There’s a Youth in This City

There’s a youth in this city, it were a great pity
That he from the lasses should wander awa’;
For he’s bonie an braw, weel-favor’d with a’,
An’ his hair has a natural buckle an’ a’.

His coat is the hue o’ his bonnet sae blue,
His fecket is white as the new-driven snaw,
His hose they are blae, and his shoon like the slae,
And his clear siller buckles, they dazzle us a’.

For beauty and fortune the laddie’s been courtin;
Weel-featur’d, weel-tocher’d, weel-mounted, an’ braw,
But chiefly the siller that gars him gang till her –
The penny’s the jewel that beautifies a’!

There’s Meg wi’ the mailen, that fain wad a haen him.
And Susie, wha’s daddie was laird of the Ha’,
There’s lang-tocher’d Nancy maist fetters his fancy;
But the laddie’s dear sel he loes dearest of a’.

— Robert Burns.

Judith viii. 27.

[…] [B]ut the Lord doth scourge them that come near unto him, to admonish them.

Napoleon of the Stump

James K. Polk, 11th President of the United States.

In 1844, the Democrats were split
The three nominees for the presidential candidate
Were Martin Van Buren, a former president and an abolitionist
James Buchanan, a moderate
Lewis Cass, a general and expansionist
From Nashville came a dark horse riding up
He was James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

Austere, severe, he held few people dear
His oratory filled his foes with fear
The factions soon agreed
He’s just the man we need
To bring about victory
Fulfill our manifest destiny
And annex the land the Mexicans command
And when the poll was cast, the winner was
Mister James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

In four short years he met his every goal
He seized the whole Southwest from Mexico
Made sure the tariffs fell
And made the English sell the Oregon Territory
He built an independent treasury
Having done all this he sought no second term
But precious few have mourned the passing of
Mister James K. Polk, our eleventh president
Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump

— They Might Be Giants, James K. Polk (1996).


Recantation of The Maid

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII in the Cathedral of Reims. 1854. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.

“They said to me: … (In the margin, the Registrar has written against this answer: “Responsio mortifera.”) ‘God had sent me word by St. Catherine and St. Margaret of the great pity it is, this treason to which I have consented, to abjure and recant in order to save my life! I have damned myself to save my life!’ Before last Thursday, my Voices did indeed tell me what I should do and what I did on that day. When I was on the scaffold on Thursday, my Voices said to me, while the preacher was speaking: ‘Answer him boldly, this preacher!’ And in truth he is a false preacher; he reproached me with many things I never did. If I said that God had not sent me, I should damn myself, for it is true that God has sent me; my Voices have said to me since Thursday: ‘You have done a great evil in declaring that what you have done was wrong.’ All I said and revoked, I said for fear of the fire.”

“Do you believe that your Voices are Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret?”

“Yes, I believe it, and that they come from God.”

“Tell us the truth on the subject of this crown which is mentioned in your Trial.”

“In everything, I told you the truth about it in my Trial, as well as I know.”

“On the scaffold, at the moment of your abjuration, you did admit before us, your Judges, and before many others, in presence of all the people, that you had untruthfully boasted your Voices to be Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret?”

“I did not intend so to do or say. I did not intend to deny my apparitions that is to say, that they were Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret; what I said was from fear of the fire: I revoked nothing that was not against the truth. I would rather do penance once for all — that is die — than endure any longer the suffering of a prison. I have done nothing against God or the Faith, in spite of all they have made me revoke. What was in the schedule of abjuration I did not understand. I did not intend to revoke anything except according to God’s good pleasure. If the Judges wish, I will resume a woman’s dress; for the rest, I can do no more.”

Folio 34 Recto

Folio 34 recto from the Book of Kells; Chi-Rho page; introducing St. Matthew’s account of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lasting Evidences of Petty Regality

Map depicting general clan territories.

In the Highlands, some great lords had an hereditary jurisdiction over counties; and some chieftains over their own lands; till the final conquest of the Highlands afforded an opportunity of crushing all the local courts, and of extending the general benefits of equal law to the low and the high, in the deepest recesses and obscurest corners.

While the chiefs had this resemblance of royalty, they had little inclination to appeal, on any question, to superior judicatures. A claim of lands between two powerful lairds was decided like a contest for dominion between sovereign powers. They drew their forces into the field, and right attended on the strongest. This was, in ruder times, the common practice, which the kings of Scotland could seldom control.

Even so lately as in the last years of King William, a battle was fought at Mull Roy, on a plain a few miles to the south of Inverness, between the clans of Mackintosh and Macdonald of Keppoch. Col. Macdonald, the head of a small clan, refused to pay the dues demanded from him by Mackintosh, as his superior lord. They disdained the interposition of judges and laws, and calling each his followers to maintain the dignity of the clan, fought a formal battle, in which several considerable men fell on the side of Mackintosh, without a complete victory to either. This is said to have been the last open war made between the clans by their own authority.

The Highland lords made treaties, and formed alliances, of which some traces may still be found, and some consequences still remain as lasting evidences of petty regality. The terms of one of these confederacies were, that each should support the other in the right, or in the wrong, except against the king.

– Samuel Johnson, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775).

Theft of the Book of Kells

The theft (and eventual recovery less its golden cover) of the Book of Kells is recorded in the Annals of Ulster under the year A.D. 1007.

* * *

The Great Gospel of Colum Cille was wickedly stolen by night from the western sacristy in the great stone church of Cenannas. It was the most precious object of the western world on account of the human ornamentation (?). This Gospel was recovered after two months and twenty nights, its gold having been taken off it and with a sod over it.

Annals of Ulster, U1007.11.

Glamis Manse Stone

The front of the Glamis Manse Stone with an intricately carved Celtic cross.

The Glamis Manse Stone, also known as Glamis 2, is a Class II Pictish stone at the village of Glamis, Angus, Scotland. Dating from the IX Century, it is located outside the Manse, close to the parish church. It is inscribed on one side with a Celtic cross and on the other with a variety of Pictish symbols.

The stone is a cross-slab 9 ft. 1 in. high, 4 ft. 11 in. wide and 9.4 inches thick. The slab is pedimented and carved on the cross face in relief, and the rear face bears incised symbols. It falls into John Romilly Allen and Joseph Anderson’s classification system as a Class II stone.

The cross face bears a Celtic cross carved in relief with ogee armpits. It has an incised ring and the shaft and roundel are decorated with knotwork interlace designs, with the arms and portion above the roundel holding zoomorphic interlaces. The cross is surrounded by incised symbols and figural representations. In the lower left-hand quadrant is depiction of two bearded, long-haired men apparently fighting with axes. Above them is what appears to be a cauldron with human legs dangling out of it. The lower right-hand quadrant holds what appears to be either a deer or a hound’s head, similar to symbols found on the Monifieth 2 stone, above a triple disc symbol. The top right quadrant holds a centaur holding a pair of axes. The top left quadrant holds what has been interpreted as a lion.

Since at least the XIV Century, tradition has identified the Glamis Manse Stone as the tombstone of King Malcolm II of Scots who died 25 November 1034.

A plate depicting the Glamis Manse Stone and describing it as the tombstone of King Malcolm II of Scots.

The reverse side of the slab bears three incised symbols: a serpent above a fish, with a mirror at the bottom.

The reverse side of the Glamis Manse Stone.

But Lyke a Christmas Game

Book of Common Prayer. London: Richard Grafton, 8 March 1549.

We will not receive the new service, because it is but like a Christmas game; but we will have our old service of Mattins, Mass, Evensong and procession in Latin, not in English.

—  Parishioners of Sampford Courtenay in Devon, Whitsunday, 1549.

Book of Durrow: Folio 125 Verso

Folio 125 verso from the Book of Durrow; carpet page.


Folio 40 Verso

Folio 40 verso of the Book of Kells; The Beatitudes.