The scarcity of my late friend's poem may be an excuse for adding the spirited conclusion of Clan Alpin's Vow.<*> The Clan Gregor has met in
* [_Clan Alpin's Vow; a Fragment,_ by Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, was
* printed for private circulation, _Edinburgh,_ 1811.]
the ancient Church of Balquhidder. The head of Drummond-Ernoch is placed on the altar, covered for a time with the banner of the tribe. The Chief of the tribe advances to the altar:---
``And pausing, on the banner gazed; Then cried in scorn, with finger raised, `This was the boon of Scotland's king;' And, with a quick and angry fling, Tossing the pageant screen away, The dead man's head before him lay. Unmoved he scann'd the visage o'er, The clotted locks were dark with gore, The features with convulsion grim, The eyes contorted, sunk, and dim, But unappall'd, in angry mood, With lowering brow, unmoved he stood. Upon the head his bared right-hand He laid, the other grasp'd his brand; Then kneeling, cried, `To Heaven I swear This deed of death I own, and share; As truly, fully mine, as though This my right hand had dealt the blow; Come then, our foemen, one, come all: If to revenge this caitiff's fall One blade is bared, one bow is drawn, Mine everlasting peace I pawn, To claim from them, or claim from him, In retribution, limb for limb. In sudden fray, or open strife, This steel shall render life for life.'' ``He ceased; and at his beckoning nod, The clansmen to the altar trod; And not a whisper breath'd around, And nought was heard of mortal sound, Save from the clanking arms they bore, That rattled on the marble floor; And each, as he approached in haste, Upon the scalp his right hand placed; With livid lip, and gather'd brow, Each utter'd, in his turn, the vow. Fierce Malcolm watch'd the passing scene, And search'd them through with glances keen; Then dash'd a tear-drop from his eye; Unbid it came---he knew not why. Exulting high, he towering stood: `Kinsmen,' he cried, `of Alpin's blood, And worthy of Clan Alpin's name, Unstain'd by cowardice and shame, _E'en do, spare nocht,_ in time of ill, Shall be Clan Alpin's legend still !' ''
``Edinburgh, 4_th February_ 1589.
``The same day the Lords of Secret Council being crediblie informed of the cruel and mischeivous proceeding of the wicked Clangrigor, so lang continueing in blood, slaughters, herships, manifest reifts, and stouths committed upon his Hieness' peaceable and good subjects; inhabiting the countries ewest the brays of the Highlands, thir money years bygone; but specially heir after the cruel murder of umquhill Jo. Drummond of Drummoneyryuch, his Majesties proper tennant, and ane of his fosters of Glenartney, committed upon the day of last bypast, be certain of the said clan, be ye council and determination of the haill, avow and to defend the authors therof qoever wald persew for revenge of the same, quhill the said Jo. was occupied in seeking of venison to his Hieness, at command of Pat. Lord Drummond, stewart of Stratharne, and principal forrester of Glenartney; the Queen, his Majesties dearest spouse, being yn shortlie looked for to arrive in this realm. Likeas, after the murder committed, the authors therof cutted off the said umquhill Jo. Drummond's head, and carried the same to the Laird of M`Grigor, who, and the haill surname of M`Grigors, purposely conveined upon the Sunday therafter, at the Kirk of Buchquhidder; quhair they caused the said umquhill John's head to be presented to them, and there avowing the sd murder to have been committed by their communion, council, and determination, laid their hands upon the pew, and in eithnik, and barbarous manner, swear to defend the authors of the sd murder, in maist proud contempt of our soverain Lord and his authoritie, and in evil example to others wicked limmaris to do the like, give this sail be suffered to remain unpunished.''
Then follows a commission of the Earls of Huntly, Argyle, Athole, Montrose, Pat. Lord Drummond, Ja. Commendator of Incheffray, And. Campbel of Lochinnel, Duncan Campbel of Ardkinglas, Lauchlane M`Intosh of Dunnauchtane, Sir Jo. Murrya of Tullibarden, knt., Gee. Buchanan of that Ilk, and And. M`Farlane of Ariquocher, to search for and apprehend Alaster M`Grigor of Glenstre (and a number of others nominatim), ``and all others of the said Clangrigor, or the assistars, culpable of the said odious murther, or of thift, reset of thift, herships, and sornings, quherever they may be apprehended. And if they refuse to be taken, or flees to strengths and houses, to pursue and assege them with fire and sword; and this commission to endure for the space of three years.''
Such was the system of police in 1589; and such the state of Scotland nearly thirty years after the Reformation.
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