Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654
|Name:||Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673|
|Title:||Bvchania. Braid Albin.|
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Translation of text:
And you stars besides, if there are any which Fergus’s land
Sees always awake in western flames:
Tell, for you are witnesses, and night has become aware
Of the deed, recently under the pole of the Northern sky;
Which of the Gordon race, stirring huge fires,
Burned the heroes, fiercer than the pregnant bear
And the starving wolf, and no more gentle than the tigress while she rages
At being struck or the lioness while she raves at the seizure of her cub.
We have seen barbarous reproaches added to the dread flames.
Men who could deserve the tomb of Mausolus,
Or, Memphis, your pyramids, or anything that Porsena
Raised higher, after the fire cooled down,
Carried into the base stables, lay among the tethered
Horses, buried in the rotting straw and hay.
Without delay, roasted on the hearth and still smoking
The bodies covered the tables, a spectacle for the lowest people.
Here chiefs lie with people, with no distinction,
There is no face of a man for these, none has his arms,
None his shoulders above, nothing is left below the crotch:
Each has only his own trunk without a name.
O Heaven, o Gods! After this who could wonder at the stable
Of the Thracian king, and the dread altars of harsh Busiris,
Or the Laestrygonian feast, or the foul meal of Thyestes,
And what Lycaon is said to have planned for Jove,
Or your platters, cruel Procne?
Innocent youths, in their fathers’ lands, among
A thousand followers, and lords joined by ancestral blood
Of hospitality, from all harm and treachery
Safe, heavy with sleep, and walled up in the darkness
Of opaque night: by flames given life by sulphur
We saw them extinguished, and their corpses dragged in foul
And unworthy ways, after they had suffered the worst.
The sad, unhappy, always inhospitable tower,
Set on fire in a brief moment, at once mixed bottom
With top, and tombs with bedrooms, and death with sleep,
And lords with servants, whose confused remains lay
Buried in the ruins - ash, bones, corpses; for
Of one body, I recall, part was bones,
Part filthy ash, part the corpse roasted by fire.
What a harsh fate it was! While fire cherishes the living,
None assists with hand or prayer, nor does anyone speak
Piously to the souls preparing to leave, or drink with his ear
Their last words, or cover their eyes with friendly hand.
No one picks up the scattered ashes in a holy urn,
No one gives parental tears to the innocent shades
Or incense to the harsh pyres, or garlands to the graves.
Illustrious youths, one the race of chiefs, with ancestral
Blood the other touching the Northern kings.
Thus they perish, and lie strewn in their flourishing years.
Ah this pair of chiefs should rather have become famous
In the world, and filled their homeland with new trophies,
Whether by taming the Spaniard, hated by the whole family of men,
Or by triumphing over the eagles and two-horned Rhine,
Which the honour of the Gordon family, the heir of Huntly,
Now under Gallic command, makes resound with arms
Of Grampian on all sides, and mingles with master’s blood.
Brother ought to have joined brother in comradeship,
And relation to have girt the side of relation, in battles
And commanders’ arms, and the greater flashes of war.
But Tartarus has denied this ornament to our shores,
Or a seed of Tartarus’ race; for at the sight of this crime
Earth shuddered, and sea, and air.
A progeny emulating its ancestors, which could not be conquered,
Could not be frightened, and spurned spears and swords,
Has perished by fraus and hidden deceits, and the enemy is unseen.
O times, o conduct! It was once the glory of the Grampian race
Not to know deceits, but to employ strength,
And to join battle, and on open field with flashing arms
To reach a decision, and to strew the enemy hand to hand.
Thus the harsh Picts were tamed, and the fierce Cimbrians,
Thus Tiber and the power of mistress Rome were checked,
No differently the prince and glory of arms, Wallace,
And he who happily ruled the Caledonian shores,
Bruce, accompanied by the chief of the Hays,
Won their great triumphs over the neighbouring race.
Alas, an age now deprived of men and more than degenerate
Conducts business by ambush, instead of the spear of Mars there is a poniard,
Poison instead of weapon, and everywhere a secret fire
Is spread, alas, instead of your darts, Bellona;
And it is not given to know the author; he is more concealed
Than the springs of the sea or the birthplace of the Nile.
Sacred band, to whom Themis entrusted right and the highest laws,
And Rhamnusia the punishments that accompany crimes:
If the high virtue of the youths, and the royal blood in one,
Or the premature white hair of the bereaved parents,
And the widowed couch of the wretched Hay,
If the honour of law and the family, or the glory of the age,
Moves you, or the piety owed to angry heaven,
Give up the perpetrator of the harsh crime. What we ask is right.
It is the duty of the judge to open up hidden reasons,
Where it is lawful, and to inquire into the first springs of crimes,
And to use now blandishments, now harsh words,
Trying everything that the laws permits and just
Jupiter, is a light cost of small labour.
When everything has been examined, judge, by force you can extort
What you wish to know; at hand is an ape to pinch limbs,
And a bag hissing with more than one snake.
You have a stork armed with crossed fetters,
You have the wheel, clubs, and the anchor that twists the neck
With unequal weight, and greaves that crush the calfs.
And in order that he may expiate the harsh crime that he has admitted,
The avenger now of the crime, Mulciber will provide his servant fires.
Lest the honour of the Scottish race and the glory of the holy Senate
Be disgraced, insist on vengeful punishments:
Burn, cut, rage with no distinction of men,
As long as you have tortures, and a Scottish neck remains.]
Below these is Strathbogie, that is Valley at Bogie, formerly the dwelling of the Earls of Atholl, who took their surname from it, now the principal seat of the Marquess of Huntly. For this title King James VI conferred on George Gordon Earl of Huntly, Lord Gordon and Badenoch, well known for his ancient nobility and numerous following; his ancestors, deriving from Setons, by Parliamentary authority adopted the name of Gordon (since Alexander Seton had married the daughter of Sir John Gordon with quite a rich inheritance) and received the honour of Earl of Huntly from James II in the year 1449. [Now his son has succeeded him.]
FROM CAMDEN (Section Note)
In the interior among the high and rough ridges of the Grampian mountain, where they sink down a little, is Breadalbane, that is, 'the highest part of Scotland'; for the true and genuine Scots in their native tongue call Scotland Albin, as where it rises most is Drum Albin, that is 'the back of Scotland'. Brunalbin however is read in an old manuscript, where one finds: 'Fergus son of Eric was the first of the seed of Chonare to undertake the rule of Albany from Brun-Albain to the Irish Sea and Inch-Gall [the Hebrides]. And from then kings of the seed of Fergus have ruled in Brun-Albain or Brunhere down to Alpin son of Eochall.' But this Albany was better known for its Dukes than for the gifts of the land. The first Duke of Albany of whom I have read was Robert Earl of Fife, whom his brother King Robert III raised to that honour; however stirred by ambition and not at all grateful, he removed by hunger the latter's son David, the heir to the throne. [We have decided at this point to insert David's death from book 10 of Buchanan's Scottish Affairs (Section Note). The King's son David was a youth of quite violent nature and a character tending to lust. These vices were increased by the indulgence of his father, who did not have sufficient authority to maintain the reverence due to him; however his impulses were blunted by the admonitions of those appointed to assist the ruler in the weakness of age, and much more by his mother's care and advice. But when she died, his lust was freed from constraint and he reverted to his true character: fear and shame put aside, he raped the wives of others and maidens of good birth, whom he could not persuade to wrong-doing. Anyone who wished to hinder his lust was badly treated and cut to pieces. When many quarrels had been notified to his father, he wrote to his brother the Governor about his lack of control over him, asking him to keep the youth with him until with the cooling down of licentiousness he should return to better ways. The Governor now had the long-desired opportunity to destroy his brother's line. He met David about three miles from St Andrews and took him to the castle there, which after the recent death of the Archbishop he was holding on the pretext of guarding it. From there, shortly after, he transferred him to his castle of Falkland; there he shut him up in a close prison to die of hunger. But he whom his uncle's cruelty has destined to a death of the utmost misery had his life extended by a few days by the pity of two young women. One was a maiden, whose father had charge of the castle and prison. Each time she had the chance of going to the gardens, near the prison, she casually threw beneath her linen veil (to protect her head against the sun) a piece of oat-meal bread, stretched out so thinly (as is the common custom in Scotland) that it could be folded, and pushed it through a thin little fissure, as it more truly was than a window. The other, a country nurse, expressed milk from her breasts and poured it into his mouth through a pipe. With this wretched nourishment, calculated more to inflame hunger than relieve it, they extended his life and at the same time his pain for a few days; then they were discovered by the more careful watching of the guards and dragged off to punishment, the father strongly execrating the treachery of his daughter, as he tried to show his own good faith before the faithless Governor. The youth, destitute of all human aid, did not enjoy an easy death, as with the lack of food he also tore at his own limbs. His death was long concealed from his father, as no one dared to convey to him such sad news of an event of which all were aware.] By the slow judgement of God he did not pay the price of such a crime, but his son Murdoch, the second Duke of Albany, paid most severely, being convicted of treason and cut through with an axe, after he had seen on the day before his two sons suffer the same penalty. [This story is thus told again by Buchanan, in the same the lords were gathered in Stirling, Murdoch with