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other by repeating ancient tales and traditions, he was informed, that if any knight, unattended, entered an adjacent plain by moonlight, and challenged an adversary to appear, he would be immediately encountered by a spirit in the form of a knight. Osbert resolved to make the experiment, and set out attended by a single squire, whom he ordered to remain without the limits of the plain, which was surrounded by am ancient entrenchment. On repeating the challenge, he was instantly assailed by an adversary, whom he quickly unhorsed, and seized the reins of his steed. During this operation, his ghostly opponent sprung up, and, darting his spear, like a javelin, at Osbert, wounded him in the thigh. Osbert returned in triumph with the horse, which he committed to the care of his servants. The horse was of a sable colour, as well as his whole accoutrements, and apparently of great beauty and vigour. He remained with his keeper till cockcrowing, when, with eyes flashing fire, he reared, spurned the ground, and vanished. On disarming himself, Osbert perceived that he was wounded, and that one of his steel-boots was full of blood. Gervase adds, that, as long as he lived, the scar of his wound opened afresh on the anniversary of the eve on which he encountered the spirit.—Less fortunate was the gallant Bohemian knight, who travelling by night, with a single companion, came in sight of a Fairy host, arrayed under displayed banners. Despising the remonstrances of his friend, the knight pricked forward to break a lance with a champion, who advanced from the ranks, apparently in defiance. His companion beheld the Bohemian overthrown, horse and man, by his aerial adversary; and returning to the spot next morning, he found the mangled corpses of the knight and steed.—Hierarchie of Blessed Angels, p. 554. Besides the instances of Elfin Chivalry, above quoted, many others might be alleged in support of employing Fairy machinery in this manner. The forest of Glenmore, in the North Highlands, is believed to be haunted by a spirit called Lhamdearg, in the array of an ancient warrior, having a bloody-hand, from which he takes his name. He insists upon those with whom he meets doing battle with him; and the clergyman, who makes up an account of the district, extant in the Macfarlane MS., in the Advocates' Library, gravely assuresus, that, in his time, Lham-dearg fought with three brothers whom he met in his walk, none of whom long survived the ghostly conflict. Barclay, in his “Euphormion,” gives a singular account of an officer who had ventured, with his servant, rather to intrude upon a haunted house, in a town in Flanders, than to put up with worse quarters elsewhere. After taking the usual precautions of providing fires, lights, and arms, they watched till midnight, when, behold! the severed arm of a man dropped from the ceiling; this was followed by the legs, the other arm, the trunk, and the head of the body, all separately. The members rolled together, united themselves in the presence of the astonished soldiers, and formed a gigantic warrior, which defied them both to combat. Their blows, although they penetrated the body, and amputated the limbs of their strange antagomist, had, as the reader may easily believe, little effect on an enemy who possessed such powers of self-union; nor did his efforts make more effectual impression upon them. How the combat terminated I do not exactly remember, and have not the book by me; but I think the spirit made to the intruders on his mansion the usual proposal, that they should renounce their redemption, which being declined, he was obliged to retreat. The most singular tale of the kind is contained in an extract communicated to me by my friend Mr. Surtees of Mainsforth, in the bishopric, who copied it from a MS. note in a copy of Burthogge “On the nature of Spirits,” 8vo. 1694, which had been the property of the late Mr. Gill, attorney-general to Egerton, Bishop of Durham. “It was not,” says my obliging correspondent, “in Mr. Gill's own hand, but probably an hundred years older, and was said to be Elibro Convent. Dunelm. per T. C. extract. whom I believe to have been Thomas Cradocke, Esq, barrister, who held several offices under the see of Durham an hundred years ago. Mr. Gill was possessed of most of his manuscripts.” The extract, which, in fact, sug.
gested the introduction of the tale into the present poem, runs thus: “Rem miram hujusmodi qua nostris temporibus evenit, teste viro mobili ac side dignissimo, enarrare haud pigebit. Radulphus Bulmer, cum e castris qual tunc temporis prope Norham posita crant, oblectationis causa exiissit, ac in ulteriore Tueda ripa predam cum canibus leporariis insequeretur, forte cum Scoto quodam nobili, sibi antehac ut videbatur familiariter cognito, congressus est; acut faserat inter inimicos, flagrante bello, brevissima interrogationis mora interposita, alterutros invicem incitato cursu. infestis animispetiere. Noster, primo occursu, equopra acerrime hostis impetu labante, in terram eversus pectore et capite laso, sanguinem, mortuo similis, evomebat. Quem ut seagre habentem eomiter allocutus est alter, pollicitusque modo auxilium non abnegaret, monitisque obtemperans ab omni rerum sacrarum cogitatione abstineret, nec Deo, Deiparat Virgini, Sanctove ullo, preces aut vota offerret vel intersese conciperet, se brevieumsanum vali dumque restiturum esse. Prae angore oblata conditio accepta est; ac veterator ille mescio quid obscani murmuris insusurrans, prehensa manu, dicto citius in pedes samum ut antea sublevavit. Noster autem, marima prae rei inaudita novitate formidine perculsus, Mi Jesus exclamat, vel quid simile ; ac subite respiciens nec hostem necullum alium conspicit, equum solum gravissimo owper casu. aflictum, persummam pacem in rivo fluvii pascentem. Ad castra itaque mirabundus revertens, fidei dubius, rem primo occultavit, dein confecto bello, Confessori swo totam asserwit. Delusoria procul dubio res tota, ac mala veteratoris illius aperitur fraus, qua hominem Christianum ad vetitum tale auxilium pelliceret. Nomen atcumque illius (nobilis alias acclari) reticendum duco, cum haud dubium sit quin Diabolus, Deo permittente, formam quam libuerit, immo angeli lucis, sacro oculo Dei teste, posse assumere.” The MS. chronicle, from which Mr. Cradocke took this curious extract, cannot now be found in the chapter library of Durham, or, at least, has hitherto escaped the researches of my friendly correspondent. Lindesay is made to allude to this adventure of Ralph Bulmer, as a well known story, in the 4th Canto, Stanza XXII.
The northern champions of old were accustomed peculiarly to search for, and delight in encounters with such military spectres. See a whole chapter on the subject in Bartholinus De Causis contempta Mortis a Danis, p. 253.
Close to the hut, no more his own,
Close to the aid he sought in vain,
The morn may find the stiffoned swain.-P. 124.
I cannot help here mentioning, that, on the night in which
these lines were written, suggested, as they were, by a sudden fall of snow, beginning after sunset, an unfortunate man perished exactly in the manner here described, and his body was next morning found close to his own house. The accident happened within five miles of the farm of Ashestiel.
Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo, Baronet; unequalled, perhaps, in the degree of individual affection entertained for him by his friends, as well as in the general respect and esteem of Scotland at large. His “Life of Beattie,” whom he befriended and patronized in life, as well as celebrated after his decease, was not long published before the benevolent and affectionate biographer was called to follow the subject of his narrative. The same melancholy event very shortly succeeded the marriage of the friend to whom this introduction is addressed with one of Sir William's daughters.