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Edinburgh Past and Present


MUSSELBURGH. I21 spreading away into fertile downs, green wavy links, and sandy shingly beach, while the southern portion, on the contrary, gently rises, swelling up into a somewhat elongated mount -of rich arable land, on which the church, surrounded by its beautiful and well-kept graveyard, stands forth a conspicuous object, and seen from far and near. From this elevation, though little more than fifty feet above the-level of the sea, one of the most extensive and interesting views of the district is to be had: the fine bay of Musselburgh opening out into the Forth, dotted with many a sail, with the shores of Fife and the Lomonds in the distance: Edinburgh on the west with its noble castle, censor-like, looking down with calm, grave countenance upon all the bustle and roar, joy and sorrow, beauty and deformity, virtue and vice, learning and ignorance, congregated around it : Arthur’s Seat, in its lion-like repose, raising its huge back to the heavens, clothed with the freshness of May’s green month, and basking with evident pleasure its rocky flanks in the genial radiance of an unclouded sun, overlooking Leith with its numerous shipping and busy active population, and Portobello with its half-aristocratic and half-working-man’s dress, dreamily resting at its feet : while away to the south and east, extends the verdant vale of the Esk, with its green fields, thickly wooded plantations, and silvery thread of shining waters-here and there flashing back through the dense foliage the briglit fierce rays of the burning splendour overhead-gradually expanding, and rising up into, and forming the pretty, but sadly historic hills of Carberry and Falside. This mount, however, is celebrated for other and it may be more important things than the interesting ‘and extensive view to be had from it. History relates that the Romans, while in the province of Yuleniia, had a station here, and repeated discoveries point to this place as the spot where the preforium was reared : for example, a cave with an altar on which was the inscription, APPOLINIG RANNOQ, UINTULSU CIUSL ABINIANUPSR OCONSAUULG USTvIo, fum suscpptum soZvit, Zubens mento, was found in April of the year 1565 ; in January 1783, again, a Roman bath of two rooms, a most interesting relic, was uncovered, which is very fully described by the Rev. Dr. Carlyle, then minister of the parish, in the Staflj.tzid Account: two medals were also discovered about the same time and in the same place-the one of gold, very much defaced, is supposed to be of Trajan,-the other of copper, very fresh and entire, bears the inscription, Diva Fausfirm : besides these there are traditions, of a very authoritative character, to the effect that in digging the foundations of certain houses in Fisherrow similar ruins of Hypocuusta have been struck, the material and construction of which affording no feeble proof that this Q
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122 QUEENSFERRY TO MUSSELBURGH. station was not military merely, but was, in the language of Rome, a Minicipium or CoZonia Romanu. If Inveresk, in an antiquarian point of view, has its interest, so also has Musselburgh. The old stone bridge, a little above the town, and used now only by foot-passengers, is of great antiquity, and generally supposed to be pf Roman construction. Like all erections of the kind and of a similar period, it is narrow and high in the centre, the middle obviously having been defended by a gate, after the manner of Bothwell Bridge and other structures of a like nature elsewhere, of which some traces still remain in its side-walls. It was across this bridge that the Scottish army passed to the battle of Pinkie in 1547, and on which several of the soldiers were then killed by the shot of the THE OLD BRIDGE. English warships in the bay. Two centuries later the army of Prince Charles Stuart crossed the same bridge on its way to meet the forces of Sir John Cope on their march westward from Dunbar, and which sustained such a disastrous defeat at Preston, resulting iz1 the lamented death of that brave and good man, the celebrated Colonel Gardiner. Indeed, across it all the noble and kingly that approached Edinburgh from this quarter, for at least a thousand years, must have passed : Mary‘s frolic steed, as it pranced gaily on, proud of the beauteous burden it bore ; Cromwell’s thundering war-horse, as he pawed the ground and neighed out his haughty challenge upon the air, fearless in his great strength as the strong man that bestrode him; with the processions of monks, the marches of armies, and the trains of kings.
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