Obrazy na stronie

depository in which we should have expected to find them. The pieces referring to the Regent's death, contained in the Roxburghe Collection, are—“ The Complaint of Scotland,” “ The Admonitioun to the Lordis,” “Maddeis Lamentation,” “Maddeis Proclamation,” “The Poysonit Shot,” “ The Regentis Tragedie,” and “The Kingis Complaint.” They were most probably written in anticipation of the proposed convention of the whole nobility of the kingdom (appointed to be held on the 4th of March 1569-70, for the purpose of considering the offers of Elizabeth), and with the object of exciting the populace, and intimidating Mary's party. Our first extract is from “The Admonitioun to the Lordis."

“ For lois thow Lythquo may miserably lament

Thy fait Infortunat and duilfull destanie;
That precious peirle James our Regent
In the was slane, dissavit duilfullie.
O cursit hour, O deid of fellonie !
O waryit hand, O wappin violent!
That spairit not his greit Nobilitie,
Sa undeservit suddandly to be schent.
In wickit hour he saift the from the gallous,
Or schew his grace to sic ane graceles grume.
Had thow bene hangit, Tratour, and thy fallowis,
This commoun weill had borne the laurell blume.
Better justice was not from hence to Rome;
Mair quyet peace befoir never King heir held.
Allace that sic ane Tratour suld consume
His dayis befoir our King had bene of eild.
Dowglas and Hume addres zow now anone,
His tressonabill dolent deith for to Revenge,
With Atholl, Erskyn, and Stewartis, everie one,
Grame and Lyndsay, remember on this change,
Schaw now he lufit the manly Laird of Grange.
Glenkarne and Sempil convene with ane accord,
Throwout this realme, like ratches se ze range,

And seik thair blude that hes his body borde.
The “ Poysonit Shot” is a superior production to the others.
Some of the verses are worthy Knox himself.

“ Gif wicked vice first sen the warld began,

Had age be age but punishment increst,
In eirth lang syne yair had bene nothing than
Saif only vice and malice manifest.
Bot to thir dayis sic meanis God ay drest,
Aganis vice that vertew ay hes strevin,
Thocht ather uther be tyme hes oit opprest,
Last justice judge beire ay the ballance evin.


Quhat vice rais up revolve into zour minds ;
Quhat sin, quhat shame in hir last dayis did reil,
That prudent Prince gif yat he tuik sum pynis
That mys to mend, I hope ze haif ane feill,
Gif ocht he socht except ane commoun weill,
The gloir of God and Kingis obedience,
And in that cause maid Justice ay his sheild ;
I seek na judge bot zour awin conscience.



For mortall malice and curst covetice,
With wickit Invy commovit all in ire;
And prydefull arrogance, the mother of all vice,
Aganis that prince did cruelly conspire.
His fais hartis inflamit all in fyre,
His blude to seik invyfull of his gloir :
Saikles to shuit him ane harlet feit for hyre,
Hangman to Hary that tratouris wes befoir.
O bludy bouchour bastard of Balial's blude,
Quha to this realme had nother lufe nor zeill,
O tressonable tratour be tressõ yat thocht gude,
Murdreis the Prince, preserver of this weill.
O sorrowfull shot, thy poysoun did doun steill,
Not only him quhom wofully thow woundit;

pure and riche thy vennoume hes gart feill,
Of his deir deith the stoundis him confoundit.


In place of peace now murther weir uprasis,
In place of luve invy amangis us springis,
In place of faith his freind falset betrasis,
In place of rest rebellioun with us ringis ;
In place of ane we have so mony kingis,
The Crownit King gettis na obedience,
Sum France for aide and sum Ingland inbringis,

The ane for wrak, the tother for defence.” We give one verse from “ Maddeis Proclamation,” which appears to point to the object for which it was written.

6. Thairfoir my Lords, as best accords,

Sen ze ar hapnit hidder,
This I will say, tuix sport and play,
My wordis weill considder,
And põder yame for zour awin schame,
To mark thame be not lidder :
Lat na man's feid, throw feirfull dreid,

Zour hartis mak to swidder.” The name of Sir Andrew Barton is celebrated in Scottish history as that of the ablest sea officer of James IV., and in Eng

lish ballads as belonging to a most redoubtable pirate. Acting under letters of marque, granted against the Portuguese, it was asserted that he abused his license, and made free with the goods and chattels of English merchants. Sir Thomas and Sir Edward Howard, the sons of the Earl of Surrey, sailed against him, and after an obstinate engagement succeeded in capturing his two ships. Barton himself perished in the action. This event is said to have been the main cause of the war between Henry and James, which terminated in the fatal battle of Flodden Field. It is certain that it formed a very prominent feature in the letter of remonstrance addressed by James to Henry, while the latter was engaged with his troops before Terouen. The ballad founded upon the battle between Barton and the Howards has been reprinted by several collectors : we give the first verse, however, as Percy's version (that best known) bears evident marks of being an“ improved edition.”

“When Flora with her fragrant flowers

bedeckt the earth so trim and gay, And Neptune with his dainty showers

came to present the month of May ; King Henry would a hunting ride,

over the river of Thames past he, Unto a mountain top also

did walk some pleasure for to see, Where forty merchants he espyed

with fifty sail come towards him, Who then no sooner were arriv'd

but on their knees did thus complain :
An't please your Grace we cannot sail

to France, no voyage to be sure,
But Sir Andrew Barton makes us quail,

and robs us of our merchant ware. Of a very different character from the preceding is the "pleasant ballad, showing how two valiant knights, Sir J. Armstrong and Sir M. Musgrave, fell in love with the beautiful daughter of the Lady Dacres.

[ocr errors]

“ The Lady Dacres took her way
Unto the church that pleasant day,
And her fair daughter fresh and gay,

A bright and bonny lass.
Sir M. Musgrave in like sort

To church repaired then,
And so did Sir John Armstrong, too,

With all his merry men.

Two greater friends there could not be,
Nor braver knights for chivalry,
Both batchelors of high degree

Fit for a bonny lass.” The two friends fall desperately in love with the “bright and bonny lass,” and, as a matter of course, quarrel in most jealous sort. In order to put an end to the feud, the lady declares her preference for Sir J. Armstrong.

“ And Armstrong married was next day

With Isabel, his lady gay.
But Musgrave on the wedding day,

Like to a Scotchman dight,
In secret sort allured out

The bridegroom for to fight.
And he that will not outbraved be,
Unto his chalenge did agree,
Where he was slain most suddenly

For his fair, bonny lass.
The news hereof was quickly brought

Unto the lovely bride,
And many of young Armstrong's kin

Did after Musgrave ride ;
They hew'd him when they had him got,
As small as flesh into the pot;
Lo thus befel a heavy lot

About this bonny lass.

An hundred men that hapless day
Did lose their lives in that same fray;
And 'twixt those names, as many say,

Is deadly hate still biding." The execution of Lord Sanquhar for having assassinated a fencing-master, who, by an unlucky thrust, had put out one of his

eyes, is well known. The firmness with which James resisted all applications for his pardon is attributed, in some degree, to the prevalence of duelling at that period, but particularly to the melancholy event celebrated in the “ Lamentable ballad of a combate lately fought near London between Sir James Steward and Sir George Wharton, knights, who were both slain.”

“ It grieves my heart to tell the woe

That did near London late befal
On Martlemas eve, O woe is me,

I grieve the chance, and ever shall.
Of two right gallant gentlemen,

Who very rashly fell at words,
But to their quarrel could not fall,

Till they fell both by their keen swords.

[blocks in formation]

They met accordingly, and both fell. The place of meeting, however, was not Waltham, but Canonbury Fields, near Islington. The bodies of the unfortunate combatants were both interred in one grave at Islington, by order of King James.*

Poor Queen Elinor, the wife of Edward I. of England, appears from some unaccountable circumstance to have been no great favourite with the ballad writers of the age of the Roundheads. Miss Strickland insists that it was all a mistake on the part of the minstrels as to the person, and that they had confounded Eleanor of Provence, the Queen of Henry III., who had squabbled with the city of London about Queenhithe, with Elinor, the wife of Edward I., whose name was connected with Charing Cross. We are inclined to go a little farther, and to conclude that the “ mistake” was not confined to the person. However, as we are prepared to admit that historical ballads are not obliged to have more of history in them than historical novels, we shall proceed to put our readers in a situation to judge for themselves by a short extract from one of these most veracious histories—« The lamentable fall of Queene Elnor, who, for her pride and wickednesse, by God's judgment, sunke into the grounde at Charing Crosse, and rose up at Queen hive.”

“ When Edward was in England king,

The first of all that name,
Proud Elnor he made his queene,

A stately Spanish dame,
Whose wicked life and sinfull pride

Through England did excel :
To dainty dames and gallant maides,

This queene was known full well.

* The entry in the parish register of St. Mary, Islington, is as follows :—“Sr. George Wharton, sonne of Ld. Wharton, was buried the 10th of November 1609. James Steward, Esq., godsonne to King James, was buried the 10th of November 1609."-Nelson's Hist. of Islington, p. 357.

« PoprzedniaDalej »