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of her long sorrows and imprisonment; but expressed the deepest thankfulness to God, that, being now about to die for her religion, she was permitted, before this company, to testify that she died a Catholic, and innocent of having invented any plot, or consented to any practices against the Queen's life. I will here,' said she, ‘in my last moments, accuse no one; but when I am gone, much will be discovered that is now hid, and the objects of those who have procured my death be more clearly disclosed to the world.'
The Dean of Peterborough then prayed in English, being joined by the noblemen and gentlemen who were present; whilst Mary, kneeling apart, repeated portions of the Penitential Psalms in Latin, and afterwards continued her prayers aloud in English. By this time, the Dean having concluded, there was a deep silence, so that every word was heard. Amid this stillness, she recommended to God his afflicted Church, her son, the king of Scotland, and Queen Elizabeth. She declared that her whole hope rested on her Saviour; and, although she confessed that she was a great sinner, she humbly trusted that the blood of that Immaculate Lamb, which had been shed for all sinners, would wash all her guilt away. She then invoked the Blessed Virgin and all the saints, imploring them to grant her their prayers with God; and finally declared that she forgave all her enemies. It was impossible for any one to behold her at this moment without being deeply affected; on her knees, her hands clasped together and raised to Heaven, an expression of adoration and divine serenity lighting up her features, and upon her lips the words of forgiveness to her persecutors. As she finished her devotions she kissed the crucifix, and, making the sign of the cross, exclaimed in a clear, sweet voice, 'As thine arms, O my God, were spread out upon the cross, so receive me within the arms of thy mercy: extend thy pity, and forgive my sins !' She then cheerfully suffered herself to be undressed by her two women, Jane Kennedy and Elizabeth Carle, and gently admonished them not to distress her by their tears and lamentations; putting her finger on her lips, and bidding them remember that she had promised for them. On seeing the executioner come up to offer his assistance, she smiled, and playfully said she had neither been used to such grooms of the chamber, nor to undress before so
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many people. When all was ready she kissed her two
Percy fee in Craven, circa temp. Rich. II.
and Wensladale. From the Midstake to a certain Pyke there, and from thence to Piglerd hill, to the Midcause stone, then to the Gavel nabb and sic, lineallye to ye height of Setterynset, as the heaven and water divide it betwixt the foresaid Lord Pearcy and the Lord of Westmoreland, of the forest of Langstrothdale and Bishopdale. From ye height of Setterynsett to Camfell End, to the Howrd house of Cam, to the Shorn crosse, to Ketelwell crosse, and from Ketelwell: crosse to a Keld Head in Wipartine close, and from that Keld Head to Crowne crosse, as heaven and water divide it betwixt the Lo’pp of Starbotton and Kettlewell. And from Crowne crosse to Litton crosse to the height of Swarthken, thence to the hill of Penaygent and to Swarthgill; from Swarthgill to the Meer Syke at ye West end of Greenfield Knot, and from the Meer Syke to Toghwoodshaw to Stanepapane, and from Stanepapane to the Cold Keld, as it falls into Lumbecke, betwix the Lord Pearcy and the Lord Mowbray, as by ye feyth of ye men, and ye Wa'd of ye Forest of Littondale ys ye afors'd L'd Pearcy. Waifs and strayes, and bloodwytes, and ye gift of ye office, bee ye Lord Pearcy. And the house of Fountains pained their waifes, and ye Lord shal hold a Court once a year at ye old Wald in bent of Litton, for all the forfeits afores'd.”
Superstitions. p. 263. It was an elf which, in Robert of Gloucester, is said to have been the father of the far-famed Merlin; and when king Vortiger inquired of his sages what kind of being it might be, they said (ed. Heame, p. 130.) :
That ther beth in the cir an hey, fer fro the gronde
That men cleputh eluene. In Gervase of Tilbury, and the Cambrian Giraldus, we find mentioned the spirits which dwelt in the wild woods and the waters, the dragons and the merwomen, the elves which entered people's houses and carried off the new-born children from their cradles to be denizens of the land of faery; the domestic elves, the dwarfs which laboured zealously in the service of the family to which they had attached themselves, and those “mad-merry
sprites whose joy was in playing mirthful tricks on the deluded peasantry. The elves have always had a country and dwellings under ground as well as above ground; and in several parts of England, the belief that they descended to their subterraneous abodes through the barrows which cover the bones of our forefathers is still preserved. There were other ways, however, of approaching the elve's country, and one of the commonest was by openings in the rocks and caverns. The great cave of the peak of Derby, was a celebrated road thither, and Gervase of Tilbury, has preserved a tale how William Peverell's swine-herd ventured once to descend it in search of a brood-sow; and how he found beneath, a rich and cultivated country, and reapers cutting the corn.
The communication, however, has long been stopped up; and those who go now to explore the wonders of the cavern, find their progress stayed by the firm impenetrable rock.
See an article on The National Fairy Mythology of England, in Fraser's Magazine for July, 1834.