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679, by Adomnan, of lona, one of his successors, that we extract the following remarkable passage :-" Illo in tempore quo S. Columba in Pictorum provincia per aliquot demorabitur dies, quidam cum tota plebeius familia verbum vitore, per interpretorem, sancto predicante viro, audiens credidit.”—(Adomn. vit. Columb. ii. 12.) This, to our apprehension, is quite conclusive, particularly as it comes from the pen of a Celtic ecclesiastic of no mean talent, who actually lived amongst the Picts nearly two hundred years before their supposed extinction.
And here the remark is forcibly pressed upon our notice, that Sir Walter seems to attach so little importance to the introduction of Christianity and the labours of the early missionaries, though this was one of the most extraordinary events of the period, and produced consequences worthy of being recorded in a much more prominent manner, than the very general terms which he has seen fit to employ. We are strongly tempted to introduce here, a brief sketch of what he has so strangely omitted, drawn up from Adomnan and other authentic sources, but the limits of a short paper forbids us to indulge our wish. We shall, therefore, turn to the character of the style of narration which Sir Walter has so unfortunately adopted. The Prospectus, as we have seen, leads us to hope that popular legends, marked as such when they cannot be authenticated, will not be excluded; but Sir Walter does not seem to have been so instructed; he has at all events most rigidly excluded them. The following paragraph contains his account of the battle of Loncarty.
• Kenneth III., son of Malcolm I., succeeded to the Scottish throne. He subjected to his sway the Britons of Strath-Clyde, and thus added materially to the strength of his kingdom. It appears, however, that Strath-Clyde was governed by separate though tributary princes for some time after it was joined to the realm of Scotland. In the reign of this prince the Danes entered the firth of Tay with a large fleet. They were met by the Scottish king, and a decisive battle took place at Loncarty. The Danes fought with their accustomed fury, and compelled the two Scottish wings to retire behind the centre, which, commanded by Kenneth in person, stood firm and decided the fate of the day. Monumental stones, barrows filled with the reliques and arms of those who fell, attest the truth of this battle, remembered yet for the obstinacy with which it was fought, notwithstanding which some historians have affected incredulity on the subject. '--pp. 14, 15.
We have always considered the common account of this battle, as exhibiting one of the finest anecdotes of patriotic bravery to be found in the annals of any nation; and Sir Walter ought, at least, to have assigned some authority for his statement, which, as it stands, is no better supported than that of Buchanan, and, as a narrative, it is miserably tame in comparison, as our readers may perceive: “Cum Dani,” says Buchanan, “in colle adverso corisisterent, neque ad eos facilis esset, sine ingenti periculo accessus,
sagitarii et jaculatores ed missi cum descendere coëgissent, ad radices collis acerrima pugna conseritur. Postquam incerta victoria diu multa cum cæde pugnatum est, Danorum duces per totam aciem dant tesseram, nemini in castra, nisi victoria, reditum sperandum. Ad eam vocem renovato clamore, tanto impetu sunt invecti, ut medium Scotorum aciem cornibus utrinque nudarent, fugientesque acriter sequerentur. Fuisset profectò illa dies longè Scotis funestissima, nisi velut divinitus, per unum hominem, in re propè desperata, fuisset oblatum auxilium.
Colebat porte agrum propinquum, per quem plurimi fugiebant, homo plebeius, cognomento Haius (Hay] cum duobus una filiis, qui cum corporis animique viribus magnis essent, nec minore in patriam caritate, pater jugo filii, quod cuique in promptu fuit, pro armis accepto, ubi densissimum fugientium agmen conspexerunt, obviam loco augusto profecti, primum convitiis, deinde minis fugientes sistere conantur. His ubi nihil proficiunt, proximos feriunt, se quoque vociferantes, adversus fugientes, Danos futuros. Ad hæc timidiores consistunt: fortiores, qui non tam metu quam
turba suorum abrepti, terga verterant, ad eos se aggregant, clamantes, auxilium adesse. Ita totum agmen in hostem convertunt et Danos non minus trepida, quàm ipsi venerant, fuga retro ad suos compellunt. hanc Danorum trepidationem agasones, et imbellis agrestium turba, sublato clamore, speciem novi exercitus præbuere. tantum animi Scotis et formidinis Danis attulit, ut alteros, de salute desperantes, erexerit, alteris prosperata victoria certam calamitatem attulerit. Hæc est illa victoria, ad Loncartem [Loncarty] vicum parta, illo et aliquot proximis diebus, summa lætitia ad posteros perpetua fama celebrata. Cum spolia victores dividerent, Haius in omnium ore erat. Multi homines honesti testificabantur se vidisse, quacumque ille cum liberis impressionem fecisset, ibi nostrorum ordines restitutos, et hostilem aciem, velut ruina impulsam. Omnes denique uno ore prædam, victoriam, famam, salutem se eis debere fatebantur. Haius ad regem perductus, modesté de se locutus, splendidus vestes sibi et filiis oblatas, ut conspectiores Bertham (Perth] ingrederentur, renuit: ac tantum, absterso pulvere, quotidiano amiculo indutus, jugumque quo erat in prælio usus ferens, multis a rege anteire, ac satis magno intervallo sequi jussis, multis ad novi generis spectaculum accurentibus, urbem ingreditur, omniumque ora et oculos in se unum convertit : ac solus prope omnem illius diei celebritatem tulit. Post Danorum discessum, otio præter spem tam citò parto, in conventu procerum, qui ad Sconam [Scoone) post paucos dies est habitus, nihil prius quam de Haii filiorumque ejus honoribus et præmiis est actum. Ager eis datus, unus totius Scotiæ fertilissimus, quem ad huc eorum posteri tenent: nunc in multas opulentas familias propagati : ipsi è plebe in ordinem nobilium relati. Insignia ferenda, uti mos est nobilitati, data scutum argenteum, in cujus solo tria scuta rubricata insunt. Quæ insignia (opinor) in
dicant salutem publicam trium hominum singulari in prælio virtute fuisse defensam.”—(Buchan. Rer. Scot. Hist., p. 194, edit. Francofurti, 1594.)
Sir Walter tells us, that. William derived his cognomen of the "lion” from his being the first who adopted that animal as the armorial bearing of Scotland”(p. 42.); but, as usual, he gives us no authority. We are, therefore, left to decide between his
statement in its present unauthorized form, and that of old Hector Boëtius:
Aganis quhome [the Pichtis] went Fergus [An. Dom. 503] with ancient armis displeyit in forme of banner. In quhilk wes ane reid [red] lyoun rampand in ane feild of gold with thunder and steir awfully dyngand [driving] his bak as is the guise of the gentyll [noble] lyoun guhen he enforceth him to wrayth.”—(Bellenden's Boetius, fol. vii. edit. Black Letter, supposed, 1541.)
Having thus briefly exhibited the improvements (as we supposed they will be called) which Sir Walter has made upon our older writers, we shall next see in what he differs from those of more recent times. The following is his account of the coronation and marriage of Alexander III.
• No sooner was Alexander II. deceased than Henry applied to the pope, praying him to interdict the solemn coronation of Alexander III. till he, as feudal superior of Scotland, should give consent. The Scottish nobility heard of this interference, and resolved to hasten the ceremony. Some difficulty occurred whether the crown could be placed on the head of one not yet dubbed knight, so essential was the rank of chivalry then considered even to the dignity of royalty. It was suggested by Comyn, earl of Monteith, that the bishop of St. Andrew's should knight the king as well as crown him; and the proposal was agreed to. The boy was made to take the coronation oaths in Latin and in Norman-French: this was a Gothic part of the ceremony. That the Scottish or Celtic forms might also be complied with, a Highland bard, dressed in a scarlet robe, venerable for his hoary beard and locks, kneeled before the young king, while seated on the fated stone, and, as at the coronation of Malcolm IV., recited the royal genealogy in a set of names that must have sounded like an invocation of the fiends.
* The young king was, shortly after his coronation, married to the English princess Margaret, daughter of Henry III.'—p. 45.
The following narrative of the same events by Mr. Tytler, strongly shows, we think, the inferiority of Sir Walter's, and might have given him pause before he ventured to compete with a volume published so recently as last year:
“ The mode in which the ceremony of bis coronation was performed, is strikingly illustrative of the manners of that age. The Bishops of St. Andrews and Dunkeld, with the Abbot of Scone, attended to officiate; but an unexpected difficulty arose. Alan Durward, the great justiciary, remarked, that the king ought not to be crowned before he was knighted, and that the day fixed for the ceremony was unlucky. Durward was then at the head of
the Scottish chivalry, and expected that the honour of knighting Alexander would fall upon himself. But Comyn, Earl of Monteith, who loved the boy for his father's sake, insisted that there were frequent examples of the consecration of kings before they had worn the spurs of a knight; he represented that the Bishop of St. Andrew's might perform both ceremonies; he cited the instance of William Rufus having been knighted by Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury; and he earnestly urged the danger of delay. Nor was this danger ideal. Henry the Third, in a letter to the Pope, had artfully represented Scotland as a fee of England, and had requested his Holiness to interdict the ceremony of the coronation from taking place until Alexander obtained the permission of his feudal superior.
“Fortunately, the patriotic arguments of the Earl of Monteith prevailed. The Bishop of St. Andrews girded the king with the belt of knighthood, and explained to him the respective oaths which were to be taken by himself and his subjects, first in Latin, and afterwards in Norman French. They then conducted the boy to the regal chair, or sacred stone of Scone, which stood before the cross, in the eastern division of the chapel. Upon this he sat-the crown was placed on his head, the sceptre in his hand; he was invested wíth the royal mantle, and the nobility, kneeling in homage, threw their robes beneath his feet. A Highland sennachy, or bard, of great age, and with hair venerably white, then advanced from the crowd, and, bending his wild form, which was clothed in a scarlet robe, before the throne, repeated, in his native tongue, the genealogy of the youthful monarch, deducing his descent from the fabulous Gathelus. It is difficult to believe, that, even in those days of credulity, the nobility could digest the absurdities of this savage genealogist.
“Henry of England, at this time influenced by the devotional spirit of the age, had resolved on an expedition to the Holy Land; and in order to secure tranquillity to his dominions on the side of Scotland, the marriage, formerly agreed on, between his daughter Margaret and the young Scottish king, was solemnized at York, on Christmas day, with every circumstance of feudal splendour and dignity. The guests at this bridal were the King and Queen of England, Mary de Couci, Queen Dowager of Scotland, who had come from France, with a train worthy of her high rank ; the nobility, and the dignified clergy of both countries, and in their suite a numerous assemblage of armed vassals. A thousand knights, in robes of silk, attended the bride, on the morn of their nuptials; and after some days spent in tournaments, feasting, and other circumstances of feudal revelry, the youthful couple, neither of whom had reached their eleventh year, returned to Scotland. • Were I,' says Mathew Paris, in one of those bursts of monastic eloquence, which diversify his annals, 'to explain at length the abundance of the feasts, the variety and the frequent changes of
the vestments, the delight of the plaudits occasioned by the jugglers, and the multitude of those who sat down to meat, my narrative would become hyperbolical, and might produce irony in the hearts of the absent. I shall only mention that the Archbishop, who, as the great Prince of the North, showed himself a most serene host to all comers, made a donation of six hundred oxen, which were all spent upon the first course ; and from this circumstance, I leave you to form a parallel judgment of the rest.'”Tytler's History of Scotland.-vol. i.
In the legends where Sir Walter is most at home, the same lopping away of the incidents
, and squaring them to his injudicious plan, will, to a certainty, prevent any body from reading the volume who can procure his “Tales of a Grandfather.” We may exemplify this by quoting his abridged account of the incident upon which he formed his tale of the Fair Maid of Perth :
• Ere yet the monarch was crowned, the Earl of Buchan, Robert's brother, in some personal quarrel with the Bishop of Murray, assembled a tumultuary army of Highlanders, and burned the stately cathedral of Elgin, without incurring punishment, or even censure, from his feebleminded sovereign, for an act which combined rebellion and sacrilege.
Two years afterwards, three chieftains of the clan Donnochy (in lowland speech called Robertsons), instigated or commanded by Duncan Stuart, a natural son of the turbulent Earl of Buchan, came down to savage the fertile country of Angus. The Grays, Lindsays, and Ogilvies marched against them with their followers. A skirmish was fiercely and wildly fought at Glascune in Stormont. An idea of the highland ferocity may be conceived from one incident. Sir Patrick Lindsay, armed at all points, and well mounted, charged in full career a chief of the Catherans, and pinned him to the earth with his lance. But the savage mountaineer, collecting his strength into a dying effort, thrust himself on the lance, and swayed his two-handed sword with such force, as to cut through Lindsay's steel boot, and nearly sever his limb. He was forced to retire from the field, on which the sheriff of Angus and his brother remained slain, with sixty of their followers. Sir Patrick Gray was also wounded ; and the mountaineers, rather victorious than beaten, though they had lost many men, retreated to their fastnesses in safety.
• The feuds of the lowland barons were not less distinguished. Robert Keith, the head of that distinguished family, besieged, in Fyvie castle, his own aunt, the wife of Lindsay of Crawford. Lindsay marched with five hundred men to her rescue. He encountered Keith at Bourtree church, in the Garioch, and defeated him with the loss of fifty men. scriptural expression, every one did what seemed right in his own eyes, as if there had been no king in Scotland.
The mode by which the government endeavoured to stanch these disorders, and indirectly to get rid of the perpetrators of outrages which they dared not punish by course of justice, was equally wild and savage. Á clan, or rather a confederation of clans, called the clan Chattan, were at variance with another union of tribes, called the clan Kay, or clan Quhele Their dispute, which the king's direct authority was unable to decide, was
To use a