Page images
PDF
EPUB

caldy of Grange to fight with him, in singular combat, on horseback, with spears; who, keeping the appointment, accompanied with Monsieur d'Ossel, lieutenant to the French king, and the garrison of Haymouth, and Mr Ivers, accompanied with the governor and garrison of Berwick, it was discharged, under the pain of treason, that any man should come near the champions within a flight-shot, except one man for either of them, to bear their spears, two trumpets, and two lords to be judges. When they were in readiness, the trumpets sounded, the heraulds cried, and the judges let them go. Then they encountered very fiercely; but Grange struck his spear through his adversary's shoulder, and bare him off his horse, being sore wounded: But whether he died, or not, it is uncertain."—P. 202.

The following indenture will show at how late a period the trial by combat was resorted to on the Border, 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 eight 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 breaches, plaite sockes, two basleard 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; 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 sixteen 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 Quintin Whitehead and Runion Blackburne.

"S. 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 Musgrave.

Lancelot Carleton."

Note XXII. He, the jovial Harper.—P. 184. 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 above Hawick, 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 Scotch air, called "Rattling Roaring Willie." Ramsay, who set no value on traditionary 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, however, 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,

And he's for the rood-day; *
But Stobs and young Falnash, +

They followed him a' the way;
They followed him a' the way,

They sought him up and down,
In the links of Ousenam water,

They faud him sleeping sound.

Stobs lighted aff his horse,

And never a word he spak,
Till he tied Willie's hands

IV fast behind his back;

* The day of the Rood-fair at Jedburgh.

t Sir Gilbert Elliot of Stobs, and Scott of Falnash.

Fn' fast behind his back,

And down beneath his knee,
And drink will be dear to Willie,

When sweet milk • gars him die.

Ah wae light on ye, Stobs!

An ill death mot ye die!
Ye're the first and foremost man

That e'er laid hands on me;
That e'er laid hands on me,

And took my mare me fraej
Wae to you, Sir Gilbert lilliot!

Ye are my mortal fae!

The lasses of Ousenam water

Are rugging and riving their hair,
And a' for the sake of Willie,

His beauty was so fair:
His beauty was so fair,

And comely for to see,
And drink will be dear to Willie,

When sweet milk gars him die.

Note XXIII. Black Lord Archibald's battle laws. In the old Douglas' day.—'P. 134. The title to the most ancient collection of Border regulations runs thus:

"Be it remembered, that, on the 18th day of December, 1468, Earl William Douglas assembled the whole lords, freeholders, and eldest Borderers, that best knowledge had, at the

* A wretched pun on his antagonist's name.

« PreviousContinue »