Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

History of the Town and Castle of Dumbarton
Part II. Ancient History of Dumbarton

CASTLE OF DUNSTAFFNAGE.—The castle of Dunstaffnage, which was the royal residence of the ancient Scottish kings and princes, is beautifully situated near the entrance of Loch Etive, in Lorn, Argyllshire; it now consists of a ruined octagonal structure of about four hundred and fifty feet in circumference, and from thirty to forty in height. The Western Isles were, at an early period, and for a considerable time, subjected to Norwegian influence. The island of Kerrara, in front of Oban, is very memorable, as being the sacred spot on which, in the year 1249, Alexander the Second drew his latest breath. He was killed in an expedition, which sailed from ,Dumbarton, undertaken by his Majesty for the purpose of subduing the-Western Isles. The sanguinary locality is still known by the appellation of "the King's Field." An indubitable evidence of Dunstaffnage having been amongst the earliest palaces of the Scottish kings, is obtained in the famed traditionary history of the "Royal Stone of Dunstaffnage," and sometimes called the "Stone of Scone," on which, by ancient usage, it was customary for the kings and queens of Scotland to be crowned. The history of this famed palladium of the Scottish monarchy, whether true or fabulous, is by no means destitute of interest and singularity, the more especially as the famed stone is said to exist in the present day, and must therefore have been used as a coronation seat for at least more than thirteen centuries. It is, indeed, related in the ancient chronicles, that the "Stone of Dunstaffnage" was originally brought from the East, having formed the pillow of the ancient patriarch Jacob, when he lay down to sleep on the sacred plains of Luz or Bethel, an event recorded by King Edward on a tablet which accompanied this trophy, when he carried it away from Scotland. It is a historical fact, that our youthful Queen Victoria, after being splendidly and gorgeously attired, was seated on this sacred stone at the period of her eventful coronation, on the 28th of June, 1838.

EARLS OF LENNOX—Alewin, the first Earl of Lennox, died early in the reign of William the Lion; Donald, the second Earl, died in the same reign; Baldwin, the fourth Earl, died in the thirteenth century; Malcolm, the fifth Earl of Lennox, was one of Bruce's noble associates in assisting to restore the liberties of Scotland—he was killed at the battle of Halidon, in the year 1333; Duncan was sixth Earl of Lennox; Matthew, seventh Earl of Lennox, died in the commencement of the sixteenth century; Ludovick, the eighth Earl, died in the year 1596. Maldowen, the third Earl of Lennox, in 1225, granted to the monastery of Paisley the right of fishing in the river Leven, with liberty to dry their nets on the grassy banks of the stream. (See Chartulary of Paisley.) He also granted to the same monastery the right of having a yare for catching fish in the river Leven; and that no other yare should be established in the river between that of the monk's and Loch Leven or Lochlomond; but he and his heirs, in all time coming, laimed a title and right to the one-half of the fish caught in his yare. Lochlomond was, at a very remote period, called Loch Leven, which may be learned from the Chartularies of Lennox and Paisley. The lake or loch and the river derived their names from the Welsh appellation "Lieven," signifying smooth, a quality for which they are very much distinguished. Tradition, however, says that the name of the Leven is derived from a very remote and melancholy circumstance, which occurred at an early period, and related as follows:—A wealthy nobleman, who resided on its banks, had a family of eleven beautiful daughters; eight of the younger ones were enjoying themselves in taking relaxation and pastime on one of the fine green fields which skirt its rapid current. By accident one of the beautiful group slid from the bank into the passing stream; the unwary maidens, one by one, flew to their sister's rescue, and they shared the same fate. The painful tidings flew like lightning to the paternal mansion: the remaining three eldest daughters, hastening down, beheld the last of their dear sisters still struggling with the rapid current: they also were intent on rendering aid to their perishing sister, but alas! one after an- other, they all shared the same melancholy doom! Thus were eleven lovely members of a beloved family snatched suddenly away from the embrace of fond parents, finding a premature and watery grave, while the paternal roof was left almost desolate, except the baby heir, who hung on the maternal bosom. Hence the name—the River of the Eleven, or the River Leven. The Leven, issuing from such an immense reservoir as Lochlomond, is very smooth and equable in its flow down its delightful channel: it is very seldom subject. to those sudden swells which often convert other streams into rapid torrents. Tobias Smollets, whose birth-place stood among the green fields of Leven—and whose chaste monument, a Tuscan or Doris pillar, about sixty feet high, adorns its banks at the village of Renton—with classic pen, extols, in delightful poetic strains, this his native stream for its charming links, unruffled by mountain torrents, and uninterrupted by rocks, in a beautiful descriptive ode, found in another part of this volume. The meandering and fertilising stream of the Leven, from its parent lake, rolls silently and majestically down the enchanting vale, driving machinery to industrious thousands, passing our ancient Burgh on the south, and commingling its limpid waters with the Clyde at the castle, being a distance of about six miles.

Dalquhurn, on the banks of the transparent Leven, two miles above the Burgh, was the birth-place of the celebrated Dr. Tobias Smollett, near which he penned the classical lines to that lovely river above alluded to. The learned and erudite author and historian, having received the first rudiments of his youthful education and training in the Dumbarton seminary, under "the auld kirk steeple," ever afterwards entertained a lively and warm interest in the antiquities and other important matters connected with our ancient burgh. He wrote a letter from Chelsea to a friend, above ninety years ago, as to the site of ancient Aicluith and its surrounding antiquities, of which the following is a copy:-

Chelsea, 9th March, 1756.

DEAR Sir,—Your very kind letter afforded me real pleasure, because it breathes genuine friendship and sincerity. Such language of the heart I prefer to all frippery of elocution—to all the bribes of ostentation. * * * * ' * By the bye, I find Dumbarton was once the capital of the kingdom of Arecluyd, inhabited by Britons or Curnbrians, whence its name of Dunbritton; that this kingdom extended westerly to the extremity of Cunningham, or to the Cumbrae islands in the mouth of the Clyde; that it was bounded by the Forth on one side, and the Irish Channel on the other. The greatest part of Dumbarton has been destroyed by an inundation. I myself, when a boy, have felt the stones of the pavement under water, between what is called the "College" and the "Town's End." I think I remember to have seen the ruins of old stone houses on the other side of the "Sands;" and on your ground, at the "Stony Flatt," there are many remains of Druidical worshipping places. I. am persuaded that an antiquarian would find much entertainment about Dumbarton, and even some noble monuments of Roman antiquity, for there was a stationary camp within three miles of the place, at Kilpatrick, for the guard of the wall built by Lollius Urbicus, in the reign of Antoninus, commonly called Graeme's Dyke, which Buchanan ignorantly confounds with the wall built by Severus, from the Esk to the Tyne in the north of England; and, as the Britons of Arecluyd were under the Roman protection, they must entertained an intimate intercourse; and, without doubt, the Roman generals and officers of rank lived at Dunbritton.

You will think this is a strange rhapsody, but to me the subject is interesting. I have had occasion to inquire into the antiquities of our country. I find the Scots came from Ireland but yesterday, in comparison with the antiquity of the Caledonians and Britons of Arecluyd. I would derive myself from the last. But whether ancient Scot, Briton, or Norman, I certainly am, with great affection and esteem, dear Sir, your very humble servant,


The Earls of Lennox had their family seat on the right hand entering to Lochiomond, now called Balloch, or Butturich Castle; some remains of the old edifice and moat are still perceptible, and can be traced. A beautiful modern castle has been recently erected, contiguous to the place where the ancient building is supposed to have stood. The estate is now in the possession of Gibson Stott, Esq.

From this very ancient family of Lennox, by a female, descended many of the nobility and rank of Scotland—the Dukes of Richmond and Grafton, the Dukes of -Berwick, Fitz-James, and Brunswick, on the Continent, and all -the royal families both of Great Britain and Sardinia. Such then is the high derivation and dignified lineage of this illustrious house. The ancient nathe of" Levenachs" signified the beautiful fields of Leven, and included the whole of the extensive territory which belonged in property or superiority to the ancient Earls of Lennox, forming the earldom of Lennox, with which the sberiffdom of Dumbartonshire appears to have been co-extensive in the thirteenth century. (See the Chartulary of Lennox.)

Alexander the Second granted to the monks of Newbattle a toft within this burgh, and a net's fishing in the river Leven, 1220. In the year 1222, Dunbretton was erected into a royal burgh, with very special privileges, by Alexander the Second. This original charter has been lost, with other valuable records, during the early periods of civil and religious commotions in the west. The charter of confirmation, granted by King James the Sixth in the year 1609 to the burgh, confirming what was formerly held, and giving new immunities to the burgesses and inhabitants, is printed, and may be seen.

In 1238, Maldowin, third Earl of Lennox, obtained from Alexander the Second a royal charter, confirming to him the earldom of Lennox, which his grandfather Earl Alevin held, excepting the castle of Dumbarton, with the adjoining lands, and the Port of Murroch, with the fishings on both sides of the river Leven, as far as the lands of Murroch extended. (See Chartulary of Lennox.) "Murrach," says Chalmers, in his Caledonia. vol. 1. page 864, "was the name of a place in the vicinity of the castle." With all due deference to this generally correct antiquarian, it does not appear evident to the author that the Port of Murroch stood in the vicinity of the castle. This statement is calculated to mislead a modern inhabitant as to the exact position in which the Port of Murroch then stood. No such port or harbour of the above name now in existence. The true manner, however, of ascertain- ring the exact site where this ancient Port of Murroch then stood, is as follows :—A farm to the north of this town, belonging to the beautiful estate of James Ewing, Esq. Strathleven, is still called Murroch. Through the upper parts of these lands runs a pretty large mountain stream, called "Murroch Burn," which receives its waters from the neighbouring highlands, and thence, flowing down gently, empties itself into the river Leven at Kilmalid. From this point southward is the site where the ancient city of Aicluith stood, stretching along the marshy lands, now called the "Broadineadow," belonging to the burgesses of Dumbarton, and bounded on the west by the River Leven. This place appears, from ancient records, to have been the original area on which the ancient town stood, as appears from the historical circumstances of the inhabitants frequently applying, so early as the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, to the Scottish Parliament, and to the Convention of Royal Burghs, for grants of moneytouphold their bulwarks raised to protect them from the fearful inundations of Loehiomond, and the rivers Leven and Clyde. King James the Sixth, in 160), laid a tax on all the kingdom of Scotland, to repair and renew the bulwarks and embankments which surrounded the town from these annoying and watery eruptions which often threatened the taking it away. Murroch Burn was the furthest point in the river Leven which could be navigated to the north, in these early days, with shallops, currachs, and crearies; and it was also the nearest convenient landing- place to the princely seats and castles of the noble Earls of Lennox. Here, then, at the north end of the ancient town of Dunbretton or Aicluith, stood the Port of Murroch, the only harbour or port known on the river Leven in these days; to and from which were conveyed all the produce and ancient warlike stores of the kingly Earls of Lennox, together with the commerce and rude trafficof the adjoining town and surrounding country. it is quite evident, therefore, that the town would be adjoining the port or harbour, as the small shipping on the river Leven would form the chief traffic of those early days.

Dumbarton Castle has been the general object of attraction, and has been occupied as a fortress of much strength, during the ages both of savage rudeness and civilised refinement. Hardynge, a Scottish chronicler and poet, who flourished in the fourteenth century, thus describes the castle in his broad Scotch rhyming manner:-

And pass on furtherwarde to Dunbartayne,
A castle strong and harde for to obtaine;
In whiche castle Saint Patricke was borne,
That afterwards in Irelande did winne;
About the whiche (Castle Dunbartayne) floweth, even and morne,
The western seas, without noise or dinne;
When furthe of the same the streams do rinne
Twise in xxiv hours, without any faile,
That no inanne maye that strong castle assaile."

This singular rock, Bede informs us, was reckoned the strongest fortress of Scotland in his days (in the year 730). In Lord Berner's translation of Froissart, a French writer, it is said that in the year 1333, "Dunbretton is a strong castel standing on the marches against the wylde Scottes."

Edward the First, of England, in the year 1305, put Dumbarton Castle under the authority of Sir John Monteith, who held it till 1309, when it was gallantly taken by the celebrated Robert Bruce.

Edward died on .the 6th of July, 1307, at a place called Burg, on the borders of Scotland, and in the sight of that country which he had in his heart devoted to destruction. By his will he appointed his heart to be conveyed to the Holy Land. With his dying breath he gave orders that his corps should accompany his army into Scotland, and remain without interment until that country was totally subdued. The dying injunctions however of kings, as well as others, are seldom regarded. His remains were deposited in the royal sepulchre of Westminster, by his son Edward the Second. (See Dalrymple's Annals of Scotland, Vol. II. p. 25.)

During the war of Edward the Fourth against Scotland, an English fleet came boldly up the Clyde and besieged Dumbarton Castle, when it was bravely defended by Sir Andrew Wood, of Leith, whose valuable services on that occasion were meritoriously rewarded for his gallant conduct. (lb. 1306.) A Scottish Parliament was held at Edinburgh in the year 1357, at which Donald, Earl of Lennox, was present; and also a delegate from the Royal Burgh of Dumbarton, but the name of the delegate does not appear. (See Annals, 1306.)

Blind Harry, or, as he was often called, "The Scottish Minstrel," wrote a chivalric and very faithful tale of the celebrated warrior Wallace, about the year 1480. This old poetic author refers also, in one of his poems, to the "Marches on the Moor," belonging to the town of Dumbarton. (See Lord Erskine's speech in the House of Lords, 1809, in the case "The Town of Dumbarton against the neighbouring Proprietors.")

If by historical association we are allied to the devoted Columba, who not only in former ages trode our ancient streets and soil, but is supposed to have built our rude forefathers a Church and College in the days of yore, how ought we then to cherish his sacred memory as one of the most noble, and venerable, and early leaders in the armies of the Cross. Closely attached to us, also, are the illustrious Scottish patriots, Bruce and Wallace, who courageously fought and bled for our civil freedom. If the pious Columba broke the degrading yoke of superstition in our land, and gave our ancestors religious freedom from the galling and cruel chains of superstition and idolatry, shall we not also cherish the memories of those noble patriots, Bruce and Wallace, who we may suppose were both denizens of our Burgh—the former of whom broke the chains of English tyranny, and set our Nation free, and the latter lost his patriot head in the glorious struggle.

WILLIAM WALLACE.—This noble champion of his country was born in Renfrewshire, a district of the ancient kingdom of Strathclyde. His early nurse is said to have soothed his childish ears with tales and songs of Welsh, Scottish, and Celtic bards; as there is room to suppose that the former language still lingered in some remote corners of the country, where it had once prevailed. At any rate, Wallace was brought up entirely free from that egotism and selfishness Which are so common and natural to the sphere of a Regal Court; and which is generally believed to be peculiarly unfavourable to the heroism of a true patriot. Popular Scottish tradition, which delights to dwell upon the beloved champion of the people, describes Wallace as of dignified stature, unequalled in strength and dexterity, and so brave, that only on one occasion (and then he was under the imaginary influence of a supernatural power) is he allowed to have experienced the sensation of fear. Wallace, when only a youth, was believed at Ont to have been proclaimed an outlaw for the slaughter of an Englishman in a casual affray, who bad proudly domineered over him. He retreated to the woods of his native place, Elderalea, speedily collected a band of men around him, as brave as himself, and obtained success in several skirmishes with detachments of the English army. Sir William Douglas, who had been taken by the English at the siege of Berwick, but who bad been discharged upon ransom, with several others of the Nobility, hastened to join Wallace's standard against Edward, in the year 1297. Edward often tried, and even employed every base means, to persuade Wallace to join the English, but it was in vain: his constant answer was, "That he had devoted his life to the service of his country, to which it was due; and if he could do it no other service, he would die in its defence." At this period Wallace was about the vicinity of Dumbarton; and, being much wearied and fatigued, be entered the principal inn of the Burgh, which was then in College Street. The Castle being then in the possession of the English, and they having got notice of his private retreat, sent a party of soldiers with an officer to take him captive. The Scottish hero, sitting down quietly to a hasty refreshment in the inn, was suddenly surrounded by the party, consisting of twenty soldiers and an officer. Wallace always carried his large two-handed sword with him over his left shoulder—the trusty weapon of his defence—and with it be was resolved at all hazards to cut his way out. He therefore leaped a back window (which may be seen to this day, for the old house is still standing), and valiantly engaged his foes; cutting down ten or twelve of the soldiers, together with their officer, the remainder fled in terror and trepidation to the garrison for safety.

In the year 1298, all the Scottish fortresses and castles fell before the conquering arms of Edward; Dumbarton Castle being the last to submit to the thraldom of the English Monarch. Several of the Scottish Nobles, at this time, were lined and imprisoned, and others yielded ignominiously to the sway of the haughty Prince; Wallace, remaining almost alone, magnanimously refused to acknowledge the superiority of the English arms. The consequence was, that on the head of the Scottish patriot the English King put the price of 300 merks. What Edward prized more than the surrender of the last fortress which resisted his arms in Scotland, was the captivity of her last patriot, Wallace. Edward had found in a Scottish Nobleman, Sir John Monteith, a person willing to become his agent in searehing for the hero amongst the woods and fastnesses where he was driven to And refuge. The noble Wallace was finally betrayed by this his unworthy and apostate countryman, who found an opportunity of seizing him at Robroyston, a village in the vicinity of Glasgow, by the treachery of a servant. Sir William Wallace was instantly carried in chains to London, where he was brought to trial in Westminster Hall, with as much apparatus of infamy as the ingenuity of his enemies could devise. He was crowned with a garland of oak, to intimate that he had been the King of Outlaws. The arraingnment charrged him with "high treason," inasmuch as he had stormed and taken towns and castles, and shed much blood. "Traitor," said Wallace, "wag I never!" The other charges he confessed, and proceeded to justify them in a short pathetic speech before his enemies, and in the very sight of the axe and the block. He was finally condemned, and executed by decapitation. His patriot head was then placed on a pinnacle of London bridge, and the four quarters of his body were distributed to various parts of the Kingdom.

Thus died this courageous Hero, leaving a remembrance behind him which will be immortal in the hearts of his countrymen. This steady champion of the independence of Scotland having been thus removed, was held out as a bloody example to all who should venture to tread in his footsteps. Edward now proceeded to form a species of Constitution for Scotland, which, at the cost of so much labour, policy, and bloodshed, he had at length, as he conceived, united for ever to the English Crown. But in this he was grievously mistaken; for there was a Bruce of Bannockburn who laid the proud usurper low.
ROBERT BRUCE was one of the most intrepid warriors and champions who ever appeared in any age. After the betrayal of Wallace he undauntedly and courageously led on the Scottish armies to battle and to victory. He proved to be the valiant defender and deliverer of his country. The crafty Edward once and again attempted to bribe the gallant patriot: he dared not to write on the subject, but he sent Bruce at one time, privately, a pair of gold spurs and a purse of gold: they were, however, scornfully returned to the unprincipled monarch. The personal prowess of Bruce was very great and daring. At the battle of Bannockburn, and consequent defeat of the English army, Henry de Bohun, a general of Edward's army, having singled out the Scottish King, fiercely rushed on him with his spear; but Bruce nimbly avoided his aim, and at one stroke, cleft his head down to the chin with his battle- axe, in sight of the two armies. Well might the Ayrshire Bard sing

"Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots wham Bruce has often led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to glorious victory.

"Now's the day and now's the hour,
See the front o' battle lour;
See approach proud Edward's power,
Edward! chains, and slavery."

Bruce was engaged at this period in besieging Dumbarton Castle, which was then in possession of the English, and commanded by Monteith, the bae betrayer of Wallace, who had obtained this reward from Edward as part payment of his treachery. The price now demanded by Monteith for the surrender of the fortress was, the whole County, with the Earldom of Lennox, which Bruce agreed to, having previously obtained the Earl's consent to conclude the bargain. The perfidious Monteith, however, had basely concealed a number of the English soldiers in a deep vault of the fortress, who, on a signal to be given, were to rush out and seize Bruce: but the loyalty of a carpenter, named Rolland, discovered the plot to him before he entered the precincts of the Castle. Bruce, nevertheless, at this critical juncture, generously pardoned Monteith, on condition that he would lead a detachment of the Scottish army to the field of Bannockburn; and the consequence was, that he fought with such bravery as induced Bruce to bestow even new honours on him.

In the year 1328, a treaty of peace was concluded betwixt the two Kingdoms, the terms of which were, that England should renounce all claim to the Crown of Scotland; that Cumberland and Northumberland should be the future boundary; and that David, son of King Robert Bruce, should marry Johannah, the sister of Edward. But the former part of this treaty was ignominiously broken by the perfidiousness of the English monarch. Bruce, after the marriage of his son David, retired to his castle in the parish of Cardross and vicinity of Dumbarton, after having reigned twenty-four years. There he spent his last days, in the midst of his royal domestics and servants, and was surrounded with the delightful scenery of the Firth of Clyde and the River Leven, on both of which he frequently took aquatic excursions. Bruce seemed only to wait for the final deliverance of his country to close his heroic career. He had probably retired from the turmoils of war, for the purpose of enjoying a milder and more genial and salubrious climate in his declining years. Here he lived in princely retirement, and entertained his Nobles with sumptuous hospitality: he also relieved, by liberal doles of food and raiment, the craving distresses of the poor and needy in the adjoining Town and neighbourhood. Nautical affairs seemed, however, to have engaged his attention very much; and he built vessels and barges, with which he and a portion of his Court often went pleasuring on the adjoining Firth of Clyde and River Leven. He practised falconry, being unable to sustain the fatigue of hunting. We may also add—for everything is interesting when Bruce is the subject— that he kept a lion, and a fool named Patrick, as regular parts of his domestic establishment. Meantime, his disease—a species of leprosy which had its origin in the hardships and privations which he sustained for so many years--gained ground upon his remaining strength.

When he found his end drawing near, that great King summoned his Barons and Peers around him, and affectionately recommended his son to their care; then singling out the good Lord James of Douglas, fondly entreated of him, as his old friend and companion in arms, to cause his heart to be taken from his body after death—conjuring him to take the charge of transporting it to the Holy Land, in redemption of a vow which he had made to go there in person when he was disentangled from the cares and toils brought on him by the English wars."Now the hour is come," said he; "I cannot. now avail myself of the opportunity, but must send my heart thither instead of my body; and a better knight than yen, my dear and tried friend and comrade, to execute such a commission, the world does not possess." All who were present wept bitterly around his bed, while the king, with almost his dyin words, bequeathed this melancholy task to his best beloved friend and companion. King Robert Bruce expired in our immediate neighbourhood, on the seventh day of June, 1329, at the almost premature age of 55. He was greatly lamented, not only by his weeping household and friends, but by the whole nation at large. He was buried at Dunfermline, where his tomb was opened in our own day, and his reliques again reinterred, amid all the feelings of awe and admiration which such a sight tended naturally to inspire.

Bruce's personal accomplishments in war stood so high that he was universally esteemed one of the three best knights in Europe during that martial age, and he gave many daring proofs of his personal prowess. His numerous heroic achieve. meets seem amply to vindicate this high estimate of his military character. He was a wise and valiant Prince—just and temperate amidst the storms and tempests of war—one whose great qualities shone forth with peculiar lustre, and whose equal is scarcely to be found in any country.

When Elizabeth, the wife of Bruce, and Marjory, his daughter by a former marriage, were taken captives by the English, in a Monastery at Tam, in Roes-shire, whither they had fled for refuge, they were afterwards conveyed to the manor of Brustewick. The directions given by the English for the entertainment of Elizabeth in her captivity were— "She was to have a waiting woman and a maid servant, advanced in life, sedate, and of good conversation. A butler, two men servants, and a foot.boy for her chamber, sober and not riotous, to make her bed. Three greyhounds when she inclines to hunt. Venison, fish, and the fairest house in all the manor." In 1312 she was removed to Windsor Castle, twenty shillings weekly being allowed for her maintenance she was set at liberty towards the close of 1314; Marjory, the daughter of Bruce, was given in charge to Henry, Earl of Percy. (Annals of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 10, 11, note.)

In 1818, on laying the foundation of a new Parish Church at Dunfermline, the ancient tomb of the celebrated King Robert Bruce was discovered and laid open. The body of the hero was found reduced to a skeleton, while the lead in which it had been inclosed was still entire; and even some of the fragments of a fine linen cloth, embroidered with gold, which bad formed the shroud of the Scottish conqueror. He was reinterred with much state and solemn ceremony by the Barons of Exchequer, his bones having been in the first place deposited in a new coffin, which was filled up with bituminous matter calculated to preserve them. Many of the most distinguished Noblemen and Gentlemen of the County of Dunfermline were assistants at the solemnities. His tomb is now underneath the pulpit of the new Parish Church, and his honoured name is untastefully cut in the stones which now adorn the summit of the spire A farm in the parish of Cardross, called CaatteliiU, belonging to Robert Cunningham Bontine, Esq. is the place where King Robert Bruce died. It lies to the west of this Town, and almost on the very verge of the boundary of the Parliamentary Burgk The site of the ancient Castle is supposed to have been on the top of a beautiful green rising eminence immediately to the north of the farm-house. The sacred spot is now nearly imperceptible to the passing traveller. Some not very distinct traces of the ancient foundation stones may yet be discovered by the antiquarian, although upwards of 500 years have elapsed since the valiant Hero breathed his last amidst his Borrowing courtiers and weeping friends, within its hallowed walls. Were a small chaste monumental pillar erected by the spirited and patriotic gentlemen of the County and inhabitants of Dumbarton, on this hallowed spot, to perpetuate Bruce's noble valour and life, and his lamented and peaceful death in our immediate vicinity, the praiseworthy deed would tend greatly to elevate them high in the estimation of their countrymen, and their names would thereby deserve to be enrolled in the annals of fame. The heroic conqueror who declared in life that he would not rest till his beloved country was entirely free from English thraldom, saw this partly accomplished them he fell before the stroke of the last enemy. He is now sleeping in the narrow house with "Kings and Councillors of the earth" who flourished in former ages, and who, when alive, made the world tremble by their deeds of renown. We see that the silent grave is the crowded goal of the human family—the general rendezvous of all men. But

"A well spent life, not the victorious sword,
Awards the crown, and styles the greater lord."

During the reign of Bruce a very interesting and singular letter was sent from the nobility and community of Scotland to his holiness Pope John, .regarding the conduct of Edward king of England towards Scotland. Among the names of the nobility will be found Malcolm fifth Earl of Lennox. The following is a copy:—" Letter from the nobility and community of Scotland to the Pope. To the most holy Father in Christ, and Lord John, by the providence of God chief Bishop of the sacred Roman Catholic Church; his humble and devout sons, Malcom Earl of Lennox, Duncan Earl of Fife, Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, &c. &c. (here follow about twenty Earls, Lords, Bishops, and Barons,) and whole community of the kingdom of Scotland—sendeth all dutiful reverence, devoutly kissing his holiness' blessed feet. Most holy Father and Lord, We know and have gathered from the acts and books of the ancients, that among all other great nations, our nation of Scots was recorded with many praises, which, from the greater Scythia, passing the Tyrenian Sea, and the pillars of Hercules, and for a long time residing in Spain amongst a very fierce people, they could nowhere be subdued by any nation, however barbarous. And coming thence about 1200 years after. the outgoing of the people of Israel, they purchased, by many victories and much toil, those territories in the west which they now possess, having expelled the Britons and destroyed the Picts, albeit they were frequently attacked by the Norwegians, Danes, and English; but have always maintained their possessions free of all servitude, as the histories of old times testify. In their kingdom one hundred and thirteen kings of the Royal progeny reigned, without the intervention of an alien, whose illustrious descendants, by their exploits, though they were not otherwise apparent, yet are abundantly conspicuous from this—that the King of Kings, and Lord Jesus Christ, after his passion and resurrection, called them, who were living in the uttermost parts of the earth, first to his most holy faith. Nor would he have them confirmed by any in this faith but by his first Apostle, although second or third in order —to wit, the most meek Andrew, the brother of Saint Peter, whom our Saviour would have to be always their patron.

"The most holy Fathers, your predecessors, being with great concern persuaded of these things, did bestow upon this kingdom and people, as the flock of the brother of Saint Peter, many favours and privileges. Thus our nation has hitherto, under their protection, continued free and undisturbed, until the great King of England, Edward, the father of the present King, did, under the pretence of a friend and ally, invade our kingdom in a hostile manner when it wanted a head, and the people were conscious to themselves of having no guilt or guile, and they were not then accustomed to quarrels and insults.

"From innumerable evils, and by the assistance of Him who binds up the wounded, we are delivered, by our very valiant Prince, King, and Lord Robert, who, in delivering his people and inheritance out of the hands of their enemies, as another Macabee or Joshua, he cheerfully underwent troubles, toils, hardships, and dangers; whom also, by Divine providence and the right of succession, according to our laws and customs, which we will maintain to the utmost, and with the due assent and consent of all of 'us, have we made him our Prince and King. To him, as the deliverer of our people, by preserving our liberties, we are bound to adhere, as well upon the account of his right to the throne, as by reason of his own personal merits. But if he desist from what he has begun, and show any inclination to subject, us or our kingdom to the kingdom of England, or to the English, we will use our utmost endeavour to expel him immediately as our enemy, and the subverter of his own and our rights; and we will make another our king, who is able to defend us. For so long as an hundred Scotsmen remain alive, we will never be subjected in any manner of way to the dominion of England.

"It is not for glory, honour, and riches, that we fight, but only for liberty; which no good man will lose but with his life. If your holiness, giving too much faith to the tales of the English, shall not sincerely believe these things, and shall not forbear to favour them in destroying of us, we are persuaded that the Almighty will impute to you the destruction of the souls and bodies, and the other hostilities which the English shall commit upon us, and we upon them: since that we are and shall be, as in duty bound, obedient sons in all things to you, as God's vicegerent. And to him, as the great King and Judge, we commit the defence of our cause, placing our confidence in him alone, and firmly hoping that he will perfect strength in us and confound our enemies. May the Almighty long preserve your Holiness in health, for the good of his holy Church. Given at the Monastery of Aberbrothwick, in Scotland, the sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord 1320, and of the reign of our said King Robert the fifteenth year." (See Anderson's History of Scotland.)

Malcom Fleming, a brave man, having escaped from the battle of Halidon, in the year 1333, secured Dumbarton Castle against the English under Edward the First. To this fortress David the Second, with his young consort Johannah, the English Princess, fled for refuge from the English army, who had at this time already taken possession of the chief places of strength in Scotland. The loyal governor, Fleming, found secret means afterwards of conveying them from thence into France, where they were honourably and sumptuously entertained for nine years. They arrived from thence at Inverberie, in Kincardineshire, in the year 1341. (See An. of Scotland, vol. II. p. 185, 186.)

In the year 1360, Thomas Stewart, Earl of Angus, a turbulent and profligate person, was implicated with the murder of one Catharine Mortimer, a native of Wales, who was supposed to have been a private concubine of David the Second, during his eleven years of captivity in England. She became obnoxious to many of the nobility: they in consequence conspired against her life. Two wretches, named Hulle and Dewar, went to her residence, plausibly pretending that they had orders to convey her to the king. She therefore committed herself to their guidance. As they conducted her on the way they privately murdered her. Great suspicions arose that Thomas Stewart, Earl. of Angus, had instigated the murderers to perpetrate the bloody deed. The king therefore ordered ,him to be immured in the dungeon of Dumbarton Castle, and he honourably interred the body of Catharine Mortimer Ia the Chapel of the Abbey of Newbattle. (lb. 273.)

The following is an extract from an act of the Scottish Parliament on Marriage, passed in the reign of Queen Margaret, (commonly called the Maid of Norway,) in the year 1288. It is in the Scotch language. "It is statute and ordainit, that during the reine of her maist blesset Majestie, ilk maiden ladye, of baith highe and low estaite, sail hao libertye to beapeacke ye man she lykes best; albeit gif he refaises to tak her till be his wife, he sail be mulcht in ye sume of sue hundredth pundis, or less, as his estaite maie be; except and always, gif he can inak it appeire that he is betrothet to sac other woman, that then he sail be free."

In the year 1314, five shillings was supposed to be the value of a cow, and six shillings and eightpence the value of an ox. In 1237 fire-arms were first used by the English in their wars with Scotland; John Barber, an ancient historian, calls them "crakys of war." At the siege of Stirling, in 1338, the Scots first employed cannon.

From the national accounts kept by the Chamberlain of Scotland, the originals of which are in exchequer, in 1329, it appears that this Burgh paid, as its proportion of cess, thirty- nine shillings and five pence sterling.

In the year 1339 a great famine was experienced in Scotland. The poorer people fed on grass, and many were found dead in the open fields.

A great plague broke out in Scotland in 1361, and continued its ravages through the whole of that year. It was computed that one-third of the whole population perished during this great calamity; amongst the sufferers were many persons of influence and distinction. Thomas Stewart, Earl of Angus, died in the prison of Dumbarton Castle of this plague.

Robert Third, who chiefly resided at his castle in Rothsay, about the year 1410, coined some money in Dumbarton, but whether in the castle or in the town does not appear; nor does it appear from history whether the coin was of gold, silver, or copper, or comprehended them all.

About the year 1455, one Patrick Thornton, a follower of the court of James the Third, barbarously murdered, at Dumbarton, John Sandilands of Calder, a young man of about twenty years of age, and Allan Stewart, both of noble families, and eminent for their loyalty to the king. Thornton W4S afterwards apprehended and executed.

During the reign of King James the Fourth, in the year 1495, James, a young unprincipled roving son of the Duke of Albany, who had been left at liberty because he had been guilty of nothing that could make him an object of public justice, being under the direction of one Finlay, Bishop of Argyle, formerly his father's secretary; he, by his unprincipled conduct, speedily raised a large force in the Highlands of fierce and hardy mountaineers, very rudely accoutered, and apparently half savages. On the 3d of May, of the above year, this rude host of natives of the mountains and the woods appeared in the vicinity of Dumbarton, besetting the town, burning the greater part of it, and putting to the sword thirty-two of its peaceable inhabitants, amongst whom was Sir John Stewart of Dundonald, surnamed the Red, and natural son of Robert the Second. King James, on hearing this, immediately proclaimed young Stewart a rebel and a traitor; and the latter, being hard pursued by the King's forces, was compelled, with Bishop Finlay of Argyle, his governor and chief adviser, to fly to Ireland. This formidable insurrection affords a very strong proof of the necessity James was under of humbling the lawless leaders of the Highlanders during the previous regency, since a roving stripling could dare to lead the hardy mountaineers into the battle-field against even the legal government. The rude descendants and sons of Ossian seem, in these early days, to have had no idea of regular subordination and obedience to the "powers that be."

This piece of genuine Scottish history is magically amplified by Gait, the entertaining author of "The Spaewife." Bishop Finlay and Lord James wished to raise the Lennox-men and the M'Farlanes to arms in their behalf. The Lord James, therefore, sent Bishop Finlay to M'Farlane, chief of Glenfruin, on the banks of Lochlomond. The sage bishop is thus grotesquely described in setting out on his embassy:-"A sedate rough Highland poney was accordingly provided to carry the bishop over the rugged hills, and the skin of an otter was laid on its back, as an emblem and substitute for a sadele; two thongs, out from the raw hide of a cow, were used as stirrups, for in those days tanned leather was not found among the Celts; and for a bridle, there was another broad thong; and the bit which was put into the mouth of the bishop's shelty, was the rusty key of the Provt of Dumbarton's door, which the chief of the M'Farlanes had, a short time before, taken away with him when in the town on a pillaging expedition; but which had been recovered by some of the Earl of Lenn's men, with all the other spoil, from the M'Farlanes, as they were returning home to Arrochan"

George Buchanan, the Scottish historian—claasina} poet and tutor of James the Sixth—was born in the year 1506, at Killearn, on the banks of the water of Blane. He was one of five sons. His family was far from being affluent. His maternal uncle,James iIerriot, perceiving the very promising talents of George, when a boy about twelve or fourteen years of age, sent him to the burgh aehool of Dumbarton. After remaining two or three years at our seminary, his uncle removed him from this, and, in the year 1522, sent him to prosecute his education in Paris, the capital of France: there he applied himself diligently, for a long period, to his classical studies, and especially to the cultivation of poetry, of which he was a very great ornament. He died on the 28th Sept. 1582, in the 77th year of his age. A chaste obelisk is erected to his memory at Killearn.


Loch-Lomond is the largest and most picturesque fresh water lake in Great Britain. it is the Prince of Caledonian Lakes: an immense sheet of water, larger, it is said, than all the ponds of Cumberland and Westmoreland put together. It is computed to be thirty-two miles long, and from one to ten miles broad.. In depth it varies from twenty to three hundred fathoms. Its surface is twenty-four feet higher than the Clyde. Some years ago it was proposed by a few of the surrounding land proprietors to deepen the mouth of the Leven, for the purpose of draining off p4rt of the water of the Loch, by which a few acres of ground might be gained, at the expense of much of the romantic scenery around. Within its Compass are twenty-five islands, some of which are of considerable extent. After heavy rains in winter, the Loch has been known at times to have risen six feet. The water which flows from it by the "crystal Leven" is remarkably pure, and well adapted for bleaching purposes, establishments for which adorn the banks of the river. This is accounted for, by supposing that the water which runs down from the bills, owing to the extent of the loch, has ample time to settle and deposit its earthy particles before it issues from the opening at Balloch.

The Leven flows from the south-west end of Loch-Lomond, and falls into the Clyde, after a short but beauteous serpentine course of little more than five miles. It is a streach unequalled for the pure transparency of its waters, and the romantic loveliness of its banks. It is worthy of the immortality which the celebrated Smollet has given to it in the .following classic Ode


On Leven's banks while free to rove,
And tune the rural pipe to love,
 I envied not the happiest swain
That ever trod the Arcadian plain.
Pure stream I in whose transparent wave
My youthful limbs I wont to lave;
No torrent stains thy limpid source;
No rocks impede thy dimpling course,
That sweetly warbles o'er its bed,
With white, round, polished pebbles spread;
While, lightly poised, the scaly brood
In myriads cleave thy crystal flood;
The springing trout, In speckled pride;
The salmon, monarch of the tide;
The ruthless pike, intent on war;
The silver eel, and mottled parr.
Devolving from thy parent lake,
A charming maze thy waters make,
By bowers of beech and groves of pine,
And hedges flower'd with eglantine.
Still on thy banks, so gaily green,
May numerous herds and flocks be seen;
And lasses chaunting o'er the pail;
And shepherds piping in the dale;
And ancient faith, that knows no guile;
And industry, embrown'd with toil;
And hearts resolv'd, and hands prepar'd,
The blessings they enjoy to guard?

 Numerous streams flow into the loch from the adjacent mountains, the most considerable of which are the Falloch, the Endrick, the Luss, and the Fruin. The river Falloch is generally about sixty to eighty feet broad, with three to three and a-half feet of water in summer, and often five to six in winter. In addition to the usual variety of splendid sailing enjoyed by tourists on this enchanting lake, the steamer runs about three miles up this fine stream, arriving at a commodious basin in the vicinity of Glenfalloch Inn, where passengers are comfortably landed on the enchanting odoriferous Highland heather. Passengers are conveyed from Tarbet on Lochlomond side, across the isthmus to the head of Loch Long at Arrochar, whence they are conveyed down that loch by steam to Greenock, Glasgow, Edinburgh, &c. thus accomplishing the circuit of both lochs in one day. A splendid new iron steamer will soon be ready to place on the lake as a consort to the Water-Witch.

The Fruin empties itself into the lake, and proves one of its chief feeders. This stream abounds with very fine trout. The glen or valley of the Fruin has attained considerable historical notoriety, from its having been the scene, in 1602, of a desperate conflict, in consequence of the renewal of some old quarrels, between Sir Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss, the chief of that surname, and Alex. Macgregor, chief of the clan Macgregor. Luss's clan were completely overthrown, with the loss of two hundred men, besides one of the bailies of Dumbarton, with several gentlemen, and a great many of its burgesses, who were all slain. To witness this lamentable contest, in which many of the burgh officials were engaged, from one hundred to one hundred and fifty young students and boys left the public academy on that morning for the banks of Lochlomond. Having arrived at the fatal spot, and being deeply and earnestly interested in the result, they very incautiously stood near the scene of conflict as spectators. At the close of the battle, the students and boys were, by order of some of the chiefs, cruelly massacred!! None of the alleged murderers, it is said, were of the Macgregor clan; whose chief, when he compelled the youths to enter a church near the spot, instead of standing expied to random shots from the combatants, had no view but to preserve their lives, and to detain them as hostages, if circumstances required a pledge for the safety of his own people. In this severe contest in the valley of the Fruin, or the Vale of Lamentation, as the name implies, a great many fell on both sides, but most on the part of the Colquhouns. One account states that between two and three hundred of the latter fell in the field and in flight; but another contemporary authority confines the slaughter to "sixty honest men, besyde women and bairnes;" and another account states, that "there were slaine of the country people, specially of the surname of Coiquhoun to the number of four score persons or thereby, of which number many were landed men of good rank." The Justiciary records limit the number to "seven scoir persons Blaine at Glenfruine." It appears, from the indictment against Allester Macgregor, that Tobias SmoIlett, who is therein designated a baillie of Dumbarton, with many other burgesses of this town, were among the slain.

A very remarkable transaction is recorded to have taken place after the battle. A great many of the widows of those slain in the conflict, on the side of the Colquhouns, dressed themselves in deep mourning, and appeared before King James the Sixth at Stirling, mounted on white palfreys, and demanding vengeance on the Macgregors. Each petitioner exhibited on a spear her husband's bloody shirt, to make a more lasting impression on the feelings of the king. The solemn device succeeded to their utmost wishes, for the sympathies of James were easily excited, and the most summary proceedings were instituted against the clan Gregor. Not long after tht conflict, the Privy Council issued an act, abolishing the very name of Macgregor—all who bore it were commanded, on pain of death, to adopt some other surname. Those engaged in the battle of Glenfruin, and other predatory incursions mentioned in the act, were prohibited, under pain of death, from carrying any other weapon than a pointless knife to eat their victuals; and it was a capital crime for more than four of them to meet together at one time. These stringent acts were repeatedly renewed in the reigns of James the Sixth and Charles the First. Al$ester Macgregor, with eighteen of his friends, were apprehended and taken to Edinburgh, on the evening of the 18th of January, and immediately thrown into prison. On the 20th, the chief, with four gentlemen of his clan, and Patrick M'Neill, his servant, were "dilatit, accusit, and perseuit," at the instance of Sir Thos. Hamilton of Monkland, Lord-Advocate, of having plotted the destruction of Sir Alex. Coiquhoun of buss, his family, friends, and retainers, and also the whole surname of Buchanan, and of intending to plunder and lay waste their property. The particulars of the conflict of Glenfruin is then stated, with the loss of life and plunder which followed. The jury unanimously found the prisoners guilty, and they were ordered to be carried to the cross of Edinburgh, where they were to be "hangit upone ane gibbet until thay be deid, and thairafter thair heidis, legis, armes, and remanent pairtis of thair bodeis to be quarterit and put upone publict places," and all their property forfeited to the king's use as "convict of the saidis trea&mabile crymes." The execution of Macgregor and his friends took place on the day of their sentence. Seven Macgregors had arrived at Edinburgh as pledges for the performance of certain conditions, and the government took the opportunity of the execution of their chief to hang them also, without even the form of a trial. By way of distinction, the gibbet on which Macgregor of Glenstrae was executed was elevated his own height above his retainers who suffered with him. They remained suspended the whole night. Calderwood, the historian, mentions that "a young man, called James Hope, beholding the execution, fell down, and power was taken from the hail' of his body. When he was carried to a house, he cried out that 'ane of the Highlandmen had shott him with ane arrow.' He died on the Sabbath after." Such was the result of the battle of Glenfruin, and it must be admitted that, however culpable the Macgregors were, and deserving of punishment for their many acts of violence and barbarity, of illegal oppression and plunder, their clan suffered most severe chastisement, and the summary vengeance of the law was directed against them in a manner which is without president in the annals of this country. Yet, although they were thus rigorously treated by James the Sixth and Charles the First, who chose to renew all the statutes passed in his father's reign against them, nevertheless they, to a man, attached themselves warmly, during the civil war, to the cause of the latter monarch. (See Pitcairn's Criminal Trials - Laing's History of Scotland, &c.)

From the period of this contest till the year 1757, being more than a century and a half, in the spring of every year, the tragical fate of the "Scholars of Dumbarton" was commemorated by the schoolboys of this ancient town. They assembled on the day of the supposed anniversary, the Dux of the I highest class, solemnly arrayed in the white vestments of the tomb, was laid on a bier, covered with the parish clergyman's gown, and then carried by his companions to a grave previously opened for the occasion. The whole school, bearing wooden guns reversed, performed with much solemnity the ceremony of interment, and recited Gaelic and English odes over the dead, alluding to the horrid massacre. They then returned to the seminary singing songs of lamentation and woe. Superstition represents the ghosts of the victims as being peculiarly hostile to the clan of the Macgregors. The Fruin is, in Gaelic, called "The Stream of Young Ghosts;" and it is believed that if a Macgregor crosses it after sun-set, he will be seared by unhallowed spectres.

The property and lands on the left bank of the Lake belongs principally to the following gentlemen :—Alexander Smollett, Esq. of Bonhill, Member of Parliament for the county of Duinbarton; his estate and mansion-house of Cameron, situated on the verge of the lake, form a very attractive object; William Campbell, Esq. of Tillichewan Castle; George Buchanan, Esq. of Arden; and Sir James Coiquhoun, Bait of Luss. That on the right bank almost entirely to the Duke of Montrose. The numerous islands are the property of the Duke and Sir James. About two-thirds of the loch, and most of the islands, are in the county of Dumbarton; the remainder, with the greater portion of the right bank, are included in the county of Stirling. Lochlomond is remarkable for producing the pollack, or powan, a kind of fresh water herring, so named from the striking resemblance it bears to that fish. Formerly these fish were found only in this loch, but now they are found abundantly in Loch Heck, in Argyleshire, and in other bobs in Scotland. The pollack, or powan, is a very dry unpalatable article of food.

The steamer, on leaving Balloch, and pleasuring round the circuit of the loch, and winding the enchanting islands, arrives at Inveruglass. Here there is a ferry across the lake to Rowardenan Inn, at the base of Ben.-Lomond, where the ascent to the mountain is generally commenced. At this Inn Bighiand shelties or ponies may be procured, which may be used by the most timorous of gentlemen and the most nervous of ladies with the greatest safety, till within a little of the top, they are such sure-footed animals.

Ben-Lomond is one of the giants—one of the Goliahs among the Caledonian mountains; and if from his summit the "half of the world" is not beheld, yet, if the day is clear and favourable, the tourist may see the half of Scotland in one perspective glance. Ben-Lomond is 3262 feet above the level of the sea, and 3240 feet above the level of the lake. It has an ascent of six miles, requiring about three hours of continual exertion to attain its summit. If the atmosphere is clear, the view becomes more extensive and charming as you advance, till you reach the top, where it is surpassingly grand. Looking towards the south, the extensive loch, with its numerous fairy islands, reduced to the most pleasing miniature—the ancient rock of Dumbarton, and a great part of the northern, western, and southern counties, meet the enraptured eye. On the right is a very fine prospect of the Firth of Clyde, including the isolated rock of Ailsa, and the islands of Bute, Arran, and Cumbraes, and the bills of Cantyre. On the left is the town of Stirling and its castle—the windings of the Forth—and, in the far distance, the capital of Scotland, the city of Edinburgh, with its romantic castle. To the north are the beautiful waters of Loch Katrine, Lochard, and the Loch of Monteith; and, far beyond these, immense Mountains rise to view in uninterrupted sue-cession. The principal mountains in this direction are Ben Voirlich, Ben-Duchray, Ben-Arthur, Ben-Cruachan, and Ben-Nevis, &c. all of which will be pointed out by the guide. In short, there is here everything that is calculated to fill man with a deep sense of his utter insignificance, and to raise in his mind an unaffected love, mingled with reverential awe, toward the great Author of his being, and the glorious Architect of the universe. The scene may defy the pencil and the pen, but still it is nobly poetical, as it excites sensations of the purest sublimity. The foreground, on the north, is a terrific precipitous perpendicular, and perhaps more than two thousand feet to its base. The effect of a cloud coming over the mountain a furlong beneath the tourist's feet, and seeming to sever the visitant from "the work-day world," is inexpressibly grand. The rainbow, or the lightning, with the attendant peal of thunder, sometimes heighten the awful pomp of the scene, and peculiarly dispose the virtuous mind to shake off all terrestrial impressions, and "to ascend from nature up to nature's God."

On a window in Tarbet Inn, on the opposite bank of the Lake, there was inscribed on two panes of glass a small poem, richly deserving notice here. The little effusion was penned on the impulse of the moment, and its contents will prove a useful guide to those who ascend Ben-Lomond. It was written with the point of a diamond, by an English gentleman, immediately on his return from that lofty mountain, in October, 1771.

"Stranger, if o'er this pane of glass perchance
Thy roving eye should cast a languid glance;
If taste for grandeur and the dread sublime
Prompt thee Ben-Lomond's fearful height to climb;
Here gaze attentive, nor with scorn refuse
The friendly rhyming of a tavern muse;—
For thee that muse this rude inscription penned—
Penned for thy guide, by humble poet's hand.
Heed thou the poet; he thy steps shall lead
Safe o'er you tow'ring bill's aspiring head,
Attention then lend to my Informing lay,
Read how I dictate, as I point the way:—
Trust not at first a quick advent'roua pace,
Six miles its top points gradual to the base,
Up the high rise, with panting haste I passed,
And gained the long laborious steep at last.
More prudent thou, when once you pass the deep,
With measured steps and glow, ascend the steep
Oft stay thy pace—oft taste thv cordial drop,
And rest, oh, rest—long, long upon the top;
There hail the breezes, nor with toilsome haste
Down the rough slop thy precious vigour waste;
So shall thy wondering sight at once survey—
Vales, lakes, woods, mountains, islands, rocks, and sea;
Huge hills, all heaped in crowded order, stand,
Stretched o'er the Northern and the Western land-.
Vast, gorgeous! while Ben, who often shrouds
His lofty summit in a veil of clouds,
High o'er the rest displays superior state,
In proud pro-eminence sublimely great.
One side, all awful to the astonished eye,
Presents a steep, three hundred fathoms high;
The scene tremendous, shocks the startled sense
With all the pomp of dread magnificence;
All these, and more, shall thou transported see,
And own a faithful monitor in me."

The steamer next passes Inversnaid. At this picturesque place, about fifteen or twenty years ago, there was a corn mill, driven by a small cascade, supplied by the stream of the Arkill, which rushes down from the neighbouring mountains. When the celebrated poet, Wordsworth, was on a visit to the lake, and passing this interesting spot with a numerous party in the steamer, he by chance beheld the miller's beautiful daughter at her father's door. In a moment, surrounded as he then was by the sublimities of nature, the poet's energies and feelings were instantly summoned, and produced the following lines :-

"Sweet Highland girl, a very shower
Of beauty is thy earthly dower;
Yes, I am loath, nor pleased at heart,
Oh, mountain maid—from thee to part;
For I, methinks, till I grow old,
As fair a maid shall ne'er behold
As I do now;--the cabin small—
The lake—the hay—the waterfall-....
And thee,—the spirit of them all."

Proceeding onwards to the head of the loch, and up the river Falloch, where the steamer remains an hour or two, she then returns by the west side of the lake to Balloch about four in the afternoon. If the weather has proved favourable, the tourist may now be said to have witnessed a concentration of nature's wildest grandeur. Its crowning features are beauty, variety, and sublimity. Throughout the fascinating tour there is nothing like sameness; every opening prospect appears, if possible, more interesting, grand, and sublime than that which precedes it. The whole cannot be more correctly, eloquently, and impartially described, than in the words of the French traveller, M. St. Fond:- The magnificent scenery of Lochlomond, the fine sun which gilded its waters, the silvered rocks that skirted its banks, the flowery and verdant moss, the black oxen, and the white sheep of the mountains, shall never be effaced from my memory; even among the oranges, the myrtles, and the jessamins of Italy, I shall therefore often meditate upon the wild and romantic beauties of Lochlomond."

Return to Book Index page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus