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ingyoure maiesty that youre highnesthanks may concur vnto theyme whose names be here inclosed, and to have in your most gracious memory, the paynfull and diligent service of my pore servaunte Wharton, and thus, as I am most bounden, shall dispose wt them that be vnder me f........annoysaunce of your highnes enemys.”
Bards long shall tell . How lord Walter fell....Verse 7, p. 18.
Sir Walter Scott, of Buccleuch, succeeded to his grandfather, Sir David, in 1492. He was a brave and powerful baron, and warden of the west marches of Scotland. His death was the consequence of a feud betwixt the Scotts and Kerrs, the history of which is necessary to explain repeated allusions in the romance. In the year 1526, in the words of Pitscottie, “The earl of Angus and the rest of the Douglasses, ruled all which they liked, and no man durst say the contrary : wherefore the king (James the V, then a minor) was heavily displeased, and would fain have been out of their hands, if he might by any way. And to that effect wrote a quiet and secret letter with his own hand, and sent it to the laird of Buccleuch, beseeching him that he would come with his kin and friends, and all the force that he might be, and meet him at Melross, at his home-passing, and there te take him out of the Douglasses hands, and to put him to liberty, to use himself among the lave (rest) of his lords, as he thinks expedient. * “This letter was quietly directed, and sent by one of the king's own secret servants, which was received very thankfully by the laird of Buccleuch, who was very glad thereof, to be put to such charges and familiarity with his prince, and did great diligence to perform the king's writing, and to bring the matter to pass as the king desired; and to that effect convened all his kin and friends, and all that would do for him, to ride with him to Melross, when he knew of the king's home-coming. And so he brought with him his six hundred spears of Liddesdale, and Annandale, and countrymen, and clans thereabout, and held themselves quiet while that the king returned out of Jedburgh, and came to Melross, to remain there all that night. “But when the lord Hume, Cessfoord, and Fernyhirst (the chiefs of the clan of Kerr) took their leave of the king, and returned home, then appeared the laird of Buccleuch in sight, and his company with him, in an arrayed battle, intending to have fulfilled. the king's petition, and therefore came stoutly for-. ward on the back side of Halidenhill. By that the
and sundry other of his friends, seeing this army coming, they marvelled what the matter meant while at the last they knew the laird of Buccleuch, with a certain company of the thieves of Annandale. With him they were less affeared, and made them manfully to the field contrary them, and said to the king in this manner, “Sir, yon is Buccleuch, and thieves of Annandale with him, to unbeset your grace from the gate (i. e. interrupt your passage.) I vow to God they shall either fight or flee ; and ye shall tarry here on this know, and my brother George with you, with any other company you please ; and I shall pass and put yon thieves off the ground, and rid the gate unto your grace, or else die for it.” The king tarried still, as was devised; and George Douglas with him, and sundry other lords, such as the earl of Lenox and the lord Erskine, and some of the king's own servants; but all the lave (rest) past with the earl of Angus to the field against the laird of Buccleuch, who joined and countered cruelly both the said parties in the field of Darnelinver” either against other, with uncertain victory. But at the last, the lord Hume hearing word of that matter how it stood, returned again to the King in all possible
* Darnwick, near Melrose. The place of conflict is * Skinner's Field, from a corruption of Skirmish Fleia,
haste, with him the lairds of Cessford and Fairnyhirst, to the number of fourscore spears, and set freshly on the lap and wing of the laird of Buccleuch's field and shortly bare them backward to the ground ; which caused the laird of Buccleuch, and the rest of his friends, to go back and flee, whom they followed and chased ; and especially the lairds of Cessford and Fairnyhirst followed furiouslie, till at the foot of a path, the laird of Cessford was slain by the stroke of a spear by an Elliott, who was then servant to the laird of Buccleuch. But when the laird of Cessford was slain, the chace ceased. The earl of Angus returned again with great merriness and victory, and thanked God that he saved him from that chance, and passed with the king to Melross, where they remained all that night. On the morn they passed to Edinburgh with the king, who was very sad and dolorous of the slaughter of the laird of Cessford, and many other gentlemen and yeomen slain by the laird of Buccleuch, containing the number of four score and fifteen, which died in defence of the king, and at the command of his writing.” - In consequence of this battle, there ensued a deadly feud betwixt the names of Scott and Kerr, which in spite of all means used to bring about an agreement, raged for many years upon the Borders. One of the acts of violence to which this quarrel gave rise, was, the murder of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, who was slain by the Kerrs in the streets of Edinburgh, in 1552. This is the event alluded to in verse seven; and the poem is supposed to open shortly after it had taken place.
No o vainly to each holy shrine, in mutual pilgrimage, they drew....Ver. 8, p. 18. Among other expedients resorted to for stanching the feud betwixt the Scotts and the Kerrs, there was a bond executed, in 1529, between the heads of each clan, binding themselves to persorm reciprocally the four principal pilgrimages of Scotland, for the benefit of the souls of those of the opposite name who had fallen in the quarrel. This indenture is printed in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, vol. i. But either it never took effect, or else the feud was renewed shortly afterward. Such pactions were not uncommon in feudal times; and, as might be expected, they were often, as in the present case, void of the effect desired. When Sir Walter Mauny, the renowned follower of Edward III. had taken the town of Ryoll, in Gascony, he remembered to have heard that his father lay there buried, and offered a hundred crowns, to any who could shew him his grave. A very old man
appeared before Sir Walter, and informed him of the P