« PreviousContinue »
which I can only plead Froissart's apology, that " it behoveth, in a lynage, some to be folyshe and outrageous, to inaynteyne and sustayne the peasable." As a contrast to my Marchman, I beg leave to transcribe, from the same author, the speech of Amergot Marcell, a captain of the Adventurous Companions, a robber, and a pillager of the country of Auvergne, who had been bribed to sell his strong-holds, and to assume a, more honourable military life under the banners of the Earl of Armagnac. But " when he remembered alle this, he was sorrowful; his tresour he thought he wold not mynisshe; he was wonte dayly to serche for newe pyllages, wherbye encresed his profyte, and then he sawe that alle was closed fro' hym. Than be sayde and imagyned, that to pyll and to robbe (all thynge considered) was a good lyfe, and so repented hym of his good doing. On a tyme, he said to his old companyons, 'Sirs, there is no sporte nor glory in this worlde amonge men of warre, but to use suche lyfe as we have done in tyme past. What a joy was it to us when we rode forthe at adventure, and somtyme found by the way a riche priour or merchaunt, or a route of mullettes of Mountpellyer, of Narbonne, of Lymens, of Fongans, of Besyers, of Tholous, or of Carcassone, laden with cloth of Brussels, or peltre ware comynge fro the fayres, or laden with spycery fro Bruges, fro Damas, or fro Alysaundre: whatsoever we met, alle was ours, or else ransoumed at .our pleasures; dayly we gate new money, and the vyllaynes of Auvergne and of Lymosyn dayly provyded and brought to our castell whete mele, good wynes, beffes, and fatte mottons, pullayne and wylde foul: We were ever furnyshed as tho we had been kings. When we rode forthe, all the countrey trymbled for feare: all was ours goyinge and comynge. Howe tok we Carlast, I and the Bourge of Compayne, and I and Perot of Bernoys took Caluset: how dyd we scale, with lytell ayde, the strong castell of Marquell, pertayning to the Erl Dolphyn; I kept it nat past fyve days, but I receyved for it, on a feyre table, fyve thousand frankes, and forgave one thousande for the love of the Erl Dolphyn's children. By my fayth, this was a fayre and good lyfe; wherefore I repute myselve sore desceyved, in that I have rendered up the fortres of Aloys; for it wold have kept fro alle the worlde, and the daye that I gave it up, it was fournyshed with vytaylles, to have been kept seven yere without any re-vytaylynge. This Erl of Armynake hath deceyved me: Olyve Barbe, and Perot le Bernoys, shewed to me howe I shulde repente myselfe: certayne I sore repente myself of that I haue done."—FroisSart, vol. ii. p. 195.
By wily turns, by desperate bounds,
Had baffled Percy's best blood-hounds.—St. XXI. p. 30. The kings and heroes of Scotland, as well as the Borderriders, were sometimes obliged to study how to evade the pursuit of blood-hounds. Barbour informs us, that Robert Bruce was repeatedly tracked by sleuth-dags. On one occasion, he escaped by wading a bow-shot down a brook, and thus baffled the scent. The pursuers came up:
Rycht to the burn thai passyt ware,
The Bruce, Book vii.
A sure way of stopping the dog was to spill blood upon the track, which destroyed the discriminating fineness of his scent, A captive was sometimes sacrificed on such occasions. Henry the Minstrel tells a romantic story of Wallace, founded on this circumstance. The hero's little band had been joined by an Irishman, named Fawdon, or Fadzean, a dark, savage, and suspicious character. After a sharp skirmish at Black-Erne Side, Wallace was forced to retreat with only 16 followers. The English pursued with a border sleuth-bratch, or bloodhound:
In Gelderland there was that bratchel bred,
Siker of scent, to follow them that fled;
So was he used in Eske and Liddesdail,
While (i. e. till) she gat blood no fleeing might avail.
In the retreat, Fawdon, tired, or affecting to be so, would go no farther: Wallace, having in vain argued with him, in hasty anger, struck off his head, and continued the retreat. When the English came up, their hound stayed upon the dead body.
The slouth stopped at Fawdoun, till she stoodi
The story concludes with a fine Gothic scene of terror. Wallace took refuge in the solitary tower of Gask. Here he was disturbed at midnight by the blast of a horn: he sent out his attendants by two and two, but no one returned with tidings. At length, when he was left alone, the sound was heard stiU louder. The champion descended, sword in hand; and at the gate of the tower was encountered by the headless spectre of Fawdon, whom he had slain so rashly. Wallace, in great terror, fled up into the tower, tore open the boards of a window, leapt down fifteen feet in height, and continued his flight up the river. Looking back to Gask, he discovered the tower on fire, and the form of Fawdon upon the battlements, dilated to immense size, and holding in his hand a blazing rafter. The Minstrel concludes,
Trust ryght wele, that all this be sooth, indeed.
The Wallace, Book v.
Mr Ellis has extracted this tale as a sample of Henry's poetry. Specimens of English Poetry, Vol. I. p. 351.
Dimly he viewed the Moat-hill's mound.—St. XXV. p. 33. This is a round artificial mount near Hawick, which, from
its name (mot. Ang. Sax. Concilium; Conventus), was probably anciently used as a place for assembling a national council of the adjacent tribes. There are many such mounds in Scotland, and they are sometimes, but rarely, of a square form.
Beneath the tower of Haze/dean.—St. XXV. p. 33. The estate of Hazeldean, corruptly Hassendean, belonged formerly to a family of Scotts, thus commemorated by Satchells:
"Hassendean came without a call,
On Minto-crags the moon-beams glint i—St. XXVII. p. 34.
A romantic assemblage of cliffs, which rise suddenly above the vale of Teviot, in the immediate vicinity of the familyseat, from which Lord Minto takes his title. A small platform, on a projecting crag, commanding a most beautiful prospect, is termed Barnhills' Bed. This Barnhills is said to have been a robber or outlaw. There are remains of a strong tower beneath the rocks, where he is supposed to have dwelt, and from which he derived his name. On the summit of the crags are the fragments of another ancient tower, in a very picturesque situation. Among the houses cast down by the Earl of Hartforde, in 1545, occur the towers of Easter Barnhills, and of Minto-crag, with Minto town and place. Sir Gilbert Elliot, father to the present Lord Minto, was the author of a