« PreviousContinue »
"Lands and livings many a rood,
St. II. p. 45. The Buccleuch family were great benefactors to the abbey of Melrose. As early as the reign of Robert II., Robert Scott, baron of Murdieston and Rankelbnrn (now Buccleuch), gave to the monks the lands of Hinkery, in Ettricke Forest, pro salute anima sua.—Chartulary of Melrose, 28th May, 1415.
Prayer know I hardly one;
Save to patter an Ave Mary,
When I ride on a Border foray.—St. VI. p. 47. The Borderers were, as may be supposed, very ignorant about religious matters. Colville, in his Paranesis, or Admonition, states, that the reformed divines were so far from undertaking distant journies to convert the Heathen, "as I wold wis at God that ye wold only go bot to the Hielands and Borders of our own realm, to gain our awin countrymen, who, for lack of preching and ministration of the sacraments, must, with tyme, becum either infidells, or atheists.". But we learn, from Lesly, that, however deficient in real religion, -they regularly told their beads, and never with more zeal than when going on a plundering expedition.
Beneath their feet were the bones of the dead.—St. VII. p. 48. The cloisters were frequently used as places of sepulchre. An instance occurs in Dryburgh Abbey, where the cloister has an inscription bearing, Hlojacet frater Archibaldus.
So had he seen, in fair Castile,
The youth in glittering squadrons start;
Sudden the flying jennet wheel,
And hurl the unexpected dart.—St. VIII. p. 48. "By my faith," sayd the duke of Lancaster (to a Portuguese squire), "of all the feates of armes that the Castellyans and they of your countrey doth use, the castynge of their dartes best pleaseth me, and gladly I wold see it; for as I hear say, if they strike one aryght, without he be well armed, the dart will pierce him thrughe." "By my fayth, Sir," sayd the squyer, "ye say trouth; for I have seen many a grete stroke given with them, which at one time cost us derely, and was to us great displeasure; for at the said skyrmishe, Sir John Laurence of Coygne was stricken with a dart in such wise, that the head perced all the plates of his cote of mayle, and a sacke stopped with sylke, and passed thrughe his body, so that he fell down dead." Froissaet, Vol. II. ch. 44.—This mode of fighting with darts was imitated in the military game called Juego de las canas, which the Spaniards borrowed from their Moorish invaders. A Saracen champion is thus described by Froissart: "Among the Sarazyns, there was a yonge knight called Agadinger Dolyferne; he was always wel mounted on a redy and a lyght horse; it seemed, when the horse ranne, that he did flyc in the ayre. The knighte seemed to be a good maa of amies by his dedes; he bare always of usage three fethered dartes, and rychte well he coulde handle them; and, according to their custome, he was clene armed, with a long white towell aboute his heed. His apparell was blacke, and his own colour browne, and a good horseman. The Crvsten men say, they thoughte he dyd such deeds of armes for the love of some yongc ladye of his countrcy. And true it was, that he loved entirely the king of Thunes' daughter, named the Lady Azala; she was inherytour to the real me of Thunes, after the discease of the kyng, her father. This Agadinger was sone to the Duke of Olyferne. I can nat telle if they were married together after or nat; but it was shewed me that this knyght, for love of the sayd ladye, during the siege, did many feats of armes. The knyghtes of Fraunce wold fayne have taken hym; but they colde never attrape nor inclose him, his horse was so swyft, and so redy to his hand, that alwaies he escaped." Vol. II. ch. 71.
Thy low and lonely urn,
O gallant chief of Otterburne.—St. X. p. 5,0.
The famous and desperate battle of Otterburne was fought
15th August, 1388, betwixt Henry Percy, called Hotspur, and
James Earl of Douglas. Both these renowned champions
were at the head of a chosen body of troops, and they were
rivals in military fame; so that Froissart affirms, * Of all the
battaylles and encounteryngs that I have made niencion of
here before in all this hystory, great or smalle, this batayle
that I treat of nowe was one of the sorest and best foughten, without cowardes or faynte hertes; for there was neyther knyghte nor stmyer but that dyde his devoyre, and fought hande to hande. This batayle was lyke the batayle of Becherell, the which was valiauntlye fought and endured." The issue of the conflict is well known: Percy was made prisoner, and the Scots won the day, dearly purchased by the death of their gallant general, the Earl of Douglas, who was slain in the action. He was buried at Melrose beneath the high altar. "His obsequye was done reverently, and on his body layde a tombe of stone, and his baner hangyng over hym."—FroisSart, Vol. II. p. 161.
Dark knight of Liddesdale.—St. X. p. 50.
William Douglas, called the knight of Liddesdale, flourished during the reign of David II.; and was so distinguished by his valour, that he was called the Flower of Chivalry. Nevertheless, he tarnished his renown by the cruel murder of Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie, originally his friend and brother iu arms. The king had conferred upon Ramsay the sheriffdom of Teviotdale, to which Douglas pretended some claim. In revenge of this preference, the knight of Liddesdale came down upon Ramsay, while he was administering justice at Hawick, seized, and carried him off to his remote and inaccessible castle of Hermitage, where he threw his unfortunate prisoner, horse and man, into a dungeon, and left him to perish of hunger. It is said, the miserable captive prolonged his existence for several days by the corn which fell from a granary above the vault in which he was confined f. So weak was the royal authority, that David, although highly incensed at this atrocious murder, found himself obliged to appoint the knight of Liddesdale successor to his victim, as sheriff of Teviotdale. But he was soon,after slain, while hunting in Ettrick Forest, by his own godson and chieftain, William Earl of Douglas, in revenge, according to some authors, of Ramsay's murder; although a popular tradition, preserved in a ballad quoted by Godscroft, and some parts of which are still pre
t There is something affecting in the manner in which the old Prior of Lochlevin turns from describing the death of the gallant Ramsay, to the general sorrow which it excited:
To tell you there of the manere.
Some years ago, a person digging for stones, about the old castle of Hermitage, broke into a vault, containing a quantity of chaff, some bones, and pieces of iron; amongst others, the curb of an ancient bridle, which the author has since .given to the Earl of Dalhousie, under the impression, that it possibly may be a reliqjie of his brave ancestor. The worthy clergyman of the parish has mentioned this discovery, in his statistical account of Castletown.