his disaster. Having
a feudal war with the Earl of Chester,
Mat mion's horse fell, as he charged in the van
'loop, against a body of the earl's fol-
lowers: the rider's thigh being broken by the
fall, his head was tut off by a common foot-
soldier, ere he could receive any succor. *


The savage Dane, etc. The Iol of the heathen
Danes (a word still applied to Christmas in
Scotland) was solemnized with great festivity.
The humor of the Danes at table displayed it-
self in pelting each other with bones ; and Tor-
faeus tells a long and curious story, in the history
of Hrolfe Kraka, of one Hottus, an inmate of
the Court of Denmark, who was so generally
assailed with these missiles that he constructed,
out of the bones with which he was over-
whelmed, a very respectable entrenchment
against those who continued the raillery. The
dances of the Northern warriors round the great
fires of pine-trees are commemorated by Olaus
Magnus, who says they danced with such fury,
holding each other by the hands, that if the
grasp of any failed, he was pitched into the
fire with the velocity of a sling. The sufferer
on such occasions was instantly plucked out,
and obliged to quaff off a certain measure of
ale, as a penalty for "spoiling the king's fire."

Their mumming, etc. It seems certain that
the Mummers of England who (in Northumber-
land at least) used to go about in disguise to
the neighboring houses, bearing the then use-
less ploughshare ; and the Guisards of Scotland,
not yet in total disuse, present, in some indis-
tinct degree, a shadow of the old mysteries,
which were the origin of the English drama.
In Scotland {me ipso teste), we were wont, dur-
ing my boyhood, to take the characters of the
apostles, at least of Peter, Paul, and Judas Is-
cariot, which last carried the bag, in which the
dole of our neighbor's plum-cake was deposited.
One played a Champion, and recited some tra-
ditional rhymes ; another was

" Alexander, king of Macedon,
Who conquered all the world but Scotland alone ;
When he came to Scotland his courage grew cold,
To see a little nation courageous and bold."

These, and many such verses, were repeated,
but by rote, and 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 .popu-
lar personages were usually exhibited.

The Highlander, etc. The Daoine shi\ or
Men of Peace, of the Scottish Highlanders,
rather resemble the Scandinavian Duergar than
the English Fairies. Notwithstanding their
name, they are, if not absolutely malevolent, at
least peevish, discontented,, and apt to do mis-
chief on slight provocation. The belief of
their existence is deeply impressed on the High-
landers, who think they are particularly of-
fended with mortals who talk of them, who
wear their favorite color green, or in any re-
spect interfere with their affairs. This is par-
ticularly to be avoided on Friday, when, whether
as dedicated to Venus, with whom, in Germany,
this subterraneous people are held nearly con-
nected, or for a more solemn reason, they are
more active, and possessed of greater power. -



The Towers of Franchemont. The journal of
the friend to whom the Fourth Canto of the
Poem is inscribed, furnished me with the fol-
lowing account of a striking superstition: —

" Passed the pretty little village of Franche-
mont (near Spaw), with the romantic ruins of
the old castle of the Counts of that name.
The road leads through many delightful vales,
on a rising ground ; at the extremity of one of
them stands the ancient castle, now the subject
of many superstitious legends. It is firmly be-
lieved by the neighboring peasantry, that the
last Baron of Franchemont deposited, in one of
the vaults of the castle, a ponderous chest, con-
taining an immense treasure in gold and silver,
which, by some magic spell, was intrusted to
the care of the Devil, who is constantly found
sitting on the chest in the shape of a huntsman.
Any one 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 im-
movable. At last, moved by the earnestness
of the priest, he told him that he would agree
to resign the chest if the exorcisor would sign
his name with blood. But the priest under-
stood his meaning and refused, as by that act
he would have delivered over his soul to the
Devil. Yet if anybody can discover the mystic
words used by the person who deposited the
treasure, and pronounce them, the fiend must
instantly decamp. I had many stories of a
similar nature from a peasant, who had himself
seen the Devil, in the shape of a great cat."


ii. A bishop. The well-known Gawain Doug-
las, Bishop of Dunkeld, son of Archibald Bell-
the-cat, Earl of Angus. He was author of
a Scottish metrical version of the yEneid, and
of many other poetical pieces of great merit.
He had not at this period attained the mitre.

II. The huge and sweeping brand, etc. Angus
had strength and personal activity correspond-
ing to his courage. Spens of Kilspindie, a
favorite of James IV., having spoken of .him
lightly, the earl met him while hawking, and
compelling him to single combat, at one blow
cut asunder his thigh-bone and killed him on
the spot. But ere he could obtain James's
pardon for this slaughter, Angus was obliged
to yield his castle of Hermitage, in exchange I
for that of Bothwell, which was some diminu-
tion to the family greatness. The sword with
which he struck so remarkable a blow was pre-
sented by his descendant, James, Earl of Mor-
ton, afterwards Regent of Scotland, to Lord
Lindesay of the Byres, when he defied Both-
well to single combat on Carberry-hill.

14. Fierce he broke forth, etc. This ebullition
of violence in the potent Earl of Angus is not

without its examples in the real history of the
house of 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 Bomby, who,
having refused to acknowledge the pre-emi-
nence claimed by Douglas over the gentlemen
and Barons of Galloway, was seized and impris-
oned by the earl, in his castle of the Thrieve,
On the borders of Kirkcudbright-shire. Sir
Patrick Gray, commander of King James the
Second's guard, was uncle to the tutor of
Bomby, and obtained from the king " a sweet
letter of supplication," praying the earl to de-
liver his prisoner into Gray's hand. When Sir
Patrick arrived at the castle, he was received
with all the honor due to a favorite servant of
the king's household; but while he was at din-
ner, the earl, who suspected his errand, caused
his prisoner to be led forth and beheaded.
After dinner, Sir Patrick presented the king's
letter to the earl, who received it with great
affectation of reverence ; " and took him by the
hand, and led him forth to the green, where the
gentleman was lying dead, and showed him
the manner, and said, ' Sir Patrick, you are
come a little too late ; yonder is your sister's son
lying, but he wants the head : take his body, and
do with it what you will.' Sir Patrick answered
again with a sore heart, and said, ' My lord, if
ye have taken from him his head, dispone upon
the body as ye please : ' and with that called
for his horse, and leaped thereon ; and when
he was on horseback, he said to the earl on this
manner, ' My lord, if I live, you shall be re-
warded for your labors, that you have used at
this time, according to your demerits.' At this
saying the earl was highly offended, and cried
for horse. Sir Patrick, seeing the earl's fury,
spurred his horse, but he was chased near
Edinburgh ere they left him : and had it not
been his lead horse was so tried and good, he
had been taken n ( Pitscottie's History).

19. By Twisel Bridge. On the evening pre-
vious to the memorable battle of Flodden, Sur-
rey's head-quarters were at Barmore-wood, and
King James held an inaccessible position on
the ridge of Flodden-hill, one of the last and
lowest eminences detached from the ridge of
Cheviot. The Till, a deep and slow river,
winded between the armies. On the morning
of the 9th September, 151 3, Surrey marched in
a northwesterly direction, and crossed the Till,
with his van and artillery, at Twisel-bridge,
nigh where that river joins the Tweed, his rear-
guard column passing about a mile higher, by
a ford.

24. Brian Tunstall. Sir Brian Tunstall,
called, in the romantic language of the time,
Tunstall the Undefiled, was one of the few
Englishmen of rank slain at Flodden. He
figures in the ancient English poem, to which
I may safely refer my reader ; as an edition,
with full explanatory notes, has been published
by my friend Mr. Henry Weber. Tunstall
perhaps derived his epithet of undefiled from
his. white armor and banner, the latter bearing




a white cock about to crow, as well as from his
unstained loyalty and knightly faith.

35. And fell on Flodden plain. There can be
no doubt that King James fell in the battle of
Flodden. He was killed, says the curious
French Gazette, within a lance s length of the
Earl of Surrey; and the same account adds,
that none of his division were made prisoners,
though many were killed, — a circumstance that
testifies the desperation of their resistance.
The Scottish historians record many of the
idle reports which passed among the vulgar of
their day. Home was accused, by the popular
voice, not only of failing to support the king
but even of having carried him out of the field,
and murdered him. Other reports gave a still
more romantic turn to the king's fate, and
averred that James, weary of greatness after
the carnage among his nobles, had gone on a
pilgrimage, to merit absolution for the death
of his father and the breach of his oath of

amity to Henry. Stowe has recorded a de-
grading story of the disgrace with which the re-
mains of the unfortunate monarch were treated
in his time. An unhewn column marks the
spot where James fell, still called the King's

36. When fanatic Brook, etc. This storm of
Lichfield Cathedral, which had been garrisoned
on the part of the king, took place in the great
civil war. Lord Brook, who, with Sir John
Gill, commanded the assailants, was shot with
a musket-ball through the visor of his helmet.
The royalists remarked that he was killed by a
shot fired from Saint Chad's Cathedral, and upon
Saint Chad's Day, and received his death-wound
in the very eye with which he had said he hoped
to see the ruin of all the cathedrals in England.
The magnificent church in question suffered
cruelly upon this and other occasions; the
principal spire being ruined by the fire of the

©je laUp of tije Hake,

The Lady of the Lake was first published in
1810, when Scott was thirty-nine. In 1830 the
following " Introduction " was prefixed to the
poem by the author : —

" After the success of Marmion, I felt inclined
to exclaim with Ulysses in the Odyssey : —

O&tos pev 8rj aeOKos adaros t ! /CTeTeA.e<7Tat,'
Nvv aire aicoirbv dAAor.

Odys. x. 5.

" ' One venturous game my hand lias won to-day —
Another, gallants, yet remains to play.'

"The ancient manners, the habits and cus-
toms of the aboriginal race by whom the High-
lands 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
bad learned many particulars concerning the
ancienl 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 politi-
cal 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, the misfortunes of an

honorable foe. The Poems of Ossi an had by
their popularity sufficiently shown that if writ-

Online LibraryWalter ScottThe poetical works of Sir Walter Scott, Baronet → online text (page 67 of 78)