30th Sep 2013Posted in: Others, The Confederation Poets 0
Ane Auld Prophecie

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Auld Prophecie,

bot doubte be Merlyne or
Thomas of Erceldoune.
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February 4th, 1892

Dear Lord Napier of Etrick
          I am slowly recovering from a very severe attack of bronchitis, which must be my apology for delay in replying to your kind letter of the 26th December.
   I forward by this same mail another copy of “The Legend of the Black Turnpike;” and as you are prepared to do such honour to his trifling brochure, I add to it papers on two of the Queens so as to put a few more pages between the boards honoured with a place on your Lordship’s Libray [sic] shelves. Ours is a somewhat minute account of the Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity at Edinburgh demolished in 1848. I took careful drawings of the building and many [unnumbered page] of its curious details unmediating before the destruction of the fine old church.
   The other paper is a few d’esprit connected with the same court. I have reprinted it in the new editions of my “Memorials of Edinburgh” with a brief note telling of the original production.
   I only printed forty copies originally; and as each had the Initial Letter done by hand; each is in a sense unique. I later recovered the copy I sent you; for it is now forty four years since it was printed; and [unnumbered page] I doubt not the larger number of the forty copies have vanished.
   I fought a hard battle to save the old church but in the first furor of Railway excitement they would have leveled the Castle Rock for a Railway station

Dear Lord Napier of Etrick
Very Sincerely Yours
Daniel Wilson
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Ane Auld Prophecie,
bot doubte be Merlyne or
Thomas of Erceldoune, fundin
under ye altar-stane of ye Quenyis College
of ye Haly Trinitie besyde Edenburgh,
And diligentlie comparit with ye Cronyclis
and auld Wrytingis quhilk yairto effeir,
be Maister D. Doubleyone, ane
Brither of ye Auncient
Fraternitie of ye


Quhar for of swylk Antyqwyteys
Thai pat set hale pare delyte
Gest or Story for to wryte,
Owyir in Metyre, or in Prose,
Fluryside fayrly yaire purpose
Wytht queynt and curyous circumstance,
To rays hartis in plesance.	
                      quod Androw of Wyntown. [unnumbered page]



Quene Mary of Scotlande,
ye Duik of Gillirlandis douchter,
and sisteris douchter to ye
Duik of Burgone, spousit in
the yer of God M.CCCC.XLIX. to
Kyng James ye secund, with
ye fierie face, Hyr unerding>
fra hyr awn College besyde
Edenburgh, quhilk sho hyr self
fundit biggit and dotit. Also of ane awesum and
merwalous Demone quha sete hys herte on hyr banes,
and of ane haly and pyous Fraternitie quha unerdit
the samyn in spite of hys tethe, and of ye twa
valiand knychtis quha discomfytit the monstrous
beste, and strak him doune, and
pushionit hym incontinent wyth hys
awin malyce. Also of some quha
lookit maist stout and rycht
cocke-sure at ye begynin,
quha lookit blae yineuch
gin ye hyderende.

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Ane Ballat of Olde
Quene Moll; as
sung be ye Menstrallis to
ye plesand Tune of Olde Kyng
Cole, with variationes.

There lived a Quene in the Olden Time.
     And a pious Quene was she,
And she vowed a vow that a kirk she’d build,
An’ wi’ Provost and Prebends it should be filled,
An’ with Priest an’ Sacrist and Singer skilled,
     All in the North Countrie.

This pious Quene it chanced her,—
     For wha will not,—to dee;
An’, for a’ her tokens o’ pietie,
Folk vowed sair penance she maun dree,
For they ca’d her nae better than she should be,
     All in the North Countrie. [unnumbered page] 

But the Priests they chaunted the haly mass,
     And the Clerks they sang, perdie;
An’ ilk Prebend the De profundis said,
As wi’ haly water be sprynkeled
The through-stane whar the Quene was laid,
     All in the Sacristie.

An’ years gaed bye, and changes wore,
     An’ times nane thought to see;
There cam’ a Demon, the Demon o’ Steam.
The Dragon o’ Wantly was naething to him,
He gobbled doun churches like strawberries and cream,
     Or a caup o’ flummerie!

This truculent Demon a longing took,
     When hungry he chanced to be,
To mak a snack o’ her pious bones,—
Kirk, transept, bestry, steeple, and roans,
He’d swallow, and make no bones o’ the stones;—
     All in the Sacristie.

But, as good luck would have it, there chanced the while
     Ane pious fraternitie,
An auld-warld, monkish race o’ freres,
Wha ilka lang-kisted bane reveres
As a saunted relic o’ bye-gane years,
     All in the North Countrie. [page vii]

An’ they vowed a vow, an’ they sained a sign,
     An’ they sware fu’ piouslie;
An’ never a man o’ them a’ was afear’d,
For they grippit the Steam Demon by his beard,
An’ they howkit the Quene frae the mouldy yird,
     All in the Sacristie.

An they dighted their specs, an’ they rubbit their een,
     An’ they vowed the Quence was she;
An’ they took a cast o’ her pious skull,
An’ they kisted her banes in a leaden shell,
An’ they cirded her under a velvet pall,
     All in the Rood Abbie.




The Demon had set his heart on her banes,
     An’ an angry demon was he;
He took the auld kirk in his hungry maw,
An’ he crunched it down betwixt tooth and jaw,
And he lickt his chops, and chuckled, haw! haw!
     We shall see—what we shall see! [page viii]




For it chanced ’mong the auld-warld dead were laid
     In the kirk fu’ peacefullie,
He turned up, whar ance the altar stood,
Wi’ its mystic host and its haly rood,
Some rotten banes lapp’d in lead and wood,
     All in the Sacrarie.

An’ fu’ loud he shriekit an elritch laugh,
     An’ revenged he wad be;
He sent in haste for the Queen’s Remembrancer,
And bad him cook up the banes instanter,
An’ swear them, to ilk antiquarian baunter,
     The Quene’s banes in veritie.

The Quene’s Remembrancer he cam post haste,
     An’ wi’ him ilk Antiquarie;
The Curator look’d red, the Treasurer look’d blue,
The Secretary sniffed, but he only said, whew!
And the President groaned out, what shall we do?
     For it stinkit maist villainouslie! [page ix]

Nert there cam in hot haste, as best they might,
     Some wha foremost afore maun be;
And each stood bolt up, like an innocent man,
For they suddenly remembered—let wha will ban,—
They never had believed the auld Quene was the one,
     Frae the first they never had—not they!

Besides ’twas as plain as a beggar’s pike staff—
     As they suddenly cam to see,—
That a pious Quene, in her mouldie bed,
Was always known by being lapp’d in lead,— 
Though such logic, ’tis certain, made some shake their head,
     Faith in North and South countrie!

By good luck there chanced, on the nonce, riding by,
     Twa knights o’ the lancet, perdie;
I warrant, at the sight, the Secretarie,
Vice-president, Treasurer, and all, you might see
Look as thou such lead logic they thought might weigh
     Somewhat short of the veritie.

There was John o’ the Bone, a right Good sir,
     And Sir James o’ Midwiferie;
The tane, a bright, fat, fodgle chield,
Wi’ somewhat o’ rare auld Grose’s build,
The tother was lang as his lance, afield
     Baith knights o’ gude degree. [page x] 

The Demon, aghast, beheld smoke and steam,
     At the threat o’ sic enmitie;
But on catching a glower o’ their dauntless een,
He lookit first red, then yellow and green,
Till at last, in a fit o’ o’ermaisterfu’ spleen,
     He dwam’d awa utterlie.

They prickit his hyde, and vowed wi’ the banes
     That pushionit he should be;
They took up the skull, and the one said, faugh!
A Quene! quoth the other,—sic a Quene I ne’er saw—
As he thrust a thigh-bane in the Demon’s maw,—
     But the Quene o’Bedlamie!

The Demon he groaned, and coughed, and choked,
     And sputtered maist furiouslie;
But some that were there, I can warrant you,
Durst scarce show their faces, they looked sac blue,
And the Secretarie bowed, and Vice-president too,
’Twas the rarest Hare’s-nest ever on view
     All in the North Countrie.



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Now all you Antiquaries beware how you swear
     To a Quene’s identitie,
Unless, in the case it should chance, indeed,
That the ladye turns up well lappt in lead,
With a crook in her spine, and a cleft in her haed,
Which, as everybody knows, are the marks agreed
     For a Quene in the North Countrie!




Imprented be Andrew Jack, prenter to ye Quenis Maiesties leiges,
dwelland at ye fit of Niddryes Wynde, in ye Quenis Hie Gaite,
aneist ye Chapele of Sanct Mary in ye Cow-Gaite, fundit be
Elizabeth, Countesse of Ross of auld, in
Edenburgh in ye yere of Grace
cIɔ Iɔ cccxl ix.

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