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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


history, tradition, and in song. Professor Aytoun finely reproduces the feeling of anguish in his wellknown ballad of ? Edinburgh after Flodden ? :- a? Woe, and woe, and lamentation, what a piteous cry was Widows maidens, mothem, children, shrieking, sobbing in Through the streets the death-word rushes, spreading terror, ? Jesu Christ 1 our king has fallen-h, great God, King Oh, the blackest day for Scotlahd that she ever knew Oh, our king, the good, the noble, shall we never see him Woe to us, and woe to Scotland ! Oh, our sons, our sons Surely some have ?scaped the Southron, surely some will Till the oak that fell last winter shall uprear its withered Wives and mothers of Dunedin ye maylook in vain for them !? All the remaining male inhabitants capable of bearing arms were ordered to be in readiness ; a standing watch (the origin of the famous old Town Guard) was constituted, and five hundred pounds Scots The narrow limits of the wall of James 11. had proved too confined for the increasing city, and now that there was dread of a retaliatory invasion by a victorious enemy, the inhabitants of the Cowgate- then a new and aristocratic suburb-became naturally alarmed to find they were beyond the circumvallation of 1450. They felt themselves shut out in the unprotected country ! ?? But they-the citizens-did certainly retain their native character for prudence, as scarcely a house arose beyond the second wall for 250 years ; and if Edinburgh increased in any respect, it was only by piling new flats on the ancient royalty, and adding to the height rather than to the extent of the city.? Several traces of the ?Flodden Wall,? as it was named, still exist. This defence, which was built with incredible speed, had many gates and towers, crenelated and furnished with embrasures and loopholes, and was of vast strength and height, with a fewepleine of earth in some parts, especially to the south, Descending from the Castle in a south-westerly direction, it crossed the Portsburgh at the foot of the Grassmarket, where there was a barrier called the West Port ; and ascending the steep Vennelwhere much of it still remains-to Lauriston, it turned due eastward to the corner of Teviot Row, from whence it ran acutely northward to the Bristo Port. Thence it ran nearly eastward by the south of the present university and Drummond Street there ! despair ! sweeping on- James is gone ! before 1 more ? and men I ? come again ! ? stem, . were even levied for the purchase of artillery. to the Pleasance, crossing the Cowgate foot, where stood the Cowgate Port. From there to the Nether Bow Port the enclosure was completed by the west side of St. Mary?s Wynd, and perhaps part of the old wall of 1450. Descending Leith Wynd, which was also closed by a port, the wall ended at the foot of the North Loch, then, as yet, the artificial defence of the city on that side, the waters of it being regulated by a dam and sluice. These walls were added to and strengthened from time to time as suspicions occurred of the English: at Leith Wynd by Act of Parliament in 1540; another addition in ~ 5 6 0 to the foot of Halkerston?s Wynd, near the present North Bridge; and in 1591 all were repaired with bulwarks and flankers ; the last addition being, in 1618, at the Greyfriars Port They *had all become ruinous in 1745. The whole length of the old wall was about one mile, that of the new was one mile three furlongs. Henry VIII. was too full of his French war to follow up the advantage won at Flodden; and poor Scotland had now to experience again the evils that attend a long minority, for James V. was but two years old when he succeeded to the throne. By the will of James IV. Queen Margaret was appointed Regent during their son?s minority ; but she lost her power by an impolitic marriage with the Earl of Angus, whereupon John Duke of Albany succeeded her as Regent, This brave and wise prince was the sun of that Alexander whose daring escape we have detailed, and he had high interest in France, where he espoused Anne de la Tour of VendGme; but prior to his arrival there had ensued one of those dreadful street skirmishes which were so peculiar to Edinburgh in those On the queen?s m?uriage with his feudal rival, the Earl of Arran, attended by every Hamilton he could muster, marched into the city, and laid claim to the Regency, as nearest of blood to the king. Angus was not slow in following him thither, with 500 spearmen and several knights. The moment that Arran heard of his approach, he assembled the nobility of the west country, at the Archbishop of Glasgow?s quaint old turreted house, which stood at the eastern corner of the Blackfriars Wynd, but has quite recently been pulled down. He ordered the gates to be secured, but too late; the Douglases were already in the city, where a dreadful commotion was imminent. While Arran held a conference, Angus was in his town mansion, near the curious old street called the West Bow, the last vestiges of which have nearly disappeared. His friends conveyed
Volume 1 Page 38
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