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Edinburgh Past and Present


I00 QUEENSFERRY TO MUSSELBURGH. one called the Block House, and it was here that the fiercest assaults and heaviest carnage then took place. In vain did the besiegers endeavour to force an entrance. Daring deeds of noblest valour were then performed; greatest efforts of loftiest courage, both individually and collectively, were there put forth j but to no purpose. Mary and her French soldiers remained safe within the strong arms of that impregnable rampart, and the reformers had only the sad mortification of seeing their best and their brightest fall by the hands of foreign mercenaries, comparatively secure behind its massive strength. ' The flankers then, in murdering holes that lay, Went off and slew, God knows, stout men enow ; The harquebuse afore had made foul playe, But it behoved our men for to go throwe, And so men sought their deaths, they knew not how. From such a sight, swate God, my friends defend, For out of paine did dyvers find theyr end,' Hardly a vestige of these fortifications are now visible, although, in making excavations, evident traces of the former- military character of. the town are occasionally found. Perhaps we should add that the site of the citadel is still preserved by a place of that name adjacent to, and principally occupied by, the North Leith Station of the North British Railway, with the principal entrance thereto, an arched way of great strength, with a little bit of the wall attached. Time rolls on, bringing with him in his irresistible march his own great changes. The queen-mother dies, and Mary, who by this time is a widow, . has come over from that beautiful country she loved so well,' to take the reins of government into her own hands. The day on which she anived seems to have been unexceptionally dull and heavy. Knox, in describing it, 1 'Adieu, plaisant pays de France, 0 ma patrie I La plus chCrie Qui as nourri ma jeune enfance? Adieu, France 1 Adieu, mes beaux jours, La nef qui de joint mes amours Na ey de moi qui la mortie Une parte te resti ; elle est la tienne Je la tie ton amitie, Pour que de I'autre il la souvienne.' These beautiful lines were written by Mary on leaving France, and show how dearly she loved the land she was parting from-for ever 1
Volume 11 Page 153
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