The Lay of the Last Minstrel, by Walter Scott

Canto Fifth

i.

ALL it not vain; they do not err,

Who say, that when the Poet dies,

Mute Nature mourns her worshipper,

And celebrates his obsequies:

Who say, tall cliff and cavern lone

For the departed Bard make moan;

That mountains weep in crystal rill;

That flowers in tears of balm distill;

Through his lov’d groves that breezes sigh,

And oaks, in deeper groan, reply;10

And rivers teach their rushing wave

To murmur dirges round his grave

ii.

Not that, in sooth, o’er mortal urn

Those things inanimate can mourn;

But that the stream, the wood, the gale

Is vocal with the plaintive wail

Of those, who, else forgotten long,

Liv’d in the poet’s faithful song,

And with the poet’s parting breath,

Whose memory feels a second death.20

The Maid’s pale shade, who wails her lot,

That love, true love, should be forgot,

From rose and hawthorn shakes the tear

Upon the gentle Minstrel’s bier:

The phantom Knight, his glory fled,

Mourns o’er the field he heap’d with dead;

Mounts the wild blast that sweeps amaun,

And shrieks along the battle-plain.

The Chief, whose antique crownlet long

Still sparkled in the feudal song,30

Now, from the mountain’s misty throne,

Sees, in the thanedom once his own,

His ashes undistinguish’d lie,

His place, his power, his memory die:

His groans the lonely caverns fill,

His tears of rage impel the rill:

All mourn the Minstrel’s harp unstrung,

Their name unknown, their praise unsung.

iii.

Scarcely the hot assault was staid,

The terms of truce were scarcely made,40

When they could spy, from Branksome’s towers,

The advancing march of martial powers.

Thick clouds of dust afar appear’d,

And trampling steeds were faintly heard;

Bright spears, above the columns dun,

Glanced momentary to the sun;

And feudal banners fair display’d

The bands that moved to Branksome’s aid.

iv.

Vails not to tell each hardy clan,

From the fair Middle Marches came;50

The Bloody Heart blaz’d in the van,

Announcing Douglas, dreaded name!1

Vails not to tell what steeds did spurn,

Where the Seven Spears of Wedderburne2

Their men in battle-order set;

And Swinton laid the lance in rest,

That tamed of yore the sparkling crest

Of Clarence’s Plantagenet.3

Nor list I say what hundreds more,

From the rich Merse and Lammermore,60

And Tweed’s fair borders to the war,

Beneath the crest of Old Dunbar.

And Hepburn’s mingled banners come,

Down the steep mountain glittering far

And shouting still, “A Home! a Home!”4

v.

Now squire and knight, from Branksome sent,

On many a courteous message went;

To every chief and lord they paid

Meet thanks for prompt and powerful aid:

And told them — how a truce was made.70

And how a day of fight was ta’en

‘Twixt Musgrave and stout Deloraine;

And how the Ladye pray’d them dear,

That all would stay the fight to see,

And deign, in love and courtesy,

To taste of Branksome cheer.

Nor, while they bade to feast each Scot,

Were England’s noble Lords forgot

Himself, the hoary Seneschal

Rode forth, in seemly terms to call80

Those gallant foes to Branksome Hall.

Accepted Howard, than whom knight

Was never dubb’d more bold in fight;

Nor, when from war and armor free,

More fam’d for stately courtesy:

But angry Dacre rather chose

In his pavilion to repose

vi.

Now, noble Dame, perchance you ask

How these two hostile armies met?

Deeming it were no easy task90

To keep the truce which here was set

Where martial spirits, all on fire,

Breathed only blood and mortal ire.

By mutual inroads, mutual blows,

By habit, and by nation, foes

They met on Teviot’s strand;

They met and sate them mingled down,

Without a threat, without a frown,

As brothers meet in foreign land:

The hands the spear that lately grasp’d,100

Still in the mailed gauntlet clasp’d,

Were interchang’d in greeting dear;

Visors were raised, and faces shown,

And many a friend, to friend made known,

Partook of social cheer.

Some drove the jolly bowl about;

With dice and draughts some chas’d the day;

And some, with many a merry shout,

In riot revelry, and rout,

Pursued the foot-ball play.5110

vii.

Yet, be it known, had bugles blown,

Or sign of war been seen,

Those bands so fair together rang’d,

Those hands, so frankly interchang’d,

Had dyed with gore the green:

The merry shout by Teviot-side

Had sunk in war-cries wild and wide,

And in the groan of death;

And whingers,6 now in friendship bare

The social meal to part and share,120

Had found a bloody sheath.

‘Twixt truce and war, such sudden change

Was not infrequent, nor held strange,

In the old Border-day:7

But yet on Branksome’s towers and town

In peaceful merriment, sunk down

The sun’s declining ray.

viii.

The blithsome signs of bassel gay

Decay’d not with the dying day:

Soon through the lattic’d windows tall130

Of lofty Branksome’s lordly hall,

Divided square by shafts of stone,

Huge flakes of ruddy lustre shone

Nor less the gilded rafters rang

With merry harp and beakers’ clang:

And frequent, on the darkening plain,

Loud hollo, whoop, or whistle ran,

As bands, their stragglers to regain

Give the shrill watchword of their clan;8

And revellers, o’er their bowls, proclaim140

Douglas or Dacre’s conquering name.

ix.

Less frequent heard, and fainter still

At length the various clamors died:

And you might hear, from Branksome hill

No sound but Teviot’s rushing tide;

Save when the changing sentinel

The challenge of his watch could tell;

And save where, through the dark profound,

The clanging axe and hammer’s sound

Rung from the nether lawn;150

For many a busy hand toil’d there,

Strong pales to shape, and beams to square,

The lists’ dread barriers to prepare

Against the morrow’s dawn.

x.

Margaret from hall did soon retreat,

Despite the Dame’s reproving eye;

Nor mark’d she as she left her seat,

Full many a stifled sigh;

For many a noble warrior strove

To win the Flower of Teviot’s love,160

And many a bold ally.

With throbbing head and anxious heart,

All in her lonely bower apart,

In broken sleep she lay:

Betimes from silken couch she rose

While yet the banner’d hosts repose,

She view’d the dawning day:

Of all the hundreds sunk to rest

First woke the loveliest and the best.

xi.

She gaz’d upon the inner court,170

Which in the tower’s tall shadow lay;

Where coursers’ clang, and stamp, and snort

Had rung the livelong yesterday;

Now still as death; till stalking slow —

The jingling spurs announc’d his tread —

A stately warrior pass’d below;

But when he rais’d his plumed head —

Bless’d Mary! can it be?

Secure, as if in Ousenam bowers,

He walks through Branksome’s hostile towers180

With fearless step and free.

She dar’d not sign, she dar’d not speak —

Oh! if one page’s slumbers break,

His blood the price must pay!

Not all the pearls Queen Mary wears

Not Margaret’s yet more precious tears,

Shall buy his life a day.

xii.

Yet was his hazard small; for well

You may bethink you of the spell

Of that sly urchin page;190

This to his lord he did impart,

And made him seem, by glamour art,

A knight from Hermitage.

Unchalleng’d thus, the warder’s post,

The court, unchalleng’d, thus he cross’d,

For all the vassalage:

But O! what magic’s quaint disguise

Could blind fair Margaret s azure eyes!

She started from her seat;

While with surprise and fear she strove,200

And both could scarcely master love,

Lord Henry’s at her feet.

xiii.

Oft have I mus’d what purpose bad

That foul malicious urchin had

To bring this meeting round;

For happy love’s a heavenly sight,

And by a vile malignant sprite

In such no joy is found;

And oft I’ve deem’d perchance he thought

Their erring passion might have wrought210

Sorrow, and sin, and shame;

And death to Cranstoun’s gallant Knight

And to the gentle ladye bright

Disgrace and loss of fame.

But earthly spirit could not tell

The heart of them that lov’d so well.

True love’s the gift which God has given

To man alone beneath the heaven:

It is not fantasy’s hot fire,

Whose wishes, soon as granted, fly;220

It liveth not in fierce desire,

With dead desire it doth not die;

It is the secret sympathy,

The silver link, the silken tie,

Which heart to heart, and mind to mind

In body and in soul can bind.

Now leave we Margaret and her Knight,

To tell you of the approaching fight.

xiv.

Their warning blasts the bugles blew,

The pipe’s shrill port9 arous’d each clan;230

In haste, the deadly strife to view,

The trooping warriors eager ran:

Thick round the lists their lances stood

Like blasted pines in Ettric wood;

To Branksome many a look they threw,

The combatants’ approach to view,

And bandied many a word of boast

About the knight each favor’d most.

xv.

Meantime, full anxious was the Dame;

For now arose disputed claim240

Of who should fight for Deloraine,

‘Twixt Harden and ‘twixt Thirlestaine

They ‘gan to reckon kin and rent,

And frowning brow on brow was bent;

But yet not long the strife — for, lo!

Himself, the Knight of Deloraine,

Strong, as it seem’d, and free from pain

In armor sheath’d from top to toe,

Appear’d and crav’d the combat due.

The Dame her charm successful knew,10250

And the fierce chiefs their claims withdrew.

xvi.

When for the lists they sought the plain,

The stately Ladye’s silken rein

Did noble Howard hold;

Unarmed by her side he walk’d,

And much, in courteous phrase, they talk’d

Of feats of arms of old.

Costly his garb; his Flemish ruff

Fell o’er his doublet, shap’d of buff,

With satin slash’d and lin’d;260

Tawny his boot, and gold his spur,

His cloak was all of Poland fur,

His hose with silver twin’d;

His Bilboa blade, by Marchmen felt,

Hung in a broad and studded belt;

Hence, in rude phrase, the Borderers still

Call’d noble Howard, Belted Will.

xvii.

Behind Lord Howard and the Dame,

Fair Margaret on her palfrey came,

Whose foot-cloth swept the ground:270

White was her wimple, and her veil,

And her loose locks a chaplet pale

Of whitest roses bound;

The lordly Angus, by her side,

In courtesy to cheer her tried;

Without his aid, her hand in vain

Had strove to guide her broider’d rein.

He deem’d she shudder’d at the sight

Of warriors met for mortal fight;

But cause of terror, all unguess’d,280

Was fluttering in her gentle breast,

When, in their chairs of crimson plac’d,

The Dame and she the barriers grac’d.

xviii.

Prize of the field, the young Buccleuch,

An English knight led forth to view;

Scarce rued the boy his present plight,

So much he long’d to see the fight.

Within the lists, in knightly pride,

High Home and haughty Dacre ride;

Their leading staffs of steel they wield290

As marshals of the mortal field;

While to each knight their care assign’d

Like vantage of the sun and wind.

Then heralds hoarse did loud proclaim,

In King and Queen and Warden’s name

That none, while lasts the strife,

Should dare, by look, or sign, or word,

Aid to a champion to afford,

On peril of his life;

And not a breath the silence broke,300

Till thus the alternate Heralds spoke:

xix.
English Herald.

“Here standeth Richard of Musgrave,

Good knight and true, and freely born,

Amends from Deloraine to crave,

For foul despiteous scathe and scorn.

He sayeth that William of Deloraine

Is traitor false by Border laws;

This with his sword he will maintain,

So help him God, and his good cause!”

xx.
Scottish Herald.

“Here standeth William of Deloraine,310

Good knight and true, of noble strain,

Who sayeth that foul treason’s stain,

Since he bore arms, ne’er soil’d his coat;

And that, so help him God above!

He will on Musgrave’s body prove,

He lies most foully in his throat.”

Lord Dacre.

“Forward, brave champions, to the fight!

Sound trumpets!”

Lord Home.

“God defend the right!”

Then, Teviot! how thine echoes rang,320

When bugle-sound and trumpet-clang

Let loose the martial foes,

And in mid list, with shield pois’d high,

And measur’d step and wary eye,

The combatants did close.

xxi.

Ill would it suit your gentle ear,

Ye lovely listeners, to hear

How to the axe the helms did sound,

And blood pour’d down from many a wound;

For desperate was the strife and long,330

And either warrior fierce and strong.

But, were each dame a listening knight,

I well could tell how warriors fight!

For I have seen war’s lightning flashing,

Seen the claymore with bayonet clashing,

Seen through red blood the war-horse dashing,

And scorn’d, amid the reeling strife,

To yield a step for death or life.

xxii.

’Tis done, ’tis done! that fatal blow

Has stretch d him on the bloody plain;340

He strives to rise — brave Musgrave, no!

Thence never shalt thou rise again!

He chokes in blood! some friendly hand

Undo the visor’s barred band,

Unfix the gorget’s iron clasp,

And give him room for life to gasp!

O, bootless aid! haste, holy Friar,

Haste, ere the sinner shall expire!

Of all his guilt let him be shriven,

And smooth his path from earth to heaven!350

xxiii.

In haste the holy Friar sped

His naked foot was dyed with red

As through the lists he ran;

Unmindful of the shouts on high,

That hail’d the conqueror’s victory,

He rais’d the dying man;

Loose wav’d his silver beard and hair,

As o’er him he kneel’d down in prayer;

And still the crucifix on high

He holds before his darkening eye;360

And still he bends an anxious ear

His faltering penitence to hear;

Still props him from the bloody sod,

Still, even when soul and body part,

Pours ghostly comfort on his heart,

And bids him trust in God.

Unheard he prays; the death pang’s o’er!

Richard of Musgrave breathes no more.

xxiv.

As if exhausted in the fight,

Or musing o’er the piteous sight,370

The silent victor stands;

His beaver did he not unclasp,

Mark’d not the shouts, felt not the grasp

Of gratulating hands.

When lo! strange cries of wild surprise,

Mingled with seeming terror, rise

Among the Scottish bands;

And all amid the throng’d array,

In panic haste gave open way

To a half-naked ghastly man380

Who downward from the castle ran:

He cross’d the barriers at a bound,

And wild and haggard look d around,

As dizzy, and in pain;

And all, upon the armed ground

Knew William of Deloraine!

Each ladye sprung from seat with speed;

Vaulted each marshal from his steed;

“And who art thou,” they cried,

“Who hast this battle fought and won?”390

His plumed helm was soon undone —

“Cranstoun of Teviot-side!

For this fair prize I’ve fought and won.”

And to the Ladye led her son.

xxv.

Full oft the rescued boy she kiss’d,

And often press’d him to her breast;

For, under all her dauntless show,

Her heart had throbb’d at every blow;

Yet not Lord Cranstoun deign’d she greet,

Though low he kneeled at her feet.400

Me lists not tell what words were made,

What Douglas, Home, and Howard said —

For Howard was a generous foe —

And how the clan united pray’d

The Ladye would the feud forego,

And deign to bless the nuptial hour

Of Cranstoun’s Lord and Teviot’s Flower.

xxvi.

She look’d to river, look’d to hill,

Thought on the Spirit’s prophecy,

Then broke her silence stern and still —410

“Not you, but Fate, has vanquish’d me;

Their influence kindly stars may shower

On Teviot’s tide and Branksome’s tower,

For pride is quell’d, and love is free.”

She took fair Margaret by the hand,

Who, breathless, trembling, scarce might stand;

That hand to Cranstoun’s lord gave she:

“As I am true to thee and thine,

Do thou be true to me and mine!

This clasp of love our bond shall be;420

For this is your betrothing day,

And all these noble lords shall stay

To grace it with their company.”

xxvii.

All as they left the listed plain

Much of the story she did gain

How Cranstoun fought with Deloraine

And of his page, and of the Book

Which from the wounded knight he took;

And how he sought her castle high,

That morn, by help of gramarye;430

How, in Sir William’s armor dight,

Stolen by his page, while slept the knight,

He took on him the single fight.

But half his tale he left unsaid

And linger’d till he join’d the maid.

Car’d not the Ladye to betray

Her mystic arts in view of day;

But well she thought, ere midnight came

Of that strange page the pride to tame

From his foul hands the Book to save,440

And send it back to Michael s grave.

Needs not to tell each tender word

‘Twixt Margaret and twixt Cranstoun s lord;

Nor how she told of former woes,

And how her bosom fell and rose,

While he and Musgrave bandied blows

Needs not these lovers’ joys to tell:

One day, fair maids, you’ll know them well.

xxviii.

William of Deloraine some chance

Had waken’d from his deathlike trance;450

And taught that, in the listed plain

Another, in his arms and shield

Against fierce Musgrave axe did wield

Under the name of Deloraine.

Hence to the field unarm’d he ran,

And hence his presence scar’d the clan,

Who held him for some fleeting wraith11

And not a man of blood and breath.

Not much this new ally he lov’d,

Yet, when he saw what hap had prov’d460

He greeted him right heartilie:

He would not waken old debate,

For he was void of rancorous hate,

Though rude, and scant of courtesy;

In raids he spilt but seldom blood,

Unless when men-at-arms withstood,

Or, as was meet, for deadly feud

He ne’er bore grudge for stalwart blow,

Ta’en in fair fight from gallant foe:

And so ’twas seen of him, e’en now,470

When on dead Musgrave he look d down;

Grief darken’d on his rugged brow,

Though half disguised with a frown;

And thus, while sorrow bent his head,

His foeman’s epitaph he made.

xxix.

“Now, Richard Musgrave, liest thou here!

I ween, my deadly enemy

For, if I slew thy brother dear,

Thou slew’st a sister’s son to me;

And when I lay in dungeon dark480

Of Naworth Castle, long months three,

Till ransom’d for a thousand mark,

Dark Musgrave, it was ‘long of thee.

And, Musgrave, could our fight be tried,

And thou wert now alive as I,

No mortal man should us divide,

Till one, or both of us, did die:

Yet, rest thee God! for well I know

I ne’er shall find a nobler foe.

In all the northern counties here,490

Whose word is Snaffle, spur, and spear,12

Thou wert the best to follow gear!

’Twas pleasure, as we look’d behind,

To see how thou the chase could’st wind,

Cheer the dark blood-hound on his way

And with the bugle rouse the fray!13

I’d give the lands of Deloraine

Dark Musgrave were alive again.”

xxx.

So mourn’d he, till Lord Dacre’s band

Were bowning back to Cumberland.500

They rais’d brave Musgrave from the field,

And laid him on his bloody shield;

On levell’d lances, four and four,

By turns, the noble burden bore.

Before, at times, upon the gale,

Was heard the Minstrel s plaintive wail;

Behind, four priests, in sable stole,

Sung requiem for the warrior’s soul:

Around, the horsemen slowly rode;

With trailing pikes the spearmen trode;510

And thus the gallant knight they bore

Through Liddesdale to Leven’s shore;

Thence to Holme Coltrame’s lofty nave,

And laid him in his father’s grave.

THE harp’s wild notes, though hush’d the song,

The mimic march of death prolong;

Now seems it far, and now a-near,

Now meets, and now eludes the ear;

Now seems some mountainside to sweep,

Now faintly dies in valley deep;520

Seems now as if the Minstrel’s wail,

Now the sad requiem, loads the gale;

Last, o’er the warrior’s closing grave,

Rung the full choir in choral stave.

After due pause, they bade him tell,

Why he, who touch’d the harp so well,

Should thus, with ill-rewarded toil,

Wander a poor and thankless soil,

When the more generous Southern land

Would well requite his skillful hand.530

The aged Harper howsoe’er

His only friend, his harp, was dear,

Lik’d not to hear it rank’d so high

Above his flowing poesy:

Less lik’d he still that scornful jeer

Mispris’d the land he lov’d so dear;

High was the sound, as thus again

The Bard resum’d his minstrel strain.

1 The chief of this potent race of heroes, about the date of the poem, was Archibald Douglas, seventh Earl of Angus, a man of great courage and activity. The Bloody Heart was the well-known cognizance of the house of Douglas, assumed from the time of good Lord James, to whose care Robert Bruce committed his heart, to be carried to the Holy Land.

2 Sir David Home of Wedderburn, who was slain in the fatal battle of Flodden, left seven sons by his wife, Isabel, daughter of Hoppringle of Galashiels (now Pringle of Whitebank.) They were called the Seven Spears of Wedderburne.

3 At the battle of Beaugé, in France, Thomas, Duke of Clarence, brother to Henry V., was unhorsed by Sir John Swinton of Swinton, who distinguished him by a coronet set with precious stones, which he wore around his helmet. The family of Swinton is one of the most ancient in Scotland, and produced many celebrated warriors.

4 The Earls of Home, as descendants of the Dunbars, ancient Earls of March, carried a lion rampant, argent; but, as a difference, changed the colour of the shield from gules to vert, in allusion to Greenlaw, their ancient possession. The slogan, or war-cry, of this powerful family, was, “A Home! A Home!” It was anciently placed in an escrol above the crest. The helmet is armed with a lion’s head erased gules, with a cap of state gules, turned up ermine.

The Hepburns, a powerful family in East Lothian, were usually in close alliance with the Homes. The chief of this clan was Hepburn, Lord of Hailes; a family which terminated in the too famous Earl of Bothwell.

5 The foot-ball was anciently a very favourite sport all through Scotland, but especially upon the Borders. Sir John Carmichael of Charmichael, Warden of the Middle Marches, was killed in 1600 by a band of the Armstrongs, returning from a foot-ball-match. Sir Robert Carey, inn his Memoirs, mentions a great meeting, appointed by the Scotch riders to be held at Kelso for the purpose of playing foot-ball, but which terminated in an incursion upon England. At present, the foot-ball is often played by the inhabitants of adjacent parishes, or of the opposite banks of a stream. The victory is contested with the utmost fury, and very serious accidents have sometimes taken place in the struggle.

6 A sort of knife, or poniard.

7 Notwithstanding the constant wars upon the Borders, and the occasional cruelties which marked the mutual inroads, the inhabitants on either side do not appear to have regarded each other with that violent and personal animosity, which might have been expected. On the contrary, like the outposts of hostile armies, they often carried on something resembling friendly intercourse, even in the middle of hostilities; and it is evident, from various ordinances against trade and intermarriages, between English and Scottish Borderers, that the governments of both countries were jealous of their cherishing too intimate a connexion. Froissart says of both nations, that “Englyshmen on the one party, and Scottes on the other party, are good men of ware; for when they meet, there is a harde fight without sparynge. There is no hoo [truce] between them, as long as spears, swords, axes, or daggers, will endure, but lay on eche upon uther: and whan they be well beaten, and that the one party hath obtained the vicotry, they tehn glorifye so in theyre dedes of armies, and are so joyfull, that such as be taken they shall be ransomed, or that they go out of the felde; so that shortly eche of them is so content with other, that, at their departynge, curtsyle they will say, God thank you."— BERNER’S Froissart, vol. ii. p. 153. The Border meetings of truce, which, although places of merchandise and merriment, often witnessed the most bloody scenes, may serve to illustrate the description in the text. They are vividly pourtrayed in the old ballad of the Redisquair. Both parties came armed to a meeting of the wardens, yet they intermixed fearlessly and peaceably with each other in mutual sports and familiar intercourse, until a casual fray arose:—

“Then was there nought but bow and spear,

And every mann pulled out a brand.”

In the 29th stanza of this canto, there is an attempt to express some of the mixed feelings, with which the Borderers on each side were led to regard their neighbours.

8 Patten remarks, with bitter censure, the disorderly conduct of the English Borderers, who attended the Protector Somerset on his expedition against Scotland. “As we wear then a setling, and the tents a setting up, among all things els commendable in our hole journey, and one thing seemed to me an intollerable disorder and abuse: that whereas always, both in all tounes of war, and in all campes of armies, quietness and stillness, without noise, is, principally in the night, after the watch is set, observed, (I nede not reason why,) our norther prikers, the Borderers, notwithstandyng, with great enormitie, (as thought me,) and not unlike (to be playn) unto a masterles hounde howlying in a hie way when he hath lost him he waited upon, sum hoopynge, sum whistlyng, and most with crying, A Berwyke! A Berwyke! A Fenwyke! A Fenwyke! A Bulmer! A Bulmer! or so ootherwise as theyr captains names wear, never lin’de these troublous and dangerous noyses all the nyghte longe. They said, they did it to find their captain and fellows; but if the souldiers of our oother countreys and sheres had used the same maner, in that case we should have oft tymes had the state of our campe more like the outrage of a dissolute huntyng, than the quiet of a well ordered armye. It is a feat of war, in mine opinion, that might right well be left. I could reherse causes (but yf I take it, they are better unspoken than uttred, unless the faut wear sure to be amended) that might shew thei move alweis more peral to our armie, but in their one nyght’s so doynge, than they shew good service (as some sey) in a hoole vyage."— Apud DALZELL’S Fragments, p. 75.

9 A martial piece of music, adapted to the bagpipes.

10 See Canto 3. Stanza xxiii.

11 The spectral apparition of a living person.

12 “The lands, that over Ouse to Berwick forth do bear,

Have for their blazon had, the snaffle, spur, and spear.”

Poly-Albion, Song 13.

13 The pursuit of Border marauders was followed by the injured Party and his friends with blood-hounds and bugle-horn, and was called the hot-trod. He was entitled, if his dog could trace the scent, to follow the invaders into the opposite kingdom; a privilege which often occasioned bloodshed. In addition to what has been said of the blood-hound, I may add, that the breed was kept up by the Buccleuch family on their Border estates till within the 18th century. A person was alive within the memory of man, who remembered a blood-hound being kept at Eldinhope, in Ettrick Forest, for whose maintenance the tenant had an allowance of meal. At that time the sheep were always watched at night. Upon one occasion, when the duty had fallen on the narrator, then a lad, he became exhausted with fatigue, and fell asleep upon a bank near sun-rising. Suddenly he was awakened by the tread of horses, and saw five men, well mounted and armed, ride briskly over the edge of the hill. They stopped and looked at the flock; but the day was too far broken to admit the chance of their carrying any of them off. One of them, in spite, leaped from his horse, and coming to the shepherd, seized him by the belt he wore round his waist; and, setting his foot upon his body, pulled it till it broke, and carried it away with him. They rode off at the gallop; and, the shepherd giving the alarm, the blood-hound was turned loose, and the people in the neighbourhood alarmed. The marauders, however, escaped, notwithstanding a sharp pursuit. This circumstance serves to show how very long the license of the Borderers continued in some degree to manifest itself.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:29