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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


Castle Hill. well-known in his time as a man of taste, and the patron of Runciman the artist. mond, of Megginch, who jilted him for the Duke of Athol. doors and panels that are still preserved. Over one of the former are the heads of King James V., ? For lack of gold she left me, O! And of all that?s dear bereft me, 0 I For Athol?s Duke She me forsook, And to endless care has left me, 0 I ? The Doctor died in 1774, in his house at the northwest corner of Brown Square; but his widow survived him nearly twenty years. Her brother John, twelfth Lord Semple, in 1755 sold the An ancient pile of buildings, now swept away, but which were accessible by Blyth?s, Tod?s, and Nairne?s Closes, formed once the residence of Mary of Lorraine and Guise, widow of James V., and Regent of Scotland from 1554 to 1560. It iS conjectured that this palace and oratory were erected immediately after the burning of Holyrood and the city by the English in 1544, when the I up her residence for a few days after the murder of Rizzio, as she feared to trust herself within the blood-stained precincts of the palace. Over its main doorway there was cut in old Gothic letters the legend &us Aonor Deo, with I. R., the initials of King James V., and at each end were shields having the monograms of the Saviour and the Virgin. The mansion, though it had been sorely changed and misused, still exhibited some large and handsome fireplaces, with beautifully clustered pillars, and seven elaborately sculptured with his usual slouched bonnet, and of his queen, whose well-known beauty certainly cannot be traced in this instance. A portion of this building, accessible by a stair near the head of the close, contained a hall, with other apartments, all remarkable for the great height and beauty of their ceilings, on all of which In the de- I were coats armorial in fine stucco. widowed queen would naturally seek a more secure habitation within the walls of the city, and close to the Castle guns. In this edifice it is supposed that Mary, her daughter, after succeeding in detaching the imbecile Dmley from his party, took corated chimney of the former were the remains of one of those chains to which, in Scotland, the poker and tongs were usually attached, to prevent their being used as weapons in case of any sudden quarrel, One chamber was long known as the
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THE GUISE PALACE. 93 The Castle Hill.] queen?s Deid-room, where the individuals of the royal establishment were kept between their death and burial. In 1828 there was found walled up in the oratory an infantine head and hand in wax, being all that remained of a bambina, or figure of the child Jesus, and now preserved by the Society of Antiquaries. The edifice had many windows on the northern side, and from these a fine view spent her youth in the proud halls of the Guises in Picardy, and had beell the spouse of a Longueville, was here content to live-in a close in Edinburgh! In these obscurities, too, was a government conducted, which had to struggle with Knox, Glencairn, James Stewart, Morton, and many other powerfd men, backed by a popular sentiment which never fails to triumph. It was DUKE OF GORDO~?S HOUSE, BLAIR?S CLOSE, CASTLE HILL. must have been commanded of the gardens in the immediate foreground, sloping downward to the loch, the opposite bank, with its farm-houses, the Firth of Forth, and Fifeshire. ?? It was interesting,? says the author of ? Traditions of Edinburgh,? ?to wander through the dusky mazes of this ancient building, and reflect that they had been occupied three centuries. ago by a sovereign princess, and of the most illustrious lineage. Here was a substantial monument of the connection between Scotland and France. She, whose ancestors owned Lorraine as a sovereignty, who had the misfortune of Mary (of Guise) to be placed in a position to resist the Reformation. Her own character deserved that she should have stood in a more agreeable relation to what Scotland now venerates, for she was mild and just, and sincerely anxious for the welfare of her adopted country. It is also proper to remember on the present occasion, that in her Court she maintained a decent gravity, nor would she tolerate any licentious practices therein. Her maids of honour were always busied in commendable exercises, she herself being an examplc to them in virtue, piety, and modesty,
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