« PreviousContinue »
The sixe bulles heddes in a felde blacke,
The cloubbe signifieth playne his tiranny,
There are two copies of this very scarce satire in the library of the late duke of Roxburghe.
Let Musgrave meet fierce Deloraine
It may easily be supposed, that trial by single combat, so peculiar to the feudal system, was common on the Borders. The following indenture will show at how late a period it was there resorted to, as a proof of guilt or innocence.
“It is agreed between Thomas Musgrave and Lancelot Carleton, for the true trial of such controversies as are betwixt them, to have it openly tried, by way of combat, before God and the face of the world, to try it in Canonbyholme, before England and Scotland, upon Thursday in Easter-week, being the eighth day of April next ensuing, A. D. 1602, betwixt nine of the clock, and one of the same day, to fight on foot, to be armed with jack, steel cap, plaite sleeves, plaite breeches, plaite sockes, two baslared swords, the blades to be one yard and half a quarter of length, two Scotch daggers or dorks at their girdles, and either of them to provide armour and weapons for themselves, according to this indenture. Two gentlemen to be appointed on the field to view both the parties, to see that they both be equal in arms and weapons, according to this indenture. Two gentlemen to be appointed on the field to view both the parties, to see that they both be equal in arms and weapons, according to this indenture ; and being so viewed by the gentlemen, the gentlemen to ride to the rest of the company, and to leave them but two boys viewed by the gentlemen, to be under 16 years of age, to hold their horses. In testimony of this our agreement, we have both set our hands to this indenture, of intent all matters shall be made so plain, as there shall be no question to stick upon that day. Which indenture as a witness, shall be delivered to two gentlemen. And for
, that it is convenient the world should be privy to
every particular of the grounds of the quarrel, we
have agreed to set it down in this indenture betwixt
us, that knowing the quarrel, their eyes may be witness of the trial.
The Grounds of the Quarrel. “1. Lancelot Carleton did charge Thomas Musgrave before the lords of her majesty's privy council, that Lancelot Carleton was told by a gentleman, one of her majesty's sworn servants, that Thomas Musgrave had offered to deliver her majesty's castle of Bewcastle to the king of Scots; and to witness the same, Lancelot Carleton had a letter under the gentleman's own hand for his discharge. “2. He chargeth him, that whereas, her majesty doth yearly bestow a great fee upon him, as captain of Bewcastle, to aid and defend her majesty's subjects therein; Thomas Musgrave hath neglected his duty, for that her majesty's castle of Bewcastle was by him made a den of thieves, and an harbour and receipt for murderers, felons, and all sorts of misdemeanors. The precedent was Quinten Whitehead and Runion Blackburne. | “3. He chargeth him, that his office of Bewcastle is open for the Scotch to ride in and through,
and small resistance made by him to the contrary,
“Thomas Musgrave doth deny all this charge; and saith, that he will prove that Lancelot Carleton doth falsely bely him, and will prove the same by way of combat, according to this indenture. Lancelot Carleton hath entertained the challenge ; and so, by God's permission, will prove it true as before, and
hath set his hand to the same.
(Signed) THoMAs MuscRAve.
He, the jovial Harper—Ver. 31, p. 97.
The person, here alluded to, is one of our ancient Border-minstrels, called Rattling Roaring Willie. This soubriquet was probably derived from his bullying disposition ; being, it would seem, such a roaring boy as is frequently mentioned in old plays. While drinking at Newmill, upon Teviot, about five miles from Hawicke, Willie chanced to quarrel with one of his own profession, who was usually distinguished by the odd name of Sweet Milk, from a place on Rule-water so called. They retired to a meadow on the opposite side of the Teviot, to decide the contest with their swords, and Sweet Milk was killed on the spot. A thorn tree marks the scene of the murder, which is still called Sweet Milk Thorn. Willie was taken and executed at Jedburgh, bequeathing his name to the beautiful Scottish air, called “Rattling
Roaring Wille.” Ramsay, who set no value on tradutionary lore, published a few verses of this song in the Tea Table Miscellany, carefully suppressing all which had any connection with the history of the author, and origin of the piece. In this case how
ever, honest Allan is in some degree justified, by
the extreme worthlessness of the poetry. A verse or two may be taken as illustrative of the history of Roaring Willie, alluded to in the text.
Now Willie's gane to Jeddart,
Stobs lighted aff his horse,
Till he tied Willie's hands
Fu’ fast behind his back,
* The day of the Rood fair at Jedburgh.