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Dun-Edin's Cross.-P. 194. The Cross of Edinburgh was an ancient and curious structure. The lower part was an octagonal tower, sixteen feet in diameter, and about fifteen feet high. At each angle there was a pillar, and between them an arch, of the Grecian shape. Above these was a projecting battlement, with a turret at each corner, and medallions, of rude but curious workmanship, between them. Above this rose the proper Cross, a column of one stone, upwards of twenty feet high, surmounted with a unicorn. This pillar is preserved at the House of Drum, near Edinburgh. The Magistrates of Edinburgh, in 1756, with consent of the Lords of Session, (proh pudor :) destroyed this curious monument, under a wanton pretext, that it encumbered the street; while, on the one hand, they left an ugly mass, called the Luckenbooths, and, on the other, an awkward, long, and low guard-house, which were fifty times more encumbrance than the venerable and inoffensive Cross.
From the tower of the Cross, so long as it remained, the heralds published the acts of Parliament; and its site, marked by radii, diverging from a stone centre, in the High Street, is still the place where proclamations are made.
This awful summons came.-P. 195. This supernatural citation is mentioned by all our Scottish historians. It was probably, like the apparition of Linlithgow, an attempt, by those averse to the war, to impose upon the superstitious temper of James IV. The following account from Pitscottie is characteristically minute, and furnishes, besides, some curious particulars of the equipment of the army of James IV. I need only add to it, that Plotcock, or Plutock, is no other than Pluto. The Christians of the middle ages by no means disbelieved in the existence of the heathen deities;
they only considered them as devils ;* and Plotcock, so far from implying any thing fabulous, was a synonyme of the grand enemy of mankind. “ Yet all thir warnings, and uncouth tidings, nor no good counsel, might stop the king, at this present, from his vain purpose, and wicked enterprise, but hasted him fast to Edinburgh, and there to make his provision and furnishing, in having forth of his army against the day appointed, that they should meet in the Burrow-muir of Edinburgh: that is to say, seven cannons that he had forth of the castle of Edinburgh, which were called the Seven Sisters, casten by Robert Borthwick, the master-gunner, with other small artillery, bullet, powder and all manner of order, as the master-gunner could devise.
“In this mean time, when they were taking forth their artillery, and the king being in the Abbey for the time, there was a cry heard at the Market-cross of Edinburgh, at the hour of midnight, proclaiming as it had been a summons, which was named and called by the proclaimer thereof. The Summons of Plotcock; which desired all men to compear, both Earl and Lord and Baron, and all honest gentlemen within the town, (every man specified by his own name,) to compear, within the space of forty days, before his master, where it should happen him to appoint, and be for the time, under the pain of disobedience. But whether this summons was proclaimed by vain persons, night-walkers, or drunken men, for
* See on this curious subject, the Essay on Fairies, in the "Border Minstrelsy," Vol. II., under the fourth head; also Jackson on Unbelief, p. 175. Chaucer calls Pluto the “ King of Faerie;" and Dunbar names him “ Pluto, that elrich incubus.” If he was not actually the devil, he must be considered as the “prince of the power of the air.” The most remarkable instance of these surviving classical superstitions, is that of the Germans, concerning the Hill of Venus, into which she attempts to entice all gallant knights, and detains them in a sort of Fool's Paradise,
their pastime, or if it was a spirit, I cannot tell truly; but it was shown to me, that an indweller of the town, Mr. Richard Lawson, being evil-disposed, ganging in his gallery-stair foreanent the cross, hearing this voice proclaiming this summons, thought marvel what it should be, cried on his servant to bring him his purse; and when he had brought him it, he took out a crown, and cast over the stair, saying, I appeal from that summons, judgment, and sentence thereof, and takes me all whole in the mercy of God, and Christ Jesus his son. Verily the author of this, that caused me write the manner of the summons, was a landed gentleman, who was at that time twenty years of age, and was in the town the time of the said summons; and thereafter, when the field was stricken, he swore to me, there was no man that escaped that was called in this summons, but that one man alone which made his
protestation, and appealed from the said summons; but all the lave were perished in the field with the king."
Before a venerable pile.-P. 198.
Drove the Monks forth of Coventry.-P. 201. This relates to the catastrophe of a real Robert de Marmion, in the reign of King Stephen, whom William of Newbury describes with some attributes of my fictitious hero: “Homo bellicosus, ferocia, et astucia, fere nullo suo tempore impar.” This Baron, having expelled the monks from the church of Coventry, was not long of experiencing the divine judgment, as the same monks no doubt termed his disaster. Having waged a feudal war with the Earl of Chester, Marmion's horse fell, as
he charged in the van of his troop, against a body of the Earl's followers: the rider's thigh being broken by the fall, his head was cut off by a common foot-soldier, ere he could receive any succour. The whole story is told by William of Newbury.
the savage Dane At lol more deep the mead did drain.-P. 209. The Iol of the heathen Danes (a word still applied to Christmas in Scotland) was solemnized with great festivity. The humour of the Danes at table displayed itself in pelting each other with bones; and Torfæus tells a long and curious story, in the history of Hrolfe Kraka, of one Hottus, an inmate of the court of Denmark, who was so generally assailed with these missiles, that he constructed, out of the bones with which he was overwhelmed, a very respectable entrenchment, against those who continued the raillery. The dances of the northern warriors round the great fires of pine-trees are commemorated by Olaus Magnus, who says, they danced with such fury, holding each other by the hands, that, if the grasp of any failed, he was pitched into the fire with the velocity of a sling. The sufferer, on such occasions, was instantly plucked out, and obliged to quaff off a certain measure of ale, as a penalty for “ spoiling the king's fire."
Note II. On Christmas ede the mass was sung, P. 210. In Roman Catholic countries, mass is never said at night,