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reign of James V. Waldhave,' under whose name a The original stands thus :set of prophecies was published, describes himself as

“When laddes weddeth lovedies." lying upon Lomond Law; he hears a voice, which bids him stand to his defence; he looks around, and Another prophecy of Merlin seems to have been beholds a flock of hares and foxes o pursued over the current about the time of the regent Morton's execumountain by a savage figure, to whom he can hardly tion. When that nobleman was committed to the give the name of man. At the sight of Waldhave, charge of his accuser, Captain James Stewart, newly the apparition leaves the objects of his pursuit, and created Earl of Arran, to be conducted to his trial at assaults him with a club. Waldhave defends him- Edinburgh, Spottiswoode says, that he asked, ““. Who self with his sword, throws the savage to the earth, was Earl of Arran?' and being answered that Captain and refuses to let him arise till he swear, by the law James was the man, after a short pause, he said, and lead he lives upon,

" to do him no harm.” This · And is it so? I know then what I may look for!' done, he permits him to arise, and marvels at his meaning, as was thought, that the old prophecy of strange appearance :

the “Falling of the heart' by the mouth of Arran,'

should then be fulfilled. Whether this was his mind "He was formed like a freike (man) all his four quarters; And then his chin and his face haired so thick,

or not, it is not known; but some spared not, at the With baire growing so grime, fearful to see."

time when the Hamiltons were banished, in which

business he was held too earnest, to say, that he He answers briefly to Waldhave's enquiry con

stood in fear of that prediction, and went that course cerning his name and nature, that he “drees his

only to disappoint it. But if so it was, he did find weird,” i. e. does penance in that wood; and, having himself now deluded; for he fell by the mouth of hinted that questions as to his own state are offen

another Arran than he imagined."-SPOTTISWoode, sive, he pours forth an obscure rhapsody concerning

p. 313. The fatal words alluded to seem to be these futurity, and concludes,

in the prophecy of Merlin :“Go musing upon Merlin is thou wilt :

“ In the mouthe of Arrane a selcouth shall fall, For I mean no more, man, at this time."

Two bloodie hearts shall be taken with a false traine,

And derfly dung down without any dome." This is exactly similar to the meeting betwixt Merlin and Kentigern in Fordun. These prophecies To return from these desultory remarks, into which of Merlin seem to have been in request in the mino- I have been led by the celebrated name of Merlin, rity of James V.; for, among the amusements with the style of all these prophecies, published by Hart, which Sir David Lindsay diverted that prince during is very much the same. The measure is alliterative, his infancy, are,

and somewhat similar to that of Pierce Plowman's

Visions; a circumstance which might entitle us to “The prophecies of Rymer, Bede, and Merlin." Sir DAVID LINDSAY'S Epistle to the King.

ascribe to some of them an earlier date than the reign

of James V., did we not know that Sir Galloran of And we find, in Waldhave, at least one allusion to

Galloway, and Gawaine and Gologras, two romances the very ancient prophecy, addressed to the Countess rendered almost unintelligible by the extremity of of Dunbar ;

affected alliteration, are perhaps not prior to that “This is a true token lhat Thomas of tells

period. Indeed, although we may allow, that, during When a ladde with a ladye shall go over the fields." much earlier times, prophecies, under the names of

1 I do not knuw whether the person here meant be Waldhave, an abbol of Melrose, who died in the odour of sanctity, about


* The strange occupation, in which Waldhave beholds Merlin engaged, derives some illustration from a curious passage in Geoffrey of Monmouth's life of Merlin, above quoted. The poem, after parrating that the prophet had fled to the forest in a state of distractiou, proceeds to mention, that, looking upon the stars one clear evening, he discerned from his astrological knowledge, thal his wife, Guendolen, had resolved, upon the next morning, to take another husband. As he had presaged to her that this would hap. pen, and had promised her a nuptial gift (cautioning her, however, to keep the bridegroom out of his sight,) he now resolved to make good his word. Accordingly, he collected all the stags and lesser game in his peighbourhood; and, having seated himself vpon a buck, drove the berd before him to the capital of Cumberland, where Guendolen resided. But her lover's curiosily leading him to inspect too nearly this extraordinary cavalcade, Merlin's rage was awakened, and he slew bim with the stroke of an antler of the stag. The original runs thus :

Et veniente die, compellens agmina præ se,
Festinans vadit quo nubit Guendolæna.
Postquam venit eo, patienter ipse coegit
Cer vos ante fores, proclamans, 'Guendolana,
Guendolæna, veni, te talia munera spectant.'
Ocius ergo venit subridens Guendolæna,
Gestarique virum cervo miratur, et illum
Sic parere viro, tantum quoque posse ferarum
Uuiri numerum quas præ se solus agebat,
Sicut pastor oves, quas ducere suevit ad berbas.
Stabat ab excelsa sponsus spectando fenestra,
Io solio mirans equitem, risumque movebat.
Ast ubi vidit eum vales, animoque quis esset
Calluit, extemplo divulsit cornua cervo
Quo gestabatur, vibrataque jecit in illum,
Et caput illius penitus contrivit, eumque
Reddidit exanimem, vitamque sugavit in auras;
ucius inde suum, talorum verbere, cervum

Diffugiens egit, silvasque redire puravit."
For a persual of this curious poem, accnrately copied from a
MS, in the Cotton Library, nearly coeval with the author, I was
indebted to my learned friend, the late Mr. Ritson. There is an
excellent paraphrase of it in the curious and entertaining Speci-
mens of Early English Romances, published by Mr. Ellis.

3 The heart was the coz nizance of Morton.

* Dixerat : et silvas et saltus circuit omnes,
Cervorumque greges agmen collegit in unum,
Et damas, capreasque simul; cervoque resedit,

Scotland, yet those published by Hart have / , ,

those celebrated soothsayers, have been current in times, the Editor, though the least of all the pro

phets, cannot help thinking, that every true Briton been so often vamped and re-vamped, to serve the will approve of his application of the last prophecy political purposes of different periods, that it may be quoted in the ballad. shrewdly suspected, that, as in the case of Sir John Hart's collection of prophecies was frequently reCutler's transmigrated stockings, very little of the printed during the last century, probably to favour original materials now remains. I cannot refrain the pretensions of the unfortunate family of Stuart. from indulging my readers with the publisher's title For the prophetic renown of Gildas and Bede, see to the last prophecy, as it contains certain curious Fordun, lib. 3. information concerning the Queen of Sheba, who is Before leaving the subject of Thomas's predictions, identified with the Cumæan Sibyl :“ Here followeth it may be noticed, that sundry rhymes, passing for a prophecie, pronounced by a noble queene and ma- his prophetic effusions, are still current among the tron, called Sybilla, Regina Austri, that came to vulgar. Thus, he is said to have prophesied of the Solomon. Through the which she compiled four very ancient family of Haig of Bemerside, bookes, at the instance of the said King Sol, and

“Betide, betide, whate'er betide, others divers : and the fourth book was directed to a

Haig shall be Haig of Bemerside." noble king, called Baldwine, King of the broad isle of Britain ; in the which she maketh mention of two The grandfather of the present proprietor of Benoble princes and emperours, the which is called merside had twelve daughters, before his lady brought Leones. How these two shall subdue and overcome him a male beir. The common people trembled for all earthlie princes to their diademe and crowne, and

the credit of their favourite soothsayer. The late also be glorified and crowned in the heaven among

Mr. Haig was at length born, and their belief in the saints. The first of these two is Constantinus prophecy confirmed beyond a shadow of doubt. Magnus; that was Leprosus, the son of Saint Helena, Another memorable prophecy bore, that the Old that found the croce. The second is the sixt king of Kirk at Kelso, constructed out of the ruins of the the name of Steward of Scotland, the which is our Abbey, should “fall when at the fullest.” At a very most noble king.” With such editors and commen crowded sermon, about thirty years ago, a piece of tators, what wonder that the text became unintelli- | lime fell from the roof of the church. The alarm, gible, even beyond the usual oracular obscurity of for the fulfilment of the words of the seer, became prediction?

universal; and happy were they, who were nearest If there still remain, therefore, among these pre- the door of the predestined edifice. The church was dictions, any verses having a claim to real antiquity, in consequence deserted, and has never since had an it seems now impossible to discover them from those opportunity of tumbling upon a full congregation. which are comparatively modern. Nevertheless, as

I hope, for the sake of a beautiful specimen of Saxothere are to be found, in these compositions, some

Gothic architecture, that the accomplishment of this uncommonly wild and masculine expressions, the prophecy is far distant. Editor has been induced to throw a few passages

Another prediction, ascribed to the Rhymer, seems together, into the sort of ballad to which this dis- to have been founded on that sort of insight into quisition is prefixed. It would, indeed, have been no futurity, possessed by most men of a sound and comdifficult matter for him, by a judicious selection, to bining judgment. It runs thus : have excited, in favour of Thomas of Ercildoune, a

"At Eldon Tree if you shall be, share of the admiration bestowed by sundry wise per

A brigg ower Tweed you there may see." sons upon Mass Robert Fleming.' For example :

The spot in question commands an extensive pros“But then the lilye shal be loused when they least think ; pect of the course of the river; and it was easy to Then clear king's blood shal quake for fear of death ;

foresee, that when the country should become in the For churis shal chop off heads of their chief beirns, And carfe of the crowns that Christ hath appointed.

least degree improved, a bridge would be somewhere

thrown over the stream. In fact, you now see no Thereafter, on every side, sorrow shal arise;

less than three bridges from that elevated situation. The barges of clear baroos down shal be sunken;

Corspatrick, (Comes Patrick,) Earl of March, but Seculars shall sit in spiritual seats, Occupying offices anointed as they were."

more commonly taking his title from his castle of

Dunbar, acted a noted part during the wars of Taking the lily for the emblem of France, can Edward I. in Scotland. As Thomas of Ercildoune is there be a more plain prophecy of the murder of her said to have delivered to him his famous prophecy of monarch, the destruction of her nobility, and the de- King Alexander's death, the Editor has chosen to insolation of her hierarchy ?

troduce him into the following ballad. All the proBut, without looking farther into the signs of the phetic verses are selected from Hart's publication..

(The Rev. R. Fleming, pastor of a Scotch congregation in London, published in 1701, “Discourses on the Rise and Fall of Papacy," in which he expressed his belief, founded on a text in

the Apocalypse, that the French Monarchy would undergo some remarkable humiliation about 1794.-ED.)

- [ An exact reprint of Hart's volume, from the copy in the



When seven years were come and gane,

The sun blinked fair on pool and stream; And Thomas lay on Huntlie bank,

Like one awaken'd from a dream. He heard the trampling of a steed,

He saw the flash of armour flee, And he beheld a gallant knight

Come riding down by the Eildon-tree.
He was a stalwart knight, and strong;

Of giant make he 'pear’d to be :
He stirr'd bis horse, as he were wode,

Wi' gilded spurs, of faushion free.
Says—"Well met, well met, true Thomas!

Some uncouth ferlies show to me.”Says—"Christ thee save, Corspatrick brave!

Thrice welcume, good Dunbar, to me! “Light down, light down, Corspatrick brave!

And I will show thee curses three, Shall gar fair Scotland greet and grane,

And change the green to the black livery. “ A storm shall roar this very hour,

From Ross's Hills to Solway sea.”. Ye lied, ye lied, ye warlock hoar!

For the sun shines sweet on fauld and lea.”

“There shall the lion lose the gylte,

And the libbards bear it clean away;
At Pinkyn Cleuch there shalt be spilt

Much gentil bluid that day.”—
Enough, enough, of curse and ban;

Some blessings show thou now to me,
Or, by the faith o'my bodie," Corspatrick said,

“ Ye shall rue the day ye e'er saw me!”" The first of blessings I shall thee show,

Is by a burn, that's call’d of bread ;3 Where Saxon men shall tine the bow,

And find their arrows lack the head. “Beside that brigg, out ower that burn,

Where the water bickereth bright and sheen, Shall many a falling courser spurn,

And knights shall die in battle keen. " Beside a headless cross of stone,

The libbards there shall lose the gree; The raven shall come, the erne shall go,

And drink the Saxon bluid sae free. The cross of stone they shall not know,

So thick the corses there shall be.". “But tell me now,” said brave Dunbar,

“True Thomas, tell now unto me, What man shall rule the isle Britain,

Even from the north to the southern sea ?".

“A French Queen shall bear the son,

Shall rule all Britain to the sea; He of the Bruce's blood shall come,

As near as in the ninth degree. "The waters worship shall his race;

Likewise the waves of the farthest sea; For they shall ride over ocean wide,

With hempen bridles, and horse of tree.”



He put his hand on the Earlie's head;

He show'd him a rock beside the sea, Where a king lay stiff beneath his steed,'

And steel-dight nobles wiped their ee. “The neist curse lights on Branxton hills :

By Flodden's high and heathery side, Shall wave a banner red as blude,

And chieftains throng wi' meikle pride. “A Scottish King shall come full keen,

The ruddy lion beareth he;
A feather'd arrow sharp, I ween,

Shall make him wink and warre to see. “When he is bloody, and all to bledde,

Thus to his men he still shall sayFor God's sake, turn ye back again,

And give yon southern folk a fray! Why should I lose the right is mine?

My doom is not to die this day.'» “Yet turn ye to the eastern hand,

And woe and wonder ye sall see; How forty thousand spearmen stand,

Where yon rank river meets the sea.


Thomas the Rhymer was renowned among his contemporaries, as the author of the celebrated romance of Sir Tristrem. Of this once-admired poem only one copy is now known to exist, which is in the Advocates’ Library. The Editor, in 1804, published a small edition of this curious work; which, if it does not revive the reputation of the bard of Ercildoune, is at least the earliest specimen of Scottish poetry hitherto published. Some account of this romance has already been given to the world in Mr. Ellis's Specimens of Ancient Poetry, vol.i. p. 165, iii. p. 410;

Library at Abbotsford, is about to appear under the care of the learned antiquary, Mr. David Laing of Edinburgh.-Ed. 1833.) • King Alexander, killed by a fall from his horse, near Kinghorn.

The uncertainty which long prevailed in Scotland, concerning the fate of James IV., is well known.

3 One of Thomas's rhymes, preserved by tradition, runs thus :

" The burn of breid

Sball run fow reid." Bannock-burn is the brook here meant. The Scots give the name of bannock to a thick round cake of unleavened bread.


a work to which our predecessors and our posterity priety among the class of Modern Ballads, had it not are alike obliged; the former, for the preservation been for its immediate connexion with the first and of the best-selected examples of their poetical taste; second parts of the same story. and the latter, for a history of the English language, which will only cease to be interesting with the exis

THOMAS THE RHYMER. tence of our mother-tongue, and all that genius and learning have recorded in it. It is sufficient here to mention, that so great was the reputation of the romance of Sir Tristrem, that few were thought ca When seven years more were come and gone, pable of reciting it after the manner of the author

Was war through Scotland spread, -a circumstance alluded to by Robert de Brunne, And Ruberslaw show'd high Dunyon the annalist :

His beacon blazing red.

Then all by bonny Coldingknow,' "I see in song,

in sedgeyng tale,
of Erceldoun, and of Kendale,

Pitch'd palliouns took their room,
Now thame says as they thame wroght,

And crested helms, and spears a-rowe,
And in thare saying it semes nocht.

Glanced gaily through the broom.
That thou may here in Sir Tristrem,
Over gestes it has the steme,

The Leader, rolling to the Tweed,
Over all that is or was ;

Resounds the ensenzie ; 3
If men it said as made Thomas," etc.

They roused the deer from Caddenhead,

To distant Torwoodlee. It appears, from a very curious MS. of the thirteenth century, penes Mr. Douce of London, con The feast was spread in Ercildoune, taining a French metrical romance of Sir Tristrem, In Learmont's high and ancient hall : that the work of our Thomas the Rhymer was And there were knights of great renown, known, and referred to, by the minstrels of Nor And ladies, laced in pall. mandy and Bretagne. Having arrived at a part of

Nor lacked they, while they sat at dine, the romance where reciters were wont to differ in

The music nor the tale, the mode of telling the story, the French bard ex

Nor goblets of the blood-red wine, pressly cites the authority of the poet of Ercildoune:

Nor mantling quaighs of ale.
“Plusurs de nos granter ne volent,

True Thomas rose, with harp in hand,
Co que del naim dire se solent,

When as the feast was done:
Ki femme Kaherdin dut aimer,
Li naim redut Tristram narrer,

(In minstrel strife, in Fairy Land,
E entusché par grant engin,

The elfin harp he won.)
Quant il asole Kaherdin;
Pur cest plai e pur cest mal,

Hush'd were the throng, both limb and tongue,
Enveiad Tristram Guvernal,

And harpers for envy pale;
En Engleterre pur Ysolt:

And armed lords leaned on their swords,
THOMAS ico granter ne volt,

And hearken'd to the tale.
Et si volt par raisun mostrer,
Qu'ico ne put pas esteer," etc.

In numbers high, the witching tale

The prophet pour'd along; The tale of Sir Tristrem, as narrated in the Edin

No after bard might e'er avail6 burgh MS., is totally different from the voluminous

Those numbers to prolong. romance in prose, originally compiled on the same subject by Rusticien de Puise, and analyzed by M. de Yet fragments of the lofty strain Tressan; but agrees in every essential particular with

Float down the tide of years, the metrical performance just quoted, which is a work As, buoyant on the stormy main, of much higher antiquity.

A parted wreck appears. The following attempt to commemorate the Rhy He sung King Arthur's Table Round : mer's poetical fame, and the traditional account of The Warrior of the Lake; his marvellous return to Fairy Land, being entirely How courteous Gawaine met the wound, s modern, would have been placed with greater pro

And bled for ladie's sake.

· Ruberslaw and Dunyon, are two bills near Jedburgh.

a An ancient tower near Ercildoune, belonging to a family of the name of Home. One of Thomas's prophecies is said to have run thus ;

" Vengeance ! vengeance ! when and where ?

On the house of Coldingknow, now and ever mair!" The spot is rendered classical by its having given name to the beautiful melody called the Broom o' the Cowdenknows.

3 Ensenzie-War-cry, or gathering word.

A Torwoodlee and Caddenhead are places iu Selkirkshire; both the property of Mr. Pringle of Torwoodlee.

5 Quaighs-Wooden cups, composed of slaves hooped together. 6 See Introduction to this ballad.

7 [This stanza was quoted by the Edinburgh Reviewer, of 1804, as a noble contrast to the ordinary humility of the genuine ballad diction.-Ep.]

8 See, in the Fabliaux of Monsieur le Grand, elegantly translated by the late Gregory Way, Esq., the tale of the Knight and the sword. [Vol. ii. p. 3.]

But chief, in gentle Tristrem's praise,

The notes melodious swell;
Was none excell'd in Arthur's days,

The knight of Lionelle.'
For Marke, his cowardly uncle's right,

A venom'd wound he bore;
When fierce Morholde he slew in fight,

Upon the Irish shore.
No art the poison might withstand ;

No medicine could be found,
Till lovely Isolde's lily hand

Had probed the rankling wound.
With gentle hand and soothing tongue

She bore the leech's part:
And, while she o'er bis sick-bed hung,

He paid her with his heart.
O fatal was the gift, I ween!

For, doom'd in evil tide,
The maid must be rude Cornwall's queen,

His cowardly uncle's bride.
Their loves, their woes, the gifted bard,

In fairy tissue wove;
Where lords, and knights, and ladies bright,

In gay confusion strove.
The Garde Joyeuse, amid the tale,

High rear'd its glittering head;
And Avalon's enchanted vale

In all its wonders spread. Brangwain was there, and Segramore,

And fiend-born Merlin's gramarye;
Of that famed wizard's mighty lore,

O who could sing but he ?
Through many a maze the winning song

In changeful passion led,
Till bent at length the listening throng

O'er Tristrem's dying bed.
His ancient wounds their scars expand,

With agony his heart is wrung;
O where is Isolde's lilye hand,

And where her soothing tongue ?
She comes ! she comes !- like flash of flame

Can lovers' footsteps fly:
She comes ! she comes !-she only came

To see her Tristrem die.
She saw him die ; her latest sigh

Join'd in a kiss his parting breath ;
The gentlest pair, that Britain bare,

United are in death. There paus’d the harp : its lingering sound

Died slowly on the ear;

The silent guests still bent around,

For still they seem'd to hear.
Then woe broke forth in murmurs weak :

Nor ladies heaved alone the sigh:
But, half ashamed, the rugged cheek

Did many a gauntlet dry.
On Leader's stream, and Learmont's tower,

The mists of evening close ;
In camp, in castle, or in bower,

Each warrior sought repose.
Lord Douglas, in his lofty tent,

Dream'd o'er the woeful tale ;
When footsteps light, across the bent,

The warrior's ears assai).
He starts, he wakes ;-“ What, Richard, ho!

Arise, my page, arise!
What venturous wight, at dead of night,

Dare step where Douglas lies !”-
Then forth they rush'd : by Leader's tide,

A selcouth sight they see-
A hart and hind pace side by side,

As white as snow on Fairnalie.”
Beneath the moon, with gesture proud,

They stately move and slow;
Nor scare they at the gathering crowd,

Who marvel as they go.
To Learmont's tower a message sped,

As fast as page might run;
And Thomas started from his bed,

And soon his clothes did on.
First he woxe pale, and then woxe red;

Never a word he spake but three ;
“My sand is run; my thread is spun;

This sign regardeth me."
The elfin harp his neck around,

In minstrel guise, he hung;
And on the wind, in doleful sound,

Its dying accents rung.
Then forth he went ; yet turn'd him oft

To view his ancient həll:
On the grey tower, in lustre soft,

The autumn moonbeams fall;
And Leader's waves, like silver sheen,

Danced shimmering in the ray;
In deepening mass, at distance seen,

Broad Soltra's mountains lay.
“Farewell, my father's ancient tower!

A long farewell,” said he: " The scene of pleasure, pomp, or power,

Thou never more shalt be.

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