« ПретходнаНастави »
UPON THE DEATH OF
THE VISCOUNT OF DUNDEE.
JAMES GRAHAM of Claverhouse, Viscount of Dundee, studied the military art under the Prince of Orange. He first distinguished himself by his activity in exercising the severities which the Scottish council, in the reigns of Charles II. and James II. decreed against the frequenters of the field-meetings and conventicles. On this account his memory is generally reprobated by the Scottish presbyterians ; nor would history have treated him more gently, had not the splendour of his closing life effaced the recollection of his cruelties. When the Scottish Convention declared for the Prince of Orange in 1688-9, Dundee left Edinburgh, and retired to the north, where he raised the Highland clans, to prop the sinking cause of James II. After an interval of a few months, spent in desultory warfare, General Mackay marched, with a regular force, towards Blair in Athole, against this active and enterprizing enemy, Upon the 17th June, 1689, when Mackay had defiled through the rocky and precipitous pass of Killicrankie, he found Dundee, with his Highlanders, arranged upon an eminence opposite to the northern mouth of the defile. Dundee permitted his adversary gradually, and at leisure, to disengage himself from the pass, and draw up his army in line; for, meditating a total victory, and not a mere check or repulse, he foresaw that Mackay's retreat would be difficult in proportion to the distance of his forces from the only path of safety through which they could fly. He then charged with irresistible fury, and routed Mackay's army in every direction, saving two regiments who stood firm. But as Dundee hastened towards them, and extended his arm as if urging the assault, a shot penetrated his armour beneath his arm-pit, and he dropt from his horse. He lived but a very short time, and died in the arms of victory. With Dundee fell all hopes of restoring King James's affairs in Scotland; the independent chieftains, who had been overawed by his superior talents, resumed the petty alVOL. XI.
tercations which his authority had decided or suppressed ; their followers melted away without a battle ; and after his death, those who had been rather the implements than the companions of his victory, met nothing but repulse and defeat, until all the north of Scotland submitted to William III.
The epitaph, here translated by Dryden, was originally written in Latin by Dr Pitcairn, remarkable for genius and learn ing, as well as for Jacobitism. It will hardly be disputed, that the original is much superior to the translation, though the last be written by Dryden. In the second couplet alone, the translator has improved upon his original:
IN MORTEM VICECOMITIS TAODUNENSIS.
ULTIME SCOTORUM! POTUIT QUO SOSPITE SOLO,
LIBERTAS PATRIÆ SALVA FUISSE TUÆ;
ACCEPITQUE NOVOS, TE MORIENTE, DEOS.
ERGO CALEDONIÆ NOMEN INANE, VALE !
ULTIME SCOTORUM, ATQUE ULTIME GRAME, VALE! Some editions of this celebrated epitaph, which seem to have been followed by Dryden, read the last line thus :
Ultime Scotorum atque optime, Grame, Vale. But there is something national in calling Dundee the last of Scots, and the last of Græmes, a race distinguished for patriotism in the struggles against England ; and on this principle the last reading should be preferred.
THE VISCOUNT OF DUNDEE.
OA last and best of Scots! who didst maintain