« PreviousContinue »
“We UNDERSTANDING that owre burgh of Selkirk | in consequence of the fatal field of Flodden. But and inhabitants thairof CONTINUALIE SEN THE FIELD | further, it seems reasonable to infer, that so many OF FLODOUNE has been oppressiit heriit and owre marks of royal favour, granted within so short a runin be theves and traitors whairthrow the haunt time of each other, evince the gratitude, as well as of merchandice has cessit amangis thame of lang- the compassion, of the monarch, and were intended tyme bygane and thai heriit thairthrow and we de- to reward the valour, as well as to relieve the disfraudit of owre custumis aud dewites—THAIRFOR tress, of the men of Selkirk. Thus every circumand for divers utheris resonable causis and conside-stance of the written evidence, as far as it goes, rationes moving us be the tenor heirof of our kinglie tallies with the oral tradition of the inhabitants; power fre motive and autoritie ryall grantis and givis and, therefore, though the latter may be exaggerated, to thame and thair successors ane fair day begynand it surely cannot be dismissed as entirely void of founat the feist of the Conception of owre Lady next to dation. That William Brydone actually enjoyed the cum aftere the day of the date hereof and be the oc honour of knighthood, is ascertained by many of tavis of the sammyn perpetualy in time cuming To the deeds, in which his name appears as a notarybe usit and exercit be thame als frelie in time cuming public. John Brydone, lineal descendant of the galas ony uther fair is usit or exercit be ony otheris lant town-clerk, is still alive, and possessed of the owre burrowis within owre realme payand yeirlie relics mentioned by Mr. Robertson. The old man, custumis and doweities aucht and wont as effeiris though in an inferior station of life, receives consifrelie quietlie wele and in pece but ony revocation derable attention from his fellow-citizens, and claims obstakill impediment or agane calling whatsumever no small merit to himself on account of his brave Subscrivet with owre band and gevin under owre ancestor.' Signet at KIRKALDY the secund day of September Thus far concerning the tradition of the exploits The yere of God ane thousand five hundreth and of the men of Selkirk, at Flodden field. Whether threty sex yeris and of owre regne the twenty three the following verses do, or do not, bear any allusion yeir.” The charter of confirmation, in which all to that event, is a separate and less interesting questhese deeds and letters of donation are engrossed, tion. The opinion of Mr. Robertson, referring them proceeds to ratify and confirm them in the most to a different origin, has been already mentioned ; ample manner. The testing clause, as it is termed but his authority, though highly respectable, is not in law language, is in these words : “ In cujus rei absolutely decisive of the question. “ Testimonium huic presente carte nostre contirma The late Mr. Plummer,' sheriff-depute of the coun“ tionis magnum sigillum nostrum apponi precepi- ty of Selkirk, a faithful and accurate antiquary, en"mus Testibus Reverendissimo reverendisque in tertained a very opposite opinion. He has thus “ Christo Patribus Gawino Archiepiscopo Glasguen. expressed himself upon the subject, in the course of “ Cancellario nostro; Georgio Episcopo Dunkelden. his literary correspondence with Mr. Herd :" Henrico Episcopo Candide Case nostreque Capelle “Of the Souters of Selkirk, I never heard any “ regie Strivilengen. decano; dilectis nostris consan words but the following verse : “ guineis Jacobo Moravie Comite, etc. Archibaldo " Comite de Ergile Domino Campbell et Lorne Ma
"Up with the Souters of Selkirk, “gistro Hospicii nostri, Hugone Comite de Eglinton
And down wi' the Earl of Home; * Domino Montgomery, Malcolmo Domino Flemyng
And up wi' a' the bra' lads " magno Camerario nostro, Venerabilibus in Christo
That sew the single-soled shoon.' “ Patribus Patricio Priore Ecclesie Metropolitane "Sanctiandree, Alexandro Abbate Monasterii nostri " It is evident that these words cannot be so an“ de Cambuskynneth—dilectis familiaribus nostris cient as to come near the time when the battle was “ Thomæ Erskin de Brechin, Secretario nostro Ja- fought ; as Lord Home was not created an Earl till - cobo Colville de Estwemis compotorum nostrorum near a century after that period.
rotulatore et nostre cancellarie directore, militibus, “Our clergyman, in the Statistical Account,' " et Magistro Jacobo Foulis de Colintoun nostrorum vol. ii. p. 48, note, says, that these words were coms rotulorum Registri et Concilii clerico—apud Ediu- posed upon a match at foot-ball, between the Philip“ burgh octavo die mensis Aprilis Anno Domini mil- haugh and Home families. I was five years at school
lesimo quingentesimo trigesimo octavo et regni at Selkirk, have lived all my days within two miles 5* nostri vicesimo quinto.”
of that town, and never once heard a tradition of From these extracts, which are accurately copied this imaginary contest till I saw it in print. from the original charters,' it may be safely con “Although the words are not very ancient, there cluded, 1st, that Selkirk was a place of importance is every reason to believe, that they allude to the before it was ruined by the English; and, 2d, “ that battle of Flodden, and to the different behaviour of the voice of merchants had ceased in her streets,” | the souters, and Lord Home, upon that occasion,
* The charters are preserved in the records of the bargh.
• This person is lately dead, but his son is in possession of the weapons in question. 1810.
3 [ Andrew Plammer, Esq., of Sunderland Hall, Selkirkshire. -ED.)
THE FLOWERS OF THE FOREST.
At election dinners, etc., when the Selkirk folks begin to get fou' (merry), they always call for music, and for that tune in particular.' At such times I never heard a souter hint at the foot-ball, but many times speak of the battle of Flodden.”—Leller from Mr. Plummer lo Mr. Herd, 13th January, 1793.
The Editor has taken every opportunity, which his situation has afforded him, to obtain information on this point, and has been enabled to recover two additional verses of the song.
The yellow and green, mentioned in the second verse, are the liveries of the house of Home. When the Lord Home came to attend the governor, Albany, his attendants were arrayed in Kendal-green. GODSCROFT.
The following well-known and beautiful stanzas were composed, many years ago, by a lady of family in Roxburghshire. The manner of the ancient minstrels is so happily imitated, that it required the most positive evidence to convince the Editor that the song was of modern date. Such evidence, however, he has been able to procure; having been favoured, through the kind intervention of Dr. Somerville (well known to the literary world, as the historian of King William, etc.), with the following authentic copy of the Flowers of the Forest.
From the same respectable authority, the Editor is enabled to state, that the tune of the ballad is ancient, as well as the two following lines of the first stanza :
THE SOUTERS OF SELKIRK.
· A singular custom is observed at conferring the freedom of advantage on the English part, that they seem actually to have the burgh. Four or five bristles, such as are used by shoemakers, set up pretensions to the victory.* The same temper of mind led are attached to the seal of the burgess ticket. These the new. them eagerly to ascribe the loss of their monarch, and his armiy, made burgess must dip in his wine, and pass through his mouth, to any cause, rather than to his own misconduct, and the superior in token of respect for the souters of Selkirk. This ceremony is military skill of the English. There can be no doubt, that James on no account dispensed with.
actually fell on the field of battle, the slaughter-place of his nobles. That the Editor succeeded Mr. Plummer in his office of sheriff -PINKERTON, ibid. His dead body was interred in the monastery depute, and has himself the honour to be a souter
of Sheen, in Surrey: and Stowe mentions, with regard to it, the perhaps form the best apology for the length of this dissertation. following degrading circumstances :3 Selkirkshire, otherwise called Ettrick Forest.
"After the battle the bodie of the said king, being found, was 4 Berwickshire, otherwise called the Merse.
closed in lead, and conveyed from thence to London, and to the 5 It is unnecessary here to enter into a formal refutation of the monasterie of Sheyne, in Surry, where it remained for a time, in popular calumny, which taxed Lord Home with being the mur what order I am not certaine ; but, since the dissolution of that derer of his sovereign, and the cause of the defeat at Flodden. house, in the reign of Edward VI., Henry Gray, Duke of NorSo far from exbibiting any marks of cowardice or disaffection, the folke, being lodged, and keeping house there, I have been shewed division headed by that unfortunate nobleman, was the only part the same bodie, so lapped in lead, close to the head and bodie, of the Scottish army which was conducted with common pru throwne into a waste room, amongst the old timber, lead, and dence on that fatal day. This body formed the vanguard, and other rubble. Since the which time, workmen there, for their entirely routed the division of Sir Edmund Howard, to which they foolish pleasure, hewed off his head; and Lancelot Young, master were opposed; but the reserve of the English cavalry rendered it glazier to Queen Elizabeth, feeling a sweet savour to come from impossible for Home, notwithstanding his success, lo come to the thence, and seeing the same dried from all moisture, and yet the aid of the king, who was irretrievably ruined by his own impe form remaining, with haire of the head, and beard red, brought tuosity of temper. -PINKERTON's History, vol. ii. p. 105. The it to London, to his house in Wood-street, where, for a time, he escape of James from the field of batile has long been deservedly kept it, for its sweetness, but, in the end, caused the sexton of ranked with that of King Sebastian, and similar speciosa mira that church (St. Michael's, Wood-street) to bury it amongst other cula with which the vulgar have been amused in all ages. In bones taken out of their charnel."-Stowe's Survey of London, deed, the Scottish nation were so very unwilling to admit any
" Against the proud Scotte's clattering,
That never wyll leave their trattlying ;
"Lo these fond sottes and traftlying Scottes,
And will not know theyr overthrow,
Skelton Laureale against the Scolles.
trick Forest suffered a distinguished share,) and to THE FLOWERS OF THE FOREST. the present solitary and desolate appearance of the country, excited, in the mind of the author, the ideas, which she has expressed in a strain of elegiac simplicity and tenderness, which has seldom been
The following verses, adapted to the ancient air of equalled.
the Flowers of the Forest, are like the elegy which
precedes them, the production of a lady. The late THE FLOWERS OF THE FOREST. Mrs. Cockburn, daughter of Rutherford of Fairnalie,
in Selkirkshire, and relict of Mr. Cockburn of Or
miston, (whose father was Lord Justice-Clerk of I've heard them lilting,' at the ewe-milking,
Scotland,) was the authoress. Mrs. Cockburn has Lasses a' lilting, before dawn of day;
been dead but a few years. Even at an age, advanced But now they are moaning on ilka green loaning;
beyond the usual bounds of humanity, she retained a The flowers of the forest are a' wede awae.
play of imagination, and an activity of intellect, which
must have been attractive and delightful in youth, At bughts, in the morning, nae blythe lads are scorn but were almost preternatural at her period of life. ing;
Her active benevolence, keeping pace with her genius, Lasses are lonely, and dowie, and wae;
rendered her equally an object of love and admiration. Nae daffing, nae gabbing, but sighing and sabbing; The Editor, who knew her well, takes this opporIlk ane lists her leglin, and hies her awae.
tunity of doing justice to his own feelings; and they
are in unison with those of all who knew his reIn har’st, at the shearing, nae youths now are jeering: gretted friend." Bandsters are runkled, and lyart or gray ;
The verses which follow were written at an early At fair, or at preaching, 'nae wooing, nae fleeching; period of life, and without peculiar relation to any The flowers of the forest are a' wede awae.
event, unless it were the depopulation of Ettrick
Forest. At e'en, in the gloaming, nae younkers are roaming
'Bout stacks with the lasses at bogle to play ; But ilk maid sits dreary, lamenting her deary
I've seen the smiling of Fortune beguiling, The flowers of the forest are weded awae.
I've tasted her favours, and felt her decay : Dool and wae for the order, sent our lads to the Bor- Sweet is her blessing, and kind her caressing, der!
But soon it is fled-it is sed far away.
With flowers of the fairest, both pleasant and gay; The prime of our land, are cauld in the clay.
Full sweet was their blooming, their scent the air
perfuming, We'll hear nae mair lilting, at the ewe-milking ; But now are they wither’d, and a' wede awae.
Women and bairns are heartless and wae ; Sighing and moaning on ilka green loaning
I've seen the morning with gold the hills adorning, The flowers of the forest are a' wede awae.3 And the red storm roaring, before the parting day:
1 The following explanation of provincial terms may be found
To preachings eke, and to thise pilgrimages, nseful.
To plays of miracles, and marriages," etc.
Canterbury Tales. Lilling-Singing cheerfully. Loaning—A broad lane. Wede awae-Weeded out. Scorning - Rallying. Dowie - Dreary. 3 ["It is the business of poetry to delineate feeling; and where Daffing and gabbing-Joking and chatting. Leglin-Milk.pail. shall we look for seeling so undisguised and powerful, as in those Har'st-Harvest. Shearing-Reaping. Bandster's-Sheaf-bindo | early periods of civilisation, which have already excited men to ers. Runkled-Wrinkled. Lyart-Inclining to grey. Fleeching the cultivalion of their intellectual energies—but have not yet -Coaxing. Glouming-Twilight.
fettered them with that multiplicity of rules which forms them 2 These lines have been said to contain an anachronism; the into the mere machines of polished society? The minds of men sopposed date of the lamentation being about the period of the in such a state are indeed less delicate, less attractive of general Field of Flodden. The Editor can see no ground for this charge. sympathy, than in succeeding periods ; but they are more poetic, Fairs were held in Scotland from the most remote antiquity; and more interesting in particular contemplation, more distinctly are, from their very nature, scenes of pleasure and gallantry. The marked and intelligible. We are not, then, to view these poems preachings of the friars were, indeed, professedly, meetings for a as facta ad unguem-high-polished and elaborate specimens of graver purpose; but we have the authority of the Wife of Bath, art-but as exhibiting the true sparks and flashes of individual (surely most unquestionable in such a point,) that they were fre nature. Hence we shall find a savage wildness in the superstition queoily perverted to places of rendezvous :
of the Lyke-wake Dirge, and in the tumulluous rage of the Fray
of Suport ; but we may trace gradations from these to the exquisite “I had the better leisur for to pleie,
tenderness of the Flowers of the Forest."-Edin. Rev. 1805. And for to see, and eke to be seie
4 Edition of 1803.
5 ( Mrs. Cockburn was an intimate friend of Mrs. Scott, and Therefore I made my visitations
among the first persons who discovered the expanding genius of To vigilies and to processions ;
This Ballad is a fragment from Mr. Herd's MS., communicated to him by J. GROSSETT MUIRHEAD, Esq. of Breadesholm, near Glasgow; who stated that he extracted it, as relating to his own family, from the complete Song, in which the names of twenty or thirty gentlemen were mentioned, contained in a large Collection, belonging to Mr. ALEXANDER MONRO, merchant in Lisbon, but supposed now to be lost.
It appears, from the Appendix to Nisbet's Heraldry, p. 264, that MUIRHEAD of Lachop and Bullis, the person here called the Laird of MUIRHEAD, was a man of rank, being rentaller, or perhaps feuar, of many crown lands in Galloway; and was, in truth, slain in “Campo Belli de Northumberland sub vexillo Regis," i. e, in the Field of Flodden.
Green Flodden! on thy blood-stain'd head
Descend no rain nor vernal dew;
May whitening bones thy surface strew!
Wild fancy feels the clasping mail;
Glows in my breast; again I burn
To see the banner'd pomp of war return, (spears.
The spirits of the ancient dead
With awful faces, ghastly red;
They closed the death-devoted ring,
In slow procession round the pile
Of heaving corses, moves each shadowy file, (field.
Foremost leads the spectred brave,
His amber locks redundant wave?
That view'd their chieftain's long array,
The virgins raise the funeral strain,
From Ord's black mountain to the northern main,
The combat where her lover fell!
The triumph of our foes to tell!
Afore the King in order stude
The stout laird of Muirhead,
That Bartram felld stark dead.
To fight in ilka field;
Till bis last gasp should yield.
Frae Torwood and the Clyde,
But a' die by his syde.
This sturdy royal band
That nane could them withstand.
his mercy. This mark of attachment was so agreeable to that * (These verses of Dr. Leyden appear to have been introduced warlike prince, that he granted an immunity to the Earl and all in this place, as forming a sort of note on the Flowers of the Forest. his followers. T'e parchment on which this immunity was inAmong them are the four beautiful lines which were selected for scribed, is said to be still preserved in the archives of the Earls of the molto to Marmion
Caithness, and is marked with the drum-strings, having been cut " Alas I that Scottish maid should sing," etc.-ED.)
out of a drumhead, as no other parchment could be found in the
army. The Earl and his gallant band perished to a man in the 3 Under the vigorous administration of James IV., the young baltle of Flodden; since which period, it has been reckoned upEarl of Caithness incurred the penalty of outlawry and forseiture, lucky in Caithness to wear green, or cross the Ord on a Monday, for revenging an ancient feud. On the evening preceding the the day of the week on which the Chieftain advanced into Subattle of Plodden, accompanied by 300 young warriors, arrayed therland. in green, he presented himself before the King, and submilted to
That mourn'd their martial fathers' bier ;
Roll'd from the walls of proud Samar,
Around my solitary head
“Lament no more the warrior's doom ! Red Flodden! when thy plaintive strain
Blood, blood alone, should dew the bero's tomb, In early youth rose soft and sweet,
Who falls, ’mid circling spears, to save his native My life-blood, through each throbbing vein,
And thought I heard the mingling hum,
When, croaking hoarse, the birds of carrion come IMITATIONS OF THE ANCIENT BALLAD.4 Afar, on rustling wing, to feast on English blood.
The invention of printing pecessarily occasioned the downRude Border Chiefs, of mighty name,
fall of the Order of Minstrels, already reduced to contempt And iron soul, who sternly tore
by their own bad habits, by the disrepute altached to their The blossoms from the tree of fame,
profession, and by the laws calculated to repress their license. And purpled deep their tints with gore,
When the Metrical Romances were very many of them in Rush from brown ruins, scarr'd with age,
the hands of every one, the occupation of those who made That frown o'er haunted Hermitage;
their living by reciting them was in some degree abolished,
and the minstrels either disappeared altogether, or sunk into Where, long by spells mysterious bound,
mere musicians, whose utmost acquaintance with poetry was They pace their round, with lifeless smile,
being able to sing a ballad. Perhaps old Anthony, who acAnd shake, with restless foot, the guilty pile,
quired, from the song which he accounted his masterpiece, Till sink the mouldering towers beneath the burden'd the name of Anthony Now Now, was one of the last of this ground.
class in the capital; nor does the tenor of his poetry evince
whether it was his own composition, or that of some other.5 Shades of the dead! on Alfer's plain
But the taste for popular poetry did not decay with the Who scorned with backward step to move, class of men by whom it had been for some generations But struggling 'mid the hills of slain,
practised and preserved. Not only did the simple old ballads Against the Sacred Standard strove;'
retain their ground, though circulated by the new art of Amid the lanes of war I trace
printing, instead of being preserved by recitation; but in the Each broad claymore and ponderous mace:
Garlands, and similar collections for general sale, the
authors aimed at a more ornamental and regular style of Where'er the surge of arms is tost,
poetry than had been attempted by the old minstrels, wbose Your glittering spears, in close array,
composition, if not extemporaneous, was seldom committed Sweep, like the spider’s filmy web, away
to writing, and was not, therefore, susceptible of accurate The flower of Norman pride, and England's victor revision. This was the more necessary, as even the popular
poetry was now feeling the effects arising from the advance But distant fleets each warrior ghost,
of knowledge, and the revival of the study of the learned With surly sounds that murmur far;
languages, with all the elegance and refinement which it inSuch sounds were heard when Syria's host
In the Border counties of Scotland, it was formerly customary, top was placed a little casket, containing a consecrated host. It when any rancorous enmity subsisted between two clans, to leave also contained the banner of St. Cuthbert, round which were disthe right hand of male children unchristened, that it might deal the played those of St. Peter of York, St. John of Beverley, and st. mure deadly, or, according to the popular phrase, “unhallowed" Wilfred of Rippon. This was the English standard, and was blows to their enemies. By this superstitious rite, they were de stationed in the centre of the army. Prince Henry, son of David, voted to bear the family feud, or enmity. The same practice at the head of the men-of-arms, chiefly from Cumberland and Tesubsisted in Ireland, as appears froni the following passage in Cham- viotdale, charged, broke, and completely dispersed the centre; but PION'S History of Ireland, published in 1633. “In some corners unfortunalely was not supported by the other divisions of the Scotof the land they used a damnable superstition, leaving the right tish army. The expression of Alfred, (p. 345,) describing this armes of their infants, males, unchristened, (as they termed it,) to encounter, is more spirited than the general tenor of monkish the end it might give a more ungracious and deadly blow."-P. 15. historians ;-"Ipsa globi australis parte instar cassis aranec
Popular superstition in Scotland still retains so formidable an dissipata."—that division of the phalanx was dispersed like a idea of the guilt of blood, that those ancient edifices, or castles, cobweb. where enormous crimes have been committed, are supposed to * ( This essay was written in April 1830, and forms a contingasink gradually into the ground. With regard to the castle of Her tion of the “Remarks on Popular Poetry," printed in the be mitage, in particular, the common people believe, that thirty feet ginning. of the present volume.-Ep.] of the walls sunk, thirty feet fell, and thirty feet remain standing. 5 He might be supposed a contemporary of Henry VIII., if the
3 The fatal battle of the Standard was fought on Cowton Moor, greeling which he pretends to have given to that monarch is of near Northallerton, (A. E. Ealsertun, ) in Yorkshire, 1138. his own composition, and spoken in his own person. David J. commanded the Scottish army. He was opposed by
* Good morrow to our noble king, quoth 1; Thurston, Archbishop of York, who, to animate his followers, had
Good morrow, quoth be, to thou : recourse to the impression of religious enthusiasm. The mast of
Aod then he said to Antbony, a ship was fitted into the perch of a four-wheeled carriage; on its
O Anthony now now now."