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part am accustomed to treat with ridi
out according to his prediction in this cule."
ancient kingdom of Scotland-what is Boece appears to be the first who past, present, and to come. This brief puts on record the tradition that his account is taken from the Record of surname was Learmont; and Scott, who Cryle (Crail), near which place he was does not think it can have been borne born and brought up. His father was by the seer himself, sees no impro- said to be Laird of Balcomie, and the bability in its having become the records of that family are extant in the surname of his descendants, and pro- rolls." Then follows a somewhat difduces a genealogical memorandum, ferent version of the prophecy in referfound in the offices of the clerks of ses- ence to the death of Alexander III., and sion, tracing the family of Learmonth some others which we do not find quoted of Balcomy in Fife to “the Laird of elsewhere. The first is in reference to Erselmont in the Mers.” From His the battle of Sheriffmuir, regarding torical Notices of the Burgh of Crail, which the Rhymer is made to say :we learn that the first Learmonth of
“ That three ships and a shield Balcomie was Sir John Learmonth, whose
That day shall keep the field, eldest son, Sir James, became a Lord And be the antelope's build.” (bield ?). of Session, by the title of Lord Balcomie, in 1627.
The three ships are explained to mean He died suddenly
the arms of Argyle. Then comes the while sitting on the Bench in 1657. The following, which also bears following in reference to the Rebellion
of 1745, of which it is alleged he preupon the Learmonth question, is from a
dicted chap book entitled the Prophecies of
every particular: Thomas the Rhymer, and may be taken as
“ A chieftain unchosen
Shall choose forth himself a specimen of the traditional information
And the realm as his own." that was current regarding him and his prophecies during the commotions of “When speaking of the battle of Pres1745-6. It is very likely from the pen of tonpans in the year 1745, he names the Dougal Graham, the metrical historian very two neighbouring villages to the of the Rebellion. “Sir Thomas Lear- spot of ground whereon it was fought, mant, commonly called Thomas the viz., Coyleford-green and Seton, sayRhymer, was born in the east corner of ing,—'Between Seton and the sea Fife, of a good family. His prophecies sorrow should be wrought by the light have been more credited than any that of the moon,'—which act really came were ever recorded in the Scots Chron- to pass that morning the battle of Presicle, as they have been well attested, torpans was fought. what of them is past, and what they allude The naiveté of the following is charmto in this present century and period, ing when put into the mouth of one and of his dark sayings yet to come. whose property was, possibly at his own He told many mystical prophecies anent request, given to the church.
“ When all the kings of Europe, and what fell speaking of King Charles, he calls him
'A sly fox-bird, who would turn to is still claimed in Earlstoun churchyarıl Christ with the wyles of tods and foxes,' by persons of the name of Learmont; —meaning his swearing to the cove- and that a stone in the church wall nants. After some others of minor bears the inscriptionimportance, comes one in reference to
“Auld Rymer's race Lies in this place.” the Union:
At the times of the two unions, that " When Hemp is come and also gone, Scotland and England shall be one.
of the crowns and that of the nations,
the prophecies of Thomas stood at their “ (H)enry VIII., (E)dward VI., highest repute. The Earl of Stirling, (M)ary, (P)hilip of Spain, (E)lizabeth.
in dedicating his Monarchicke Tragedies НЕМР.
to James VI., compliments his sapient “ Praised be God alone,
majesty thus:-For Hemp is come and gone,
The world long'd for thy birth three hundreth And left us old Albion
yeeres, By peace joined in one.
Since first foretold, wrapt in propheticke “The explication of the foregoing pro
rimes." phecy concerning HEMP being come They are also referred to by Drummond and gone, leaving Scotland and Eng- of Hawthornden, as pointing to James; land joined in one, is fulfilled in the but the most notable reference is that of late King William, who came out of Archbishop Spottiswoode, who, in his Holland, which in old times was vulgarly History of the Church of Scotland, recalled the land of Hemp."
presents them as “having foretold so " From clear-skied France and muddy Zuyder- | many ages before the union of England Zee,
and Scotland in the ninth degree of the They come, replenished with the stores
Bruce's blood, with the succession of of trade; Some, from the Hollander of lumpish knee,
Bruce himself to the crown, being yet Convey his lintseed, stowed in bag or a child ; and other divers particulars, cade;
which the event hath ratified and made Heaven bless him ! may his breeches count
good.” To this he adds the prophecy less be, And warm and thick, and ever undecayed! regarding the King's death, almost as For it was he that first supplied the Scots quoted from Bower's Continuation of With linen for their sarks, and stout frieze for Fordun's Chronicle. The “honest but their coats."- Anster Fair.
credulous” archbishop, by “the proScott, in corroboration of the Learmonth phecies extant in Scottish rhyme,” from tradition, quotes a prophecy, which he which he quotes, refers to a collection, says is still current in Teviotdale, in the entitled “ The whole Prophecies of Scotfollowing couplet :
land, England, Ireland, France, and The hare sall kittle on my hearth stane,
Denmark, prophecied by Thomas And there will never be a laird Learmont | Rymer, marvellous Merling, Beid, Beragain."
lington, Waldhave, Eltrain, Bannester, He also records, that a right of sepulture and Sybilla,” printed in 1603, but
which must have existed, to some ex- When londe thouys forest ant forest is felde;
When hares kendles o' the her'ston ; tent, in the 14th century, when two lines
When Wyt and Wille werres togedere; of the beginning of it are quoted in
When mon makes stables of kyrkes and Ralph the Collier. It is also quoted steles castels with styes; more than once by Lindsay, in the 16th When Rokesboroughe nys no burgh ant
market is at Forwyleye; century. In an edition published by
When Bambourne is donged with dede men ; Andro Hart at Edinburgh in 1615,
When men ledes men in ropes to buyen and occurs the lines relied on by Spottis- to sellen; woode in reference to the Union. They When a quarter of whaty whete is chaunged are shown by Lord Hailes to be an in
for a colt of ten markes;
When prude (pride) prikes and pees is leyd terpolation of a prediction regarding
in prisoun; the return of the Duke of Albany from
When a Scot ne me hym hude ase hare in France in 1515, adapted to suit the forme that the English ne shall hym event of the succession of James VI. to
When rycht ant wronge astente the tothe crown of England, which had re
gedere; cently taken place. Such has been the
When laddes weddeth lovedies; popularity of this collection, that it has When Scottes flen so fast, that for faute of often been republished in chap-book shep hy drowneth themselve;
When shal this be? form ; but, as Scott remarks, it has
Nouther in thine tyme ne in mine; “so often been vamped and revamped,
Ah comen ant gone to serve the political purposes of dif- Withinne twenty winter ant one." ferent periods, that it may be shrewdly suspected that, as in the case of Sir John Scott treats the prophecy as a forgery, Cutler's transmigrated stockings, very contrived for the encouragement of the little of the original material now re- English invaders, and written by some mains.” The earliest prophecy attri- one in their interest to work on the buted to him which is found in writing, superstition of the Scots; its tendency is one contained in a manuscript in the being to aver that the war should only Harleian Library, supposed by Pinker- cease with the conquest of Scotland. ton to be of the time of Edward I. or II., But perhaps the most romantic asbut by Scott to be somewhat later. It pect of the history of Thomas is that in is in the form of an answer to a question which popular superstition has shrouded put to him in French by the celebrated him — happily not a repulsive one black Agnes of Dunbar as to when the which makes his case even more exScottish wars should cease.
ceptional than that of Michael Scott. “ La Countesse de Donbar demande The common belief was that he was a Thomas de Essedoune quant la guerre carried off at an early age to Fairyland d'Escoce prendreit fyn. E yl l'a re- by the Queen of Faëry, and was perpoundy et dyt
mitted to revisit his home at the end of When man is mad a kyng of a capped man ;
seven years, but only on condition of When man is levee other mones thyng than returning when his royal mistress should his owen;
intimate her pleasure. While, one
day, making merry with some friends True Thomas, he pull'd aff his cap, in the tower of Erceldoune, a person
And louted low down to his knee, came and told them that a hart and * All hail, thou mighty queen of heaven! hind, from the neighbouring forest, were
For thy peer on earth I never did see."slowly parading the street of the village.
"O no, O no, Thomas," she said ; Thomas once left the house and fol
“That name does not belang to me; lowed the animals back to the forest, I am but the queen of fair Elfland, whence he was never seen to return. That am hither come to visit thee. It was also believed that, after he dreed
'Harp and carp, Thomas," she said; his weird (fulfilled his destiny), he would
"Harp and carp along wi' me ; again revisit the earth.
And if ye dare to kiss my lips, In none of the prophecies attributed
Sure of your bodie I will be."to him is it assumed that he is himself the narrator, and from the manner of
· Betide me weal, betide me woe, his introduction, as “the busteous
That weird' shall never daunton me.' beirne on the bent" (the huge man on
Syne he has kissed her rosy lips,
All underneath the Eildon tree. the wild), it might be supposed that his appearance was supernatural, and “Now, ye maun go wi' me," she said; long after his disappearance as a natural “True Thomas, ye maun go wi' me; inhabitant of the earth. There are at And ye maun serve me seven years, least three MSS. of about the 15th cen- Thro' weal or woe as may chance to be." tury giving an account of his abstraction She mounted on her milk-white steed; by the Queen of Fairyland ; but their
She's ta'en true Thomas up behind ; language being somewhat obscure, the And aye, whene'er her bridle rung, more modern ballad (Part I.), given in The steed flew swifter than the wind. the Minstrelsy of the Border, is more suitable as a popular account of it.
O they rade on, and farther on;
The steed gaed swifter than the wind; Part II., which follows, is a ballad of
Until they reach'd a desert wide, his principal prophecies.
And living land was left behind.
"Light down, light down, now, true THOMAS THE RHYMER.
And lean your head upon my knee; PART FIRST
Abide and rest a little space,
And I will shew you ferlies three.
“O see ye not yon narrow road,
So thick beset with thorns and briers ? Come riding down by the Eildon tree.
That is the path of righteousness,
Though after it but few enquires.
* That weird, &c. - That destiny shall never Hung fifty siller bells and nine.