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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


The West Bow.] THE HIDDEN SWORD. 317 from his sick-bed (a few months after to be his death-bed, though he fled to Newcastle in the interim); and, donning his armour, drew back the arras of the Queen?s chamber, looking like a pale spectre under his steel-barred helmet, on that fatal night in the March of 1566, when he planted his dagger into David Rizzio, whose death was mainly his contrivance; and in the demolition of this which the blade was covered, such as Vzncere a d mori, Fide sed cui $e4 and Sdi De0 GZoria. The manner of its concealment, and the fierce character of the old Lord Ruthven, within whose ancient lodging it was discovered, may readily suggest to the fancy its having formed the instrument of some dark and bloody deed ere it was consigned to its strange hiding-place.? ASSEMBLY ROOMS, WEST BOW. (From U McMIrcd Diawing T. Hanriltm pu6lished im 1830). house a singular relic of him apparently was discovered. ?? Between the ceiling ,and floor in one of the apartments, a large and beautifully chased sword was found concealed, with the scabbard almost completely decayed, and the blade, which was of excellent temper, deeply corroded with rust half-way towards the hilt.? Was this the corrosion of blood? ? ? The point of it,? says Daniel Wilson, ?was broken 06 but it still measured 324 inches long. The maker?s name, WILHELM WIRSBERG, was inlaid in brass upon the blade. His device, seemingly a pair of pincers, was engraved on both sides, surmounted by a coronet, and encircled on one side with a motto partly defaced, and on the other with his name repeated, and the words in.soZ.ingen. Various other mottoes were engraved amid the ornamental work with He died at the close of 1566, or early in the following year;? and a curious key, which was found in the demolition of his house, was procured by the Society of Antiquaries in 1848. Up the West Bow for centuries did all that was regal, noble, and diplomatic, advance on entering the city; and down it, for 124 years-between the Restoration and I f84-went more criminals than can be reckoned, to their doom, and many a?victim of misrule, such as the luckless and unflinching Covenanters, testifying to the last and glorying in their fate. Down the Bow, on the 3rd of September, 1716, there were marched from the Castle, en route for trial at Carlisle, eighty-nine Jacobite prisoners. ?? The departing troop was followed by a wail of indignant lament fiom the national heart, the
Volume 2 Page 317
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