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our cousins; and they are coming, thinking to surprise you, upon weak grass nags, such as they could get on a sudden; and God hath put them into your hands, that we may take revenge of them for much blood that they have spilt of ours.' I desired they would be patient a while, and bethought myself, if I should give them their will, there would be few or none of the Scots that would escape unkilled (there were so many deadly feuds among them); and therefore I resolved with myself to give them a fair answer, but not to give them their desire. So I told them, that if I were not there myself, they might then do what pleased themselves; but being present, if I should give them leave, the blood that should be spilt that day would lie very hard upon my conscience. And therefore I desired them, for my sake, to forbear; and, if the Scots did not presently make away with all the speed they could, upon my sending to them, they should then have their wills to do what they pleased. They were ill satisfied with my answer, but durst not disobey. I sent with speed to the Scots, and bade them pack away with all the speed they could; for if they stayed the messenger's return, they should few of them return to their own home. They made no stay; but they were turned homewards before the messenger had made an end of his message. Thus, by God's mercy, I escaped a great danger; and, by my means, there were a great many men's lives saved that day."
Note XI. On many a cairn's gray pyramid, Where urns of mighty chiefs lie hid.—P. 95. The cairns, or piles of loose stones, which crown the summit of most of our Scottish hills, and are found in other remarkable situations, seem usually, though not universally, to have been sepulchral monuments. Six flat stones are commonly found in the centre, forming a cavity of greater or smaller dimensions, in which an urn is often placed. The author is possessed of one, discovered beneath an immense cairn at Rough,Jee, in Liddesdale. It is of the most barbarous construction; the middle of the substance alone having been subjected to the fire, over which, when hardened, the artist had laid an inner and outer coat of unbaked clay, etched with some very rude ornaments; his skill apparently being inadequate to baking the vase, when completely finished. The contents were bones and ashes, and a quantity of beads made of coal. This seems to have been a barbarous imitation of the Roman fashion of sepulture.
NOTES TO CANTO IV.
Note I. Great Dundee.—P. 102. The Viscount of Dundee, slain in the battle of Killicrankie.
Note II. For pathless marsh, and mountain cell, The peasant left his lowly shed.—P. 103. The morasses were the usual refuge of the Border herdsmen, on the approach of an English army.—(Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Vol. I. p. 49.) Caves, hewed in the most dangerous and inaccessible places, also afforded an occasional retreat. Such caverns may be seen in the precipitous banks of the Teviot at Sunlaws, upon the Ale at Ancram, upon the Jed at Hundalee, and in many other places upon the Border. The banks of the Eske, at Gorton and Hawthornden, are hollowed into similar recesses. But even these dreary dens were not always secure places of concealment. "In the way as we came, not far from this place (Long Niddry,) George Ferres,
a gentleman of my Lord Protector's happened upon a
cave in the grounde, the mouth whereof was so worne with the fresh printe of steps, that he seemed to be certayne thear wear sum folke within; and gone doune to trie, he was redily receyved with a hakebut or two. He left them not yet, till he had knowen wheyther thei wold be content to yeld and come out; which they fondly refusing, he went to my lorde's grace, and upon utterance of the thynge, gat lisence to deale with them as he coulde; and so returned to them, with a skore or two of pioners. Three ventes had their cave, that we wear ware of, wherof he first stopt up on; anoother he fill'd full of strawe, and set it a fyer, whereat they within cast water apace; but it was so wel maynteyned without, that the fyer prevayled, and thei within fayn to get them belyke into anoother parler. Then devised we (for I hapt to be with hym) to stop the same up, whereby we should eyther smoother them, or fynd out their ventes, if thei hadde any moe: as this was done at another issue, about xii score of, we moughte see the fume of their smoke to come out; the which continued with so great a force, and so long a while, that we could not but thinke they must needs get them out, or smoother within: and forasmuch as we found not that they dyd the tone, we thought it for certain thei wear sure of the toother."—Patten'* Account of Somerset's Expedition into Scotland, apud DAL YELL'S Fragments.