Page images
PDF
EPUB

Note III. And Sainton laid the lance in rest, That tamed of yore the sparkling crest Of Clarence's Plantagenet.—P. 144. At the battle of Beaug£, in France, Thomas, Duke of Clarence, brother to Henry V., was unhorsed by Sir John Swinton of Swinton, who distinguished him by a coronet set with precious stones, which he wore around his helmet. The family of Swinton is one of the most ancient in Scotland, and produced many celebrated warriors.

Note IV.
Beneath the crest of old Dunbar,

And Hepburn's mingled banners, come, Down the steep mountain glittering far, And shouting still," a Home I a Home t"—P. 145. The Earls of Home, as descendants of the Dunbars, ancient Earls of March, carried a lion rampant, argent; but, as a difference, changed the colour of the shield from gules to vert, in allusion to Greenlaw, their ancient possession. The slogan, or war-cry, of this powerful family, was," A Home ! a Home!" It was anciently placed in an escrol above the crest. The helmet is armed with a lion's head erased gules, with a cap of state gules, turned up ermine.

The Hepburns, a powerful family in East Lothian, were usually in close alliance with the Homes. The chief of this clan was Hepburn, Lord of Hailes; a family which terminated in the too famous Earl of Bothwell.

[ocr errors]

Note V.

Pursued the foot-ball play.—P. 147. The foot-ball was anciently a very favourite sport all through Scotland, but especially upon the Borders. Sir John Carmichael of Carmichael, warden of the middle marches, was killed in 1600 by a band of the Armstrongs, returning from a foot-ball match. Sir Robert Carey, in his Memoirs, mentions a great meeting, appointed by the Scottish riders to be held at Kelso, for the purpose of playing at foot-ball, but which terminated in an incursion upon England. At present, the foot-ball is often played by the inhabitants of adjacent parishes, or of the opposite banks of a stream. The victory is contested with the utmost fury, and very serious accidents have sometimes taken place in the struggle.

Note VL

'Twixt truce and war, such sudden change Was not unfrequent, nor held strange, In the old Border day.—P. 148. Notwithstanding the constant wars upon the Borders, and the occasional cruelties which marked the mutual inroads, the inhabitants on either side do not appear to have regarded each other with that violent and personal animosity, which might have been expected. On the contrary, like the outposts of hostile armies, they often carried on something resembling friendly intercourse, even in the middle of hostilities; and it is evident, from various ordinances against trade and intermarriages between English and Scottish Borderers, that the governments of both countries were jealous of their cherishing too intimate a connection. Froissart says of both nations, that "Englyshemen on the one party, and Scottes on the other party, are good men of warre; for when they meet, there is a harde fight without sparynge. There is no hoo (truce) between them, as long as spears, swords, axes, or daggers, will endure, but lay on eche upon uther; and whan they be well beaten, and that the one party hath obtained the victory, they then gloryfye so in theyre dedes of armes, and are so joyfull, that such as be taken they shall be ransomed, or that they go out of the felde; so that shortly eche of them is so content with other, that, at their departynge, curtyslye they will say, God thank you."—Bernehs' Froissart, vol. II. p. 153. The Border meetings of truce, which, although places of merchandise and merriment, often witnessed the most bloody scenes, may serve to illustrate the description in the text. They are vividly pourtrayed in the old ballad of the Reidsquair. Both parties came armed to a meeting of the wardens, yet they intermixed fearlessly and peaceably with each other in mutual sports and familiar intercourse, until a casual fray arose: used the same maner, in that case we should have oft tymes had the state of our camp more like the outrage of a dissolute huntyng, than the quiet of a well ordred armye. It is a feat of war, in mine opinion, that might right well be left. I could reherse causes (but yf I take it, they are better unspoken than uttred, unless the faut wear sure to be amended) that might shew thei move alweis more peral to our armie, but in their one nyght's so doynge, than they shew good service (as sum sey) in a hoole vyage."—Apvd Daxzell's Fragments, p. 75.

Then was there nought but bow and spear,
And every man pulled out a brand.

[ocr errors]

In the 29th stanza of this Canto, there is an attempt to express some of the mixed feelings, with which the Borderers on each side were led to regard their neighbours.

Note VII. Andfrequent, on the darkening plain, Loud hollo, whoop, or whistle ran;As bands, their stragglers to regain, Gave the shrill watch-word of their clan.—P. 149. Patten remarks, with bitter censure, the disorderly conduct of the English Borderers, who attended the Protector Somerset on his expedition against Scotland. "As we wear then a setling, and the tents a setting up, among all things els commendable in our hole journey, one thing seemed to me an intollerable disorder and abuse: that whearas allways, both in all tounes of war, and in all campes of armies, quietnes and stilnes, without nois, is, principally in the night, after the watch is set, observed, (I nede not reason why,) our northern prikkers, the Borderers, notwithstandyng, with great enormitie (as thought me,) and not unlike (to be playn) unto a masteries hounde howlyng in a hie wey when he hath lost him he waited upon, sum hoopynge, sum whistlyng, and most with crying, A Berwyke, a Berwyke! A Fenwyke, a Fenwyke! A Buhner, a Bulmer! or so otherwise as theyr captains names wear, never lin'de these troublous and dangerous noyses all the nyghte longe. They said, they did it to finde their captain and fellows; but if the' souldiers of our oother countreys and sheres had

Note VIII. Cheer the dark blood-hound on his way, And with the bugle rouse the fray.—P. 169. The pursuit of Border marauders was followed by the injured party and his friends with blood-hounds and bugle-horn, and was called the hot-trod. He was entitled, if his dog could trace the scent, to follow the invaders into the opposite kingdom; a privilege which often occasioned blood-shed. In addition to what has been said of the blood-hound, I may add, that the breed was kept up by the Buccleuch family on their Border estates till within the 18th century. A person was alive in the memory of man, who remembered a blood-hound being kept at Eldinhope, in Ettricke Forest, for whose maintenance the tenant had an allowance of meal. At that time the sheep were always watched at night. Upon one occasion, when the duty had fallen on the narrator, then a lad, he became exhausted with fatigue, and fell asleep, upon a bank, near

« PreviousContinue »