Henry Adamson Poems >>
The Muses Threnodie: Sixth Muse

As we arrived at our Lady's Steps,
Incontinent all men reversed their caps,
Bidding us welcome home, and joining hand,
They ask from whence we came, and from what land;
Said we, some curious, catching every wind,
Do run through sea and land to either Inde,
And compassing the globe, in circuit roll,
Some new-found lands to search beneath each pole;
Or Memphis wonders, or the Pharian tower,
Or walls which show the Babylonian power,
Or hung in th'air the Mausolean frame,
Or stately temple of the Trivian dame,
The Rhodian Colossus, and the grove
Where stood the statue of Olympian Jove,
With endless toil and labour pass to see;
Or if in all this world more wonders be,
They search the same, and so they stoutly boast,
Yet both themselves and pains are often lost:
For going men, if they return, perhaps,
Strange change, in swine transformed are their shapes!
Albeit some, though rare, who go from hence
Return, like him of Ithaca was prince;
But we, more safely passing all alongs,
Are not bewitched with such Syren songs:
In little much, well travelled in short ground,
Do search what wonders in the world are found;
Treading these mountains and these pleasant valleys-
Elisian fields had never braver alleys;
Then we imagine, and for wonders rare,
More than the Carian tomb, which hings in air,
Do we conceive. Of travels let them talk-
We in the works of learned men do walk,
And painfully their learned paths do tread,
For sure he's travel'd far who is well read;
Yea, whoso views my cabinet's rich store
Is travel'd through the world, and some part more.
Let this suffice, we travel to content us,
And of our travels think ne'er to repent us;
Yea, in our Muses we do travel more
Than they who coast and sound the Indian shore.
Yet think not so brave travels we condemn,
If with false conscience we may use the same;
Nor do we speak void of experience,
For both of us have travelled been in France,
And France for all; and if that will not ease you,
We think then all this world will never please you.

Then went we home to get some recreation,
But bye and by befell a new tentation:
Our neighbour archers, our good sport envying,
A challenge to us sent, our patience trying,
And did provoke us, if we shot for gold
Or honours praise, betimes, to-morrow would,
Or for our mistress, if we had a mind;
Doubtless, said Gall, thereto we are inclined,
But for the present we have taen in hand
To view our fields by river and by land;
Boast not, therefore, for nothing will disheart us,
Nor from our present progress will divert us;
But of our journey having made an end,
Our lives in such brave quarrels will we spend.

This answer when they heard they did compere
With ardent hearts some further news to speer,
And what brave sport we found-what pastime rare;
Forthwith in lofty verse Gall to declare
Began, his breast when Phobus once did warm,
Their ears and hearts his heavenly voice did charm;
And I, to keep a consort with full voice,
As fell by turn, did make them all rejoice
With sweetest rhymes: for both of us inclined,
Even as Democritus did truly mind
Of poets all, when once that sacred fire
With divine fury did our breasts inspire;
And thus with heavenly rapture, as transported,
That whole day's journey Gall to them reported,
Till Hesperus appeared, and in despite
Of heavens which hearkened, forced to bid good night:
Which when I call to mind, it makes me cry-
"Gall, sweetest Gall, what ailed thee to die?"

The night was short; Phobus did touch the line
Where crooked Cancer makes him to decline;
No sleep could close mine eyes, but wake must I,
Till fair Aurora did enlight the sky;
Then got I up, and where poor Gall did lie,
With mighty voice and chanting did I cry-
"Good Master Gall, arise, you sleep too long;"
With "Hey the day now dawns," so was my song;
"The day now dawns,-arise, good Master Gall,"
Who answering, said, "Monsieur, I hear you call:"
And up he got. Then to our barge we go,
To answer to our boatmen, wondrous slow,
When we did call, thrice lifting up his head,
Thrice to the ground did fall again as dead;
But him to raise, I sung "Hey the day dawns,"
The drowsy fellow wak'ning, gaunts and yawns;
But getting up at last, and with a blow
Raising his fellow, bade him quickly row.
Then merrily we launch into the deep;
Phobus, meanwhile, wakened, rose from sleep
At his appointed hour, the pleasant morning
With gilded beams the crystal streams adorning;
The pearled dew on tender grass did hang,
And heavenly quires of birds did sweetly sing;
Down by the sweet South Inch we sliding go;
Ten thousand dangling diamonds did show
The radiant repercussion of Sol's rays,
And spreading flowers did look like Argus eyes.

Then did we talk of city toils and cares,
Thrice happy counting him shuns these affairs,
And with us have delight these field to haunt,
Some pastoral or sonnet sweet to chaunt;
And view from far th'ambitious of this age,
Turning the helms of states, and in their rage
Make shipwreck of the same on shelves and sands,
Running by lawless laws and hard commands,
And often drown themselves in floods of woes,
As many shipwrecks of this kind well shows.
We pass our time upon the forked mountain,
And drink the crystal waters of the fountain,
Dig'd by the winged horse; we sing the trees,
The cornes, and flocks, and labours of the bees;
Of shepherd lads and lasses' homely love,
And some time strain our oaten pipe above
That mean: we sing of Hero and Leander,
Yea, Mars, all clad in steel, and Alexander;
But Cynthius, us pulling by the ear.
Did warning give to keep a lower air;
But keep what air we will, who can well say
That he himself preserve from shipwreck may?
In stormy seas, while as the ship doth reel
Of public state, the meanest boy may feel
Shipwreck, as well as he the helm who guides,
When seas do rage with winds and contrare tides:
Which, ah! too true I found, upon an oar
Not long ago, while as I swim'd to shore,
Witness my drenshed clothes, as you did see,
Which I to Neptune gave in votary,
And sign of safety. Answered Master Gall,
"Monsieur, your table hung on Neptune's wall,
Did all your loss so lively point to me,
That I did mourn, poor soul, when I did see;
But you may know in storms, thus goeth the matter,
No fish doth sip in troubled seas clean water:
Courage, therefore, that cloud is overgone,
Therefore, as we were wont, let us sing on,
For in this morning sounded in mine ear
The sweetest music ever I did hear
In all my life." "Good Master Gall," quod I,
"You to awake I sung so merrily."
"Monsieur," quoth he, "I pray thee ease my splean,
And let me hear that music once again."
With "Hey the day now dawns" then up I got,
And did advance my voice to Ela's note,
I did so sweetly flat and sharply sing,
While I made all the rocks with echoes ring.

Meanwhile our boat by Freertown Hole doth slide,
Our course not stopped with the flowing tide;
We need not card, nor crosstaff for our pole;
But from thence landing clam the Dragon Hole,
With crampets on our feet, and clubs in hand,
Where it's recorded Jamie Keddie fand
A stone enchanted, like to Gyges' ring,
Which made him disappear-a wondrous thing,
If it had been his hap to have retained it;
But losing it, again could never find it:
Within this cove oft times did we repose,
As being sundered from the city woes.

From thence we passing by the Windy Gowle,
Did make the hollow rocks with echoes yowle,
And all alongst the mountains of Kinnoull,
Where did we shoot at many fox and fowl.

Kinnoull, so famous in the days of old,
Where stood a castle and a stately hold
Of great antiquity, by brink of Tay;
Woods were above, beneath fair meadows lay,
In prospect proper Perth, with all her graces,
Fair plantings, spacious greens, religious places;
Though now defaced through age and rage of men,
Within this place a lady did remain,
Of great experience, who likewise knew,
By spirit of prophecy, what should ensue:
Who saw wight Wallace and brave Bruce alive,
And both their manhoods lively did descrive
Unto that noble prince, first of that name-
Worthy King James, who hearing of her fame,
Went to her house these histories to learn,
When as for age her eyes could scarce discern.

This lady did foretell of many things-
Of Britain's union under Scottish kings;
And after ending of our civil feads,
Our spears in scythes, our swords should turn in speads;
In sign whereof there should arise a knight,
Sprung of the bloody yoke, who should of right
Possess these land, which she then held in fee,
Who for his worth and matchless loyalty
Unto his prince should greatly be renowned,
And of these lands instyled, and earl be crowned,
Whose son, in spite of Tay, should join these lands
Firmly by stone, on either side which stands.

Thence to the top of Law Tay did we hie,
From whence the country round about we spy;
And from the airy mountain looking down,
Beheld the stance and figure of our town:
Quadrat, with longer sides, from east to west,
Whose streets, walls, fowfies in our eyes didst cast
A pretty show; then 'gan I to declare
Where our old monasteries, with churches fair,
Sometime did stand: placed at every corner
Was one, which with great beauty did adorn her:
The Charter-house toward the southwest stood,
And at southeast the Friars, who wear grey hood;
Toward the north the Blackfriar's Church did stand,
And Carmelites upon the western hand,
With many chapels standing here and there,
And steeples fairly mounted in the air;
Our Lady's Church, St Catherine's, and St Paul's,
Where many a mess was sung for defunct souls;
The Chapel of the Rood, and sweet St Anne,
And Loret's Chapel, from Rome's Vatican
Transported hither, for a time took fasing,
(You know the cloister monks write nev'r a lessing);
For what offence I know not, or disdain,
But that same chapel borne hence is again,
For it appears no more-look whoso list,
Or else I'm sure its covered with a mist;
St Leonard's cloister, mourning Magdalene,
Whose crystal fountain flows like Hypocrene;
St John's fair church as yet in mids did stand;
A braver sight was not in all this land
Than was that town, when thus it stood decord,
As not a few yet living can record;
And to be short, for this we may not tarry on,
Of that old town this nought is but the carion.
"Monsieur," said Gall, "that for a truth I know,
These kirks and cloisters make a goodly show;
But this as truly I dare well allege,
These kirkmen used the greatest cousenage
That ever was seen or heard." "Good Gall, quoth I,
"How can that be?" "Monsieur, if you will try,
Too much true shall you find." "Pray thee, good Gall,
Your speech to me seems paradoxical,
Therefore I would it know." "Monsieur," quoth he,
"And shall I show what such idolatry
Hath brought upon that town? The many cloisters,
Where fed there was so many idle fosters,
Monks, priests, and friars, and multitude of patrons,
Erected in their queires; the old wives and matrons
Gave great heed to these things which they did say,
And made their horned husbands to obey,
And mortify so much unto this saint,
And unto that, though they themselves should want:
Yea, twenty saints about one tenement,
Each one of them to have an yearly rent;
And all to pray for one poor wretched soul,
Which Purgatory fire so fierce should thole.
So these annuities-yearly taxations,
Are causes of these woful desolations
Which we behold-the ground of all these evils.
What to these saints they gave was given to devils;
God made them saints-men set them in God's stead-
Gave them God's honour-to them idols made;
Thus Satan served is: what men allow
On idols in his name, to him they do;
And now these friar's destroyers may be seen,
And of that city's wreck the cause have been:
For none dare buy the smallest piece of ground,
So many annual rents thereon are found;
And if he build thereon, doubtless he shall
Spend in long suits of law his moyen all.
If some good salve cure not this sore, I fear
It shall be said sometime-a town was there!"

"Good Gall," said I, "some melancholious fit
Molests your jovial sprite and pregnate wit;
I would some Venus-heir might cure your sadness,
Repell your sorrows, and repledge your gladness;
Therefore I'll quickly go a herbarising,
To cure that melancholic mood by snising."

Herewith we turn our pace, and down again,
Pass by the Windy Gowl unto the plain;
And herbarising there a preety while,
Gall's lustie face again began to smile;
Guess then how blythe was I;-if I had found,
I would not been so blythe, a thousand pound.
Thus recreat, to boat again we go,
And down the river smoothly do we row,
Nearby Kinfauns, which famous Longueville
Sometime did hold, whose ancient sword of steel
Remains unto this day, and of that land
Is chiefest evident; on the other hand
Elcho and Elcho Park, where Wallace haunted,
A sure refuge, when Englishmen he daunted;
And Elcho nunnery, where the holy sisters
Supplied were by the fratres in their misters.
By Sleepless Isle we row, which our good kings
Gave to our town with many better things,
Before there was in that near neighbouring station,
Or friar or nun to set there their foundation.
On the other side we looked unto Balthayock,
Where many peacock calls upon his mayock;
Megginch, fair place, and Errol's pleasant seat,
With many more, which long were to relate.
Right over against is that wood, Earnside,
And fort, where Wallace oft times did reside;
While we beheld all these the tide did flow;
A lie the rudder goes-about we row;
Up to the town again we make our course,
Sweetly convoyed with Tay's reflowing source.

There we beheld where Wallace ship was drowned,
Which he brought out of France, whose bottom found
Was not long since, by Master Dickeson's art,
That rare ingeniour, skill'd in every part
Of mathematics. Quoth I, "Master Gall,
I marvel our records nothing at all
Do mention Wallace going into France;
How that can be forgot I greatly scance,
For well I know all Gascony and Guien
Do hold that Wallace was a mighty gian',
Even to this day; in Rochel likewise found
A tower, from Wallace name greatly renown'd;
Yea, Longueville's antiquities, which there
We do behold, this truly do declare
That Wallace was in France; for after that
The public place of government he quat,
Were full four years and more, before he shed
His dearest blood-ah! dearest! truly said;
And think you then that such a martial heart,
Yielding his place, would sojourn in this part,
And lazily lie loitering in some hole?
That any so should think I hardly thole;
Therefore I grieve our men should have forgotten
Themselves, and left so brave a point unwritten,
Or should it contradict, there being so many
Good reasons for this truth as is for any."

"Monsieur," said he, "that's not a thing to grieve at,
For they did write his public life, not private;
For sure it is, after his public charge
Grief made him go to France, his spirit t'enlarge,-
His noble spirite, that thraldom suffered never,
For he to liberty aspired ever;
And turning home, his ship caused sunken be,
To stop the river's passage, that from sea
No English ship should come Perth to relieve,
For any chance of war fortune could give;
But now this ship, which so long time before
In waters lay, is fairly hauled ashore;
What cannot skill by mathematic move,
As would appear things natures reach above.?

Up by the Willowgate we make our way;
With flowing waters pleasant then was Tay.
The town appears: the great and strong Spey Tower,
And Monk's Tower, builded round, a wall of power
Extending 'twixt the two; thence goeth a snout
Of great square stones, which turns the streams about;
Two ports with double walls; on either hand
Are fowfies deep, where gorged waters stand,
And flow even as you list; but over all
The palace kythes, may named be Perth's Whithall,
With orchards like these of Hesperides;
But who shall show the Ephemerides
Of these things, which sometimes adorned that city?
That they should all be lost it were great pity,
Whose antique monuments are a great deal more
Than any inward riches, pomp, or store;
And privileges would you truly know-
Far more, indeed, than I can truly show;
Such were our king's good wills, for to declare
What pleasure and contentment they had there;
But of all privileges this is the bravest-
King James the sixth was burgess made and provost,
And gave his burgess oath, and did enrole
With his own hand within the burgess scrole
And Guildry book his dear and worthy name,
Which doth remain to Perth's perpetual fame,
And that king's glorie; thus was his graciouspleas ure
Of his most loving heart to shew the treasure;
Writing beneath his name these words most nervous,
Parcere subject is, et debellare superbos:
That is, It is the Lyon's great renown
To spare the humble, and proudlings pester down;
Which extant with his own hand you may see:
And, as inspir'd, thus did he prophesy-
"What will you say if this shall come to hand:
Perth's provost London's mayor shall command!"
Which words, when we did hear, we much admired,
And every one of us often inquired
What these could mean; some said he meant such one,
That London-yea, all England-like had none;
Some said, he minds his dignity and place,
Others his gifts of nature and of grace,
All which were true indeed; yet none could say
He meant that England's scepter he should sway,
Till that it came to pass some few years after,
Then hearts with joy and mouths were fill'd with laughter;
Happy King James the sixth, so may I say,
For I a man most jovial was that day,
And had good reason, when I kiss'd that hand
Which afterwards all Britain did command.

"Monsieur," said Gall, "I swear you had good reason
Most glad to be that day: for you of treason
Affoiled was of your unhappy chief."
"Pray thee, good Gall," quod I, "move not my grief."
Said Gall, "Monsieur, that point I will not touch;
They'll tine their coals that burns you for a witch."
"A witch, good Gall," quod I, "I will be sworn,
Witchcraft's the thing that I could never learn;
Yea Master Gall, I swear that I had rather
Ten thousand chiefs been kill'd, or had my father:
The king is pater patri