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The Scottish Nation
Boyd


BOYD, 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.

BOYD, ROBERT, 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:

      An 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:

      A 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.

      He 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.

BOYD, 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.

      He 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.

      His 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.”

      Mr. 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!

      Mr. 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.”

      He 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.

During his 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 are composed.

      As a 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 knife,]
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 smart
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 smother.
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.”

      Mr. Boyd’s printed works are:

      A Clear Exposition of the Institution of the Lord’s Supper.

      A Compend of the Bible.

     The 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.

      A Small Catechism on the Principles of Religion. 18mo.

      Two 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.

Two 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.

      The 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.

      The 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.

      The Song of Moses, in 6 parts, Edin., 1635; ascribed to Mr. Boyd, but published without his name.

      Four Letters of Comfortes for the Deaths of the Earl of Haddingtoune and the Lord Boyd, with two Epitaphs, Glasgow, 8vo, 1640.

      The 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.

      The 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.

      The 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.

      The Psalmes of David in Meeter, 3d edition, Glasgow, 1646, 12mo.

      Verses prefixed to Boyd on the Ephesians. London, 1652, folio.

      The 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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