Henry Adamson

(1581-1627 / Scotland)

The Muses Threnodie: Seventh Muse - Poem by Henry Adamson

Up springs the sun, the day is cleer and fair,
Ætesiæ, sweetly breathing, cool the air;
Then coming to my cabin in a band,
Each man of us a gabion hints in hand,
Where me their serjeant-major they elected,
At my command that day to be directed,
“What pretty captain's yon?”—so said some wenches.
“Ladies,” quoth I, “men are not mete by inches:
The Macedonian monarch was call'd great,
Not from his bodies quantitie, but state
And martial prowesse; good ladies, then to heart you,
You shall well know that talenesse is no virtue.

Thus march we all along unto Moncrieff,
Where dwells that worthy knight, the famous chief
Of all that ancient name; and passing by
Three trees sprung out of one root we did espy,
Which when we did behold, said Master Gall,
“Monsieur, behold these trees, so great and tall,
Sprung of one root, which all men brethren name,
The symbol which true concord doth proclaim.”

O happy presage, where such trees do grow,
These brethren three the threefold Gerion show,
Invincible, remaining in one mind,
Three hearts as in one body fast combined:
Scilurus bundle knit, doth whole abide,
But easily is broke when once untied;
So these three trees do symbolize most clearly
The amity of hearts and minds, inteirly
Kythes in that happy race, and doth presage
To it more happiness in after age;
Love's sweetest knot, which three in one doth bring
That budding gem shall make more flourishing;
Fair brethren trees, and sith so is your name,
Be still the badge of concord, and proclaim
All health and wealth unto that happy race
Where grace and virtue mutually embrace.

To Moncrieff eastern, then to Wallace town,
To Fingask of Dundas; thence passing down
Unto the Rynd, as martial men we fare;—
What life man's heart could wish more void of care?
Passing the river Earn, on the other side,
Drilling our sojers, vulgars were afraid.

Thence to the Picts' great metropolitan,
Where stands a steeple, the like in all Britain
Not to be found again—a work of wonder,
So tall and round in frame—a just cylinder;
Built by the Picts in honour of their king,
That of the Scots none should attempt such thing
As over his big belly to walk or ride,
But this strong hold should make him to abide,
Unless on Pegasus that he would flee,
Or on Jove's bird should soar into the sky,
As rode Bellerophon and Ganymede:
But mounted so must ride no giddy head.

Thence we marched directly unto Dron,
And from that stead passed to the rocking-stone,
Accompanied with infantry a band;
Each of us had a hunting staff in hand,
With whistles shrill, the fleeing fowls to charm,
And fowlers nets upon our other arm:
But as for me about my neck was borne,
To sound the chase, a mighty hunting horn;
And as I blew with all my might and main,
The hollow rocks did answer make again;
Then every man in this clear company,
Who best should wind the horne began to try;
Among the rest a fellow in the rout
Boldy began to boast, and brave it out,
That he would wind the horn in such a wise,
That easily he would obtain the prize;
But to record what chance there followed after,
Gladly I would, but grief forbiddeth laughter,
For so it was the merry man was mar'd:
Both tongue and teeth, I wot, were tightly tar'd:
Then no more stay, fellow, good night, quod we;—
Th'old proverb says, Dirt parts company.

By this we were just at the rocking-stone;
Amongst the world's great wonders it is one
Most rare—it is a Phœnix in its kind;
The like in all the world ye shall not find:
A stone so nicely set upon its kernels—
Not artificial, but natural kernels—
So huge, so great, that if you please to prove it,
A hundred yoke of oxen will not move it;
Yet touch it with your fingers smallest knocking,
Incontinent it will fall to a rocking,
And shake and shiver, as if obedient
More by request than by commandment.
Then up I clam this rock, as I was wonted,
And like Ægeon on whale's back I mounted,
And with Etites rattling stone I knocked,
And as I rattled, even so was I rocked;
So faire a cradle and rare was never seen;—
Oh! if my cabinet could it contain!

Next at the Bridge of Earn we made our station,
And there we took some little recreation;
Where in Heroick's Gall fell to declaring
All circumstances of that day's wayfaring;
And there so merrily we sung and chanted,
Happy were they our company who haunted;
Which when I call to mind it makes me cry—
“Gall, sweetest Gall, what ailed thee to die?”

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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