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LORD HAILES, well known for many valuable publications on the subject of Scottish literature, first published this ballad in 1755, as he obtained it from the recitation of a lady. The subject, as given by Bishop Percy, from Spotswood's History of the Church of Scotland, is as follows : “ Anno 1571. In the north parts of Scotland, Adam Gordon (who was deputy for his brother, the Earl of Huntly) did keep a great stir; and, under colour of the queen's authority, committed divers oppressions, especially upon the Forbeses;
having killed Arthur Forbes, brother to the Lord Forbes.-Not long after he sent to summon the house of Tavoy (Towie), pertaining to Alexander Forbes. The lady refusing to yield without direction from her husband, he put fire unto it, and burnt her therein, with children and servants, being twentyseven persons in all. This inhuman and barbarous cruelty made his name odious, and stained all his former doings; otherwise, he was held very active and fortunate in his enterprizes." Crawfurd, in his Memoirs, p. 213, makes the number of persons burnt amount to thirty-seven. Simson, who writes Short Annals of the Church of Scotland, also briefly mentions the event. « Hoc anno Forbosiï et Gordonii manus consererunt magnis copiis undique convocatis apud Crabsteane Abredonia loco vicino, ubi Forbesii non sine magna strage pulsi ceciderunt. Ubi etiam Arthurus Forbosius cecidit. Eodemque anno Joanna Forbosia Towa
ensis Comarchi uxor, uterum gerens, cum tota familia flammis commissa Capitano Carro Gordoniorum ministro.”—MS. Coll. Glasg.
This Captain Car, or Ker, was a famous officer in his time, and had been trained in the wars in Flanders. Previous to the battle of Glenlivet, he was selected by Huntly to watch the motions of Argyle's army. Gordon informs us, that the Forbeses were afterwards foiled in an attempt to assassinate Adam Gordon in the streets of Paris : “ Forbes, and these desperate fellows, lay in wait in the street through which he was to return to his lodgings, from the palace of the archbishop of Glasgow, then ambassador in France. They discharged their pistols upon Auchindown as he past by them, and wounded him in the thigh. His servants pursued, but could not catch them; they only found, by good chance, Forbes's hat, in which was a paper with the name of the place where
they were to meet. John Gordon, lord of Glenluce, and Longormes, son to Alexander Gordon, bishop of Galloway, above-mentioned, lord of the bed-chamber to the king of France, getting instantly notice of this, immediately acquainted the king, who forthwith dispatched le grand provost de l'hotel, or the great provost of the palace, with his guards, in company with John Gordon, and Sir Adam's servants, to the place of their meeting, to apprehend them. When they were arrived at the place, Sir Adam's servant, being impatient, rushed violently into the house, and killed Forbes; but his associates were all apprehended, and broke upon the wheel.”— pp. 113, 114.
These were terrible times; and it is not now possible to determine among the feuds of great families, what actions were the effect of malice, and what of sudden passion, or even mere accident.
EDOM O GORDON.
It fell about the Martinmass,
Quhen the wind blew shril and cauld, Said Edom o' Gordon to his men,
« We maun draw to a hauld.
And what an a hauld sall we draw to,
“My merry men and me? “ We will gae to the house of the Rodes,
“ To see that fair ladie.”
She had nae sooner busket hersel,
Nor putten on her gown,
Were round about the town.