Outlandish Reference

 

 

 

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Da Mi Basia Mille, the poem by Catullus

CATULLUS (84?-54? BC).
Although Catullus is today considered the greatest lyric poet of ancient Rome, very little is known about his life. He was born to a well-to-do family in Verona and lived during the same time as did the statesmen Caesar, Pompey, and Cicero--all of whom he knew. They and others are addressed by him in his poems, works that show an intense capacity for love, hate, and insult. Only 113 poems have survived. Of these, 57 are short poems, ranging in length between five and 25 lines, except for one of 34 lines. There are eight longer poems of from 48 to 408 lines in four different meters. The collection closes with 48 epigrams, brief poems of two to 12 lines. The most memorable of Catullus' work consists of his love poems in honor of Lesbia, whose real name was Clodia. His poetry strongly influenced poets of the following century: Virgil and Horace imitated him, and Ovid and Martial praised and commemorated his work.
Excerpted from The Complete Reference Collection Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This is the original Latin poem that Catullus wrote for Clodia:

Vivamus mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumoresque senum seueriorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!
soles occidere et redire possunt:
nobis cum semel occidit breuis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,
aut ne quis malus inuidere possit,
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.

The English version that Jamie recites to Claire is by Richard Crashaw:

Come and let us live my Deare,
Let us love and never feare,
What the sowrest Fathers say:
Brightest Sol that dyes to day
Lives againe as blith to morrow,
But if we darke sons of sorrow
Set, then, how long a Night
Shuts the Eyes of our short light!
Then let amorous kisses dwell
On our lips, begin and tell
A Thousand, and a Hundred, score
an Hundred, and a Thousand more,
Till another Thousand smother
That, and that wipe off another.
Thus at last when we have numbered
Many a Thousand, many a Hundred;
Wee'l confound the reckoning quite,
And lose our selves in wild delight:
While our joyes so multiply,
As shall mocke the envious eye.


RICHARD CRASHAW (1612/3 - 1649)

 

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The Lake Isle of Innisfree, the poem by W.B.Yeats, that Brianna quotes to Jamie
Extract from Quote of the Day, Thursday, May 27th, 1999, by Lady Valeria

I picked today’s quote because we—and Jamie—know so little of what Claire’s life was like with Frank all those years after Culloden, and this quote gives us a glimpse, through Brianna’s eyes. I think Jamie is verra moved by this proof of how lonely Claire was without him—he reduced to "ohs" and "ahs," after all—but I think he’s trying to keep it together in front of Bree.

Before I give the quote, I wanted to give the whole Yeats poem that Brianna quotes to Jamie below, because I think the bit about the "deep heart’s core" is verra beautiful and it’s not in the excerpt. (Sorry for all this prologue before the quote!!! *sigh*) -- not at all, Valeria!

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

W. B. Yeats (1890), from The Selected Poems and Three Plays of William Butler Yeats, (M.L. Rosenthal ed.) (c) 1962.

~*~

The following quote is taken from Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 43. Copyright (c) 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.

     "A gust of wind whirred across the path in a swirl of brown and yellow leaves, and they turned uphill, toward the cabin. They walked in near silence, affected by the growing quiet of the woods; the birds were still singing twilight songs, but the shadows were lengthening under the trees. The northern slope of the mountain across the valley had already gone dark and silent, as the sun edged behind it.
     The cabin’s clearing was still filled with sunlight, though, filtered through a yellow blaze of chestnut trees. Claire was in the palisaded garden, a basin on one hip, snapping beans from poled vines. Her slender figure was silhouetted dark against the sun, her hair a great aureole of curly gold.
     "Innisfree," Brianna said involuntarily, stopping dead at the sight.
     "Innisfree?" Jamie glanced at her, bewildered.
     She hesitated, but there was no way out of explaining.
     "It’s a poem, or part of one. Daddy always used to say it, when he’d come home and find Mama puttering in her garden—he said she’d live out there if she could. He used to joke that she—that she’d leave us someday, and go find a place where she could live by herself, with nothing but her plants."
     "Ah." Jamie’s face was calm, its broad planes ruddy in the dying light. "How does the poem go, then?"
     She was conscious of a small tightness round her heart as she said it.

"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade."

     The thick red brows drew together slightly, sparkling in the sun.
     "A poem, is it? And where is Innisfree?"
     "Ireland, maybe. He was Irish," Brianna said in explanation. "The poet." The row of bee gums stood squat on their stones at the edge of the wood.
     "Oh."
     Tiny motes of gold and black drifted past them through honeyed air—bees homing from the fields. Her father made no move to go forward, but stood silent by her side, watching her mother pick beans, black and gold among the leaves.
     Not alone, after all, she thought. But the small tightness stayed in her chest, not quite an ache."

Lady Valeria

 

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The Master of Lovat

"God bless the Dictionary of National Biography. Remember we were wondering about how Young Simon could be Master of Lovat if he was younger than Jamie? Well, it turns out, he is Old Simon's first legitimate son, from his second marriage to Margaret Grant. The Old Fox had no children with his first wife, two boys and one girl with Margaret Grant, and one boy with Primrose Campbell. So, any other brothers Brian might have had were illegitimate like he was. Thought you'd like to know." Lady Valerie L

 

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General Simon Fraser

"According to what I found, there were actually 2 Simon Frasers. Lt. Col. Simon Fraser (1726-1782) was the son of the Master of Lovat, fought at Culloden, and subsequently raised the 78th Regiment of Foot, which saw service in America in the French and Indian War, was disbanded, and subsequently reorganized as the 71st Regiment of Foot (Fraser's Highlanders) to fight in the American Revolution. He himself did not accompany the Regiment to America during the Revolution, however.
The other, Brig. Gen. Simon Fraser (1729-1777) was of the Frasers of Balnain, who were allied with the Frasers of Lovat. He actually served under Fraser of Lovat during the French and Indian War but subsequently transferred to Germany, was commissioned a major in the 24th Regiment of Foot, and was later commissioned Brigadier General. It is this Simon Fraser who was killed at Saratoga. This information, in considerably greater detail, comes from a wonderful website by the Clan Fraser Society of Canada." Lady Jane

 

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About Amber...

Pretty! in amber to observe the forms
Of hairs, of straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms!
Alexander Pope, 1734

About 40 million of years ago resin from conifer trees entombed insects as the golden ooze fell to the ground.

Forever preserved at the moment of death, the six-legged creatures in the hardened sap were eventually covered with sediments. Millions of years of subterranean pressure changed the resin into the semiprecious gem called amber.

The beauty of a perfectly preserved insect in amber is appreciated today as much as the amber gem was appreciated even before the birth of Christ. Amber amulets as old as 35,000 years have been discovered. Carved into a variety of shapes, including game animals, the ancients considered amber to have magical powers.

The Egyptians, observing the beauty of specimens in amber, utilized the preservation properties of resin to embalm their kings and wealthy citizens. Bandages used to wrap the mummies were soaked in resin, thus ensuring a successful transition from this life to the next.

The Greeks, who prized amber to the point of worshiping it, considered the embedded fauna and flora gifts from the gods. Amber was called "elektron" because it becomes charged with static electricity when it is rubbed with cloth or fur. Hence, the origin of the word "electricity."

In 1993 (the year the movie Jurassic Park was released) a 125-million-year-old piece of Lebanese amber containing a weevil was sliced open and tissues were extracted. The insect's DNA, which is sometimes referred to as life's building blocks, was sequenced. It is the oldest known DNA -- truly a glimpse of the past.

Though amber is found in various locations throughout the world, and the largest and most significant deposits occur along the shores of the Baltic Sea in sands 40,000,000 to 60,000,000 years old, amber from the Dominican Republic is, because of its color and clarity, considered to be of the best quality. Its age is calculated by dating the surrounding rock matrix from where it is mined.

To help retain the color and clarity of your amber, do not expose it to constant direct sunlight or extreme temperature changes. In addition, when not handling your amber, you should keep it in a box to limit air exchange.

 

Text and photo courtesy of Lady JulieH
© Windows to the Past - Insects in Amber
Reprinted with permission.

 

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Stede Bonnet, "The Gentleman Pirate"

Lo and behold matie's...while reading over my son's homework tonight I found a name that rang a LOL bell! The other day someone on here, can't recall who, sorry, mentioned being at a place where she ran across the name Stede Bonnet.

Well, here's the story about him. The background is it's a story about Blackbeard the Pirate. He was starting his reign of terror in the seas and had taken a ship called "Queen Anne's Revenge"... he happened upon another ship and this is where the story continues...

Drunk PiratesShortly thereafter, the Queen Anne's Revenge encountered another vessel flying the black flag. She was the ten-gun pirate sloop Revenge from Barbados, commanded by Stede Bonnet, "The Gentleman Pirate." Bonnet had been an educated and wealthy landowner before turning to piracy. After inviting the Revenge to sail along with the Queen Anne's Revenge, Blackbeard soon realized that Bonnet was a poor leader and an incompetent sailor. He appointed another pirate to command Revenge, and forced Bonnet to become a "guest" aboard Queen Anne's Revenge, where he remained, a virtual prisoner, until she wrecked six months later.

During the winter of 1717-1718, the Queen Anne's Revenge and Revenge cruised the Caribbean, taking prizes. Along the way, Blackbeard decided to keep two more smaller captured vessels. When he sailed northward up the American coast in the Spring of 1718, he was in command of four vessels and over three hundred pirates.

Blackbeard's reign of terror climaxed in a week-long blockade of the port of Charleston, S.C. in late May 1718. One week later, the Queen Anne's Revenge was lost at Beaufort Inlet. One of the smaller vessels in Blackbeard's flotilla, the 10 gun sloop Adventure, was lost the same day while trying to assist the stranded flagship.

Before leaving Beaufort Inlet, Blackbeard marooned about twenty-five disgruntled pirates on a deserted sandbar, stripped Bonnet's sloop the Revenge of her provisions, and absconded with much of the accumulated booty aboard another smaller vessel. Bonnet rescued the marooned men and, with them, resumed his lawless ways aboard the Revenge, which he re-named the Royal James.

In October 1718, Bonnet and his crew were captured near present-day Wilmington, North Carolina, and taken to Charleston, where they were tried for piracy. All but four were found guilty and hung that November (the record of that trial, published in London in 1719, provided researchers with important clues to the location of the Queen Anne's Revenge site.)

Just a side note: Bonnet changed his ship's name to the Royal James -- eh, James Fraser??? perhaps, saved him from his hanging, hummmm...

Lady JenniferA

 

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Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!

This is a cut and paste from a now defunct word of the day website: Jesse's Word of the Day.

Daniel Gordon writes: What does the H stand for in "Jesus H. Christ!"?

"Haploid" is the joking answer if you're a techie, but the real answer is probably that it comes from the Greek monogram for Jesus, "IHS" or "IHC." The "H" is the capital form of the Greek letter eta, but was reinterpreted as being the Latin letter "H" (that is, "aitch"). (In the "IHC" variant, the "C" is the Byzantine Greek form of sigma, the "S" letter.)

The IHS or IHC monogram was (and still is) used on religious articles as an emblem, and people unfamiliar with the Greek assumed that the "H" was a part of the name "Jesus" or of "Jesus Christ." (A similar mistake was made many centuries earlier; a common spelling of Jesus in medieval Latin was "Ihesus.")

The use of "Jesus H. Christ" as a profane oath dates back at least to the late nineteenth century, but was probably around earlier. Mark Twain wrote in his autobiography that even in his childhood the oath was considered old.

Lady Jay

 

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Handfasting

If you don't mind wading through a bit of scholarly text (...) I'll try to answer what was Handfasting in Scotland prior to the 18th century through an article from the Scottish Historical Review.

The following quotes are from an article titled "Handfasting in Scotland" by A.E. Anton The Scottish Historical Review Vol. 37 No. 124 October 1958 pages 89-102.

"In 'The Monastery' Sir Walter Scott makes Avenel say: 'We Bordermen...take our wives, like our horses, upon trial. When we are handfasted, as we term it, we are man and wife for a year and a day; that space gone by, each may choose another mate, or at their pleasure, may call the priest to marry them for life--and this w call handfasting.' Many other writers, less ostensibly writing fiction, have assumed that such a custom was indeed known in medieval Scotland. W.F. Skene, for example, gives quite a circumstantial description of the custom, saying that, if during the period of trial 'the lady became a mother, or proved to be with child, the marriage became good in law, even although no priest had performed the marriage ceremony in due form'. He adds that 'the highlanders themselves draw a very strong distinction between bastard sons and the sons of their handfast unions, whom they consider legitimate'. Dr. Cameron claimed handfasting be one of the few Celtic customs surviving in Scots law.

Skene's remark that the handfast marriage became good in law even although no priest had performed the marriage ceremony in due form suggests that he believed that in medieval Scotland the intervention of a priest was normally required to make a marriage good in law. This is a serious misconception of the attitude of the medieval Church to marriage. In early times the Church concerned itself little with the forms of the marriage and was slow to disturb existing practices. Prior to the Germanic invasions, the Church adhered to Roman law and custom in regard to marriage rites, and after these invasions to the law and custom of the invaders.

The joining of hands became a feature of betrothals in Scotland and in England during the medieval period. ... In fact, the ceremony of joining hands became so closely associated with betrothals in medieval times that in Scotland, and apparently in the north of England, the ordinary term for a betrothal was a handfasting. The use of the term in this sense persisted in Elgin as late as 1635.

It is worth noting that the essence of the marriage was the exchange of consents in words of the present tense. Archbishop Hamilton's catechism sets out the appropriate verbal formula: 'Quhen the man sais to the woman, I tak the to my weddit wyfe, and the womans ais to the man, I tak the to my maryit husband, baith of thame ending thir worddis be invocatioun of God, sayand: In the name of the father and the sonne, and the haly spreit.' 'This consent', the catechism proceeds, 'to carnal copulatioun, expremit be the wordis of the present tyme, is the cause of matrimony.' The exchange of these words between habile persons constituted a marriage, whether this was done in public or in private and whether or not followed by nuptal mass. The intervention of a priest was unnecessary. Marriage was indeed one of the sacraments, but it differed from the other sin that the parties to the marriage were themselves the ministers of the sacrament."

I have only pulled out the relevant paragraphs, but I hope this helps a little. Handfasting for centuries was simply one way people took on each other as man and wife. "Marriage" as we think of it was a legal transaction involving property exchange between families. Having a priest involved was a nice benefit, not a requirement. The oath spoken by the man and the woman to each other constituted the "sacrament" of their union and did not need either witnesses or the Church. Notice that a child of such a union was not a bastard child and had full heritable rights.

Martin Martin's Description of a Journey to the Western Isles in 1699 also contains a good account of how people handfasted (...). Handfasting became illegal by an act of Parliament in 1935. Roger would have known this of course, but considering that he was then living in the 1700's, I'm sure he reasoned it out :-)

Lady Debbie F.

 

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Requiem, the poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, that Claire quotes to Jamie

      As I came down from the crest of the hill, I saw him below, heaving boulders into place as he repaired a rift in a drystone dike that bordered one of the smaller fields. Near him on the ground lay a pair of rabbits, neatly gutted but not yet skinned.
      "'Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill,'" I quoted, smiling at him as I came up beside him.
      He grinned back, wiped the sweat from his brow, then pretended to shudder.
      "Dinna mention the sea to me, Sassenach. I saw two wee laddies sailing a bit of wood in the millpond this morning and nearly heaved up my breakfast at the sight."

Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon, Chapter 31, Mail Call. Copyright © 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.

 

I've been exploring the LOL site for a few days, and happily discovered the poem by Catallus and the Innisfree poem as well. I discovered another in my English Literature textbook, "Requiem" by Robert Louis Stevenson. I'm fairly sure the last two lines are in Dragonfly in Amber, although they could be in another book in the series. I'm positive that they're quoted by Claire (they have to be - RLS was 1850-1894) when Jamie and Claire are at Lallybroch. 

According to my Lit book, "Stevenson was inspired in writing his 'Requiem' by Fragment 149 of the ancient Greek poet, Sappho, of which his final two lines are a loose version." I did a bit of searching for Sappho, and apparently lesbians love her?!? She's one of a few women Classical poets which is kind of interesting.

Requiem

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Lady Cynthia

 

 

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The real Geillis Duncan

Anyone else interested in the real Geillis Duncan - check out this link, it says exactly who she was:

Newes from Scotland at the Glasgow University Library

She was a maidservant and had some kind of healing skills: "this Geillis Duncane took in hand to help all such as were troubled or greeued with any kinde of sicknes or infirmitie and in short space did perfourme manye matter most miraculous".

She was tortured until she confessed to being a witch and named some other names. This web page includes an image of the original text describing the torture used on Geillis. This was at the start of the North Berwick witch trials in 1590 when about 70 people were suspected of trying to kill King James VI by witchcraft.

Lady Elleon

 

 

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Damselfly in Amber

From the American Museum of Natural History:

damselall.gif (18808 bytes)Various species of predators, such as the damselfly, make up the many insects found in Dominican amber. Damselflies probably bred in the water that accumulated within bromeliads. Approximately two-and-a-half inches in length, they are the longest insects to be discovered in amber. They were unable to free themselves from the resin because their bodies were so frail.

[Click on the picture to see the large photo]

Lady Elleon

 

 

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Rose Hall

The recent posts about Geillis reminded me of an interesting story. Did you know that there really is a "Rose Hall" on Jamaica? The lady of the manor was known as the "white witch" and was an expert in Voodoo. (Sound familiar?) She was said to have bewitched her husband, who soon afterward died of a mysterious illness. "He became the first of her 3 husbands who had similar deaths."

"Legend tells of a slave uprising on the estate during which she was killed and the fields set on fire. In the ensuing years no one wanted to live in the house, it remained unoccupied and fell into ruins."

Of course, a lot of the details are different than the story of Mrs. Abernathy, but the similarities are downright eerie!

You can read about it and see the pictures at Rose Hall.

I think the plantation is now developed into a tourist resort!

Lady Judy G

 

 

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Gaberlunzie

From World Wide Words:

Weird Words: Gaberlunzie

A beggar.

A good Scots word this, of the medieval period, though sadly nobody has much idea where it comes from. The first part looks as though it might have something to do with 'gaberdine', originally a garment worn by a pilgrim. This may well be, because another name for a 'gaberlunzie' in medieval times was 'bluegown'. Taken from the colour of his dress, this was the name in medieval Scotland for a person who was a king's licensed beggar or beadsman, a person who was paid to pray for the souls of others by telling his beads.

You will find it many times in Scots literature, especially in the old ballad The Gaberlunzie Man and in James Ballantine's story The Gaberlunzie's Wallet. But if it's Scots we're after, we had best turn to Sir Walter Scott. He doesn't fail, and here it is in Redgauntlet: "Better say naething about the laird, my man, and tell me instead, what sort of a chap ye are that are sae ready to cleik in with an auld gaberlunzie fiddler?" ('Cleik', a version of 'cleek', from a noun meaning a hook, so to link oneself with somebody.) It's also in several other of Scott's books, so he probably must be given the credit of having popularised it to readers outside Scotland.

Lady Jay

 

 

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Le Comte Saint Germain

Three very interesting links, with lots of details about this mysterious character:

Alchemy texts archives - The Comte de St Germain manuscript

Comte Saint-Germain The Immortal German Alchemist.

Lady Carmen

 

 

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Portrait of Simon Lord Lovat, by William Hogarth

William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)
Simon Lord Lovat
Etching, 1746. Approx: 9 ins x 13 ins. Ref: Paulson 166.

While Hogarth was distributing Marriage A La-Mode to his subscribers, Prince Charles Edward, the young Jacobite pretender was raising his ill-fated rebellion in Scotland. A shaken English public watched with grim relish as the Highland chiefs were brought south in chains to London for trial and execution. This was the sort of show that appealed to Hogarth and he grabbed an opportunity to sketch the greatest rascal of them all, SIMON, Lord LOVAT.

Ten days later he issued a strikingly etched portrait that was to sell over ten thousand copies at one shilling a pop. A masterpiece of caricature, it shows the toad-like Lovat, a sly, devious and ingratiating smile creeping across his face, counting off the clans he claimed had supported the Stuart cause. Using widely spaced and deeply etched lines, Hogarth gave the print a boldness and a simplicity that dramatically intensified its emotional impact. He had tumbled on to a technique that was to serve him well with the popular prints to come: Beer Street and Gin Lane, the Four Stage of Cruelty and Industry and Idleness.

One of the bleachers erected to afford the good people of London a clear view of the beheading collapsed killing over 20 people. Such were the dangers of "polite" society.

From Haley & Steele.

Lady Carmen

 

 

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Lord Lovat

Beheaded for High Treason, at the age of Eighty, on 9th of April, 1747

LORD LOVAT, who in 1715 had been a supporter of the House of Hanover, in 1745 changed sides, and became a friend of the party which he had before opposed.

His career in life began in the year 1692, when he was appointed a captain in Lord Tullibardine's regiment, but he resigned his commission in order to prosecute his claim to be the Chief of the Frasers; in order to effect which he laid a scheme to get possession of the heiress of Lovat, who was about to be married to a son of Lord Salton. He raised a clan, who violently seized the young lord, and, erecting a gibbet, showed it to him and his father, threatening their in-stant deaths unless they relinquished the contract made for the heiress of Lovat. To this, fearing for their lives, they con-sented; but, still unable to get possession of the young lady, he seized the Dowager Lady Lovat in her own house, caused a priest to marry them against her consent, cut her stays open with his dirk, and, assisted by his ruffians, tore off her clothes, forced her into bed, to which he followed her, and then called his companions to witness the consumma-tion of the outrageous marriage. For this breach of the peace he was indicted, but fled from justice; but he was nevertheless tried for rape, and for treason, in opposing the laws with an armed force; and sentence of outlawry was pronounced against him. Having fled to France, he turned Papist, ingratiated himself with the Pretender, and was rewarded by him with a commission; but he was appre-hended on the remonstrance of the English ambassador in Paris, and lodged in the Bastille, where, having remained some years, he procured his liberty by taking priests' orders, under colour of which he became a Jesuit in the College of St Omer.

In the first rebellion of 1715 he returned to Scotland, and, joining the King's troops, assisted them in seizing Inverness from the rebels; for which service he got the title of Lovat, was appointed to command, and had other favours conferred upon him. In the rebellion of which we are now treating he turned sides and joined the Pretender, a step treacherous in the extreme. When taken, he was old, unwieldy and almost helpless; although in that condition he had been possessed of infinite resources to assist the rebellion. He petitioned the Duke of Cumberland for mercy; and, hoping to work upon his feelings, recapitu-lated his former services, the favours that he had received from the Duke's grandfather, King George I., and dwelt much upon his access to Court, saying he had carried him to whom he now sued for life in his arms and, when a baby, held him up while his grandsire fondled him.

On the 9th of March, 1747, however, he was taken from the Tower to Westminster Hall for trial, and, the evidence adduced clearly proving his guilt to be of no ordinary char-acter, he was convicted. He was next day brought up for judgment, and sentence of death was pronounced.

That this sentence was not ill deserved appears from a speech of Lord Belhaven, delivered in the last Parliament held in Edinburgh, in 1706, in which his lordship, speaking of this nobleman, then Captain Fraser, on occasion of the Scots plot, commonly called Fraser's plot, says that " he de-served, if practicable, to have been hanged five several times, in five different places, and upon five different accounts at least : as having been notoriously a traitor to the Court of St James's, a traitor to the Court of St Germain's, a traitor to the Court of Versailles and a traitor to his own country of Scotland; in being not only an avowed and restless enemy to the peace and quiet of its established government and constitution, both in Church and State, but likewise, a vile Proteus-like apostate and a seducer of others in point of religion, as the tide or wind changed; and, moreover, that (abstracted from all those, his multiplied acts of treason, abroad and at home) he deserved to be hanged as a con-demned criminal, outlaw and fugitive, for the barbarous, cruel and most flagitious rape he had, with the assistance of some of his vile and abominable band of ruffians, violently committed on the body of a right honourable and virtuous lady, the widow of the late Lord Lovat, and sister of his Grace the late Duke of Atholl. Nay, so hardened was Captain Fraser, that he audaciously erected a gallows, and threatened to hang thereon one of the said lady's brothers and some other gentlemen of quality who accompanied him in going to rescue him out of that criminal's cruel hand."

On the morning fixed for his execution, 9th of April, 1747, Lord Lovat, who was now in his eightieth year, and very large and unwieldy in his person, awoke at about three o'clock, and was heard to pray with great devotion. At five o'clock he arose, and asked for a glass of wine-and-water, and at eight o'clock he desired that his wig might be sent, that the barbe r might have time to comb it out genteelly, and he then provided himself with a purse to hold the money which he intended for the executioner. At about half-past nine o'clock he ate heartily of minced veal, and ordered that his friends might be provided with coffee and chocolate, and at eleven o'clock the sheriffs came to demand his body. He then requested his friends to retire while he said a short prayer; but he soon called them back, and said that he was ready.

When his lordship was going up the steps to the scaffold, assisted by two warders, he looked round, and, seeing so great a concourse of people, " God save us," says he, " why should there be such a bustle about taking off an old grey head, that cannot get up three steps without three bodies to support it ? "

Turning about, and observing one of his friends much dejected, he clapped him on the shoulder, saying: " Cheer up thy heart, man! I am not afraid; why should you be so? " As soon as he came upon the scaffold he asked for the executioner, and presented him with ten guineas in a purse, and then, desiring to see the axe, he felt the edge and said he " believed it would do." Soon after, he rose from the chair which was placed for him and looked at the inscription on his coffin, and on sitting down again he repeated from Horace:

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori "

and afterwards from Ovid:

"Nam genus et proavos, et qux non fecimus ipsi, Vix ea nostra voco."

He then desired all the people to stand off, except his two warders, who supported his lordship while he said a prayer; after which he called his solicitor and agent in Scotland, Mr W. Fraser, and, presenting his gold-headed cane, said, " I deliver you this cane in token of my sense of your faithful services, and of my committing to you all the power I have upon earth," and then embraced him. He also called for Mr James Fraser, and said: " My dear James, I am going to heaven ; but you must continue to crawl a little longer in this evil world." And, taking leave of both, he delivered his hat, wig and clothes to Mr William Fraser, desiring him to see that the executioner did not touch them. He ordered his cap to be put on, and, unloosing his neckcloth and the collar of his shirt, knelt down at the block, and pulled the cloth which was to receive his head close to him. But, being placed too near the block, the executioner desired him to remove a little farther back, which with the warders' assistance was immediately done; and, his neck being properly placed, he told the executioner he would say a short prayer and then give the signal by dropping his handkerchief. In this posture he remained about half-a-minute, and then, on throwing his handkerchief on the floor, the executioner at one blow cut off his head, which was received in the cloth, and, with his body was put into the coffin and carried in a hearse back to the Tower, where it was interred near the bodies of the other lords.

From The Complete Newgate Calendar

Lady Carmen

 

 

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