« PreviousContinue »
Smote, with his gauntlet, stout Hunthill.—P. 182. The Rutherfords of Hunthill were an ancient race of Border lairds, whose names occur in history, sometimes as defending the frontier against the English, sometimes as disturbing the peace of their own country. Dickon Draw-the-sword was son to the ancient warrior, called in tradition the Cock of Hunthill.
But bit his glove, and shook his head.—P. 182. To bite the thumb, or the glove, seems not to have been considered, upon the Border, as a gesture of contempt, though so used by Shakspeare, but as a pledge of mortal revenge. It is yet remembered, that a young gentleman of Teviotdale, on the morning after a hard drinking-bout, observed, that he had bitten his glove. He instantly demanded of his companion, with whom he had quarrelled ? and learning that he had had words with one of the party, insisted on instant satisfaction, asserting, that though he remembered nothing of the dispute, yet he was sure he never would have bit his glove unless he had received some unpardonable insult. He fell in the duel, which was fought near Selkirk, in 1721.
i Arthur Fire-tke-iraes.—P. 183.
The person, bearing this redoubtable nomme de guerre, was an Elliot, and resided at Thorleshope, in Liddesdale. He occurs in the list of Border riders, in 1597.
Since old Buccleuch the name did gain, When in the cleuch the buck was ta'en.—P. 184. A tradition, preserved by Scott of Satchells, who published, in 1688, A true History of the Right Honourable Name of Scott, gives the following romantic origin of that name. Two brethren, natives of Galloway, having been banished from that country for a riot, or insurrection, came to Rankelburn, in Ettricke forest, where the keeper, whose name was Brydone, received them joyfully, on account of their skill in winding the horn, and in the other mysteries of the chace.—Kenneth MacAlpin, then king of Scotland, came soon after to hunt in the royal forest, and pursued a buck from Ettricke-heuch to the glen now called Buckleuch, about two miles above the junction of Rankelburn with the river Ettricke.—Here the stag stood at bay; and the king and his attendants, who followed on horseback, were thrown out by the steepness of the hill and the morass. John, one of the brethren from Galloway, had followed the chace on foot; and now coming in, seized the buck by the horns, and, being a man of great strength and
activity, threw him on his back, and run with his burthen about a mile up the steep hill, to a place called Cracra-Cross, where Kenneth had halted, and laid the buck at the sovereign's feet*
The deer being curee'd In that place,
At his Majesty's demand,
And fetched water to his hand.
And Galloway John he wot;
Shall ever be called John Scot.
"The forest, and the deer therein,
We commit to thy band,
If thou obey command:
To us up that steep heuch,
Be John Scot in Buckscleuch."
* Froissart relates, that a knight of the household of the Ooropte de Foix exhibited a similar feat of strength. The hall fire had waxed low, and wood was wanted to mend it. The knight went down to the court yard, where stood an ass laden with faggots, seized on the animal and his burden, and, carrying him up to the hall on his shoulders, tumbled him into the chimney with his heels uppermost; a humane pleasantry, much applauded by the Count and all the spectators.
In Scotland no Buckcleuch was then,
The Buccleuch arms have been altered, and now allude less pointedly to this hunting, whether real or fabulous. The family now bear Or upon a bend azure, a mullet betwixt two crescents of the field; in addition to which, they formerly bore in the field a hunting horn. The supporters, now two ladies,
t "Minions of the moon," as Falstaff would have said. The vocation pursued by our ancient Borderers may be justified on the authority of the most polished of the ancient nations: " For the Grecians in old time, and such barbarians as in the continent lived neere unto the sea, or else inhabited the islands, after once they began to crosse over one to another in ships, became theeves, and went abroad under the conduct of their more puissant men, both to enrich themselves, and to fetch in maintenance for the weak; and falling upon towns unfortified,or scattering!y inhabited, rifled them, and made this the best means of their living; being a matter at that time no where in disgrace, but rather carrying with it something of glory. This is manifest by some that dwell upon the continent, amongst whom, so it be performed nobly, it is still esteemed as an ornament. The same it also proved were formerly a hound and buck, or, according to the old terms, a hart of leash and a hart of greece. The family of Scott of Howpasley and Thirlestaine long retained the bugle-horn: they also carried a bent bow and arrow in the sinister cantle, perhaps as a difference. It is said the motto was,—Best riding by moonlight, in allusion to the crescents on the shield, and perhaps to the habits of those who bore it. The motto now given is Amo, applying to the female supporters.
Note XI. .. old Albert Grame, The Minstrel of that ancient name.—P. 185.1 "John Grahame, second son of Malice, Earl of Monteith, commonly sirnamed John with the Bright Sword, upon some displeasure risen against him at court, retired with many of his clan and kindred, into the English Borders, in the reign of King Henry the Fourth, where they seated themselves; and many of their posterity have continued there ever since. Mr
by some of the ancient poets, who introduced men questioning of such as sail by, on all coasts alike, whether they be theeves or not; as a thiDg neyther scorned by such as were asked, nor upbraided by those that were desirous to know. They also robbed one another within the main land ; and much of Greece useth that old custome, as the Locriant, the Acamaniant, and those of the continent in that quarter, unto this day. Moreover, the fashion of wearing iron remaineth yet with the people of that continent, from their old trade of theeving."—Hobbes' Thucydides, p. 4. Lond.1629.