The History of Leith

January 18, 2011

The School of War by Thomas Churchyard -The Siege of Leith

Thomas Churchyard, who accompanied the English army on the occasion which it celebrates, and who was present during the whole time the siege. We trust that the antiquity of the poem, and
the minuteness of the information which it affords, will be a sufficient apology, if apology, be necessary, for inserting a portion of it here. We pass over a good deal of preliminary and extraneous matter in
the poem, and begin with the 30th stanza, which announces the approach of the English army to Leith.
We must further observe, that we give those verses only where the subject is strictly in accordance with the object of this work, and therefore occasionally omit intermediate stanzas.

In shot of Leith, within Lastaricke, than We pitcht our campe, where canons cabins brake, And oft, by chaunce, it kild a horse or man; But no man would the campe therefore forsake:Sutch tennis-ballis did keep our men awake, And quicken those that were dull-sprited souls,And made some ladds to digg them depe in holes*
To save the ward from harme of enmyes shot
Ful many a trenclie did Pellam cause foe wrought
‘Loke what was meete, there was few things forgot
Our power so small, by every way we soughtTo kepe the same; but that availed nought:Some were so rude, they ran their death to seeke So this decreasit our number euery weeke.

A bishop came from France to treat a pease Muche talke there was, which tyme consumed But all this whyle the wars did nothing cease:To hunt our foes, we never wanted will. At length, vppon a rocke, a craggy hill, We plaest a piece, and in a trenche below, Was other, store of smaller shot also.
Forget riot here, the weather on the seas Would not permit the canons for to lande ; The longer here we lay, to our, disease.
For lacke thereof which: few do vnderstand; To lay a siege, or els our campe remoue, When mast things lackt, that was for our belioue.
Among our men, might Scottish vitlers haunt, Who, with the French, a treason tooke in liande ; ,
A wyfeu a queane, did make the French a graunt, Vpon this rocke, in sight of Leith, to stande,
And there to make a signe to Dozis band,
When tiiat tbe wards.were careless, and at reste Which, she did kepe,—herselte the same confest. The French came on, as they thus warned were; Lyke men of warre,they chose their, tyme ful well;
Our men start vp, amasde with Lsodayne ffeare; But what was best to do, they could not tell. Some loveing fame, his lyfe did dearly, sell;
Some hating death, did sone from danger shonne;
Some, past all shame, ful fast away did runne.

and so on

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