« PreviousContinue »
having received that office, came to me with great earnestness, and desired me to be his deputy, offering me that I should live with him in his house; that he would allow me half a dozen men, and as many horses, to be kept at his charge; and his fee being 1000 marks yearly, he would part it with me, and I should have the half. This his noble offer I accepted of, and went with him to Carlisle; where I was no sooner come, but I entered into my office. We had a stirring time of it; and few days past over my head but I was on horseback, either to pre? vent mischief, or take malefactors, and to bring the Border in better quiet than it had been in times past. One memorable thing, of God's mercy shewed unto me, was such as I had good cause still to remember it.
"I had private intelligence given me, that there were two Scottish men, who had killed a churchman in Scotland, and were by one of the Graemes relieved. This Graeme dwelt within five miles of Carlisle. He had a pretty house, and close by it a strong tower, for his own defence in time of need.— About two o'clock in the morning, I took horse in Carlisle, and not above twenty-five in my company, thinking to surprise the house on a sudden. Before I could surround the house, the two Scots were gotten in the strong tower, and I could see a boy riding from the house as fast as his horse could carry him; I little suspecting what it meant. But Thomas Carleton came to me presently, and told me, that if I did not presently prevent it, both myself and all my company would be either slain, or taken prisoners. It was strange to me to hear this language. He then said to me, ' Do you see that boy that rideth. away so fast i He will be in Scotland within this half hour; and he is gone to let them know, that you are here, and to what end you are come, and the small number you have with you; and that if they will make haste, on a sudden they may surprise us, and do with us what they please." Hereupon we took advice what was best to be done. We sent notice presently to all parts to raise the country, and to come to us with all the speed they could; and withall we sent to Carlisle to raise the townsmen; for without foot we could do no good against the tower. There we staid some hours, expecting more company; and within short time after the country came in on all sides, so that we were quickly between three and four hundred horse; and, after some longer stay, the foot of Carlisle came to us, to the number of three or four hundred men; whom we presently set to work, to get up to the top of the tower, and to uncover the roof; and then some twenty of them to fall down together, and by that means to win the* tower.—The Scots, seeing their present danger, offered to parley, and yielded themselves to my mercy. They had no sooner opened the iron gate, and yielded themselves my prisoners, but we might see 400 horse within a quarter of a mile coming to their rescue, and to surprise me and my small company; but on a sudden they stayed, and stood at gaze. Then had I more to do than ever; for all our Borderers came crying, with full mouths,1 Sir, give us leave to set upon them; for these are they that have killed our fathers, our brothers, and uncles, and our cousins; and they are coming, thinking to surprise you, upon weak grass nags, such as they could get on a sudden; and God hath put them into your hands, that we may take revenge of them for much blood that they have spilt of ours.' I desired they would be patient a while, and bethought myself, if I should give them their will, there would be few or none of the Scots that would escape unkilled (there were so many deadly feuds .among them); and therefore I resolved with myself to give them a fair answer, but not to give them their desire. So I told them, that if I were not there myself, they might then do what pleased themselves; but being present, if I should give them leave, the blood that should be spilt that day would lie very hard upon my conscience. And therefore I desired them, for my sake, to forbear; and, if the Scots did not presently make away with all the speed they could, upon my sending to them, they should then have their wills to do what they pleased. They were ill satisfied with my answer, but durst not disobey. I sent with speed to the Scots, and bade them pack away with all the speed they could; for if they stayed the messenger's return, they should few of them return to their own home. They made no stay; but they were turned homewards before the messenger bad made an end of his message. Thus, by God's mercy, I escaped a great danger; and, by my means, there were a great many men's lives saved that day."
Note IX. On many a cairn's gray pyramid, Where urns of mighty chiefs lie hid.—P. 95. The cairns, or piles of loose stones, which crown the summit of most of our Scottish hills, and are found in other remarkable situations, seem usually, though not universally, to have been sepulchral monuments. Six flat stones are commonly found in the centre, forming a cavity of greater or smaller dimensions, in which an urn is often placed. The author is possessed of one, discovered beneath an immense cairn at Roughlee, in Liddesdale. It is of the most barbarous construction: the middle of the substance alone having been subjected po the fire, over which, when hardened, the artist had laid an inner and outer coat of unbaked clay, etched with some very rude ornaments; his skill apparently being inadequate to baking the vase, when completely finished. The contents were bones and ashes, and a quantity of beads made of coal. This seems to have been a barbarous imitation of the Roman fashion of sepulture.