a surname of very considerable antiquity in Scotland according to our
genealogical writers. The first recorded ancestor of the Boyds, earls of
Kilmarnock, was Simon, brother of Walter, the first high steward of
Scotland, and youngest son of Alan the son of Flathald (the fabulous Fleance
of Shakspere) who, following his brother into Scotland, witnessed his
foundation charter of the monastery of Paisley in 1160, and is therein
designated “frater Walteri filii Alani, dapiferi.” He is said to have been
the father of Robert, called Boyt or Boyd, from his fair complexion, the
Celtic word Boidh signifying fair or yellow. He died before the year
1240, and from him descended the various families of that name in Scotland.
But the account is
not without its improbabilities. It is most unlikely that there were any
Celtic people around the family of the high steward, in those days, of
importance or influence enough to bestow any appellative upon his nephew, it
being known, according to Lord Lindsay, that the Norman barons surrounded
themselves exclusively with their own families and dependents, and in the
case of the stewards this is proved by the De Nizes – ancestors of the
Dennistons – the Crocs or Croques – of the Crooks of Crookston and others,
who received grants of land from that family, and are named in the charters
and other papers relative to Paisley abbey still extant. Still less is it
likely that any appellative bestowed by a remote and conquered people would
have become hereditary amongst those haughty chiefs. The fondness of
Scottish genealogists for finding Celtic origins for Norman and Saxon names
proceeds from an error of the most rransparent character. Because Scotland
was at one time peopled by a Celtic race, they imagine that a large
proportion of that people must have been inhabiting the whole country at the
commencement of Scottish history. But is it evident that the region between
the Forth and Clyde on the north, and the Tweed and Solway on the south,
had, with the exception of Galloway, by the conquest of the Saxons, and
afterwards of the Danes and Norwegians, been for centuries previous to the
last Saxon conquest, as it is called, in the possession of other rades,
never amalgamating in any instance with the Celtic, whom they must therefore
have driven out or retained in a state of slavery. And in the Inquisition,
as it is styled, into the lands which anciently belonged to the bishopric of
Glasgow, made during the government of Count David, afterwards David the
First, king of Scotland, when that region was considered a province of
England – the most ancient and authentic historical document extant of
native origin – this important fact is distinctly brought out. In the names
of witnesses cited in that ddocument, moreover, consisting as they do of
Judges of Cumbria, or Lothian, and other natives, as in all the grants and
writings of that prince connected with that district, there is not a Celtic
name to be found, all being either Saxon or Norman, along with one or two
Danish or Norwegian names, although this occurred at a period anterior
to the settlement of Alan, the founder of the Stewards, in that country.
It is to be noted still further that amongst the Saxon names of witnesses
occurs that of Boed or Boyd, as a person of some consequence at that time.
It may therefore be less improbably to suppose that the name is derived from
a descendant of this individual, and who may afterwards have become
connected by marriage with the family of the Steward.
The lands of
Kilmarnock, Bondlington, and Hertschaw, which belonged to John de Baliol,
and other lands in Ayrshire, were granted by Robert the Bruce to his gallant
adherent, Sir Robert Boyd, the ancestor of the earls of Kilmarnock. See
KILMARNOCK, earls of.
The Boyds of
Pinkhill, and of Trochrig, were descended from Adam Boyd, third son of
Alexander, the second son of Robert lord Boyd, the famous chamberlain of
Scotland in the minority of James the Third.
BOYD, MARK ALEXANDER,
an extraordinary genius, and eminent scholar of the sixteenth century, was
the son of Robert Boyd, eldest son of Adam Boyd of Pinkhill, in Ayrshire,
brother to Lord Boyd. He was born in Galloway, January 13, 1562; and it is
recorded of him that two of his teeth were fully formed at his birth. Having
lost his father early, he was educated, under the superintendence of his
uncle, James Boyd of Trochrig, titular archbishop of Glasgow, at the
university of that city, where he was equally conspicuous for the quickness
of his parts, and the turbulence of his disposition. At that period the
principal of Glasgow college was the celebrated Andrew Melville, who
sustained the discipline of the university with great vigour and address. In
Dr. Irving’s Memoir of Melville, ‘Lives of Scottish Writers,’ it is stated
that “some of the students connected with powerful families were guilty of
most flagrant insubordination and collected mixed multitude to overawe the
principal and the rector. Two of those delinquents were Mark Alexander Boyd,
related to the noble family of that name, and Alexander Cunningham, related
to the earl of Glencairn, who both proceeded to acts of outrageous violence,
and being supported by many other disorderly youths, as well as by many
adherents of their respective families, were at first disposed to set all
academical authority at open defiance. Cunningham, who had assaultee J.
Melville with a drawn sword, was finally reduced to the necessity of making
a public and humiliating apology, with his feet as well as his head
uncovered. John Maxwell, a son of Lord Herries, had likewise been implicated
in some very disorderly proceedings; but when his father was informed of his
conduct, he hastene to Glasgow, and compelled him on his knees, and in an
open area of the college, to beg the principal’s pardon.” We know not what
was Boyd’s punishment, but, impetuous and headstrong, it is not likely that
he would submit to ask forgiveness. We are told that he was of so
untractable a spirit that he quarrelled with his preceptors, beat them both,
threw his books into the fire, and forswore learning for ever! While yet a
mere youth, he presented himself at court, in hopes of obtaining advancement
there, but the violence of his temper involved him in numberless quarrels,
and after fighting a duel, his friends persuaded him to go abroad, and
follow the profession of arms. He accordeingly proceeded in 1581 to paris,
where he lost all his money in gaming, which seems to have roused him at
last to reflection. He now applied himself to his studies with all his
characteristic ardour; attending the lectures of several professors in the
university of Paris. After some time he went to the university of Orleans to
learn the civil law, under J. Robertus, chiefly known for his temerity in
becoming the rival of the celebrated Cujacius. Boyd soon quitted Orleans for
Bourges, where Cujacius, the principal civilian of the age, delivered his
lectures. To this professor he recommended himself by writing some verses in
the antiquated Latin language, cujacius having a preference for Ennius and
the elder Latin poets. The plague having broken out at Bourges, he fled
first to Lyons, and afterwards to Italy, where he contracted a friendship
with a person whom he names Cornelius Varus, who, finding that Boyd prided
himself on the excellence of his Latin poetry, addressed some verses to him,
in which he declares that he excelled Buchanan and all other British poets
in a greater degree than Virgil surpassed Lucretius, Catullus, and all other
Roman poets. Having been seized with an ague, he returned to Lyons for
change of air, about the year 1585. In 1587 he served in the French army
against the German and Swiss mercenaries who had invaded France in support
of the king of Navarre; and during the campaign he was wounded by a shot in
the ankle. In 1588 he went to reside at Toulouse, and again applied himself
to the study of the civil law, under Roaldes, an eminent professor. About
this period he seems to have written several tracts on the science of
jurisprudence, and he even had it in view to compose a system of the law of
nations. A popular insurrection having taken place at Toulouse, in which the
first President Duranty, the Advocate-General Dafis, and several other
persons, were murdered, Boyd was thrown into prison, and, from the hatred of
the Jesuits, was in great danger of his life. He obtained his liberty,
however, by the intercession of some learned men of Toulouse, and went first
to Bourdeaux, and thence to Rochelle. On the journey to the latter place, he
was attacked by robbers, when he lost all the property he had with him. He
afterwards, in consequence of the climate of Rochelle disagreeing with him,
fixed his residence in Fontenay in Poictou, where he devoted much of his
time to study, occasionally resuming the avocation of a soldier. About the
year 1591 he seems to have had an intention of reading lectures on the civil
law; and the heads of his prelections on the Institutes of Justinian are
still preserved among his other papers in the Advocates’ Library. In 1592 a
collection of his poems and epistles were printed at Antwerp in 12mo, which
he dedicated to James the Sixth, whom he represented as superior to Pallas
in wisdom, and to Mars in arms! The dedication had been originally intended
for another person who had really distinguished himself in war, but the name
was afterwards altered, and that of the king substituted in its place, while
the dedication itself was allowed to remain as originally writen. Boyd’s own
vanity was very great, and it is said that he assumed the name of Alexander
from its being more pompous than his own name of Mark.
In 1595, while
preparing to return to Scotland, he received intelligence of the death of
his elder brother William, for whom he entertained a sincere regard. On his
return home, after a lapse of fourteen years, he undertook to accompany the
earl of Cassillis in a tour to the continent, as his travelling preceptor,
and having completed that engagement, he finally revisited his native
country, where he died at his father’s seat in Aryshire, of a slow fever,
April 10, 1601, in the fortieth year of his age. A sketch of his life,
written by Lord Hailes, was published in 1783, with a portrait. Boyd is said
to have been able to dictate at once, in three different languages, to three
amanuenses. He was the author of Notes upon Pliny, and published an
excellent little book, addressed to Lipsius, in defence of Cardinal Bembo,
and the ancient eloquence. He translated Caesar’s Commentaries into Greek,
in the style of Herodotus. He also wrote in Latin, epistles after the manner
of Ovid, and a work called ‘Mymni,’ which is not hymns, as might be
supposed, but a description of different plants and shrubs. He left many
Latin poems, which have not been printed, and several manuscripts on
phological, political, and historical subjects, in Latin and French, in
which he also cultivated poetry. These manuscripts, an exact list of which
is given by Lord Hailes, in his life of Boyd are preserved in the Advocates’
Library. His ‘Epistolae Heroidum,’ and his ‘Hymni,’ were inserted in the
‘Deliciae Poetarum Scotorum,’ printed at Amsterdam, in two volumes, 12mo. in
1637. – Life by Lord Hailes.
of Trochrig, an eminent divine, was born at Glasgow in 1578. He was the son
of James boyd, titular archbishop of Glasgow, and the cousin of the subject
of the preceding notice. His mother was Margaret, daughter of James Chalmers
of Gaitgirth, chief of the name of Chalmers. After receiving the rudiments
of his education at a grammar school in Ayrshire, he went to the university
of Edinburgh, where he took the degree of master of arts; studying
philosophhy under Mr. Charles Ferme, [See FERME or FAIRHOLD, Charles,] one
of the regents, as the professors were then called, and theology under the
celebrated Robert Rollock. In 1604, according to the custom of the times, he
went to France, where he made great proficienty in learning, particularly in
Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. On the invitation of the university of Montauban,
he became professor of philosophy there; he also studied divinity, and was
ordained a minister of the French Reformed Church at Verteuil. In 1606, he
was transferred to a professorship at Saumur, where he remained till 1614,
officiating also as pastor in the church, and where he married a lady of the
famioy of Mailvern.
The fame of his
learning having attracdted the notice of his sovereign, James the First of
England, his majesty sent for him, and appointed him professor of divinity
and principal of the university of Glasgow. He enteered on his new duties in
1615, and in 1617, when King James visited Glasgow, Boyd, as principal of
the college, delivered a congratulatory speech, which, as usual in that age,
was highly encomiastic. As principal, he was required to teach alternately
theology one day, and Syriac the next; also to preach on Sunday in the
parish church of govan, near Glasgow, the temporalities of the rectory and
vicarage of which had been annexed, with the condition of preaching, to the
principal’s chair. Although he had thus apparently not much time to prepare
his lectures, which were delivered in Latin, as customary at that period, he
“uttered them,” says Wodrow, “in a continued discourse, without any
hesitation, and with as much ease and freedom of speech, as the most
eloquent divine is wont to deliver his sermons in his mother-tongue.”
Principal Baillie, who studied under Mr. Boyd, mentions that, at a distance
of thirty years, the tears, the solemn vows, and the ardour of the desires
produced by his Latin prayers, were still fresh in his memory.
The attempt of the king
to assimilate the presbyterian to the episcopalian form of church government
placed Principal Boyd in a very embarrassed position. Although the son of an
archbishop, and connected with episcopalian families, he was strongly
attached to the presbyterian church; and finding that he could not
consistently with his principles retain his situation, having refused to
comply with the five Perth articles, he resigned the principalship, after
having held it for seven years, and retired to his estate of Trochrig in
Carrick, Ayrshire. He was not, however, allowed to remain long in
retirement. In October 1622, he was electerd principal of the university of
Edinburgh, but his sentiments on the subject of episcopacy being well known,
his arrival in Edinburgh was the signal for persecution to assail him on the
part of the court. Scarcely two months after his election as principal,
“upon the 23d of December 1622,” says Calderwood, “the provost, baillies,
and counsel of Edinburgh, were challenged by a letter frm the king, for
admitting Mr. Robert Boyde to be principal of their college; and commandit
them to urge him to conforme, or to remove him. They sent to court to the
courteour who sent the challenge in the king’s name, and desired him to
intreate the king not to take in ill part Mr. Robert’s admission, in respect
of his gifts and peaceable disposition.” [Calderwood’s History, vol.
vii. p. 566.] “Upon the last of January, the provost, baillies, and counsel
of Edinburgh were commandit of new again to urge Mr. Robert Boyd with
conformitie; and if he refused, to remove him, his wife, and familie, out of
the toun. The king’s words, answeiring to their former letter of
recommendation, were these following: ‘On the contrarie, we thinke his
biding there will doe much evill, and, therefore, as ye will answeir to us
on your obedience, we command you to put him, not onlie from his office, but
out of your toun, at the sight heireof, unlesse he conform totallie. And
when ye have done, thinke not this sufficient to satisfy our wrathe for
disobedience to our former letter.’ Mr. Robert was sent for to the counsel.
The king’s will was intimate to him, which the counsel said they wolde not
withstand. Mr. Robert quitt his place, and tooke his leave.” He again
retired to his estate and was ordered to confine himself within the bounds
of Carrick. He was subsequently minister of Paisley, but soon left it, in
consequence of a disagreement with the countess of Abercorn, who had become
a Roman Catholic. He died at Edinburgh, whither he had gone for medical
advice, or, as others say, at Trochrig, January 5, 1627, aged forty-eight.
From an original portrait of Principal Boyd in the university of Glasgow, an
engraving was published by Pinkerton, of which the following is a woodcut:
interesting life of Robert Boyd of Trochrig, from the original manuscript in
the Wodrow collections in the Glasgow university library, was printed for
the use of the members of the Maitland Club of that city. His works are:
Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, written in elegant Latin, and
published under the title of “Roberti Bodii Scoti, Praelectiones in
Epistolam ad Ephesios.” London, 1562, folio; a work which shows him to have
been well acquainted with the whole body of divinity. Prefixed is a Memoir
of the Author, by Dr. Rivet, the errors in which Wodrow has corrected.
Monita de Filii sui primo geniti Institutione, 8vo, published in 1701, from
the author’s manuscripts, by Dr. Robert Sibbald.
also wrote some Latin poems. Of these the ‘Hecatombe ad Christum,’ dedicated
to his cousin Andrew Boyd, bishop of Argyle, and an ode to Dr. Sibbald, are
preserved in the ‘Deliciae Poetarum Scotorum,’ and in the ‘Poetarum Scotorum
Musae Sacrae.’ A laudatory poem on King James by him will be found in
Adamson’s ‘Muses Welcome.’ Extracts from his ‘Philotheca,’ a king of
obituary which, with sermons in English and French, had remained in
manuscript in possession of the family of Trochrig, have been printed in the
second part of the Miscellany of the Bannatyle Club.
ZACHARY, an eminent
divine of the seventeenth century, was born before 1590. He was descended
from the Boyds of Pinkhill in Ayrshire, and was cousin of Mr. Andrew Boyd,
bishop of Argyle, and of the subject of the preceding article. After being
taught the rudiments of his education at the school of kilmarnick, he
entered upon his studies at the university of Glasgow. About 1607 he went to
France, and became a student at the university of Saumur under his cousin
Robert Boyd of Trochrig. In 1611 he was appointed a regent in that
university, and is said to have declined the principalship, which was
offered to him.
spent sixteen years in France, during four of which he was a preacher of the
gospel. In 1621 the persecutions to which the protestants in that country
were subjected compelled him to return to Scotland. He resided at first
privately at Edinburgh, with Dr. Sibbald the physician, and afterwards he
lived successively with Sir William Scott of Elie, and the marquis and
marchioness of Hamilton at Kinniel. In 1623 he was appointed minister of the
Barony parish, Glasgow, where he continued till his death. In 1629 he
published his principal prose work, entitled ‘the Last Battell of the
Soule,’ dedicated to “the most sacred and most mightie monarch,” Charles the
First, in a prose address, and also in a poetical one. These were followed
by a dedication in French to Queen Henrietta.
poetical address, ‘Ad Carolum Regem,’ is short, and may be quoted here: –
“This life, O Prince, is like a raging sea,
Where froathy mounts are heaved up on hie;
Our painted joys in blinks that are full warme,
Are, like raine-bowes, forerunners of a storme;
All flesh with griefe is prickt within, without,
Crownes carie cares, and compasse them about.
Your state is great, your place is high: What then?
God calls you gods, but ye shall die like men.”
Boyd’s feelings of loyalty and devotion to his sovereign were very strong.
In 1633, when Charles the First came to Scotland to be crowned, he happened
to meet his majesty the day after the coronation in the porch of Holyrood
Palace, when he addressed the king in a Latin oration full of the most loyal
and laudatory sentiments. In 1634 he was elected rector of the university of
Glasgow; also in 1635, and again in 1645. When the attempt to impose
episcopacy upon Scotland, and the violent and arbitrary proceedings of the
government, led to the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant, Mr. Boyd
and the other members of Glasgow college at first refused to subscribe it,
deeming it preferable to yield something to the wishes of the sovereign. He
afterwards found it expedient, with most of his colleagues, to sign the
national document, to which he faithfully adhered; although he did not, like
some of his brother-divines, engage actively in the subsequent military
transactions. The fight at Newburnford, August 28, 1640, by which the
Scottish army gained possession of Newcastle, was commemorated by him in a
poem of sixteen 8vo pages; but the versification of this piece is very
homely, and in some parts it approaches even the burlesque. In 1643 he
published his ‘Crosses, Comforts, and Councels, needfull to be considered,
and carefullie to be laid up in the hearts of the Godlie, in these
boysterous broiles, and bloody times.’
After the defeat of the Scottish forces at Dunbar, in September 1650,
Cromwell visited Glasgow. Mr. Boyd had the courage to remain, when the
magistrates and other persons of influence had left the city; and, in
preaching before the protector, he bearded him and his soldiers to their
very faces. “Cromwell, says Baillie, “with the whole body of his army, comes
peaceably to Glasgow. The magistrates and ministers all fled away; I got to
the isle of Cumray with my Lady Montgomery, but left all my family and goods
to Cromwell’s courtesy, which indeed was great, for he took such measures
with the soldiers that they did less displeasure at Glasgow than if they had
been at London, though Mr. Zachary Boyd railed on them all to their very
face in the High Church.” His allusions and reproaches were so bitter, that
one of Cromwell’s officers, said to be Thurloe his secretary, is reported to
have asked the protector, in a whisper, for permission “to pistol the
scoundrel.” – “No, No,” said Cromwell, “we will manage him in another way.”
He invited Mr. Boyd to dinner, and gained his respect by the fervour of the
devotions in which he spent the evening, and, which, it is said, continued
till three o’clock next morning!
Boyd died about the end of 1653, or the beginning of 1654, and was succeeded
by Mr. Donald Cargill. shortly before his death he completed an extensive
manuscript work, bearing the title of ‘The Notable Places of the Scripture
expounded,’ at the conclusion of which is added “Heere the author was neere
his end, and was able to do no more, March 3, 1653.”
was twice married. His first wife was names Elizabeth Fleming, and his
second Margaret Mure, the third daughter of William Mure of Gladerston,
Renfrewshire, who, surviving him, took for her second husband Mr. James
Durham, author of the Commentary on the Revelation. A traditional anecdote
says that when he was making his will, his wife requested him to leave
something to Mr. Durham. “No, no, Margaret,” was his reply, “I’ll lea’ him
maething but thy bonnie sel’.” Another version runs in tyhis sarcastic
strain, “I’ll lea’ him what I cannot keep frae him.” Mr. Boyd had amassed a
considerable amount of property, which he divided, by his will, between his
widow and the college of Glasgow. The sum he bequeathed to the college
amounted to twenty thousand pounds Scots, equal to about sixteen hundred
pounds sterling, no small sum in those days. The college also got his
library and manuscript compositions. His bust, with an inscription,
commemorative of these donations, ornaments the gateway of the university,
and the divinity hall of the college contains his portrait, an engraving of
which is given in Pinkerton’s collection. Attached is a woodcut of it.
life he published nineteen works, cdhiefly of a religious cast, but none of
them very large. A list of them is subjoined. His manuscript productions,
eighty-three in number, are principally comprised within thirteen small 4to
volumes, written in a very close hand, and appear to have been prepared for
the press. Besides these there are three others in manuscript, entitled
‘Zion’s Flowers, or Christian Poems for Spiritual Edification,’ 2 vols. 4to.
‘The English Academic containing Precepts and Purpose for the Wesl both of
Soul and Body, divided into Thirtie and one dayes exercise,’ 12mo.; and ‘The
Four Evengels in English verse,’ 12mo. These are all deposited in the
library of the College of Glasgow. Mr. Neil, in his life of Boyd, prefixed
to a new edition of his ‘Last Battell of the Soule,’ published at Glasgow in
1831, says: – “Mr. Boyd appears to have been a scholar of very considerable
learning. He composed in Latin, and his qualifications in that language may
be deemed respectable. His works also bear the evidence of his having been
possessed of a critical knowledge of the Greek, Hebrew, and other languages.
As a prose writer, he will bear comparison with any of the Scottish divines
of the same age. He is superior to Rutherford, and, in general, more
grammatically correct than even Baillie himself, who was justly esteemed a
very learned man. His style may be considered excellent for the period. Of
his characteristics as a writer, his originality of thought is particularly
strikingl. He discusses many of his subjects with spirit and ingenuity, and
there is much which must be acknowledged as flowing from a vigorous
intellect, and a fervid and poetical imagination. This latter tendency of
his genius is at all times awake, and from which may be inferred his taste
for metaphor, and love of colouring, so conspicuous in his writings. One of
his most popular attempts to render himself serviceable to his country was
in preparing a poetical version of the Book of Psalms for the use of the
church. It had been previous to 1646 that he engaged in this, as the
Assembly of 1647, when appointing a Committee to examine Rous’s version,
which had been transmitted to them by the Assembly at Westminster,
recommended them to avail themselves of the Psalter of Rowallan, and of Mr.
Zachary Boyd, and of any other poetical writers.’ It is further particularly
recommended to Mr. Zathary Boyd ‘to translate the other Scriptural Songs in
metre, and to report his travails therein to the Commission of that
Assembly, that after examination thereof they may send the same to the
presbyteries, to be there considered until the next General Assembly.’ Mr.
Boyd complied with this request, as the Assembly, August 120, 1648,
‘recommends to Mr. John Adamson and Mr. Thomas Crawfurd to revise the
labours of Mr. Zachary Boyd upon the other Scripture Songs, and to prepare a
report thereof to the said Commission for publick affairs;’ who, it is
probable, had never given in any ‘report of their labours.’ Of his version,
Baillie had not entertained a high opinion as he says, ‘our good friend, Mr.
Zachary Boyd, has put himself to a great deal of pains and charges to make a
Psalter, but I ever warned him his hopes were groundless to get it received
in our churches, yet the flatteries of his unadvised neighbours made him
insist in his fruitless design.’ There seems to have been a party who did
not undervalue Mr. Boyd’s labours quite so much as Baillie, and who, if
possible, were determined to carry their point, as, according to Baillie’s
statement, ‘The Plams were often revised, and sent to presbyteries,’ and,
‘had it not been for some who had more regard than needed to Mr. Zachary
Boyd’s Psalter, I think they (that is, Rous’s verson) had passed through in
the end of last Assembly; but these, with almost all the references from the
former Assemblies, were remitted to the next.’ On 23d November 1649, Rous’s
version, revised and improved, was sanctioned by the Commission with
authority of the General Assembly, and any other discharged from being used
in the churches, or in families. Mr. Boyd was thus deprived of the honour to
which he aspired with some degree of zeal, and it must have been to himself
and friends a source of considerable disappointment. Among other works, he
produced two volumes, under the title of ‘Zion’s Flowers, or Christian Poems
for Spirituall Edification,’ and it is these which are usually shown as his
Bible, and have received that designation. These volumes consist of a
collection of poems on select subjects in Scripture history, such as that of
Josiah, Jephtha, David and Goliath, &c., rendered into the dramatic form, in
which various ‘speakers’ are introduced, and where the prominent facts of
the Scripture narrative are brought forward and amplified. We have a pretty
close parallel to these poems in the ‘Ancient Mysteries’ of the thirteenth
and fourteenth centuries, and in the sacred dramas of some modern writers.”
In this work there are some homely and even ludicrous passages, but a fine
strain of devotional feeling pervades the poetry of which the two volumes
specimen, a portion of Abraham’s Soliloquy when about to offer up Isaac as a
sacrifice, may be quoted:
“That hill’s the place where, with this bloody
I must bereave mine Isaac of his life;
That hill’s the place, where fire of flaming hot
Shall Isaac burn, when I have cut his throat;
That hill’s the place, appointed by and by,
Where slaughter’d Isaac shall in ashes lye;
That hill’s the place, where as a sacrifice
Mine Isaac shall be torne, a bloody guise;
That hill’s the place, where I anone must spill
Mine Isaac’s blood, and mae it drowne to trill;
That hill’s the place, whence fearefull grief and
Shall rent in pieces my poor Sarah’s heart;
That hill’s the place, whence to the whirling pole,
Shall now depart of mine Isaac the soule;
That hill’s the place, where Isaac by and by,
Burnt in a fire shall all in ashes lye.
But all those thoughts not move or trouble mee,
I mind my Lord t’obey most chearfullie;
And to doe more if he command me farther,
Hee steeles my faith soe that I doe not stagger.
All one hand mercy, and might at the other,
Doe hinder doubts, which here my faith might
A God of mercy hee hath beene to mee,
Him to Obey I will still ready bee.
* * * * *
To mee it is, as a most glorious treasure,
To doe for God what is to him a pleasure.
If for his sake wee chearfull beare a crosse,
He by his grace can soone make up our losse.
I of his might or mercy doe not neede
To doubt, hee can him raise up from the dead.
My faith which I as breast place now put on,
Is perell proof against affliction.
God in this sea, a pilot wise, can steere,
My tossed pinnace, to her wished peere;
At his command I’le doe as hee hath said,
With Isaac’s blood I will now glut my blade;
His flesh and bones I’le on the altar burne,
When that is done I’le to my house returne.”
Jonah’s soliloquy within the whal’s belly is more graphic, and though some
of the images may appear ludicrous, the piece is marked by a strong
religious spirit which goes far to redeem it.
“I did rebell; heere is my day of doome,
Feasts dainty seeme untill the reck’ning come
Alas! Too late it now repenteth mee
That I refused to go to Nineve.
* * * * *
Here apprehended I in prison ly;
What goods will ransom my captivity?
What house is this, where’s neither coal nor candle,
Where I nothing but gutsd of fishes handle?
I and my table are both here within,
Where day neere dawned, where sunne did never shine,
The like of this on earth man never saw,
A living man within a monster’s maw.
Buried under mountains which are high and steep,
Plung’d under waters hundreth fathoms deep.
Not so was Noah in his house of tree,
For through a window he the light did see;
He sailed above the highest waves – a wonder;
I and my boat are all the waters under;
Hee in his ark might goe and also come,
But I sit still in such a straitened roome
As is most uncouthe, head and feet together,
Among such grease as would a thousand smother.
I find no way now for my shrinking hence,
But heere to lie and die for mine offence.
Eight prisoners were in Noah’s hulk together
Comfortable they were, each one to other.
In all the earth like unto me is none,
Far from all living, I heere lye alone.
* * * * *
This grieves me most, that I for grievous sin,
Incarc’rd ly within this floating In;
Within this cave my heart with griefe is gall’d,
Lord heare the sighes from my heart’s centre hal’d;
Thou know’st how long I have been in this womb,
A living man, within a living tomb.
Oh! What a lodging! Wilt thou in these vaults,
As in a Hell most dark correct my faults;
I neither kno when day doth shine, or night
Comes for my rest, I’m so depriv’d of sight,
though that the judgment’s uncouth sure, I share,
I of God’s goodnesse never will despaire.”
Boyd’s printed works are:
Clear Exposition of the Institution of the Lord’s Supper.
Compend of the Bible.
Water of the Well of Life, John 6, v. 35.
These three works are mentioned by the author in his MSS. as published, the
latter printed at Glasgow, May 1650.
Small Catechism on the Principles of Religion. 18mo.
Sermons for the use of those who are to come to the table of the Lord, with
diverse prayers, fit for the necessities of the Saincts at divers occasions.
Edin. 1629, 8vo.
Orientall Pearles – Grace and Glory, the Godly man’s choice, and a cordiall
of comforts, for a wearied Soule. Edin. 1629, 8vo. Reprinted at Edin. 1718.
Dedicated to James, Marquis of Hamilton, &c.
Last Battell of the Soule in Death. Diuided into Eight Conferences, whereby
are shrewne the diuerse skirmishes that are betweene the Soule of Man on his
Deathbedde, and the enemies of our saluation. Carefullie digested for the
comfort of the Sicke. ‘I live to die that I may die to live.’ 2 vols. 8vo.
Edin., 1629. New edition, edited by Gabriel Neil, with a biographical sketch
of the author, and some account of his manuscript works, and portrait, 2
vols, in one. Glasgow, 1831, 8vo.
Oratio Panegyrica, Ad Carolvm Magnae Britanniae, Franciae, et Hibern. Regem
Divinae veritatis propugnatorem, habita a Zacharia Bodio, Glasguensis
Ecclesiae Pastore, hora secunda pomeridiana in Regia porticu Caenobii
sanctae crucis, 17 die Junii, 1633, pridie illus diei quo sacrum Regis
caput cinxit aureum Scotiae Diadema. – Regis ipsins jussu praedo commissa,
4to, Edin., 1633.
Balm of Gilead prepared for the Sicke. The whole is divided into 3 parts: 1.
The Sicke man’s sore; 2. The Sicke man’s salve; 3. The Sicke man’s song.
Edin, 1633, 8vo.
Song of Moses, in 6 parts, Edin., 1635; ascribed to Mr. Boyd, but published
without his name.
Letters of Comfortes for the Deaths of the Earl of Haddingtoune and the Lord
Boyd, with two Epitaphs, Glasgow, 8vo, 1640.
Battell of Newborne, where the Scots armie obtained a notable victorie
against the English Papists, Prelats, and Arminians; the 28 day of August
1640. Second Edition. Glasgow, 1643, 8vo.
Crosses, Comforts, and Counsels, needful to be considered, and carefully to
be laid up, in the hearts of the godly, in these boysterous broiles and
bloody times, Glasgow, 1643, 8vo.
Garden of Zion, wherein the Life and Death of godly and wicked men in the
Scriptures are to be seene, from Adam unto the last of the Kings of Judah
and Israel, with the good uses of their life and death. Glasgow, 1644, 8vo.
Second volume, containing the Brookes of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and
the Song of Songs, all in English verse, Glasgow, 1644, 8vo.
Holie Songs of the Old and New Testament, dedicated to the Royall Lady Mary,
his Majestie’s eldest daughter, Princess of Orange, Glasgow, 1645, 8vo.
Psalmes of David in Meeter, 3d edition, Glasgow, 1646, 12mo.
Verses prefixed to Boyd on the Ephesians. London, 1652, folio.
Life or Robert Boyd (mentioned by Wodrow).
Excerpts from the Flowers of Zion, printed in Neil’s edition of “The Last
Battell of the Soule in Death.”
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