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THE SIXTH BOOK
S I formerly called Fergusius the First, and after him Fergusius the Second, with great reason, the founders of the Scottish kingdom, so may I justly reckon Kennethus the son of Alpinus a third founder also. Fergus the First, from a mean beginning, advanced the affairs of the Scots to such an height as that they were envy’d by their neighbours. Fergus the Second, when they were banished and dispersed in remote countrys and, in the judgment of their enemies, almost extirpated, did, as it were, recal them to life and in a few years reduced them [brought them back] to their ancient splendor. But Kennethus was so couragious as to accept the kingdom when matters were almost desperate; yea, when others thought that the small remainder of the Scots could hardly have been defended or kept together; and not only so, but he brake the power of the enemy (tho’ assisted with foreign aid, and triumphant also for his late victory) in many sharp yet prosperous fights; and, being thus weakned, he drave them out of Britanny and took from him the kingly name which to this day he could never recover again. Tho’ these were great atchievements, yet they were not the greatest he performed. For as he enlarged his kingdom to double of what it was before, so he governed it both by making new laws and also by reviving the old ones, that neither licentiousness arising from war, nor pride, the product of victory, nor any footsteps those evils which are wont to accompany luxury and ease did appear during his life. Yea, the affairs of all Scotland seem’d to be supported for many years after by the laws called by posterity the Macalpin Laws, as much as by arms.
2. But to let pass these things, I shall proceed to relate his noble acts, as I have begun. Kennethus, having driven out the Picts, distributed their lands amongst his soldiers according to every ones valour and merit. Whose ambition put new names on many places and countrys, cancelling and obliterating the old. He parted Horestia betwixt two brothers, Aeneas and Meren; one part of which in old Scotish is yet called Aeneia (they who more affect the English speech call it Angus), the other Mern. The country adjoyning from Tay to the Forth was called by the ancients Ross, i. e. Peninsule; there are some signs of the name yet remaining, as Culross, a town which is, as it were, the back or hinder part of Ross, and Kenross, which signifies the head of Ross. Now at this day all that country is called Fife from an eminent person called Fifus, whose sirname, they say, was Duffus. Bardonum, a town in Lothian or, as some call it, Dunbar, was so called (as it is thought) from a great man named Bar. Lothian had is name not long ago from Lothus King of the Picts. Cuningham is wholly a Danish word, used, as I think, by the Danes after the death of Kennethus, who possessed that country for some years, having driven the Scots beyond the Wall of Severus, for Cuningham signifys in the Danish language the Kings house or palace. ’Tis also probable that Merch was so called by the Danes, because it was the limits between both kingdoms. As for Edinburgh, either by the gross ignorance or perverse ill-will of some, it is sometimes called Vallis Dolorosa, i. e., the Dolesom Valley, and sometimes Castrum Puellarum, Maiden-Castle; the name in it self is not very obscure, tho’ it be made so by ill management. They borrowed those names from the Gallick fables which were devised within the space of 300 years last past. This is certain, that the ancient Scots called it Dunedinum, the latter Edinburgum, wherein they follow the country custom in imposing of names, whereas that castle in a middle appellation between both, I think, may be better named Edinum.
3. But enough in this place concerning the old and new names of the countrys, of which I have spoken more largely before. To return then to Kennethus, having enlarged his kingdom, as I said before, and settled wholesome laws for the government thereof, he endeavoured further to confirm his royal authority by mean and trivial things, even bordering upon superstition it self. There is a marble stone which Simon Breccus is reported to have brought into Ireland out of Spain, which Fergus the son of Ferchard is said to have brought over into Scotish Albion, and to have placed it in Argyle. This stone Kennethus removed out of Argyle to Scone by the River Tay, and placed it there included in a chair of wood. The Kings of Scotland were wont to receive both the name and the habiliment of Kings sitting in that chair, till the days of Edward the First, King of England, of whom in his place. Kenneth translated the episcopal See, which the Picts had placed at Abernethy, to Fanum Reguli, which after ages called St. Andrews. But the ancient Scots bishops, being chosen out of monasteries, not then contending for place or honour, but for sanctity and learning, did perform their functions every where occasionally, as opportunity was offered, without envy or emulation, no certain diocesses being allotted to them, in regard the ecclesiastical function was not yet made a matter of gain. After this sort, Kenneth reigned 20 years. In the beginning of his fifth year he overthrew the Picts, as the Black Book of Pasley hath it. The other sixteen years after he had destroyed the government of the Picts, he lived in great tranquillity, having peace at home by reason of his just government, and peace abroad by the power of his arms. He enlarged his dominions from the Orcades to the Wall of Adrian. A. C. 854.
4. DONALDUS V, THE SEVENTIETH KING
Donaldus his brother was chosen King next, who quite altered the whole publick discipline, together with his own demeanour. For whereas in the lifetime of Alpinus he made a shew of temperance, and by that means had obtained the love of the better sort, when his brother was dead, as if he had been freed from all fear and restraint, he gave himself up wholly to pleasure. And, as if there had been no danger from any enemy without, he neglected all military study and kept almost none about him but hunters, hawkers and inventors of new pleasures. Upon these he spent the publick revenue. The young fry, who were prone to pleasures, did extol the King to the skies as a noble and generous prince, and scoffed at the parsimony of former times as rude and illiberal. The ancient counsellors, seeing all things likely to run to ruin in a very short time, came to the King and put him in mind of his duty, of his present evils and miscarriages, and of the danger imminent thereupon. He nevertheless persisted in his slothful kind of life, which gave opportunity to the remainders of the Picts (as if an hopeful alarm had been given them, even from the very bottom of despair) to address themselves to Osbreth and Ella, two of the most potent and prevalent Kings of the English (for then England was divided into many kingdoms). They bewail’d their misfortune to them and craved earnestly their assistance, promising that they and all their posterity would become feudataries to the English in case they obtained the victory over the Scots, which they prejudg’d would be a easy one by reason of the slothful nature of Donald. The English were easily persuaded, and having setled things at home they led out their army into Merch, from whence they sent heralds to Donaldus, requiring that the lands which the Scots had forceably taken away from the Picts, their friends and allies, might be restored, which unless he would do, they would not neglect their old confederates, who had now also newly cast themselves upon them.
5. Donaldus, by the advice of the Estates, which in this time of imminent danger he had (tho unwillingly) convened, levied an army and met with the enemy at Jedd, a river of Teviotdale, where he joyned battel and overthrew Osbreth, enforcing him to fly to the next mountains. From thence he marched on by Tweed unto the sea side, recovered Berwick, which had been taken by the English and again deserted by them upon ill news of the success of the battel; where he took all the ships riding in the mouth of the river and seized upon all the enemies provisions therein. There he got an opportunity to renew his interrupted pleasures, and, as if his enemies had been wholly overthrown, he drowned himself in all kind of voluptuousness. Whereupon the English, who in the last fight were rather scatter’d than subdued, understanding by their spies the carelesness and security of the Scots, gathered together what forces they could out of the neighbourhood, and by night set upon the Scots, who were laden with wine and fast asleep, making a great slaughter amongst them. But they took the King, who was between sleeping and waking, prisoner. From thence they followed the course of their victory, and to make their ravage more compleat they divided their army into two parts and so marched into the enemies country. Part of them, when they came to the Forth, got vessels and essayed to pass over by water into Fife, but a great number of them were shipwrackt and drowned, and the rest, by the violence of the storm, were forced back to the shore, where they embarked. From whence, marching to Sterling and joyning with the rest of their army, they pass over the Fort on a bridge. The Scots, after their flight, gathered themselves into a body thereabouts, having the bare show rather than the strength of any army, and sent ambassadors to the English for peace; which they did not refuse, because their strength was weakened by the unsuccessful battel of Jedd and also by their own shipwrack. The English propounded hard conditions, yet such as the present state of affairs made to seem tolerable, as that the Scots should yield up all the land which was within the Wall of Severus; that their bounds should be beneath Sterling, the Forth; beneath Dunbarton, the Clyd; and between the two rivers, the Wall of Severus.
6. Amidst such hard terms of peace, yet this happened, as joyous, so unexpected to the Scots, that no mention was made concerning the reduction of the Picts. For the English and the Britains divided the lands betwixt them both. There are some who think the money yet called Sterling was then coined there. The lands being thus divided, the Picts, who thought to recover their own, being eluded of their hopes, passed over to the Cimbrians and Scandians, i. e., as we now speak, to Denmark and Norway. Those few of them that staid in England were all put to death upon pretence that they would attempt innovations by their soliciting of forein aid. Donaldus, after he had made peace, upon his return was honourably received, partly out of respect to his ancestors, and partly in hopes of his repentance. But he persevering in his wonted slothfulness, the Nobles fearing that so filthy and sluggish a person, who would neither hearken to the counsels of his friends nor be reclaimed by his own calamities, would lose that part of the kingdom that remained, cast him into prison; where, either in grief at having his pleasure restrained, or fear to be made a publick spectacle of scorn, he laid violent hands on himself, in the sixth year of his reign. Others report that this Donaldus performed many noble exploits both at home and abroad, and that he dyed a natural death at Scone, in the year of our Lord 858.
7. CONSTANTINUS II, THE SEVENTY FIRST KING
Constantinus, the son of Kennethus, undertook the kingdom after him, at Scone. He was a prince of a great spirit, and highly valorous. He was desirous to obliterate the ignominy received under Donaldus, and to enlarge his kingdom unto the bounds left by this father, but he was otherwise advised by his nobles, because the greatest part of the soldiery were slain under Donaldus and the remainder was grown so corrupt that it was not fit to put arms into their hands. And thereupon the King first bent his care to amend the publick discipline, and he so reduced the order of priests to their ancient parsimony by severe laws, in regard they had left off preaching and had given themselves to luxury, hunting, hawking, and to courtly pomp. He caused the young soldiers, who were effeminated by pleasures, to lye on the ground and to eat but once a day. Drunkards he punished with death. He forbad all sports but those who served to harden both body and mind for the wars. By these laws the soldiery of the kingdom were reduced to a better pass. And presently upon, a certain islander named Evenus, whom he himself had made Governour of Loch-Abyr, a man of an unquiet spirit and ambitious of dominion, rose up in arms; who knowing that the youthful fry of soldiers could not well bear the severity of these new laws, first gathered together a small number, and then a greater, complaining of the present state of things. And when he found his discourse was acceptable to them, he easily persuaded them to conspire for the destruction of Constantine. But being more active than cautelous [cautious] in gathering strength to their faction, they were betrayed by some of their own and slain before they knew any forces were gathered together against them. Evenus, the head of the conspiracy, was hanged.
8. About this time it was that the Danes, then the most potent and flourishing nation amongst the Germans, were solicited by the Picts against the Scots, and also by one Buernus (or, as others write, Verna, whose wife Osbreth had forceably vitiated) which they, being over-stocked with youngsters at home, easily assented to, and so they transported themselves in a great navy into Britain. Their first descent was in Fife. There they slew all they met without distinction, out of hatred to the Christian religion and, dividing their army, they spoiled the country two several ways. Constantinus drew forth against them, and first he set upon that brigade which Hubba, brother to the Danish King, commanded; who, being hindred to joyn with their fellows by the sudden swelling of the River Levin, were there easily overcome and slain, except a few of his men who could swim over the river, who fled to their other commander, called Humber. Constantinus followed after them as a prey, not a battel, and overtook them not far from the town of Carail, but not before they had well fortify’d their camp. For the Danes, being very provident after their late unhappy fight, had made a kind of defensive fortification upon some small winding rocks near the shore, by heaping up a parcel of stones together which lay thereabout. In that posture, Constantine assaulted them; where, by reason of the incommodiousness of that place and the desperation of the Danes, he paid dear for his rashness, for he lost a great part of his army, he himself being taken prisoner and, haled into a little cave hard by, was slain. There are some monuments of this fight remaining to this day, as the cave, the circumference of their camp, which was not cut out regularly or by equal spaces, but turning and winding according to the bending of the rocks. Some lay the blame of this unlucky accident upon the Picts, who, being admitted into Constantines fealty and army, were the first that ran away, and drew the greatest part of the army after them. The Danes gathered up the spoils and departed to their ships. The Kings body was found the day after, and carried to the sepulcres of his ancestors in the island of Icolumb-kil. He possessed the kingdom sixteen years, and died in the year of our Lord 874.
9. ETHUS, THE SEVENTY SECOND KING
His brother Ethus succeeded him, from the swiftness of his feet sirnamed Alipes. He was elected King on no higher or other account but because he gathered together the relicts of the army which was scattered by the Danes. Amongst the prodigies of his time they reckon those sea-fishes then appearing, which are seldom seen, and not after long intervals of time, but they never appear but in sholes, nor without some unlucky presage. The common people call them monachi-marini, i. e., sea-monks; others give them the title of bassineti, i. e., hooded or helmeted fish. Ethus, being unmindful of his brother and of his ancestors, giving up himself to all manner of vices and drawing the young soldiers, easily seduceable, along with him, was taken prisoner by a combination of the Nobles made against him, and after a long speech he was forced to abjure the government, in the second year of his reign. Three days after, he died in prison for grief. That which chiefly offended the martial men was his slothful unactiveness, because that when the Danes were at war with the English and many bloody battels had been fought between them, yet he never bethought himself of the recovering of the country he had lost, nor would he suffer himself to be put in mind thereof by others. Some write that he was not inforced to relinquish his kingdom, but that he was wounded in a combate by Gregorius, who was emulous of the kingdom, and that he died two months after, anno Christi 875.
10. GREGORIUS, THE SEVENTY THIRD KING
Gregorius, the son of Dongallus, was set up in his stead, a man of a royal spirit, in whom no virtue requisite in a King was wanting. First he reconciled all those to him who were against him in suing for the kingdom, and then he proceeded to compose the discords of the Nobles amongst themselves. He so tempered the severities of his government with such affability that he did more with his subjects by love than by fear. He restored the old laws concerning the immunity of the ministers of the Church (who were but in the nature of slaves under the Picts), or else he made new to the same purpose. His first expedition was into Fife against the Picts left there by the Danes whilst they were employing their arms against the English. He drove them not out of Fife only, but out of Lothian, and Merch too. The Danes, when he came to Berwick, fearing if they should have any misfortune the English also would be upon their backs, durst not join in a field-fight with Gregory, but sent part of their forces over the river into Northumberland, commanding them to join with a small brigade of their countrymen who had gathered themselves together and were newly landed there. The rest of them enter’d Berwick to strengthen the garison there. But the English who were, but unwillingly, under the command of the Danes (as being men of a different religion from them) gave admission to the Scots in the night, by which means all the Danes were put to the sword. From thence, Gregory marched into Northumberland and fought a prosperous battel against Hardnute, wherein he made so great slaughter of them that their numbers, which were lately formidable to all Britain, were mightily diminished, partly by Gregory of Scotland and partly by Alfrid of England. Gregory took in all Northumberland and gave free leave to those English to depart who were willing so to do; to the rest he very courteously distributed lands. The greatest part of the English staid behind, partly out of love to their native soul, partly by reason of the Kings bounty to them, and partly also for fear of their enemies. For, seeing they had now for many years had several cruel fights with the Danes, the victory being many times uncertain, many of the English chose rather to be under the dominion of the Scots, who, though formerly enemies, were yet Christians, than either to fall into the power of the bloody Danes or to hope for uncertain aid from their own countrymen; especially since things were in such an hurly burly over all Britanny that the English knew not which party to succour first.
11. After he had so chastised the Danes that he expected no more trouble from them, he turned his arms upon the Brittons, who as yet held some of the Scotish dominions. With these also he made peace, they restoring the said lands and promising to assist him against the Danes if they did return. Whereupon he disbanded his army. But the Brittons, after their return home, repented of the peace they had made, and, entring Scotland again in an hostile manner, they were driving away a great booty, but Gregory met them at Loch-Maban and, after a bloody fight, overthrew them, Constantine their King being also slain. The Brittons, having received this fruit of their ill counsel, made Hebert, the brother of Constantine, King, and then began to think in what a dangerous case they were, having the both the Scots and Danes their enemies, and their alliance with the English seldom long-lived. Hereupon they sent embassadors to the Scots for peace, who would not hearken thereunto unless Cumberland and Westmorland were restored to them, which was done, and the peace made on those conditions. About he same time there came also embassadours from Alured of England, partly to congratulate the victory over the Danes, which ought (said they) to be justly acceptable to all Christians, and partly to enter into a new league against all the enemies of the Christian faith and religion. Peace was concluded on these conditions: that they should oppose a foreign enemy with their joynt forces if they made a descent into the borders of either people; and that the Scots should quietly enjoy what they had got from the Danes. Peace being concluded on those terms, and a league made and establish’d, word was brought Gregory upon his return that the Irish had made an irruption into Galway. The cause of the war was pretended to be because the men of Galway had hostilely seized upon and plundered some galleys driven on their coasts, belonging to the inhabitants of Dublin, a city in Ireland. The Irish, hearing of Gregory’s coming, retired presently in fear with their prey to their ships, and Gregory, with a good navy and strong army, as soon as he could with conveniency transported himself into Ireland also.
12. Duncan, or Donatus, or rather Dunachus, was at that time their King; but being under age, Brienus and Cornelius, two of the powerfullest of the Nobility next to him, had divided the whole land into two factions. But patching up a truce at the arrival of a foreign enemy, they pitched and fortify’d their camps, apart, near the River Bann, a place which seemed convenient enough for that purpose. Their end in so doing was to take off the edge of Gregorys valour by delay, and to force him to withdraw his army from a foreign harassed country for want of provisions. Gregory smelt out their design, and therefore very secretly in the night he sent part of his army to seize upon an hill which was, as it were, over Brienus’ head. The day after, when the battle was joyned, in the heat of the fight they threw down mighty stones into his camp, which crushed many of his men to pieces and so terrify’d the rest that their ranks were broken, and in a confused manner they fled away. Cornelius, hearing of the event of this fight, withdrew his army without striking a stroke into places of greater safety. Brienus was slain in his camp; the rest had quarter given them, as much as might be, by Gregorys command. Whereupon he marched over the country without any depopulation at all, which lenity occasion’d many rather to submit themselves to the mercy of the King than try it out by force. The fortified towns were strengthened with garisons. Gregory reduced Dundalk and Drogheda, two strong places made so both by art and nature, and then determined to march directly to Dublin. But hearing that Cornelius, General of all the Irish forces, was coming against him with a great army, he turned aside, fought with and overthrew him, following the chase as far as Dublin, which he besieged. But there was not provision enough in the city for so many people as had fled thither, so that in a short time it was surrendered to him by Cormachus, the Bishop of the city. Gregory, at his entrance into it, did no prejudice at all to any of the inhabitants, but visited King Duncan his kinsman and protested that the came not thither out of an ambitious desire to take away the kingdom from him, or to amass up riches for himself, but only to revenge the injuries he had received. Hereupon he committed the care of the young King to such of his old counsellors as he judged most faithful to him, and himself bore the name of his tutor or guardian till he came to be of age. He also put garisons into the forts and exacted an oath from the Nobility that they should admit neither English, Dane or Britton into the island without his permission. He appointed judges in convenient places, who were to judge betwixt man and man in matters of controversy according to the laws of the country, and, receiving sixty hostages for the performance of these conditions, he returned home in triumph. The fame of his justice made the peace firmer for the future than any terror of arms could have done. Having thus managed matters both at home and abroad, he departed this life in the eighteenth year of his reign, being no less eminent for his justice and temperance than for his valour, so that he was justly sir-named by his countrymen Gregory the Great. He died A. D. 892.
13. DONALDUS VI, THE SEVENTY FOURTH KING
Donald, the sixth of that name, the son of Constantine the Second, was made King next after Gregory, having been recommended by Gregory before his death to the Nobility. He deceived not the opinion which men had conceived of him, i. e., that he was a very prudent prince. For he loved peace no otherwise but that therein he always prepared for war. And when for a long time he had no enemy to encounter with, yet he took care that the soldierly should not grow too luxuriant, being corrupted by ease and rest, and so made inclineable to run into all manner of evil practices. When a new army of Danes drew near the coasts of Northumberland and anchored there for some days without prejudicing any body, Donaldus gathered an army together and, being watchful over all opportunities, went to guard that province. But hearing that the Danes had made a descent upon the country of the English, he sent aid to King Alured, who fought a bloody battel with the Danes. Yet after the battel he was content to admit them into part of his dominions, provided they would turn Christians. Peace was made on those terms, the army disbanded, and a new home-bred commotion entertained Donaldus at his return. Their happened so great a feud betwixt the Rossians and the Merch-men, caused by some small robberies at first, that more were slain by occasional combats than if they had met in a pitched battel. Donald marched thither, and having slain the heads of the factions, restored peace to the rest. Johannes Fordanus, a Scotish chronologer, says that in this expedition he dyed at Foress, not without the suspition of poison. But Boetius affirms that he return’d to Northumberland to see what would become of the peace he had made with the Danes, of whom he was always suspitious, and that he dyed there after he had reigned eleven years. His memory was precious both to rich and poor. His death was A. C. 903.
14. CONSTANTINE III, THE SEVENTY FIFTH KING
Constantine the III, the son of Ethus, was substituted King in his room, a man of no ill disposition and yet not constant in good neither. The Danes, who could incline Gregory and Donald, the two last Kings of the Scots, by no promises or persuasions to take arms against the English, which were then Christians, now they easily wrought upon Constantine by gifts and by the vain hope of enlarging his dominions to make a league with them, which lasted scarce two years; but the Danes, deserting the Scots, struck up a league with the English. This league had scarce continued four years before Edward of England gathered an army speedily together and spoiled the Danes country, whereby they were reduced to such straights that they were enforc’d to return to the Scots whom they had lately deserted. To whom they swore most religiously that they would for ever after observe the amity most inviolably betwixt them. This second league is reported to have been entered into with great ceremony in the tenth year of Constantines reign. He gave, the same year, Cumberland to Malcolm, son of the last King, which was an honourable omen to him that he should reign after him. And afterwards the same custom was observed by some succeeding Kings, to the manifest disanulling of the old way of convening the Estates, whose free suffrages ought not to have been abridged. But this was like the designation of the Consuls by the Caesars, which put an end to the Roman liberty.
15. A war being now commenced between Edward, the son of Alured, and the Danes, Constantine sent aid to the Danes under the conduct of Malcolm. He joyned his army with the Danes, and being superior in number, they harassed the adjoyning countries of the English and made great devastation wheresoever they came, to the end that they might force the English, who had a far less numerous army, to fight. Yea, they were so arrogantly confident of their numbers that they thought their enemy would never so much as look them in the face, so that now, as secure of the victory, they began to talk of dividing the spoil. But, as prosperity doth blind the eyes of the wise, so adversity and the foresight of danger is a good schoolmaster even to the weaker side. What the English wanted in strength they supplied in cunning and skill. Their army was well seconded with reserves, and so they began the fight. The first ranks, being commanded so to do, give ground and pretend a discomfiture and flight, that so, their enemies following them in disorder, they might again return upon them in that straggling posture. Athelstan, the base-born son of Edward, was General of all the English forces, as our writers affirm, and Grafton also says the same thing. They make this Athelstan guilty of parricide for killing his father and his two brothers Edred and Edwin, whose right it was immediately to succeed their father in the kingdom. Fame doth increase the suspicion that Edward was violently put to death, because it accounts him a martyr. For that fact he was hated, and therefore, to recover the favour of the people by some eminent undertaking, he determined to expiate the blood of his kindred by shedding that of his enemies. And thereupon, after he had fought stoutly a while he gave ground by little and little, but afterward in greater fear and confusion, as if he intended absolutely to run away. The Danes and Scots, supposing themselves conquerors, were unwilling to make any brisk pursuit lest the cowardliest of the soldiers should enjoy all the prey, and therefore they returned to plunder their camp. Hereupon Athelstan gave a signal and the English, returning to their ensigns, set upon them as they were scattered and laden with booty and killed them like dogs. The greatest part of the Scotish Nobility was lost in this part, who chose rather to dye on the spot than to undergo the ignominy of deserting their companions. Malcolm, being much wounded, was carried off the field by his own men and sent the doleful tidings of the loss of his army to King Constantine. Neither was the face of things more pleasant amongst the Danes. Athelstan during this astonishment of his enemies took Cumberland and Westmorland from the Scots, and Northumberland from the Danes. Constantine, having not force enough neither to wage war or to carry on matters in peace, called a convention of the Estates at Abetnethy and willingly resigned the kingdom, and betook himself to the Culdes (certain hermits, so called, living in cells), worshippers of God (for to the monks of that age were called) as into a sanctuary, amongst whom he lived the rest of his life at St. Andrews.
16. Here the English writers, who are profuse enough in their own praises, do affirm that Athelstan was the monarch of all Britanny and that the rest who had the names of Kings in Albium were but precariously so and his feudataries only, as taking an oath of fidelity to him as the supreme lord. And they introduce many ignoble English authors as favourers of that opinion. And to procure the greater credit thereunto, they add also Marianus Scotus, an illustrious writer indeed. But here I desire the reader to take notice that there is not the least mention of any such thing in that edition of Marianus which was printed in Germany. But if they have another Marianus, different from him, who is publickly read and interpolated or foisted by them, let them produce him if they can. Besides, they, being men generally unlearned, do not in some places sufficiently understand their own writers, neither do they take notice that Bede, William of Malmesbury and Geffrey of Monmouth do commonly call that part Britain over which the Britains ruled, i. e., that within the Wall of Adrian or, when they stretched their dominions furthest, within the Wall of Severus, so that the Scots and Picts are oftentimes reckoned by them to be out of Britain, and not seldom are called transmarine people. And therefore when they read that the English sometime reigned over all Britanny, they understand the authors so, as if they meant all Brittany, i. e., Albium or Albion, whereas they do often circumscribe Britanny within narrower limits, as I have said before. But of this I have spoken more largely in another place. To return then to the affairs of Scotland.
17. MALCOLM I, THE SEVENTY SIXTH KING
Constantine having retired himself into the cloyster of the monks, Malcolm, the son of Donald, was declared King. Athelstan being dead, and his brother Edward reigning, Cumberland and Westmerland revolted from the English and returned to their old masters. Moreover, the Danes who remained in Northumberland sent for Avalassus their countryman, of the royal progeny, who was banished into Ireland, to make him King. Edmund, foreseeing what clouds of war were gathering over his head, yielded up Cumberland and Westmerland to Malcolm upon this condition,that he who should next succeed in the Scotish kingdom should take an oath to the King of England as the Lord Paramount of that country. Afterwards he easily reduced the Danes, who had been afflicted with so many calamities. Neither did he long survive his victory. The English chose his brother Edred King after him, against whom the Danes, who possessed Northumberland and never cordially observed any peace with the English, did rebel, and took from him many strong places whilst he was busied in other parts of his kingdom, and principally York. But he overcame them by the assistance of 10000 Scots. Malcolm, returning home, gave himself up wholly to the arts of peace. And to cure the inconveniencies occasioned by the wars, especially luxury and bribery, he himself did ordinarily visit all the Scots courts of judicature once in two years, and administered justice with great equity. At lengthy, whilest he was busie in punishing robbers and in restraining the lewd manners of the younger sort, he was slain by some conspirators of Murray-land in the night, in the fifteenth year of his reign. The perpetrators of that villainy were with great diligence sought after and found out by the Nobles, and, being apprehended, were put to several exquisite deaths according to every ones share of demerit in committing the parricide.
18. INDULFUS, THE SEVENTY SEVENTH KING
Indulfus reigned after him, who, having setled things in peace at home, lived seven years after in great tranquillity. But in the eighth year of his reign the Danes, taking it amiss that the alliance with the English was preferred before theirs and that a perpetual league was made between the two Kings against them, came with a navy of 50 ships into the Firth of Forth when the Scots little expected any such thing, insomuch that they had almost surprized and overthrown them unawares. In such a sudden emergency all were full of fear and amazement, insomuch that some carried their goods into them midland country as a place of more safety; others came to the sea-side to hinder the enemies landing. Hago and Helricus were the two admirals of the fleet. They endeavoured first to land in Lothian and after in Fife, but in vain; then they essayed to enter the Firth of the River Tay, but there also they were hindred from making any descent on land, so that they coasted about the sea-coasts of Aenea or Angus, or Mern, Marr and Buchan, but in all places being hindred from landing, they hoisted their sails into the main as if they intended to return home. But within a few days, when all was secure [carefree], they came back again, and having gotten a convenient place in Boyn at the mouth of the River Cullin, the there landed their men without opposition, before the country people could give any alarm of their arrival. When Indulfus heard of their landing, he marched towards them before they could well have any notice of his coming; and first he set upon the straggling plunderers and drove them to the rest of their army, but made no great slaughter of them because the camp of the Danes was near for them to retreat to. When the armies came in sight of each other they both set the battel in array and fell to it with equal force and courage. Whilst they were thus fiercely fighting, Grame and Dumbar with some troops of Lothian-men, appeared on the rear of the Danes, which struck them into such a pannick fear that they all run away, some to their ships, others to unknown places whithersoever the fear of the enemy drove them. But a great part of them cast themselves into a ring in a woody vale and there waited for an occasion of acting valorously or dying resolutely. Indulfus, as if his enemies had been wholly overcome, rode up and down with a few attendants and, casually lighting on them, was there slain, at the beginning of the tenth year of this reign. Some say that he was slain with an arrow shot out of a ship, having disarmed himself that he might be more nimble in the pursuit and press the more eagerly upon them as they were going a shipboard.
19. DUFFUS, THE SEVENTY EIGHTH KING
After his death Duffus, the son of Malcolm, got the kingdom. In the beginning of his reign he made Culenus, son of King Indulfus, Governour of Cumberland and sent him into the Aebudae, which were then in war and disorder by reason of the frequent robberies committed there. For the young soldiers of the Nobility, having got a great pack of their fellows about them, made the common people tributary to them, imposing a pecuniary mulct on every family besides free-quarter. And yet Culenus dealt not harsher with them than with the very governors themselves of the island, who ought to have restrained such outrages. He commanded that for the future they by whose negligence these disorders had happen’d should make satisfaction to the commonality, and also pay a fine to the King. This injunction strook such a terror into these idle paltry fellows that many of them went over into Ireland and there got their living by their daily labour. As this matters was acceptable to the commons, so it was as offensive to the noble allies of those who were banished, and to many of the younger sort who did approve that idle kind of life. These men in all their meetings and assemblies, first secretly, afterwards in the presence of a multitude of such as applauded them, began openly to revile their King, alleging that he despised the Nobility and was drawn away and seduced by the counsel of sorry priests; that he put men of gentile extraction to servile offices; that he advanced the most abject of the people to the highest honours; that, in fine, he made such medleys as to turn all things topsy-turvy. They added farther that if things should continue at that pass either the Nobility must transport themselves into other countrys or else must make them a new King who might govern the people by those ancient laws whereby the kingdom had arrived to that height out of so small beginnings.
20. Amidst these things the King was assaulted with a new and unusual disease, no evident cause thereof appearing, so that, when all remedies had been tryed in vain, a rumour was spread abroad, by I know not who, that he was bewitched; the suspicion whereof arose either from some indications of his disease or else because his body did waste and pine away by continual sweating, and his strength was so much decay’d that the physicians, who were sent for far and near, knew not what to apply for his relief. Thus, no common causes of the disease discovering it self, they had recourse to a secret one. And whilst all were intent on the Kings malady, at last news was brought that nightly assemblies and conspiracies were made against him at Foress, a town in Murray. The report was taken for truth, there being nothing to contradict it. Whereupon some faithful messengers were sent to Donald, governor of the castle, in whom the King confided much, even in his greatest affairs, to find out the truth of the matter. He by the discovery of a certain harlot, whose mother was noted for a wizard, detected and discovered the whole conspiracy. For the young girl having blabbed out a few days before some words concerning the sickness and death of the King, being apprehended and brought to the rack to be tortured, at sight thereof presently discovered [revealed] what was designed against the life of the King. Whereupon some soldiers were sent, who found the maids mother and some other gossips roasting the Kings picture, made in wax, by a soft fire. Their design was that, as the wax did leisurely melt, so the King, being dissolved into a sweat, should pine away by degrees, and when the wax was quite consumed, then, his breath failing him, he should presently die. When this picture of wax was broken and the witches punished, in the same month the King was freed from disease, as some say. These things I deliver as I receiv’d them from our ancestors. What to think of this sort of witchcraft I leave to the judgment of the reader, only minding him that this story is not found amongst our ancient archives and records.
21. Amidst these things, the fear of the King being laid aside because they hoped he would shortly die, many robberies and murders were committed every where. Duffus, having recovered his strength, followed the robbers thro’ Murray, Ross and Caithness, and slew many of them at occasional onsets, but he brought the chief of them to Foress, that so their punishment might be the more conspicuous in that town. There Donaldus, governor of the town and castle, petitioned the King to pardon some of his relations who were of the plot; but, being denied, he conceived great indignation against the King, as if he had been highly wronged. Whereupon he was wholly intent on thoughts of revenged, for he judged that his deserts from the King were so great that whatever he asked of him he ought not to be denied. And besides, the wife of Donald, seeing some of her kindred too were like to suffer, did further inflame the already disaffected heart of her husband by bitter words, moreover exciting him to attempt the King’ s death, affirming that, seeing he was governor of the castle, the King’s life was in his power; and, having that power, he might not only perpetrate the fact, but conceal it after it was committed. Hereupon, when the King, tired with business, was sounder asleep than ordinary, and his attendants, being made drunk by Donald, were in a dead-sleep also, he sent in assassins, no man being aware. And after they had murdered the King they carried him out so cunningly a back way that not so much as a drop of blood appeared, and so he was buried two miles from the Abby of Kinloss, under a little bridge, in a blind place, having grassy-turfs of earth cast over him that there might be no sign of any ground that was digg’d up. This seems a more likely story to me than what others write, that the course of the river was turned, and so his body was cast into a hole at bottom; but when the waters were returned again to their own chanel, then his grave, such as it was, was covered. Also the actors of that bloody fact were sent away, because there is an opinion, received from our ancestors, which as yet obtains among the vulgar, that blood will issue from a dead body many days after the party was murdered, if the murder be present, as if the fact had been but newly committed. The day after, when the report was spread abroad that the King was missing and that his bed was besprinkled with blood, Donald, as if he had been surpriz’d at the atrocity of the fact, flys into the Kings bed-chamber; and, as if he had been mad with anger and revenge, he slew the officers appointed to attend him. After that, he presently made diligent inquiry every where if any discovery of the dead body might be made. The rest, being amazed at the fact, and afraid too of their own selves, returned every one to his own house. Thus this good King was wickedly slain in the flower of his age, after he had reigned 4 years and 6 months, and as soon as they conveniently could, the Estates assembled to create a new King.
22. CULENUS, THE SEVENTY NINTH KING
Culenus, the son of Indulfus, being made King by the assembly of the Estates, the next there done was the questioning the murder of King Duffus, and they made the more haste to examine that affair because of some prodigies that had hapned, of which one seemed properly to respect the very fact. An hawk was slain, truss’d by an owl and his throat cut by him. The other prodigy was also referred to the same thing in the interpretation of the vulgar. For six whole months after the murder was committed extraordinary fires appeared in the element, the air was agitated with extraordinary winds; yea, the heavens were so coloured and enveloped with clouds that neither sun nor moon could be seen in Scotland all that time. Hereupon all men were intent to revenge the good Kings death, and to that purpose Culenus went into Murray, hoping to find some surer discoveries of the murder upon the place where it was committed. Donald, hearing of his coming and being conscious to himself of his parricidal and nefarious cruelty, of which also his over-curious and seemingly wild inquisitiveness made in search after the authors thereof rendred him more suspected, procured a ship at the mouth of the River Spey, wherein with some others he embarked himself, unknown even to his wife and children. This he did out of fear, lest the truth should have been extorted from him by the rack. This his hasty flight, his dejected countenance (as it was observed), his few attendants, his trembling at his entrance into the ship, which was but casually riding there without any preparation for his voyage, did raise so great a suspicion upon him in the minds of all who were present, that they forbore not to vent all manner of contumelies against him, calling him an impious, sacrilegious fellow and a parricide, and what other foul terms of reproach their inflamed anger could suggest. They added also that, though he had prevented the coming of the King, yet he could never avoid the vindictive providence and judgment of Almighty God. In a word, they followed him with all the execrations which the highest indignation did offer to provoked minds, even till the ship was quite out of sight. When Culenus heard of his hasty flight, he speeded his march thither, where he apprehended the wife of Donaldus and his three children, and for fear of torture compelled them to discover the whole series of the conspiracy; as also how, by whom, and where the body was buried, and that her self was not only privy to the murder, but also a fellow-actor in it and a persuader of her husband thereunto. When the people heard this (for she was publikcly tried) the magistrates could hardly dissuade them from tearing her to pieces. The day after, Donaldus, having been tossed some days with contrary winds at sea, was shipwracked and cast ashore, and being brought to the KIng, he and all his underwent their most deserved punishments. They who brought him to the King were liberally rewarded, his castle was burnt, and all that were therein were slain. And the body of Duffus was honourably interred amongst his ancestors.
23. As these things did highly ingratiate Culenus to those who were good, so the remaining part of his life did accumulate so much odium on him as never any King before him ever laboured under. For, whether induced by his own nature or urged for fear of danger (as he would have it thought), he suffered the severity of the discipline used under Indulfus and Duffus to grow cold and remiss, and permitted the younger tribe, being given up to unseasonable debauchery and foreign delights, to run into those licentious practices which were forbid by the laws, till at last they broke forth into open violence and robbery. And when he saw the greatest part of the young Nobility addicted to those vices, he also immerged himself in the same, so that he abstained not from vitiating noble matrons and even religious nuns (which, in that age, on the account of their chastity were had in great veneration), no, nor from his own sisters or daughters neither; nay, he kept troops of other harlots hired by his panders in his Court, as in a brothel-house. When he was admonished and put in mind of these things by wise and prudent persons, on behalf of the young Nobility he answered that something was to be indulged to their age; and as for himself, to he confessed that some things were amiss, yet he was forced out of fear to tolerate them. “For I remember,” said he, “what great calamity the unseasonable severity of the former King brought, not only on himself, but on the whole kingdom also.” That the nobility were the stay and prop of the throne; that if it was not true that the martial spirits of men were always broken by this kind of life, or made low and abject, nor that the thoughts of arms were so neglected by them in peace, as if they expected that there would never be any more war at all. “’Tis true (proceeded he) the luxury of youthful age is so far to be restrained that it proceed not too far, that so the good seed of ingenuity might not be choaked (as it were) by overmuch jollity in the very bud; yet it is not wholly to be abridged or taken away, lest the seeds of virtue should be plucked up together with it.” When the Nobles heard this his defensatory plea, and perceiving they could do no good upon him by their persuasions, but rather create trouble to themselves if they should use the same liberty of speech to him in their rejoynders, they withdrew themselves from the Court, fearing lest they should be compelled to be witnesses, yea, partakers also, of these facinorous [criminal] practices, the sight and hearing whereof they did detest and abhor. The King, being freed from such troublesom interposers, gave up himself wholly to wine and women.
24. He proposed rewards to those who could invent any new kind of pleasure, tho never so sordid and detestable. His Court was filled night and day with wanton songs and huzza’s of drunkards, so that intemperance and impudence were as much praised by him as modesty and chastity are wont to be esteemed by good and pious princes. Those evils which, tho allowed or connived at by law in other men, yet are acted by them in secret, were here openly committed without shame. The young Nobility, being thus effeminated by pleasure, and a multitude of parasites and flatterers with them, extol the King to the skies as if he were the very first of their Kings who had joyned splendor and magnificence with authority, as tempering the severity of his government with lenity and easing the burdens of care and labour by some relaxation of spirit and allowance of delight. Now to continue these luxuriant courses there was need of great expense, and therefore the wealthier sort were fined upon fained accusations and the plebeians were suffered to be preyed upon and harassed with all sorts of servile offices. He that was not pleased with the present state of things was accounted a barbarous country-clown; or if he seemed to be of an higher spirit than ordinary he was presently accused by a company of informers as if he studied innovation in the state. After 3 years were spent in this flagitious liberty, when men were silent out of fear or sloth, luxury began to be a punishment to itself. For when the King’s strength was exhausted by immoderate lust and his body had contracted deformity by excessive banquetings, those diseases followed which are wont to be a companion of such vices, so that there remained naught but a rotten carkass fit for nothing but to bear the punishment of his former mispent life. The King being thus disabled for all his functions of life, the strength both of his body and mind being enervated and weakened by intemperance, and his courtiers also following the same practices, some audacious fellows, being encouraged by hopes of prey and impunity, committed publick robberies and murders, regarding neither the plebeians, as being men of poor servile spirits, nor the courtiers, as persons enfeebled by luxurious wickedness.
25. Hereupon the sounder part of the Nobility, being encompassed with a double mischief and therefore enforced to look to the main, called an assembly of the States at Scone. The King also was willed to be there that he might consult in common with the rest in such a dangerous juncture of affairs for the public safety. He, being inwardly struck at the summons and, as it were, awakened from his drowzy sloth, began to advise with his confederates what a man in such streights were best to do. And, tho he knew not how to make any resistance, nor yet how to fly away, and tho his mind also presaged no good to him, yet he resolved to go to the assembly. And, as miserable men are wont to flatter themselves in adversity, so he did not altogether despair that he, either out of pity or out of respect to his fathers memory, should procure some favour that he might not be suddenly cast down from so great a dignity to an abyss of misery. In his journy to Scone, having a train big enough but unarmed and dispirited about him, he was slain at a neighbour village called Methvin by the Thane or Sherriff of that country, because he had forceably vitiated his daughter. When his death was made known, tho all men were well pleased to be freed from such a monster with less trouble than they supposed they should, yet the perpetration of the fact by Rohardus or Rodardus the Thane was very much disliked by all people. He reigned, as the former King did, 4 years and 6 months.
26. KENNETHUS III, THE EIGHTIETH KING
Kennethus, the brother of Duffus and third of that name, succeeded Culenus. He, being contrary to the former King in his disposition, manners, and the whole course of his life, used as much diligence in amending the lives of the younger sort as the other had done in corrupting them, tho herein his task was the greater in regard men are carried headlong to vices with a greater propension of mind, but the way to virtue is by a steep ascent. And indeed this was thing that gave the chief occasion to the opinions of some philosophers who contended that Man was naturally made to enjoy pleasure, but that he was haled to virtue, as it were, violently and against his own inclination. I grant both parts of the dilemma are false, but, perhaps, the original of the mistake was from hence, that, seeing there is a double power of nature in Man, one of his body, the other of his mind, the vigour of the body seems to exert itself sooner and quicker than that of mind. And as plants do first send forth stalks, leaves and flowers, pleasant to behold, before the seed begins to be formed in its proper pod and receptacle, but when the seed ripens all those other things fade and at last wither away, so our bodies grow youthful before the virtue of our mind (which is yet weak and tender) can exert its force, but as the members do grow old by degrees, so the strength of mind and judgment doth more and mo re disclose it self. And therefore, as in corn we restrain the luxuriant growth thereof either by causing it to be eaten up or by cutting its over-rank blade down, so in young men the law supposes that the forwardness of wit which overhastens to shew itself should be restrained by careful culture until growing reason may be able of it self to repress the violence of the now infirm body. But to return to Kennethus.
27. He, well knowing that the commonality do usually comply with the humour of the prince, and do diligently imitate what he loves, first did form a good discipline in his own Court and family, that so he might express in deeds what he commanded in words; and as he propounded his own life to be an example to his household, so he would have the manners of his domesticks to be exemplary to others. He first purged his Court from all ministers of lust and wickedness so that he might more justifiably do the same in other parts of his kingdom. Whereupon he resolved to travel over the whole country to indict assemblys for the preventing and punishing of thefts, murders and robberies, for the encouraging of men to labour by rewards, and for exhorting them to concord by alluring speeches, that by this means the ancient discipline might be restored. But in the execution of this his purpose he found greater difficulty than he imagined, for the major part of the Nobility either had guilty consciences themselves, and so feared their own personal punishments, or else were allyed in blood to those who were guilty. And therefore, the first assembly being indicted at Lamerick, a town of Clydsdale, they who were summoned to appear, being forewarned of their danger by their kindred, some of them fled into the Aedbudae isles, others to other parts infamous for robberies. The King, understanding the cheat and being not ignorant of the authors of it, dissembled his anger and dissolved the assembly, and so passed, with a few of his confederates, into Gallway, as if he were to perform a vow he had made to St. Ninian. Being come thither, he consulted with those whom he judged most faithful to him what was to be done in such a case. The result was that a convention of all the Nobility should the next year be held at Scone upon pretence of some considerable matters to be advised upon concerning the good of the whole nation in general; that there the heads of the factions might be apprehended without any tumult, and when they were imprisoned their clans and tenants might be made to bring in the malefactors to the King.
28. This project was judged most adviseable, but it was kept secret and communicated but to few until the meeting at Scone came. There the King had caused his servants to prepare soldiers and to keep them privately in the next house to his palace the day before the States assembled. And at the opening of it, the Nobility, being very numerous, came, where they were courteously treated by the KIng. But upon a sign given they were immediately beset by armed men. They being surprized with fear at this sudden change, the King encouraged them by a gentle speech, telling them that they need not be afraid, for he intended no hurt to any good or innocent men, and those arms were not provided for their destruction but defence. He farther alleged how they could not be ignorant that all his endeavours since he came to the Crown tended to this, that wicked and debauch’d persons might be punished and the good enjoy estates either left them by their ancestors or acquired by their own industry; and besides might have the quiet enjoyment of those rewards which the King bountifully had bestowed upon them according to every ones worth and desert; and that thing might easily be brought to that pass if they would lend their helping hands. “The last year (said he) when I summoned some of the offenders to appear on a certain day, none at all came.” That failure (as he understood) was not made so much out of confidence in their own strength as in the assistance of some of their kindred and friends, which, if it were true, was dangerous to the publick and also very reflective upon such kindred. Now was the time when they might redeem both themselves from crime and the kingdom from being molested by robberies. This was easily to be done, if those which were most powerful in every county would cause the malefactors to be apprehended and brought to condign punishment. Where those malefactors were was visible to all. But if they made excuses and, having so fair opportunity to merit well of their country, were willingly defective to improve it, the King, to whose care the safety of the whole was committed, could not be excused if he set them at liberty before the offenders were brought to punishment, and that this was the end why he detained them in custody. And if any one thought his long durance would be a trouble to him, he might thank himself, seeing it was in his own power, not only to procure his liberty, but also to obtain honour, reward, and the praise of all good men into the bargain. The Nobles, having heard this harangue, unanimously answered that they had rather assert their innocency by deeds than words. Whereupon they promised him their assistance and desired him to lay aside all suspition, if he had conceived a sinister opinion of any of them. Upon this their solemn engagement the King told them the names of the offenders. The Nobles, by their friends, made diligent search after them, and in a short time they were brought to the King and punished according to law. Whereupon the Nobles were dismissed, having received some gifts and many large promises from the King, and the Commonalty also pray’d heartily for their King.
29. Matters being thus composed at home, he faithfully observed the league made by some former Kings with the English. But this great tranquillity of all Britain was soon disturbed by the Danes, who appeared with a great fleet and anchored near the Red-Promontory, a place of Aeneia or Angus. They there staid some days in consultation whether they should land there or direct their course towards England, as they intended at first. Many of them were of opinion that it was most adviseable to make for England, an opulent country where they might have both provision enough for their army and also some hopes of auxiliaries and recruits, in regard that there many of the Danish stock were yet alive amongst them, and many others stood obliged to them for old courtesys and friendships; and that these, upon the first notice of their arrival, would presently flock in to them as of old they used always to do. But as for the Scots, they were a fierce nation and very hardy, as those use to be who are bred in barren and hungry soil; that they never attempted them without some great and remarkable loss; and in the present case if they overcame them it would hardly be worth their labour, but if they were overcome by them, they must endure the utmost extremity and rigour. Others were of a different opinion, alleging that if they made their descent on the coasts of England then they should be obliged to fight both nations at once, but if the Scots were first overcome the war against the English would be easy, when they were bereft of foreign aid and also terrified with the loss of their friends. They further urged that it was not the part of great and magnanimous spirits to be intent on prey and booty only: they should rather call to mind the blood of their kindred and ancestors who had been so often cruelly slain in Scotland. And that now especially, having a great army and being furnished also with all things necessary for war, they ought to take that revenge which might punish the savage cruelty of the Scots according to their deserts, and might also carry the terror of the Danish name to all the neighbouring nations. The last opinion prevailed, so that they sailed their navy to the mouth of the River of Eske and there landed their forces. They plundered the towns next to them, destroying all with fire and sword. As for the castle, they levelled it to the ground. They slew higly-pigly all the inhabitants of the town, without distinction of age or sex. The like desolation they also made all over Angus, even to the Firth of the River Tay.
30. The news hereof was brought to the King, then residing at Sterlin. Those who had escaped the fury of the enemy made things worse in their relations than they were indeed. He, by the advice of those Nobles which were present, propounded a short day such as dwelt near to come in to him. Those who dwelt farther off he charged by letters to haste up with their forces. But with such force as he had at present about him he drew towards the enemy, both to make what discovery he could of their posture, and also to prevent the plundering of stragglers as much as he could. In a short time a great multitude came in to his camp, which was pitched at the confluence of the Rivers Tay and earn. As he was there ordering his forces, news was brought him that the enemy had passed over the Tay and were besieging Perth. The King, being concerned at the danger of a town so near him, marches directly to it. As soon as the Danes were in sight, the Scots, eager of revenge, made hast to fight them, and making choice of a convenient place to order their army, they drew towards the enemy. But the Danes having seated themselves on an opposite hill where they could not without much hazard be attacqued, the archers and darts-men compelled them to come down, insomuch that a most cruel fight began at the bottom of the hill. Much blood was spilt, and the victory uncertain, when the Danes gave forth a word thro’ their whole army, that no man must ever hope to return again to their camp unless as a conquerour. Whereupon, making a great shout, they made such a brisk charge and assault upon the Scots that they routed both their wings and eagerly followed the pursuit. That day had been certainly most ruinous to the Scots unless aid had been afforded by one man, sent, as it were, from heaven in so desperate a posture of affairs. There was a certain countryman whose name was Hay, who was casually plowing in the field over which the Scots runaways were a-flying, and his two sons with him. They were strong-bodied men, stout and courageous, and also great lovers of their country. The father took a yoke, the sons what instruments they could catch, and stood in a narrow pass where the thickest of the fugitives were flying. There, first by reproaches, then by threatnings, they endeavoured to stop them, but, not prevailing thereby, they fell upon those that pressed on them, saying that they would be as so many Danes to them who thus ran away. Hereupon those who were of more fearful spirits made an halt, and the stouter, who fled rather for company than for fear, joyned with them, crying out hope was at hand, so that the whole company turned back again on the enemy and forc’d the Danes to as fearful and hasty a flight as they themselves had been lately guilty of. This trepidation of the Danes occasioned a great shout among the baggage men and other followers of the army, as if a new army had been coming. This passage gave so great encouragement to the Scots, and struck such a terror to the Danes, that it raised up the spirits of the former, who were almost upon the point of desperation, and occasioned to the other a certain overthrow instead of a hoped victory. This is the victory obtained at the village Loncarty, celebrated for that and some days after and transmitted down to posterity with great rejoycing.
31. When the conquerors were dividing the spoils, the name of Hay was in all their mouths. Many creditable persons affirmed that they saw wherever he or his sons made an onset, there our ranks were restored and the Danes broken. In fine, they all unanimously ascribed the prey, the victory, the honour of the day, and their own lives to him. When Hay was brought to the King, he spake very modestly of himself, and having rich and splendid garments offered to him and his sons that they might be the more taken notice of at their entrance into Perth, he refused them, only he wiped away the dust off his coat which he wore every day, and carried the yoke which he used in the fight, and so he entred the city, a great train being commanded by the King to follow him at a distance, as well as some to go before him. Such a confluence of people there was at this new spectacle that he alone did almost take upon the solemnity of the whole day. After the departure of the Danes and so sudden and unexpected a calm, in an assembly of the Estates shortly after indicted at Scone the first thing agitated was what honours and rewards should be bestowed on Hay and his sons. Lands were allotted him, almost the fruitfulest in all Scotland, which his posterity enjoy to this day, and their family is propagated into many opulent branches. And they were then taken out of the class of the plebeians into the order of Nobility, and a coat of arms was assigned to them according to the custom of noble houses, viz. argent 3 scutcheons gules, which bearing shews (in my opinion) that the publick safety was procured by the eminent fortitude of those three persons in that fight.
32. After this battel, peace seemed to have settled for many years when, behold, some troublesome matters at home did disturb this calm. As for the commotion of the islanders, who in a plundering war ranged all over Ross, that was quickly suppressed, some of the robbers being slain in flight, some taken in pursuit and after executed. But Crathilinthus, the son of Fenella (or, as some call her, Finabella), gave far greater disturbance. He was then the chief of all Mern both in descent and wealth. Crathilinthus his grandfather by the mothers side, was made Governor by the King over that part of Angus which lies between the two rivers each of them having the name of Eske, where he gathered up the Kings taxes and revenues. His nephew coming with a great train to visit him, a sudden quarrel arose amongst their servants, so that two of Crathilinthus’ friends were slain. He complained thereof to his grandfather, who laid the blame on the tumult upon his nephews rude retinue and company and, after a sharp reproof, he was dismissed by him, but not without contumelies from his servants and domesticks, so that returning home, he in great wrath complained of the affront to his mother, who was so far from endeavouring to allay his rage and quiet the mind of the incensed youth by grave and wholesome counsel that she importuned him to revenge himself by force of arms, even upon her own father and his grandfather too. Hereupon, not long after, Crathilinthus, having gathered an armed company together fit for the purpose, comes by night into Angus to his grandfathers castle. He with some few followers were admitted in without suspicion, and being once entred he gave to the rest who lay in ambush and let them in also, so that he slew his grandfather with his whole family, plundered the castle, depopulated the country adjacent, and, as if he had done a famous exploit, he returned pompously with a great booty into Mern. But the Angusians did not suffer this injury to pass long unrevenged. For soon after, gathering a great many of their faction together, they made great havock in the district of Mern. From that time forward slaughters and rapines were occasionally committed on both sides. Kennethus, hearing of it, published a proclamation that the chief of either faction should appear at Scone within fifteen days to answer what should be objected against them, for he feared that if a greater number should resort to the factions, further tumults might arise. Some few being terrified by this minatory edict made their appearance accordingly, but the greatest part, of whom Crathilinthus was chief, being conscious of their own demerits, fled away as every one thought most convenient. The King made diligent search after them. The greatest part of them were taken at Loch-Abyr, and some elsewhere. Crathilinthus and the cheif of the faction were punished with death, others, according to the degree of their crimes, had lesser punishments, and those who were but a little guilty had none at all inflicted on them.
33. This moderation and temperament procured to the King fear from the bad but great love from others, and settled peace in all his kingdom till the twenty first year of his reign, insomuch that, if he had persisted in that course of life which he had begun, he might well have been reckoned amongst the best of princes, for he so performed all the offices both of peace and war that he got great renown upon the account of his equity, impartiality and valour. But the excellency of his former life was blurred by one wicked fact that he committed, which seemed, too, more aggravated in him in regard it was incredible and unexpected to proceed from his disposition, who had before so severely punished grand offenders. The occasion of it was this. The King, being now grown somewhat ancient, had a son named Malcolm, a prince of great ingenuity, but in point of age not yet mature to govern so fierce a people if his father should die. Further, the custom of our ancestors was then against it that he should reign next after his father. For they were wont to choose not the next, but the fittest of the deceased Kings relations, provided he were descended from Fergus the First, King of the Scots. Besides, the favour of the Nobility was another obstacle, which did incline to another Malcolm, the son of King Duffus, the most praise-worthy prince of all the Scotish royal race. Moreover, he was then Governor of Cumberland, which county the Scots did hold as feudataries of the Kings of England on such terms that the government of Cumberland was always looked upon as previous to the throne of Scotland, for it had been so observed for some ages past. The King, perceiving that this Malcolm, for the reasons aforementioned, would be an hinderance to his design, not daring to do it openly, caused him privately to be made away by poyson. Thus died that excellent young man, much lamented and near to his greatest hope. Some signs of poison appeared in his body, but no man ever dreamt of suspecting the King. Yea, his deportment was such as to avert all suspicion, for he mourned and wept for his death and made an honourable mention of his name when occasion was administred to speak of it, and caused him magnificently to be interred, no ceremony being omitted which could be invented to the honour of the deceased. But this superlative diligence of the King to remove the suspicion from himself gave a shrewd jealousie to the more sagacious. Yet they forbore to speak out for the reverence all bore to, and had conceived of the Kings sanctity. But soon after the King himself scattred some words abroad to try the minds of men, how they would bear the abrogation of an old law and the enacting of anew concerning the succession of their Kings, viz., that according to the custom of many nations, if a King died, his son should succeed him; and if he were under age, then to have a protector or tutor assigned to him so the kingly name might rest in the child, but the power of government in the tutors or guardians till he came of age.
34. Though a great part of the Nobles praised his speech, as being willing to gratifie him, yet the suspicion concerning the death of Malcolm prevailed upon the major part, and especially upon the Nobility and those of royal stock who were afraid of the King. Mens sprits being in this posture, ambassadors came from England to console the King upon the loss of his kinsman, and withal desiring that in substituting another government he would remember that, Cumberland being the bond of concord betwixt the two nations, he would set such a person over it who might be an indifferent [disinterested] arbiter of peace, and that would maintain the ancient alliance betwixt the two nations for the good of them both; and that if any new suspicions or jealousies should arise, that he would labour to extinguish them. The King judged this embassy fit for his purpose, so that, having convened the Nobility at Scone, he made a grave harangue to them against the custom of the assemblies of Estates, in this point, wherein he recited all the seditions which had happened for that cause, and with how great impiety some of the surviving kindred had treated the children of former Kings, and what wars, rapines, slaughters and banishments had ensued thereupon. On the other side, he put them in mind how much more peaceable and less turbulent the parliamentary assemblies of other countries were, and what great reverence was born to the royal blood when, without canvasing for succession, children succeeded their parents in the throne. Having thus spoken he referred the matter to that great council to determine something in this case. He acquainted them also with the demands of the English ambassador, and, to give a greater manifestation of his condescencion and civility, whereas it was in the Kings power alone to appoint a Governor of Cumberland, he left it to them to nominate one, supposing that by his moderation he might the more easily obtain his desire concerning the succession of the crown: for if he himself had nominated his son for a governor, he thought, he should have prejudiced his other request, because, as I said before, the government or prefecture over Cumberland was looked upon as the designation of the person to be the next succeeding King of Scotland. Constantine, the son of Culenus, and Grimus, the son of Mogal, brother to King Duffus, who were thought most likely to oppose both requests, were first asked their opinions in this case, who, partly for fear of danger, and partly that they might not run cross to the major part of the Nobility, gave their vote that it was in the Kings power to correct and amend laws which were inconvenient to the publick, and also to appoint what governor he please over Cumberland. The rest, though they knew that they had spoken contrary to their own sense, yet consented to what they said.
35. Malcolm, the Kings son, though not of age but immature for government, was declared Governor of Cumberland and also Prince of Scotland, which title signifies in Scotland as much as Dauphin doth in France, and Caesar amongst the old Roman Emperors and the King of the Romans amongst the modern Germans, whereby the successor to the preceding magistrate is understood. Other laws were also made, viz., that the Kings eldest son should succeed his father; so, if the son died before the father, the nephew should succeed the grandfather; that when the King was under age, a tutor or protector should be chosen, some eminent man for interest and power, to govern in the Kings name and stead till he came to fourteen years of age, and then he had liberty to choose guardians for himself. And besides, many other things were enacted concerning the legitimate succession of heirs which ran in common to the whole Nobility as well as the King. The King having thus by indirect and evil practices setled the kingdom on his posterity, as he thought, yet his mind was not at rest. For though he were very courteous to all, and highly beneficial and obliging to a great many, and withal did so manage the kingdom that no one part of a good King was wanting in him, yet his mind, being disquieted by the guilt of his offence, suffered him to enjoy no sincere or solid mirth, but in the day he was vexed by the thoughts of the foul wickedness which did inject themselves, and in the night terrible apparitions disturbed his rest. At last a voice was heard from heaven, either a true one, as some think, or else such an one as his disquieted mind suggested (as it commonly happens to guilty consciences), speaking to him in his sleep in this sense: “Dost thou think that the murder of Malcolm, an innocent man, secretly and most impiously committed by thee, is either unknown to Me or that thou shall go unpunished for the same? Nay, there are already plots laid against thy life which thou canst not avoid, neither shalt thou leave a firm and stable kingdom to thy posterity, as thou thinkest to do, but a tumultuous and stormy one.”
36. The King, being terrified by this dreadful apparition, betimes in the morning hastned to the bishops and monks, to whom he declared the confusion of his mind and his repentance for his wickedness. They, instead of prescribing him a true remedy according to the doctrine of Christ (being then degenerated themselves from the piety and simplicity of their ancestors), enjoyed him those absurd and fallacious one which evil and self-minded men had devised for their own gain, and unwary people had as greedily received, which were to bestow gifts on temples and holy places; to visit the sepulchres of holy men; to kiss their reliques; and to expiate his sin by Masses and alms. And withal they enjoyed him to respect and reverence monks and priests more than he had done heretofore. Neither did the King omit to perform all what they enjoyned him, thinking to be healed in his conscience by these mock-plaisters [false cures]. At length, when he came to Mern to worship and to do reverence to the bones of Palladius, an holy person, he turned aside to view a neighbouring castle called Fethercarn, which was then, as ’tis reported, very pleasant with shady grows [groves] and piles of curious buildings, of which almost no footsteps remain at this day. The lady of that castle was called Fenella, of whom mention is made before; who bore the King a grudge, not only for the punishment of her son Crathilinthus, but also upon the account of her kinsmen Constantinus and Grimus, who by his new law were excluded from the succession to the crown. But, dissembling her anger, she entertained the King very splendidly and with great magnificence, and after dinner she carried him out to view the pleasantness of the castle. And amongst the rest she led him into a privy parlor to see a brass statue, most curiously and artificially cast, which was made with so much ingeniousness, as they say, that when a string or cord which was secretly bent therein was remitted and let go, it would shoot out arrows of its own accord, and whilst the King was intent in viewing this engine, an arrow privily darted out therefrom and slew him. Johannes Major and Hector Boetius do both say that the King came thus to his end, though in my judgment it be not very probable. For it is not likely that, after the decay of noble arts amongst other nations, so curious a statue should be then made, and that in the remotest part of Britain too, though John Major writes that Edmond the son of Eldred was slain by the same artifice. But both stories are fabulous, as I suppose. Neither can I easily persuade my self that all Scotland did possess so many jewels as Boetius affirms that one lady was owner of. And therefore I rather incline to the opinion of some others (amongst whom is Winton) that write that the King was slain by some horse-men placed in ambush at the command of Fenella. He died in the twenty fifth year of his reign, a prince eminent for all other things, if the murder of Malcolm and his too great affection to his kindred had not made such a foul blot in his escutcheon. He reigned twenty five years, and deceased in the year of Christ 994.
37. CONSTANTINE IV, THE EIGHTY FIRST KING
After Kenneth his death, Constantine, the son of Culenus, sirnamed the Bald, used so much art and canvasing to get the kingdom as never any man did before him. For he insinuated himself into all sorts of people, complaining that he and others of the royal blood were circumvented by the fraud of Kennethus, and so excluded from all the hopes of the kingdom upon the pretence of a most unjust law, to which he, with others of the blood, were forced by fear to consent. He further alleged that the inconvenience of the law was very manifest and visible in it self. For what, said he, can be more imprudent and foolish than to take away one of the greatest concerns in government from the suffrage of the wise, and to leave it to the liberty of fortune? And to bind themselves to obey a child, because casually born of a King, who perhaps might be ruled by some woman; and in the mean time to exclude brave and virtuous men from sitting at the helm? He added further, what if the children of the King should have some defect either of mind or body which made them unfit for government? “If children (proceeded he) had enjoyed the kingdom in those days wherein we fought so many battles with the Romans, Britains, Picts, English and Danes, the question would not then be who should rule over us, but rather whether we should have been any people at all, to be governed by any body. Yea, what can border more upon madness than to bring that upon our selves by a law which God threatens as the severest judgment to the rebellious, and by this means either to despise the threatnings and predictions of the Almighty, or to run into them of our own accord? Neither (said he) is that true which the flatterers of Kenneth please themselves with in urging, i. e., that the slaughters and avarice of the Kings kindred may be avoided hereby. For the Kings children, whilst under age, have as much reason to fear the frauds of their guardians as before they did the plots of their kindred. And therefore, now the tyrant is removed, let us valiantly recover the liberty he took away, and, abrogating that law which was enacted by force and submitted to our of fear (if it may be called a law and not rather a publick enslavement and prostitution of our freedom); let us, I say, return to the ancient institutions and customs by which this kingdom arose, almost out of nothing, and which, from small beginnings, have advanced it to that splendour that it is inferiour to none of its neighbors; yea, and when it was at a low ebb, have erected it again. And therefore let us not neglect or over-slip this present opportunity which offers it self, lest hereafter we seek it in vain.”
38. By these and the like harangues he cajolled some of the Nobles, and drew a multitude of the Commons to his party, who assembled at Scone twelve days after the funeral of Kennethus and declared him King. In the mean time Malcolm, who was busie about the concern of his fathers funeral, hearing that Constantine was made King, called his friends together to deliberate what was fit to be done. Some were of opinion that before he proceeded any further he should sound how the minds of the Nobles stood affected, that so he might know what strength he was able to raise against a popular man supported by so many factions and alliances, and then, according to the number of his forces, to take a resolution. But those who were young and head-strong despised this course as slow and dilatory, alleging that it was best to obviate the danger at its first rise and to proceed against the enemy before he was setled in his new kingdom. The King, being young, embraced the later opinion as the more specious [attractive] of the two, and having gathered an army of about ten thousand men together, marches towards the enemy. Neither was Constantine defective in his preparations, for in a short time he levied so great an army that Malcolm, at the news of his approach, disbanded his soldiers and retired himself into Cumberland. But Kennethus, his natural brother begot on a concubine, judging that course to be very dishonourable, persuaded some of the most valiant troops to stay behind, and so to stop the enemy at the River Forth near Sterling, which was the boundary to both armies. There both camps lay idle on the high banks of the river, which was fordable in but few places; by which means they were so afflicted with pestilence and famine (both which calamities did rage very much that year) that each army was forced to disband. Thus, the kingdom being divided into two factions, the commonality was miserably afflicted with hunger, pestilence, and frequent robberies. In the mean time, during the absence of Malcolm, who, according to his league, was assisting the English against the Danes, Constantine, thinking he had now got a convenient opportunity to subdue the faction opposite to him, marches with great forces into Lothian. Kennethus, who was left by his brother to observe all Constantine’s motions, gave him an halt at the mouth of the River Almon. And because he was inferiour in number, he supplyed that defect by stratagem, for he so ordered his army that he had the advantage both of the sun and winds; and besides, his army was flanked as much as it could with the river, which was the chief cause of his victory. For the Constantinians, trusting to their multitude, rushed violently into the battel, having the sun-beams darting into their very faces, and besides, a storm, suddainly arising, drove so much dust into their faces and eyes that they could scarce lift up their heads against their enemies. A great slaughter was made in both armies, and both Generals themselves, upon a charge, wounded and slew one another, after Constantine had invaded [occupied] the kingdom a year and six months.
39. GRIMUS, THE EIGHTY SECOND KING
Grimus, the son of King Duffus or, as others say, of his brother Mogallus, after Constantine’s death was brought to Scone, and there by the men of his own faction was made King. He, perceiving that some Nobles of his party were already corrupted by messengers sent from Malcolm, and more of them were solicited by him to a defection, took some of those messengers and committed them to prison. Malcolm, being much incensed at the imprisonment of his embassadors as being done against the law of nations, breaks forth into open war. As Grimus was making head against him, a sudden rumor was dispersed through all Malcolm’s army of the vastness of the army coming against them, so that all Malcolm’s measures were disturbed thereby, many of his soldiers ran privily away, and many others, making frivolous pretences, did publicly desire to be dismissed. The fear first arose from the merchants, who, preferring their private concerns before the publick good, scattered the report throughout the whole army. And besides, there were some among them who privately favoured Grimus his party, for indeed there were many things in him very attractive of the vulgar, as the talness of his stature, his great beauty, accompanied with a singular courtesie, and a comely meen in all his actions. Besides, as there was occasion, he was severe in punishing offenders, and he managed matters with great celerity and prudence, so that many promised themselves an happy and an honourable calm under his government. In this diversity and combustion of mens spirits, Malcolm, not daring to commit any thing to an hazard in battel, by the advice of his friends dismissed the greatest part of his army, and, with some select troops, resolved to stop the enemies passage over the Forth. In the mean time the bishop of that diocess, Forthadus by name, of whom all had an high opinion for his sanctimony, endeavoured by his authority to compose matters, and, passing to and from betwixt both parties, at length he brought matters to this pass, that a truce was made for three months, Grimus being to go into Angus and Malcolm into Cumberland, and also arbitrators were to be chosen by both parties by consent, who were to determine the main controversie in dispute. Neither did Forthadus give over his endeavours till peace was made by them on these conditions: that Grimus should retain the name of King as long as he lived; and that after his decease the kingdom should return to Malcolm; and for the future the law of Kennethus for establishing the succession in the King’s children should be observed as sacred and inviolate. In the mean time, the Wall of Severus was to be the boundary to them both. That which was without the Wall was to belong to Malcolm, and that without, to Grimus. Both of them were to be contented with those limits, neither being to invade each other or to assist the enemies of one another.
40. Thus peace was made, to the great joy of all men, which was religiously observed for almost eight years. Grimus was the first occasion of the breach, for whereas, since the beginning of his reign in turbulent times he had carried himself as a good prince, his industry being slackened by the quiet he enjoyed, he wholly plunged himself into voluptuous courses, and that kind of life being, as usually it is, a life of expence, he was reduced to some necessity, and was thereby enforced to pretend crimes against the richer sort, that so out of covetousness he might enjoy their estates. Being told of the danger of this course, he was so far from reforming it or from abating any thing of his former vileness, that he resolved to put his monitors in prison that so others, being terrified by their punishment, might not use the like freedom in reproving Kings. In order whereto, he invited them kindly to his Court; but they, having notice of his design by their friends, withdrew themselves. At which Grimus was so enraged that he gathered a band of men together and made after them, spoiling their lands more than any foreign enemy could have done: he spared neither men, houses, cattle or corn, and that which he could not carry away he spoiled, that so it might be rendred useless to the owners. Thus he made a promiscuous havock of all things (whether sacred or prophane) by fire and sword. Complaint hereof being made to Malcolm, who was then busie in helping the English against the Danes, he presently returned home, for he was incensed not only at the undeserved sufferings of so many brave and innocent persons, but much more at the indignity offered him by Grimus, who, knowing that the lands were shortly to pass over to another, without any respect to future times had swept away the fruits thereof, as if it had been an enemies country. There was a great resort to Malcolm at his return, insomuch that, tho Grimus had for a time been dear to and beloved of the people, yet now the greatest part of the Nobles forsook him. Notwithstanding, with what forces he could make he made head against his enemy. When their camps were near one another, Grimus, knowing that Malcolm would religiously observe Ascension-day, resolved then to attaque him, hoping to find him unprepared. Malcolm, having notice of his design, kept his men and arms, and tho he did hope well as to the victory in so good a cause, yet he sent to Grimus to advise him to defer fighting for that day, that so they, being Christians, might not pollute so holy a day with shedding the blood of their countrymen. Yet he was nevertheless resolved to fight, alleging to his souldiers that fear the enemy was in, tho pretended to be out of reverence to so holy a feast, was a good omen of their victory. Hereupon a fierce and eager fight began, wherein Grimus, being forsaken of his men, was wounded in the head, taken prisoner, and soon after had his eyes put out, insomuch that in a short time, out of grief as well as his wounds, he dyed in the tenth year of his reign. Malcolm carried nobly towards the conquered, and caused Grimus to be interred in the sepulchres of his ancestors. The faction which followed him he received into his grace and favour, laying aside the memory of past offences. Then going to the assembly of Estates at Scone, before he would undertake the government, he caused the law made by his father concerning the succession to the crown to be publickly ratified by the votes of the whole parliament.
41. MALCOLM II, THE EIGHTY THIRD KING
At the entrance into his government he laboured to restore the state of the kingdom, which was sorely shaken by factions. And as he forgave all former offences to himself, so he took care that the seeds of faction and discord amongst all different parties might also be rooted out. After this he sent governors chosen out of the Nobility into all provinces (just and pious men) to restrain the licentiousness of robbers, who, as in former times, had taken great liberty to themselves to steal and plunder. By them also the common people were encouraged to tillage and husbandry, so that provisions grew cheaper, commerce between man and man safer, and the publick peace was better secured. Amidst these transactions Sueno the son of Harald, King of the Danes, being banished from home, came into Scotland. He was oftentime overcome, made prisoner by, and ransomed from the Vandals, and having sought for aid in vain from Olavus, King of the Scandians, and Edward, King of England, at last he came to Scotland, and being turned Christian, of whom before he was a most bitter enemy, there he received some small assistance and so returned into his own country, from whence, soon after, he passed over with a great army into England. First he overthrew the English alone, and afterwards he had the same success against them when the Scots assisted them, whom he grievously threatned because they would not forsake the English and return into their own country. Neither were his threatnings in vain, for Olavus of Scandia and Enecus, General of the Danes, were sent by him with a great army into Scotland. They ranged over all Murray, killed whomsoever they met, took away all they could catch, whether sacred or prophane; at last, gathered into a body, they assaulted castles and other strong places. While they were besieging these fortresses, Malcolm had gathered an army together out of the neighbouring countrys and pitch’d his camp not far from them. The day after, the Scots perceiving the multitude of the Danes and their warlike preparations were struck with great terrour. The King endeavoured to encourage them, but to small purpose. At last a noise was raised in the camp by those who were willing to seem more valiant than the rest, and when it was raised others received and seconded it, so that presently, as if they had been wild, they ran in upon the Danes without the command of their leaders, and rushed upon the points of their swords, who were ready to receive them. After the forwardest were slain the rest fled back faster than ever they came on. The King was wounded in the head, and had much ado to be carried off the field into an adjacent wood, where he was horsed and so escaped with his life. After this victory the castle of Narn was surrendred to the Danes, the garison being dismayed at the event of the unhappy fight; yet they put them to death after the surrender. They strongly fortified the castle because it was seated in a convenient pass, and of a peninsule made it a convenient isle by cutting through a narrow chanel for the sea to surround it, and they called it by a Danish name, Burgus. The other castles, which were Elgin and Foress, were deserted for fear of the cruelty of the Danes.
42. The Danes upon this good success resolved to fix their habitations in Murray, and sent home their ships to bring over their wives and children, in the mean time exercising all manner of cruel hardships over the captived Scots. Malcolm, in order to prevent their further progress, gathered a stronger and and more compact army together, and when they were gone into Marr he met them at a place called Mortlich, both armies being in great fear, the Scots being afraid of the cruelty of the Danes, and the Danes fearing the places, which they did not know (as being far from the sea and fit for ambushes), more than their enemies. In the beginning of the fight the Scots were most discouraged at the slaughter of three of their valiant worthies, viz., of Kennethus, Thane of the islands; of Grimus, Thane of Strathearn; and of Dumbar, Thane of Lothian, whom all fell presently one after another, so that they were forced to retreat and to retire into their old fastness, which was behind their backs. There, fencing their camp with a trench, ditch, and huge trees which they cut down in a narrow place, they fronted and stopped the enemy; yea, the slew some who, as if they had fully gotten the victory, did carelessly assault them, among whom Enecus, one of their Generals, fell. His loss as it made the Danes less forward to fight, so it added alacrity to the Scots, who were crest-fallen before, so that almost in a moment of time the scene was quite altered: the Danes were put to flight and the Scots pursued them. Olavus, the other of their Generals, got some to guide him, and bent his course that night towards Murray. Though Malcolm knew it, yet, having slain the forwardest of his enemies and wounded many more, he desisted from following the chase. When news of this overthrow was brought to Swain in England he bore it undauntedly and sent some of his old soldiers, and some that were newly come to him from his own country, under Camus their General, to recruit his old and shattered army in Scotland. He first came into the Firth of Forth, but being hindred by the country (who observed all his motions) from landing, he set sail and made for the Red-Promontory of Angus.
43. There he landed his men and attempted to take in some places, but, being disappointed, he fell a-plundering. Having pitched his tents at Balbridum, i. e., the village of St. Bride, word was brought him by his spies that the Scots forces were scarce two miles distant from him, whereupon both Generals, according to the exigence of the time, exhorted their men to fight, and the next day they were all ready at their arms almost at one time. The third day they fought with so great eagerness and fury as either new hope or old hatred could occasion and suggest. At last the Scots prevailed, and Camus, endeavouring to secure the remainders of his army by flying over the mountains towards Murray, before he had gone two miles was overtaken by the pursuers and he and all his men cut off. There are monuments extant of this victory, in an obeliske and a neighbouring village which as yet retains the memorable name of Camus. Another band of them were cut off not far from the town of Breichin, where also another obeliske was erected. The remainder, being few in number, under the covert of the night made to their ships. These last were tossed up and down several days in the raging sea by cross winds. At length coming to the inhospitable shore of Buchan, they rode there so long at anchor till they were necessitated for want to send about 500 of their men ashore to get some relief out of the neighbouring country. Mernanus, the Thane of that place, stop’d them from returning to their ships and compelled them to retire to a steep hill, where, being assisted by the conveniency of the place, they defended themselves with stones and slew many of the Scots who rashly attempted them. At last the Scots encouraged one another, and in several parties, in great numbers, got up the hill and put every man of the Danes to the sword. There also, as well as at Bambreid, when the wind blows up the sand there are bones discovered of a greater magnitude than can well suit with the stature of the men of our times.
44. Yet Sueno was not discouraged, no not with this overthrow also, but sent his son Canutus with new levies into Scotland. He landed his soldiers in Buchan, and so preyed upon the country. Malcolm, though he had yet hardly recovered his loss sustained in former battels, yet made head against him, and being not willing to hazard all by fighting a pitched battel, he thought it best to weary the enemy with light skirmishes and to keep him from plundering, for by this means he hoped in a short time to reduce him to great want of provisions, as being in an enemies country, almost quite wasted and desolated by the miseries of war before. He followed this counsel for some days, but at last, when the Scots had got a full understanding of their enemies strength, they less distrusted [mistrusted] their own, and both armies, being equally pressed with want, did unanimously crave a signal to the battel, pretending, unless it were given, they would fall to it even without the consent of their Generals. Hereupon Malcolm set the battel in array which was fought with such desperate rage and fury that neither party came off in triumph. And though the victory did nominally rest on the Scots side, yet a great part of their Nobility being slain, and the rest wearied and discouraged in their spirits returned to their camp, giving the Danes liberty to retreat without any pursuit. The next day, with both parties mustered their men they found so great a slaughter to have been made that they willingly admitted some priests to be intercessors of peace between them. Whereupon peace was made on these conditions: that the Danes should leave Murray and Buchan and depart; and that as long as Malcolm and Sueno lived neither of them should wage war with one another any more, nor help one anothers enemies; that the field in which the battel was fought should be set apart and consecrated for the burial of the dead. Upon this, the Danes with drew and Malcolm took order for the interment of the slain. A while after he called an assembly of Estates at Scone, and that he might reward those who had deserved well of their country, he divided all the King’s land between them. On the other side, the Nobility granted to the King that when any of them died, their children should be under the wardship and tutelage of the King till they arrived at the age of 21 years, and that the King should receive all their revenue except what was expended for the education of the ward, and besides, that he should have the power to give them in marriage or otherwise to dispose of them when they were grown up, and should also receive their dowry. I judge this custom came rather from the English and Danes, because it yet continues throughout all England and in part of Normandy too.
45. Afterwards the King bent his thought to repair the damages sustained by the war. He re-edified many temples and sacred places demolished by the enemy, he built new castles or else repaired the old in every town. Having thus restored peace to the kingdom by his great valour, he endeavoured further to adorn it with good institutions and wholsom laws, and in order thereunto he erected new names for magistrates (I believe such as he borrowed from his neighbours), which served rather for vain ambition than for any real use. For in former times there was no name superior in honour to that of a Knight, except that of Thane, i. e. Governor or Sheriff, of a province or country, which custom, as I hear, is yet observed amongst the Danes. But now a days princes keep no mean in instituting new names or titles of honour, though there be no use at all of those names but the bare sound. Thus Malcolm, having finished his toilsom wars, reigned some years in great splendor and glory. But in the progress of his age he sullied the beauty of his former life with the blot of covetousness. That vice, being incident to old men, partly grew up in him with his age and partly arose from that want which his immoderate largesses had driven him to, so that those lands which he had unadvisedly distributed amongst the Nobility he did as unjustly and wickedly labour to resume, by which means he put some of them to death and reduced others to great penury. Hereupon the present sense of suffering, though sometimes just, drowned the memory of all former courtesies, so that, the injury reaching to a few but the fear to many, the friends and kindred of those which were slain and impoverished bent all their thoughts to revenge them and to secure themselves. And at last, bribing the King’s domesticks at Glammes in Angus, they were admitted at night into the King’s bed-chamber and slew him. When they had committed the fact, those bribed domesticks, together with the parricides, took horse, which they had ready bridled and saddled for all events, and, being not able to find the way in regard the snow covered all the track, they were confounded and arrived at a lake by the town of Forfar, where, endeavouring to pass over, the ice not being very firm, they sunk with their weight and were all drowned. Their bodies lay undiscovered for a season by reason the ice closed again, but when a thaw came they were found and hung upon gibbets in the high-ways, there to rot for the terrour of the living and in reproach to them after they were dead. This is the common report about Malcolm’s end, though some write that he was slain by an ambush laid by the kinred of Grimus and Constantine, the former Kings, after a bloody battel joyned and fought betwixt them. Others say that he was killed by the friends of a noble virgin whom he had forceably vitiated, but all agree that he came to a violent death. Malcolm reigned so justly above thirty years that, unless avarice had corrupted his mind in’s old age, he might well have been numbered among the best of princes. The year in which he died was a prodigious one, for in the winter the rivers did mightily overflow, and in spring there were great inundations of the sea. And moreover few days after the summer solstice there were very pinching frosts and mighty snows, by which means, the fruits of the earth being spoiled, a great famine did ensue.
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