‹‹‹ prev (30)

(32) next ›››

painful spectacle. Thus died this noble witness for the truth, who
has left a savour of his name in this town and elsewhere, that will
make it not soon forgotten. Another auxiliary of the reform cause,
a native of this town, was James Wedderburne, brother of John,
Vicar of Dundee, under the monks of Lindores, who wrote two
ilramas, in which he exposed with cutting severity the corruptions of
Christianity by Popery, and the corrupt and fraudulent practices
of the clergy. The one was a comedy, the subject of which was
Dionysius the tyrant, the other a tragedy on the beheading of John
the Baptist. Both were performed here about the year 1540, and
contributed much to the alienation of the minds of the people from
the established faith and hierarchy, and provoked the rage of the
latter against the Reformers. Besides these dramas, the Wedder-
burnes, three brothers, who were all possessed of poetic gifts, wrote
*' Gude and godlie ballits," containing bitter satires on the clergy,
which became popular among the people and of ready application.
Rude as these compositions might seem to modern taste, they were,
not without merit, and were productive of the most powerful and salu-
tary effects at the time, — fully justifying the sentiment, uttered by
Fletcher of Saltoun in the succeeding century, " Give me the making
■of a people's songs, and I will give you the making of their laws.''
For the writing of these " Gude and godlie ballits," the Wedderburnes
were subjected to much persecution. The second brother, abjuring
the established faith, had to flee to Germany, and the third, John,
relinquishing the vicarage of Dundee, went to Paris, where he re-
mained in company with many of the most distinguished Reformers
till the death of Cardinal Beaton, Calderwood says, " He turned the
tunes and tenor of many profane ballads into godly songs and hymiib',
which were called the " Psalms of Dundee," whereby he stirred up
the atfections of many. About this time (the death of Beaton), the
town being threatened with an assault by the English forces, under
the Duke of Somerset, on the order of the Lords of Secret Council,
three hundred infantry were raised for its defence, and equipped at
the expense of the superior clergy and the inhabitants, at a cost of
L.1200, with the addition of a hundred horsemen, furnished by the
shires of Perth, Angus, and Mearns. In terms of the same order, a
hundred men were raised in town to attend the Laird of Dun, who, with
the townspeople, were appointed to keep watch and M^ard against the
invaders. A detachment was also placed under the Provost, James
Hallyburton, who united his force with the troops of Captain Lear-
c 2

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence