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Throw Ewisdail, Eskdail, and all the daills rode he,
Scottish Poems, 16th century, p. 232.
With hackbut bent, my secret stand.-P. 271. v. 1.
The carabine, with which the regent was shot, is preserved at Hamilton Palace. It is a brass piece, of a middling length, very small in the bore, and, what is rather extraordinary, appears to have been rifled or indented in the barrel. It had a match-lock, for which a modern five-lock has been injudiciously substituted.
Dark Morton, girt with many a spear.-P. 271. v. 2.
Of this noted person it is enough to say, that he was active in the murder of David Rizzio, and at least privy to that of Darnley.
The wild Macfarlane's plaided clan.-P. 271. v. 2.
This clan of Lennox Highlanders were attached to the Regent Murray. Holinshed, speaking of the battle of Langside, says, “ In this batayle the valiancie of an Hieland gentleman, named Macfarlane, stood the regent's part in great steede ; for, in the hottest brunte of the fighte, he came up with two hundred of his friendes and countrymen, and so manfully gave in upon the Aankes of the queen's people, that he was a great cause
of the disordering of them. This Macfarlane had been lately before, as I have heard, condemned to die, for some outrage by him committed, and obtayning pardon through suyte of the Countess of Murray, he recompenced that clemencie by this peice of service now at this batayle.” Calderwood's account is less favourable to the Macfarlanes. He states, that “ Macfarlane, with his Highlandmen, fled from the wing where they were set. The Lord Lindsay, who stood nearest to them in the re. gent's battle, said, “Let them go ! I shall fill their place better ;' and so stepping forward with a company of fresh men, charged the enemy, whose spears were now spent, with long weapons, so that they were driven back by force, being before almost overthrown by the avant-guard and harquebusiers, and so were turned to flight.”_Calderwood's MS. apud Keith, p. 480. Melville mentions the fight of the vanguard, but states it to have been commanded by Morton, and composed chiefly of commoners of the barony of Renfrew.
Glencairn and stout Parkhead were nigh,
Obsequious at their regent's rein.-P. 271. v. 3. The Earl of Glencairn was a steady adherent of the regent. George Douglas of Parkhead was a natural bro. ther of the Earl of Morton ; his horse was killed by the same ball by which Murray fell.
And haggard Lindsay's iron eye,
That sar fair Mary weep in vain_P. 271. v. 3. Lord Lindsay of the Byres was the most ferocious and
brutal of the regent's faction; and, as such, was employed to extort Mary's signature to the deed of resigna. tion, presented to her in Lochleven Castle. He dischar. ged his commission with the most savage rigour ; and it is even said, that when the weeping captive, in the act of signing, averted her eyes from the fatal deed, he pinched her arm with the grasp of his iron glove.
Scarce could his trampling charger move,
So close the minions crowded nigh.-P. 271. v. 4. Richard Bannatyne mentions in his Journal, that John Knox repeatedly warned Murray to avoid Linlithgow.
Not only had the regent notice of the intended attempt upon his life, but even of the very house from which it was threatened.--With that infatuation, at which men wonder after such events have happened, he deemed it would be a sufficient precaution to ride briskly past the dangerous spot. But even this was prevented by the crowd ; so that Bothwellhaugh had time to take a deli. berate aim.-Spottiswoode, p. 233. Buchanan.
The imperfect state of this ballad, which was written several years ago, is not a circumstance affected for the purpose of giving it that peculiar interest, which is often found to arise from ungratified curiosity. On the contrary, it was the author's intention to have completed the tale, if he had found himself able to succeed to his own satisfaction. Yielding to the opinion of persons, whose judgment, if not biassed by the partiality of friendship, is entitled to deference, the author has preferred inserting these verses, as a fragment, to his intention of entirely suppressing them.
The tradition, upon which the tale is founded, regards a house, upon the barony of Gilmerton, near Lasswade, in Mid Lothian. This building, now called Gil
merton-Grange, was originally called Burndale, from the following tragic adventure. The Barony of Gilmerton belonged of yore to a gentleman, named Heron, who had one beautiful daughter. This young lady was seduced by the Abbot of Newbattle, a richly-endowed abbey, upon the banks of the South Esk, now a seat of the Marquis of Lothian. Heron came to the knowledge of this circumstance, and learned, also, that the lovers carried on their guilty intercourse by the connivance of the lady's nurse, who lived at this house, of Gilmerton-Grange or Burndale. He formed a resolution of bloody vengeance, undeterred by the suppo sed sanctity of the clerical character, or by the stronger claims of natural affection. Chusing, therefore, a dark and windy night, when the objects of his vengeance were engaged in a stolen interview, he set fire to a stack of dried thorns, and other combustibles, which he had caused to be piled against the house, and reduced to a pile of glowing ashes the dwelling, with all its inmates. *
* This tradition was communicated to me by John Clark, Esq. of Eldin, author of an Essay upon Naval Tactics; who will be remembered by posterity, as having taught the Genius of Britain to concentrate her thunders, and to launch them against her foes with an unerring aim.