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from the monastery for weeks at a time, dwelling and preaching in the remote solitudes of the Border hills. And it was his habit “to frequent most those places, to preach most in those villages which lay far in the high and rugged mountains, which others feared to visit, and which by their poverty and barbarism repelled the approach of teachers.” 1

The zealous preacher must have penetrated well into the wilds of Tweedsmuir, for there, by one of its most solitary mountain burns, remains at least the name of Chapel Kingledoors, founded by him, or, soon after his death in 687, dedicated to his memory. When we come downwards in the centuries to the days of charter evidence, we find attached to a very early document, of the year 1200, the name of Cristin, Heremita (hermit) of Kingledoors, one who apparently devoted himself to study or teaching, after the Columban fashion, in that sequestered country. The spot made sacred by St Cuthbert had thus preserved its sanctity for nearly six hundred years, until the rise of the parochial system. His memory was further preserved in the churches of Glenholm and Drummelzier, which were dedicated to him.

Cuthbert subsequently became Prior, and then Bishop of Lindisfarne. Marmion has made us all acquainted with Saint Cuthbert's miracles, and the changes of his resting-place. He was buried, first of all, in Lindisfarne, in 687, but the descent of the Danes in 793, who nearly destroyed the monastery, made the monks flee to Scotland

1 Beda, Hist. Eccles., iv. c. 27, quoted by C. Innes, Early Scottish History.

? Divise de Stobbo, Reg. Glasg., i. No. 104.

with the body of the Saint. After carrying about the body for seven years without finding a satisfactory resting-place, they brought it to Melrose, where the Saint had spent his early years. After remaining at Melrose for a short time, intimation was made to the monks of the will of the deceased bishop, that he should be launched upon the Tweed in a stone coffin. The coffin, according to the legend, floated down the stream with the relics, and landed at the mouth of the dark and sluggish Till as it joins the Tweed. There, in a small chapel, it found a temporary resting-place. He was finally buried in the eastern extremity of the choir of Durham Cathedral. The tomb was opened in 1827, 1139 years after his death.

“ Nor did Saint Cuthbert's daughters fail

To vie with these in holy tale ;
His body's resting place, of old,
How oft their patron changed, they told;
How, when the rude Dane burned their pile,
The monks fled forth from Holy Isle ;
O’er northern mountain, marsh, and moor,
From sea to sea, from shore to shore,
Seven years Saint Cuthbert's corpse they bore.
They rested them in fair Melrose ;

But though, alive, he loved it well,
Not there his relics might repose;

For, wondrous tale to tell !
In his stone coffin forth he rides,
A ponderous bark for river tides,
Yet light as gossamer it glides,

Downward to Tilmouth cell.” 1

His intense activity continued apparently after his final burial, for we are told

1 Marmion, c. ii. s. 14.

“ Fain Saint Hilda's nuns would learn If on a rock by Lindisfarne Saint Cuthbert sits, and toils to frame The sea-born beads that bear his name: Such tales had Whitby's fishers told, And said they might his shape behold,

And hear his anvil sound;
A deaden'd clang-a huge dim form,
Seen but, and heard, when gathering storm

And night were closing round.
But this, as tale of idle fame,
The nuns of Lindisfarne disclaim.” 1

i Marmion, c. ii. s. 16.

224

CHAPTER IX.

MERLIN.

The grave

It is at the great epoch of 573—the consolidation of the Cymri into the kingdom of Strathclyde

that a figure flits before us, shadowy indeed, yet apparently real, leaving a name around which are associated early myth and mediæval romance as richly as around that of Arthur himself-I mean the weird Merlin.

of Merlin, bard, seer, enchanter, wizard, is still pointed out on the bank of the Powsail Burn, the burn of the willows, near where it joins the Tweed below Drummelzier kirk. The tradition is that in his later days he lived a wandering life on the wild hills of the Wood of Caledon in Upper Tweeddale, until he met his death under the clubs and stones of the shepherds of Meldred, a regulus or princeling of the district.

A careful examination of the poems in the Four Ancient Books of Wales, and of the subsequent historians and romances, have led me to the following as the historical view of this potent and mysterious personage. There were apparently at least two men of the name Merlin. The earlier of the two was called Merlin

Ambrosius, Aurelius Ambrosius, Myrdin Emrys. By some he was identified with Vortimer, the son of Vortigern, by others with Uther Pendragon. He, like the second Merlin, was reputed a wizard, born of a virgin and a spirit of the air. To this Merlin, Vortigern is said to have given up a city on the summit of Snowdon, and all the provinces of the west part of Britain, so that he became “rex magnus inter reges Britanniæ.” Historically, he seems to have been a Guledig or leader of the Britons.

But the Merlin of Upper Tweeddale is a somewhat later and a different personage. He was called by the Welsh Myrdin Wyllt, or Merlin the Wild, Merlinus Sylvestris, or Woodland Merlin, and Merlinus Caledonius. He was reputed the son of Morvryn, and he had a sister Gwendydd, a name meaning the Dawn, whiteness, or purity, and redolent of the nature-worship and the poetry of the time. I see no reason whatever for supposing that the name Merlin did not refer to a real person or persons more than that the other names of the time were purely fictitious, even such as Ninian, Kentigern, or Columba. Direct evidence of a personality corresponding to the name will appear as we proceed; but I cannot concur in the opinion that there was but one person of the name, and that the same man who was contemporary with Aurelius Ambrosianus was also present at the battle of Ardderyd in 573. This, however, is the opinion of the Count Hersart de la Villemarqué in his very interesting book on Myrddhin or Merlin.

But apart from other considerations, this seems to me impossible on the ground of the dates alone. Aurelius Ambrosianus comes into

VOL. I.

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