The Muses Threnodie: Eighth Muse

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What blooming banks, sweet Earn, or fairest Tay,
Or Almond doth embrace! These many a day
We haunted, where our pleasant pastorals
We sweetly sung, and merry madrigals.
Sometime bold Mars, and sometimes Venus fair,
And sometimes Phœbus' love, we did declare;
Sometimes on pleasant plains, sometimes on mountains,
And sometimes sweetly sung beside the fountains.

But in these banks where flows St Conil's well,
The which Thessalian tempe doth excel,
Whose name and matchless fame for to declare
In this most doleful ditty must I spare;
Yet thus dare say that in the world again
No place more meet for muses to remain;
For shadowing walks, where silver brooks do spring,
And smelling arbors, where birds sweetly sing,
In heavenly music, warbling like Arion,
Like Thracian, Orpheus, Linus, or Amphion,
That Helicon, Parnasus, Pindus fair,
To these most pleasant banks scarce can compare:
These be the banks where all the muses dwell,
And haunt about that crystal brook and well;
Into these banks chiefly did we repair,
From sunshine shadowed, and from blasting air,
Where with the muses we did sing our song,
Sometimes for pleasure, sometimes for our wrong:
For in those days none durst approach their table
But we to taste their dainties;—this no fable.

From thence to Methven Wood we took our way,
Soon be Aurora fair did kythe the day;
And having rested there some little space,
Again we did betake us to our chace,
Raising the does and roes forth of their dens,
And watry fowls out of the marshy fens;
That if Diana had been in that place,
Would thought in hunting we had stained her grace.

To Methven Castle, where Gall did declare,
How Margarget Tudor, queen, sometimes dwelt there,
First daughter to King Henry seventh, who closes
York, Lancaster in one—England's two roses:
A happy union after long debate;
But union much more happy and more great;
Even by that same queen springs, and by her race,
Whereby all Britain joys long-wished peace;
Hence came King James his title to the crown
Of England, by both parents of renown;
Hence comes our happy peace: so be it aye
That peace with truth in Britain flourish may.
Right over to Forteviot did we hye,
And there the ruin'd castle did we spy
Of Malcolm Kenmure, whom Macduff, then Thane
Of Fife (so called), from England brought again,
And fiercely did pursue Tyrant Macbeth,
Usurper of the crown, even to the death;
Their castle's ruins when we did consider,
We saw that wasting time makes all things wither.
To Dupplin, then, and shades of Aberdalgie,
From thence to Mailer, and came home by Craigie;
Soon by that time, before three days were done,
We went to see the monuments of Scone;
As was our promise, Scone's nymphs see we must,
For in such vows we were exceeding just;
And there with Ovid thus did we declare,—
Here is a green, where stood a temple fair,
Where was the fatal chair and marble stone,
Having this motto rare inside thereon:
“This is the stone, if fates do not deceive,
Where'er its found the Scots shall kingdom have,”
Which Longshanks did transport to Troynovant,
As Troy took in the horse by Græcia sent;
So we who sprung were of the Grecian crew,
Like stratagem on Trojans did renew.
Oh! if this fatal chair transported were
To Spain, that we like conquest might have there;
From thence to Italy, to Rome, to Greece,
To Colchos, thence to bring the golden fleece;
And, in a word, we wish this happy chair
Unto the furthest Indies transported were,
That mightiest kingdoms might their presents bring,
And bow to Charles as to their sovereign king.

Nearby we view that famous earthen mount,
Whereon our kings to crowned be were wont:
And while we do consider there we found,
Demonstrate was the quadrate of the round;
Which Euclid could not find nor Pater Erra,
By guess we did it find on Omnis Terra;
And if you geometers hereof do doubt,
Come view the place and ye shall find it out;
A demonstration so wondrous rare,
In all the world I think none may compare:
Thence need we must go see the Muir of Scone,
 And view where Picts were utterly undone
By valiant Scots, and brought to desolation,
That since they never had the name of nation;
Seven times that fight renewed was in one day—
Picts seven times quell'd—Scots were victorious aye;
Hence it is said, when men shall be undone,
We shall upon them bring the Muir of Scone;
King Donskine, with his remnant Picts, near Tay
All killed, did crown the victory of that day;
Then valiant Kenneth went to Camelon,
And threw to earth King Donskine's ancient throne:
So greatest kingdoms to their periods tend,
And everything that grows must have an end;
Where is that golden head that reigned so long?—
The silver arms and belly of brass most strong,
The iron legs, divided now in toes,
Are mixed with clay, and so the world it goes:
Thus nations, like to stars in multitude,
Like sand on shore, or fishes in the flood:
Yea, rooted in the earth so deep, so long,
As on the mountains grow the cedars strong;
Yet time hath overturned them, and their names
Are past, as letters written on the streams;
To tell us here we have no constant biding,
The world unto decay is always sliding;
One kingdom ever doth remain, and all
'Gainst it who rise to powder turn they shall.
Near this we did perceive where proud Macbeth,
(Who to the furies did his soul bequeath)
His castle mounted on Dunsinane hill,
Causing the mightiest peers obey his will,
And bow their necks to build his Babylon;
Thus, Nimrod-like, he did triumph upon
That mountain which doth overtop that plain,
And as the starrie heaven he should attain
A lofty tower, and Atlas caused build,
Then tyrannising, rag'd as Nimrod wild;
Who had this strange response: that none should catch him
That born was of woman, or should match him,
Nor any horse should overtake him there;
But yet his spirit deceived him by a mare,
And by a man, was not of woman born:
For brave Macduff was from his mother shorn;
Macduff, call'd Thane of Fife, who home did bring
King Malcolm Kenmure, was our native king,
Kenmure great head—a great head should be wise,
To bring to nought a Nimrod's enterprise;
Up to Duusinane's top then did we climb,
With panting heart, weak loins, and wearied limb,
And from the mountain height, which was well windy,
We spy where Wallace's cave was at Kilspindie;
But there we might not stay: thence to the plain
With swifter pace we do come down again;
Descent is easy any man can tell,
For men do easily descend to hell.

When we had viewed these fields both here and there,
As wearied pilgrims 'gan we home to fair;
Home! happy is that word,—at home in heaven,
Where Gall now rests above the planets seven,
And I am left this wretched earth upon,
Thy loss with all my gabions to bemoan;
Thence mourn with me, my gabions, and cry—
“Gall, sweetest Gall, what ailed thee to die?”

© Henry Adamson