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|Table of Contents|
|Start of eBook||1|
|LAYS OF THE SCOTTISH CAVALIERS||1|
|EDINBURGH AFTER FLODDEN||3|
|THE EXECUTION OF MONTROSE||10|
|THE HEART OF THE BRUCE||17|
|THE HEART OF THE BRUCE||18|
|THE BURIAL MARCH OF DUNDEE||29|
|THE WIDOW OF GLENCOE||37|
|THE ISLAND OF THE SCOTS||44|
|CHARLES EDWARD AT VERSAILLES||62|
|THE OLD SCOTTISH CAVALIER||68|
|THE OLD SCOTTISH CAVALIER||74|
|BLIND OLD MILTON||75|
|THE BURIED FLOWER||83|
|WRITTEN IN A ROMAN FORTIFICATION IN BAVARIA||86|
|THE SCHEIK OF SINAI IN 1830||88|
|EPITAPH OF CONSTANTINE KANARIS||89|
|THE REFUSAL OF CHARON||89|
EDINBURGH AFTER FLODDEN
The great battle of Flodden was fought upon the 9th of September, 1513. The defeat of the Scottish army, mainly owing to the fantastic ideas of chivalry entertained by James IV., and his refusal to avail himself of the natural advantages of his position, was by far the most disastrous of any recounted in the history of the northern wars. The whole strength of the kingdom, both Lowland and Highland, was assembled, and the contest was one of the sternest and most desperate upon record.
For several hours the issue seemed doubtful. On the left the Scots obtained a decided advantage; on the right wing they were broken and overthrown; and at last the whole weight of the battle was brought into the centre, where King James and the Earl of Surrey commanded in person. The determined valour of James, imprudent as it was, had the effect of rousing to a pitch of desperation the courage of the meanest soldiers; and the ground becoming soft and slippery from blood, they pulled off their boots and shoes, and secured a firmer footing by fighting in their hose.
“It is owned,” says Abercromby, “that both parties did wonders, but none on either side performed more than the King himself. He was again told that by coming to handy blows he could do no more than another man, whereas, by keeping the post due to his station, he might be worth many thousands. Yet he would not only fight in person, but also on foot; for he no sooner saw that body of the English give way which was defeated by the Earl of Huntley, but he alighted from his horse, and commanded his guard of noblemen and gentlemen to do the like and follow him. He had at first abundance of success; but at length the Lord Thomas Howard and Sir Edward Stanley, who had defeated their opposites, coming in with the Lord Dacre’s horse, and surrounding the King’s battalion on all sides, the Scots were so distressed that, for their last defence, they cast themselves into a ring; and being resolved to die nobly with their sovereign, who scorned to ask quarter, were altogether cut off. So say the English writers, and I am apt to believe that they are in the right.”
The battle was maintained with desperate fury until nightfall. At the close, according to Mr. Tytler, “Surrey was uncertain of the result of the battle: the remains of the enemy’s centre still held the field; Home, with his Borderers, still hovered on the left; and the commander wisely allowed neither pursuit nor plunder, but drew off his men, and kept a strict watch during the night. When the morning broke, the Scottish artillery were seen standing deserted on the side of the hill; their defenders had disappeared; and the Earl ordered thanks to be given for a victory which was no longer doubtful. Yet, even after all this, a body of the Scots appeared unbroken upon a hill, and were about to charge the Lord-Admiral, when they were compelled to leave their position by a discharge of the English ordnance.
“The loss of the Scots in this fatal battle amounted to about ten thousand men. Of these, a great proportion were of high rank; the remainder being composed of the gentry, the farmers, and landed yeomanry, who disdained to fly when their sovereign and his nobles lay stretched in heaps around them.” Besides King James, there fell at Flodden the Archbishop of St. Andrew’s, thirteen earls, two bishops, two abbots, fifteen lords and chiefs of clans, and five peers’ eldest sons, besides La Motte the French ambassador, and the secretary of the King. The same historian adds—“The names of the gentry who fell are too numerous for recapitulation, since there were few families of note in Scotland which did not lose one relative or another, whilst some houses had to weep the death of all. It is from this cause that the sensations of sorrow and national lamentation occasioned by the defeat were peculiarly poignant and lasting—so that to this day few Scotsmen can hear the name of Flodden without a shudder of gloomy regret.”
The loss to Edinburgh on this occasion was peculiarly great. All the magistrates and able-bodied citizens had followed their King to Flodden, whence very few of them returned. The office of Provost or chief magistrate of the capital was at that time an object of ambition, and was conferred only upon persons of high rank and station. There seems to be some uncertainty whether the holder of this dignity at the time of the battle of Flodden was Sir Alexander Lauder, ancestor of the Fountainhall family, who was elected in 1511, or that great historical personage, Archibald Earl of Angus, better known as Archibald Bell-the-Cat, who was chosen in 1513, the year of the battle. Both of them were at Flodden. The name of Sir Alexander Lauder appears upon the list of the slain; Angus was one of the survivors, but his son, George, Master of Angus, fell fighting gallantly by the side of King James. The city records of Edinburgh, which commence about this period, are not clear upon the point, and I am rather inclined to think that the Earl of Angus was elected to supply the place of Lauder. But although the actual magistrates were absent, they had formally nominated deputies in their stead. I find, on referring to the city records, that “George of Tours” had been appointed to officiate in the absence of the Provost, and that four other persons were selected to discharge the office of bailies until the magistrates should return.
It is impossible to describe the consternation which pervaded the whole of Scotland when the intelligence of the defeat became known. In Edinburgh it was excessive. Mr. Arnot, in the history of that city, says,—
“The news of their overthrow in the field of Flodden reached Edinburgh on the day after the battle, and overwhelmed the inhabitants with grief and confusion. The streets were crowded with women seeking intelligence about their friends, clamouring and weeping. Those who officiated in absence of the magistrates proved themselves worthy of the trust. They issued a proclamation, ordering all the inhabitants to assemble in military array for defence of the city, on the tolling of the bell; and commanding, ’that all women, and especially strangers, do repair to their work, and not be seen upon the street clamorand and cryand; and that women of the better sort do repair to the church and offer up prayers, at the stated hours, for our Sovereign Lord and his army, and the townsmen who are with the army.’”
Indeed the council records bear ample evidence of the emergency of that occasion. Throughout the earlier pages, the word “Flowdoun” frequently occurs on the margin, in reference to various hurried orders for arming and defence; and there can be no doubt that, had the English forces attempted to follow up their victory, and attack the Scottish capital, the citizens would have resisted to the last. But it soon became apparent that the loss sustained by the English was so severe, that Surrey was in no condition to avail himself of the opportunity; and in fact, shortly afterwards, he was compelled to disband his army.
The references to the city banner, contained in the following poem, may require a word of explanation. It is a standard still held in great honour and reverence by the burghers of Edinburgh, having been presented to them by James the Third, in return for their loyal service in 1482. This banner, along with that of the Earl Marischal, still conspicuous in the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, was honourably brought back from Flodden, and certainly never could have been displayed in a more memorable field. Maitland says, with reference to this very interesting relic of antiquity,—
“As a perpetual remembrance of the loyalty and bravery of the Edinburghers on the aforesaid occasion, the King granted them a banner or standard, with a power to display the same in defence of their king, country, and their own rights. This flag is kept by the Convener of the Trades; at whose appearance therewith, it is said that not only the artificers of Edinburgh are obliged to repair to it, but all the artisans or craftsmen within Scotland are bound to follow it, and fight under the Convener of Edinburgh as aforesaid.”
No event in Scottish history ever took a more lasting hold of the public mind than the “woeful fight” of Flodden; and, even now, the songs and traditions which are current on the Border recall the memory of a contest unsullied by disgrace, though terminating in disaster and defeat.
News of battle!—news of battle!
Hark! ’tis ringing down the street:
And the archways and the pavement
Bear the clang of hurrying feet.
News of battle? Who hath brought it?
News of triumph? Who should bring
Tidings from our noble army,
Greetings from our gallant King?
All last night we watched the beacons
Blazing on the hills afar,
Each one bearing, as it kindled,
Message of the opened war.
All night long the northern streamers
Shot across the trembling sky:
Fearful lights, that never beckon
Save when kings or heroes die.
News of battle! Who hath brought
All are thronging to the gate;
“Warder—warder! open quickly!
Man—is this a time to wait?”
And the heavy gates are opened:
Then a murmur long and loud,
And a cry of fear and wonder
Bursts from out the bending crowd.
For they see in battered harness
Only one hard-stricken man,
And his weary steed is wounded,
And his cheek is pale and wan.
Spearless hangs a bloody banner
In his weak and drooping hand—
God! can that be Randolph Murray,
Captain of the city band?
Round him crush the people, crying,
“Tell us all—oh, tell us true!
Where are they who went to battle,
Randolph Murray, sworn to you?
Where are they, our brothers—children?
Have they met the English foe?
Why art thou alone, unfollowed?
Is it weal, or is it woe?”
Like a corpse the grisly warrior
Looks from out his helm of steel;
But no word he speaks in answer,
Only with his armed heel
Chides his weary steed, and onward
Up the city streets they ride;
Fathers, sisters, mothers, children,
Shrieking, praying by his side.
“By the God that made thee, Randolph!
Tell us what mischance hath come!”
Then he lifts his riven banner,
And the asker’s voice is dumb.
The elders of the city
Have met within their hall—
The men whom good King James had charged
To watch the tower and wall.
“Your hands are weak with age,” he said,
“Your hearts are stout and true;
So bide ye in the Maiden Town,
While others fight for you.
My trumpet from the Border-side
Shall send a blast so clear,
That all who wait within the gate
That stirring sound may hear.
Or, if it be the will of heaven
That back I never come,
And if, instead of Scottish shouts,
Ye hear the English drum,—
Then let the warning bells ring out,
Then gird you to the fray,
Then man the walls like burghers stout,
And fight while fight you may.
’T were better that in fiery flame
The roofs should thunder down,
Than that the foot of foreign foe
Should trample in the town!”
Then in came Randolph Murray,—
His step was slow and weak,
And, as he doffed his dinted helm,
The tears ran down his cheek:
They fell upon his corslet,
And on his mailed hand,
As he gazed around him wistfully,
Leaning sorely on his brand.
And none who then beheld him
But straight were smote with fear,
For a bolder and a sterner man
Had never couched a spear.
They knew so sad a messenger
Some ghastly news must bring:
And all of them were fathers,
And their sons were with the King.
And up then rose the Provost—
A brave old man was he,
Of ancient name and knightly fame,
And chivalrous degree.
He ruled our city like a Lord
Who brooked no equal here,
And ever for the townsmen’s rights
Stood up ’gainst prince and peer.
And he had seen the Scottish host
March from the Borough-muir,
With music-storm and clamorous shout
And all the din that thunders out,
When youth’s of victory sure.
But yet a dearer thought had he,
For, with a father’s pride,
He saw his last remaining son
Go forth by Randolph’s side,
With casque on head and spur on heel,
All keen to do and dare;
And proudly did that gallant boy
Dunedin’s banner bear.
Oh, woeful now was the old man’s look,
And he spake right heavily—
“Now, Randolph, tell thy tidings,
However sharp they be!
Woe is written on thy visage,
Death is looking from thy face:
Speak, though it be of overthrow—
It cannot be disgrace!”
Right bitter was the agony
That wrung the soldier proud:
Thrice did he strive to answer,
And thrice he groaned aloud.
Then he gave the riven banner
To the old man’s shaking hand,
Saying—“That is all I bring ye
From the bravest of the land!
Ay! ye may look upon it—
It was guarded well and long,
By your brothers and your children,
By the valiant and the strong.
One by one they fell around it,
As the archers laid them low,
Grimly dying, still unconquered,
With their faces to the foe.
Ay! ye well may look upon it—
There is more than honour there,
Else, be sure, I had not brought it
From the field of dark despair.
Never yet was royal banner
Steeped in such a costly dye;
It hath lain upon a bosom
Where no other shroud shall lie.
Sirs! I charge you keep it holy,
Keep it as a sacred thing,
For the stain you see upon it
Was the life-blood of your King!”
Woe, woe, and lamentation!
What a piteous cry was there!
Widows, maidens, mothers, children,
Shrieking, sobbing in despair!
Through the streets the death-word rushes,
Spreading terror, sweeping on—
“Jesu Christ! our King has fallen—
O great God, King James is gone!
Holy Mother Mary, shield us,
Thou who erst did lose thy Son!
O the blackest day for Scotland
That she ever knew before!
O our King—the good, the noble,
Shall we see him never more?
Woe to us and woe to Scotland,
O our sons, our sons and men!
Surely some have ’scaped the Southron,
Surely some will come again!”
Till the oak that fell last winter
Shall uprear its shattered stem—
Wives and mothers of Dunedin—
Ye may look in vain for them!
But within the Council Chamber
All was silent as the grave,
Whilst the tempest of their sorrow
Shook the bosoms of the brave.
Well indeed might they be shaken
With the weight of such a blow:
He was gone—their prince, their idol,
Whom they loved and worshipped so!
Like a knell of death and judgment
Rung from heaven by angel hand,
Fell the words of desolation
On the elders of the land.
Hoary heads were bowed and trembling,
Withered hands were clasped and wrung:
God had left the old and feeble,
He had ta’en away the young.
Then the Provost he uprose,
And his lip was ashen white,
But a flush was on his brow,
And his eye was full of light.
“Thou hast spoken, Randolph Murray,
Like a soldier stout and true;
Thou hast done a deed of daring
Had been perilled but by few.
For thou hast not shamed to face us,
Nor to speak thy ghastly tale,
Standing—thou, a knight and captain—
Here, alive within thy mail!
Now, as my God shall judge me,
I hold it braver done,
Than hadst thou tarried in thy place,
And died above my son!
Thou needst not tell it: he is dead.
God help us all this day!
But speak—how fought the citizens
Within the furious fray?
For, by the might of Mary,
’T were something still to tell
That no Scottish foot went backward
When the Royal Lion fell!”
“No one failed him! He is keeping
Royal state and semblance still;
Knight and noble lie around him,
Cold on Flodden’s fatal hill.
Of the brave and gallant-hearted,
Whom ye sent with prayers away,
Not a single man departed
From his monarch yesterday.
Had you seen them, O my masters!
When the night began to fall,
And the English spearmen gathered
Round a grim and ghastly wall!
As the wolves in winter circle
So he ended. And the others
Cared not any answer then;
Sitting silent, dumb with sorrow,
Sitting anguish-struck, like men
Who have seen the roaring torrent
Sweep their happy homes away,
And yet linger by the margin,
Staring idly on the spray.
But, without, the maddening tumult
Waxes ever more and more,
And the crowd of wailing women
Gather round the Council door.
Every dusky spire is ringing
With a dull and hollow knell,
And the Miserere’s singing
To the tolling of the bell.
Through the streets the burghers hurry,
Spreading terror as they go;
And the rampart’s thronged with watchers
For the coming of the foe.
From each mountain-top a pillar
Streams into the torpid air,
Bearing token from the Border
That the English host is there.
All without is flight and terror,
All within is woe and fear—
God protect thee, Maiden City,
For thy latest hour is near!
No! not yet, thou high Dunedin!
Shalt thou totter to thy fall;
Though thy bravest and thy strongest
Are not there to man the wall.
No, not yet! the ancient spirit
Of our fathers hath not gone;
Take it to thee as a buckler
Better far than steel or stone.
Oh, remember those who perished
For thy birthright at the time
When to be a Scot was treason,
And to side with Wallace, crime!
Have they not a voice among us,
Whilst their hallowed dust is here?
Hear ye not a summons sounding
From each buried warrior’s bier?
“Up!”—they say—“and keep the freedom
Which we won you long ago:
Up! and keep our graves unsullied
From the insults of the foe!
Up! and if ye cannot save them,
Come to us in blood and fire:
Midst the crash of falling turrets,
Let the last of Scots expire!”
Still the bells are tolling fiercely,
And the cry comes louder in;
Mothers wailing for their children,
Sisters for their slaughtered kin.
All is terror and disorder,
Till the Provost rises up,
Calm, as though he had not tasted
Of the fell and bitter cup.
All so stately from his sorrow,
Rose the old undaunted Chief,
That you had not deemed, to see him,
His was more than common grief.
“Rouse ye, Sirs!” he said; “we may not
Longer mourn for what is done:
If our King be taken from us,
We are left to guard his son.
We have sworn to keep the city
From the foe, whate’er they be,
And the oath that we have taken
Never shall be broke by me.
Death is nearer to us, brethren,
Than it seemed to those who died,
Fighting yesterday at Flodden,
By their lord and master’s side.
Let us meet it then in patience,
Not in terror or in fear;
Though our hearts are bleeding yonder,
Let our souls be steadfast here.
Up, and rouse ye! Time is fleeting,
And we yet have much to do;
Up! and haste ye through the city,
Stir the burghers stout and true!
Gather all our scattered people,
Fling the banner out once more,—
Randolph Murray! do thou bear it,
As it erst was borne before:
Never Scottish heart will leave it,
When they see their monarch’s gore!”
“Let them cease that dismal knelling!
It is time enough to ring,
When the fortress-strength of Scotland
Stoops to ruin like its King.
Let the bells be kept for warning,
Not for terror or alarm;
When they next are heard to thunder,
Let each man and stripling arm.
Bid the women leave their wailing,—
Do they think that woeful strain,
From the bloody heaps of Flodden
Can redeem their dearest slain?
Bid them cease,—or rather hasten
To the churches, every one;
There to pray to Mary Mother,
And to her anointed Son,
That the thunderbolt above us
May not fall in ruin yet;
That in fire, and blood, and rapine,
Scotland’s glory may not set.
Let them pray,—for never women
Stood in need of such a prayer!
England’s yeomen shall not find them
Clinging to the altars there.
No! if we are doomed to perish,
Man and maiden, let us fall;
And a common gulf of ruin
Open wide to whelm us all!
Never shall the ruthless spoiler
Lay his hot insulting hand
On the sisters of our heroes,
Whilst we bear a torch or brand!
Up! and rouse ye, then, my brothers,
But when next ye hear the bell
Sounding forth the sullen summons
That may be our funeral knell,
Once more let us meet together,
THE EXECUTION OF MONTROSE
The most poetical chronicler would find it impossible to render the incidents of Montrose’s brilliant career more picturesque than the reality. Among the devoted champions who, during the wildest and most stormy period of our history, maintained the cause of Church and King, “the Great Marquis” undoubtedly is entitled to the foremost place. Even party malevolence, by no means extinct at the present day, has been unable to detract from the eulogy pronounced upon him by the famous Cardinal de Retz, the friend of Conde and Turenne, when he thus summed up his character:—“Montrose, a Scottish nobleman, head of the house of Grahame—the only man in the world that has ever realised to me the ideas of certain heroes, whom we now discover nowhere but in the lives of Plutarch—has sustained in his own country the cause of the King his master, with a greatness of soul that has not found its equal in our age.”
But the success of the victorious leader and patriot is almost thrown into the shade by the noble magnanimity and Christian heroism of the man in the hour of defeat and death. Without wishing, in any degree, to revive a controversy long maintained by writers of opposite political and polemical opinions, it may fairly be stated that Scottish history does not present us with a tragedy of parallel interest. That the execution of Montrose was the natural, nay, the inevitable, consequence of his capture, may be freely admitted even by the fiercest partisan of the cause for which he staked his life. In those times, neither party was disposed to lenity; and Montrose was far too conspicuous a character, and too dangerous a man, to be forgiven. But the ignominious and savage treatment which he received at the hands of those whose station and descent should at least have taught them to respect misfortune, has left an indelible stain upon the memory of the Covenanting chiefs, and more especially upon that of Argyle.
The perfect serenity of the man in the hour of trial and death, the courage and magnanimity which he displayed to the last, have been dwelt upon with admiration by writers of every class. He heard his sentence delivered without any apparent emotion, and afterwards told the magistrates who waited upon him in prison, “that he was much indebted to the Parliament for the great honour they had decreed him”; adding, “that he was prouder to have his head placed upon the top of the prison, than if they had decreed a golden statue to be erected to him in the market-place, or that his picture should be hung in the King’s bedchamber.” He said, “he thanked them for their care to preserve the remembrance of his loyalty, by transmitting such monuments to the different parts of the kingdom; and only wished that he had flesh enough to have sent a piece to every city in Christendom, as a token of his unshaken love and fidelity to his king and country.” On the night before his execution, he inscribed the following lines with a diamond on the window of his jail:—
“Let them bestow on every airth
Then, open all my veins, that I may swim
To thee, my Maker! in that crimson lake;
Then place my parboiled head upon a stake—
Scatter my ashes—strew them in the air:
Lord! since thou know’st where all these atoms are,
I’m hopeful thou’lt recover once my dust,
And confident thou’lt raise me with the just.”
After the Restoration, the dust was recovered, the scattered remnants collected, and the bones of the hero conveyed to their final resting-place by a numerous assemblage of gentlemen of his family and name.
There is no ingredient of fiction in the historical incidents recorded in the following ballad. The indignities that were heaped upon Montrose during his procession through Edinburgh, his appearance before the Estates, and his last passage to the scaffold, as well as his undaunted bearing, have all been spoken to by eyewitnesses of the scene. A graphic and vivid sketch of the whole will be found in Mr. Mark Napier’s volume, The Life and Times of Montrose—a work as chivalrous in its tone as the Chronicles of Froissart, and abounding in original and most interesting materials; but, in order to satisfy all scruple, the authorities for each fact are given in the shape of notes. The ballad may be considered as a narrative of the transactions, related by an aged Highlander, who had followed Montrose throughout his campaigns, to his grandson, shortly before the battle of Killiecrankie.
Come hither, Evan Cameron!
Come, stand beside my knee—
I hear the river roaring down
Towards the wintry sea.
There’s shouting on the mountain side,
There’s war within the blast—
Old faces look upon me,
Old forms go trooping past.
I hear the pibroch wailing
Amidst the din of fight,
And my dim spirit wakes again
Upon the verge of night!
’Twas I that led the Highland host
Through wild Lochaber’s snows,
What time the plaided clans came down
To battle with Montrose.
I’ve told thee how the Southrons fell
Beneath the broad claymore,
And how we smote the Campbell clan
By Inverlochy’s shore.
I’ve told thee how we swept Dundee,
And tamed the Lindsay’s pride;
But never have I told thee yet
How the Great Marquis died!
A traitor sold him to his foes;
O deed of deathless shame!
I charge thee, boy, if e’er thou meet
With one of Assynt’s name—
Be it upon the mountain’s side,
Or yet within the glen,
Stand he in martial gear alone,
Or backed by armed men—
Face him, as thou wouldst face the man
Who wronged thy sire’s renown;
Remember of what blood thou art,
And strike the caitiff down!
They brought him to the Watergate,
Hard bound with hempen span,
As though they held a lion there,
And not a ’fenceless man.
They set him high upon a cart—
The hangman rode below—
They drew his hands behind his back,
And bared his noble brow.
Then, as a hound is slipped from leash,
They cheered the common throng,
And blew the note with yell and shout,
And bade him pass along.
It would have made a brave man’s
Grow sad and sick that day,
To watch the keen malignant eyes
Bent down on that array.
There stood the Whig west-country lords
In balcony and bow,
There sat their gaunt and withered dames,
And their daughters all a-row;
And every open window
Was full as full might be,
With black-robed Covenanting carles,
That goodly sport to see!
But when he came, though pale and wan,
He looked so great and high,
So noble was his manly front,
So calm his steadfast eye;—
The rabble rout forebore to shout,
And each man held his breath,
For well they knew the hero’s soul
Was face to face with death.
And then a mournful shudder
Through all the people crept,
And some that came to scoff at him,
Now turn’d aside and wept.
But onwards—always onwards,
In silence and in gloom,
The dreary pageant laboured,
Till it reach’d the house of doom:
Then first a woman’s voice was heard
In jeer and laughter loud,
And an angry cry and a hiss arose
From the heart of the tossing crowd:
Then, as the Graeme looked upwards,
He met the ugly smile
Of him who sold his King for gold—
The master-fiend Argyle!
The Marquis gazed a moment,
And nothing did he say,
But the cheek of Argyle grew ghastly pale,
And he turned his eyes away.
The painted harlot by his side,
She shook through every limb,
For a roar like thunder swept the street,
And hands were clenched at him,
And a Saxon soldier cried aloud,
“Back, coward, from thy place!
For seven long years thou hast not dared
To look him in the face.”
Had I been there with sword in hand,
And fifty Camerons by,
That day through high Dunedin’s streets,
Had pealed the slogan cry.
Not all their troops of trampling horse,
Nor might of mailed men—
Not all the rebels of the south
Had borne us backwards then!
Once more his foot on Highland heath
Had trod as free as air,
Or I, and all who bore my name,
Been laid around him there!
It might not be. They placed him
Within the solemn hall,
Where once the Scottish Kings were throned
Amidst their nobles all.
But there was dust of vulgar feet
On that polluted floor,
And perjured traitors filled the place
Where good men sate before.
With savage glee came Warristoun
To read the murderous doom,
And then uprose the great Montrose
In the middle of the room.
“Now by my faith as belted knight,
And by the name I bear,
And by the bright Saint Andrew’s cross
That waves above us there—
Yea, by a greater, mightier oath—
And oh, that such should be!—
By that dark stream of royal blood
That lies ’twixt you and me—
I have not sought in battle-field
A wreath of such renown,
Nor dared I hope, on my dying day,
To win the martyr’s crown!”
“There is a chamber far away
Where sleep the good and brave,
But a better place ye have named for me
Than by my father’s grave.
For truth and right, ’gainst treason’s might,
This hand hath always striven,
And ye raise it up for a witness still
In the eye of earth and heaven.
Then nail my head on yonder tower—
Give every town a limb—
And God who made shall gather them:
I go from you to Him!”
The morning dawned full darkly,
The rain came flashing down,
And the jagged streak of the levin-bolt
Lit up the gloomy town:
The heavens were thundering out their wrath,
The fatal hour was come;
Yet ever sounded sullenly
The trumpet and the drum.
There was madness on the earth below,
And anger in the sky,
And young and old, and rich and poor,
Came forth to see him die.
Ah, God! that ghastly gibbet!
How dismal ’t is to see
The great tall spectral skeleton,
The ladder, and the tree!
Hark! hark! it is the clash of arms—
The bells begin to toll—
He is coming! he is coming!
God’s mercy on his soul!
One last long peal of thunder—
The clouds are cleared away,
And the glorious sun once more looks down
Amidst the dazzling day.
He is coming! he is coming!
Like a bridegroom from his room,
Came the hero from his prison
To the scaffold and the doom.
There was glory on his forehead,
There was lustre in his eye,
And he never walked to battle
More proudly than to die:
There was colour in his visage,
Though the cheeks of all were wan,
And they marvelled as they saw him pass,
That great and goodly man!
He mounted up the scaffold,
And he turned him to the crowd;
But they dared not trust the people,
So he might not speak aloud.
But he looked upon the heavens,
And they were clear and blue,
And in the liquid ether
The eye of God shone through:
Yet a black and murky battlement
Lay resting on the hill,
As though the thunder slept within—
All else was calm and still.
The grim Geneva ministers
With anxious scowl drew near,
As you have seen the ravens flock
Around the dying deer.
He would not deign them word nor sign,
But alone he bent the knee;
And veiled his face for Christ’s dear grace
Beneath the gallows-tree.
Then radiant and serene he rose,
And cast his cloak away:
For he had ta’en his latest look
Of earth, and sun, and day.
A beam of light fell o’er him,
Like a glory round the shriven,
And he climbed the lofty ladder
As it were the path to heaven.
Then came a flash from out the cloud,
And a stunning thunder roll,
And no man dared to look aloft,
For fear was on every soul.
There was another heavy sound,
A hush and then a groan;
And darkness swept across the sky—
The work of death was done!
“The execution of Montrose”
“A traitor sold him to his foes,”—p. 36.
“The contemporary historian of the Earls of Sutherland records, that (after the defeat of Invercarron) Montrose and Kinnoul ’wandered up the river Kyle the whole ensuing night, and the next day, and the third day also, without any food or sustenance, and at last came within the country of Assynt. The Earl of Kinnoul, being faint for lack of meat, and not able to travel any further, was left there among the mountains, where it was supposed he perished.
“They brought him to the Watergate,”—p. 36.
“Friday, 17th May.—Act ordaining James Grahame to be brought from the Watergate on a cart, bareheaded, the hangman in his livery, covered, riding on the horse that draws the cart—the prisoner to be bound to the cart with a rope—to the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and from thence to be brought to the Parliament House, and there, in the place of delinquents, on his knees, to receive his sentence—viz., to be hanged on a gibbet at the Cross of Edinburgh, with his book and declaration tied on a rope about his neck, and there to hang for the space of three hours until he be dead; and thereafter to be cut down by the hangman, his head, hands, and legs to be cut off, and distributed as follows—viz., his head to be affixed on an iron pin, and set on the pinnacle of the west gavel of the new prison of Edinburgh; one hand to be set on the port of Perth, the other on the port of Stirling; one leg and foot on the port of Aberdeen, the other on the port of Glasgow. If at his death penitent, and relaxed from excommunication, then the trunk of his body to be interred, by pioneers, in the Greyfriars; otherwise, to be interred in the Boroughmuir, by the hangman’s men, under the gallows.”—BALFOUR’S Notes of Parliament.
It is needless to remark that this inhuman sentence was executed to the letter. In order that the exposure might be more complete, the cart was constructed with a high chair in the centre, having holes behind, through which the ropes that fastened him were drawn. The author of the Wigton Papers, recently published by the Maitland Club, says, “The reason of his being tied to the cart was in hope that the people would have stoned him, and that he might not be able by his hands to save his face.” His hat was then pulled off by the hangman and the procession commenced.
“But when he came, though pale
He looked so great and high,”—p. 37.
“In all the way, there appeared in him such majesty, courage, modesty—and even somewhat more than natural—that those common women who had lost their husbands and children in his wars, and who were hired to stone him, were upon the sight of him so astonished and moved, that their intended curses turned into tears and prayers; so that next day all the ministers preached against them for not stoning and reviling him.”—Wigton Papers.
“Then first a woman’s voice
In jeer and laughter loud,”—p. 38.
“It is remarkable that, of the many thousand beholders, the Lady Jean Gordon, Countess of Haddington, did (alone) publicly insult and laugh at him; which being perceived by a gentleman in the street, he cried up to her, that it became her better to sit upon the cart for her adulteries.”—Wigton Papers. This infamous woman was the third daughter of Huntly, and the niece of Argyle. It will hardly be credited that she was the sister of that gallant Lord Gordon, who fell fighting by the side of Montrose, only five years before, at the battle of Aldford!
“For seven long years thou hast
To look him in the face,”—p. 39.
“The Lord Lorn and his new lady were also sitting on a balcony, joyful spectators; and the cart being stopped when it came before the lodging where the Chancellor, Argyle, and Warristoun sat—that they might have time to insult—he, suspecting the business, turned his face towards them, whereupon they presently crept in at the windows; which being perceived by an Englishman, he cried up, it was no wonder they started aside at his look, for they durst not look him in the face these seven years bygone.”—Wigton Papers.
“With savage glee came Warristoun,
To read the murderous doom,”—p. 40.
Archibald Johnston of Warristoun. This man, who was the inveterate enemy of Montrose, and who carried the most selfish spirit into every intrigue of his party, received the punishment of his treasons about eleven years afterwards. It may be instructive to learn how he met his doom. The following extract is from the MSS. of Sir George Mackenzie:—“The Chancellor and others waited to examine him; he fell upon his face, roaring, and with tears entreated they would pity a poor creature who had forgot all that was in the Bible. This moved all the spectators with a deep melancholy; and the Chancellor, reflecting upon the man’s great parts, former esteem, and the great share he had in all the late revolutions, could not deny some tears to the frailty of silly mankind. At his examination, he pretended he had lost so much blood by the unskilfulness of his chirurgeons, that he lost his memory with his blood; and I really believe that his courage had been drawn out with it. Within a few days he was brought before the parliament, where he discovered nothing but much weakness, running up and down upon his knees, begging mercy; but the parliament ordained his former sentence to be put to execution, and accordingly he was executed at the Cross of Edinburgh.”
“And God who made shall gather
I go from you to Him!”—p. 41.
“He said he was much beholden to the parliament for the honour they had put on him; ‘for,’ says he, ’I think it a greater honour to have my head standing on the port of this town, for this quarrel, than to have my picture in the king’s bedchamber. I am beholden to you that, lest my loyalty should be forgotten, ye have appointed five of your most eminent towns to bear witness of it to posterity.’”—Wigton Papers.
“He is coming! he is coming!
Like a bridegroom from his room,”—p. 42.
“In his downgoing from the Tolbooth to the place of execution, he was very richly clad in fine scarlet, laid over with rich silver lace, his hat in his hand, his bands and cuffs exceeding rich, his delicate white gloves on his hands, his stockings of incarnate silk, and his shoes with their ribbands on his feet; and sarks provided for him with pearling about, above ten pund the elne. All these were provided for him by his friends, and a pretty cassock put on upon him, upon the scaffold, wherein he was hanged. To be short, nothing was here deficient to honour his poor carcase, more beseeming a bridegroom than a criminal going to the gallows.”—NICHOLL’S Diary.
“The grim Geneva ministers
With anxious scowl drew near,”—p. 43.
The Presbyterian ministers beset Montrose both in prison and on the scaffold. The following extracts are from the diary of the Rev. Robert Traill, one of the persons who were appointed by the commission of the kirk “to deal with him:”—“By a warrant from the kirk, we staid a while with him about his soul’s condition. But we found him continuing in his old pride, and taking very ill what was spoken to him, saying, ’I pray you, gentlemen, let me die in peace.’ It was answered, that he might die in true peace, being reconciled to the Lord and to His kirk.”—“We returned to the commission, and did show unto them what had passed amongst us. They, seeing that for the present he was not desiring relaxation from his censure of excommunication, did appoint Mr. Mungo Law and me to attend on the morrow on the scaffold, at the time of his execution, that, in case he should desire to be relaxed from his excommunication, we should be allowed to give it unto him in the name of the kirk, and to pray with him, and for him, that what is loosed on earth might be loosed in heaven.” But this pious intention, which may appear somewhat strange to the modern Calvinist, when the prevailing theories of the kirk regarding the efficacy of absolution are considered, was not destined to be fulfilled. Mr. Traill goes on to say, “But he did not at all desire to be relaxed from his excommunication in the name of the kirk, yea, did not look towards that place on the scaffold where we stood; only he drew apart some of the magistrates, and spake a while with them, and then went up the ladder, in his red scarlet cassock, in a very stately manner.”
“And he climbed the lofty ladder
As it were the path to heaven,”—p. 43.
“He was very earnest that he might have the liberty to keep on his hat; it was denied: he requested he might have the privilege to keep his cloak about him—neither could that be granted. Then, with a most undaunted courage, he went up to the top of that prodigious gibbet.”—“The whole people gave a general groan; and it was very observable, that even those who, at his first appearance, had bitterly inveighed against him, could not now abstain from tears.”—Montrose Redivivus.
Hector Boece, in his very delightful, though somewhat apocryphal Chronicles of Scotland, tells us, that “quhen Schir James Dowglas was chosin as maist worthy of all Scotland to pass with King Robertis hart to the Holy Land, he put it in ane cais of gold, with arromitike and precious unyementis; and tuke with him Schir William Sinclare and Schir Robert Logan, with mony othir nobilmen, to the haly graif; quhare he buryit the said hart, with maist reverence and solempnitie that could be devisit.”
But no contemporary historian bears out the statement of the old canon of Aberdeen. Froissart, Fordun, and Barbour all agree that the devotional pilgrimage of the Good Sir James was not destined to be accomplished, and that the heart of Scotland’s greatest king and hero was brought back to the land of his nativity. Mr. Tytler, in few words, has so graphically recounted the leading events of this expedition, that I do not hesitate to adopt his narrative:—
“As soon as the season of the year permitted, Douglas, having the heart of his beloved master under his charge, set sail from Scotland, accompanied by a splendid retinue, and anchored off Sluys in Flanders, at this time the great seaport of the Netherlands. His object was to find out companions with whom he might travel to Jerusalem; but he declined landing, and for twelve days received all visitors on board his ship with a state almost kingly.
“At Sluys he heard that Alonzo, the King of Leon and Castile, was carrying on war with Osmyn, the Moorish governor of Grenada. The religious mission which he had embraced, and the vows he had taken before leaving Scotland, induced Douglas to consider Alonzo’s cause as a holy warfare; and, before proceeding to Jerusalem, he first determined to visit Spain, and to signalise his prowess against the Saracens. But his first field against the Infidels proved fatal to him who, in the long English war, had seen seventy battles. The circumstances of his death were striking and characteristic. In an action near Theba, on the borders of Andalusia, the Moorish cavalry were defeated; and, after their camp had been taken, Douglas, with his companions, engaged too eagerly in the pursuit, and, being separated from the main body of the Spanish army, a strong division of the Moors rallied and surrounded them. The Scottish knight endeavoured to cut his way through the Infidels, and in all probability would have succeeded, had he not again turned to rescue Sir William Saint Clair of Roslin, whom he saw in jeopardy. In attempting this, he was inextricably involved with the enemy. Taking from his neck the casket which contained the heart of Bruce, he cast it before him, and exclaimed with a loud voice, ’Now pass onward as thou wert wont, and Douglas will follow thee or die!’ The action and the sentiment were heroic, and they were the last words and deed of a heroic
A nobler death on the field of battle is not recorded in the annals of chivalry. In memory of this expedition, the Douglases have ever since carried the armorial bearings of the Bloody Heart surmounted by the Crown; and a similar distinction is borne by another family. Sir Simon of Lee, a distinguished companion of Douglas, was the person on whom, after the fall of his leader, the custody of the heart devolved. Hence the name of Lockhart, and their effigy, the Heart within a Fetterlock.
It was upon an April morn,
While yet the frost lay hoar,
We heard Lord James’s bugle-horn
Sound by the rocky shore.
Then down we went, a hundred knights,
All in our dark array,
And flung our armour in the ships
That rode within the bay.
We spoke not as the shore grew less,
But gazed in silence back,
Where the long billows swept away
The foam behind our track.
And aye the purple hues decay’d
Upon the fading hill,
And but one heart in all that ship
Was tranquil, cold, and still.
The good Lord Douglas walk’d the
And oh, his brow was wan!
Unlike the flush it used to wear
When in the battle van.—
“Come hither, come hither, my trusty
Sir Simon of the Lee;
There is a freit lies near my soul
I fain would tell to thee.
“Thou know’st the words King
Upon his dying day,
How he bade me take his noble heart
And carry it far away;
“And lay it in the holy soil
Where once the Saviour trod,
Since he might not bear the blessed Cross,
Nor strike one blow for God.
“Last night as in my bed I lay,
I dream’d a dreary dream:—
Methought I saw a Pilgrim stand
In the moonlight’s quivering beam.
“His robe was of the azure dye,
Snow-white his scatter’d hairs,
And even such a cross he bore
As good Saint Andrew bears.
“‘Why go you forth, Lord James,’
’With spear and belted brand?
Why do you take its dearest pledge
From this our Scottish land?
“’The sultry breeze of Galilee
Creeps through its groves of palm,
The olives on the Holy Mount
Stand glittering in the calm.
“’But ’tis not there
that Scotland’s heart
Shall rest by God’s decree,
Till the great angel calls the dead
To rise from earth and sea!
“’Lord James of Douglas, mark
That heart shall pass once more
In fiery fight against the foe,
As it was wont of yore.
“’And it shall pass beneath
And save King Robert’s vow,
But other hands shall bear it back,
Not, James of Douglas, thou!’
“Now, by thy knightly faith, I pray,
Sir Simon of the Lee—
For truer friend had never man
Than thou hast been to me—
“If ne’er upon the Holy Land
’Tis mine in life to tread,
Bear thou to Scotland’s kindly earth
The relics of her dead.”
The tear was in Sir Simon’s eye
As he wrung the warrior’s hand—
“Betide me weal, betide me woe,
I’ll hold by thy command.
“But if in battle front, Lord James,
’Tis ours once more to ride,
No force of man, nor craft of fiend,
Shall cleave me from thy side!”
And aye we sail’d, and aye we sail’d,
Across the weary sea,
Until one morn the coast of Spain
Rose grimly on our lee.
And as we rounded to the port,
Beneath the watch-tower’s wall,
We heard the clash of the atabals,
And the trumpet’s wavering call.
“Why sounds yon Eastern music here
So wantonly and long,
And whose the crowd of armed men
That round yon standard throng?”
“The Moors have come from Africa
To spoil and waste and slay,
And King Alonzo of Castile
Must fight with them to-day.”
“Now shame it were,” cried
good Lord James,
“Shall never be said of me,
That I and mine have turn’d aside,
From the Cross in jeopardie!
“Have down, have down, my merry
Have down unto the plain;
We’ll let the Scottish lion loose
Within the fields of Spain!”
“Now welcome to me, noble lord,
Thou and thy stalwart power;
Dear is the sight of a Christian knight
Who comes in such an hour!
“Is it for bond or faith ye come,
Or yet for golden fee?
Or bring ye France’s lilies here,
Or the flower of Burgundie?”
“God greet thee well, thou valiant
Thee and thy belted peers—
Sir James of Douglas am I called,
And these are Scottish spears.
“We do not fight for bond or plight,
Not yet for golden fee;
But for the sake of our blessed Lord,
Who died upon the tree.
“We bring our great King Robert’s
Across the weltering wave,
To lay it in the holy soil
Hard by the Saviour’s grave.
“True pilgrims we, by land or sea,
Where danger bars the way;
And therefore are we here, Lord King,
To ride with thee this day!”
The King has bent his stately head,
And the tears were in his eyne—
“God’s blessing on thee, noble knight,
For this brave thought of thine!
“I know thy name full well, Lord
And honour’d may I be,
That those who fought beside the Bruce
Should fight this day for me!
“Take thou the leading of the van,
And charge the Moors amain;
There is not such a lance as thine
In all the host of Spain!”
The Douglas turned towards us then,
O but his glance was high!—
“There is not one of all my men
But is as bold as I.
“There is not one of all my knights
But bears as true a spear—
Then onwards! Scottish gentlemen,
And think—King Robert’s here!”
The trumpets blew, the cross-bolts flew,
The arrows flashed like flame,
As spur in side, and spear in rest,
Against the foe we came.
And many a bearded Saracen
Went down, both horse and man;
For through their ranks we rode like corn,
So furiously we ran!
But in behind our path they closed,
Though fain to let us through,
For they were forty thousand men,
And we were wondrous few.
We might not see a lance’s length,
So dense was their array,
But the long fell sweep of the Scottish blade
Still held them hard at bay.
“Make in! make in!” Lord Douglas
“Make in, my brethren dear!
Sir William of Saint Clair is down;
We may not leave him here!”
But thicker, thicker, grew the swarm,
And sharper shot the rain,
And the horses reared amid the press,
But they would not charge again.
“Now Jesu help thee,” said
“Thou kind and true St Clair!
An’ if I may not bring thee off,
I’ll die beside thee there!”
Then in his stirrups up he stood,
So lionlike and bold,
And held the precious heart aloft
All in its case of gold.
He flung it from him, far ahead,
And never spake he more,
But—“Pass thee first, thou dauntless heart,
As thou wert wont of yore!”
The roar of fight rose fiercer yet,
And heavier still the stour,
Till the spears of Spain came shivering in,
And swept away the Moor.
“Now praised be God, the day is
They fly o’er flood and fell—
Why dost thou draw the rein so hard,
Good knight, that fought so well?”
“Oh, ride ye on, Lord King!”
“And leave the dead to me,
For I must keep the dreariest watch
That ever I shall dree!
“There lies, beside his master’s
The Douglas, stark and grim;
And woe is me I should be here,
Not side by side with him!
“The world grows cold, my arm is
And thin my lyart hair,
And all that I loved best on earth
Is stretch’d before me there.
“O Bothwell banks! that bloom so
Beneath the sun of May,
The heaviest cloud that ever blew
Is bound for you this day.
“And, Scotland, thou may’st
veil thy head
In sorrow and in pain;
The sorest stroke upon thy brow
Hath fallen this day in Spain!
“We’ll bear them back unto
We’ll bear them o’er the sea,
And lay them in the hallowed earth,
Within our own countrie.
“And be thou strong of heart, Lord
For this I tell thee sure,
The sod that drank the Douglas’ blood
Shall never bear the Moor!”
The King he lighted from his horse,
He flung his brand away,
And took the Douglas by the hand,
So stately as he lay.
“God give thee rest, thou valiant
That fought so well for Spain;
I’d rather half my land were gone,
So thou wert here again!”
We bore the good Lord James away,
And the priceless heart he bore,
And heavily we steer’d our ship
Towards the Scottish shore.
No welcome greeted our return,
Nor clang of martial tread,
But all were dumb and hushed as death
Before the mighty dead.
We laid our chief in Douglas Kirk,
The heart in fair Melrose;
And woeful men were we that day—
God grant their souls repose!
THE BURIAL MARCH OF DUNDEE
It is very much to be regretted that no competent person has as yet undertaken the task of compiling a full and authentic biography of Lord Viscount Dundee. His memory has consequently been left at the mercy of misrepresentation and malignity; and the pen of romance has been freely employed to portray, as a bloody assassin, one of the most accomplished men and gallant soldiers of his age.
It was the misfortune of Claverhouse to have lived in so troublous an age and country. The religious differences of Scotland were then at their greatest height, and there is hardly any act of atrocity and rebellion which had not been committed by the insurgents. The royal authority was openly and publicly disowned in the western districts: the Archbishop of St. Andrew’s, after more than one hairbreadth escape, was waylaid, and barbarously murdered by an armed gang of fanatics on Magus Muir; and his daughter was wounded and maltreated while interceding for the old man’s life. The country was infested by banditti, who took every possible opportunity of shooting down and massacring any of the straggling soldiery: the clergy were attacked and driven from their houses; so that, throughout a considerable portion of Scotland, there was no security either for property or for life. It is now the fashion to praise and magnify the Covenanters as the most innocent and persecuted of men; but those who are so ready with their sympathy, rarely take the pains to satisfy themselves, by reference to the
After the battle of Philiphaugh, the royalist prisoners were butchered in cold blood, under the superintendence of a clerical emissary, who stood by rubbing his hands, and exclaiming—“The wark gangs bonnily on!” Were I to transcribe from the pamphlets before me the list of the murders which were perpetrated by the country people on the soldiery, officers, and gentlemen of loyal principles, during the reign of Charles II., I believe that no candid person would be surprised at the severe retaliation which was made. It must be remembered that the country was then under military law, and that the strongest orders had been issued by the Government to the officers in command of the troops, to use every means in their power for the effectual repression of the disturbances. The necessity of such orders will become apparent, when we reflect that, besides the open actions at Aird’s Moss and Drumclog, the city of Glasgow was attacked, and the royal forces compelled for a time to fall back upon Stirling.
Under such circumstances it is no wonder if the soldiery were severe in their reprisals. Innocent blood may no doubt have been shed, and in some cases even wantonly; for when rebellion has grown into civil war, and the ordinary course of the law is put in abeyance, it is always impossible to restrain military license. But it is most unfair to lay the whole odium of such acts upon those who were in command, and to dishonour the fair name of gentlemen, by attributing to them personally the commission of deeds of which they were absolutely ignorant. To this day the peasantry of the western districts of Scotland entertain the idea that Claverhouse was a sort of fiend in human shape, tall, muscular, and hideous in aspect, secured by infernal spells from the chance of perishing by any ordinary weapon, and mounted upon a huge black horse, the especial gift of Beelzebub! On this charger it is supposed that he could ride up precipices as easily as he could traverse the level ground—that he was constantly accompanied by a body of desperadoes, vulgarly known by such euphonious titles as “Hell’s Tam,” and “the De’il’s Jock,” and that his whole time was occupied, day and night,
When we look at the portrait of Claverhouse, and survey the calm, melancholy, and beautiful features of the devoted soldier, it appears almost incredible that he should ever have suffered under such an overwhelming load of misrepresentation. But when—discarding modern historians, who in too many instances do not seem to entertain the slightest scruple in dealing with the memory of the dead—we turn to the writings of his contemporaries who knew the man, his character appears in a very different light. They describe him as one who was stainless in his honour, pure in his faith, wise in council, resolute in action, and utterly free from that selfishness which disgraced the Scottish statesmen of the time. No one dares question his loyalty, for he sealed that confession with his blood; and it is universally admitted, that with him fell the last hopes of the reinstatement of the house of Stuart.
I may perhaps be permitted here, in the absence of a better chronicler, to mention a few particulars of his life, which, I believe, are comparatively unknown. John Graham of Claverhouse was a cadet of the family of Fintrie, connected by intermarriage with the blood-royal of Scotland. After completing his studies at the University of St. Andrew’s, he entered, as was the national custom for gentlemen of good birth and limited means, into foreign service, served some time in France as a volunteer, and afterwards went to Holland. He very soon received a commission, as a cornet in a regiment of horse-guards, from the Prince of Orange, nephew of Charles II. and James VII., and who afterwards married the Princess Mary. His manner at that time is thus described:—“He was then ane esquire, under the title of John Graham of Claverhouse; but the vivacity of his parts, and the delicacy and justice of his understanding and judgment, joyned with a certain vigour of mind and activity of body, distinguished him in such a manner from all others of his rank, that though he lived in a superior character, yet he acquired the love and esteem of all his equals, as well as of those who had the advantage of him in dignity and estate.”
By one of those singular accidents which we occasionally meet with in history, Graham, afterwards destined to become his most formidable opponent, saved the life of the Prince of Orange at the battle of St. Neff. The Prince’s horse had been killed, and he himself was in the grasp of the enemy, when the young cornet rode to his rescue, freed him from his assailants, and mounted him on his own steed. For this service he received a captain’s commission, and the promise of the first regiment that should fall vacant.
But even in early life William of Orange was not famous for keeping his promises. Some years afterwards, a vacancy in one of the Scottish regiments in the Prince’s service occurred, and Claverhouse, relying upon the previous assurance, preferred his claim. It was disregarded, and Mr. Collier, afterwards Earl of Portmore, was appointed over his head. It would seem that Graham had suspected some foul play on the part of this gentleman, for, shortly after, they accidentally met and had an angry altercation. This circumstance having come to the ears of the Prince, he sent for Captain Graham, and administered a sharp rebuke. I give the remainder of this incident in the words of the old writer, because it must be considered a very remarkable one, as illustrating the fiery spirit and dauntless independence of Claverhouse.
“The Captain answered, that he was indeed in the wrong, since it was more his Highness’s business to have resented that quarrel than his; because Mr. Collier had less injured him in disappointing him of the regiment, than he had done his Highness in making him break his word. ‘Then,’ replied the Prince in an angry tone, ’I make you full reparation, for I bestow on you what is more valuable than a regiment when I give you your right arm!’ The Captain subjoined, that since his Highness had the goodness to give him his liberty, he resolved to employ himself elsewhere, for he would not longer serve a Prince that had broken his word.
“The Captain, having thus thrown up his commission, was preparing in haste for his voyage, when a messenger arrived from the Prince, with two hundred guineas for the horse on which he had saved his life. The Captain sent the horse, but ordered the gold to be distributed among the grooms of the Prince’s stables. It is said, however, that his Highness had the generosity to write to the King and the Duke, recommending him as a fine gentleman and a brave officer, fit for any office, civil or military.”
On his arrival in Britain he was well received by the court, and immediately appointed to a high military command in Scotland. It would be beyond the scope of the present paper to enter minutely into the details of his service during the stormy period when Scotland was certainly misgoverned, and when there was little unity, but much disorder in the land. In whatever point of view we regard the history of those times, the aspect is a mournful one indeed. Church and State never was a popular cry in Scotland, and the peculiar religious tendencies which had been exhibited by a large portion of the nation, at the time of the Reformation, rendered the return of tranquillity hopeless until the hierarchy was displaced, and a humbler form of church government, more suited to the feelings of the people, substituted in its stead.
Three years after the accession of James VII. Claverhouse was raised to the peerage, by the title of Lord Viscount Dundee. He was major-general, and second in command of the royal forces, when the Prince of Orange landed, and earnestly entreated King James to be allowed to march against him, offering to stake his head on the successful result of the enterprize. There is little doubt, from the great popularity of Lord Dundee with the army, that, had such consent been given, William would have found more than a match in his old officer; but the King seemed absolutely infatuated, and refused to allow a drop of blood to be shed in his quarrel, though the great bulk of the population of England were clearly and enthusiastically in his favour. One of the most gifted of our modern poets, the Honourable George Sydney Smythe, has beautifully illustrated this event.
“Then out spake gallant Claverhouse,
and his soul thrilled wild and high,
And he showed the King his subjects, and he prayed him not to fly.
O never yet was captain so dauntless as Dundee!
He has sworn to chase the Hollander back to his Zuyder-Zee.”
But though James quitted his kingdom, the stern loyalty of Dundee was nothing moved. Alone, and without escort, he traversed England, and presented himself at the Convention of Estates, then assembled at Edinburgh for the purpose of receiving the message from the Prince of Orange. The meeting was a very strange one. Many of the nobility and former members of the Scottish Parliament absolutely declined attending it, some on the ground that it was not a legal assembly, having been summoned by the Prince of Orange, and others because, in such a total disruption of order, they judged it safest to abstain from taking any prominent part. This gave an immense ascendency to the Revolution party, who further proceeded to strengthen their position by inviting to Edinburgh large bodies of the armed population of the west. After defending for several days the cause of his master with as much eloquence as vigour, Dundee, finding that the majority of the Convention were resolved to offer the crown of Scotland to the Prince, and having moreover received sure information that some of the wild fanatic Whigs, with Daniel Ker of Kersland at their head, had formed a plot for his assassination, quitted Edinburgh with about fifty horsemen, and, after a short interview—celebrated by Sir Walter Scott in one of his grandest ballads—with the Duke of Gordon at the Castle Rock, directed his steps towards the north. After a short stay at his house of Duddope, during which he received, by order of the Council, who were thoroughly alarmed at his absence, a summons through a Lyon herald to return to Edinburgh under pain of high treason, he passed into the Gordon country, where he was joined by the Earl of Dunfermline with a small party of about sixty horse. His retreat was timeous, for General Mackay, who commanded for the Prince of Orange, had
Most of the old officers, who had been trained in the foreign wars, were of the former opinion—“alleging that it was neither prudent nor cautious to risk an engagement against an army of disciplined men, that exceeded theirs in numbers by more than a half.” But both Glengarry and Locheill, to the great satisfaction of the General, maintained the contrary view, and argued that neither hunger nor fatigue were so likely to depress the Highlanders, as a retreat when the enemy was in view. The account of the discussion is so interesting, and so characteristic of Dundee, that I shall take leave to quote its termination in the words of Drummond of Balhaldy:
“An advice so hardy and resolute could not miss to please the generous Dundee. His looks seemed to heighten with an air of delight and satisfaction all the while Locheill was speaking. He told his council that they had heard his sentiments from the mouth of a person who had formed his judgment upon infallible proofs drawn from a long experience, and an intimate acquaintance with the persons and subject he spoke of. Not one in the company offering to contradict their general, it was unanimously agreed to fight.
“When the news of this vigorous resolution spread through the army, nothing was heard but acclamations of joy, which exceedingly pleased their gallant general; but before the council broke up, Locheill begged to be heard for a few words. ‘My Lord’ said he, ’I have just now declared, in the presence of this honourable company, that I was resolved to give an implicit obedience to all your Lordship’s
“Locheill was seconded in this by the whole council; but Dundee begged leave to be heard in his turn. ‘Gentlemen,’ said he, ’as I am absolutely convinced, and have had repeated proofs, of your zeal for the king’s service, and of your affection to me as his general and your friend, so I am fully sensible that my engaging personally this day may be of some loss if I shall chance to be killed. But I beg leave of you, however, to allow me to give one shear-darg (that is, one harvest-day’s work) to the king, my master, that I may have an opportunity of convincing the brave clans, that I can hazard my life in that service as freely as the meanest of them. Ye know their temper, gentlemen; and if they do not think I have personal courage enough, they will not esteem me hereafter, nor obey my commands with cheerfulness. Allow me this single favour, and I here promise, upon my honour, never again to risk my person while I have that of commanding you.’
“The council, finding him inflexible, broke up, and the army marched directly towards the Pass of Killiecrankie.”
Those who have visited that romantic spot need not be reminded of its peculiar features, for these, once seen, must dwell for ever in the memory. The lower part of the Pass is a stupendous mountain-chasm, scooped out by the waters of the Garry, which here descend in a succession of roaring cataracts and pools. The old road, which ran almost parallel to the river and close upon its edge, was extremely narrow, and wound its way beneath a wall of enormous crags, surmounted by a natural forest of birch, oak, and pine. An army cooped up in that gloomy ravine would have as little chance of escape from the onset of an enterprising partisan corps, as had the Bavarian troops when attacked by the Tyrolese in the steep defiles of the Inn. General Mackay, however, had made his arrangements with consummate tact and skill, and had calculated his time so well, that he was enabled to clear the Pass before the Highlanders could reach it from the other side. Advancing upwards, the passage becomes gradually broader, until, just below the House of Urrard, there is a considerable width of meadow-land. It was here that Mackay took up his position, and arrayed his troops, on observing that the heights above were occupied by the army of Dundee.
The forces of the latter scarcely amounted to one-third of those of his antagonist, which were drawn up in line without any reserve. He was therefore compelled, in making his dispositions, to leave considerable gaps in his own line, which gave Mackay a further advantage. The right of Dundee’s army was formed of the M’Lean, Glengarry, and Clanranald regiments, along with some Irish levies. In the centre was Dundee himself, at the head of a small and ill-equipped body of cavalry, composed of Lowland gentlemen and their followers, and about forty of his old troopers. The Camerons and Skyemen, under the command of Locheill and Sir Donald Macdonald of Sleat, were stationed on the left. During the time occupied by these dispositions, a brisk cannonade was opened by Mackay’s artillery, which materially increased the impatience of the Highlanders to come to close quarters. At last the word was given to advance, and the whole line rushed forward with the terrific impetuosity peculiar to a charge of the clans. They received the fire of the regular troops without flinching, reserved their own until they were close at hand, poured in a murderous volley, and then, throwing away their firelocks, attacked the enemy with the broadsword.
The victory was almost instantaneous, but it was bought at a terrible price. Through some mistake or misunderstanding, a portion of the cavalry, instead of following their general, who had charged directly for the guns, executed a manoeuvre which threw them into disorder; and, when last seen in the battle, Dundee, accompanied only by the Earl of Dunfermline and about sixteen gentlemen, was entering into the cloud of smoke, standing up in his stirrups, and waving to the others to come on. It was in this attitude that he appears to have received his death-wound. On returning from the pursuit, the Highlanders found him dying on the field.
It would he difficult to point out another instance in which the maintenance of a great cause depended solely upon the life of a single man. Whilst Dundee survived, Scotland at least was not lost to the Stuarts, for, shortly before the battle, he had received assurance that the greater part of the organised troops in the north were devoted to his person, and ready to join him; and the victory of Killiecrankie would have been followed by a general rising of the loyal gentlemen in the Lowlands. But with his fall the enterprise was over.
I hope I shall not be accused of exaggerating the importance of this battle, which, according to the writer I have already quoted, was best proved by the consternation into which the opposite party were thrown at the first news of Mackay’s defeat. “The Duke of Hamilton, commissioner for the parliament which then sat at Edinburgh, and the rest of the ministry, were struck with such a panic, that some of them were for retiring into England, others into the western shires of Scotland, where all the people, almost to a man, befriended them; nor knew they whether to abandon
“The next morning after the battle,” says Drummond, “the Highland army had more the air of the shattered remains of broken troops than of conquerors; for here it was literally true that
‘The vanquished triumphed, and the victors mourned.’
The death of their brave general, and the loss of so many of their friends, were inexhaustible fountains of grief and sorrow. They closed the last scene of this mournful tragedy in obsequies of their lamented general, and of the other gentlemen who fell with him, and interred them in the church of Blair of Atholl with a real funeral solemnity, there not being present one single person who did not participate in the general affliction.”
I close this notice of a great soldier and devoted loyalist, by transcribing the beautiful epitaph composed by Dr. Pitcairn:—
“Ultime Scotorum! potuit, quo sospite
Libertas patriae salva fuisse tuae:
Te moriente, novos accepit Scotia cives,
Accepitque novos, te moriente, deos.
Illa nequit superesse tibi, tu non potes illi,
Ergo Caledoniae nomen inane, vale.
Tuque vale, gentis priscae fortissime ductor,
Ultime Scotorum, ac ultime Grame, vale!”
Sound the fife, and cry the slogan—
Let the pibroch shake the air
With its wild triumphal music,
Worthy of the freight we bear.
Let the ancient hills of Scotland
Hear once more the battle-song
Swell within their glens and valleys
As the clansmen march along!
Never from the field of combat,
Never from the deadly fray,
Was a nobler trophy carried
Than we bring with us to-day;
Never, since the valiant Douglas
On his dauntless bosom bore
Good King Robert’s heart—the priceless—
To our dear Redeemer’s shore!
Lo! we bring with us the hero—
Lo! we bring the conquering Graeme,
Crowned as best beseems a victor
From the altar of his fame;
Fresh and bleeding from the battle
Whence his spirit took its flight,
Midst the crashing charge of squadrons,
Loudly then the hills re-echoed
With our answer to his call,
But a deeper echo sounded
In the bosoms of us all.
For the lands of wide Breadalbane,
Not a man who heard him speak
Would that day have left the battle.
Burning eye and flushing cheek
Told the clansmen’s fierce emotion,
And they harder drew their breath;
For their souls were strong within them,
Stronger than the grasp of death.
Soon we heard a challenge-trumpet
Sounding in the pass below,
And the distant tramp of horses,
And the voices of the foe:
Down we crouched amid the bracken,
Till the Lowland ranks drew near,
Panting like the hounds in summer,
When they scent the stately deer.
From the dark defile emerging,
Next we saw the squadrons come,
Leslie’s foot and Leven’s troopers
Marching to the tuck of drum;
Through the scattered wood of birches,
O’er the broken ground and heath,
Wound the long battalion slowly,
Till they gained the field beneath;
Then we bounded from our covert.—
Judge how looked the Saxons then,
When they saw the rugged mountain
Start to life with armed men!
Like a tempest down the ridges,
Swept the hurricane of steel,
Rose the slogan of Macdonald—
Flashed the broadsword of Locheill!
Vainly sped the withering volley
’Mongst the foremost of our band—
On we poured until we met them,
Foot to foot, and hand to hand.
Horse and man went down like drift-wood
When the floods are black at Yule,
And their carcasses are whirling
In the Garry’s deepest pool.
Horse and man went down before us—
Living foe there tarried none
On the field of Killiecrankie,
When that stubborn fight was done!
And the evening-star was shining
On Schehallion’s distant head,
When we wiped our bloody broadswords,
And returned to count the dead.
There we found him, gashed and gory,
Stretch’d upon the cumbered plain,
As he told us where to seek him,
In the thickest of the slain.
And a smile was on his visage,
For within his dying ear
Pealed the joyful note of triumph,
And the clansmen’s clamorous cheer:
So, amidst the battle’s thunder,
Shot, and steel, and scorching flame,
In the glory of his manhood
Passed the spirit of the Graeme!
Open wide the vaults of Athol,
Where the bones of heroes rest—
Open wide the hallowed portals
To receive another guest!
Last of Scots, and last of freemen—
Last of all that dauntless race
Who would rather die unsullied
Than outlive the land’s disgrace!
O thou lion-hearted warrior!
Reck not of the after-time:
Honour may be deemed dishonour,
THE WIDOW OF GLENCOE
The Massacre of Glencoe is an event which neither can nor ought to be forgotten. It was a deed of the worst treason and cruelty—a barbarous infraction of all laws, human and divine; and it exhibits in their foulest perfidy the true characters of the authors and abettors of the Revolution.
After the battle of Killiecrankie the cause of the Scottish royalists declined, rather from the want of a competent leader than from any disinclination on the part of a large section of the nobility and gentry to vindicate the right of King James. No person of adequate talents or authority was found to supply the place of the great and gallant Lord Dundee; for General Cannon, who succeeded in command, was not only deficient in military skill, but did not possess the confidence, nor understand the character of the Highland chiefs, who, with their clansmen, constituted by far the most important section of the army. Accordingly no enterprise of any importance was attempted; and the disastrous issue of the battle of the Boyne led to a negotiation which terminated in the entire disbanding of the royal forces. By this treaty, which was expressly sanctioned by William of Orange, a full and unreserved indemnity and pardon was granted to all of the Highlanders who had taken arms, with a proviso that they should first subscribe the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, before the 1st of January, 1692, in presence of the Lords of the Scottish Council, “or of the Sheriffs or their deputies of the respective shires wherein they lived.” The letter of William addressed to the Privy Council, and ordering proclamation to be made to the above effect, contained also the following significant passage:—“That ye communicate our pleasure to the Governor of Inverlochy, and other commanders, that they be exact and diligent in their several posts; but that they show no more zeal against the Highlanders after their submission, than they have ever done formerly when these were in open rebellion.”
This enigmatical sentence, which in reality was intended, as the sequel will show, to be interpreted in the most cruel manner, appears to have caused some perplexity in the Council, as that body deemed it necessary to apply for more distinct and specific instructions, which, however, were not then issued. It had been especially stipulated by the chiefs, as an indispensable preliminary to their treaty, that they should have leave to communicate with King James, then residing at St. Germains, for the purpose of obtaining his permission and warrant previous to submitting themselves to the existing government. That article had been sanctioned by William before the proclamation was issued, and a special messenger was despatched to France for that purpose.
In the mean time, troops were gradually and cautiously advanced to the confines of the Highlands, and, in some instances, actually quartered on the inhabitants. The condition of the country was perfectly tranquil. No disturbances whatever occurred in the north or west of Scotland; Locheill and the other chiefs were awaiting the communication from St. Germains, and held themselves bound in honour to remain inactive; whilst the remainder of the royalist forces (for whom separate terms had been made) were left unmolested at Dunkeld.
But rumours, which are too clearly traceable to the emissaries of the new government, asserting the preparation made for an immediate landing of King James at the head of a large body of the French, were industriously circulated, and by many were implicitly believed. The infamous policy which dictated such a course is now apparent. The term of the amnesty or truce granted by the proclamation expired with the year 1691, and all who had not taken the oath of allegiance before that term, were to be proceeded against with the utmost severity. The proclamation was issued upon the 29th of August: consequently, only four months were allowed for the complete submission of the Highlands.
Not one of the chiefs subscribed until the mandate from King James arrived. That document, which is dated from St. Germains on the 12th of December 1691, reached Dunkeld eleven days afterwards, and, consequently, but a very short time before the indemnity expired. The bearer, Major Menzies, was so fatigued that he could proceed no farther on his journey, but forwarded the mandate by an express to the commander of the royal forces, who was then at Glengarry. It was therefore impossible that the document could be circulated through the Highlands within the prescribed period. Locheill, says Drummond of Balhaldy, did not receive his copy till about thirty hours before the time was out, and appeared before the sheriff at Inverara, where he took the oaths upon the very day on which the indemnity expired.
That a general massacre throughout the Highlands was contemplated by the Whig government, is a fact established by overwhelming evidence. In the course of the subsequent investigation before the Scots Parliament, letters were produced from Sir John Dalrymple, then Master of Stair, one of the secretaries of state in attendance upon the court, which too clearly indicate the intentions of William. In one of these, dated 1st December 1694,—a month, be it observed, before the amnesty expired—and addressed to Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton, there are the following words:—“The winter is the only season in which we are sure the Highlanders cannot escape us, nor carry their wives, bairns, and cattle to the mountains.” And in another letter, written only two days afterwards, he says, “It is the only time that they cannot escape you, for human constitution cannot endure to be long out of houses. This is the proper season to maule them, in the cold long nights.” And in January thereafter, he informed Sir Thomas Livingston that the design was “to destroy entirely the country of Lochaber, Locheill’s lands, Keppoch’s, Glengarry’s, Appin, and Glencoe. I assure you,” he continues, “your power shall be full enough, and I hope the soldiers will not trouble the Government with prisoners.”
Locheill was more fortunate than others of his friends and neighbours. According to Drummond,—“Major Menzies, who, upon his arrival, had observed the whole forces of the kingdom ready to invade the Highlands, as he wrote to General Buchan, foreseeing the unhappy consequences, not only begged that general to send expresses to all parts with orders immediately to submit, but also wrote to Sir Thomas Livingston, praying him to supplicate the Council for a prorogation of the time, in regard that he was so excessively fatigued, that he was obliged to stop some days to repose a little; and that though he should send expresses, yet it was impossible they could reach the distant parts in such time as to allow the several persons concerned the benefit of the indemnity within the space limited; besides, that some persons having put the Highlanders in a bad temper, he was confident to persuade them to submit, if a further time were allowed. Sir Thomas presented this letter to the Council on the 5th of January, 1692, but they refused to give any answer, and ordered him to transmit the same to Court.”
The reply of William of Orange was a letter, countersigned by Dalrymple, in which, upon the recital that “several of the chieftains and many of their clans had not taken the benefit of our gracious indemnity,” he gave orders for a general massacre. “To that end, we have given Sir Thomas Livingston orders to employ our troops (which we have already conveniently posted) to cut off these obstinate rebels by all manner of hostility; and we do require you to give him your assistance and concurrence in all other things that may conduce to that service; and because these rebels, to avoid our forces, may draw themselves, their families, goods, or cattle, to lurk or be concealed among their neighbours: therefore, we require and authorise you to emit a proclamation to be published at the market-crosses of these or the adjacent shires where the rebels reside, discharging upon the highest penalties the law allows, any reset, correspondence, or intercommuning with these rebels.” This monstrous mandate, which was in fact the death-warrant of many thousand innocent people, no distinction being made of age or sex, would, in all human probability, have been put into execution, but for the remonstrance of one high-minded nobleman. Lord Carmarthen, afterwards Duke of Leeds, accidentally became aware of the proposed massacre, and personally remonstrated with the monarch against a measure which he denounced as at once cruel and impolitic. After much discussion, William, influenced rather by an apprehension that so savage and sweeping an act might prove fatal to his new authority, than by any compunction or impulse of humanity, agreed to recall the general order, and to limit himself, in the first instance, to a single deed of butchery, by way of testing the temper of the nation. Some difficulty seems to have arisen in the selection of the fittest victim. Both Keppoch and Glencoe were named, but the personal rancour of Secretary Dalrymple decided the doom of the latter. The Secretary wrote thus:—“Argyle tells me that Glencoe hath not taken the oath, at which I rejoice. It is a great work of charity to be exact in rooting out that damnable set.” The final instructions regarding Glencoe, which were issued on 16th January, 1692, are as follows:—
“William R.—As for M’Ian of Glencoe, and that tribe, if they can be well distinguished from the rest of the Highlanders, it will be proper for public justice to extirpate that set of thieves.” “W.R.”
This letter is remarkable as being signed and countersigned by William alone, contrary to the usual practice. The Secretary was no doubt desirous to screen himself from after responsibility, and was further aware that the royal signature would insure a rigorous execution of the sentence.
Macdonald, or, as he was more commonly designed, M’Ian of Glencoe, was the head of a considerable sept or branch of the great Clan-Coila, and was lineally descended from the ancient Lords of the Isles, and from the royal family of Scotland—the common ancestor of the Macdonalds having espoused a daughter of Robert II. He was, according to a contemporary testimony, “a person of great integrity, honour, good nature, and courage; and his loyalty to his old master, King James, was such, that he continued in arms from Dundee’s first appearing in the Highlands, till the fatal treaty that brought on his ruin.” In common with the other chiefs, he had omitted taking the benefit of the indemnity until he received the sanction of King James: but the copy of that document which was forwarded to him, unfortunately arrived too late. The weather was so excessively stormy at the time that there was no possibility of penetrating from Glencoe to Inverara, the place where the sheriff resided, before the expiry of the stated period; and M’Ian accordingly adopted the only practicable mode of signifying his submission, by making his way with great difficulty to Fort-William, then called Inverlochy, and tendering his signature to the military Governor there. That officer was not authorised to receive it, but at the earnest entreaty of the chief, he gave him a certificate of his appearance and tender, and on New-Year’s day, 1692, M’Ian reached Inverara, where he produced that paper as evidence of his intentions, and prevailed upon the sheriff, Sir James Campbell of Ardkinglass, to administer the oaths required. After that ceremony, which was immediately intimated to the Privy Council, had been performed, the unfortunate gentleman returned home, in the full conviction that he had thereby made peace with government for himself and for his clan. But his doom was already sealed.
A company of the Earl of Argyle’s regiment had been previously quartered in Glencoe. These men, though Campbells, and hereditarily obnoxious to the Macdonalds, Camerons, and other of the loyal clans, were yet countrymen, and were kindly and hospitably received. Their captain, Robert Campbell of Glenlyon, was connected with the family of Glencoe through the marriage of a niece, and was resident under the roof of the chief. And yet this was the very troop selected for the horrid service.
Special instructions were sent to the major of the regiment, one Duncanson, then quartered at Ballachulish—a morose, brutal, and savage man—who accordingly wrote to Campbell of Glenlyon in the following terms:—
Ballacholis, 12 February, 1692.
“SIR,—You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebels, the M’Donalds of Glencoe, and putt all to the sword under seventy. You are to have special care that the old fox and his sons doe upon no account escape your hands. You are to secure all the avenues, that no man escape. This you are to put in execution att five o’clock in the morning precisely, and by that time, or very shortly after it, I’ll strive to be att you with a stronger party. If I doe not come to you at five, you are not to tarry for me, but to fall on. This is by the king’s speciall command, for the good and safety of the country, that these miscreants be cutt off root and branch. See that this be putt in execution without feud or favour, else you may expect to be treated as not true to the king’s government, nor a man fitt to carry a commission in the king’s service. Expecting you will not faill in the fulfilling hereof as you love yourself, I subscribe these with my hand.” ROBERT DUNCANSON.
their Majestys’ service.
To Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon.”
This order was but too literally obeyed. At the appointed hour, when the whole inhabitants of the glen were asleep, the work of murder began. M’Ian was one of the first who fell. Drummond’s narrative fills up the remainder of the dreadful story.
“They then served all within the family in the same manner, without distinction of age or person. In a word—for the horror of that execrable butchery must give pain to the reader—they left none alive but a young child, who, being frightened with the noise of the guns, and the dismal shrieks and cries of its dying parents, whom they were a-murdering, got hold of Captain Campbell’s knees, and wrapt itself within his cloak; by which, chancing to move compassion, the captain inclined to have saved it, but one Drummond, an officer, arriving about the break of day with more troops, commanded it to be shot by a file of musqueteers. Nothing could be more shocking and horrible than the prospect of these houses bestrewed with mangled bodies of the dead, covered with blood, and resounding with the groans of wretches in the last agonies of life.
“Two sons of Glencoe’s were the only persons that escaped in that quarter of the country; for, growing jealous of some ill designs from the behaviour of the soldiers, they stole from their beds a few minutes before the tragedy began, and, chancing to overhear two of them discoursing plainly of the matter, they endeavoured to have advertised their father, but, finding that impracticable, they ran to the other end of the country and alarmed the inhabitants. There was another accident that contributed much to their safety; for the night was so excessively stormy and tempestuous, that four hundred soldiers, who were appointed to murder these people, were stopped in their march from Inverlochy, and could not get up till they had
Such was the awful massacre of Glencoe, an event which has left an indelible and execrable stain upon the memory of William of Orange. The records of Indian warfare can hardly afford a parallel instance of atrocity: and this deed, coupled with his deliberate treachery in the Darien scheme, whereby Scotland was for a time absolutely ruined, is sufficient to account for the little estimation in which the name of the “great Whig deliverer” is still regarded in the valleys of the North.
[Footnote 1: Memoirs of Sir Ewen Cameron of Locheill.]
Do not lift him from the bracken,
Leave him lying where he fell—
Better bier ye cannot fashion:
None beseems him half so well
As the bare and broken heather,
And the hard and trampled sod,
Whence his angry soul ascended
To the judgment-seat of God!
Winding-sheet we cannot give him—
Seek no mantle for the dead,
Save the cold and spotless covering
Showered from heaven upon his head.
Leave his broadsword, as we found it,
Bent and broken with the blow,
That, before he died, avenged him
On the foremost of the foe.
Leave the blood upon his bosom—
Wash not off that sacred stain:
Let it stiffen on the tartan,
Let his wounds unclosed remain,
Till the day when he shall show them
At the throne of God on high,
When the murderer and the murdered
Meet before their Judge’s eye!
Nay—ye should not weep, my
Leave it to the faint and weak;
Sobs are but a woman’s weapon—
Tears befit a maiden’s cheek.
Weep not, children of Macdonald!
Weep not thou, his orphan heir—
Not in shame, but stainless honour,
Lies thy slaughtered father there.
Weep not—but when years are over,
And thine arm is strong and sure,
And thy foot is swift and steady
On the mountain and the muir—
Let thy heart be hard as iron,
And thy wrath as fierce as fire,
Till the hour when vengeance cometh
For the race that slew thy sire;
Till in deep and dark Glenlyon
Rise a louder shriek of woe
THE ISLAND OF THE SCOTS
In consequence of a capitulation with Government, the regular troops who had served under Lord Dundee were transhipped to France, and, immediately upon their landing, the officers and others had their rank confirmed according to the tenor of the commissions and characters which they bore in Scotland. They were distributed throughout the different garrisons in the north of France, and, though nominally in the service of King James, derived their whole means of subsistence from the bounty of the French monarch. So long as it appeared probable that another descent was meditated, those gentlemen, who were almost without exception men of considerable family, assented to this arrangement, but the destruction of the French fleet under Admiral Tourville, off La Hogue, led to a material change in their views. After that naval engagement it became obvious that the cause of the fugitive King was in the mean time desperate, and the Scottish officers, with no less gallantry than honour, volunteered a sacrifice which, so far as I know, has hardly been equalled.
The old and interesting pamphlet written by one of the corps, from which I have extracted most of the following details, but which is seldom perused except by the antiquary, states that, “The Scottish officers, considering that, by the loss of the French Fleet, King James’s restoration would be retarded for some time, and that they were burdensome to the King of France, being entertained in garrisons on whole pay, without doing duty, when he had almost all Europe in confederacy against him, therefore humbly entreated King James to have them reduced into a company of private sentinels, and choose officers amongst themselves to command them, assuring his majesty that they would serve in the meanest circumstances, and undergo the greatest hardships and fatigues that reason could imagine, or misfortunes inflict, until it pleased
Shortly afterwards the new corps was reviewed for the first and last time by the unfortunate James in the gardens of Saint Germains, and the tears are said to have gushed from his eyes at the sight of so many brave men, reduced, through their disinterested and persevering loyalty, to so very humble a condition. “Gentlemen,” said he, “my own misfortunes are not so nigh my heart as yours. It grieves me beyond what I can express to see so many brave and worthy gentlemen, who had once the prospect of being the chief officers in my army, reduced to the stations of private sentinels. Nothing but your loyalty, and that of a few of my subjects in Britain, who are forced from their allegiance by the Prince of Orange, and who, I know, will be ready on all occasions to serve me and my distressed family, could make me willing to live. The sense of what all of you have done and undergone for your loyalty hath made so deep an impression upon my heart, that, if it ever please God to restore me, it is impossible I can be forgetful of your services and sufferings. Neither can there be any posts in the armies of my dominions but what you have just pretensions to. As for my son, your Prince, he is of your own blood, a child capable of any impression, and, as his education will be from you, it is not supposable that he can forget your merits. At your own desires you are now going a long march far distant from me. Fear God and love one another. Write your wants particularly to me, and depend upon it always to find me your parent and King.” The scene bore a strong resemblance to one which many years afterwards occurred at Fontainebleau. The company listened to his words with deep emotion, gathered round him, as if half repentant of their own desire to go, and so parted, for ever on this earth, the dethroned monarch and his exiled subjects.
The number of this company of officers was about one hundred and twenty: their destination was Perpignan in Rousillon, close upon the frontier of Spain, where they were to join the army under the command of the Mareschal de Noailles. Their power of endurance, though often most severely tested in an unwholesome climate, seems to have been no less remarkable than their gallantry, which upon many occasions called forth the warm acknowledgment of the French commanders. “Le gentilhomme,” said one of the generals, in acknowledgment of their readiness at a peculiarly critical moment, “est toujours gentilhomme, et se montre toujours tel dans besoin et dans le danger”—a eulogy as applicable to them as it was in later days to La Tour d’Auvergne, styled the first grenadier of France. At Perpignan they were joined by two other Scottish companies, and the three seem to have continued to serve together for several campaigns.
As a proof of the estimation in which they were held, I shall merely extract a short account of the taking of Rosas in Catalonia, before referring to the exploit which forms the subject of the following ballad. “On the 27th of May, the company of officers and other Scottish companies, were joined by two companies of Irish, to make up a battalion in order to mount the trenches; and the major part of the officers listed themselves in the company of grenadiers, under the command of the brave Major Rutherford, who, on his way to the trenches, in sight of Mareschal de Noailles and his court, marched with his company on the side of the trench, which exposed him to the fire of a bastion, where there were two culverins and several other guns planted; likewise to the fire of two curtins lined with small shot. Colonel Brown, following with the battalion, was obliged, in honour, to march the same way Major Rutherford had done; the danger whereof the Mareschal immediately perceiving, ordered one of his aides-de-camp to command Rutherford to march under cover of the trench, which he did; and if he had but delayed six minutes, the grenadiers and battalion had been cut to pieces. Rutherford, with his grenadiers, marched to a trench near the town, and the battalion to a trench on the rear and flank of the grenadiers, who fired so incessantly on the besieged, that they thought (the trench being practicable) they were going to make their attacks, immediately beat a chamade, and were willing to give up the town upon reasonable terms: but the Mareschal’s demands were so exorbitant, that the Governor could not agree to them. Then firing began on both sides to be very hot; and they in the town, seeing how the grenadiers lay, killed eight of them. When the Governor surrendered the town, he inquired of the Mareschal what countrymen these grenadiers were; and assured him it was on their account he delivered up the town, because they fired so hotly, that he believed they were resolved to attack the breach. He answered, smiling, ’Ces sont mes enfants—They
And a miserable provision it was! They were gradually compelled to part with every remnant of the property which they had secured from the ruins of their fortunes; so that when they arrived, after various adventures, at Scelestat, in Alsace, they were literally without the common means of subsistence. Famine and the sword had, by this time, thinned their ranks, but had not diminished their spirit, as the following narrative of their last exploit will show:—
“In December 1697, General Stirk, who commanded for the Germans, appeared with 16,000 men on the other side of the Rhine, which obliged the Marquis de Sell to draw out all the garrisons in Alsace, who made up about 4000 men; and he encamped on the other side of the Rhine, over against General Stirk, to prevent his passing the Rhine and carrying a bridge over into an island in the middle of it, which the French foresaw would be of great prejudice to them. For the enemy’s guns, placed on that island, would extremely gall their camp, which they could not hinder for the deepness of the water and their wanting of boats—for which the Marquis quickly sent; but arriving too late, the Germans had carried a bridge over into the island, where they had posted above five hundred men, who, by order of their engineers, intrenched themselves: which the company of officers perceiving, who always grasped after honour, and scorned all thoughts of danger, resolved to wade the river, and attack the Germans in the island; and for that effect, desired Captain John Foster, who then commanded them, to beg of the Marquis that they might have liberty to attack the Germans in the island; who told Captain Foster, when the boats came up, they should be the first that attacked. Foster courteously thanked the Marquis, and told him they would wade into the island, who shrunk up his shoulders, prayed God to bless them, and desired them to do what they pleased.” Whereupon the officers, with the other two Scottish
The company kept possession of the island for nearly six weeks, notwithstanding repeated attempts on the part of the Germans to surprise and dislodge them; but all these having been defeated by the extreme watchfulness of the Scots, General Stirk at length drew off his army and retreated. “In consequence of this action,” says the chronicler, “that island is called at present Isle d’Ecosse, and will in likelihood bear that name until the general conflagration.”
Two years afterwards, a treaty of peace was concluded; and this gallant company of soldiers, worthy of a better fate, was broken up and dispersed. At the time when the narrative, from which I have quoted so freely, was compiled, not more than sixteen of Dundee’s veterans were alive. The author concludes thus,—“And thus was dissolved one of the best companies that ever marched under command! Gentlemen, who, in the midst of all their pressures and obscurity, never forgot they were gentlemen; and whom the sweets of a brave, a just, and honourable conscience, rendered perhaps more happy under those sufferings, than the most prosperous and triumphant in iniquity, since our minds stamp our happiness.”
Some years ago, while visiting the ancient Scottish convent at Ratisbon, my attention was drawn to the monumental inscriptions on the walls of the dormitory, many of which bear reference to gentlemen of family and distinction, whose political principles had involved them in the troubles of 1688, 1715, and 1745. Whether the cloister which now holds their dust had afforded them a shelter in the later years of their misfortunes, I know not; but for one that is so commemorated, hundreds of the exiles must have passed away in obscurity, buried in the field on which they fell, or carried from the damp vaults of the military hospital to the trench, without any token of remembrance, or any other wish beyond that which the minstrels have ascribed to one of the greatest of our olden heroes—
“Oh bury me by the bracken bush,
Beneath the blooming brier:
Let never living mortal ken
That a kindly Scot lies here!”
[Footnote 2: An account of Dundee’s Officers after they went to France. By an Officer of the Army. London, 1714.]
The Rhine is running deep and red,
The island lies before—
“Now is there one of all the host
Will dare to venture o’er?
For not alone the river’s sweep
Might make a brave man quail:
The foe are on the further side,
Their shot comes fast as hail.
God help us, if the middle isle
We may not hope to win!
Now, is there any of the host
Will dare to venture in?”
“The ford is deep, the banks are
The island-shore lies wide:
Nor man nor horse could stem its force,
Or reach the further side.
See there! amidst the willow boughs
The serried bayonets gleam;
They’ve flung their bridge—they’ve won the isle;
The foe have crossed the stream!
Their volley flashes sharp and strong—
By all the Saints, I trow,
There never yet was soldier born
Could force that passage now!”
So spoke the bold French Mareschal
With him who led the van,
Whilst rough and red before their view
The turbid river ran.
Nor bridge nor boat had they to cross
The wild and swollen Rhine,
And thundering on the other bank
Far stretched the German line.
Hard by there stood a swarthy man
Was leaning on his sword,
And a saddened smile lit up his face
As he heard the Captain’s word.
“I’ve seen a wilder stream ere now
Than that which rushes there;
I’ve stemmed a heavier torrent yet
And never thought to dare.
If German steel be sharp and keen,
Is ours not strong and true?
There may be danger in the deed,
But there is honour too.”
The old lord in his saddle turned,
And hastily he said—
“Hath bold Dugueselin’s fiery heart
Awakened from the dead?
Thou art the leader of the Scots—
Now well and sure I know,
That gentle blood in dangerous hour
Ne’er yet ran cold nor slow,
And I have seen ye in the fight
Do all that mortal may:
If honour is the boon ye seek
It may be won this day.
The prize is in the middle isle,
There lies the venturous way;
And armies twain are on the plain,
The daring deed to see—
Now ask thy gallant company
If they will follow thee!”
Right gladsome looked the Captain then,
And nothing did he say,
But he turned him to his little band—
Oh few, I ween, were they!
The relics of the bravest force
That ever fought in fray.
No one of all that company
But bore a gentle name,
Not one whose fathers had not stood
In Scotland’s fields of fame.
All they had marched with great Dundee
To where he fought and fell,
And in the deadly battle-strife
Had venged their leader well;
And they had bent the knee to earth
When every eye was dim,
As o’er their hero’s buried corpse
They sang the funeral hymn;
And they had trod the Pass once more,
And stooped on either side
To pluck the heather from the spot
Where he had dropped and died;
And they had bound it next their hearts,
And ta’en a last farewell
Of Scottish earth and Scottish sky,
Where Scotland’s glory fell.
Then went they forth to foreign lands
Like bent and broken men,
Who leave their dearest hope behind,
And may not turn again!
“The stream,” he said, “is
broad and deep,
And stubborn is the foe—
Yon island-strength is guarded well—
Say, brothers, will ye go?
From home and kin for many a year
Our steps have wandered wide,
And never may our bones be laid
Our fathers’ graves beside.
No sisters have we to lament,
No wives to wail our fall;
The traitor’s and the spoiler’s hand
Have reft our hearths of all.
But we have hearts, and we have arms
As strong to will and dare
As when our ancient banners flew
Within the northern air.
Come, brothers; let me name a spell
Shall rouse your souls again,
And send the old blood bounding free
Through pulse, and heart, and vein!
Call back the days of bygone years—
Be young and strong once more;
Think yonder stream, so stark and red,
Is one we’ve crossed before.
Rise, hill and glen! rise, crag and wood!
Rise up on either hand—
Again upon the Garry’s banks,
On Scottish soil we stand!
Again I see the tartans wave,
Again the trumpets ring;
Again I hear our leader’s call—
‘Upon them, for the King!’
Stayed we behind that glorious day
For roaring flood or linn?
The soul of Graeme is with us still—
Now, brothers! will ye in?”
No stay—no pause. With
They grasped each others’ hand,
And plunged into the angry flood,
That bold and dauntless band.
High flew the spray above their heads,
Yet onward still they bore,
Midst cheer, and shout, and answering yell,
And shot and cannon roar.
“Now by the Holy Cross! I swear,
Since earth and sea began
Was never such a daring deed
Essayed by mortal man!”
Thick blew the smoke across the stream,
And faster flashed the flame:
The water plashed in hissing jets
As ball and bullet came.
Yet onwards pushed the Cavaliers
All stern and undismayed,
With thousand armed foes before,
And none behind to aid.
Once, as they neared the middle stream,
So strong the torrent swept,
That scarce that long and living wall,
Their dangerous footing kept.
Then rose a warning cry behind,
A joyous shout before:
“The current’s strong—the way is long—
They’ll never reach the shore!
See, see! They stagger in the midst,
They waver in their line!
Fire on the madmen! break their ranks,
And whelm them in the Rhine!”
Have you seen the tall trees swaying
When the blast is piping shrill,
And the whirlwind reels in fury
Down the gorges of the hill?
How they toss their mighty branches,
Striving with the tempest’s shock;
How they keep their place of vantage,
Cleaving firmly to the rock?
Even so the Scottish warriors
Held their own against the river;
Though the water flashed around them,
Not an eye was seen to quiver;
Though the shot flew sharp and deadly,
Not a man relaxed his hold:
For their hearts were big and thrilling
With the mighty thoughts of old.
One word was spoke among them,
And through the ranks it spread—
“Remember our dead Claverhouse!”
Was all the Captain said.
Then, sternly bending forward,
They struggled on awhile,
Until they cleared the heavy stream,
Then rushed towards the isle.
The German heart is stout and true,
The German arm is strong;
The German foot goes seldom back
Where armed foemen throng.
But never had they faced in field
So stern a charge before,
And never had they felt the sweep
Of Scotland’s broad claymore.
Not fiercer pours the avalanche
Adown the steep incline,
That rises o’er the parent springs
Of rough and rapid Rhine—
Scarce swifter shoots the bolt from heaven
Than came the Scottish band,
Right up against the guarded trench,
And o’er it, sword in hand.
In vain their leaders forward press—
They meet the deadly brand!
And did they twine the laurel-wreath
For those who fought so well?
And did they honour those who lived,
And weep for those who fell?
What meed of thanks was given to them
Let aged annals tell.
Why should they twine the laurel-wreath—
Why crown the cup with wine?
It was not Frenchman’s blood that flowed
So freely on the Rhine—
A stranger band of beggared men
Had done the venturous deed:
The glory was to France alone,
The danger was their meed.
And what cared they for idle thanks
From foreign prince and peer?
What virtue had such honeyed words
The exiles’ hearts to cheer?
What mattered it that men should vaunt,
And loud and fondly swear,
That higher feat of chivalry
Was never wrought elsewhere?
They bore within their breasts the grief
That fame can never heal—
The deep, unutterable woe
Which none save exiles feel.
Their hearts were yearning for the land
They ne’er might see again—
For Scotland’s high and heathered hills,
For mountain, loch, and glen—
For those who haply lay at rest
Beyond the distant sea,
Beneath the green and daisied turf
Where they would gladly be!
Long years went by. The lonely isle
In Rhine’s impetuous flood
Has ta’en another name from those
Who bought it with their blood:
And though the legend does not live,
For legends lightly die,
The peasant, as he sees the stream
In winter rolling by,
And foaming o’er its channel-bed
Between him and the spot
Won by the warriors of the sword,
Still calls that deep and dangerous ford
The Passage of the Scot.
CHARLES EDWARD AT VERSAILLES
Though the sceptre had departed from the House of Stuart, it was reserved for one of its last descendants to prove to the world, by his personal gallantry and noble spirit of enterprise, that he at least had not degenerated from his royal line of ancestors. The daring effort of Charles Edward to recover the crown of these kingdoms for his father, is to us the most remarkable incident of the last century. It was honourable alike to the Prince and to those
The campaign of 1745 yields in romantic interest to none which is written in history. A young and inexperienced prince, whose person was utterly unknown to any of his adherents, landed on the west coast of Scotland, not at the head of a foreign force, not munimented with supplies and arms, but accompanied by a mere handful of followers, and ignorant of the language of the people amongst whom he was hazarding his person. His presence in Scotland had not been urged by the chiefs of the clans, most of whom were deeply averse to embarking in an enterprise which must involve them in a war with so powerful an antagonist as England, and which, if unsuccessful, could only terminate in the utter ruin of their fortunes. This was not a cause in which the whole of Scotland was concerned. Although it was well known that many leading families in the Lowlands entertained Jacobite opinions, and although a large proportion of the common people had not yet become reconciled to, or satisfied of, the advantages of the Union, by which they considered themselves dishonoured and betrayed, it was hardly to be expected that, without some fair guarantee for success, the bulk of the Scottish nation would actively bestir themselves on the side of the exiled family. Besides this, even amongst the Highlanders there was not unanimity of opinion. The three northern clans of Sutherland, Mackay, and Monro, were known
With a force which, at the battle of Preston, did not double the above numbers, the Prince descended upon the Lowlands, having baffled the attempts of General Cope to intercept his march—occupied the city of Perth and the town of Dundee, and finally, after a faint show of resistance on the part of the burghers, took possession of the ancient capital of Scotland, and once more established a court in the halls of Holyrood. His youth, his gallantry, and the grace and beauty of his person, added to a most winning and affable address, acquired for him the sympathy of many who, from political motives, abstained from becoming his adherents. Possibly certain feelings of nationality, which no deliberate views of civil or religious policy could altogether extirpate, led such men to regard, with a sensation akin to pride, the spectacle of a prince descended from the long line of Scottish kings, again occupying his ancestral seat, and restoring to their country, which had been utterly neglected by the new dynasty, a portion of its former state. No doubt a sense of pity for the probable fate of one so young and chivalrous was often present to their minds, for they had thorough confidence in the intrepidity of the regular troops, and in the capacity of their commander; and they never for a moment supposed that these could be successfully encountered by a raw levy of undisciplined Highlanders, ill-armed and worse equipped, and without the support of any artillery.
The issue of the battle of Prestonpans struck Edinburgh with amazement. In point of numbers the two armies were nearly equal, but in every thing else, save personal valour, the royal troops had the advantage. And yet, in four minutes—for the battle is said not to have lasted longer—the Highlanders having only made one terrific and impetuous charge—the rout of the regulars was general. The infantry was broken and cut to pieces; the dragoons, who behaved shamefully on the occasion, turned bridle and fled, without having once crossed swords with the enemy. Mr. Chambers thus terminates his account of the action: “The general result of the battle of Preston may be stated as having been the total overthrow and almost entire destruction of the royal army. Most of the infantry, falling upon the park walls of Preston, were there huddled together, without the power of resistance, into a confused drove, and had either to surrender or to be cut to pieces. Many, in vainly attempting to climb over the walls, fell an easy prey to the ruthless claymore. Nearly 400, it is said, were thus slain, 700 taken, while only about 170 in all succeeded in effecting their escape.
“The dragoons, with worse conduct, were much more fortunate. In falling back, they had the good luck to find outlets from their respective positions by the roads which ran along the various extremities of the park wall, and they thus got clear through the village with little slaughter; after which, as the Highlanders had no horse to pursue them, they were safe. Several officers, among whom were Fowkes and Lascelles, escaped to Cockenzie and along Seton Sands, in a direction contrary to the general flight.
“The unfortunate Cope had attempted, at the first break of Gardiner’s dragoons, to stop and rally them, but was borne headlong, with the confused bands, through the narrow road to the south of the enclosures, notwithstanding all his efforts to the contrary. On getting beyond the village, where he was joined by the retreating bands of the other regiment, he made one anxious effort, with the Earls of Loudoun and Home, to form and bring them back to charge the enemy, now disordered by the pursuit; but in vain. They fled on, ducking their heads along their horses’ necks to escape the bullets which the pursuers occasionally sent after them. By using great exertions, and holding pistols to the heads of the troopers, Sir John and a few of his officers induced a small number of them to halt in a field near St. Clement’s Wells, about two miles from the battle-ground. But, after a momentary delay, the accidental firing of a pistol renewed the panic, and they rode off once more in great disorder. Sir John Cope, with a portion of them, reached Channelkirk at an early hour in the forenoon, and there halted to breakfast, and to write a brief note to one of the state-officers, relating the fate of the day. He then resumed his flight, and reached Coldstream that night. Next morning he proceeded to Berwick, whose fortifications seemed competent to give the security he required. He everywhere brought the first tidings of his own defeat.”
This victory operated very much in favour of Prince Charles. It secured him, for a season, the undisputed possession of Scotland, and enabled numerous adherents from all parts of the country to raise such forces as they could command, and to repair to his banner. His popularity in Edinburgh daily increased, as the qualities of his person and mind became known; and such testimony as the following, with respect to his estimation by the fair sex, and the devotion they exhibited in his cause, is not overcharged. “His affability and great personal grace wrought him high favour with the ladies, who, as we learn from, the letters of President Forbes, became generally so zealous in his cause, as to have some serious effect in inducing their admirers to declare for the Prince. There was, we know for certain, a Miss Lumsden, who plainly told her lover, a young artist, named Robert Strange, that he might think no more of her unless he should immediately join Prince Charles, and thus actually prevailed upon him to take up arms. It may be
As to the motives and intended policy of this remarkable and unfortunate young man, it may be interesting to quote the terms of the proclamation which he issued on the 10th October, 1745, before commencing his march into England. Let his history be impartially read, his character, as spoken to by those who knew him best, fairly noted, and I think there cannot be a doubt that, had he succeeded in his daring attempt, he would have been true to the letter of his word, and fulfilled a pledge which Britain never more required than at the period when that document was penned:—
“Do not the pulpits and congregations of the clergy, as well as your weekly papers, ring with the dreadful threats of popery, slavery, tyranny, and arbitrary power, which are now ready to be imposed upon you by the formidable powers of France and Spain? Is not my royal father represented as a bloodthirsty tyrant, breathing out nothing but destruction to all who will not immediately embrace an odious religion? Or have I myself been better used? But listen only to the naked truth.
“I, with my own money, hired a small vessel. Ill-supplied with money, arms, or friends, I arrived in Scotland, attended by seven persons. I publish the King my father’s declaration, and proclaim his title, with pardon in one hand, and in the other liberty of conscience, and the most solemn promises to grant whatever a free Parliament shall propose for the happiness of a people. I have, I confess, the greatest reason to adore the goodness of Almighty God, who has in so remarkable a manner protected me and my small army through the many dangers to which we were at first exposed, and who has led me in the way to victory, and to the capital of this ancient kingdom, amidst the acclamations of the King my father’s subjects. Why, then, is so much pains taken to spirit up the minds of the people against this my undertaking?
“The reason is obvious; it is, lest the real sense of the nation’s present sufferings should blot out the remembrance of past misfortunes, and of the outcries formerly raised against the royal family. Whatever miscarriages might have given occasion to them, they have been more than atoned for since; and the nation has now an opportunity of being secured against the like in future.
“That our family has suffered exile during these fifty-seven years everybody knows. Has the nation, during that period of time, been the more happy and flourishing for it? Have you found reason to love and cherish your governors as the fathers of the people of Great Britain and Ireland? Has a family, upon whom a faction unlawfully bestowed the diadem of a rightful prince, retained a due sense of so great a trust and favour? Have you found more humanity and condescension in those who were not born to a crown, than in my royal forefathers? Have their ears been open to the cries of the people? Have they, or do they consider only the interests of these nations? Have you reaped any other benefit from them than an immense load of debt? If I am answered in the affirmative, why has their government been so often railed at in all your public assemblies? Why has the nation been so long crying out in vain for redress against the abuse of Parliaments, upon account of their long duration, the multitude of placemen, which occasions their venality, the introduction of penal laws, and, in general, against the miserable situation of the kingdom at home and abroad? All these, and many more inconveniences, must now be removed, unless the people of Great Britain be already so far corrupted that they will not accept of freedom when offered to them, seeing the King, on his restoration, will refuse nothing that a free Parliament can ask for the security of the religion, laws, and liberty of his people.
“It is now time to conclude; and I shall do it with this reflection. Civil wars are ever attended with rancour and ill-will, which party rage never fails to produce in the minds of those whom different interests, principles or views, set in opposition to one another. I, therefore, earnestly require it of my friends to give as little loose as possible to such passions: this will prove the most effectual means to prevent the same in the enemies of my royal cause. And this my declaration will vindicate to all posterity the nobleness of my undertaking, and the generosity of my intentions.”
There was much truth in the open charges preferred in this declaration against the existing government. The sovereigns of the house of Hanover had always shown a marked predilection for their Continental possessions, and had proportionally neglected the affairs of Britain. Under Walpole’s administration the imperial Parliament had degenerated from an independent assembly to a junta of placemen, and the most flagitious system of bribery was openly practised and avowed. It was not without reason that Charles contrasted the state of the nation then, with its position when under the rule of the legitimate family; and had there not been a strong, though, I think, unreasonable suspicion in the minds of many, that his success would be the prelude to a vigorous attack upon the established religions of the country, and that he would be inclined to follow out in this respect the fatal policy of his
On commencing his march into England, Charles found himself at the head of an army of between five thousand and six thousand men, which force was considered strong enough, with the augmentations it might receive on the way, to effect the occupation of London. Had the English Jacobites performed their part with the same zeal as the Scots, it is more than probable that the attempt would have been crowned with success. As it was, the Prince succeeded in reducing the strong fortified town of Carlisle, and in marching, without opposition, through the heart of England, as far as Derby, within one hundred miles of the metropolis. But here his better genius deserted him. Discord had crept into his councils; for some of the chiefs became seriously alarmed at finding that the gentry of England were not prepared to join the expedition, but preferred remaining at home inactive spectators of the contest. Except at Manchester, they had received few or no recruits. No tidings had reached them from Wales, a country supposed to be devoted to the cause of King James, whilst it was well known that a large force was already in arms to oppose the clans. Mr. Chambers gives us the following details. “At a council of war held on the morning of the 5th December, Lord George Murray and the other members gave it as their unanimous opinion that the army ought to return to Scotland. Lord George pointed out that they were about to be environed by three armies, amounting collectively to about thirty thousand men, while their own forces were not above five thousand, if so many. Supposing an unsuccessful engagement with any of these armies, it could not be expected that one man would escape, for the militia would beset every road. The Prince, if not slain in the battle, must fall into the enemy’s hands: the whole world would blame them as fools for running into such a risk. Charles answered, that he regarded not his own danger. He pressed, with all the force of argument, to go forward. He did not doubt, he said, that the justice of his cause would prevail. He was hopeful that there might be a defection in the enemy’s army, and that many would declare for him. He was so very bent on putting all to the risk, that the Duke of Perth was for it, since his Royal Highness was. At last he proposed going to Wales instead of returning to Carlisle; but every other officer declared his opinion for a retreat. These are nearly the words of Lord George Murray. We are elsewhere told that the Prince condescended to use entreaties to induce his adherents to alter their resolution. ‘Rather than go back,’ he said, ‘I would wish to be twenty feet under ground!’ His chagrin, when he found his councillors obdurate, was beyond all bounds. The council broke up, on the understanding that the retreat was to commence next morning, Lord George volunteering to take the place of honour in the rear, provided only that he should not be troubled with the baggage.”
This resolution was received by the army with marks of unequivocal vexation. Retreat, in their estimation, was little less than overthrow; and it was most galling to find that, after all their labours, hazards, and toils, they were doomed to disappointment at the very moment when the prize seemed ready for their grasp. That the movement was an injudicious one is, I think, obvious. We are told, upon good authority, “that the very boldness of the Prince’s onward movement, especially taken into connexion with the expected descent from France, had at length disposed the English Jacobites to come out; and many were just on the point of declaring themselves, and marching to join his army, when the retreat from Derby was determined on. A Mr. Barry arrived in Derby two days after the Prince left it, with a message from Sir Watkin William Wynne and Lord Barrymore, to assure him, in the names of many friends of the cause, that they were ready to join him in what manner he pleased, either in the capital, or every one to rise in his own county. I have likewise been assured that many of the Welsh gentry had actually left their homes, and were on the way to join Charles, when intelligence of his retreat at once sent them all back peaceably, convinced that it was now too late to contribute their assistance. These men, from the power they had over their tenantry, could have added materially to his military force. In fact, from all that appears, we must conclude that the insurgents had a very considerable chance of success from an onward movement—also, no doubt, a chance of destruction, and yet not worse than what ultimately befell many of them—while a retreat broke in a moment the spell which their gallantry had conjured up, and gave the enemy a great advantage over them.”
One victory more was accorded to Prince Charles, before his final overthrow. After successfully conducting his retreat to Scotland, occupying Glasgow, and strengthening his army by the accession of new recruits, he gave battle to the royal forces under General Hawley at Falkirk, and, as at Preston, drove them from the field. The parties were on this occasion fairly matched, there being about eight thousand men engaged on either side. The action was short; and, though not so decisive as the former one, gave great confidence to the insurgents. It has been thus picturesquely portrayed by the historian of the enterprise: “Some individuals, who beheld the battle from the steeple of Falkirk, used to describe these, its main events, as occupying a surprisingly brief space of time. They first saw the English army enter the misty and storm-covered muir at the top of the hill; then saw the dull atmosphere thickened by a fast-rolling smoke, and heard the pealing sounds of the discharge; immediately after, they beheld the discomfited troops burst wildly from the cloud in which they had been involved, and rush, in far-spread disorder, over the face of the hill. From the commencement of what they styled ‘the break of the battle,’ there did not intervene more than ten minutes—so soon may an efficient body of men become, by one transient emotion of cowardice, a feeble and contemptible rabble.
“The rout would have been total, but for the three out-flanking regiments. These not having been opposed by any of the clans, having a ravine in front, and deriving some support from a small body of dragoons, stood their ground under the command of General Huske and Brigadier Cholmondley. When the Highlanders went past in pursuit, they received a volley from this part of the English army, which brought them to a pause, and caused them to draw back to their former ground, their impression being that some ambuscade was intended. This saved the English army from destruction. A pause took place, during which the bulk of the English infantry got back to Falkirk. It was not until Lord George Murray brought up the second line of his wing and the pickets, with some others on the other wing, that General Huske drew off his party, which he did in good order.”
The seat of war was now removed to the North. The month of April, 1746, found Prince Charles in possession of Inverness, with an army sorely dwindled in numbers, and in great want of necessaries and provisions. Many of the Highlanders had retired for the winter to their native glens, and had not yet rejoined the standard. The Duke of Cumberland, who now commanded the English army, with a reputation not diminished by the unfortunate issue of Fontenoy, was at the head of a large body of tried and disciplined troops, in the best condition, and supported by the powerful arm of artillery. He effected the passage of the Spey, a large and rapid river which intersects the Highlands, without encountering any opposition, and on the 15th of the month had arrived at Nairn, about nine miles distant from the position occupied by his kinsman and opponent. His superiority in point of strength was so great that the boldest of the insurgent chiefs hesitated as to the policy of giving immediate battle, and nothing but the desire of covering Inverness prevented the council from recommencing a further retreat into the mountains, where they could not have been easily followed, and where they were certain to have met with reinforcements. As to the Prince, his confidence in the prowess of the Highlanders was so unbounded, that, even with such odds against him, he would not listen to a proposal for delay.
There yet remained, says Mr. Chambers, before playing the great stake of a pitched battle, one chance of success by the irregular mode of warfare to which the army was accustomed, and Charles resolved to put it to trial. This was a night-attack upon the camp of the Duke of Cumberland. He rightly argued that if his men could approach without being discovered, and make a simultaneous attack in more than one place, the royal forces, then probably either engaged in drinking their commander’s health (the 15th happened to be the anniversary of the Duke’s birthday, and was celebrated as such by his army), or sleeping off the effects of the debauch, must be completely surprised and cut to pieces, or at least effectually routed. The time appointed for setting out upon the march was eight in the evening, when daylight should have completely disappeared, and, in the mean time, great pains were taken to conceal the secret from the army.
This resolution was entered into at three in the afternoon, and orders were given to collect the men who had gone off in search of provisions. The officers dispersed themselves to Inverness and other places, and besought the stragglers to repair to the muir. But, under the influence of hunger, they told their commanders to shoot them, if they pleased, rather than compel them to starve any longer. Charles had previously declared, with his characteristic fervour, that though only a thousand of his men should accompany him, he would lead them on to the attack, and he was not now intimidated when he saw twice that number ready to assist in the enterprise, though some of his officers would willingly have made this deficiency of troops an excuse for abandoning what they esteemed at best a hazardous expedition. Having given out for watchword the name of his father, he embraced Lord George Murray, who was to command the foremost column, and, putting himself at the head of that which followed, gave the order to march.
The attempt proved peculiarly unfortunate, and, from the fatigue which it occasioned to the Highlanders, contributed in a great degree towards the disaster of the following day. The night chanced to be uncommonly dark, and as it was well known that Cumberland had stationed spies on the principal roads, it became necessary to select a devious route, in order to effect a surprise. The columns, proceeding over broken and irregular ground, soon became scattered and dislocated: no exertions of the officers could keep the men together, so that Lord George Murray at two o’clock found that he was still distant three miles from the hostile camp, and that there were no hopes of commencing the attack before the break of day, when they would be open to the observation of the enemy. Under these circumstances a retreat was commenced; and the scheme, which at one time seemed to hold out every probability of success, was abandoned.
“The Highlanders returned, fatigued and disconsolate, to their former position, about seven in the morning, when they immediately addressed themselves to sleep, or went away in search of provisions. So scarce was food at this critical juncture, that the Prince himself, on retiring to Culloden House, could obtain no better refreshment than a little bread and whisky. He felt the utmost anxiety regarding his men, among whom the pangs of hunger, upon bodies exhausted by fatigue, must have been working effects most unpromising to his success; and he gave orders, before seeking any repose, that the whole country should now be mercilessly ransacked for the means of refreshment. His orders were not without effect. Considerable supplies were procured, and subjected to the cook’s art at Inverness; but the poor famished clansmen were destined never to taste these provisions, the hour of battle arriving before they were prepared.”
About eleven in the forenoon, the troops of Cumberland were observed upon the eastern extremity of the wide muir of Culloden, and preparations were instantly made for the coming battle. The army had been strengthened that morning by the arrival of the Keppoch Macdonalds and a party of the Frasers; but even with these reinforcements the whole available force which the Prince could muster was about five thousand men, to oppose at fearful odds an enemy twice as numerous, and heavily supported by artillery. Fortune on this day seemed to have deserted the Prince altogether. In drawing out the line of battle, a most unlucky arrangement was made by O’Sullivan, who acted as adjutant, whereby the Macdonald regiments were removed from the right wing—the place which the great clan Colla has been privileged to hold in Scottish array ever since the auspicious battle of Bannockburn. To those who are not acquainted with the peculiar temper and spirit of the Highlanders, and their punctilio upon points of honour and precedence, the question of arrangement will naturally appear a matter of little importance. But it was not so felt by the Macdonalds, who considered their change of position as a positive degradation, and who further looked upon it as an evil omen to the success of the battle. The results of this mistake will be explained immediately.
Just before the commencement of the action, the weather, which had hitherto been fair and sunny, became overcast, and a heavy blast of rain and sleet beat directly in the faces of the Highlanders. The English artillery then began to play upon them, and, being admirably served, every discharge told with fearful effect upon the ranks. The chief object of either party at the battle of Culloden seems to have been to force its opponent to leave his position, and to commence the attack. Cumberland, finding that his artillery was doing such execution, had no occasion to move; and Charles appears to have committed a great error in abandoning a mode of warfare which was peculiarly suited for his troops, and which, on two previous occasions, had proved eminently successful. Had he at once ordered a general charge, and attempted to silence the guns, the issue of the day might have been otherwise: but his unfortunate star prevailed.
“It was not,” says Mr. Chambers, “till the cannonade had continued nearly half an hour, and the Highlanders had seen many of their kindred stretched upon the heath, that Charles at last gave way to the necessity of ordering a charge. The aide-de-camp intrusted to carry his message to the Lieutenant-general—a youth of the name of Maclachlan—was killed by a cannon-ball before he reached the first line, but the general sentiment of the army, as reported to Lord George Murray, supplied the want, and that general took it upon him to order an attack without Charles’s permission having been communicated.
“Lord George had scarcely determined upon ordering a general movement, when the Macintoshes, a brave and devoted clan, though not before engaged in action, unable any longer to brook the unavenged slaughter made by the cannon, broke from the centre of the line, and rushed forward through smoke and snow to mingle with the enemy. The Athole men, Camerons, Stuarts, Frasers, and Macleans also went on, Lord George Murray heading them with that rash bravery befitting the commander of such forces. Thus, in the course of one or two minutes, the charge was general along the whole line, except at the left extremity, where the Macdonalds, dissatisfied with their position, hesitated to engage.
“The action and event of the onset were, throughout, quite as dreadful as the mental emotion which urged it. Notwithstanding that the three files of the front line of English poured forth their incessant fire of musketry—notwithstanding that the cannon, now loaded with grapeshot, swept the field as with a hailstorm—notwithstanding the flank fire of Wolfe’s regiment—onward, onward went the headlong Highlanders, flinging themselves into, rather than rushing upon, the lines of the enemy, which, indeed, they did not see for smoke, till involved among the weapons. All that courage, all that despair could do, was done. It was a moment of dreadful and agonising suspense, but only a moment—for the whirlwind does not reap the forest with greater rapidity than the Highlanders cleared the line. Nevertheless, almost every man in their front rank, chief and gentleman, fell before the deadly weapons which they had braved; and, although the enemy gave way, it was not till every bayonet was bent and bloody with the strife.
“When the first line had thus been swept aside, the assailants continued their impetuous advance till they came near the second, when, being almost annihilated by a profuse and well-directed fire, the shattered remains of what had been before a numerous and confident force began to give way. Still a few rushed on, resolved rather to die than forfeit their well-acquired and dearly-estimated honour. They rushed on; but not a man ever came in contact with the enemy. The last survivor perished as he reached the points of the bayonets.”
Some idea of the determination displayed by the Highlanders in this terrific charge may be gathered from the fact that, in one part of the field, their bodies were afterwards found in layers of three and four deep. The slaughter was fearful, for, out of the five regiments which charged the English, almost all the leaders and men in the front rank were killed. So shaken was the English line, that, had the Macdonald regiments, well-known to yield in valour to none of the clans, come up, the fortune of the day might have been altered. But they never made an onset. Smarting and sullen at the affront which they conceived to have been put upon their name, they bore the fire of the English
The Lowland and foreign troops which formed the second line were powerless to retrieve the disaster. All was over. The rout became general, and the Prince was forced from the field, which he would not quit, until dragged from it by his immediate bodyguard.
Such was the last battle, the result of civil war, which has been fought on British soil. Those who were defeated have acquired as much glory from it as the conquerors—and even more, for never was a conquest sullied by such deeds of deliberate cruelty as were perpetrated upon the survivors of the battle of Culloden. It is not, however, the object of the present paper to recount these, or even the romantic history or hairbreadth escapes of the Prince, whilst wandering on the mainland and through the Hebrides. Although a reward of thirty thousand pounds—an immense sum for the period—was set upon his head—although his secret was known to hundreds of persons in every walk of life, and even to the beggar and the outlaw—not one attempted to betray him. Not one of all his followers, in the midst of the misery which overtook them, regretted having drawn the sword in his cause, or would not again have gladly imperilled their lives for the sake of their beloved Chevalier. “He went,” says Lord Mahon, “but not with him departed his remembrance from the Highlanders. For years and years did his name continue enshrined in their hearts and familiar to their tongues, their plaintive ditties resounding with his exploits and inviting his return. Again, in these strains, do they declare themselves ready to risk life and fortune for his cause; and even maternal fondness—the strongest, perhaps, of all human feelings—yields to the passionate devotion to Prince Charlie.”
The subsequent life of the Prince is a story of melancholy interest. We find him at first received in France with all the honours due to one who, though unfortunate, had exhibited a heroism rarely equalled and never surpassed: gradually he was neglected and slighted, as one of a doomed and unhappy race, whom no human exertion could avail to elevate to their former seat of power; and finally, when his presence in France became an obstacle to the conclusion of peace, he was violently arrested and conveyed out of the kingdom. There can be little doubt that continued misfortune and disappointment had begun very early to impair his noble mind. For long periods he was a wanderer, lost sight of by his friends and even by his father and brother. There are fragments of his writing
To the last, his heart was with Scotland. The following anecdote was related by his brother, Cardinal York, to Bishop Walker, the late Primus of the Episcopal Church of Scotland:—“Mr. Greathead, a personal friend of Mr. Fox, succeeded, when at Rome in 1782 or 1783, in obtaining an interview with Charles Edward; and, being alone with him for some time, studiously led the conversation to his enterprise in Scotland, and to the occurrences which succeeded the failure of that attempt. The Prince manifested some reluctance to enter upon these topics, appearing at the same time to undergo so much mental suffering, that his guest regretted the freedom he had used in calling up the remembrance of his misfortunes. At length, however, the Prince seemed to shake off the load which oppressed him; his eye brightened, his face assumed unwonted animation, and he entered upon the narrative of his Scottish campaigns with a distinct but somewhat vehement energy of manner—recounted his marches, his battles, his victories, his retreats, and his defeats—detailed his hairbreadth escapes in the Western Isles, the inviolable and devoted attachment of his Highland friends, and at length proceeded to allude to the terrible penalties with which the chiefs among them had been visited. But here the tide of emotion rose too high to allow him to go on—his voice faltered, his eyes became fixed, and he fell convulsed on the floor. The noise brought into his room his daughter, the Duchess of Albany, who happened to be in an adjoining apartment. ‘Sir,’ she exclaimed, ’what is this? You have been speaking to my father about Scotland and the Highlanders! No one dares to mention those subjects in his presence.’”
He died on the 30th of January, 1788, in the arms of the Master of Nairn. The monument erected to him, his father, and brother, in St. Peter’s, by desire of George IV., was perhaps the most graceful tribute ever paid by royalty to misfortune—REGIO CINERI PIETAS REGIA.
ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF CULLODEN
Take away that star and garter—
Hide them from my aching sight:
Neither king nor prince shall tempt me
From my lonely room this night;
Fitting for the throneless exile
Is the atmosphere of pall,
And the gusty winds that shiver
’Neath the tapestry on the wall.
When the taper faintly dwindles
Like the pulse within the vein,
That to gay and merry measure
Ne’er may hope to bound again,
Let the shadows gather round me
While I sit in silence here,
Broken-hearted, as an orphan
Watching by his father’s bier.
Let me hold my still communion
Far from every earthly sound—
Day of penance—day of passion—
Ever, as the year comes round;
Fatal day, whereon the latest
Die was cast for me and mine—
Cruel day, that quelled the fortunes
Of the hapless Stuart line!
Phantom-like, as in a mirror,
Rise the griesly scenes of death—
There before me, in its wildness,
Stretches bare Culloden’s heath:
There the broken clans are scattered,
Gaunt as wolves, and famine-eyed,
Hunger gnawing at their vitals,
Hope abandoned, all but pride—
Pride, and that supreme devotion
Which the Southron never knew,
And the hatred, deeply rankling,
’Gainst the Hanoverian crew.
Oh, my God! are these the remnants,
These the wrecks of the array
That around the royal standard
Gathered on the glorious day,
When, in deep Glenfinnan’s valley;
Thousands, on their bended knees,
Saw once more that stately ensign
Waving in the northern breeze,
When the noble Tullibardine
Stood beneath its weltering fold,
With the Ruddy Lion ramping
In the field of tressured gold,
When the mighty heart of Scotland,
All too big to slumber more,
Burst in wrath and exultation,
Like a huge volcano’s roar?
There they stand, the battered columns,
Underneath the murky sky,
In the hush of desperation,
Not to conquer, but to die.
Hark! the bagpipe’s fitful wailing:
Not the pibroch loud and shrill,
That, with hope of bloody banquet,
Lured the ravens from the hill,
But a dirge both low and solemn,
Fit for ears of dying men,
Marshalled for their latest battle,
Never more to fight again.
Madness—madness! Why this shrinking?
Were we less inured to war
When our reapers swept the harvest
From the field of red Dunbar?
Bring my horse, and blow the trumpet!
Call the riders of Fitz-James:
Let Lord Lewis head the column!
Valiant chiefs of mighty names—
Trusty Keppoch, stout Glengarry,
Gallant Gordon, wise Locheill—
Bid the clansmen hold together,
Fast, and fell, and firm as steel.
Elcho, never look so gloomy—
“CHARLES EDWARD AT VERSAILLES”
Could I change this gilded bondage
Even for the dusky tower
Whence King James beheld his lady
Sitting in the castle bower.—p. 168.
James I. of Scotland, one of the most accomplished kings that ever sate upon a throne, is the person here indicated. His history is a very strange and romantic one. He was son of Robert III., and immediate younger brother of that unhappy Duke of Rothesay who was murdered at Falkland. His father, apprehensive of the designs and treachery of Albany, had determined to remove him, when a mere boy, for a season from Scotland; and as France was then considered the best school for the education of one so important from his high position, it was resolved to send him thither, under the care of the Earl of Orkney, and Fleming of Cumbernauld. He accordingly embarked at North Berwick, with little escort—as there was a truce for the time between England and Scotland; and they were under no apprehension of meeting with any vessels, save those of the former nation. Notwithstanding this, the ship which carried the Prince was captured by an armed merchantman, and carried to London, where Henry IV., the usurping Bolingbroke, utterly regardless of treaties, committed him and his attendants to the Tower.
“In vain,” says Mr. Tytler, “did the guardians of the young Prince remonstrate against this cruelty, or present to Henry a letter from the King his father, which, with much simplicity, recommended him to the kindness of the English monarch, should he find it necessary to land in his dominions. In vain did they represent that the mission to France was perfectly pacific, and its only object the education of the prince at the French court. Henry merely answered by a poor witticism, declaring that he himself knew the French language indifferently well, and that his father could not have sent him to a better master. So flagrant a breach of the law of nations, as the seizure and imprisonment of the heir-apparent, during the time of truce, would have called for the most violent remonstrances from any government, except that of Albany. But to this usurper of the supreme power, the capture of the Prince was the most grateful event which could have happened; and to detain him in captivity became, from this moment, one of the principal objects of his future life; we are not to wonder, then, that the conduct of Henry not only drew forth no indignation from the governor, but was not even followed by any request that the prince should be set at liberty.
“The aged King, already worn out by infirmity, and now broken by disappointment and sorrow, did not long survive the captivity of his son. It is said the melancholy news were brought him as he was sitting down to supper in his palace of Rothesay in Bute, and that the effect was such upon his affectionate but feeble spirit, that he drooped from that day forward, refused all sustenance, and died soon after of a broken heart.”
James was finally incarcerated in Windsor Castle, where he endured an imprisonment of nineteen years. Henry, though he had not hesitated to commit a heinous breach of faith, was not so cruel as to neglect the education of his captive. The young King was supplied with the best masters; and gradually became an adept in all the accomplishments of the age. He is a singular exception from the rule which maintains that monarchs are indifferent authors. As a poet, he is entitled to a very high rank indeed, being, I think, in point of sweetness and melody of verse, not much inferior to Chaucer. From the window of his chamber in the Tower, he had often seen a young lady, of great beauty and grace, walking in the garden; and the admiration which at once possessed him soon ripened into love. This was Lady Jane Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset and niece of Henry IV., and who afterwards became his queen. How he loved and how he wooed her is told in his own beautiful poem of “The King’s Quhair,” of which the following are a few stanzas:—
“Now there was made, fast by the
A garden fair; and in the corners set
An arbour green, with wandis long and small
Railed about, and so with trees set
Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet,
That lyf was none walking there forbye,
That might within scarce any wight espy.
“So thick the boughis and the leavis
Beshaded all the alleys that there were,
And mids of every arbour might be seen
The sharpe, greene, sweete juniper,
Growing so fair, with branches here and there,
That, as it seemed to a lyf without,
The boughis spread the arbour all about.
“And on the smalle greene twistis
The little sweet nightingale, and sung
So loud and clear the hymnis consecrat
Of lovis use, now soft, now loud among,
That all the gardens and the wallis rung
Right of their song.
“And therewith cast I down mine
Where as I saw, walking under the tower,
Full secretly, now comen here to plain,
The fairest or the freshest younge flower
That e’er I saw, methought, before that hour:
For which sudden abate, anon astart
The blood of all my body to my heart.
“And though I stood abasit for a
No wonder was; for why? my wittis all
Were so o’ercome with pleasance and delight—
Only through letting of my eyen fall—
That suddenly my heart became her thrall
For ever of free will, for of menace
There was no token in her sweete face.”
Wherefore, Love, didst thou betray
Where is now the tender glance?
Where the meaning looks once lavished
By the dark-eyed Maid of France?—p. 168.
There appears to be no doubt that Prince Charles was deeply attached to one of the princesses of the royal family of France. In the interesting collection called “Jacobite Memoirs,” compiled by Mr. Chambers from the voluminous MSS. of Bishop Forbes, we find the following passage from the narrative of Donald Macleod, who acted as a guide to the wanderer whilst traversing the Hebrides:—“When Donald was asked, if ever the Prince used to give any particular toast, when they were taking a cup of cold water, or the like; he said that the Prince very often drank to the Black Eye—by which, said Donald, he meant the second daughter of France, and I never heard him name any particular health but that alone. When he spoke of that lady—which he did frequently—he appeared to be more than ordinarily well pleased.”
The “gentle Locheill” may he considered as the pattern of a Highland Chief. Others who headed the insurrection may have been actuated by motives of personal ambition, and by a desire for aggrandisement; but no such charge can be made against the generous and devoted Cameron. He was, as we have already seen, the first who attempted to dissuade the Prince from embarking in an enterprise which he conscientiously believed to be desperate; but, having failed in doing so, he nobly stood firm to the cause which his conscience vindicated as just, and cheerfully imperilled his life, and sacrificed his fortune, at the bidding of his master. There was no one, even among those who espoused the other side, in Scotland, who did not commiserate the misfortunes of this truly excellent man, whose humanity was not less conspicuous than his valour throughout the civil war, and who died in exile of a broken heart.
Perhaps the best type of the Lowland Cavalier of that period, may be found in the person of Alexander Forbes, Lord Pitsligo, a nobleman whose conscientious views impelled him to take a different side from that adopted by the greater part of his house and name. Lord Forbes, the head of this very ancient and honourable family, was one of the first Scottish noblemen who declared for King William. Lord Pitsligo, on the contrary, having been educated abroad, and early introduced to the circle at Saint Germains, conceived a deep personal attachment to the members of the exiled line. He was anything but an enthusiast, as his philosophical and religious writings, well worthy of a perusal, will show. He was the intimate friend of Fenelon, and throughout his whole life was remarkable rather for his piety and virtue, than for keenness in political dispute.
After his return from France, Lord Pitsligo took his seat in the Scottish Parliament, and his parliamentary career has thus been characterised by a former writer. “Here it is no discredit either to his head or heart to say, that, obliged to become a member of one of the contending factions of the time, he adopted that which had for its object the independence of Scotland, and restoration of the ancient race of monarchs. The advantages which were in future to arise from the great measure of a national union were so hidden by the mist of prejudice, that it cannot be wondered at if Lord Pitsligo, like many a high-spirited man, saw nothing but disgrace in a measure forced on by such corrupt means, and calling in its commencement for such mortifying national sacrifices. The English nation, indeed, with a narrow, yet not unnatural, view of their own interest, took such pains to encumber and restrict the Scottish commercial privileges that it was not till the best part of a century after the event that the inestimable fruits of the treaty began to be felt and known. This distant period Lord Pitsligo could not foresee. He beheld his countrymen, like the Israelites of yore, led into the desert; but his merely human eye could not foresee that, after the extinction of a whole race—after a longer pilgrimage than that of the followers of Moses—the Scottish people should at length arrive at that promised land, of which the favourers of the Union held forth so gay a prospect.
“Looking upon the Act of Settlement of the Crown, and the Act of Abjuration, as unlawful, Lord Pitsligo retired to his house in the country, and threw up attendance on Parliament. Upon the death of Queen Anne he joined himself in arms with a general insurrection of the Highlanders and Jacobites, headed by his friend and relative the Earl of Mar.
“Mar, a versatile statesman and an able intriguer, had consulted his ambition rather than his talents when he assumed the command of such an enterprise. He sunk beneath the far superior genius of the Duke of Argyle; and after the undecisive battle of Sheriffmuir, the confederacy which he had formed, but was unable to direct, dissolved like a snow-ball, and the nobles concerned in it were fain to fly abroad. This exile was Lord Pitsligo’s fate for five or six years. Part of the time he spent at the Court, if it can be called so, of the old Chevalier de Saint George, where existed all the petty feuds, chicanery, and crooked intrigues which subsist in a real scene of the same character, although the objects of the ambition which prompts such arts had no existence. Men seemed to play at being courtiers in that illusory court, as children play at being soldiers.”
It would appear that Lord Pitsligo was not attainted for his share in Mar’s rebellion. He returned to Scotland in 1720, and resided at his castle in Aberdeenshire, not mingling in public affairs, but gaining, through his charity, kindness, and benevolence, the respect and affection of all around him. He was sixty-seven years of age when Charles Edward landed in Scotland. The district in which the estates of Lord Pitsligo lay was essentially Jacobite, and the young cavaliers only waited for a fitting leader to take up arms in the cause. According to Mr. Home, his example was decisive of the movement of his neighbours: “So when he who was so wise and prudent declared his purpose of joining Charles, most of the gentlemen in that part of the country who favoured the Pretender’s cause, put themselves under his command, thinking they could not follow a better or safer guide than Lord Pitsligo.” His Lordship’s own account of the motives which urged him on is peculiar:—“I was grown a little old, and the fear of ridicule stuck to me pretty much. I have mentioned the weightier considerations of a family, which would make the censure still the greater, and set the more tongues agoing. But we are pushed on, I know not how,—I thought—I weighed—and I weighed again. If there was any enthusiasm in it, it was of the coldest kind; and there was as little remorse when the affair miscarried, as there was eagerness at the beginning.”
The writer whom I have already quoted goes on to say—“To those friends who recalled his misfortunes of 1715, he replied gaily, ’Did you ever know me absent at the second day of a wedding?’ meaning, I suppose, that having once contracted an engagement, he did not feel entitled to quit it while the contest subsisted. Being invited by the gentlemen of the district to put himself at their head, and having surmounted his own desires, he had made a farewell visit at a neighbour’s house, where a little boy, a child of the family, brought out a stool to assist the old nobleman in remounting his horse. ‘My little fellow.’ said Lord Pitsligo, ’this is the severest rebuke I have yet received, for presuming to go on such an expedition.’
“The die was however cast, and Lord Pitsligo went to meet his friends at the rendezvous they had appointed in Aberdeen. They formed a body of well-armed cavalry, gentlemen and their servants, to the number of a hundred men. When they were drawn up in readiness to commence the expedition, the venerable nobleman, their leader, moved to their front, lifted his hat, and, looking up to heaven, pronounced, with a solemn voice, the awful appeal,—’O Lord, thou knowest that our cause is just!’ then added the signal for departure—’March, gentlemen!’
“Lord Pitsligo, with his followers, found Charles at Edinburgh, on 8th October 1745, a few days after the Highlanders’ victory at Preston. Their arrival was hailed with enthusiasm, not only on account of the timely reinforcement, but more especially from the high character of their leader. Hamilton of Bangour, in an animated and eloquent eulogium upon Pitsligo, states that nothing could have fallen out more fortunately for the Prince than his joining them did—for it seemed as if religion, virtue, and justice were entering his camp, under the appearance of this venerable old man; and what would have given sanction to a cause of the most dubious right, could not fail to render sacred the very best.”
Although so far advanced in years, he remained in arms during the whole campaign, and was treated with almost filial tenderness by the Prince. After Culloden, he became, like many more, a fugitive and an outlaw, but succeeded, like the Baron of Bradwardine, in finding a shelter upon the skirts of his own estate. Disguised as a mendicant, his secret was faithfully kept by the tenantry; and although it was more than surmised by the soldiers that he was lurking somewhere in the neighbourhood, they never were able to detect him. On one occasion he actually guided a party to a cave on the sea-shore, amidst the rough rocks of Buchan, where it was rumoured that he was lying in concealment; and on another, when overtaken by his asthma, and utterly unable to escape from an approaching patrol of soldiers, he sat down by the wayside, and acted his assumed character so well, that a good-natured fellow not only gave him alms, but condoled with him on the violence of his complaint.
For ten years he remained concealed, but in the mean time both title and estate were forfeited by attainder. His last escape was so very remarkable, that I may be pardoned for giving it in the language of the author of his memoirs.
“In March 1756, and of course long after all apprehension of a search had ceased, information having been given to the commanding officer at Fraserburgh, that Lord Pitsligo was at that moment at the house of Auchiries, it was acted upon with so much promptness and secrecy that the search must have proved successful but for a very singular occurrence. Mrs. Sophia Donaldson, a lady who lived much with the family, repeatedly dreamt, on that particular night, that the house was surrounded by soldiers. Her mind became so haunted with the idea, that she got out of bed, and was walking through the room, in hopes of giving a different current to her thoughts before she lay down again; when, day beginning to dawn, she accidentally looked out at the window as she passed it in traversing the room, and was astonished at actually observing the figures of soldiers among some trees near the house. So completely had all idea of a search been by that time laid asleep, that she supposed they had come to steal poultry—Jacobite poultry-yards
There was now no time to be lost in rousing the family, and all the haste that could be made was scarcely sufficient to hurry the venerable man from his bed into a small recess, behind the wainscot of an adjoining room, which was concealed by a bed, in which a lady, Miss Gordon of Towie, who was there on a visit, lay, before the soldiers obtained admission. A most minute search took place. The room in which Lord Pitsligo was concealed did not escape. Miss Gordon’s bed was carefully examined, and she was obliged to suffer the rude scrutiny of one of the party, by feeling her chin, to ascertain that it was not a man in a lady’s night-dress. Before the soldiers had finished their examination in this room, the confinement and anxiety increased Lord Pitsligo’s asthma so much, and his breathing became so loud, that it cost Miss Gordon, lying in bed, much and violent coughing, which she counterfeited, in order to prevent the high breathings behind the wainscot from being heard.
It may be easily conceived what agony she would suffer, lest, by overdoing her part, she should increase suspicion, and in fact lead to a discovery. The ruse was fortunately successful. On the search through the house being given over, Lord Pitsligo was hastily taken from his confined situation, and again replaced in bed; and, as soon as he was able to speak, his accustomed kindness of heart made him say to his servant—’James, go and see that these poor fellows get some breakfast and a drink of warm ale, for this is a cold morning; they are only doing their duty, and cannot bear me any ill-will.’ When the family were felicitating each other on his escape, he pleasantly observed—’A poor prize, had they obtained it—an old dying man!’”
This was the last attempt made on the part of government to seize on the persons of any of the surviving insurgents. Three years before, Dr. Archibald Cameron, a brother of Locheill, having clandestinely revisited Scotland, was arrested, tried, and executed for high treason at Tyburn. The government was generally blamed for this act of severity, which was considered rather to have been dictated by revenge than required for the public safety. It is, however, probable that they might have had secret information of certain negotiations which were still conducted in the Highlands by the agents of the Stuart family, and that they considered it necessary, by one terrible example, to overawe the
Dr. King, the Principal of St. Mary’s Hall, Oxford, has borne the following testimony to the character of Lord Pitsligo. “Whoever is so happy, either from his natural disposition, or his good judgment, constantly to observe St. Paul’s precept, ‘to speak evil of no one’ will certainly acquire the love and esteem of the whole community of which he is a member. But such a man is the rara avis in terris; and, among all my acquaintance, I have known only one person to whom I can with truth assign this character. The person I mean is the present Lord Pitsligo of Scotland. I not only never heard this gentleman speak an ill word of any man living, but I always observed him ready to defend any other person who was ill spoken of in his company. If the person accused were of his acquaintance, my Lord Pitsligo would always find something good to say of him as a counterpoise. If he were a stranger, and quite unknown to him, my lord would urge in his defence the general corruption of manners, and the frailties and infirmities of human nature.
“It is no wonder that such an excellent man, who, besides, is a polite scholar, and has many other great and good qualities, should be universally admired and beloved—insomuch, that I persuade myself he has not one enemy in the world. At least, to this general esteem and affection for his person, his preservation must be owing; for since his attainder he has never removed far from his own house, protected by men of different principles, and unsought for and unmolested by government.” To which eulogy it might be added, by those who have the good fortune to know his representatives, that the virtues here acknowledged seem hereditary in the family of Pitsligo.
The venerable old nobleman was permitted to remain without molestation at the residence of his son, during the latter years of an existence protracted to the extreme verge of human life. And so, says the author of his memoirs, “In this happy frame of mind,—calm and full of hope,—the saintly man continued to the last, with his reason unclouded, able to study his favourite volume, enjoying the comforts of friendship, and delighting in the
Such a character as this is well worthy of remembrance; and Lord Pitsligo has just title to be called the last of the old Scottish Cavaliers. I trust that, in adapting the words of the following little ballad to a well-known English air, I have committed no unpardonable larceny.
[Footnote 3: See Blackwood’s Magazine for May 1829.—Article “Lord Pitsligo.”]
Come listen to another song,
Should make your heart beat high,
Bring crimson to your forehead,
And the lustre to your eye;—
It is a song of olden time,
Of days long since gone by,
And of a Baron stout and bold
As e’er wore sword on thigh!
Like a brave old Scottish cavalier,
All of the olden time!
He kept his castle in the north,
Hard by the thundering Spey;
And a thousand vassals dwelt around
All of his kindred they.
And not a man of all that clan
Had ever ceased to pray
For the Royal race they loved so well,
Though exiled far away
From the steadfast Scottish cavaliers,
All of the olden time!
His father drew the righteous sword
For Scotland and her claims,
Among the loyal gentlemen
And chiefs of ancient names
Who swore to fight or fall beneath
The standard of King James,
And died at Killiecrankie pass
With the glory of the Graemes;
Like a true old Scottish cavalier,
All of the olden time!
He never owned the foreign rule,
No master he obeyed,
But kept his clan in peace at home,
From foray and from raid;
And when they asked him for his oath,
He touched his glittering blade,
And pointed to his bonnet blue,
That bore the white cockade:
Like a leal old Scottish cavalier,
All of the olden time!
At length the news ran through the land—
THE PRINCE had come again!
That night the fiery cross was sped
O’er mountain and through glen;
And our old Baron rose in might,
Like a lion from his den,
And rode away across the hills
To Charlie and his men,
With the valiant Scottish cavaliers,
All of the olden time!
He was the first that bent the knee
When the STANDARD waved abroad,
He was the first that charged the foe
On Preston’s bloody sod;
And ever, in the van of fight,
The foremost still he trod,
Until, on bleak Culloden’s heath,
He gave his soul to God,
Like a good old Scottish cavalier,
All of the olden time!
Oh! never shall we know again
A heart so stout and true—
The olden times have passed away,
And weary are the new:
The fair White Rose has faded
From the garden where it grew,
And no fond tears save those of heaven
The glorious bed bedew
Of the last old Scottish cavalier,
All of the olden time!
Place me once more, my daughter, where
May shine upon my old and time-worn head,
For the last time, perchance. My race is run;
And soon amidst the ever-silent dead
I must repose, it may be, half forgot.
Yes! I have broke the hard and bitter bread
For many a year, with those who trembled not
To buckle on their armour for the fight,
And set themselves against the tyrant’s lot;
And I have never bowed me to his might,
Nor knelt before him—for I bear within
My heart the sternest consciousness of right,
And that perpetual hate of gilded sin
Which made me what I am; and though the stain
Of poverty be on me, yet I win
More honour by it, than the blinded train
Who hug their willing servitude, and bow
Unto the weakest and the most profane.
Therefore, with unencumbered soul I go
Before the footstool of my Maker, where
I hope to stand as undebased as now!
Child! is the sun abroad? I feel my hair
Borne up and wafted by the gentle wind,
I feel the odours that perfume the air,
And hear the rustling of the leaves behind.
Within my heart I picture them, and then
I almost can forget that I am blind,
And old, and hated by my fellow-men.
Yet would I fain once more behold the grace
Of nature ere I die, and gaze again
Upon her living and rejoicing face—
Fain would I see thy countenance, my child,
My comforter! I feel thy dear embrace—
I hear thy voice, so musical, and mild,
The patient, sole interpreter, by whom
So many years of sadness are beguiled;
For it hath made my small and scanty room
Peopled with glowing visions of the past.
But I will calmly bend me to my doom,
And wait the hour which is approaching fast,
When triple light shall stream upon mine eyes,
And heaven itself be opened up at last
To him who dared foretell its mysteries.
I have had visions in this drear eclipse
Yet I am weak—oh! how entirely
For one who may not love nor suffer more!
Sometimes unbidden tears will wet my cheek,
And my heart bound as keenly as of yore,
Responsive to a voice, now hushed to rest,
Which made the beautiful Italian shore,
In all its pomp of summer vineyards drest,
An Eden and a Paradise to me.
Do the sweet breezes from the balmy west
Still murmur through thy groves, Parthenope,
In search of odours from the orange bowers?
Still on thy slopes of verdure does the bee
Cull her rare honey from the virgin flowers?
And Philomel her plaintive chaunt prolong
’Neath skies more calm and more serene than ours,
Making the summer one perpetual song?
Art thou the same as when in manhood’s pride
I walked in joy thy grassy meads among,
With that fair youthful vision by my side,
In whose bright eyes I looked—and not in vain?
O my adored angel! O my bride!
Despite of years, and woe, and want, and pain,
My soul yearns back towards thee, and I seem
To wander with thee, hand in hand, again,
By the bright margin of that flowing stream.
I hear again thy voice, more silver-sweet
Than fancied music floating in a dream,
Possess my being; from afar I greet
The waving of thy garments in the glade,
And the light rustling of thy fairy feet—
What time as one half eager, half afraid,
Love’s burning secret faltered on my tongue,
And tremulous looks and broken words betrayed
The secret of the heart from whence they sprung.
Ah me! the earth that rendered thee to heaven
Gave up an angel beautiful and young,
Spotless and pure as snow when freshly driven:
A bright Aurora for the starry sphere
Where all is love, and even life forgiven.
Bride of immortal beauty—ever dear!
Dost thou await me in thy blest abode?
While I, Tithonus-like, must linger here,
And count each step along the rugged road;
A phantom, tottering to a long-made grave,
And eager to lay down my weary load!
I, who was fancy’s lord, am fancy’s
Like the low murmurs of the Indian shell
Ta’en from its coral bed beneath the wave,
Which, unforgetful of the ocean’s swell,
Retains within its mystic urn the hum
Heard in the sea-grots where the Nereids dwell—
Old thoughts still haunt me—unawares they come
I did not waste the gifts which nature
Nor slothful lay in the Circean bower;
Nor did I yield myself the willing slave
Of lust for pride, for riches, or for power.
No! in my heart a nobler spirit dwelt;
For constant was my faith in manhood’s dower;
Man—made in God’s own image—and I felt
How of our own accord we courted shame,
Until to idols like ourselves we knelt,
And so renounced the great and glorious claim
Of freedom, our immortal heritage.
I saw how bigotry, with spiteful aim,
Smote at the searching eyesight of the sage,
How error stole behind the steps of truth,
And cast delusion on the sacred page.
So, as a champion, even in early youth
I waged my battle with a purpose keen;
Nor feared the hand of terror, nor the tooth
Of serpent jealousy. And I have been
With starry Galileo in his cell,
That wise magician with the brow serene,
Who fathomed space; and I have seen him tell
The wonders of the planetary sphere,
And trace the ramparts of heaven’s citadel
On the cold flag-stones of his dungeon drear.
And I have walked with Hampden and with Vane—
Names once so gracious to an English ear—
In days that never may return again.
My voice, though not the loudest, hath been heard
Whenever freedom raised her cry of pain,
And the faint effort of the humble bard
Hath roused up thousands from their lethargy,
To speak in words of thunder. What reward
Was mine, or theirs? It matters not; for I
Am but a leaf cast on the whirling tide,
Without a hope or wish, except to die.
But truth, asserted once, must still abide,
Unquenchable, as are those fiery springs
Which day and night gush from the mountain-side,
Perpetual meteors girt with lambent wings,
Which the wild tempest tosses to and fro,
But cannot conquer with the force it brings.
Yet I, who ever felt another’s woe
More keenly than my own untold distress;
I, who have battled with the common foe,
And broke for years the bread of bitterness;
Who never yet abandoned or betrayed
The trust vouchsafed me, nor have ceased to bless,
Am left alone to wither in the shade,
A weak old man, deserted by his kind—
Whom none will comfort in his age, nor aid!
Oh! let me not repine! A quiet mind,
Conscious and upright, needs no other stay;
Nor can I grieve for what I leave behind,
In the rich promise of eternal day.
Henceforth to me the world is dead and gone,
Its thorns unfelt, its roses cast away:
And the old pilgrim, weary and alone,
Bowed down with travel, at his Master’s gate
Now sits, his task of life-long labour done,
Thankful for rest, although it comes so late,
After sore journey through this world of sin,
In hope, and prayer, and wistfulness to wait,
Until the door shall ope, and let him in.
Hermotimus, the hero of this ballad, was a philosopher, or rather a prophet, of Clazomenae, who possessed the faculty, now claimed by the animal-magnetists, of effecting a voluntary separation between his soul and body; for the former could wander to any part of the universe, and even hold intercourse with supernatural beings, whilst the senseless frame remained at home. Hermotimus, however, was not insensible to the risk attendant upon this disunion; since, before attempting any of these aerial flights, he took the precaution to warn his wife, lest, ere the return of his soul, the body should be rendered an unfit or useless receptacle. This accident, which he so much dreaded, at length occurred; for the lady, wearied out by a succession of trances, each of longer duration than the preceding, one day committed his body to the flames, and thus effectually put a stop to such unconnubial conduct. He received divine honours at Clazomenae, but must nevertheless remain as a terrible example and warning to all husbands who carry their scientific or spiritual pursuits so far as to neglect their duty to their wives.
It is somewhat curious that Hermotimus is not the only person (putting the disciples of Mesmer and Dupotet altogether out of the question) who has possessed this miraculous power. Another and much later instance is recorded by Dr. George Cheyne, in his work entitled, The English Malady, or a Treatise of Nervous Diseases, as having come under his own observation; and, as this case is exactly similar to that of the Prophet, it may amuse the reader to see how far an ancient fable may be illustrated, and in part explained, by the records of modern science. Dr. Cheyne’s patient was probably cataleptic; but the worthy physician must be allowed to tell his own story.
“Colonel Townshend, a gentleman of honour and integrity, had for many years been afflicted with a nephritic complaint. His illness increasing, and his strength decaying, he came from Bristol to Bath in a litter, in autumn, and lay at the Bell Inn. Dr. Baynard and I were called to him, and attended him twice a-day; but his vomitings continuing still incessant and obstinate against all remedies, we despaired of his recovery. While he was in this condition, he sent for us one morning; we waited on him with
“Wilt not lay thee down in quiet
Weary dost thou seem, and ill at rest;
Sleep will bring thee dreams in starry number—
Let him come to thee and be thy guest.
Midnight now is past—
Husband! come at last—
Lay thy throbbing head upon my breast.”
“Weary am I, but my soul is waking;
Fain I’d lay me gently by thy side,
But my spirit then, its home forsaking,
Through the realms of space would wander wide—
What would be thy lot,
If I came not back to thee, my bride?”
“Music, like the lute of young Apollo,
Vibrates even now within mine ear;
Soft and silver voices bid me follow,
Yet my soul is dull and will not hear.
Waking it will stay:
Let me watch till day—
Fainter will they come, and disappear.”
“Speak not thus to me, my own—my
These are but the phantoms of thy brain;
Nothing can befall thee which thou fearest,
Thou shalt wake to love and life again.
Were this sleep thy last,
I should hold thee fast,
Thou shouldst strive against me but in vain.”
“Eros will protect us, and will
Guardian-like, above thee all the night,
Jealous of thee, as of some fond lover
Chiding back the rosy-fingered light—
He will be thine aid:
Canst thou feel afraid
When his torch above us burneth bright?”
“Lo! the cressets of the night are
Old Orion hastens from the sky;
Only thou of all things art remaining
Unrefreshed by slumber—thou and I.
Sound and sense are still;
Even the distant rill
Murmurs fainter now, and languidly.”
“Come and rest thee, husband!”—And
Could the young man that fond call resist:
Vainly was he warned, for love was stronger—
Warmly did he press her to his breast.
Warmly met she his;
Kiss succeeded kiss,
Till their eyelids closed with sleep oppressed.
Soon Aurora left her early pillow,
And the heavens grew rosy-rich, and rare;
Laughed the dewy plain and glassy billow,
For the Golden God himself was there;
And the vapour-screen
Rose the hills between,
Steaming up, like incense, in the air.
O’er her husband sate Ione bending—
Marble-like and marble-hued he lay;
Underneath her raven locks descending,
Paler seemed his face, and ashen gray,
And so white his brow—
White and cold as snow—
“Husband! Gods! his soul hath passed away!”
Raise ye up the pile with gloomy shadow—
Heap it with the mournful cypress-bough!—
And they raised the pile upon the meadow,
And they heaped the mournful cypress too;
And they laid the dead
On his funeral bed,
And they kindled up the flames below.
Swiftly rose they, and the corse surrounded,
Spreading out a pall into the air;
And the sharp and sudden crackling sounded
Mournfully to all the watchers there.
Soon their force was spent,
And the body blent
With the embers’ slow-expiring glare.
Night again was come; but oh, how lonely
To the mourner did that night appear!
Peace nor rest it brought, but sorrow only,
Vain repinings and unwonted fear.
Dimly burned the lamp—
Chill the air and damp—
And the winds without were moaning drear.
Hush! a voice in solemn whispers speaking
Breaks within the twilight of the room;
And Ione, loud and wildly shrieking,
Starts and gazes through the ghastly gloom.
Nothing sees she there—
All is empty air,
All is empty as a rifled tomb.
Once again the voice beside her sounded,
Low, and faint, and solemn was its tone—
“Nor by form nor shade am I surrounded,
Fleshly home and dwelling have I none.
They are passed away—
Woe is me! to-day
Hath robbed me of myself, and made me lone.”
“Vainly were the words of parting
Evermore must Charon turn from me.
Still my thread of life remains unbroken,
And unbroken ever it must be;
Only they may rest
Whom the Fates’ behest
From their mortal mansion setteth free.”
“I have seen the robes of Hermes
Seen him wave afar his serpent-wand;
But to me the Herald would not listen—
When the dead swept by at his command,
Not with that pale crew
Durst I venture too—
Ever shut for me the quiet land.”
“Day and night before the dreary
Phantom-shapes, the guards of Hades, lie;
None of heavenly kind, nor yet of mortal,
May unchallenged pass the warders by.
None that path may go,
If he cannot show
His last passport to eternity.”
“Cruel was the spirit-power thou
Fatal, O Apollo, was thy love!
Pythian! Archer! brightest God and bravest,
Hear, O hear me from thy throne above!
Let me not, I pray,
Thus be cast away:
Plead for me—thy slave—O plead to Jove!”
“I have heard thee with the Muses
Heard that full, melodious voice of thine,
Silver-clear throughout the ether ringing—
Seen thy locks in golden clusters shine;
And thine eye, so bright
With its innate light,
Hath ere now been bent so low as mine.”
“Hast thou lost the wish—the
Those who trusted in thy godlike power?
Hyacinthus did not wholly perish;
Still he lives, the firstling of thy bower;
Still he feels thy rays,
Fondly meets thy gaze,
Though but now the spirit of a flower.”
“Hear me, Phoebus! Hear me
Lo! the morning breaketh from afar—
God! thou comest bright and great as ever—
Night goes back before thy burning car;
All her lamps are gone—
Lingers still for thee—the blessed star!”
“Hear me, Phoebus!”—And
Through the window-arch a glory-gleam,
All effulgent—and with music blended,
For such solemn sounds arose as stream
From the Memnon-lyre,
When the morning fire
Gilds the giant’s forehead with its beam.
“Thou hast heard thy servant’s
Thou dost call me, mighty God of Day!
Fare-thee-well, Ione!”—And more hollow
Came the phantom-voice, then died away.
When the slaves arose,
Not in calm repose,
Not in sleep, but death, their mistress lay.
On the holy mount of Ida,
Where the pine and cypress grow,
Sate a young and lovely woman,
Weeping ever, weeping low.
Drearily throughout the forest
Did the winds of autumn blow,
And the clouds above were flying,
And Scamander rolled below.
“Faithless Paris! cruel Paris!”
Thus the poor deserted spake—
“Wherefore thus so strangely leave me?
Why thy loving bride forsake?
Why no tender word at parting?
Why no kiss, no farewell take?
Would that I could but forget thee—
Would this throbbing heart might break!
“Is my face no longer blooming?
Are my eyes no longer bright?
Ah! my tears have made them dimmer,
And my cheeks are pale and white.
I have wept since early morning,
I will weep the livelong night;
Now I long for sullen darkness,
As I once have longed for light.
“Paris! canst thou then be cruel?
Fair, and young, and brave thou art—
Can it be that in thy bosom
Lies so cold, so hard a heart?
Children were we bred together—
She who bore me suckled thee;
I have been thine old companion,
When thou hadst no more but me.
“I have watched thee in thy slumbers,
When the shadow of a dream
Passed across thy smiling features,
Like the ripple of a stream;
And so sweetly were the visions
Pictured there with lively grace,
That I half could read their import
By the changes on thy face.
“When I sang of Ariadne,
Sang the old and mournful tale,
How her faithless lover, Theseus,
Left her to lament and wail;
Then thine eyes would fill and glisten,
Her complaint could soften thee:
Thou hast wept for Ariadne—
Theseus’ self might weep for me!
“Thou may’st find another
With a fairer face than mine—
With a gayer voice, and sweeter,
And a spirit liker thine:
For if e’er my beauty bound thee,
Lost and broken is the spell;
But thou canst not find another
That will love thee half so well.
“O thou hollow ship that bearest
Paris o’er the faithless deep,
Wouldst thou leave him on some island,
Where alone the waters weep?
Where no human foot is moulded
In the wet and yellow sand—
Leave him there, thou hollow vessel!
Leave him on that lonely land!
“Then his heart will surely soften,
When his foolish hopes decay,
And his older love rekindle,
As the new one dies away.
Visionary hills will haunt him,
Rising from the glassy sea,
And his thoughts will wander homewards
Unto Ida and to me.
“O! that like a little swallow
I could reach that lonely spot!
All his errors would be pardoned,
All the weary past forgot.
Never should he wander from me—
Never should he more depart,
For these arms would be his prison,
And his home would be my heart.”
Thus lamented fair Oenone,
Weeping ever, weeping low,
On the holy mount of Ida,
Where the pine and cypress grow.
In the self-same hour Cassandra
Shrieked her prophecy of woe,
And into the Spartan dwelling
Did the faithless Paris go.
In the silence of my chamber,
When the night is still and deep,
And the drowsy heave of ocean
Mutters in its charmed sleep,
Oft I hear the angel-voices
That have thrilled me long ago,—
Voices of my lost companions,
Lying deep beneath the snow.
O, the garden I remember,
In the gay and sunny spring,
When our laughter made the thickets
And the arching alleys ring!
O the merry burst of gladness!
O the soft and tender tone!
O the whisper never uttered
Save to one fond ear alone!
O the light of life that sparkled
In those bright and bounteous eyes!
O the blush of happy beauty,
Tell-tale of the heart’s surprise:
O the radiant light that girdled
Field and forest, land and sea,
When we all were young together,
And the earth was new to me:
Where are now the flowers we tended?
Withered, broken, branch and stem;
Where are now the hopes we cherished?
Scattered to the winds with them.
For ye, too, were flowers, ye dear ones!
Nursed in hope and reared in love,
Looking fondly ever upward
To the clear blue heaven above:
Smiling on the sun that cheered us,
Rising lightly from the rain,
Never folding up your freshness
Save to give it forth again:
Never shaken, save by accents
From a tongue that was not free,
As the modest blossom trembles
At the wooing of the bee.
O! ’tis sad to lie and reckon
All the days of faded youth,
All the vows that we believed in,
All the words we spoke in truth.
Severed—were it severed only
By an idle thought of strife,
Such as time might knit together;
Not the broken chord of life!
O my heart! that once so truly
Kept another’s time and tune,
Heart, that kindled in the spring-tide,
Look around thee in the noon.
Where are they who gave the impulse
To thy earliest thought and flow?
Look around the ruined garden—
All are withered, dropped, or low!
Seek the birth-place of the lily,
Dearer to the boyish dream
Than the golden cups of Eden,
Floating on its slumbrous stream;
Never more shalt thou behold her—
She, the noblest, fairest, best:
She that rose in fullest beauty,
Like a queen, above the rest.
Only still I keep her image
As a thought that cannot die;
He who raised the shade of Helen
Had no greater power than I.
O! I fling my spirit backward,
And I pass o’er years of pain;
All I loved is rising round me,
All the lost returns again.
Blow, for ever blow, ye breezes,
Warmly as ye did before!
Bloom again, ye happy gardens,
With the radiant tints of yore!
Warble out in spray and thicket,
All ye choristers unseen;
Let the leafy woodland echo
With an anthem to its queen!
Lo! she cometh in her beauty,
Stately with a Juno grace,
Raven locks, Madonna-braided
O’er her sweet and blushing face:
Eyes of deepest violet, beaming
With the love that knows not shame—
Lips, that thrill my inmost being
With the utterance of a name.
And I bend the knee before her,
As a captive ought to bow,—
Pray thee, listen to my pleading,
Sovereign of my soul art thou!
O my dear and gentle lady,
Let me show thee all my pain,
Ere the words that late were prisoned
Sink into my heart again.
Love, they say, is very fearful
Ere its curtain be withdrawn,
Trembling at the thought of error
As the shadows scare the fawn.
Love hath bound me to thee, lady,
Since the well-remembered day
When I first beheld thee coming
In the light of lustrous May.
Not a word I dared to utter—
More than he who, long ago,
Saw the heavenly shapes descending
Over Ida’s slopes of snow:
When a low and solemn music
Floated through the listening grove,
And the throstle’s song was silenced,
And the doling of the dove:
When immortal beauty opened
All its grace to mortal sight,
And the awe of worship blended
With the throbbing of delight.
As the shepherd stood before them
Trembling in the Phrygian dell,
Even so my soul and being
Owned the magic of the spell;
And I watched thee ever fondly,
Watched thee, dearest! from afar,
With the mute and humble homage
Of the Indian to a star.
Thou wert still the Lady Flora
In her morning garb of bloom;
Where thou wert was light and glory,
Where thou wert not, dearth and gloom.
So for many a day I followed
For a long and weary while,
Ere my heart rose up to bless thee
For the yielding of a smile,—
Ere thy words were few and broken
As they answered back to mine,
Ere my lips had power to thank thee
For the gift vouchsafed by thine.
Then a mighty gush of passion
Through my inmost being ran;
Then my older life was ended,
And a dearer course began.
Dearer!—O, I cannot tell thee
What a load was swept away,
What a world of doubt and darkness
Faded in the dawning day!
All my error, all my weakness,
All my vain delusions fled:
Hope again revived, and gladness
Waved its wings above my head.
Like the wanderer of the desert,
When, across the dreary sand,
Breathes the perfume from the thickets
Bordering on the promised land;
When afar he sees the palm-trees
Cresting o’er the lonely well,
When he hears the pleasant tinkle
Of the distant camel’s bell:
So a fresh and glad emotion
Rose within my swelling breast,
And I hurried swiftly onwards
To the haven of my rest.
Thou wert there with word and welcome,
With thy smile so purely sweet;
And I laid my heart before thee,
Laid it, darling, at thy feet!—
O ye words that sound so hollow
As I now recall your tone!
What are ye but empty echoes
Of a passion crushed and gone?
Wherefore should I seek to kindle
Light, when all around is gloom?
Wherefore should I raise a phantom
O’er the dark and silent tomb?
Early wert thou taken, Mary!
In thy fair and glorious prime,
Ere the bees had ceased to murmur
Through the umbrage of the lime.
Buds were blowing, waters flowing,
Birds were singing on the tree,
Every thing was bright and glowing,
When the angels came for thee.
Death had laid aside his terror,
And he found thee calm and mild,
Lying in thy robes of whiteness,
Like a pure and stainless child.
Hardly had the mountain violet
Spread its blossoms on the sod,
Ere they laid the turf above thee,
And thy spirit rose to God.
Early wert thou taken, Mary!
And I know ’tis vain to weep—
Tears of mine can never wake thee
From thy sad and silent sleep.
O away! my thoughts are earthward!
Not asleep, my love, art thou!
Dwelling in the land of glory
With the saints and angels now.
Brighter, fairer far than living,
With no trace of woe or pain,
Robed in everlasting beauty,
Shall I see thee once again,
By the light that never fadeth,
Underneath eternal skies,
When the dawn of resurrection
Breaks o’er deathless Paradise.
THE OLD CAMP
There is a cloud before the sun,
The wind is hushed and still,
And silently the waters run
Beneath the sombre hill.
The sky is dark in every place,
As is the earth below:
Methinks it wore the self-same face
Two thousand years ago.
No light is on the ancient wall,
No light upon the mound;
The very trees, so thick and tall,
Cast gloom, not shade, around.
So silent is the place and cold,
So far from human ken,
It hath a look that makes me old,
And spectres time again.
I listen, half in thought to hear
The Roman trumpet blow—
I search for glint of helm and spear
Amidst the forest bough:
And armour rings, and voices swell—
I hear the legion’s tramp,
And mark the lonely sentinel
Who guards the lonely camp.
Methinks I have no other home,
No other hearth to find;
For nothing save the thought of Rome
Is stirring in my mind.
And all that I have heard or dreamed,
And all I had forgot,
Are rising up, as though they seemed
The household of the spot.
And all the names that Romans knew
Seem just as known to me,
As if I were a Roman too—
A Roman born and free:
And I could rise at Caesar’s name,
As though it were a charm
To draw sharp lightning from the tame,
And brace the coward’s arm.
And yet, if yonder sky were blue,
And earth were sunny gay,
If nature wore the summer hue
That decked her yesterday,
The mound, the trench, the rampart’s space,
Would move me nothing more
Than many a sweet sequestred place
That I have marked before.
I could not feel the breezes bring
Rich odours from the trees;
I could not hear the linnets sing,
And think on themes like these.
The painted insects as they pass
In swift and motley strife,
The very lizard in the grass
Would scare me back to life.
Then is the past so gloomy now
That it may never bear
The open smile of nature’s brow,
Or meet the sunny air?
I know not that—but joy is power,
However short it last;
And joy befits the present hour,
If sadness fits the past.
DANUBE AND THE EUXINE
“Danube, Danube! wherefore com’st
Red and raging to my caves?
Wherefore leap thy swollen waters
Madly through the broken waves?
Wherefore is thy tide so sullied
With a hue unknown to me;
Wherefore dost thou bring pollution
To the old and sacred sea?”
“Ha! rejoice, old Father Euxine!
I am brimming full and red;
Noble tidings do I carry
From my distant channel-bed.
I have been a Christian river
Dull and slow this many a year,
Rolling down my torpid waters
Through a silence morne and drear;
Have not felt the tread of armies
Trampling on my reedy shore;
Have not heard the trumpet calling,
Or the cannon’s gladsome roar;
Only listened to the laughter
From the village and the town,
And the church-bells, ever jangling,
As the weary day went down.
So I lay and sorely pondered
On the days long since gone by,
When my old primaeval forests
Echoed to the war-man’s cry;
When the race of Thor and Odin
Held their battles by my side,
And the blood of man was mingling
Warmly with my chilly tide.
Father Euxine! thou rememb’rest
How I brought thee tribute then—
Swollen corpses, gashed and gory,
Heads and limbs of slaughter’d men?
Father Euxine! be thou joyful!
I am running red once more—
Not with heathen blood, as early,
But with gallant Christian gore!
For the old times are returning,
And the Cross is broken down,
And I hear the tocsin sounding
In the village and the town;
And the glare of burning cities
Soon shall light me on my way—
Ha! my heart is big and jocund
With the draught I drank to-day.
Ha! I feel my strength awakened,
And my brethren shout to me;
Each is leaping red and joyous
To his own awaiting sea.
Rhine and Elbe are plunging downward
Through their wild anarchic land,
Everywhere are Christians falling
By their brother Christians’ hand!
Yea, the old times are returning,
And the olden gods are here!
Take my tribute, Father Euxine,
To thy waters dark and drear.
FROM THE GERMAN OF FREILIGRATH
“Lift me without the tent, I say,—
Me and my ottoman,—
I’ll see the messenger myself!
It is the caravan
From Africa, thou sayest,
And they bring us news of war?
Draw me without the tent, and quick!
As at the desert well
The freshness of the purling brook
Delights the tired gazelle,
So pant I for the voice of him
That cometh from afar!”
The Scheik was lifted from his tent,
And thus outspake the Moor:—
“I saw, old Chief, the Tricolor
On Algiers’ topmost tower—
Upon its battlements the silks
Of Lyons flutter free.
Each morning, in the market-place,
The muster-drum is beat,
And to the war-hymn of Marseilles
The squadrons pace the street.
The armament from Toulon sailed:
The Franks have crossed the sea.”
“Towards the south, the columns
Beneath a cloudless sky:
Their weapons glittered in the blaze
Of the sun of Barbary;
And with the dusty desert sand
Their horses’ manes were white.
The wild marauding tribes dispersed
In terror of their lives;
They fled unto the mountains
With their children and their wives,
And urged the clumsy dromedary
Up the Atlas’ height.”
“The Moors have ta’en their
The volleys thunder fast—
The dark defile is blazing
Like a heated oven-blast;
The lion hears the strange turmoil,
And leaves his mangled prey—
No place was that for him to feed;
And thick and loud the cries,
Feu!—Allah! Allah!—En avant!
In mingled discord rise;
The Franks have reached the summit—
They have won the victory!”
“With bristling steel, upon the
The victors take their stand:
Beneath their feet, with all its towns,
They see the promised land—
From Tunis, even unto Fez,
From Atlas to the seas.
The cavaliers alight to gaze,
And gaze full well they may,
Where countless minarets stand up
So solemnly and gray,
Amidst the dark-green masses
Of the flowering myrtle-trees.”
“The almond blossoms in the vale;
The aloe from the rock
Throws out its long and prickly leaves,
Nor dreads the tempest’s shock:
A blessed land, I ween, is that,
Though luckless is its Bey.
There lies the sea—beyond lies France!
Her banners in the air
Float proudly and triumphantly—
A salvo! come, prepare!
And loud and long the mountains rang
With that glad artillery.”
“’Tis they!” exclaimed
the aged Scheik.
“I’ve battled by their side—
I fought beneath the Pyramids!
That day of deathless pride—
Red as thy turban, Moor, that eve,
Was every creek in Nile!
But tell me—” and he griped his hand—
“Their Sultaun. Stranger, say—
His form—his face—his posture, man?
Thou saw’st him in the fray?
His eye—what wore he?” But the Moor
Sought in his vest awhile.
“Their Sultaun, Scheik, remains
Within his palace walls:
He sends a Pasha in his stead
To brave the bolts and balls.
He was not there. An Aga burst
For him through Atlas’ hold.
Yet I can show thee somewhat too.
A Frankish Cavalier
Told me his effigy was stamped
Upon this medal here—
He gave me with others
For an Arab steed I sold.”
The old man took the golden coin:
Gazed steadfastly awhile,
If that could be the Sultaun
Whom from the banks of Nile
He guided o’er the desert path—
Then sighed and thus spake he—
“’Tis not his eye—’tis not his brow—
Another face is there:
I never saw this man before—
His head is like a pear!
Take back thy medal, Moor—’tis not
That which I hoped to see.”
FROM THE GERMAN OF WILHELM MUeLLER
I am Constantine Kanaris:
I, who lie beneath this stone,
Twice into the air in thunder
Have the Turkish galleys blown.
In my bed I died—a Christian,
Hoping straight with Christ to be;
Yet one earthly wish is buried
Deep within the grave with me—
That upon the open ocean
When the third Armada came,
They and I had died together,
Whirled aloft on wings of flame.
Yet ’tis something that they’ve
In a land without a stain:
Keep it thus, my God and Saviour,
Till I rise from earth again!
FROM THE ROMAIC
Why look the distant mountains
So gloomy and so drear?
Are rain-clouds passing o’er them,
Or is the tempest near?
No shadow of the temptest
Is there, nor wind nor rain—
’Tis Charon that is passing by,
With all his gloomy train.
The young men march before him,
In all their strength and pride;
The tender little infants,
They totter by his side;
The old men walk behind him,
And earnestly they pray—
Both old and young imploring him
To grant some brief delay.
“O Charon! halt, we pray thee,
Beside some little town,
Or near some sparkling fountain,
Where the waters wimple down!
The old will drink and be refreshed,
The young the disc will fling,
And the tender little children
Pluck flowers beside the spring.”
“I will not stay my journey,
Nor halt by any town,
Near any sparkling fountain,
Where the waters wimple down:
The mothers coming to the well,
Would know the babes they bore,
The wives would clasp their husbands,
Nor could I part them more.”
[Footnote 4: According to the superstition of the modern Greeks, Charon performs the function which their ancestors assigned to Hermes, of conducting the souls of the dead to the other world.]