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further, come after what may, thou and persuaded to go away without being I shall come to blows." * It is like let in.” “ Admit him instantly,” said enough,” said Sir Rolland, laughing, the knight; “but tell me, does he ask “that thou would strike stoutly;" but not particularly after any one ?”
“ After wishing to bring matters to that pass, he one Wymond," said the porter. “Then said, “Let me see if we may not manage tell him thou art not worthy to see the matter in a more quiet way. Where Wymond, but let him seek him himself, does that Wymond, whom you promised if there be such a one.” So saying, he to meet to-day, live?” “ With the returned to the royal hall. The porter queen, he told me; and I undertook to undid the gate, and told the collier to be at the court to-day without fail.” search for Wymond himself. He in“Then,” said Sir Rolland,“ see thou keep quired at several ushers if they could thy promise ; if thou art there by noon tell him where Wymond might be found, it will be soon enough for my errand.” but none of them knew any one of that “ Trust me,” said the collier; “
The collier, distrusting them, a true man, I shall not haste a foot pushed his way into the royal hall, in faster to serve your purpose ; and if you which all the nobility were assembled, do not move quickly out of my path, by keeping the Christmas festivals, with the rood ! you shall rue it." Seeing he the king and the queen in their midst. could make no better of it, and trusting He is dumfoundered with the splendour the collier's word, Sir Rolland was about that suddenly bursts on his sight—the to leave, when Ralph challenged him to roof gleaming with all kinds of devices be at the same place at the same time and carvings, and studded with gold and to-morrow on horseback, and he should silver and precious stones; the wall be ready to meet him on equal terms; covered with banners and mirrors, and and thus they parted.
the floors with the richest carpets; and On Sir Rolland's return to court, he he thought to himself, “I have enough is observed by the king. “Come hither, of royalty for once ; if I had but one Sir Knight,” said his majesty; “hast | word of Wymond, I should soon be on thou done my bidding ?” “ As you bade, my way back again, but having come my liege,” said the knight, “I watched thus far, I am loath to be beat.” Then all the ways, and found nobody abroad pushing forward, he suddenly found save one rustic, on his way to Paris himself in sight of the noble king, and with a load of charcoal.' “And why could hardly help calling aloud, “Yon's hast thou not brought him before me as Wymond. I ken him right well, though I bade you?” said the king ; "I fear he be more splendidly clad than when he has outwitted you.” Seeing the he lived with me. He is of more state king was displeased, Sir Rolland went than he told me. Alas! I fear I have out to learn if the collier had kept his been misled.” But the king observing word, when he met a porter, who said — him, smiled unseen. The collier next “ There is a fellow at the gate, with a cast his eye on the queen, and was so horse and two creels, who will not be dazzled by the splendour of her royal
robes, glittering with jewels, that he suit of rich armour, and appointed him
“God forbid,” said bravely, that Sir Rolland is anxious he the king, “I should in that way thank should turn Christian, and converts him the man who saved my life on that by the following speech :-“If thou dreadful night; he seems a stalwart man remain in thine own land thou shalt go and a hard hitter ; I think, for his cour- to hell at the last; but if thou change tesy, we shall make him a knight. I thee in haste, and confess thy sin, thou hold it a wiser plan than to slay such shalt have pardon and profit. Thou good Christians, to send them to fight shalt have to wife the gentle Duchess, God's enemies." So saying, he advanced Dame Jane of Anjou, heir-apparent to to the collier, and dubbed him a knight, two duchies, with many rich towns, and assigned him a pension of three and than whom there is none fairer in hundred pounds a-year, with a promise all France.” “I reck not of thy riches, of the next free ward that should fall to Sir Rolland,” replied the Saracen ; “thy the crown. “Sir Ralph," said the God and thy grassum I hold but light; king, addressing the new-made knight, but if thy God be so good as thou sayest, “ thou has worthily won thy spurs, and I shall leave Mahomet, and shall cast though of humble descent, art meet to myself on thy God, and beseech Him mix with the noblest knights of France; for His mercy to give me grace, and to and I pray God of His grace may make Christ His Son, for I have often seen thee as good as thou art brave.” With Christians cry on Him in their disthat he ordered a squire to bring him a tresses.” “I thank God for that,” said
Sir Rolland, “and Christ His sweet Son News having reached the king of the that gave thee grace.” Then they all death of the Marshal of France, Sir three swore on their swords to be fast Ralph is appointed his successor; and friends to the end of their lives. Magog to mark the spot where he found the is after this brought to the king, and, king, a hostelry is erected, in the name having taken the sacrament, is dubbed of Saint July, for sheltering those who a knight, by the name of Sir Gawtier, lose their way, or need its protecafter which he is married to the duchess. tion.
13162—1395. UNLIKE Thomas the Rhymer's, there remarks, that, “he was fortunate if he is no uncertainty about the work which attained this honour by the time that he is John Barbour's passport to fame ; but was forty.” This would place his birth about his personal history there is very in 1317, a year later than Lord Hailes little to record. The date of his birth places it. is matter of conjecture-1316, 1320, and In the same year, at the request of 1326 being severally assumed for it. David II., Edward III. grants him a The place of his nativity is likewise un- safe-conduct to repair to Oxford, with known, the only place having any pro- three students, in order to study. Some bability in its favour being Aberdeen. discussion has been raised as to whether Arbroath is suggested as the place of his Barbour himself went there to study, or early education. Warton, in his History only in charge of the three scholars. Dr of English Poetry, says that he was edu- Irving suggests, with much probability, cated at Oxford, but gives no authority for that Barbour's purpose was to consult the statement. There is much variation such books as were not accessible at even in the spelling of his name; but Dr home, and to confer with the learned Jamieson adopts Barbour on account of clerks of that celebrated university. its having been so spelled in a charter in His safe-conduct for Oxford is signed the vernacular tongue. In all his pass- by the king at Westminster, 13th Auports to England it is spelled Barber. gust 1357; and on 13th September, he The confirmation of a charter by David is appointed one of the commissioners II. to the Carmelite friars of Aberdeen, who were to meet at Edinburgh about dated May 7, 1360, contains the name the ransom of David II. That he atof quondam Andreae Barbitonsir, who is tended the meeting of commissioners is supposed to be Barbour's father. The thought unlikely, as there were two apfirst authentic link in his history is his pointed from Aberdeen, with a proviso, promotion, in 1357, to the Archdeacon- | that the absence of one of them should ship of Aberdeen, on which Dr Jamieson | not obstruct the progress of business. Another safe-conduct, dated 6th Novem- by Hume of Godscroft, in his History of ber 1364, is granted him, with four the House of Douglas (1644), to have horsemen, to repair to Oxford, or else been made in favour of an hospital in where in England, to study; a third, Aberdeen, which was in receipt of it till on 16th October 1365, to travel through the time of the Reformation ; but this, England, with six companions, on horse- too, has been a misstatement, for the back, to St Denis, and other sacred settlement was made to the chapter of places in France ; and a fourth, dated the Cathedral Church of Aberdeen, for November 30, 1368, to pass through the purpose of celebrating an annual England to France, and back, with two mass for his soul after his death. When valets and two horses, for the purpose that event took place has only been apof study. It has been supposed, and proximately ascertained, from the fact with great probability, that the chief that the last half-year's instalment of object of his various journeys was the his pension paid him, was that for the collecting of materials for his books.
first half of 1395. The statements of former writers in Of The Bruce, two MSS. are prereference to the writing of The Bruce, served. The one in the Advocates' and the pensions granted to Barbour, Library was written in 1489 by John being inaccurate on several points, Dr Ramsay, who is supposed to be the Jamieson investigated the matter thor- same that was afterwards prior of the oughly, and concludes that there is no Carthusian Monastery at Perth. The evidence to show that it was written other, written in 1487, is in St John's at the request of David II. That College Library, Cambridge. Dr Barbour was held in much esteem in Jamieson's well-known edition of The David's reign is manifest; but it ap- | Bruce, 1820, is from the text of the pears from a passage in Book IX. of former, and that of the latter is now The Bruce, that Robert II., David's being edited for the Early English Text successor, was in the fifth year of his Society by the Rev. W. W. Skeat. reign when the poem was about half Besides The Bruce, he wrote other two written; and there is no evidence of his metrical works, one called The Brute, of having received any pension till the year which no manuscript is now known to before Robert's death (1390). He was exist, unless about 2000 lines of two granted two pensions, one of £ 10 Scots, MS. Troy-books by Lydgate, discovered from the customs of Aberdeen ; and an- by Mr Bradshaw, librarian to the Uniother of 2os. from the rents of burrow-versity of Cambridge, be, as Mr Bradmails of that city. The first was during shaw supposes, part of it. It seems to life, but the second was to his assignees have been a genealogical history of the whomsoever ; and both appear to have kings of Scotland, from the mythical been granted in consideration of his Brutus, first king of Britain, who is having written the Life and Acts of said to have been a son of Ascanius, son King Robert the First. The settlement of Æneas, the Trojan prince. The fact of his perpetual pension has been stated of its having existed, is placed beyond doubt by Wyntoun, in the following and self-restraint, and that instinctiveshrewd. various other references :
ness which is so much valued amongst
his countrymen. His writings are also “Of Brutus' lineage wha will hear, He look the treatise of Barbere,
characterized by so much moderation, Made intil a genealogy,
lignity, and good taste, that we naturRight weel, and mare perfectly, ally consider these qualities characterThan I can on ony wise,
istic of his disposition. With all my wit, to you devise.”
He has been regarded by every writer Drs Jamieson and Irving both agree on the subject of our literature, as our in thinking that Barbour himself is first great writer. Warton says of him, quoting The Brute in the following pas- that “he has adorned the English lansage from the first book of The Bruce:- guage by a strain of versification, ex“ Als ? Arthur, that through chivalry
pression, and poetical images, far superior Made Britain mistress and lady
to his age.” Mr Ellis, in his Specimens Of twelve kinrykisa that he wan:
of Early English Poetry, in more full and And alsua,' as a noble man,
discriminating language, says-“ BarHe wan through battle France all free;
bour is to be considered in the double And Lucius Yber vanquished he, That then of Rome was emperour;
character of historian and poet. In the Bot yet for all his great valour,
first, his authority is quoted by writers Modred, his sister's son him slew
who immediately succeeded him, as the And good men als may then anew,
most authentic that can be adduced." Through treason and through wickedness;
Of the life of his hero, he observes, that The Broite 3 bears thereof witness."
"he gives a circumstantial detail of his The other work is his Book of Legends daily difficulties, of his paternal soliciof the Saints, recently discovered by Mr
tude for his little army, of his personal Bradshaw in the library of Cambridge
exploits, and of the patience with which University, in a MS. of many thousand
he submitted to more than a soldier's lines. It contains so many incidental share of the common hardships. allusions to himself, as—with the un
In describing the campaign in Ireland, mistakably Scotch origin of the MS.
in which the king has marched an army to leave no doubt about its author, who to the assistance of his brother, Barbour thus describes it :
suddenly stops to relate an anecdote “Storyss of haly men
which a monkish historian would proThat to pless God us may kene." bably have thought beneath the dignity Although what has been traced regard- of history; but the simple and affecing him has no direct bearing on his tionate heart of our poet would have personal character, yet it leaves an im- prompted him to risk a much greater pression that he must have been a man indecorum, for the purpose of illustratof varied talents, and fitted for the disc ing the humane character of his hero." charge of business requiring judgment, This refers to the incident of the woman
and child. Mr Craik, in his History Also Kingdoms.
3 Brute. of English Literature, also judiciously