« הקודםהמשך »
Quher is the well of mercie and of grace,
Some readers may perhaps be of opinion, that Makgregor was one of those Scottish lairds, who lived professedly by rapine and pillage: a practice greatly facilitated, and even supported, by the feudal system. Of this sort was Edom o’Gordon, whose attack on the castle of Dünse is recorded by the Scotch minstrels, in a pathetic ballad, which begins thus.
It fell about the Martinmas,
Qhen the wind blew schril and cauld,
We maun draw to a hauld:
And quhat a hauld fall we draw to,
My mirry men and me?
To fee that fair ladie'.
Other parts of Europe, from the same situations in life, afford instances of the fame practice. Froissart has left a long narrative of an eminent robber, one Amergot Marcell; who became at length fo formidable and powerful, as to claim a place in the history of France. About the year 1380, he had occupied a strong castle for the space of ten years, in the province of Auvergne, in which he lived with the splendor and dominion of a petty fovereign ; having amassed, by pillaging the neighbouring country, one hundred thousand francs. His depredations brought in an annual revenue of twenty thousand floreins. Afterwards he
is tempted imprudently to sell his castle to one of the
generals of the king for a considerable sum. Froissart introduces Marcell, after having fold his fortress, uttering the following lamentation, which strongly paints his system of depredation, the feudal anarchy, and the trade and travelling of those days. « What a joy was it when we rode forthe at adventure, “ and somtyme found by the way a ryche priour, or mar“ chaunt, or a route of mulettes, of Montpellyer, of Nar“ bone, of Lymons, of Fongans, of Tholous, or of Car“ cassone, laden with clothe of Brusselles, or peltre ware
comynge from the fayres, or laden with spycery from “ Bruges, from Damas, or from Alysaunder ! What“ foever we met, all was ours, or els raunfomed at our “ pleasures. Dayly we gate newe money; and the vyl
laynes of Auvergne and of Lymofyn dayly provyded, and brought to our castell, whete mele, breed (bread] ready
baken, otes for our horses and lytter, good wynes, beffes, “ and fatte mottons, pullayne, and wylde foule. We were u ever furnyshed, as though we had been kings. Whan we “ rode forthe, all the country trembled for feare. All was
oures, goynge or comynge. Howe toke we Carlaste, I “ and the Bourge of Companye ! and I and Perot of Bernoys s toke Caluset. How dyd we scale with lytell ayde the
stronge castell of Marquell pertayninge to the erle Dolphyn! I kept it not past fyve dayes, but I receyved for it, on a fayre table, fyve thousand frankes; and forgave one thousand, for the love of the erle Dolphyn's chyldren. By my faithe, this was a fayre and goodlie life ! &c?.”
But on the whole I am inclined to think, that our teftator Makgregor, although a robber, was a personage of high rank, whose
power and authority were such, as to require this indirect and artificial mode of abuse. For the fame reason, I believe the name to be fictitious.
I take this opportunity of observing, that the old Scotch poet Blind Harry belongs to this period ; and, at the same time, of correcting the mistake, which, in conformity to the common opinion, and on the evidence of Dempster and Mackenzie, I have committed, in placing him towards the close of the fourteenth century'. John Major the Scotch historian, who was born about the year 1470, remembered Blind Harry to have been living, and to have published a poem on the achievements of Sir William Wallace, when he was a boy. He adds, that he cannot vouch for the credibility of those tales which the bards were accustomed to sing for hire in the castles of the nobility. I will give his own words. “ Integrum librum Gulielmi Wallacei Henricus, a nativitate “ luminibus captus, meæ infantiæ tempore çudit: et quæ
vulgo dicebantur carmine vulgari, in quo peritus erat, “ conscripsit. Ego autem talibus fcriptis folum in parte “ fidem impertior ; quippe qui HISTORIARUM RECITATIONE
CORAM PRINCIPIBUS victum et vestitum, quo dignus erat, “ nactus est." And that, in this poem, Blind Harry has intermixed much fable with true hiftory, will appear from fome proofs collected by fir David Dalrymple, in his judicious and accurate annals of Scotland, lately published ".
I cannot return to the English poets without a hint, that a well-executed history of the Scotch poetry from the thirteenth century, would be a valuable accession to the general literary history of Britain. The subject is pregnant with much curious and instructive information, is highly deserving of a 'minute and regular research, has never yet been uniformly examined in its full extent, and the materials are both accessible and ample. Even the bare lives of the vernacular poets of Scot
* See fupr. vol. i. p. 321. Dempster says he lived in 1361.
• The poem as now extant has probably been reformed and modernised.
HistMagn. BRITAN. L. iv. c. XV.
f. 74. a. edit. Afcenf. 1521. 4to. Compare Hollinsh. Scor. ii. p. 414. And Mack. tom. i. 423. Dempit
. lib. viii. p. 349. See p. 245. edit. 1776. 4to.
land have never yet been written with tolerable care; and at present are only known from the meagre outlines of Dempster and Mackenzie. The Scotch appear to have had an early propensity to theatrical representations; and it is probable, that in the prosecution of such a design, among several other interesting and unexpected discoveries, many anecdotes, conducing to illustrate the rise and progress of our ancient drama, might be drawn from obscurity.
OST of the poems of John Skelton were written in
the reign of king Henry the eighth. But as he was laureated at Oxford about the year 1489°, I consider him as belonging to the fifteenth century.
Skelton, having studied in both our universities, was promoted to the rectory of Difs in Norfolk'. But for his buffooneries in the pulpit, and his fatirical ballads against the
e See supr. p. 130:
At least before the year 1507. For at the end of his TRENTALE for old John Clarke, there is this colophon.
“ Auctore 46 Skelton rectore de Dis. Finis, &c. A.
“ pud Trumpinton, script. per Curatum ** ejusdem quinto die Jan. A. D. 1507." See the PITHY PLEASAUNT AND PROFITABLE Workes of MAISTER SKETON, reprinted at London, 1736, 12mo. pag. 272. He was ordained both deacon and prieft in the year 1498. On the title of the monastery de Graciis near tXe tower of London. REGISTR. Savage. Episc. Lond. There is a poem by Skelton on the death of king Edward the fourth, who died A. D. 1483. WORKES, ut fupr. p. 100. This is taken into the MIRROUR OF MA
devysed and made by mayser Skelton, foet laureate, late deceased, was printed by Rastell, in 1533. 4to. This is not in any collection of his poems. He mentions it in his CROWNE OF LAWRELL, p. 47• “ And of MAGNIFICENCE, a notable “ mater, &c.” Pinson also printed a piece of Skelton, not in any collection, “How
yong scholars now a days emboldened in “ the Hy blowne blaft of the moche vayne “ glorious, &c.” Without date, 4to. There are also, not in his Works, Epitaph of Jasper duke of Bedford, Lond. 4to. And, Miseries of England under Henry seventh Lond. 4to. Sce two of his Epitaphs in Camden's EPITAPHIA REGUM, &c. Lond. 1600. 4to. See a distich in Hollinsh. äji. 878. And Stanzas presented to Henry the seventh, in 1488, at Windsor, in Ashmole's ORD. Gart. chap. xxi. Sect. vii. p. 594. A great number of Skelton's pieces remain unprinted. See MSS. Harl. 367. 36. fol. 101. seq.-2252. 51. fol. 134. feq. MSS. Reg. 18 D. 4. 5: MSS. C. C. C. Cambr. G. ix. MSS. Cotton. VITELL. E. X. 28. And MSS. Cathedr. Linc. In the CROWNE OF LAWRELL, Skelton recites many of his own pieces. p. 47. seq. The foverayne Interlude of Virtue. The Rofiar. Prince Arthur's creacion. Of Perfidia. Dialogues of Imaginarion. The comedy of Achad mios. Tullis familiars, that is, a translation of Tully's Familiar Epistles. Of good Advisement. The Recule against
Skelton's poems were first printed at London, 1512. 8vo. A more complete edition by Thomas Marshe appeared in 1568. izmo. From which the modern edition, in 1736, was copied. Many pieces of this collection have appeared separately. We have also, CERTAINE BOKES Skelton. For W. Bonham, 1547. 12mo. Again, viz. Five of his poems, for John Day, 1583. 12mo.
Another collection for A. Scolocker, 1582. 12mo. Another of two pieces, without date, for A. Kytson. Another, viz. MERIE TALES, for T. Colwell, 1575. 12mo.
MAGNIFICENCE, a goodly Interlude and a mery