صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

presume, when he was created into that dignity with great pomp (1601) at Holy-Rood House. To the original Sword and Imperial Crown which he hore in an Inescocheon with a Tressure, was added a Blazing Star of Twelve Points, with this new Motto, "Intaminatis fulget honoribus *," expressive of the unshaken Loyalty of the Family, which the last Peer unhappily forgot, and forfeited in the Rebellion 1/15.

The Slughorn of the Family is Set on f, which, by amplification, I apprehend, means Set upon your Enemy, as an incitement to ardour; and is rather analogous to the Motto Think on, of the Lord Kirkcudbright, before-mentioned.

Bruce, Earl of Elgin. This, and other Branches of that ancient and once Kingly Family, has, for its Motto, "Fuimus," alluding strongly to their having been formerly in possession of the Crown of Scotland. The Crest is likewise denotative of Royal pretensions, viz. "A Hand holding a Sceptre." Something, however, is worth observing in several of the subordinate Branches, more distant from the original Stock, where one may discern the gradual dispirited declension of the Family, in point of Regal claims. One private House, indeed, bears the Lion Rampant in the Arms, and likewise the Crest, and the Motto of the Peer. Another descendant drops the Lion in the Arms, and only bears for Crest, "A Hand holding a Sword," with this modest Motto, "Venture forward?' A third seems to give up all for lost, by the Crest, viz. "^4 Setting Sun," with this Motto, "Irrevocable;" while a fourth appears to relinquish a Temporal for the hope of an Eternal Crown, by this Motto, "Spes mea superne. *

* Nisbet's Cadencies, p. 192. See also Douglas's Peerage.

t Douglas's Peerage, in the Arms.

Gordon, Duke of Gordon. The primitive Bearing of this Family was, "Azure, a Boar's Head couped, Or;" though at present it carries "Azure, Three Boars Heads couped, Or." The first is the more honourable Charge, as the Unit is always accounted in Heraldry preferable to Numbers, not only on account of its simplicity *, but in a religious sense (often couched in Armory), as it betokens God the Father, while the Charge of Three has the like reference to the Trinity. The traditional story, however, relating to the particular Coat Armour before us, is told by Douglas, in his Peerage of Scotland, to this effect; viz. that in the Reign of King Malcolm Canmore, in the eleventh century, a valiant Knight, of the name of Gordon, came into Scotland, but from whence is not said, and was kindly received by that Prince. The Knight, not long afterwards, killed a Wild Boar, which greatly infested the Borders f, when Malcolm gave him a grant of lands in the Shire of Berwick. These lands, according to the custom of those times, the Knight called Gordon, after his own name, and settled upon them, taking a Boars Head for his Armorial Ensign, in memory of his having killed "that monstrous animal *." This may seem a trivial reason in itself, but we have another similar tradition in the Arms of Forbes *.

* Nisbet's Heraldry, vol. I. p. 145.

* Nisbet's Heraldry.

t In rude times, such as those were of which we have been speaking, it was accounted an action of no small valour to kill so fierce an animal as a Wild Boar; being attended with considerable personal danger, for want of such weapons, offensive and defensive, as we have at present. On this account I may be excused bringing forward a parallel honour attending a circumstance of this sort, though I fetch it from the Hottentots, a people to whose very name we seem to have falsely annexed ideas, far from the truth, of every thing below the dignity of human nature, and placed them but one degree above the brute creation. On the contrary, they are represented by Kolben, who had opportunities of personal intercourse with them, and was well qualified to observe and reason upon what he saw, as a people much wronged by our unfavourable opinions of them. But to the point: their country appears to be, from its situation, exceedingly exposed to the incursions of the fiercest of beasts, lions and tigers; insomuch that a Hottentot who kills one of these animals with his own hand is deified, and his person held sacred ever after. * Douglas's Peerage, p. 295.

In process of time the Gordons, according to the practice in Heraldry, increased the number of Boars Heads to three, two and one; and thus they continue to be borne at this day, with proper differences; one of which, being particular, I shall mention, viz. Gordon, Earl of Ahoyne. The reference contained in the Motto of this Branch seems merely to be confined to the Cheveron placed between the Boars Heads, in these words, "Stant ccetera Tigno," which last word is the acknowledged Latin word for the Cheveron\. This is, perhaps, the greatest compliment ever paid to the Cheveron, which is accounted one of the humblest Charges known, in Heraldic language, by the name of Ordinaries.

Thus much for the Arms of the Duke of Gordon, and for what has been said both of

* Nisbet's Heraldry, p. 327.

t Gibbon's In trod, ad Latinam Blazoniam. See also Nisbet's Heraldry, p. 316.

« السابقةمتابعة »