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And given them light to set their hoods.-P. 41. The garrisons of the English castles of Wark, Norham, and Berwick, were, as may be easily supposed, very troublesome neighbours to Scotland. Sir Richard Maitland of Ledington wrote a poem, called “ The Blind Baron’s Comfort;" when his barony of Blythe, in Lauderdale, was haried by Rowland Foster, the English captain of Wark, with his company, to the number of 300 men. They spoiled the poetical knight of 5000 sheep, 200 nolt, 30 horses and mares; the whole furniture of his house of Blythe, worth 100 pounds Scots, (L. 8:6:8)'and every thing else that was portable. “ This spoil was committed the 16th day of May, 1570, (and the said Sir Richard was threescore and fourteen years of age, and grown blind,) in time of peace; when nane of that country lippend (expected) such a thing.” “ The Blind Baron's Comfort” consists in a string of puns on the word Blythe, the name of the lands thus despoiled. Like John Littlewit, he had “ a conceit left him in his misery,– a miserable conceit.”
The last line of the text contains a phrasé, by which the Borderers jocularly intimated the burning a house. When
the Maxwells, in 1685, burned the castle of Lochwood, they said they did so to give the Lady Johnstone “ light to set her hood :" Nor was the phrase inapplicable; for, in a letter, to which I have mislaid the reference, the Earl of Northumberland writes to the king and council, that he dressed himself, at midnight, at Warwick, by the blaze of the neighbouring villages burned by the Scottish marauders.
Saint Rosalie retired to God.-P. 46. “ Sante Rosalia was of Palermo, and born of a very noble family, and, when very young, abhorred so much the vanities of this world, and avoided the converse of mankind, resolving to dedicate herself wholly to God Almighty, that she, by divine inspiration, forsook her father's house, and never was more heard of, till her body was found in that cleft of a rock, on that almost inaccessible mountain, where now the chappel is built: and they affirm, she was carried up there by the hands of angels; for that place was not formerly so accessible (as now it is) in the days of the Saint; and even now it is a very bad, and steepy, and break-neck way. In this frightful place, this holy woman lived a great many years, feeding only on what she found growing on that barren mountain, and creeping into a narrow and dreadful cleft in a rock, which was always dropping wet, and was her place of retirement, as well as prayer; having worn out even the rock with her knees, in a certain place, which is now open'd on purpose to show it to those who came here. This chappel is very richly adorn'd; and on the spot where the Saint's dead body was discover'd, which is just beneath the hole in the rock, which is open'd on purpose, as I said, there is a very fine statue of marble, representing her in a lying posture, railed in all about with fine iron and brass work ; and the altar, on which they say mass, is built just over it.” Voyage to Sicily and Malta, by Mr John Dryden, (son to the poet) p. 107.
Have marked ten aves, and two creeds.-P. 49. Friar John understood the soporific virtue of his beads and breviary, as well as his namesake in Rabelais. “ But Gargantua could not sleep by any means, on which side soever he turned himself. Whereupon the monk said to him, I never sleep soundly but when I am at sermon, or prayers : Let us therefore begin, you and I, the seven penitential psalms, to try whether you shall not quickly fall asleep. The conceit pleased Gargantua very well; and, beginning the first of these psalms, as soon as they came to Beati quorum, they fell asleep, both the one and the other."
In his black mantle was he clad,
On his broad shoulders wrought.-P. 49. A Palmer, opposed to a Pilgrim, was one who made it his sole business to visit different holy shrines ; travelling incessantly, and subsisting by charity: whereas the Pilgrim retired to his usual home and occupations, when he had paid his devotions at the particular spot, which was the object of his pilgrimage. The Palmers seem to have been the Quastionarii of the ancient Scottish canons 1242 and 1296. There is, in the Bannatyne MS., a burlesque account of two such persons, entitled, “ Simmy and his Brother." Their acoutrements are thus ludicrously described, (I discard the ancient spelling.)
Syne shaped them up to loup on leas,
Two tabards of the tartan;
When sew'd them on, in certain.
Made of an old red gartane;
To fair St Andrew's bound,
Sung to the billows' sound.-P. 52. St Regulus, (Scotticé, St Rule) a monk of Patræ, in Achaia, warned by a vision, is said, A. D. 370, to have sailed westward, until he landed at St Andrew's, in Scotland, where he founded a chapel and tower. The latter is still standing ; and, though we may doubt the precise date of its foundation, is certainly one of the most ancient edifices in Scotland. A cave, nearly fronting the ruinous castle of the Archbishops of St Andrew's, bears the name of this religious person. It is difficult of access; and the rock in which it is hewed is washed by the German ocean. It is nearly round, about ten feet in diameter, and the same in height. On one side is a sort of stone altar; on the other an aperture into an inner den, where the miserable ascetic, who inhabited this dwelling, probably slept. At full tide, egress and regress is hardly practicable. As Regulus first colonized the metropolitan see of Scotland, and converted the inhabitants in the vicinity, he has some reason to complain, that the ancient name of Killrule (Cella Reguli) should have been superseded, even in favour of the tutelar saint of Scotland. "The reason of the change was, that St Rule is said to have brought to Scotland the reliques of St Andrew.