For fidelity to their word, Lesley ascribes high praise to the inhabitants of the Scottish frontier. When an instance happened to the contrary, the injured person, at the first border meeting, rode through the field, displaying a glove (the pledge of faith) upon the point of his lance, and proclaiming the perfidy of the person, who had broken his word. So great was the indignation of the assembly against the perjured criminal, that he was often slain by his own clan, to wipe out the disgrace he had brought on them. In the same spirit of confidence, it was not unusual to behold the victors, after an engagement, dismiss their prisoners upon parole, who never failed either to transmit the stipulated ransom, or to surrender themselves to bondage, if unable to do so. But the virtues of a barbarous people, being founded not upon moral principle, but upon the dreams of superstition, or the capricious dictates of antient custom, can seldom be uniformly relied on. We must not, therefore, be surprised to find these very men, so true to their word in general, using, upon other occasions, various resources of cunning and chicane, against which the border laws were in vain directed.
The immediate rulers of the borders were the chiefs of the different clans, who exercised over their respective septs a dominion, partly patriarchal, and partly feudal. The latter bond of adherence was, however, the more slender; for, in the acts regulating the borders, we find repeated mention of "Clannes having captaines and chieftaines, whom on they depend, oft-times against the willes of their landeslordes."—Stat. 1587, c. 95, and the Roll thereto annexed. Of course, these laws looked less to the feudal superior, than to the chieftain of the name, for the restraint of the disorderly tribes; and it is repeatedly enacted, that the head of the clan should be first called upon to deliver those of his sept, who should commit any trespass, and that, on his failure to do so, he should be liable to the injured party in full redress. Ibidem, and Stat. 1594, c. 231. By the same statutes, the chieftains and landlords, presiding over border clans, were obliged to find caution, and to grant hostages, that they would subject themselves to the due course of law. Such clans, as had no chieftain of sufficient note to enter bail for their quiet conduct, became broken men, outlawed to both nations.
From these enactments, the power of the border chieftains may be conceived; for it had been hard and useless to have punished them for the trespasses of their tribes, unless they possessed over them unlimited authority. The abode of these petty princes by no means corresponded to the extent of their power. We do not find, on the Scottish borders, the splendid and extensive baronial castles, which graced and defended the opposite frontier. The gothic grandeur of Alnwick, of Raby, and of Naworth, marks the wealthier and more secure state of the English nobles. The Scottish chieftain, however extensive his domains, derived no advantage, save from such parts as he could himself cultivate or occupy. Payment of rent was hardly known on the borders, till after the union. All that the landlord could gain, from those residing upon his estate, was their personal service in battle, their assistance in labouring the land retained in his natural possession, some petty quit-rents, of a nature resembling the feudal casualties, and perhaps a share in the spoil which they acquired by rapine. This, with his herds of cattle and of sheep, and with the black mail, which he exacted from his neighbours, constituted the revenue of the chieftain; and, from funds so precarious, he could rarely spare sums to expend in strengthening or decorating his habitation. Another reason is found in the Scottish mode of warfare. It was early discovered, that the English surpassed their neighbours in the arts of assaulting or defending fortified places. The policy of the Scottish, therefore, deterred them from erecting upon the borders buildings of such extent and strength, as, being once taken by the foe, would have been capable of receiving a permanent garrison. To themselves, the woods and hills of their country were pointed out, by the great Bruce, as their safest bulwarks; and the maxim of the Douglasses, that "it was better to hear the lark sing, than the mouse cheep," was adopted by every border chief. For these combined reasons, the residence of the chieftain was commonly a large square battlemented tower, called a keep, or peel; placed on a precipice, or on the banks of a torrent, and, if the ground would permit, surrounded by a moat. In short, the situation of a border house, surrounded by woods, and rendered almost inaccessible by torrents, by rocks, or by morasses, sufficiently indicated the pursuits and apprehensions of its inhabitant.—"Locus horroris et vastae solitudinis, aptus ad praedam, habilis ad rapinam, habitatoribus suis lapis erat offensiones et petra scandali, utpote qui stipendiis suis minime contenti totum de alieno parum de suo possidebant—totius provinciae spolium." No wonder, therefore, that James V., on approaching the castle of Lochwood, the antient seat of the Johnstones, is said to have exclaimed, "that he who built it must have been a knave in his heart." An outer wall, with some slight fortifications, served as a protection for the cattle at night. The walls of these fortresses were of an immense thickness, and they could easily be defended against any small force; more especially, as, the rooms being vaulted, each story formed a separate lodgement, capable of being held out for a considerable time. On such occasions, the usual mode, adopted by the assailants, was to expel the defenders, by setting fire to wet straw in the lower apartments. But the border chieftains seldom chose to abide in person a siege of this nature; and I have not observed a single instance of a distinguished baron made prisoner in his own house.—Patten's Expedition, p. 35. The common people resided in paltry huts, about the safety of which they were little anxious, as they contained nothing of value. On the approach of a superior force, they unthatched them, to prevent their being burned, and then abandoned them to the foe.—Stowe's Chronicle, p. 665. Their only treasures were, a fleet and active horse, with the ornaments which their rapine had procured for the females of their family, of whose gay appearance the borderers were vain.
[Footnote 37: Stowe, in detailing the happy consequences of the union of the crowns, observes, "that the northerne borders became as safe, and peaceable, as any part of the entire kingdome, so as in the fourth yeare of the king's raigne, as well gentlemen as others, inhabiting the places aforesayde, finding the auncient wast ground to be very good and fruitefull, began to contende in lawe about their bounds, challenging then, that for their hereditarie right, which formerly they disavowed, only to avoyde charge of common defence."]
[Footnote 38: "As for the humours of the people (i.e. of Tiviotdale), they were both strong and warlike, as being inured to war, and daily incursions, and the most part of the heritors of the country gave out all their lands to their tenants, for military attendance upon rentals, and reserved only some few manses for their own sustenance, which were laboured by their tenants, besides their service. They paid an entry, a herauld, and a small rental-duty; for there were no rents raised here that were considerable, till King James went into England; yea, all along the border."—Account of Roxburghshire, by Sir William Scott of Harden, and Kerr of Sunlaws, apud Macfarlane's MSS.]
[Footnote 39: The royal castles of Roxburgh, Hermitage, Lochmaben, &c. form a class of exceptions to this rule, being extensive and well fortified. Perhaps we ought also to except the baronial castle of Home. Yet, in 1455, the following petty garrisons were thought sufficient for the protection of the border; two hundred spearmen, and as many archers, upon the east and middle marches; and one hundred spears, with a like number of bowmen, upon the western marches. But then the same statute provides, "They that are neare hand the bordoure, are ordained to have gud househaldes, and abuilzed men as effeiris: and to be reddie at their principal place, and to pass, with the wardanes, quhen and quhair they sail be charged."—Acts of James II., cap. 55, Of garisonnes to be laid upon the borderes.—Hence Buchanan has justly described, as an attribute of the Scottish nation,
"Nec fossis, nee muris, patriam sed Marte tueri."
[Footnote 40: I have observed a difference in architecture betwixt the English and Scottish towers. The latter usually have upon the top a projecting battlement, with interstices, anciently called machicoules, betwixt the parapet and the wall, through which stones or darts might be hurled upon the assailants. This kind of fortification is less common on the south border.]
[Footnote 41: I ought to except the famous Dand Ker, who was made prisoner in his castle of Fairnihirst, after defending it bravely against Lord Dacres, 24th September, 1523.]
Some rude monuments occur upon the borders, the memorial of ancient valour. Such is the cross at Milholm, on the banks of the Liddel, said to have been erected in memory of the chief of the Armstrongs, murdered treacherously by Lord Soulis, while feasting in Hermitage castle. Such also, a rude stone, now broken, and very much defaced, placed upon a mount on the lands of Haughhead, near the junction of the Kale and Teviot. The inscription records the defence made by Hobbie Hall, a man of great strength and courage against an attempt by the powerful family of Ker, to possess themselves of his small estate.
[Footnote 42: The rude strains of the inscription little correspond with the gallantry of a
—village Hampden, who, with dauntless breast, The little tyrant of his fields withstood.
It is in these words:
Here Hobbie Hall boldly maintained his right, 'Gainst reif, plain force, armed wi' awles might. Full thirty pleughs, harnes'd in all their gear, Could not his valiant noble heart make fear: But wi' his sword, he cut the foremost's soam In two; and drove baith pleughs and pleughmen home. 1620.
Soam means the iron links, which fasten a yoke of oxen to the plough.]
The same simplicity marked their dress and arms. Patten observes, that in battle the laird could not be distinguished from the serf: all wearing the same coat armour, called a jack, and the baron being only distinguished by his sleeves of mail, and his head-piece. The borderers, in general, acted as light cavalry; riding horses of a small size, but astonishingly nimble, and trained to move, by short bounds, through the morasses with which Scotland abounds. Their offensive weapons were, a lance of uncommon length; a sword, either two-handed, or of the modern light size; sometimes a species of battle-axe, called a Jedburgh-staff; and, latterly, dags, or pistols. Although so much accustomed to act on horseback, that they held it even mean to appear otherwise, the marchmen occasionally acted as infantry; nor were they inferior to the rest of Scotland in forming that impenetrable phalanx of spears, whereof it is said, by an English historian, that "sooner shall a bare finger pierce through the skin of an angry hedge-hog, than any one encounter the brunt of their pikes." At the battle of Melrose, for example, Buccleuch's army fought upon foot. But the habits of the borderers fitted them particularly to distinguish themselves as light cavalry; and hence the name of prickers and hobylers, so frequently applied to them. At the blaze of their beacon fires, they were wont to assemble ten thousand horsemen in the course of a single day. Thus rapid in their warlike preparations, they were alike ready for attack and defence. Each individual carried his own provisions, consisting of a small bag of oatmeal, and trusted to plunder, or the chace, for ekeing out his precarious meal. Beauge remarks, that nothing surprised the Scottish cavalry so much as to see their French auxiliaries encumbered with baggage-waggons, and attended by commissaries. Before joining battle, it seems to have been the Scottish practice to set fire to the litter of their camp, while, under cover of the smoke, the hobylers, or border cavalry, executed their manoeuvres.—There is a curious account of the battle of Mitton, fought in the year 1319, in a valuable MS. Chronicle of England, in the collection of the Marquis of Douglas, from which this stratagem seems to have decided the engagement. "In meyn time, while the wer thus lastyd, the kynge went agane into Skotlonde, that hitte was wonder for to wette, and bysechyd the towne of Barwick; but the Skottes went over the water of Sold, that was iii myle from the hoste, and prively they stole awaye be nyghte, and come into England, and robbed and destroyed all that they myght, and spared no manner thing til that they come to Yorke. And, whan the Englischemen, that wer left att home, herd this tiding, all tho that myght well travell, so well monkys and priestis, and freres, and chanouns, and seculars, come and met with the Skottes at Mytone of Swale, the xii day of October. Allas, for sorow for the Englischemen! housbondmen, that could nothing in wer, ther were quelled and drenchyd in an arm of the see. And hyr chyftaines, Sir William Milton, ersch-biishop of Yorke, and the abbot of Selby, with her stedes, fled and com into Yorke; and that was her owne folye that they had that mischaunce; for the passyd the water of Swale, and the Skottes set on fiir three stalkes of hey, and the smoke thereof was so huge, that the Englischemen might nott se the Scottes; and whan the Englischemen were gon over the water, tho cam the Skottes, with hir wyng, in maner of a sheld, and come toward the Englischemen in ordour. And the Englischemen fled for unnethe they had any use of armes, for the kyng had hem al almost lost att the sege of Barwick. And the Scotsmen hobylers went betwene the brigge and the Englischemen; and when the gret hoste them met, the Englischemen fled between the hobylers and the gret hoste; and the Englischemen were ther quelled, and he that myght wend over the water were saved, but many were drowned. Alas! for there were slayn many men of religion, and seculars, and pristis, and clerks, and with much sorwe the erschbischope scaped from the Skottes; and, therefore, the Skottes called that battell the White Battell"
For smaller predatory expeditions, the borderers had signals, and places of rendezvous, peculiar to each tribe. If the party set forward before all the members had joined, a mark, cut in the turf, or on the bark of a tree, pointed out to the stragglers the direction which the main body had pursued.
[Footnote 43: In the parish of Linton, in Roxburghshire, there is a circle of stones, surrounding a smooth plot of turf, called the Tryst, or place of appointment, which tradition avers to have been the rendezvous of the neighbouring warriors. The name of the leader was cut in the turf, and the arrangement of the letters announced to his followers the course which he had taken. See Statistical Account of the Parish of Linton.]
Their warlike convocations were, also, frequently disguised, under pretence of meetings for the purpose of sport. The game of foot-ball, in particular which was anciently, and still continues to be, a favourite border sport, was the means of collecting together large bodies of moss-troopers, previous to any military exploit. When Sir Robert Carey was warden of the east marches, the knowledge that there was a great match of foot-ball at Kelso, to be frequented by the principal Scottish riders, was sufficient to excite his vigilance and his apprehension. Previous also to the murder of Sir John Carmichael (see Notes on the Raid of the Reidswire,) it appeared at the trial of the perpetrators that they had assisted at a grand foot-ball meeting, where the crime was concerted.
[Footnote 44: See Appendix.]
Upon the religion of the borderers there can very little be said. We have already noticed, that they remained attached to the Roman Catholic faith rather longer than the rest of Scotland. This probably arose from a total indifference upon the subject; for, we no where find in their character the respect for the church, which is a marked feature of that religion. In 1528, Lord Dacre complains heavily to Cardinal Wolsey, that, having taken a notorious freebooter, called Dyk Irwen, the brother and friends of the outlaw had, in retaliation, seized a man of some property, and a relation of Lord Dacre, called Jeffrey Middleton, as he returned from a pilgrimage to St. Ninian's, in Galloway; and that, notwithstanding the sanctity of his character, as a true pilgrim, and the Scottish monarch's safe conduct, they continued to detain him in their fastnesses, until he should redeem the said arrant thief, Dyk Irwen. The abbeys, which were planted upon the border, neither seem to have been much respected by the English, nor by the Scottish barons. They were repeatedly burned by the former, in the course of the border wars, and by the latter they seem to have been regarded chiefly as the means of endowing a needy relation, or the subject of occasional plunder. Thus, Andrew Home of Fastcastle, about 1488, attempted to procure a perpetual feu of certain possessions belonging to the abbey of Coldinghame; and being baffled, by the king bestowing that opulent benefice upon the royal chapel at Stirling, the Humes and Hepburns started into rebellion; asserting, that the priory should be conferred upon some younger son of their families, according to ancient custom. After the fatal battle of Flodden, one of the Kerrs testified his contempt for clerical immunities and privileges, by expelling from his house the abbot of Kelso. These bickerings betwixt the clergy and the barons were usually excited by disputes about their temporal interest. It was common for the churchmen to grant lands in feu to the neighbouring gentlemen, who, becoming their vassals, were bound to assist and protect them. But, as the possessions and revenues of the benefices became thus intermixed with those of the laity, any attempts rigidly to enforce the claims of the church were usually attended by the most scandalous disputes. A petty warfare was carried on for years, betwixt James, abbot of Dryburgh, and the family of Halliburton of Mertoun, or Newmains, who held some lands from that abbey. These possessions were, under various pretexts, seized and laid waste by both parties; and some bloodshed took place in the contest, betwixt the lay vassals and their spiritual superior. The matter was, at length, thought of sufficient importance to be terminated by a reference to his majesty; whose decree arbitral, dated at Stirling, the 8th of May, 1535, proceeds thus: "Whereas we, having been advised and knowing the said gentlemen, the Halliburtons, to be leal and true honest men, long servants unto the saide abbeye, for the saide landis, stout men at armes, and goode borderers against Ingland; and doe therefore decree and ordaine, that they sail be re-possess'd, and bruik and enjoy the landis and steedings they had of the said abbeye, paying the use and wonte: and that they sall be goode servants to the said venerabil father, like as they and their predecessours were to the said venerabil father, and his predecessours, and he a good master to them." It is unnecessary to detain the reader with other instances of the discord, which prevailed anciently upon the borders, betwixt the spiritual shepherd and his untractable flock.
[Footnote 45: These vassals resembled, in some degree, the Vidames in France, and the Vogten, or Vizedomen, of the German abbeys; but the system was never carried regularly into effect in Britain, and this circumstance facilitated the dissolution of the religious houses.]
[Footnote 46: This decree was followed by a marriage betwixt the abbot's daughter, Elizabeth Stewart, and Walter Halliburton, one of the family of Newmains. But even this alliance did not secure peace between the venerable father and his vassals. The offspring of the marriage was an only daughter, named Elizabeth Halliburton. As this young lady was her father's heir, the Halliburtons resolved that she should marry one of her cousins, to keep her property in the clan. But as this did not suit the views of the abbot, he carried off by force the intended bride, and married her, at Stirling, to Alexander Erskine, a brother of the laird of Balgony, a relation and follower of his own. From this marriage sprung the Erskines of Shielfield. This exploit of the abbot revived the feud betwixt him and the Halliburtons, which only ended with the dissolution of the abbey.—MS. History of Halliburton Family, penes editorem.]
The reformation was late of finding its way into the border wilds; for, while the religious and civil dissentions were at the height in 1568, Drury writes to Cecil,—"Our trusty neighbours of Teviotdale are holden occupied only to attend to the pleasure and calling of their own heads, to make some diversion in this matter." The influence of the reformed preachers, among the borders, seems also to have been but small; for, upon all occasions of dispute with the kirk, James VI. was wont to call in their assistance. Calderwood, p. 129.
We learn from a curious passage in the life of Richard Cameron, a fanatical preacher during the time of what is called "the persecution," that some of the borderers retained to a late period their indifference about religious matters. After having been licensed at Haughhead, in Teviotdale, he was, according to his biographer, sent first to preach in Annandale. "He said, 'how can I go there? I know what sort of people they are.' 'But,' Mr. Welch said, 'go your way, Ritchie, and set the fire of hell to their tails.' He went; and, the first day, he preached upon that text, Home shall I put thee among the children, &c. In the application he said, 'Put you among the children! the offspring of thieves and robbers! we have all heard of Annandale thieves.' Some of them got a merciful cast that day, and told afterwards, that it was the first field meeting they ever attended, and that they went out of mere curiosity, to see a minister preach in a tent, and people sit on the ground." Life of Richard Cameron.
[Footnote 47: This man was chaplain in the family of Sir Walter Scott of Harden, who attended the meetings of the indulged presbyterians; but Cameron, considering this conduct as a compromise with the foul fiend Episcopacy, was dismissed from the family. He was slain in a skirmish at Airdsmoss, bequeathing his name to the sect of fanatics, still called Cameronians.]
Cleland, an enthusiastic Cameronian, lieutenant-colonel of the regiment levied after the Revolution from among that wild and fanatical sect, claims to the wandering preachers of his tribe the merit of converting the borderers. He introduces a cavalier, haranguing the Highlanders, and ironically thus guarding them against the fanatic divines:
If their doctrine there get rooting, Then, farewell theift, the best of booting, And this ye see is very clear, Dayly experience makes it appear; For instance, lately on the borders, Where there was nought but theft and murders, Rapine, cheating, and resetting, Slight of hand, fortunes getting, Their designation, as ye ken, Was all along the Tacking Men. Now, rebels more prevails with words, Then drawgoons does with guns and swords, So that their bare preaching now Makes the rush-bush keep the cow; Better than Scots or English kings, Could do by kilting them with strings. Yea, those that were the greatest rogues, Follows them over hills and bogues, Crying for mercy and for preaching, For they'll now hear no others teaching."
Cleland's Poems, 1697, p. 30.
The poet of the whigs might exaggerate the success of their teachers; yet, it must be owned, that their doctrine of insubordination, joined to their vagrant and lawless habits, was calculated strongly to conciliate their border hearers.
But, though the church, in the border counties, attracted little veneration, no part of Scotland teemed with superstitious fears and observances more than they did. "The Dalesmen," says Lesley, "never count their beads with such earnestness as when they set out upon a predatory expedition." Penances, the composition betwixt guilt and conscience, were also frequent upon the borders. Of this we have a record in many bequests to the church, and in some more lasting monuments; such as the Tower of Repentance in Dumfries-shire, and, according to vulgar tradition, the church of Linton, in Roxburghshire. In the appendix to this introduction. No. IV., the reader will find a curious league, or treaty of peace, betwixt two hostile clans, by which the heads of each became bound to make the four pilgrimages of Scotland, for the benefit of the souls of those of the opposite clan, who had fallen in the feud. These were superstitions, flowing immediately from the nature of the Catholic religion: but there was, upon the border, no lack of others of a more general nature. Such was the universal belief in spells, of which some traces may yet remain in the wild parts of the country. These were common in the time of the learned Bishop Nicolson, who derives them from the time of the Pagan Danes. "This conceit was the more heightened, by reflecting upon the natural superstition of our borderers at this day, who were much better acquainted with, and do more firmly believe, their old legendary stories, of fairies and witches, than the articles of their creed. And to convince me, yet farther, that they are not utter strangers to the black art of their forefathers, I met with a gentleman in the neighbourhood, who shewed me a book of spells, and magical receipts, taken, two or three days before, in the pocket of one of our moss-troopers; wherein, among many other conjuring feats, was prescribed, a certain remedy for an ague, by applying a few barbarous characters to the body of the party distempered. These, methought, were very near a-kin to Wormius's Ram Runer, which, he says, differed wholly in figure and shape from the common runae. For, though he tells us, that these Ram Runer were so called, Eo quod molestias, dolores, morbosque hisce infligere inimicis soliti sunt magi; yet his great friend, Arng. Jonas, more to our purpose, says, that—His etiam usi sunt ad benefaciendum, juvandum, medicandum tam animi quam corporis morbis; atque ad ipsos cacodaemones pellendos et fugandos. I shall not trouble you with a draught of this spell, because I have not yet had an opportunity of learning whether it may not be an ordinary one, and to be met with, among others of the same nature, in Paracelsus, or Cornelius Agrippa."—Letter from Bishop Nicolson to Mr. Walker; vide Camden's Britannia, Cumberland. Even in the editor's younger days, he can remember the currency of certain spells, for curing sprains, burns, or dislocations, to which popular credulity ascribed unfailing efficacy. Charms, however, against spiritual enemies, were yet more common than those intended to cure corporeal complaints. This is not surprising, as a fantastic remedy well suited an imaginary disease.
[Footnote 48: This small church is founded upon a little hill of sand, in which no stone of the size of an egg is said to have been found, although the neighbouring soil is sharp and gravelly. Tradition accounts for this, by informing us, that the foundresses were two sisters, upon whose account much blood had been spilt in that spot; and that the penance, imposed on the fair causers of the slaughter, was an order from the pope to sift the sand of the hill, upon which their church was to be erected. This story may, perhaps, have some foundation; for, in the church-yard was discovered a single grave, containing no fewer than fifty skulls, most of which bore the marks of having been cleft by violence.]
[Footnote 49: An epithet bestowed upon the borderers, from the names of their various districts; as Tiviotdale, Liddesdale, Eskdale, Ewsdale, Annandale, &c. Hence, an old ballad distinguishes the north as the country,
"Where every river gives name to a dale,"
Ex-ale-tation of Ale.]
[Footnote 50: Among these may be reckoned the supposed influence of Irish earth, in curing the poison of adders, or other venomous reptiles.—This virtue is extended by popular credulity to the natives, and even to the animals, of Hibernia. A gentleman, bitten by some reptile, so as to occasion a great swelling, seriously assured the editor, that he ascribed his cure to putting the affected finger into the mouth of an Irish mare!]
There were, upon the borders, many consecrated wells, for resorting to which the people's credulity is severely censured, by a worthy physician of the seventeenth century; who himself believed in a shower of living herrings having fallen near Dumfries. "Many run superstitiously to other wells, and there obtain, as they imagine, health and advantage; and there they offer bread and cheese, or money, by throwing them into the well." In another part of the MS. occurs the following passage. "In the bounds of the lands of Eccles, belonging to a lyneage of the name of Maitland, there is a loch called the Dowloch, of old resorted to with much superstition, as medicinal both for men and beasts, and that with such ceremonies, as are shrewdly suspected to have been begun with witchcraft, and increased afterward by magical directions: For, burying of a cloth, or somewhat that did relate to the bodies of men and women, and a shackle, or teather, belonging to cow or horse; and these being cast into the loch, if they did float, it was taken for a good omen of recovery, and a part of the water carried to the patient, though to remote places, without saluting or speaking to any they met by the way; but, if they did sink, the recovery of the party was hopeless. This custom was of late much curbed and restrained; but since the discovery of many medicinal fountains near to the place, the vulgar, holding that it may be as medicinal as these are, at this time begin to re-assume their former practice."—Account of Presbytery of Penpont, in Macfarlane's MSS.
The idea, that the spirits of the deceased return to haunt the place, where on earth they have suffered or have rejoiced, is, as Dr. Johnson has observed, common to the popular creed of all nations The just and noble sentiment, implanted in our bosoms by the Deity, teaches us, that we shall not slumber for ever, as the beasts that perish.—Human vanity, or credulity, chequers, with its own inferior and base colours, the noble prospect, which is alike held out to us by philosophy and by religion. We feel, according to the ardent expression of the poet, that we shall not wholly die; but from hence we vainly and weakly argue, that the same scenes, the same passions, shall delight and actuate the disembodied spirit, which affected it while in its tenement of clay. Hence the popular belief, that the soul haunts the spot where the murdered body is interred; that its appearances are directed to bring down vengeance on its murderers; or that, having left its terrestrial form in a distant clime, it glides before its former friends, a pale spectre, to warn them of its decease. Such tales, the foundation of which is an argument from our present feelings to those of the spiritual world, form the broad and universal basis of the popular superstition regarding departed spirits; against which reason has striven in vain, and universal experience has offered a disregarded testimony. These legends are peculiarly acceptable to barbarous tribes; and, on the borders, they were received with most unbounded faith. It is true, that these supernatural adversaries were no longer opposed by the sword and battle-axe, as among the unconverted Scandinavians. Prayers, spells, and exorcisms, particularly in the Greek and Hebrew languages, were the weapons of the borderers, or rather of their priests and cunning men, against their aerial enemy. The belief in ghosts, which has been well termed the last lingering phantom of superstition, still maintains its ground upon the borders.
[Footnote 51: One of the most noted apparitions is supposed to haunt Spedlin's castle, near Lochmaben, the ancient baronial residence of the Jardines of Applegirth. It is said, that, in exercise of his territorial jurisdiction, one of the ancient lairds had imprisoned, in the Massy More, or dungeon of the castle, a person named Porteous. Being called suddenly to Edinburgh, the laird discovered, as he entered the West Port, that he had brought along with him the key of the dungeon. Struck with the utmost horror, he sent back his servant to relieve the prisoner; but it was too late. The wretched being was found lying upon the steps descending from the door of the vault, starved to death. In the agonies of hunger, he had gnawed the flesh from one of his arms. That his spectre should haunt the castle was a natural consequence of such a tragedy. Indeed, its visits became so frequent, that a clergyman of eminence was employed to exorcise it. After a contest of twenty-four hours, the man of art prevailed so far as to confine the goblin to the Massy More of the castle, where its shrieks and cries are still heard. A part, at least, of the spell, depends upon the preservation of the ancient black-lettered bible, employed by the exorcist. It was some years ago thought necessary to have this bible re-bound; but, as soon as it was removed from the castle, the spectre commenced his nocturnal orgies, with ten-fold noise; and it is verily believed that he would have burst from his confinement, had not the sacred volume been speedily replaced.
A Mass John Scott, minister of Peebles, is reported to have been the last renowned exorciser, and to have lost his life in a contest with an obstinate spirit. This was owing to the conceited rashness of a young clergyman, who commenced the ceremony of laying the ghost before the arrival of Mass John. It is the nature, it seems, of spirits disembodied, as well as embodied, to increase in strength and presumption, in proportion to the advantages which they may gain over the opponent. The young clergyman losing courage, the horrors of the scene were increased to such a degree, that, as Mass John approached the house in which it passed, he beheld the slates and tiles flying from the roof, as if dispersed by a whirlwind. At his entry, he perceived all the wax-tapers (the most essential instruments of conjuration) extinguished, except one, which already burned blue in the socket. The arrival of the experienced sage changed the scene: he brought the spirit to reason; but, unfortunately, while addressing a word of advice or censure to his rash brother, he permitted the ghost to obtain the last word; a circumstance which, in all colloquies of this nature, is strictly to be guarded against. This fatal oversight occasioned his falling into a lingering disorder, of which he never recovered.
A curious poem, upon the laying of a ghost, forms article No. V. of the Appendix.]
It is unnecessary to mention the superstitious belief in witchcraft, which gave rise to so much cruelty and persecution during the seventeenth century. There were several executions upon the borders for this imaginary crime, which was usually tried, not by the ordinary judges, but by a set of country gentlemen, acting under commission from the privy council.
[Footnote 52: I have seen, penes Hugh Scott, Esq. of Harden, the record of the trial of a witch, who was burned at Ducove. She was tried in the manner above mentioned.]
Besides these grand articles of superstitious belief, the creed of the borderers admitted the existence of sundry classes of subordinate spirits, to whom were assigned peculiar employments. The chief of these were the Fairies, concerning whom the reader will find a long dissertation, in Volume Second. The Brownie formed a class of beings, distinct in habit and disposition from the freakish and mischievous elves. He was meagre, shaggy, and wild in his appearance. Thus, Cleland, in his satire against the Highlanders, compares them to
"Faunes, or Brownies, if ye will, Or satyres come from Atlas hill."
In the day time, he lurked in remote recesses of the old houses which he delighted to haunt; and, in the night, sedulously employed himself in discharging any laborious task which he thought might be acceptable to the family, to whose service he had devoted himself. His name is probably derived from the Portuni, whom Gervase of Tilbury describes thus: "Ecce enim in Anglia daemones quosdam habent, daemones, inquam, nescio dixerim, an secretae et ignotae generationis effigies, quos Galli Neptunos, Angli Portunos nominant. Istis insitum est quod simplicitatem fortunatonum colonorum amplectuntur, et cum nocturnas propter domesticas operas agunt vigilias, subito clausis januis ad ignem califiunt, et ranunculus ex sinu projectas, prunis impositas concedunt, senili vultu, facie corrugata, statura pusilli, dimidium pollicis non habentes. Panniculis consertis induuntur, et si quid gestandum in domo fuerit, aut onerosi opens agendum, ad operandum se jungunt citius humana facilitate expediunt. Id illis insitum est, ut obsequi possint et obesse non possint."—Otia. Imp. p. 980. In every respect, saving only the feeding upon frogs, which was probably an attribute of the Gallic spirits alone, the above description corresponds with that of the Scottish Brownie. But the latter, although, like Milton's lubbar fiend, he loves to stretch himself by the fire, does not drudge from the hope of recompence. On the contrary, so delicate is his attachment, that the offer of reward, but particularly of food, infallibly occasions his disappearance for ever. We learn from Olaus Magnus, that spirits, somewhat similar in their operations to the Brownie, were supposed to haunt the Swedish mines. The passage, in the translation of 1658, runs thus: "This is collected in briefe, that in northerne kingdomes there are great armies of devils, that have their services, which they perform with the inhabitants of these countries: but they are most frequent in rocks and mines, where they break, cleave, and make them hollow: which also thrust in pitchers and buckets, and carefully fit wheels and screws, whereby they are drawn upwards; and they shew themselves to the labourers, when they list, like phantasms and ghosts." It seems no improbable conjecture, that the Brownie is a legitimate descendant of the Lar Familiaris of the ancients.
—how the drudging goblin swet, To earn the cream-bowl, duly set; When, in one night, ere glimpse of morn, His shadowy flail had thresh'd the corn, That ten day-lab'rers could not end; Then lies him down the lubbar fiend, And, stretch'd out all the chimney's length, Basks at the fire his hairy strength; And, crop-full, out of doors he flings, E'er the first cock his matin rings.
When the menials in a Scottish family protracted their vigils around the kitchen fire, Brownie, weary of being excluded from the midnight hearth, sometimes appeared at the door, seemed to watch their departure, and thus admonished them—"Gang a' to your beds, sirs, and dinna put out the wee grieshoch (embers)."]
[Footnote 54: It is told of a Brownie, who haunted a border family, now extinct, that the lady having fallen unexpectedly in labour, and the servant, who was ordered to ride to Jedburgh for the sage femme, shewing no great alertness in setting out, the familiar spirit slipt on the great-coat of the lingering domestic, rode to the town on the laird's best horse, and returned with the mid-wife en croupe. Daring the short space of his absence, the Tweed, which they must necessarily ford, rose to a dangerous height. Brownie, who transported his charge with all the rapidity of the ghostly lover of Lenore, was not to be stopped by this obstacle. He plunged in with the terrified old lady, and landed her in safety where her services were wanted. Having put the horse into the stable (where it was afterwards found in a woeful plight), he proceeded to the room of the servant, whose duty he had discharged; and, finding him just in the act of drawing on his boots, he administered to him a most merciless drubbing with his own horse-whip. Such an important service excited the gratitude of the laird; who, understanding that Brownie had been heard to express a wish to have a green coat, ordered a vestment of that colour to be made, and left in his haunts. Brownie took away the green coat, but never was seen more. We may suppose, that, tired of his domestic drudgery, he went in his new livery to join the fairies.—See Appendix, No. VI.
The last Brownie, known in Ettrick forest, resided in Bodsbeck, a wild and solitary spot, where he exercised his functions undisturbed, till the scrupulous devotion of an old lady induced her to hire him away, as it was termed, by placing in his haunt a porringer of milk and a piece of money. After receiving this hint to depart, he was heard the whole night to howl and cry, "Farewell to bonny Bodsbeck!" which he was compelled to abandon for ever.]
A being, totally distinct from those hitherto mentioned, is the Bogle, or Goblin; a freakish spirit, who delights rather to perplex and frighten mankind; than either to serve, or seriously to hurt, them. This is the Esprit Follet of the French; and Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, though enlisted by Shakespeare among the fairy band of Oberon, properly belongs to this class of phantoms. Shellycoat, a spirit, who resides in the waters, and has given his name to many a rock and stone upon the Scottish coast, belongs also to the class of bogles. When he appeared, he seemed to be decked with marine productions, and, in particular with shells, whose clattering announced his approach. From this circumstance he derived his name. He may, perhaps, be identified with the goblin of the northern English, which, in the towns and cities, Durham and Newcastle for example had the name of Barquest; but, in the country villages, was more frequently termed Brag. He usually ended his mischievous frolics with a horse-laugh.
[Footnote 55: One of his pranks is thus narrated: Two men, in a very dark night, approaching the banks of the Ettrick, heard a doleful voice from its waves repeatedly exclaim—"Lost! lost!"—They followed the sound, which seemed to be the voice of a drowning person, and, to their infinite astonishment, they found that it ascended the river. Still they continued, during a long and tempestuous night, to follow the cry of the malicious sprite; and arriving, before morning's dawn, at the very sources of the river, the voice was now heard descending the opposite side of the mountain in which they arise. The fatigued and deluded travellers now relinquished the pursuit; and had no sooner done so, than they heard Shellycoat applauding, in loud bursts of laughter, his successful roguery. The spirit was supposed particularly to haunt the old house of Gorrinberry, situated on the river Hermitage, in Liddesdale.]
Shellycoat must not be confounded with Kelpy, a water spirit also, but of a much more powerful and malignant nature. His attributes have been the subject of a poem in Lowland Scottish, by the learned Dr. Jamieson of Edinburgh, which adorns the third volume of this collection. Of Kelpy, therefore, it is unnecessary to say any thing at present.
Of all these classes of spirits it may be, in general observed, that their attachment was supposed to be local, and not personal. They haunted the rock, the stream, the ruined castle, without regard to the persons or families to whom the property belonged. Hence, they differed entirely from that species of spirits, to whom, in the Highlands, is ascribed the guardianship, or superintendance of a particular clan, or family of distinction; and who, perhaps yet more than the Brownie, resemble the classic household gods. Thus, in an MS. history of Moray, we are informed, that the family of Gurlinbeg is haunted by a spirit, called Garlin Bodacher; that of the baron of Kinchardin, by Lamhdearg, or Red-hand, a spectre, one of whose hands is as red as blood; that of Tullochgorm, by May Moulach, a female figure, whose left hand and arm were covered with hair, who is also mentioned in Aubrey's Miscellanies, pp. 211, 212, as a familiar attendant upon the elan Grant. These superstitions were so ingrafted in the popular creed, that the clerical synods and presbyteries were wont to take cognizance of them.
[Footnote 56: The following notice of Lamhdearg occurs in another account of Strathspey, apud Macfarlane's MSS.:—"There is much talke of a spirit called Ly-erg, who frequents the Glenmore. He appears with a red hand, in the habit of a souldier, and challenges men to fight with him; as lately as 1669, he fought with three brothers, one after another, who immediately died thereafter."]
[Footnote 57: There is current, in some parts of Germany, a fanciful superstition concerning the Stille Volke, or silent people. These they suppose to be attached to houses of eminence, and to consist of a number, corresponding to that of the mortal family, each person of which has thus his representative amongst these domestic spirits. When the lady of the family has a child, the queen of the silent people is delivered in the same moment. They endeavour to give warning when danger approaches the family, assist in warding it off, and are sometimes seen to weep and wring their hands, before inevitable calamity.]
Various other superstitions, regarding magicians, spells, prophecies, &c., will claim our attention in the progress of this work. For the present, therefore taking the advice of an old Scottish rhymer, let us
"Leave bogles, brownies, gyre carlinges, and ghaists."
[Footnote 58: So generally were these tales of diablerie believed, that one William Lithgow, a bon vivant, who appears to have been a native, or occasional inhabitant, of Melrose, is celebrated by the pot-companion who composed his elegy, because
He was good company at jeists. And wanton when he came to feists, He scorn'd the converse of great beasts, O'er a sheep's head; He laugh'd at stones about ghaists; Blythe Willie's dead!
Watson's Scotish Poems, Edin. 1706.]
Flyting of Polwart and Montgomery.
The domestic economy of the borderers next engages our attention. That the revenue of the chieftain should be expended in rude hospitality, was the natural result of his situation. His wealth consisted chiefly in herds of cattle, which were consumed by the kinsmen, vassals, and followers, who aided him to acquire and to protect them. We learn from Lesley, that the borderers were temperate in the use of intoxicating liquors, and we are therefore left to conjecture how they occupied the time, when winter, or when accident, confined them to their habitations. The little learning, which existed in the middle ages, glimmered a dim and a dying flame in the religious houses; and even in the sixteenth century, when its beams became more widely diffused, they were far from penetrating the recesses of the border mountains. The tales of tradition, the song, with the pipe or harp of the minstrel, were probably the sole resources against ennui, during the short intervals of repose from military adventure.
[Footnote 59: We may form some idea of the stile of life maintained by the border warriors, from the anecdotes, handed down by tradition, concerning Walter Scott of Harden, who flourished towards the middle of the sixteenth century. This ancient laird was a renowned freebooter, and used to ride with a numerous band of followers. The spoil, which they carried off from England, or from their neighbours, was concealed in a deep and impervious glen, on the brink of which the old tower of Harden was situated. From thence the cattle were brought out, one by one, as they were wanted, to supply the rude and plentiful table of the laird. When the last bullock was killed and devoured, it was the lady's custom to place on the table a dish, which, on being uncovered, was found to contain a pair of clean spurs; a hint to the riders, that they must shift for their next meal. Upon one occasion, when the village herd was driving out the cattle to pasture, the old laird heard him call loudly to drive out Harden's cow. "Harden's cow!" echoed the affronted chief—"Is it come to that pass? by my faith they shall sune say Harden's kye (cows)." Accordingly, he sounded his bugle, mounted his horse, set out with his followers, and returned next day with "a bow of kye, and a bussen'd (brindled) bull." On his return with this gallant prey, he passed a very large hay-stack. It occurred to the provident laird, that this would be extremely convenient to fodder his new stock of cattle; but as no means of transporting it occurred, he was fain to take leave of it with this apostrophe, now proverbial: "By my soul, had ye but four feet, ye should not stand lang there." In short, as Froissard says of a similar class of feudal robbers, nothing came amiss to them, that was not too heavy, or too hot. The same mode of house-keeping characterized most border families on both sides. An MS. quoted in History of Cumberland, p. 466, concerning the Graemes of Netherby, and others of that clan, runs thus: "They were all stark moss-troopers and arrant thieves: both to England and Scotland outlawed: yet sometimes connived at, because they gave intelligence forth of Scotland, and would raise 400 horse at any time, upon a raid of the English into Scotland." A saying is recorded of a mother to her son (which is now become proverbial), "Ride Rouly (Rowland), hough's i' the pot;" that is, the last piece of beef was in the pot, and therefore it was high time for him to go and fetch more. To such men might with justice be applied the poet's description of the Cretan warrior; translated by my friend, Dr. Leyden.
My sword, my spear, my shaggy shield, With these I till, with these I sow; With these I reap my harvest field, The only wealth the Gods bestow. With these I plant the purple vine, With these I press the luscious wine.
My sword, my spear, my shaggy shield, They make me lord of all below; For he who dreads the lance to wield, Before my shaggy shield must bow. His lands, his vineyards, must resign; And all that cowards have is mine.
Hybrias (ap. Athenaeum).]
This brings us to the more immediate subject of the present publication.
Lesley, who dedicates to the description of border manners a chapter, which we have already often quoted, notices particularly the taste of the marchmen for music and ballad poetry. "Placent admodum sibi sua musica, et rythmicis suis cantionibus, quas de majorum suorum gestis, aut ingeniosis predandi precandive stratagematis ipsi confingunt. "—Leslaeus, in capitulo de moribus eorum, qui Scotiae limites Angliam versus incolunt. The more rude and wild the state of society, the more general and violent is the impulse received from poetry and music. The muse, whose effusions are the amusement of a very small part of a polished nation, records, in the lays of inspiration, the history the laws, the very religion, of savages.—Where the pen and the press are wanting, the low of numbers impresses upon the memory of posterity, the deeds and sentiments of their forefathers. Verse is naturally connected with music; and, among a rude people, the union is seldom broken. By this natural alliance, the lays, "steeped in the stream of harmony," are more easily retained by the reciter, and produce upon his audience a more impressive effect. Hence, there has hardly been found to exist a nation so brutishly rude, as not to listen with enthusiasm to the songs of their bards, recounting the exploits of their forefathers, recording their laws and moral precepts, or hymning the praises of their deities. But, where the feelings are frequently stretched to the highest pitch, by the vicissitudes of a life of danger and military adventure, this predisposition of a savage people, to admire their own rude poetry and music, is heightened, and its tone becomes peculiarly determined. It is not the peaceful Hindu at his loom, it is not the timid Esquimaux in his canoe, whom we must expect to glow at the war song of Tyrtaeus. The music and the poetry of each country must keep pace with their usual tone of mind, as well as with the state of society.
The morality of their compositions is determined by the same circumstances. Those themes are necessarily chosen by the bard, which regard the favourite exploits of the hearers; and he celebrates only those virtues, which from infancy he has been taught to admire. Hence, as remarked by Lesley, the music and songs of the borders were of a military nature, and celebrated the valour and success of their predatory expeditions. Razing, like Shakespeare's pirate, the eighth commandment from the decalogue, the minstrels praised their chieftains for the very exploits, against which the laws of the country denounced a capital doom.—An outlawed freebooter was to them a more interesting person, than the King of Scotland exerting his power to punish his depredations; and, when the characters are contrasted, the latter is always represented as a ruthless and sanguinary tyrant.—Spenser's description of the bards of Ireland applies in some degree, to our ancient border poets. "There is, among the Irish, a certain kinde of people, called bardes, which are to them instead of poets; whose profession is to set forth the praises or dispraises of men, in their poems or rhymes; the which are had in such high regard or esteem amongst them, that none dare displease them, for fear of running into reproach through their offence, and to be made infamous in the mouths of all men; for their verses are taken up with a general applause, and usually sung at all feasts and meetings, by certain other persons, whose proper function that is, who also receive, for the same, great rewardes and reputation amongst them." Spenser, having bestowed due praise upon the poets, who sung the praises of the good and virtuous, informs us, that the bards, on the contrary, "seldom use to chuse unto themselves the doings of good men for the arguments of their poems; but whomsoever they finde to be most licentious of life, most bold and lawless in his doings, most dangerous and desperate in all parts of disobedience, and rebellious disposition, him they set up and glorify in their rhythmes; him they praise to the people, and to young men make an example to follow."—Eudoxus—"I marvail what kind of speeches they can find, or what faces they can put on, to praise such bad persons, as live so lawlessly and licentiously upon stealths and spoyles, as most of them do; or how they can think, that any good mind will applaud or approve the same." In answer to this question, Irenaeus, after remarking the giddy and restless disposition of the ill educated youth of Ireland, which made them prompt to receive evil counsel, adds, that such a person, "if he shall find any to praise him, and to give him any encouragement, as those bards and rhythmers do, for little reward, or a share of a stolen cow, then waxeth he most insolent, and half-mad, with the love of himself and his own lewd deeds. And as for words to set forth such lewdness, it is not hard for them to give a goodly and painted show thereunto, borrowed even from the praises which are proper to virtue itself. As of a most notorious thief, and wicked outlaw, which had lived all his life-time of spoils and robberies, one of their bardes, in his praise, will say, 'that he was none of the idle milk-sops that was brought up by the fire-side, but that most of his days he spent in arms and valiant enterprizes; that he never did eat his meat, before he had won it with his sword; that he lay not all night slugging in his cabin under his mantle, but used commonly to keep others waking to defend their lives, and did light his candle at the flames of their houses to lead him in the darkness; that the day was his night, and the night his day; that he loved not to be long wooing of wenches to yield to him; but, where he came, he took by force the spoil of other men's love, and left but lamentations to their lovers; that his music was not the harp, nor lays of love, but the cries of people, and clashing of armour; and, finally, that he died, not bewailed of many, but made many wail when he died, that dearly bought his death.' Do not you think, Eudoxus, that many of these praises might be applied to men of best deserts? Yet, are they all yielded to a most notable traitor, and amongst some of the Irish not smally accounted of."—State of Ireland. The same concurrence of circumstances, so well pointed out by Spenser, as dictating the topics of the Irish bards, tuned the border harps to the praise of an outlawed Armstrong, or Murray.
[Footnote 60: The reward of the Welch bards, and perhaps of those upon the border, was very similar. It was enacted by Howel Dha, that if the king's bard played before a body of warriors, upon a predatory excursion, be should receive, in recompence, the best cow which the party carried off.—Leges Walliae, I. 1. cap. 19.]
For similar reasons, flowing from the state of society, the reader must not expect to find, in the border ballads, refined sentiment, and, far less, elegant expression; although the stile of such compositions has, in modern hands, been found highly susceptible of both. But passages might be pointed out, in which the rude minstrel has melted in natural pathos, or risen into rude energy. Even where these graces are totally wanting, the interest of the stories themselves, and the curious picture of manners, which they frequently present, authorise them to claim some respect from the public. But it is not the editor's present intention to enter upon a history of border poetry; a subject of great difficulty, and which the extent of his information does not as yet permit him to engage in. He will, therefore, now lay before the reader the plan of the present publication; pointing out the authorities from which his materials are derived and slightly noticing the nature of the different classes into which he has arranged them.
The MINSTRELSY of the SCOTTISH BORDER contains Three Classes of Poems:
I. HISTORICAL BALLADS. II. ROMANTIC. III. IMITATIONS OF THESE COMPOSITIONS BY MODERN AUTHORS.
The Historical Ballad relates events, which we either know actually to have taken place, or which, at least, making due allowance for the exaggerations of poetical tradition, we may readily conceive to have had some foundation in history. For reasons already mentioned, such ballads were early current upon the border. Barbour informs us, that he thinks it unnecessary to rehearse the account of a victory, gained in Eskdale over the English, because
—Whasa liks, thai may her Young women, when thai will play, Syng it among thaim ilk day.—
The Bruce, Book XVI.
Godscroft also, in his History of the House of Douglas, written in the reign of James VI., alludes more than once to the ballads current upon the border, in which the exploits of those heroes were celebrated. Such is the passage, relating to the death of William Douglas, Lord of Liddesdale, slain by the Earl of Douglas, his kinsman, his godson, and his chief. Similar strains of lamentation were poured by the border poets over the tomb of the Hero of Otterbourne; and over the unfortunate youths, who were dragged to an ignominious death, from the very table at which they partook of the hospitality of their sovereign. The only stanza, preserved of this last ballad, is uncommonly animated—
Edinburgh castle, towne and toure, God grant thou sink for sinne! And that even for the black dinoure, Erl Douglas gat therein.
Who will not regret, with the editor, that compositions of such interest and antiquity should be now irrecoverable? But it is the nature of popular poetry, as of popular applause, perpetually to shift with the objects of the time; and it is the frail chance of recovering some old manuscript, which can alone gratify our curiosity regarding the earlier efforts of the border muse. Some of her later strains, composed during the sixteenth century, have survived even to the present day; but the recollection of them has, of late years, become like that of "a tale which was told." In the sixteenth century, these northern tales appear to have been popular even in London; for the learned Mr. Ritson has obligingly pointed out to me the following passages, respecting the noted ballad of Dick o' the Cow (p. 157); "Dick o' the Cow, that mad demi-lance northern borderer, who plaid his prizes with the lord Jockey so bravely."—Nashe's Have with you to Saffren-Walden, or Gabriell Harvey's Hunt is up.—1596, 4to. Epistle Dedicatorie, sig. A. 2. 6. And in a list of books, printed for, and sold by, P. Brocksby (1688), occurs "Dick-a-the-Cow, containing north country songs." Could this collection have been found, it would probably have thrown much light on the present publication: but the editor has been obliged to draw his materials chiefly from oral tradition.
[Footnote 61: "The Lord of Liddisdale being at his pastime, hunting in Ettrick forest, is beset by William, Earl of Douglas, and such as he had ordained for the purpose, and there asailed, wounded, and slain, beside Galsewood, in the year 1353, upon a jealousy that the earl had conceived of him with his lady, as the report goeth; for so sayeth the old song,
"The countess of Douglas out of her bower she came, And loudly there that she did call— It is for the Lord of Liddisdale, That I let all these tears down fall."
"The song also declareth, how she did write her love-letters to Liddisdale, to dissuade him from that hunting. It tells likewise the manner of the taking of his men, and his own killing at Galsewood; and how he was carried the first night to Linden kirk, a mile from Selkirk, and was buried in the abbey of Melrose."—Godscroft, Vol. I. p. 144, Ed. 1743.
Some fragments of this ballad are still current, and will be found in the ensuing work.]
[Footnote 62: The Selkirkshire ballad of Tamlane seems also to have been well known in England. Among the popular heroes of romance, enumerated in the introduction to the history of "Tom Thumbe," (London, 1621, bl. letter), occurs "Tom a Lin, the devil's supposed bastard." There is a parody upon the same ballad in the "Pinder of Wakefield" (London, 1621).]
Something may be still found in the border cottages resembling the scene described by Pennycuik.
On a winter's night, my grannam spinning, To mak a web of good Scots linnen; Her stool being placed next to the chimley, (For she was auld, and saw right dimly,) My lucky dad, an honest whig, Was telling tales of Bothwell-brigg; He could not miss to mind the attempt, For he was sitting pu'ing hemp; My aunt, whom' nane dare say has no grace, Was reading on the Pilgrim's Progress; The meikle tasker, Davie Dallas, Was telling blads of William Wallace; My mither bade her second son say, What he'd by heart of Davie Lindsay; Our herd, whom all folks hate that knows him, Was busy hunting in his bosom;
* * * * *
The bairns, and oyes, were all within doors;} The youngest of us chewing cinders,} And all the auld anes telling wonders.}
Pennycuik's Poems, p. 7.
The causes of the preservation of these songs have either entirely ceased, or are gradually decaying Whether they were originally the composition of minstrels, professing the joint arts of poetry and music; or whether they were the occasional effusions of some self-taught bard; is a question into which I do not here mean to enquire. But it is certain, that, till a very late period, the pipers, of whom there was one attached to each border town of note, and whose office was often hereditary, were the great depositaries of oral, and particularly of poetical, tradition. About spring time, and after harvest, it was the custom of these musicians to make a progress through a particular district of the country. The music and the tale repaid their lodging, and they were usually gratified with a donation of seed corn. This order of minstrels is alluded to in the comic song of Maggy Lauder, who thus addresses a piper—
"Live ye upo' the border?"
By means of these men, much traditional poetry was preserved, which must otherwise have perished. Other itinerants, not professed musicians, found their welcome to their night's quarters readily insured by their knowledge in legendary lore. John Graeme, of Sowport, in Cumberland, commonly called The Long Quaker, a person of this latter description, was very lately alive; and several of the songs, now published, have been taken down from his recitation. The shepherds also, and aged persons, in the recesses of the border mountains, frequently remember and repeat the warlike songs of their fathers. This is more especially the case in what are called the South Highlands, where, in many instances, the same families have occupied the same possessions for centuries.
[Footnote 63: These town pipers, an institution of great antiquity upon the borders, were certainly the last remains of the minstrel race. Robin Hastie, town-piper of Jedburgh, perhaps the last of the order, died nine or ten years ago: his family was supposed to have held the office for about three centuries. Old age had rendered Robin a wretched performer; but he knew several old songs and tunes, which have probably died along with him. The town-pipers received a livery and salary from the community to which they belonged; and, in some burghs, they had a small allotment of land, called the Piper's Croft. For further particulars regarding them, see Introduction to Complaynt of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1801, p. 142.]
[Footnote 64: This person, perhaps the last of our professed ballad reciters, died since the publication of the first edition of this work. He was by profession an itinerant cleaner of clocks and watches; but, a stentorian voice, and tenacious memory, qualified him eminently for remembering accurately, and reciting with energy, the border gathering songs and tales of war. His memory was latterly much impaired; yet, the number of verses which he could pour forth, and the animation of his tone and gestures, formed a most extraordinary contrast to his extreme feebleness of person, and dotage of mind.]
It is chiefly from this latter source that the editor has drawn his materials, most of which were collected, many years ago, during his early youth. But he has been enabled, in many instances, to supply and correct the deficiencies of his own copies, from a collection of border songs, frequently referred to in the work, under the title of Glenriddell's MS. This was compiled, from various sources, by the late Mr. Riddell, of Glenriddel, a sedulous border antiquary, and, since his death, has become the property of Mr. Jollie, bookseller at Carlisle; to whose liberality the editor owes the use of it, while preparing this work for the press. No liberties have been taken, either with the recited or written copies of these ballads, farther than that, where they disagreed, which is by no means unusual, the editor, in justice to the author, has uniformly preserved what seemed to him the best, or most poetical, reading of the passage. Such discrepancies must very frequently occur, wherever poetry is preserved by oral tradition; for the reciter, making it a uniform principle to proceed at all hazards, is very often, when his memory fails him, apt to substitute large portions from some other tale, altogether distinct from that which he has commenced. Besides, the prejudices of clans and of districts have occasioned variations in the mode of telling the same story. Some arrangement was also occasionally necessary, to recover the rhyme, which was often, by the ignorance of the reciters, transposed, or thrown into the middle of the line. With these freedoms, which were essentially necessary to remove obvious corruptions, and fit the ballads for the press, the editor presents them to the public, under the complete assurance, that they carry with them the most indisputable marks of their authenticity.
The same observations apply to the Second Class, here termed ROMANTIC BALLADS; intended to comprehend such legends as are current upon the border, relating to fictitious and marvellous adventures Such were the tales, with which the friends of Spenser strove to beguile his indisposition:
"Some told of ladies, and their paramours; Some of brave knights, and their renowned squires; Some of the fairies, and their strange attires, And some of giants, hard to be believed."
These, carrying with them a general, and not merely a local, interest, are much more extensively known among the peasantry of Scotland than the border-raid ballads, the fame of which is in general confined to the mountains where they were originally composed. Hence, it has been easy to collect these tales of romance, to a number much greater than the editor has chosen to insert in this publication. With this class are now intermingled some lyric pieces, and some ballads, which, though narrating real events, have no direct reference to border history or manners. To the politeness and liberality of Mr. Herd, of Edinburgh, the editor of the first classical collection of Scottish songs and ballads (Edinburgh, 1774, 2 vols.), the editor is indebted for the use of his MSS., containing songs and ballads, published and unpublished, to the number of ninety and upwards. To this collection frequent references are made, in the course of the following pages. Two books of ballads, in MS., have also been communicated to me, by my learned and respected friend, Alexander Fraser Tytler, Esq. I take the liberty of transcribing Mr. Tytler's memorandum respecting the manner in which they came into his hands. "My father got the following songs from an old friend, Mr. Thomas Gordon, professor of philosophy, King's College, Aberdeen. The following extract of a letter of the professor to me, explains how he came by them:—"An aunt of my children, Mrs Farquhar, now dead, who was married to the proprietor of a small estate, near the sources of the Dee, in Braemar, a good old woman, who spent the best part of her life among flocks and herds, resided in her latter days in the town of Aberdeen. She was possest of a most tenacious memory, which retained all the songs she had heard from nurses and country-women in that sequestered part of the country. Being maternally fond of my children, when young, she had them much about her, and delighted them with her songs, and tales of chivalry. My youngest daughter, Mrs Brown, at Falkland, is blest with a memory as good as her aunt, and has almost the whole of her songs by heart. In conversation I mentioned them to your father, at whose request, my grandson, Mr Scott, wrote down a parcel of them, as his aunt sung them. Being then but a mere novice in music, he added, in the copy, such musical notes, as, he supposed, might give your father some notion of the airs, or rather lilts, to which they were sung."
[Footnote 65: Mr. Jamieson of Macclesfield, a gentleman of literary and poetical accomplishment, has for some years been employed in a compilation of Scottish ballad poetry, which is now in the press, and will probably be soon given to the public. I have, therefore, as far as the nature of my work permitted, sedulously avoided anticipating any of his materials; as I am very certain he himself will do our common cause the most ample justice.]
[Footnote 66: Now a senator of the College of Justice, by the title of Lord Woodhouselee.]
[Footnote 67: William Tytler, Esq. the ingenious defender of Queen Mary, and author of a Dissertation upon Scotish Music, which does honour to his memory.]
From this curious and valuable collection, the editor has procured very material assistance. At the same time, it contains many beautiful legendary poems, of which he could not avail himself, as they seemed to be the exclusive property of the bards of Angus and Aberdeenshire. But the copies of such, as were known on the borders, have furnished him with various readings, and with supplementary stanzas, which he has frequent opportunities to acknowledge. The MSS. are cited under the name of Mrs. Brown of Falkland, the ingenious lady, to whose taste and memory the world is indebted for the preservation of the tales which they contain. The other authorities, which occur during the work, are particularly referred to. Much information has been communicated to the editor, from various quarters, since the work was first published of which he has availed himself, to correct and enlarge the present edition.
In publishing both classes of ancient ballads, the editor has excluded those which are to be found in the common collections of this nature, unless in one or two instances, where he conceived it possible to give some novelty, by historical or critical illustration.
It would have been easy for the editor to have given these songs an appearance of more indisputable antiquity, by adopting the rude orthography of the period, to which he is inclined to refer them. But this (unless when MSS. of antiquity can be referred to) seemed too arbitrary an exertion of the privileges of a publisher, and must, besides, have unnecessarily increased the difficulties of many readers. On the other hand, the utmost care has been taken, never to reject a word or phrase, used by a reciter, however uncouth or antiquated. Such barbarisms, which stamp upon the tales their age and their nation, should be respected by an editor, as the hardy emblem of his country was venerated by the Poet of Scotland:
The rough bur-thistle spreading wide Amang the bearded bear, I turn'd the weeder-clips aside, And spared the symbol dear.
The meaning of such obsolete words is usually given at the bottom of the page. For explanation of the more common peculiarities of the Scottish dialect, the English reader is referred to the excellent glossary annexed to the last edition of Burns' works.
The Third Class of Ballads are announced to the public, as MODERN IMITATIONS of the Ancient Style of composition, in that department of poetry; and they are founded upon such traditions as we may suppose in the elder times would have employed the harps of the minstrels. This kind of poetry has been supposed capable of uniting the vigorous numbers and wild fiction, which occasionally charm us in the ancient ballad, with a greater equality of versification, and elegance of sentiment, than we can expect to find in the works of a rude age. But, upon my ideas of the nature and difficulty of such imitations, I ought in prudence to be silent; lest I resemble the dwarf, who brought with him a standard to measure his own stature. I may, however, hint at the difference, not always attended to, betwixt legendary poems and real imitations of the old ballad; the reader will find specimens of both in the modern part of this collection. The legendary poem, called Glenfinlas, and the ballad, entituled the Eve of St. John, were designed as examples of the difference betwixt these two kinds of composition.
It would have the appearance of personal vanity, were the editor to detail the assistance and encouragement which he has received, during his undertaking, from some of the first literary characters of our age. The names of Stuart, Mackenzie, Ellis, Currie, and Ritson, with many others, are talismans too powerful to be used, for bespeaking the world's favour to a collection of old songs; even although a veteran bard has remarked, "that both the great poet of Italian rhyme, Petrarch, and our Chaucer, and other of the upper house of the muses, have thought their canzons honoured in the title of a ballad." To my ingenious friend, Dr. John Leyden, my readers will at once perceive that I lie under extensive obligations, for the poetical pieces, with which he has permitted me to decorate my compilation; but I am yet farther indebted to him for his uniform assistance, in collecting and arranging materials for the work.
In the notes, and occasional dissertations, it has been my object to throw together, perhaps without sufficient attention to method, a variety of remarks, regarding popular superstitions, and legendary history, which, if not now collected, must soon have been totally forgotten. By such efforts, feeble as they are, I may contribute somewhat to the history of my native country; the peculiar features of whose manners and character are daily melting and dissolving into those of her sister and ally. And, trivial as may appear such an offering, to the manes of a kingdom, once proud and independent, I hang it upon her altar with a mixture of feelings, which I shall not attempt to describe.
"—Hail, land of spearmen! seed of those who scorn'd To stoop the proud crest to Imperial Rome! Hail! dearest half of Albion, sea-wall'd! Hail! state unconquer'd by the fire of war, Red war, that twenty ages round thee blaz'd! To thee, for whom my purest raptures flow, Kneeling with filial homage, I devote My life, my strength, my first and latest song."
APPENDIX. No. I.
LETTER FROM THE EARL OF SURREY, TO HENRY VIII. GIVING AN ACCOUNT OF THE STORM OF JEDBURGH.
Cott. MSS. Calig. B. III. fol. 29.
* * * * *
"Pleisith it your grace to be advertised, that upon Fridaye, at x a clok at nyght, I retourned to this towne, and all the garnysons to their places assigned, the bushopricke men, my Lorde of Westmoreland, and my Lord Dacre, in likewise evry man home with their companys, without los of any men, thanked be God; saving viii or x slayne, and dyvers hurt, at skyrmyshis and saults of the town of Gedwurth, and the forteressis, which towne is soo suerly brent, that no garnysons ner none other shal bee lodged there, unto the tyme it bee newe buylded; the brennyng whereof I comytted to twoo sure men, Sir William Bulmer, and Thomas Tempeste. The towne was moche bettir then I went (i.e. ween'd) it had been, for there was twoo tymys moo houses therein then in Berwike, and well buylded, with many honest and faire houses therein, sufficiente to have lodged M horsemen in garnyson, and six good towres therein; whiche towne and towres be clenely distroyed, brent, and throwen downe. Undoubtedly there was noo journey made into Scotland, in noo manys day leving, with soo fewe a nombre that is recownted to be soo high an enterprice as this, bothe with thies contremen, and Scottishmen, nor of truthe so moche hurt doon. But in th' ende a great mysfortune ded fall, onely by foly, that such ordre, as was commaunded by me to be kepte, was not observed, the maner whereof hereaftir shall ensue. Bifore myn entre into Scotland, I appointed Sir William Bulmer and Sir William Evers too be marshallis of th' army; Sir William Bulmer for the vangard, and Sir William Evers for the reregard. In the vangard I appointed my Lord of Westmoreland, as chief, with all the bushopricke, Sir William Bulmer, Sir William Evers, my Lord Dacre, with all his company; and with me remayned all the rest of the garnysons, and the Northumberland men. I was of counsaill with the marshallis at th' ordering of our lodgingg, and our campe was soo well envirowned with ordynance, carts, and dikes, that hard it was to entre or issue, but at certain places appointed for that purpos, and assigned the mooste commodious place of the saide campe for my Lord Dacre company, next the water, and next my Lord of Westmoreland. And at suche tyme as my Lord Dacre came into the fald, I being at the sault of th' abby, whiche contynued unto twoo houres within nyght, my seid Lord Dacre wold in nowise bee contente to ly within the campe, whiche was made right sure, but lodged himself without, wherewith, at my retourne, I was not contente, but then it was to late to remove; the next daye I sente my seid Lorde Dacre to a strong hold, called Fernherst, the lorde whereof was his mortal enemy; and with hym, Sir Arthur Darcy, Sir Marmaduke Constable, with viii c. of their men, one cortoute, and dyvers other good peces of ordynance for the feld (the seid Fernherste stode marvelous strongly, within a grete woode); the seid twoo knights with the moost parte of their men, and Strickland, your grace servaunte, with my Kendall men, went into the woode on fote, with th' ordynance, where the said Kendall men were soo handled, that they found hardy men, that went noo foote back for theym; the other two knightes were alsoo soo sharply assayled, that they were enforced to call for moo of their men; and yet could not bring the ordynance to the forteresse, unto the tyme my Lord Dacre, with part of his horsemen, lighted on fote; and marvelously hardly handled himself, and fynally, with long skirmyshing, and moche difficultie, gat forthe th' ordynance within the howse and threwe downe the same. At which skyrmyshe, my seid Lord Dacre, and his brother, Sir Cristofer, Sir Arthure, and Sir Marmaduke, and many other gentilmen, did marvellously hardly; and found the best resistence that hath been seen with my comyng to their parties, and above xxxii Scottis sleyne, and not passing iiij Englishmen, but above lx hurt. Aftir that, my seid lord retournyng to the campe, wold in nowise bee lodged in the same, but where he laye the furst nyght. And he being with me at souper, about viij a clok, the horses of his company brak lowse, and sodenly ran out of his feld, in such nombre, that it caused a marvellous alarome in our feld; and our standing watche being set, the horses cam ronnyng along the campe, at whome were shot above one hundred shief of arrowes, and dyvers gonnys, thinking they had been Scotts, that wold have saulted the campe; fynally the horses were soo madde, that they ran like wild dere into the feld; above xv c. at the leest, in dyvers companys, and, in one place, above I felle downe a gret rok, and slewe theymself, and above ij c. ran into the towne being on fire, and by the women taken, and carried awaye right evill brent, and many were taken agayne. But, fynally, by that I can esteme by the nombre of theym that I sawe goo on foote the next daye, I think thare is lost above viij c. horses, and all with foly for lak of not lying within the camp. I dare not write the wondres that my Lord Dacre, and all his company, doo saye they sawe that nyght, vj. tymys of spirits and fereful sights. And unyversally all their company saye playnly, the devill was that nyght among theym vi tymys; whiche mysfortune hath blemyshed the best journey that was made in Scotland many yeres. I assure your grace I found the Scottes, at this tyme, the boldest men, and the hotest, that ever I sawe any nation, and all the journey, upon all parts of th' army, kepte us with soo contynuall skyrmyshe, that I never sawe the like. If they myght assemble xl M as good men as I nowe sawe, xv c or ij M, it wold bee a hard encountre to mete theym. Pitie it is of my Lord Dacres losse of the horses of his company; he brought with hym above iiij M. men, and came and lodged one night in Scotland, in his moost mortal enemy's centre. There is noo herdyer, ner bettir knyght, but often tyme he doth not use the most sure order, which he hath nowe payed derely for. Written at Berwike the xxvij of September.
Your most bownden,
APPENDIX, No. II.
HISTORY OF GEORDIE BOURNE.
* * * * *
In the following passages, extracted from the memoirs of Sir Robert Carey, then deputy of his father, Lord Hunsdon, warden of the east marches, afterwards Earl of Monmouth, the reader will find a lively illustration of the sketch given of border manners in the preceding Introduction.
"Having thus ended with my brother, I then beganne to thinke of the charge I had taken upon mee, which was the government of the east march, in my father's absence. I wrote to Sir Robert Kerr, who was my opposite warden, a brave active young man, and desired him that hee would appoint a day, when hee and myselfe might privately meet in some part of the border, to take some good order for the quieting the borders, till my retourne from London, which journey I was shortly of necessity to take. Hee stayed my man all night, and wrote to mee back, that hee was glad to have the happinesse to be acquainted with mee, and did not doubt but the country would be better governed by our good agreements. I wrote to him on the Monday, and the Thursday after hee appointed the place and hour of meeting.
[Footnote 68: Sir Robert Kerr of Cessford, warden of the middle marches, and ancestor of the house of Roxburghe.]
"After hee had filled my man with drinke, and putt him to bed, hee, and some halfe a score with him, gott to horse, and came into England to a little village. There hee broke up a house, and tooke out a poore fellow, who (hee pretended) had done him some wrong, and before the doore cruelly murthered him, and so came quietly home, and went to bed. The next morning hee delivered my man a letter in answer to mine, and retourned him to mee. It pleased mee well at the reading of his kinde letter; but when I heard what a brave hee had put upon mee, I quickly resolved what to do, which was, never to have to do with him, till I was righted for the greate wrong hee had done mee. Upon this resolution, the day I should have mett with him I tooke post, and with all the haste I could, rode to London, leaving him to attend my coming to him as was appointed. There hee stayed from one till five, but heard no news of mee. Finding by this that I had neglected him, hee retourned home to his house, and so things rested (with greate dislike the one of the other) till I came back, which was with all the speede I could, my businesse being ended. The first thing I did after my retourne, was to ask justice for the wrong hee had done mee; but I could gett none. The borderers, seeing our disagreement, they thought the time wished for of them was come. The winter being beganne, their was roades made out of Scotland into the east march, and goods were taken three or foure times a weeke. I had no other meanes left to quiet them, but still sent out of the garrison horsemen of Berwick, to watch in the fittest places for them, and it was their good hap many times to light upon them, with the stolen goods driving before them. They were no sooner brought before mee, but a jury went upon them, and, being found guilty, they were frequently hanged: a course which hath been seldom used, but I had no way to keep the country quiet but to do so; for, when the Scotch theeves found what a sharp course I tooke with them, that were found with the bloody hand, I had in a short time the country more quiet. All this while wee were but in jest as it were, but now beganne the greate quarrell betweene us.
"There was a favorite of his, a greate theife, called Geordie Bourne. This gallant, with some of his associates would, in a bravery, come and take goods in the east march. I had that night some of the garrison abroad. They met with this Geordie and his fellowes, driving of cattle before them. The garrison set upon them, and with a shott killed Geordie Bourne's unckle, and hee himselfe bravely resisting till he was sore hurt in the head, was taken. After hee was taken, his pride was such, as hee asked, who it was that durst avow that nightes worke? but when hee heard it was the garrison, he was then more quiet. But so powerfull and awfull was this Sir Robert Kerr, and his favourites, as there was not a gentleman in all the east march that durst offend them. Presently after hee was taken, I had most of the gentlemen of the march come to mee, and told mee, that now I had the ball at my foote, and might bring Sir Robert Kerr to what conditions I pleased; for that this man's life was so neere and deare unto him, as I should have all that my heart could desire, for the good and quiet of the country and myselfe, if upon any condition I would give him his life. I heard them and their reasons; notwithstanding, I called a jury the next morning, and hee was found guilty of MARCH TREASON. Then they feared that I would cause him to be executed that afternoone, which made them come flocking to mee, humbly entreating mee, that I would spare his life till the next day, and if Sir Robert Kerr came not himselfe to mee, and made mee not such proffers, as I could not but accept, that then I should do with him what I pleased. And further, they told mee plainly, that if I should execute him, before I had heard from Sir Robert Kerr, they must be forced to quitt their houses and fly the country; for his fury would be such, against mee and the march I commanded, as hee would use all his power and strength to the utter destruction of the east march. They were so earnest with mee, that I gave them my word hee should not dye that day. There was post upon post sent to Sir Robert Kerr, and some of them rode to him themselves, to advertise him in what danger Geordie Bourne was; how he was condemned, and should have been executed that afternoone, but, by their humble suite, I gave them my word, that he should not dye that day; and therefore besought him, that hee would send to mee, with all the speede hee could, to let mee know, that hee would be the next day with mee to offer mee good conditions for the safety of his life. When all things were quiet, and the watch set at night, after supper, about ten of the clock, I tooke one of my men's liveryes, and putt it about mee, and tooke two other of my servants with mee in their liveryes, and we three, as the warden's men, came to the provost marshall's, where Bourne was, and were lett into his chamber. Wee sate down by him, and told him, that wee were desirous to see him, because wee heard hee was stoute and valiant, and true to his friend; and that wee were sorry our master could not be moved to save his life. He voluntarily of himselfe said, that hee had lived long enough to do so many villainies as hee had done; and withal told us, that hee had layne with about forty men's wives, what in England, what in Scotland; and that hee had killed seven Englishmen with his own hands, cruelly murthering them: that hee had spent his whole time in whoreing, drinking, stealing, and taking deep revenge for slight offences. Hee seemed to be very penitent, and much desired a minister for the comfort of his soule. Wee promised him to lett our master know his desire, who, wee knew, would presently grant it. Wee tooke our leaves of him, and presently I tooke order, that Mr. Selby, a very worthy honest preacher, should go to him, and not stirre from him till his execution the next morning; for, after I had heard his own confession, I was resolved no conditions should save his life: and so tooke order, that at the gates opening the next morning, hee should be carried to execution, which accordingly was performed. The next morning I had one from Sir Robert Kerr for a parley, who was within two miles staying for mee. I sent him word, "I would meet him where hee pleased, but I would first know upon what termes and conditions." Before his man was retourned, hee had heard, that in the morning, very early, Geordie Bourne had been executed. Many vowes hee made of cruell revenge, and retourned home full of griefe and disdaine, and, from that time forward still plotted revenge. Hee knew the gentlemen of the country were altogether sacklesse, and to make open road upon the march would but shew his malice, and lay him open to the punishment due to such offences. But his practice was how to be revenged on mee, or some of mine.