Page images
PDF
EPUB

And further,

-Perjurii pænas repetit ille locus, It is a place like hell, good for nothing but to punish perjurers: With innumerable invectives more against it, throughout in every book.

Plautus, in his Rudens, bringeth in fishermen cowthring and quaking, dung-wet after a storm, and complaining their miserable case in this form: Captamus cibum e mari; si eventus non venit, neque quicquam captum est piscium, salsi lautique domum redimus clanculum, dormimus incænati : All the meat that we eat we catch out of the sea, and if there we miss, well washed and salted, we sneak home to bed supperless; and upon the tail of it he brings in a parasite that flowteth and bourdeth them thus: Heus vos famelica gens hominum, ut vivitis, ut peritis? Hough you hunger-starved gubbins, or offals of men, how thrive you? how perish you? And they cringing in their necks, like rats, smothered in the hold, poorly replied, Viimus fame, speque sitique, with hunger and hope, and thirst, we content ourselves. If you would not misconçeit, that I studiously intended your defamation, you should have, thick hail-shot of these.

Not the lousy riddle wherewith fishermen constrained, some say Homer, some say another philosopher, to drown himself, because he could not expound it, but should be dressed and set before you supernagulum, with eight score more galliard cross-points, and kickshiwinshes, of giddy ear-wig brains, were it not I thought you too fretful and cholerick with feeding altogether on salt meats, to have the secrets of your trade in publick displayed. Will this appease you, that you are the predecessors of the apostles, who were poorer fishermen than you? That, for your seeing wonders in the deep, you may be the sons and heirs of the prophet Jonas; that you are all cavaliers and gentlemen, since the king of fishes vouchsafed you for his subjects; that, for your selling smoke, you may be courtiers, for your keeping of fasting days friar observants; and lastly, that, look in what town there is the sign of the three mariners, the huff-cappest drink in that house you shall be sure of always.

No more can I do for you than I have done, were you my Godchildren every one: God make you his children, and keep you from the Dunkirkers, and then, I doubt not but, when you are driven into harbour by foul weather, the cans shall walk to the health of Nashe's Lenten Stuff

, and the praise of the red herring; and even those, that attend upon the pitch kettle, will be drunk to my good fortunes and recommendums. One boon you must not refuse me in (if you be boni socii and sweet Olivers) that you let not your rusty swords sleep in their scabbards, but lash them out in my quarrel as hotly, as if were to cut cables, or hew the main-mast over board, when you hear me mangled and torn in men's mouths about this playing with a shittlecock, or tossing empty bladders in the air.

Alas! poor hunger-starved muse, we shall have some spawn of a

you

goose-quill, or over worn pander, quirking and girding, Was it so hard driven that it had nothing to feed upon but a red herring? Another drudge of the pudding house (all whose lawful means to live by throughout the whole year will scarce purchase him a red herring) says I might as well have writ of a dog's turd, in his teeth sirreverence. But, let none of these scum of the suburbs be too vinegar tart with me; for, if they be, I'll take mine oath upon a red herring and eat it, to prove that their fathers, their grandfathers, and their great grandfathers, or any other of their kin, were scullions dishwash, and dirty draff and swill set against a red herring. The puissant red herring, the golden Hesperides red herring, the Mæonian red herring, the red herring of Red Herrings Fall, every preguant peculiar of whose resplendent laud and honour, to delineate and adumbrate to the ample life, were a work that would drink dry fourscore and eighteen Castalian fountains of eloquence, consume another Athens of facundity, and abate the haughtiest poetical fury betwixt this and the burning zone and the tropick of Cancer. My conceit is cast into a sweating sickness, with ascending those few steps of his renown; into what a hot broiling Saint Laurence's fever would it relapse then, should I spend the whole bag of my wind in climbing up to the lofty mountain crest of his trophies? But no more wind will I spend on it but this : Saint Denis for France, Saint James for Spain, Saint Patrick for Ireland, Saint George for England, and the red herring for Yarmouth.

GOWRIES CONSPIRACY:

A DISCOVRSE OF THE

VNNATVRALL AND VYLE CONSPIRACIE,

ATTEMPTED AGAINST THE

KINGS MAIESTIES PERSON,

At Sanct-Iohnstoon, opon Twysday the Fifth of August, 1600.

Edinbvrgh, printed by Robert Charteris, 1600. Octavo, containing three Sheets

and a Half.

Com Privilegio Regio.

This is one of the earliest accounts of this remarkable conspiracy, and therefore

deserves to be reprinted, not only as it is very rarely to be found, but as it is very clear and elegant, with regard to the dialect in which it is written. In the language, though some passages may appear uncouth, no alteration has been made; both because we would not depart form the fidelity that we promised,

nor, by changing expressions, give reason to suspect, that we take the same liberty with facts; and because the language may be, to some, no less an object

of curiosity, than the events to others. Of this conspiracy, which, though some have questioned its reality, is by most

allowed to be proved beyond contradiction, a very particular account may be found in Spotswood.

J'.

HIS

IS Maiestie having his residence at Falkland, and being daily at

the buck-hunting, as his vse is in that season, vpon the fifth day of August, being Twysday, hee raid out to the park, betwixt six and seuen hours in the morning, the weather beeing wonderfull pleasant and seasonable. But, before his Maiestie could leap on horse-back, his Hienes being now come downe by the equerie, all the huntis-men with the houndes attending his Maiesty on the greene, and the court making to their horses, as his Hienes self was ; Maister Alexander Ruthven, second brother to the late Earle of Gowrie, being then lighted in the toun of Falkand, haisted him fast downe to ouer-take his Maiestie before his on-leaping, as he did : Where meeting his Hienes, after a verie low courtesie, bowing his head vnder his Maiesties knee (althogh he was neuer wont to make so low courtesy) drawing his Maiestie a-part, he beginnes to discourse vnto him, but with a verie dejected countenance, his eies euer fixed vppon the earth, how that it chanced him the euening before to be walking abroad about the fields, taking the air, solitarie allone, without the toun of Sanct lohnstoun, wher his present dwelling was with the lord his brother; and there by accident affirmed to haue recountred a base like fellow, vnknowne to him, with a cloke cast about his mouth ; whome at as he enquyred his name, and what his erand was, to be passing in so solitary a part, being from all waies. The fellow become at the suddain so amased, and his tongue so faultered in his mouth, that, vppon his suspitious behauiour, he begouth more narrowly to look vnto him, and, examine him; and, perceaning that there appeared some thing to bee hid vnder his cloke, he did cast by the lappes of it, and so findes a great wyde pot to be vnder his arme, all full of coyned gold in great peeces. Assuring his Maiestie, that it was in verie great quantitie: vpon the sight whereof, as hee affirmed, he took back the fellow with his burthen to the toun; where he privatly, without the knowledge of any liuing, took the fellow, and band him in a privie derned house, and, after lokking many durres vppon him, left him there, and his pot with him, and had haisted himself out of SanctIohnstoun that day, by four houres in the morning, to make his Maiestie aduertised therof, according to his bound dutie : carnestly requesting his Maiestie, with all diligence and secrecie, that his Maiestie might take order therewith, before anie know thereof; swearing and protesting, that he had yet concealed it from all liuing, yea, from the earle his owne brother.

His Maiesties first answere was (after thanking him for his good-will) that it could not become his Maiestie to meddle anie wayes in that matter, since no mans treasure, that is a free and lawfull subiect, can by the lawe appertain vnto the King, except it bee found hid vnder the

earth, as this was not. Whereunto he aunswered, that the fellow confessed vnto him, that hee was going to haue hid it vnder the ground, but could not take leasure at that time to enquyre any further of him. Whereunto his Maiestie replyed, that there was great difference betwixt a deed, and the intention of a deed; his intention to haue hid it not beeing alyke as if it had beene found alreadie hid. Maister Alexander's answer was, that hee thought his Maiestie ouer scrupulous in such a matter, tending so greatly to his Maiesties profite; and that, if his Maiesty deferred to meddle with it, it might bee that the lord his brother, and other great men, might meddle with it, and make his Maiestie the more 2-doe: whereupon the King, beginning to suspect that it had been some forraine gold, brought home by some lesuites, or practising Papists (therewith to sturre vp some new sedition, as they have oftentymes done before) inquyred of the said M. Alexander, what kinde of coine it was, and what a fellow hee was that carried it? His answere was, that, so far as hee could take leasure to see of them, they seemed to bee forraine and vncouth strokes of coine; and, although that the fellow, both by his language and fashion, seemed to bee a Scots fellow, yet hee could neuer remember, that hee had seene him before. These speaches increased his Maiesties suspition, that it was forraine coyne, brought in by some practising Papists, and to bee distributed into the countrie, as is before said. And that the fellowe, that carried it, was some Scots priest or seminarie, so disguised for the more sure transporting thereof. Whereupon his Maiestie resolued, that he would send backe with the said maister Alexander a seruand of his own, with a warrand to the prouost and baillies of Sanct-lohnstoun, to receaue both the fellow and the money off maister Alexanders hand, and, after they had examined the fellow, to retaine him and the treasure, till his Maiesties further pleasure were knowne: Whereat the said maister Alexander sturred meruelouslie, affirming and protesting, that, if either the lord his brother, or the baillies of the toun were put on the counsal thereof, his Maiestie would get a verie bad compt of that treasure ; swearing, that the great loue and affection, he bare vnto his Maiestie, had made him to preferre his Maiestie, in this cace, both to himself, and his brother. For the which seruice he humblie craued that recompence, that his Maiesty would take the paines once to ryde thither, that he might bee the first seear thereof himself; which beeing done, he woulde remit to his Maiesties owne honorable discretion, huw far it would please his Maiestie to considder vpon him for that seruice. His Hienes beeing stricken in great admiration, both of the vncouthnes of the tale, and of the strange and stupide behauiour of the reporter; and the court being alreadie horsed, wondring at his Maiesties so long stay with that gentleman, the morning being so fair, the game alreadie found, and the huntismen so long staying on the fields on his Maiestie, he was forced to break off onlie with these wordes: That hee coulde not nowe stay anie longer from his sporte, but that hee would considder of the matter, and, at the end of of his chase, giue him a resolute answere, what order he would take therein. Whereupon his Maiesty parted in haste from him towardes the place where the game was. Maister Alexander parting from his Maiestie verie miscontent, that indelaiedlie he raid not to Sanct-Iohnstoun, as he desired him; protesting, that his Maiestie would not finde eueric day such a choise of hunting, as he had offered vnto him; and that hee feared, that his Maiesties long delay, and slowness of resolution, would breed leasure to the fellow, who was lying bound, to cry, or make such din, as would disappoint the secrecie of that hail purpose, and make both the fellow and the treasure to be medled with, before any word could come from his Majestie : as also, that his brother would misse him, in respect of his absence that morning; which if his Majestie had pleased to haste, he might haue preuented, arryuing there in the tyme of his brothers and the whole toivnes being at the sermon ; whereby his Majestie might haue taken such secrete order with that matter, as hee pleased, before their outcomming from the church. But, his Maiestie, without any further answering of him, leaping on horse-back, and ryding to the dogs, where they were beginning to hunt, the said maister Alexander stayed still in that place wher he left bis Maiestie; and, hauing two men with him appointed by the late earle his brother, to carrie back vnto him the certaine newes, in al haist, of his Maiesties comming, as heerafter more particularlie shall in this same discourse be declared, hee directed one of them, called Andrew Henderson, chalmerlane to the said earle, to ryde in all haste to the earle; commanding him, as hee loued his brothers honour, that hee shoulde not spare for spilling of his horse ; and that hee should aduertise the earle, that hee hoped to move his Maiestie to come thither, and that hee should not yet looke for him, the space of three houres thereafter, because of his Maiesties hunting, adding these words: pray my lord

my brother to prepare the denner for vs. But his Maiestie was no sooner ridden vp to a little hil aboue the little woode, wher the dogs were laid on in hunting, but that, notwithstanding the pleasant beginning of the chase, hee could not stay from musing and wondering vpon the newes. Whereupon, without making anie bodie acquainted with this purpose, finding John Nesmith, chirurgian, by chance ryding beside him, his Maiestie directed him back to bring maister Alexander with him ; who being brought vnto his Maiestie, and hauing newlie directed, as, said is, one of his men, that was with him, back to my lord bis brother, his Maiestie, vnknowing or suspecting that any man liuing had come with him, then tolde him, that hee had been aduysing with himself, and, in respect of his last wordes so earnest with him, hee resolued to ryde thither for that erand in his own person, how soune the chase was ended, which was alreadie begun; lyke as his Majesty, vppon the verie ending of these words, did ryde away in the chase, the said maister Alexander euer following him at his back; no other liuing being with his Hienesse, but hee, and lohn Hammilton of Grange, one of his Maiesties maister-stablers, the reste of the court being all

before in the chase, his Maiestie onlie being casten back, vpon the staying to speak with maister Alexander, as is before said. "The chase lasted from seuen houres in the morning, vntil alleuen and more, being one of the

greast and sorest chases, that euer his Maiestie was at: All which tyme, the said maister Alexander was, for the most part, euer at his Maiesties back, as said is. But there neuer was anie stop in the chase, or so small a delay, that the said maister Alexander omitted to round to his Maiestie,

I

VOL. II,

« PreviousContinue »