S. Guinefort, Martyr

Sexto, dicendum est de supersticionibus contumeliosis, quarum quedam sunt contumeliose Deo, quedam proximo. Deo contumeliose sunt supersticiones que divinos honores demonibus attribuunt, vel alicui alteri creature, ut facit idolatria, et ut faciunt misere mulieres sortilege que salutem petunt adorando sambucas vel offerendo eis, contemnendo ecclesias vel sanctorum reliquias, portando ibi pueros suos vel ad formicarios vel ad res alias, ad sanitatem consequendam. Sic faciebant nuper in diocesi Lugdunensi, ubi, cum ego predicarem contra sortilegia et confessiones audirem, multe mulieres confitebantur portasse se pueros suos apud sanctum Guinefortem. Et cum crederem esse sanctum aliquem, inquisivi, et audivi ad ultimum quod esset canis quidam leporarius, occisus per hunc modum. In diocesi Lugdunensi, prope villam monialium que dicitur Novile, in terra domini de Vilario, fuit quoddam castrum cujus dominus puerum parvulum habebat de uxore sua. Cum autem exivissent dominus et domina a domo et nutrix similiter, dimisso puero solo in cunabulis, serpens maximus intravit domum, tendens ad cunabula pueri; quod videns leporarius, qui ibi remanserat, eum velociter insequens et persequens sub cunabulo, evertit cunabula, morsibus serpentem invadens, defendentem se et canem similiter mordentem; quem ad ultimum canis occidit et a cunabulis pueri longe projecit, relinquens cunabula dicta cruentata, et terram et os suum et caput, serpentis sanguine, stans prope cunabula, male a serpente tractatus. Cum autem intrasset nutrix et hec videret, puerum credens occisum et devoratum a cane, clamavit cum maximo ejulatu; quod audiens, mater pueri similiter accurrit, idem vidit et credidit, et clamavit similiter. Similiter et miles, adveniens ibi, idem credidit, et, extrahens spatam, canem occidit. Tunc, accedentes ad puerum, invenerunt eum illesum, suaviter dormientem; inquirentes, inveniunt serpentem canis morsibus laceratum et occisum. Veritatem autem facti agnoscentes, et dolentes de hoc quod sic injuste canem occiderant sibi tam utilem, projecerunt eum in puteum qui erat ante portam castri, et acervum maximum lapidum super eum projecerunt, et arbores juxta plantaverunt in memoriam facti.

Castro autem divina voluntate destructo, et terra in desertum redacta est, ab habitatore relicta. Homines autem rusticani audientes nobile factum canis, et quomodo innocenter mortuus est pro eo de quo debuit reportare bonum, locum visitaverunt, et canem tanquam martyrem honoraverunt et pro suis infirmitatibus et neccessitatibus rogaverunt, seducti a diabolo et ludificati ibi pluries, ut per hoc homines in errorem adduceret. Maxime autem mulieres que pueros habebant infirmos et morbidos ad locum eos deportabant, et in quodam castro, per leucam ab eo loco propinquo, vetulam accipiebant, que ritum agendi et demonibus offerendi et invocandi eos doceret eas, et ad locum duceret. Ad quem cum venirent, sal et quedam alia offerebant, et panniculos pueri per dumos circumstantes pendebant, et acum in lignis, que super locum creverant, figebant, et puerum nudum per foramen quod erat inter duos truncos duorum lignorum [introducebant], matre existente ex una parte et puerum tenente et proiciente novies vetule que erat ex alia parte, cum invocatione demonum adjurantes faunos, qui erant in silva Rimite, ut puerum, quem eorum dicebant, acciperent morbidum et languidum, et suum, quem secum detulerant, reportarent eis pinguem et grossum, vivum et sanum. Et, hoc facto, accipiebant matricide puerum, et ad pedem arboris super stramina cunabuli nudum puerum ponebant, et duas candelas ad mensuram pollicis in utroque capite, ab igne quem ibi detulerant, succendebant et in trunco superposito infigebant, tamdiu inde recedentes quod essent consumpte et quod nec vagientem puerum possent audire nec videre; et sic candele candentes plurimos pueros concremabant et occidebant, sicut ibidem de aliquibus reperimus. Quedam etiam retulit mihi quod, dum faunos invocasset et recederet, vidit lupum de silva exeuntem et ad puerum euntem, ad quem, nisi affectu materno miserata prevenisset, lupus vel diabolus in forma ejus eum, ut dicebat, vorasset. Si autem, redeuntes ad puerum, eum invenissent viventem, deportabant ad fluvium cujusdam aque rapide propinque, dicte Chalarone, in quo puerum novies immergebant, qui valde dura viscera habebat si evadebat nec tunc vel cito post moreretur. Ad locum autem accessimus, et populum terre convocavimus, et contra dictum predicavimus. Canem mortuum fecimus exhumari et lucum succidi, et cum eo ossa dicti canis pariter concremari, et edictum poni a dominis terre de spoliacione et redempcione eorum qui ad dictum locum pro tali, causa de cetero convenirent.

— Étienne de Bourbon, Anecdotes historiques, légendes et apologues tirés du recueil inédit d’Étienne de Bourbon dominicain du xiiie siècle, édition de Albert Lecoy de la Marche, Paris: Henri Loones, 1877, no. 370, p. 325-328.

Continue reading “S. Guinefort, Martyr”

Haile, Quene and Emperyse!

William Dyce, The Virgin and Child, 1845.
William Dyce, The Virgin and Child, 1845.


ROISS Mary most of vertew virginall.
Fresche flowr on quhom the hevynnis dewe doun fell.
O gemme joynit in joye angelicall,
In quhom Jhesu rejosit wes to dwell.
Rute of refute, of mercy spring and well,
Of ladyis chois as is of letteris A,
Empress of hevyne, of paradyss, and hell,
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

O sterne that blyndis Phebus bemys bricht,
With course above the hevynnis cristallyne;
Above the speir of Saturne hie on hicht,
Surmunting all the angelis ordouris nyne;
O lamp lemand befoir the trone devyne!
Quhar cherubyne syngis sweit Osanna,
With organe, tympane, harpe, and symbilyne;
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

O chast conclaif of clene virginite,
That closit Crist but crymes criminale;
Tryumphand tempill of the Trinite,
That turned us fra Tartar eternall:
Princes of peiss, and palme imperiall,
Our wicht invinsable Sampson sprang the fra,
That with ane buffat bair doune Beliall;
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

Thy blyssit sydis bair the campioun,
The quhilk, with mony bludy woundis, in stour,
Victoriusly discomfeit the dragoun
That reddy wes his pepill to devour;
At hellis ȝettis he gaf hyme na succour,
He brak the barmekyn of that bribour bla,
Quhill all the feyndis trymbillit for reddour:
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

O madyne meik, most mediatrix for man,
And moder myld, full of humilite!
Pray thy sone Jhesu, with his woundis wan,
Quhilk deinȝeit him for our trespass to de,
And as he bled his blude vpon a tre,
Us to defend fra Lucifer our fa,
In hevyne that we may syng apon our kne:
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

Hail, purifyet perle! Haile, port of paradyse
Haile, redolent ruby, riche and radyuss!
Haile, clarifyit cristale! Haile, quene and emperyse!
Haile, moder of God! Haile, Virgin glorius!
O gracia plena, tecum Dominus!
With Gabriell that we may syng and say,
Benedicta tu in mulieribus: O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

— Asloan Manuscript, National Library of Scotland.

Mexico and Richmond

Abraham Lincoln once asked General Scott the question: “Why is it that you were once able to take the City of Mexico in three months with five thousand men, and we have been unable to take Richmond with one hundred thousand men?”

“I will tell you,” said General Scott. “The men who took us into the City of Mexico then are the same men who are keeping us out of Richmond now.”

In the Name of the Duke of Argyll

On the dark nights of winter, when folks circle round the cheery fire, and by turns amuse or frighten each other with legendary lore and ghost stories, there is one name which hardly ever fails to make the listener’s blood creep, even if it does not cause his hair to to stand on end—and that name is bogie. When in the Western Highlands, I was told a story which curiously exemplified the popular belief in the power of the Duke of Argyll. A Highlander was benighted on the moors, when suddenly he saw a light, which at first he imagined to be one of those two stars called by the Argyllshire men ton-theine, “fiery-tail,” and iùl-oidhche, “guide of night.” But he soon found that he was mistaken, for the light began to dance before him, being nothing more than the ignis fatuus, will-o’-the-wisp. The Highlander, however, concluded it to be a bogle, and, falling upon his knees, he prayed to Peter and Paul and the Virgin that it might disappear. But, instead of doing so, it danced before him in a more lively style than ever. Driven to an extremity, the Highlander then used to it the strongest form of adjuration of which he could think, and bade it get out of his path in the name of the Duke of Argyll. The charm was sufficient, the bogle instantly disappeared, and the Highlander got safely home.

Bede Cuthbert, Argyll’s Highlands, Glasgow, 1902.

No Tragick Story

Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll, with his second wife Anna; unknown artist; National Portrait Gallery, London.
Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll, with his second wife Anna; unknown artist; National Portrait Gallery, London.


Thou Passenger, that shalt have so much time
To view my grave, and ask what was my crime,—
No stain of error, no black vice’s brand,
Was that which chas’d me from my native land.
Love to my country,—twice sentenced to die,—
Constrained my hands forgotten arms to try.
More by friends’ fraud my fall proceeded hath
Than foes, tho’ now they thrice decreed my death.
On my attempt, tho’ providence did frown,
His oppress’d people God at length shall own.
Another hand, by more successful speed,
Shall raise the remnant, bruise the serpent’s head.
Tho my head fall, that is no tragick story,
Since going hence, I enter endless glory.

Kintyre Prophecy

When the mole shall reach the Mull: when the thorn tree near Inveraray shall be destroyed; when a road shall be made throughout the country; when bells shall ring from a rock in Loch Fyne; when Strone Point, near Inveraray, shall be covered with wood, high enough to conceal an invading army: and when the Atlantic shall flow into Loch Fyne, then shall the Argyll Campbells be driven from Cantire, excepting so many of them as shall escape on a crooked and lame white horse.

Prophecy of Niven MacVicar, first Reformed minister of Inveraray and reputed seer, regarding the extermination of the Campbell power from Kintyre, as quoted in Bede Cuthbert, Argyll’s Highlands, Glasgow, 1902.

A Happie Harmonie

Archibald Campbell, MacCailein Mòr Gilleasbaig Fiar-shùileach, 1st (and only) Marquess of Argyll, by David Scougall.
Archibald Campbell, MacCailein Mòr Gilleasbaig Fiar-shùileach, 1st (and only) Marquess of Argyll, by David Scougall.

Argyll, I am informed that one Lietennant Colonell Stewart imployed heere (as it is sayd) by the Earle of Montrose, hes deponed something of his dealing with Traquaire, and that by him I should haue giuen asseurance of disposing of some vacant Places, to such persones as was joined in a laite Band with the E. of Montrose, thereby insinuating that my jurnie to Scotland was onlie desyred and procured by Montrose and Traquaire, and lykewais that my intent there in is rather to make and forder parties, then to receaue from, and giue contentment to my Subjects: Now since that (by the grace of God) I haue resolued of my jurnie to Scotland it makes me the more curius, that my actions and intentions, be not misconceaued by my subjects there: Therefore in the first place, I thinke fitt to tell you that I intend my jurnie to Scotland for the satling of the affaires of that Kingdome, according to the Articles of the Treatie, and in such a way as may establish the affections of my People fully to me; and I am so far from intending diuision, by my jurnie, that I meane, so to establishe Peace in State, and Religion in the Churche, that there may be a happie harmonie amongst my Subjects there: Secondlie I neuer made anie particular promis, for the disposing of anie places in that Kingdome, but meanes to dispose them, for the best aduantadge of my seruice, and therein I hope to giue satisfaction to my Subjects: And as for my Letter to Muntrose, I doe auow it, as fitt for me to wryte, bothe for the matter and the person to whome it is written, who for anie thing I yet know, is no wais unworthie of such a fauor: Thus hauing cleered my intentions to you as my particular seruant, I expect, that as occasion may serue, you may helpe to cleere those mistakes of me which upon this occasion may aryse: Lastlie, for the preparations for my cuming home I doe rather mention it, to show the constant resolution of my jurnie, then in anie dout of your diligence therein: and so I rest

Your asseured frend



Letters to the Argyll Family, Edinburgh: T. Constable, 1839.