Friday, July 8, 2011

Alexander II's Tomb


"In the chancel Miss Scott [Walter’s daughter Sophia], a very charming, lively girl of seventeen, pointed out to us 'The Wizard's Grave,'and then the black stone in the form of a coffin, to which the allusion is made in the poem, 'A Scottish monarch sleeps below,'--said to be the tomb of Alexander II. 'But I will tell you a secret,' she half whispered;'only don't you tell Johnnie Bower. There is no Scottish monarch there at all, nor anybody else, for papa had the stone taken up, not long ago, and no coffin nor anything was to be found. And then Johnnie came and begged me not to tell people so. "For what wull I do, Miss Scott, when I show the ruins, if I canna point to this bit, and say,'A Scottish monarch sleeps below'?"' As, however, he had the pleasure of saying this to us the evening before, Miss Scott thought we might fairly have her secret....

Alexander II died on July 8, 1249.  The text above is from John Gibson Lockhart’s “Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott”, and describes a visit the Scott’s made to Melrose Abbey, where Alexander is said to be buried.  The visit took place in 1817.

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