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"This Earle George his first wyfe, dochter to the lord Horn, and grandmother to this present Earle, being a woman both of a high spirit and of a tender conscience, forbids her husband to leave such a consuming moth in his house as was the sacraledgeous medling with the Abisie of Deir. But fourtein scoir chalderes of meill ;tnd beir was a sore tentatione; and he could not weel indure the randering back of such a morsell. Upon his absolut refusall of her demand, she had this vission—The night following, in her sleepe, she saw a great number of rebgious men in their habit, cum forth of that Abbey to the stronge Craige of Dunnoture, which is the principall residence of that familie. She saw them also sett themselves round about the rock, to gett it down and demolishe it, having no instruments, nor toilles, wherewith to perform this work, but only penknyves; wherwith they follishly (as it seemed to her) began to pyk at the Craige. She smyled to sie them intend so frutles ane interpryse; and went to call her husband to scuffe and geyre them out of it. When she had fund him, and brought him to sie these sillie religious monckes at ther foolishe work, behold! the wholl Craige, with all his strong and statly buildings, was by ther pynknyves wndermynded and fallen in the sea, so as ther remained nothing but the wrack of ther riche furniture and stufe flotting on the waves of a raging and tempestuous sea. Som of the wyser sort, divining upon this vission, attrebute to the penknyves the lenth of time befor this should com to pass; and it hath bein observed, by sundrie, that the Earles of that house, befor, wer the richest in the kingdom, having treasure in store besyd them; but ever since the addittion of this so great revenue, they have losed ther stock by heavie burdeines of debt and ingagment."'
1 A short abridgment of Britanes Distemper from the year of God MDCXXXIX to MDCXLIX, p. 113, by Patrick Gordon 1 Le8 Moines d'Occident, par le Comte
The writer who records this " relacioun of a wonderful vision" did not live to see the events which in the next century ended in the total overthrow of the house, and which he would doubtless have regarded in the light of its literal fulfilment.
An eloquent writer of our own day takes this view, and traces in the destruction of the family, the fulfilment of the saying of St. Columcille, who, when he blessed his infant foundation, left as his word that " Whosoever should come against it should not be many yeared [or] victorious."*
of Ruthven. Printed for the Spalding du Montalembert, Tome Troisieme, p. 191. Club. Troisieiue edition, Paris, 1868.
(1.) The Manuscr1pt.
ITS HISTORY—STYLE OF THE HANDWRITING AND ILLUMINATIONS—WHETHER OF IRISH OR PICTISH EXECUTION—CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MANUSCRIPT.
The remarks on the volume naturally arrange themselves under two heads—first, the history and character of the manuscript; and secondly, the version of the Gospels.
As to the book itself, while its early connection with the Columbian monastery of Deer is unquestionable, we are entirely ignorant of its subsequent history till the end of the seventeenth century. For the following facts illustrative of its later existence I am indebted to Mr. Bradshaw. "In 1697 the Book of Deer formed part of the collection of MSS. of John Moore, then Bishop of Norwich. It came into the possession of the University of Cambridge in 1715, forming part of the library of Moore, Bishop successively of Norwich and Ely, who died in 1714, and whose library was bought (it is believed at the suggestion of Lord Townshend) by King George I. for a sum of six thousand guineas, and presented to the University." It remained there unnoticed till Mr. Bradshaw's research made its real character to be known.
The volume (numbered I. i. b. 32.) is of a small but rather wide 8vo form of eighty-six folios. It contains the Gospel of St. John, and portions of the other three Gospels; the fragment of an office for the Visitation of the sick, the Apostles' Creed; and a charter of King David I. to the clerics of Deer. The notices in Gaelic of grants made to the monastery of Deer are written on blank pages or on the margins.
A reference to the plates of facsimiles will show that the text of the Gospels is written in a character different from and older than that of the Celtic entries.
A comparison of the handwriting used in various early codices of the Gospels has led Professor Westwood to conclude that the date of the Deer Gospels may be ascribed to the ninth century, and I see no reason against accepting this conclusion.
The form of the letters in the Gospels is that which was common to the Irish and Anglo-Saxon schools, being the debased Roman minuscule, and, according to Mr. Westwood, "not very unlike the Bodleian Caedmon."1
The style of ornament of the illuminations is similar to that used in many of the early Irish Books of the Gospels, as in the illuminated figures of the four Evangelists in the Book of Dimma (MS. in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin); of St Mark and St. Luke in the Book of Durrow (MS. in the same collection); and of St. Matthew and St. Luke in the Gospels of Mac Durnan (MS. in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth) ;2—all of which are of a date prior to the ninth century, the Book of Durrow being traditionally ascribed to the penmanship of St. Columba.3
1 Facsimiles of the Miniatures and Orna- xxii., and in the " Sculptured Stones of Scot1nents of Anglo-Saxon and Irish Manu- land," vol. ii. Plate iv. of " Illustrations." scripts, p. 89; Lond. 1868.
2 Drawings of the last are given in Mr. 3 Adamnan's Life of St. Columba, by Westwood's great work just quoted, Plate Reeves, notet, p. 276.