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Memorials of Edinburgh in the Olden Time


CHAPTER IV. FROM THE BATTLE OF FLODDESV TO THE DEATH OF YAMES V. m[HE ready voice of rumour preceded the more certain ‘news of the disastrous field of Flodden, and filled the Scottish capital with dismay : already sufficiently overcast by the prevalence of the plague, which continued to haunt the city during this eventful year. The provost and magistrates had marched at the head of their trusty burghers to the field, and were involved in the general misfortune ; but fortunately for the country, the wisest precautions had been adopted to provide for such a contingency. The provost and bailies “in respect that they were to pass to the army, chose and left behind thame George of Touris, president, for the provost, and four others for the bailies, till have full jurisdictioun in thair absence.” The battle of Flodden was fought on the 9th of September 1513, and on the following Registers of the City-Lord Hailes’ Remarks. VroNErTE-Jamea v.’s Tower, Holyrood, previous to 1554. [Note]-The following ballad, the mene of which is laid h St Oiles’s Church, may find a place here, both from its local allusions, and its general refere’nce to the subject of the text :- Wae worth the day our burghers lea1 Rade our the Ynglish yird; Wae worth the day shan leman’s guile, To bluidy grave fand wit to wyle Our gallant James the Feird. Uawn Douglas rase frae a dead-txoth sleep, Queen Margaret in Halyrood waukt to weep Sin’ their maister a leman’a tryst will keep Teenefh’ wi’ erie dream ; Ayont Tweed‘s border streams.
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BATTLE OF FLODDEN TO DEATH OF JAMES V. 35 day, with the fist rumours of the disaster, these magistrates issued a proclamation, couched in plain and simple terms, yet exhibiting such fimness as showed them well fitted for the trying occasion. It begins, ‘‘ For sa meikle as thair is ane greit rumber’ now laitlie rysin within this toun, tueching our Soverane Lord and his army, of the quilk we understand thair is cumin na veritie as yet, quhairfore we charge straigtlie, and commandis that all maner of personis, nyhbours within the samen, have reddy their fensible geir and wapponis for weir, and compeir thairwith to the said president’s, at jowing of the commoun bell, for the keeping and defens of the toun against thame that wald invade the sftlll~n.”~ It likewise warns women not to be seen on the street, clamouring and crying, but rather to repair to the church, and offer up prayers for the national welfare. All the inhabitants, capable bf bearing arms, were thus required to be in readiness ; twenty-four men (the origin of the old town-guardj, were appointed atl a standing watch ; and 2500 Scots were forthwith ordered to be levied for purchasing artillery and fortifying the town. We have already described the line of the first circumvallations of the city, erected in the reign of James 11. ; but its narrow limits had speedily proved too confined for the rising capital, and now with the dread of invasion by a victorious enemy in view, the inhabitants of the new and fashionable suburb of the Cowgate became keenly alive to their exposed position beyond the protecting shelter of the city wall. The necessity of enclosing it seems to have come upon the citizens in the most un- It is na ae day, but only ten, Wi’ the high masa an’ the haly sign, An’ the aisles wi’ the tramp 0’ stalwart men Sin’ Sanct Qiles his quire had rung That the Nunc Demittis sung. But only ten sin’ prince and squire, In mauger 9’ hell’s or heaven’s forbear, Had hight to ride, wi’ helm an’ spear, Three yards on Ynglish mould- An’ churl, an’ burger bauld, When Douglas soiight nigh the noon 0’ night Up the haly quire, whar the glimmerand light 0’ the Virgin’s lamp gae the darknesa,aight The altar 0’ gude Sanct Giles, To fill the eerie aisles. , Belyve, a8 the boom o’ the mid-mirk hour, Clang after clang frae Sanct Giles’s tower, Whar the fretted ribs like a boortree bower Rang out wi’ clang an’ mane ; Yak a royal crown U’ stane- Or the sound was tint-’fore mortal ee Ne’er saw sic sight, I trow, Shimmering wi‘ light ilk canopy, Pillar an’ ribbed arch, an’ fretted key, WT a wild uneardly low. An’ Douglas was ware that the haly pile Wi’ a strange kent thrang waa filled,- Yearls Angus an’ Crawford, an’ bauld Argyle, Huntly an’ Lennox, an’ Home the while, Wi’ mony ma’ noble styled. An’ priesta stood tip in cope and stale, In mitre an’ abbot’a weede, An’ Jamea y’wis abon the whole, Led up the kirk to win assoyl Whar the eldritch maea was said. Let the maw be sung for the unshriven dead !- An’ grim an’ stalwart, in mouldy weed, Priest after priest, up the altar lead, Let the dead’s mass bide their ban !- Eing Jam- his forbear wan. Let the dead’s m w sing ! aaid Inchaffrey’s priest- Now peace to them wha tak‘ their rest, A’ smoured in bluid on Flodden’s breast !- Crist’s peace !-Priest Douglas cried. Dead threap na to the dead ; Gane was the thrang fme the glymerand aisle, But or the mornin’ sun ’gan mile, ‘l’was kent that e woman was Scotland’s mail, A wean wore Scotland‘s crown. Aa he groped to the kirk yard boun’; Rumour, ‘ Lord Hailea’ Remarks, p. 147.
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