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WALTER SCOTT.

1613–1690.

An old Souldier and no Scholler ;
And one that can write none
But just the letters of his name.

Thus he describes himself in the title page of his “True History

of several Honourable Families of the Right Honourable name of Scott, in the Shires of Roxburgh and Selkirke, and others adjacent; gathered out of Ancient Chroni. cles, Histories, and Traditions of our Fathers.” Edinburgh

1688; reprinted 1776. On the death of his grandfather, Sir Robert Scott of Thirl.

stone, his father having no means to bring up his chil. dren, put this Walter to attend beasts in the field ; “but," says he, “ I gave them the short cut at last, and left the kine in the carn, and ever since that time I have con

tinued a souldier abroad and at home,"&c. There is so great a difference in the style of the specimen

subjoined, that it is hardly possible to suppose it all comes from the same hand. "There is so much of the whimsical solemnity of NOTHING in it, that although it does not much illustrate the character of its age, it would not be fair to withhold it from the reader. But be it remembered, that it was written at seventy-three.

Dedicated to the very worshipful and much honoured

generous Gentleman, Hugh Scott, of Gallow

shiells, and Walter Scott, of Wauchop. O! for a quill of that Arabian wing, That's hatch'd in embers of some kindred fire, Who to herself, herself doth issue bring, And, three in one, is young, and dame and sier : O! that I could to Virgil's vein aspire, Or Homer's verse, the golden language Greek, With polish'd phrases, I my lines would tire, Into the deep of art my muse should seek; Meantime amongst the vulgar she must throng, Because she hath no help from my unlearned

tongue ; Great is the glory of the noble mind, Where life and death are equal in respect, If fates be good or bad, unkind, or kind; Not proud in freedom, nor in thrall deject; With courage scorning fortune's worst effect, And spitting in fond envie's canker'd face, True honour thus doth baser thoughts deject; Esteeming life a slave that serves disgrace, Foul abject thoughts become the mind that's base, That deems there is no better life nor this, Or after death doth fear a worser place, Where guilt is paid the guerdon of a miss ;

But let swoln envy swell until she burst,
The noble mind defies her, do her worst;
If Homer's work in Greek did merit praise,
If Naso in the Latine won the bayes,
If Maro amongst the Romans did excel,
If Tosa in the Testine tongue wrote well;
A souldier that could never lead a pen,
Shows to the eighth or ninth generation,
Although I him enrol, and call him shepherd's

swain,
Yet hereby I approve he is a gentleman,
The son of Adam, who was by lot,
The brother of the worthy Colonel Scott,
Who died with honour at Dumbar's fight,
In maintenance of king and country's right;
He was the son, I know it for truth,
Of William Scott, laird of Whitehaugh;
And William Scott was the eldest son
Of Walter Scott, stiled of the same;
Walter Scott was Robert's son,
And Robert he was Walter's son ;
The first of Whitehaugh that from Borthwick

sprung, That Wat of Whitehaugh was cousin-german, To John of Borthwick, who fasted so long,

Three sundry times he did perform
To fast fourty days I do aver ;
Bishop Spots wood, my author is he,
A profound learn'd prelat, that would not lie:
When James the Fifth, he was Scotland's king,
In the castle of Edinburgh he incarcer'd him,
And would not believe the country says,
That any mortal could fast fourty days;
Bare bread and water the king allow'd for his meat,
But John Scott refused and would not eat :
· When the fourty days were come and gone,
* He was a great deal lustier than when he began."
Then of the king he did presume,
To beg recommendation to the Pope of Rome,
" Where there he fasted fourty days more,

And was neither hungry, sick, nor sore;'
From Rome he did hastily return,
And arrived in Brittain at London ;
Where Henry the Eighth, he got notice,
That John Scott had fasted twice fourty days;
The king would not believe he could do such thing
For which he commanded to incarcerate him ;
Fourty days expired, he said he had no pain,
That his fast had been but ten hours time :
Here Walter Scott I'll draw near an end,
From John of Borthwick thy fathers did descend;

He was the son of Walter, I have said enough,
Their original is from Buckcleugh.
In the fourscore psalm we read,
That like a flock our God did Joseph lead,
And ev'ry day we do confess almost,
That we have err'd, and stray'd, like sheep that's

lost,
For oaths, and passing words, and joining hands,
Is like assurance written in the sands,
The silly sheeps-skin turn'd to parchment thin
Shews that Jason's golden fleece with thee remains.

Begone my book, stretch forth thy

wings and fly, Amongst the nobles and gentility : Thou'rt not to sell to scavingers and clowns, But given to worthy persons of renown. The number's few, I've printed in regard, My charges have been great, and I hope reward ; I caused not print many above twelve score, And the printers are engag'd that they shall print

no more.

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