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When Johnny cam before the king
With all his men sa gallantlie,
He trow'd him a king as well as he. To this day the tradition of the country has preserved many recollections of this regal expedition against the border thieves. The wild and romantic pass through which James penetrated into Ettrick is still known by the appellation of the King's Road; the ruins of the castle of Henderland are pointed out in the vale of Megget; and near it the Dow's Linn, a romantic waterfall, at the side of which is a wild natural cavern. To this spot, it is said, the unhappy wife of the border freebooter retreated whilst her husband was manacled before his own gate. In the valley of the Ettrick, opposite to Rankleburn, is seen the dark tower of Tuschielaw, where Adam Scott, the King of the Border, so long kept the neighbourhood in terror, and levied his black mail from the trembling inhabitants. It is to this famous expedition of James that Lindsay alludes in these encomiastic verses :
Now Justice holds her sword on high,
Policy and Peace begin to plant,
Because the rash-bush keeps the cow*. Lindsay concludes this piece by some admirable advice to the young king on the subject of his duties and his responsibility, not neglecting a prudent hint that if his Majesty made provision for his old servant, or, at least, lent him
Of gold ane thousand pound or tway, it would be for the credit and advantage of both : • If not,' says he, in a tone of calm Christian philosophy, ‘My God
Shall cause me stand content
As did Diogenes in his tunt. It is pleasing to find, that soon after the presentation of this poem to his sovereign, the same affection which prompted the punctual payment of Lindsay's pension induced James to promote the servant of his carly years to the honourable office of Lion King at Arms,- situation the duties of which were probably of as high antiquity as the bearing of conts armorial, but which under this name does not appear earlier than the reign of Robert the Second. At the coronation of this monarch, as it is described in a manuscript quoted
questioned, but whose life and works are little else than a blank in our national literature.
It was soon after the king's recovery of his personal freedom, and the termination of the power of the Douglases, that Lindsay addressed to the monarch his Complaint,' in which he states his own services, remonstrates in a manly tone against the neglect with which he had been treated, and compliments his master upon the efforts which were already made for the establishment of order and good government throughout the realm. It is written throughout, to use the words of Warton, no mean judge of poetry, with vigour, and occasionally with much tenderness and elegance; whilst its pictures of the government and manners of the times, and its digressions upon the author's individual history and feelings, render it interesting and valuable. It is singularly bold in its remonstrances against the injury inflicted both upon the monarch and the kingdom by the reins of government being entrusted too early to his hands. They who flattered and indulged thee,' says he, for their own selfish ends, took thee, when still a boy, from the schools, and haistely entrusted to thine inexperience the governance of all Scotland:'
Imprudently, like witless fools,
• I may not call it treason,' he continues, “but was it not folly and madness ? May God defend us from again seeing in this realm so young a king! It were long to tell,' he continues, * in what a strange manner the court was then guided by those who petulantly assumed the whole power, how basely they flattered the young monarch.' The passage is not only spirited and elegant, but valuable in an historical point of view. I shall give it, only altering the ancient language or spelling, and nearly word for word:
Sir, some would say, your Majesty
They neither spared the spur nor wand.
Casting galmonds, with benns and becks,
And still Sir Flattery bore the price. Lindsay, with much spirit and humour, represents the interested and avaricious motives with which all this was done: the courtiers and governors of the young monarch engrossing and dividing amongst themselves the richest offices :
Roundand and whispering to each other,
any office shall become vacant. ? both lease and tithe.