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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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Regent Morion and the Church—Davidson's Satirical Poems on Morton and the Church—His Trial and Sentence—Hiding in the West of Scotland
—Flying to England—Confined to Edinburgh Castle—Principal Rutherford "ane cursit guse"—Davidson at Prestonpans—Appointed by the Presbytery of Haddington to Compile Prayers, &c. —His Prayers, etc., approved and sanctioned by the General Assembly—Samples of his Works
—Morning and Evening Prayers—Grace before and Thanks after Meat— An Address to his People at Salt Prestoun—Davidson's Catchism and opinions on it when published—The Old Manse—Memoirs of Elizabeth Wast—At Prestonpans Communion—Curious Stories—A Nobleman and his Foot—Origin of Yule and Christmas.

NOT the least of Davidson's literary qualifications, were his poetical abilities. His poems were gathered together by Maidment in 1829. and some fifty copies printed. Here we notice two curious poems of his, which serve to throw considerable light on the manners and transactions of his time.
The Regent Morton, with a view to securing for the use of the Court a large proportion of the " thirds of benefices, " had obtained in 1573 an order of the Privy Council for uniting two, three, and even four parishes under the care of one minister. As pluralities had always been condemned by the reforming ministers, and considered one of the worst abuses in the Popish Church, this Act excited great dissatisfaction. Davidson in a poem satirised the system bitterly. He was summoned, and sentence of imprisonment was pronounced upon him. He was liberated upon bail, in the hope that he might be prevailed upon to retract what he had written, or that the General Assembly might be induced to condemn it.
Finding that nothing short of recantation would save him from punishment, Davidson for a while lurked in the west of Scotland, then retired into England, from which he was not permitted to return during the Regent's lifetime.
Lekprevick, the printer, was also prosecuted, and confined for a time in the Castle of Edinburgh.
The following is a sample of one of the poems referred to. In this Rutherford, Principal of St Salvator's College, imagined he was disrespectfully alluded to as a " cursed goose ": —
" Thair is sum collages we ken,
Well foundit to uphold learnit men;
Amang the rest foundit we see
The teaching of Theoligie.
Lat anis the Counsell send and see
Gif their places weill gydit be,
And not abusit with waist rudis,
That dois nathing but spendis gudis,
That was made for that haly use,
And not to feid ane cursit guse. "
For the following dialogue poem, in which there are over one thousand lines, the genial author was bitterly persecuted: —
" Unto Dundie as I maid way,
Nocht lang afoir Sanctandrais day;
So Kinghorne ferrie passand ouir,
Into ye boit was thre or four,
Of gentill men as did appeir,
I said, Schires, is thair ony heir
Quhais journay lyis unto Dundie?
Twa of thame answerit curtaslie
We purpose nocht for to ga thidder,
Bot yit our gait will ly togidder,
Quhill we be pastit Kenewie.
Than I sail beir you companie,
Said I, and with that we did land,
Syne lap upon our horse fra hand,
And on our journay rudelie raid,
Thir twa unto Sanctandrais maid.
The tane of thame appearit to be
Ane cunning clerk of greit clergie,
Of visage grave and manneris sage,
His tongue weill taucht but all outrage.
Men micht have kend that he had bene
Quhair gude instructioun he had sene:
The uther did appeir to me
Ane cumlie courtioure to be,
Quha was perfyte and weill besene
In thingis that to this land pertene.
Be we had ridden half ane myle,
With myrrie. mowis passing the quhile
Thir twa of quhome befoir I spak
Of sindrie purposis did crak,
And enterit in among the rest
To speik how that the kirk was drest.
Forsooth schir, said the courteour,
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