This fragment, obtained from recitation in the Forest of Ettrick, is
said to relate to the execution of Cokburne of Henderland, a border
freebooter, hanged over the gate of his own tower by James V., in the
course of that memorable expedition, in 1529, which was fatal to Johnie
Armstrang, Adam Scott of Tushielaw, and many other marauders. The
vestiges of the castle of Henderland are still to be traced upon the
farm of that name, belonging to Mr Murray of Henderland. They are
situated near the mouth of the river Meggat, which falls into the lake
of St Mary, in Selkirkshire. The adjacent country, which now hardly
bears a single tree, is celebrated by Lesly, as, in his time, affording
shelter to the largest stags in Scotland. A mountain torrent, called
Henderland Burn, rushes impetuously from the hills, through a rocky
chasm, named the Dow-glen, and passes near the site of the tower. To the
recesses of this glen the wife of Cokburne is said to have retreated,
during the execution of her husband; and a place, called the Lady's
Seat, is still shewn, where she is said to have striven to drown, amid
the roar of a foaming cataract, the tumultuous noise, which announced
the close of his existence. In a deserted burial-place, which once
surrounded the chapel of the castle, the monument of Cokburne and his
lady is still shewn. It is a large stone, broken into three parts; but
some armorial bearings may be yet traced, and the following inscription
is still legible, though defaced:
HERE LYES PERYS OF COKBURNE AND HIS WYFE MARJORY.
Tradition says, that Cokburne was surprised by the king, while sitting
at dinner. After the execution, James marched rapidly forward, to
surprise Adam Scott of Tushielaw, called the King of the Border, and
sometimes the King of Thieves. A path through the mountains, which
separate the vale of Ettrick from the head of Yarrow, is still called
the King's Road, and seems to have been the rout which he followed.
The remains of the tower of Tushielaw are yet visible, overhanging the
wild banks of the Ettrick; and are an object of terror to the benighted
peasant, from an idea of their being haunted by spectres. From these
heights, and through the adjacent county of Peebles, passes a wild path,
called still the Thief's Road, from having been used chiefly by the
marauders of the border.
THE LAMENT OF THE BORDER WIDOW.
My love he built me a bonny bower,
And clad it a' wi' lilye flour;
A brawer bower ye ne'er did see,
Than my true love he built for me.
There came a man, by middle day,
He spied his sport, and went away;
And brought the king that very night,
Who brake my bower, and slew my knight.
He slew my knight, to me sae dear;
He slew my knight, and poin'd [A] his gear;
My servants all for life did flee,
And left me in extremitie.
I sew'd his sheet, making my mane;
I watched the corpse, myself alane;
I watched his body, night and day;
No living creature came that way.
I took his body on my back,
And whiles I gaed, and whiles I satte;
I digg'd a grave, and laid him in,
And happ'd him with the sod sae green.
But think na ye my heart was sair,
When I laid the moul on his yellow hair?
O think na ye my heart was wae,
When I turn'd about, away to gae?
Nae living man I'll love again,
Since that my lovely knight is slain;
Wi' ae lock of his yellow hair
I'll chain my heart for evermair.
Poin'd—Poinded, attached by legal distress.