The Muses Threnodie: Fourth Muse

Henry Adamson

 Next Poem          

This time our boat passing too nigh the land,
The whirling stream did make her run on sand;
Aluif, we cry'd, but all in vain, t'abide
We were constrain'd till flowing of the tide.
Then Master Gall, quod I, even for my blessing
Now let us go, the pretious pearles a fishing:
Th'occasion serveth well, while here we stay
To catch these muscles you call toyts of Tay;
It's possible if no ill eye bewitch us,
We jewels finde, for all our days t'enrich us;
The waters here are shaild, and clear, and warme,
To bath our arms and limbs will do no harme,
For these sweet streams have power to bring back
Our spirits, which in outward parts make slack
Our natural strength; but when these sp'rits retire,
They multiply our heat and imbred fire,
Helping our vital, and our natural parts,
Our lungs, our livers, stomachs, and our hearts,
And mightilie refrigerate our reins,
But above all they do refresh our spleens;
For such a bathing bravely doth expell,
Melancholie, which makes the spleen to swell
More than it should, causing an atrophie,
That we like skellets rather seem to be
Than men, and Atropos appears to laugh,
Thinking we look more like an epitaph
Than marriage song; likewise it doth us make,
Both support and collation freshlie take.
Content said Gall; then off our shoes we drew
And hose, and from us we our doublets threw,
Our shirt-sleeves wreathing up, without more speeches,
And high above our knees we pulling our breeches,
In waters go; then streight mine arms I reach
Unto the ground, whence cleverlie I fetch
Some of these living pearled shells, which do
Excell in touching and in tasteing too,
As all who search, do by experience try,
And we ofttimes; therewith I loudlie cry,
Good Master Gall, behold I found a pearle,
A jewel I assure you for an Earle.
Be silent, said good Gall, or speak at leasure,
For men will cut your throat to get your treasure,
If they its worth did know so well as I;
Harpocrates my patience would try,
Said I again, for I am not like such,
Who hurd their treasure and their speech as much;
But Gall, to stay long no wayes would be moved,
This element, said he, I never loved—
To land; on goeth our clothes; alongst the way,
Then did we go, and taking cleare survey,
How proper Perth did stand, one might have drawn
In landskip fair, on paper or on lawn.

Good Gall said I, oftimes I heard of old,
To be of truth these things ere while you told:
But of these walls I doubt that which you said,
That good King William their foundations layd;
Their founding is more late, I you assure;
That we from strangers rage may be secure,
They builded were, even then when James did reigne
The second, and in minor age was King,
Upon a bloodie slaughter, I hear tell,
Which 'twixt our town and Highlandmen befell;
For taking, as the costume was, a staig
At Midsummer, said Gall, Monsier, you vaig,
Which word indeed my spleen almost did move;
Then Gall, said I, if that I did not love
You most entirely, I would be offended.
Said he, good Monsier, would you have it mended?
Then I that storie will you truly tell,
And if I faile so much as in a spell,
Speak all your pleasure, I my peace will hold,
And grant my tongue in speaking was too bold:
Therefore Monsier, be not so much annoy'd,
These walls have oft been built, and oft destroy'd,
And stratagems of war have acted been;
As worthy as the world hath heard or seene,
By sojours as good as the earth hath born;
This boldly to avow I der be sworn:
England's first Edwards three can shew the same,
And Scotland's Wallace, Bruce, and Stewart's fame,
Whose prowes within this isle were not confined;
The Netherlands and France scarce them contain'd,
Nor other parts of Europe, and 'tis cleare
What great exploits they bravely acted heere;
These stories are well known; I must not slack,
For by and by the tide will call us back.

When Edward Lang Shanks Scotland did surprise,
The strengths first did he take as Chiftian wise;
But his chief strength to keep both south and north,
Lowlands and Highlands on this side of Forth,
Perth did he chuse, and strongly fortifie
With garrisons of foot and cavalrie.
And what the former times could not outred,
In walls and fowses, these accomplished.
Thereafter worthy Wallace first expelled them,
And for to leave these walls by force compell'd them.
Whom after foughten was that fatal field,
Wofull Falkirk, envie did force to yield
Up his government; to Perth then came,
And in the Nobles presence quatte the same.
Lean fac'd envie doth often bring a nation
To civil discord, shame, and desolation:
Such bitter fruit we found, all to confusion
At once did run, was nothing but effusion
O guiltlesse blood: Our enemies did take
Our strength again, and all things went to wrake:
Such was our woefull state, unto the time
That brave King Robert Bruce came to this clime,
Most happily, yet small beginnings had,
For many yeers before this land he fred
From enemies rage, till wisely he at length
By soft recoiling recollected strength;
Then came to Perth, and did the same besiege
And take; who through pursuit and cruel rage,
Kill'd Scots and English all were in it found;
Brake down the walls, them equal'd to the ground.
But after this victorious King did die,
And brave Earle Thomas Randolph, by and by,
All things perplexed were, the Baliol proud,
With English forces both by land and flood
In Scotland came, arrived at Kinghorne,
And through the country mightily did sorne.
Our governors the Earles of Marche and Marre,
Sufficient armies levying for warre,
This pride for to represse, did fire their tents;
At Dupline camped Marre: Mine heart it rents
To tell the woefull event—in the night
This Earle and all his hoste surprisde by flight,—
Yee know the storie, all to death near brought,
The Englishmen on Scots such butcheries wrought;
Thus Baliol proud to Perth did make his way,
The city all secure ere break of day
For to surprise, naked of walls and men,
As prey most easie did obtain; and then
To fortifie the same, in haste did call,
Go cast the fowsie and repair the wall.
The Earle of March, hearing the woefull chance,
Incontinent his armie did advance
To Perth, hoping the same he might regaine,
Did straightly it besiege, but all in vaine,—
He forced was to retire; Baliol to Scone
Then went, was crown'd—rather usurp'd the crown.
By these fair fortunes having gain'd a faction,
Not for the country's peace, but for distraction,
Did overswey the ballance; none with reason
Durst call the Baliol's interprise a treason,
Because it had good success—so doth reele,
Th'inconstant course of giddie fortune's wheele,
Constant in changes of blindfolded chance;
Mean while King David Bruce did flee to France,
As yet a child, his tender life to save,
From tirranizing Baliol's bloodie glave.

Baliol install'd, in guarding leaves the town
To some true traitours not true to the crown.
Hereafter nobles and commons all combinde,
Whose kin were kill'd at Dupline in one minde,
Aveng'd to be, did come in awfull manner
Unto the citie with displayed banner,
And strongly it beseige three months and more,
Till strong assault and famine urging sore,
Forc'd them to yield, the traitours openly kill'd,
The walls were raz'd again and fowsies filled.

Yet Baliol once more did obtain the same,
And with new fortunes much advance his name;
But who doth not find fortune's fickle chance,
Whom ere while she so highly did advance,
To hold a scepter and to wear a crown,
Now tyranizing proudly pesters down:
King Edward came with fiftie thousand brave,
To Perth the Baliol led as captive slave:
Trust not in Kings, nor kingdoms, nor applause
Of men—the world's a sea that ebbs and flowes—
A wheel that turns a reel that always rokes—
A bait that overswallowed men choakes;
Seditions rise again, this Edward Windsor,
With greater forces came, and made a wind sore
To blow through Scotland, minding a new conquest,
Did all things overwhelm even as a tempest,
Castles ov'rcome, strongly beligger Perth,
It take, rebuild her walls all thrown to earth,
Upon the charges of six abbacies,
With bulwarks, rampiers, rounds, and bastalies
Of squared stone, with towres and battlements,
Houses for prospect and such muniments
For strong defence, clouses, and water-falls,
With passage fair to walk upon the walls,
And spacious bounds within sojours to dreel,
To march, to string, to turne about and wheel:
These were the abbacies Couper, Landores,
Balmerinoch, Dumfermling, Saint Androes
And Aberbrothok, who these works did frame
For merit and for honour of their name:
Such zeal had they, though blind; ah, now a days,
Much knowledge is profest, but zeale decayes.

Thus was the citie strongly fortified,
Till Robert the first Stewart first assayed
With foure great armies, yet by force repell'd,
And after three months siege with grief compell'd
To sound retreat; Douglas mean while in Tay,
Most happ'ly did arrive, then they assay
To reinforce the charge, and with munition
For batterie new prepar'd, and demolition,
Most furiously assault, a month and more;
Yet nothing could availe their endeavoure,
Untill the Earl of Rossie with new supplie
Did fortifie the leaguer, and drew by
The water, which the wall did compasse round,
By secret conduits, and made dry the ground.
Then after sharp assault, and much blood spended,
Bravely pursued, and no lesse well defended;
Finding themselves too weak who were within,
More to resist, to parlie they begin,
And treat of peace; both parties jump in one,
With bag and baggage that they should be gone,
And so it was: The citie they surrender;
No English since hath been thereof commander.

Read George Buchanan, Boece, Master Mair,
These histories they word for word declare.
After the siege the walls some part were throun down,
But were not wholly raz'd, to keep the town
In some good fort, ready for peace or war,
If not a bulwark, yet some kind of bar;
Thus did they stand, untill the Highlandmen
Amidst their furie kill'd a citizen;
A citizen to kill, an odious thing
It then was thought: no sacrifice condigne
Could expiat the same, though now each knave
Dar to account a citizen a slave;
No such conceat in all the world againe,
As proudly poor such fondlings do maintaine.

This sudden slaughter made a great commotion:
The burgesses without further devotion,
As men with war inur'd, to arms do flie,
Upon these Highlandmen aveng'd to be,
Which they perform, chaffed in mind like beares,
And do pursue them unto Houghman's-staires;
In memorie of this fight it hath the name,
For many men lay there, some dead, some lame;
On which occasion they 'gan fortifie
And build those walls againe, as now we see;
Though not so bravely as they were before,
For that did farr surpass their endeavour,
Yet some resemblance they do keep and fashion,
For they be builded neere the old foundation.

These are the walls, Monsier, as I have shown,
Which often have been built, oft times thrown down
With stratagems of war; fame hath renowned them,
And if not Mars, yet martiall men did found them;
But now, good Monsier, needs none more at all
Them to destroy—they of themselves will fall.
So said good Gall, and humbly begged leave
For that offence so rashly he did give.
Oh! if he were on life to say much more,
For so he was disposde sometimes to roar.

Next Poem 

 Back to Henry Adamson

To be able to leave a comment here you must be registered. Log in or Sign up.