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Scottish nobles, which was held here in the time have believed that he was not a real, but altoof James III., when Cochrane and the king's gether a legendary and imaginary character. other favourites, with the exception of Ramsay of But this is quite a mistake, as is proved, without Balmain alone, were hanged over a bridge, which going farther for testimony, by a charter now in now no longer exists, by Archibald Douglas, sur- the Advocates' Library, which was taken from named “Bell-the-Cat," and the other nobles, his the chartulary of the Trinity House of Soltra, in supporters.
which his son designs himself, “ Thomas of Ercil. Like all the other vales and dales which we have doune, son and heir of Thomas Rhymer of Ercilhad occasion to notice as tributary to the Tweed, doune.” Thomas the Rhymer seems to have lived the original pastoral character of Lauderdale has, towards the latter end of the thirteenth century. during our recollection, yielded much to the Mr. Pinkerton supposes that he was alive in 1300, plough, and the whole of its course presents excel- but, as Sir Walter Scott says, this would be inlent specimens of farming. The two farms of consistent with the charter just alluded to, by Blainslee have been for generations so celebrated which his son, in 1299, for himself and his heirs, for the oats grown upon them, that their produce conveys to the convent of the Trinity of Soltra is entirely sold for seed. An immense extent of the tenement which he possessed by inheritance plantation has taken place in various parts of the (hereditarie) in Ercildoune, with all claim which valley, so that there is no lack of shade along the he or his predecessors could pretend thereto; from banks and slopes, and several important residences which it may be fairly inferred that the Rhymer have arisen. Of these, perhaps, the house and was then dead. grounds of Carolside may be pre-eminently men- ' “ It cannot be doubted,” says Sir Walter tioned, a great deal having been done to that Scott, “that Thomas of Ercildoune was a replace by the good taste of Mrs. Mitchell, since markable and important person in his own time, her son's succession, as a minor, to his large since, very shortly after his death, we find him estates. The lady was, doubtless, aided by the celebrated as a prophet and as a poet. Whether sound judgment of her brother, Mr. Gardiner, he himself made any pretensions to the first of and her worthy uncle, Mr. Milne, of the Woods these characters, or whether it was gratuitously and Forests, whose experience in such matters conferred upon him by the credulity of posterity, has necessarily been great. We remember it seems difficult to decide. If we may believe Carolside a small unpretending place, when we Mackenzie, Learmont only verified the prophecies used to look at it from the public road, which delivered by Eliza, an inspired nun of a convent then had its course on the western side of the at Haddington. But of this there seems not to valley.
be the most distant proof. On the contrary, all About fifty years ago, it belonged to Lauder of ancient authors, who quote the Rhymer's proCarolside, who was the last laird of the name phecies, uniformly suppose them to have been who held lands here. This gentleman was so emitted by himself." remarkable for his style of dressing, that he went Popular belief ascribed the Rhymer's prophetic in Edinburgh by the name of Beau Lauder-a skill to the intercourse that took place between title which rather flattered than annoyed him. the Bard and the Queen of Faery. He was We can just recollect him as being followed by the supposed to have been carried off at an early age boys whilst walking the streets as a very old man, to the Fairy Land, where he acquired all that with a cocked hat, gold-headed cano, scarlet coat, knowledge which afterwards made him so famous, lace ruffles, embroidered waistcoat, satin shorts, Having been kept there for seven years, he was white silk stockings, and gold buckles on his shoes, allowed to return to the earth, to enlighten and richly set with stones. Poor man ! his fate ulti- astonish his countrymen by his prophetic powers, mately was a sad one, for, if our recollection serves having at the same time become bound to reus right, he was accidentally burned to death sit- turn to the Fairy Queen whenever he should ting in his chair, as he then was in a helpless state. receive her commands so to do.
Above Carolside, on this river, is Birkhillside According to Sir Walter Scott, the legend is and Chapple, and a little way below it comes the that, “while Thomas was making 'merry with thriving village of Earlston, with its looms and his friends in the Tower of Ercildoune, a person shawl manufactory. But its fame does not rest came running in, and told, with marks of fear on any such fabrics as these, seeing that it glories and astonishment, that a hart and hind had left in having been the birthplace of the celebrated the neighbouring forest, and were composedly Thomas Learmont of Erçildoune or Earlston, com- and slowly parading the street of the village. monly called the Rhymer, whose rude tower of The prophet instantly arose, left his habitation, residence still stands on a beautiful haugh on the and followed the wonderful animals to the forest, east side of the Leader, half-way between the whence he was never seen to return. According river and the town. Within the memory of man, to the popular belief, he still drces his weird' in it was much more entire than it now is; even the Fairy Land, and is one day expected to revisit outer wall and barbican having been complete ; earth. In the meanwhile, his memory is held in .but now there is nothing left but one corner of the most profound respect. The Eildon Tree, the building, of the height of two storeys, show- from beneath the shade of which he delivered his ing the remains of arched roofs. There has been prophecies, now no longer exists; but the spot is so much of the mist of fable raised around Tho- marked by a large stone, called Eildon Tree mas the Rhymer, that we doubt not that many | Stone. A neighbouring rivalet takes the name
of the Bogle Burn (Goblin Brook), from the Rhymer's supernatural visitants."
The strange history of Thomas the Rhymer is told in two ancient ballads, and as these are not of a length to forbid their being quoted, we think that we shall be pardoned for introducing them here, seeing that they belong so decidedly to the district which we are now describing.
“ THOMAS THE RHYMER, - PART FIRST.
“Syne they came to a garden green,
And she pu'd an apple frae a tree "Take this for thy wages, True Thomas;
It will give thee the tongue that can never lie." "My tongue is mine ain,' True Thornas said ;
A gudely gift ye wad gic to me!
At fair or tryst where I may be.
Nor ask of grace from fair ladye.'
For as I say, so must it be.'
And a pair of shoes of velvet green;
True Thomas on earth was never seen." There is something extremely amusing in the earnestness with which True Thomas pleads in the two penultimate verses against being deprived of the use of falsehood, by means of which only he could venture to have dealings in fairs or markets, or to address peers or princes, or perhaps ladies. There is a pretty piece of satire in this.
** True Thomas lay on Huntlie bank;
A ferlie he spied wi' bis e'e ;
Come riding down by the Eildon Tree. “ Hor shirt was of the grass-green silk,
Her mantle o' the velvet fyne;
Hung fifty siller bells and nine.
And louted low down to his knee-
For thy peer on earth I never did see." «Oh no, oh no, Thomas,' she said,
. That name does not belang to ine;
That am hither come to visit thee.
* Harp and carp along with me;
Sure of your bodie I shall be.' ** Betide me weal, betide me woe,
That weird shall never daunton me.'
All underneath the Eildon Tree.
• True Thomas, ye maun go wi' me; And ye maun serve me seven years,
Through weal or woe, as may chance to be.' “ She mounted on her milk-white steed;
She's ta'en True Thomas up behind;
The steed flew swifter than the wind. “O they rade on, and farther on,
The steed gaed swifter than the wind;
And living land was left behind.
And lean your head upon my knee;
And I will show you ferlies three. "6( see ye not yon narrow road,
So thick beset with thorns and briars!
Though after it but few inquires.
That lies across that lily leven ?
Though some call it the road to Heaven. "And see ye not that bonny road,
That winds about the fernie brae?
Where thou and I this night maun gae. “But, Thomas, ye maun hold your tongue,
Whatever ye may hear or see;
Ye'll ne'er get back to your ain countrie.' “ O they rade on, and farther on,
And they waded through rivers aboon the knee, Aud they saw neither sun nor moon,
But they heard the roaring of the sea. " It was mirk, mirk night, and there was nae stern light,
And they waded through red blood to the knee; For a' the blude that's shed on earth
Rins through the springs o' that countrie,
“TUOMAS THE RIYMER.—PART SECOND. " When seven years were come and gane,
The sun blinked fair on pool and stream;
Like one awakened from a dream. “ He heard the trampling of a steed,
He saw the flash of armour flee,
Come riding down by Eildon Tree. “ He was a stalwart knight and strong,
Of giant make he 'peared to be;
Wi' gilded spurs of faushion free. “Says— Well met, well met, True Thomas !
Some uncouth ferlies show to me.'
Thrice welcome, good Dunbar, to me! "Light down, light down, Corspatrick brave!
And I will show thee curses three,
And change the green to the black livery. “A storm shall roar this very hour,
From Ross's hills to Solway sca.' • Ye lied, ye lied, ye warlock hoar!
For the sun shines sweet on fauld and lea." “ He put his hand on the Earlie's head,
He show'd him a rock beside the sea,
And steel-dight nobles wiped their e'e.
By Flodden's high and heathery side
And chieftains throng wi' meikle pride. "A Scottish king shall come full keen,
The ruddy lion beareth he;
Shall make him wink and warre to see."When he is bloody, and all to bledde,
Thus to his mcn he still shall say :"For God's sake, turn ye back again,
And give yon southern folk a fray!
My dooin is not to die this day.' ««Yet turn ye to the eastern hand,
And woe and wonder ye sall see,
Where yon rank river meets the sea: * There shall the lion lose the gylte,
And the libbards bear it clean away;
"Enough, enough of curse and ban,
Some blessings show thou now to me,
* Ye shall rue the day ye e'er saw me!' ""The first of blessings I shall thce show
Is by a burn that's called of bread ( Bannockburn), Where Saxon men shall tine the bow,
And find their arrows lack the head. “* Beside that brigg, out ower that burn,
Where the water bickereth bright and sheen,
And knights shall die in battle keen. ««• Beside a beadless cross of stone,
The libbards there shall lose the gree;
And drink the Saxon bluid sae free.
So thick the corses there shall be.'
• True Thomas, tell now unto me, What man shall rule the isle Britain,
Even from the North to the Southern Sea?' ""A French Queen shall bear the son
Shall rule all Britain to the sea;
As near as in the ninth degree. **The waters worship shall his race,
Likewise the waves of the furthest sca;
With hempen bridles and horse of tree.'” These, if they were prophecies, and not written after the events which they profess to foretell, were indeed very remarkable. Every one who knows the history of Scotland must be aware that there exist numerous distichal prognostications, all attributed to True Thomas, some of which have been fulfilled, and many of which still remain to be made good. But we have already dwelt long enough on this most wonderful character, of whom, if it were possible to obtain, at this day, a perfectlyjust and accurate perception, exactly as he really was, divested of fable, we should probably find him standing forth as a very prominent figure amidst the worth and talent of our countrymen. We, for our parts, have a very great antipathy to the utter extinguishment of any such character, whose name and idea have filled our infant and youthful years, and have grown up with our maturer age, so as to form a part and parcel of our constitutional credence ; and we must confess that the doubts recently thrown, by an able writer in one of our contemporary journals, on the actual existence of such a person as Robin Hood, has quite filled us with distress.
We have now, on the left bank of the stream, one of the most classical and far-famed spots in Scotland-the hill of Cowdenknowes. Of itself it is a very pretty, striking hill, starting forward from the adjacent eminences, so as to be prominent in the scene, and rising in a picturesque conical shape. No traveller, however incurious, could possibly pass up or down the valley without putting questions about it. But when its connexion with Scottish song is known, it immediately rises into an object of tenfold importance. There are no less than three different sets of words, which we are acquainted with, adapted to the beautiful, ancient, and plaintive air of the “Broom of the Cowdenknowes;” but the following balladis universally believed to be the oldest and most original, and, there
fore, we think it right to select and to give it,
And the broom of the Cowdenknows.'
l'the bought, milking the ewes.
An' the bought i' the lirk o' the hill;
Out o'er the head o' yon hill.
Came riding merrilie by,
To the bought, to the bonny May.
An' weel may ye save an' see.'
And what's your will wi' me?'
And I have ridden astray,
As come out and point my way?
Your steed's baith stout and strang;
For fear 'at ye do me wrang.'
O winna ye pity me?
Stands trembling at yon tree?'
Though it were tied to a thorn;
Ye would slight me ere the morn;
And your merrie twinkling e'e,
An' right aft in his companie.'
's ta'en her by the middle jimp, And by the grass-green sleeve; He's lifted her over the fauld-dyke,
And speer'd at her sma' leave.
And streeked her yellow hair,
Of me till you hear mair.'
An soon he's o'erta'en his men,
O master, ye've tarry'd lang!'
An' I ba'e been far o'er the knowes,
Is i' the bought, milking the ewes.'
An' she's gane siuging hame;
Ye ha'ena been your lane.'
O naebody has been wi' me;
Ye may gang to the door and see.
And an ill deed may he die,
And a tod has frighted me.
The like I never saw,
I had lourd he had ta'en them a.'
Fifteen weeks and three,
An' to long for his merry-twinkling e'e.
“ It fell on a day, on a het simmer day,
a half-crazed state, supported by a trifling penShe was ca'ing out ber father's kye,
sion from the laird, and being the companion and Bye came a troop o' gentlemen, A' merrilie riding bye.
sport of the boys as the “ daft Jock” of the place. «« Weel may ye save an' see, bonny May,
But the moment he succeeded to the estate by his Weel may ye save an' see!
brother's death, he at once became a wise and Weel I wat ye be a very bonny May,
well-conducted man, and assumed all the manners But whae's aught that babe ye are wi' ?'
of a respectable country gentleman. One beautiful “ Never a word could tbat lassie say,
trait in lim was, that he continued till his death For never a ane conld she blame; An' never a word could the lassie say,
to remember all those who had been kind to him, But, “I have a gudeman at hame.'
and pensioned such of them as required his aid ; “Ye lied, ye lied, my very bonny May,
and this excellent part of his conduct may well be Sae loud as I hear you lie;
held out as an example, both to country gentleFor dinna ye mind that misty night I was i' the bought wi' thee?
men and gentlemen of the town.
The gorge of the valley immediately above the “I ken you by your middle sae jimp, An' your merry twinkling e’e,
point where the Leader joins the Tweed, is filled That ye're the bonny lass i' the Cowdenknow, with the fine old residence of the Tods of DryAn' ye may weel seem for to be.'
grange, which is quite embosomed in wood; and “ Then he's leapt off his berry-brown steed,
the road breaks out from this to cross the main An' he's set that fair May on
river by the Fly Bridge, which carries it on to • Ca' out your kye, gude father, yoursell, For she's never ca' them out again.
St. Boswell's and Jedburgh.
And now, kind, gentle, and withal, we trust, “I am the Laird of the Oakland Hills, I hae thirty plows and three;
considerate reader, we venture to ask you, An' I ha’e gotten the bonniest lass
whether, since we first embarked with you on the That's in a' the south countrie.'"
Silver Tweed, at its very fountain-head, we have The broom is not permitted, in these days of not kept to the very bed of its waters with you agricultural improvement, to cover the lovely be in the afirmative, because we feel that, if we
like an otter? We know that your answer must slopes of the Cowdenknowes. It is, indeed, a curious fact in regard to the history of the plant, have been more uniformly true to our element; so
had been a very water-kelpy himself, we could not that it grows to perfection in a very few
years, some seven or eight, we believe, and then dies much have we been so, indeed, that we have been entirely away, and then some years must gene
more than once inclined to think that our very narally elapse before the seed, with which the ground ture was changed, and we have caught ourselves must have necessarily been filled, will vegetate ;
on the very eve of singing out, of this we have ourselves had large experience.
“Merrily swim we, the moon shines bright, The remains of the more ancient house of Cow
Good luck to your fishing, whom watch ye to-night?" denknowes still stand in the form of an old tower, Granting these our premises, therefore, we trust in which was the dungeon. The legends of the that you will see neither harm nor impropriety in country speak of a very cruel baron who once our taking a short recreative carracol according existed, who hanged people without mercy, and to our own fancy. It was the name of St. Boson the slightest pretences, on a tree at the head well's that put this in our head, and we shall of the avenue leading to the house. This tree, have no power to eject it thence, unless we be which is very unsightly, from its gnarled and permitted to spin it out of our brain like a sort festered appearance, still remains, and is known of yarn.
St. Boswell's is well known to be by the name of the “ Burrow's Tree.” But not the place where his Grace the Duke of Buccontented with this, he is said to have put some cleuch has his hunting stables, and the kennel of his unfortunate prisoners into casks full of for his fox hounds. He hunts the country spikes, and so to have rolled them down the hill. around, affording sport in the most liberal manThis last act of cruelty is hardly to be credited, ner to all who are disposed to partake of it. notwithstanding the distich which still remains— But do not, gentle reader, suppose that we are
now meditating to give you the slip, to bid adieu Vengeance! vengeance! When and where ? Upon the house of Cowdenknowes, now and evermair.”
to you and your rivers, and to mount and be off
with his Grace after the hounds. We shall not A very deep pit was discovered recently in the deny, however, that our temptations to do so are bottom of the old tower, which was believed to some of the strongest, for we have here an indihave a communication with the house of Sorrow.vidual whom we are disposed to think is about lessfield, on the opposite side of the water, by a the very oldest acquaintance we have in life, trap door, under the hearth of the principal room. and for whose history and career
we have This place belonged to an ancient family of the always felt a great interest and a high respect; name of Fisher, who, at one time, were all cut we mean Mr. William Williamson, the Duke's off in a battle, so that none remained to mourn huntsman. We knew his father before him, a for the rest, which circumstance gave rise to the most excellent and much respected man, who strange name. In later times, Mr. Chambers has often carried us in his arms, and Will we tells us, that the last of these Fishers was a very knew long before he was attached to the Duke's remarkable person. So long as his elder brother hounds, and when they were hunted by old Joe lived, and possessed the property, he used to re- King. In those very juvenile days we had a side at the neighbouring village of Earlstopn, in grey Highland pony called Jenny, which, for symmetry of form, action, speed, and endurance, We now come to a very beautifal, nay, perwas not to be matched in the three Lothians by haps, we ought to say the most beautiful part of any quadruped of her inches. When we chanced the Tweed, where it meanders considerably, as it to join tho hunting field, therefore, we managed takes its general course in a bold sweep round the to make very good play after the fox went away, parish of Merton. On its north side, the ground invariably contriving to get over, or through, what- rises to a very considerable height in cultivated ever obstacle might come in our way. But we must and wooded hills. From several parts of the road confess that envy did now and then rise in our that winds over it, most magnificent views are enhearts, when our friend Will, who, young as he joyed up the vale of the Tweed, ineluding Mel. was, had already a charge of horses, used to rose and the Eildon hills ; and then, at the same come past us, sitting perched, as if it had been time, these rising grounds, and the southern in the third heavens, on the top of a great banks, which are likewise covered with timber, slapping hunter up to any weight whatsoever, give the richest effect of river scenery to the im. under whose very belly we might have easily mediate environs of the stream. As we follow it passed both horse and man. We cannot say downwards from the Fly Bridge, we have, on oar that on such occasions our boyish bile was left, the very ancient place of Bemerside, for cennot in some small degree excited, especially turies, we believe, the seat of the family of Haig. when we saw him tearing and rattling away Thomas the Rhymer's prophecy, connected with before us, clearing raspers, five-bar gates, double this name, has stood good for generations : ditches, bullfinches, and stone walls, and everything that camo in his way, whilst we could only
“ Whate'er befall, whate'er betide,
There will aye be a Haig in Bemerside." get on by dodges of the most artful description. The fact was, that Will's was destined to be from Most earnestly do we pray that this propheey beginning to end a galloping life, whilst, on the may go on to be fulfilled for ever, or at least so other hand, our much-revered Sire, who was so long as the place shall produce Haigs who shall ready to encourage our angling propensities, dread-be as good men as those we have had, and still ing by anticipation the expenses of a hunting stud, have, the good fortune to be acquainted with. with its attendant establishment of grooms, strap- We scarcely know a place anywhere which is pers, and stable boys, did everything in his power so thoroughly embowered in grand timber as to discourage, ab ovo, our natural born love of hunt. Dryburgh Abbey. It is situated in a level penining, and, in the course of a few years, our joining a sula, at no great height above the river, and the marching regiment necessarily made us walkers ruins, which rise in scattered masses out of the by profession. As for Will, he followed his richest shrubbery, so as even to tower above the career until he was placed in the highly re- trees, are exceedingly picturesque. The old spectable, and to him truly acceptable, situa- Earl of Buchan, uncle and predecessor to the tion of huntsman to his Grace the Duke of Buc- present peer, whose property it was, and whose cleuch; and there he now is, a highly esteenied place of residence was close to it, did a great deal gentleman, possessed of a landed property of his about it, both outside and inside. Some of his own acquiring, and blessed with as large a circle operations were rather fantastical, espeeially that of friends and acquaintances as any man in of his filling the chapter-house with the plaster of Scotland, all of whom have the greatest respect Paris casts of a number of worthies, who are for his character; and if this universal re- strangely blended together, and some of whom. spect is to be gained by fidelity and straightfor- are singularly misplaced. But, so far as he here: ward honesty, it will be quite the same in the end and there added the accessories of planted shrubs whether these were exercised in fulfilment of the and creepers, he has much enriched the whole functions of a Lord Chancellor, or in those of a His admiration for the heroes and great good huntsman. When Will was in his prime, his men of his country was so great that he reared match was not easily to be found between Turriff a colossal statue of Sir William Wallace, twenty and Tenterden, and although, as an old and ex- feet high, on the edge of a rock, overlooking the perienced huntsman, he will not go out of his way whole scene. This was executed by Mr. Smith to look for a jump, or ride in the same reckless of Darnwick. We are told that it is seen from manner he did when we used to follow him on Berwick. our grey pony Jenny, yet he is not the inan to The most beautiful fragment of the ruin is shy a fence when it comes in his way, and his that which is called Saint Mary's aisle, which judgment in the management of his hounds is formed the south arm of the transept, and which not to be matched. We need not say that it gave still has the greater part of its vaulted roof over us very great pleasure to see him at a meet the it ; and let it not be approached save with that season before last, looking as fresh as a four- holy awe which is inspired by the recollection of year-old.
the illustrious dead ! for here repose the ashes of So now, gentlest of readers, having had the re- the immortal Sir Walter Scott. Here it was laxation of this erratic bit of a canter, we shall that, on the 26th of September, 1832, we beheld return to the stream, and permitting you to put his coffin lowered into the grave, amidst the the water-kelpy's bridle in our mouths, we shall silent sorrow of a countless number of his old carry you down the stream of the Tweed without friends, who were indeed mourners in the truest further interraption, singing, “Merrily swim sense of the word. But again we beg to referito we," &c.
the November Number of our Magazine for the