- Written by Peter Burnett Peter Burnett
Isabel Macduff, the caged lady of Buchan, and sister of the Earl of Fife, who was also attached to the cause of King Robert the Bruce, was the subject of a well-known Buchan verse.
The honour of placing the Scottish crown upon the head of the sovereign belonged of hereditary right to her brother, who was very much agin the Bruce and the Bruce cause; and so when Robert the Bruce was crowned at Scone, he abandoned this distinguishing privelge on behalf of his family.
Determined that none but a Macduff should carry out this immense task, she departed for Scone, but arrived too late for the ceremony, although two days later she was permitted to take part ina private ceremony at which she redubbed him King by raising the crown to his brow.
Soon after this she fell into the hands of King Edward and was kept prisoner in a room of stout lattice-work at Berwick Castle for seven years, an illustration of the frightful character of Edward.
The Caged Lady of Buchan
(Three verses from)
Lady! what cruel doom is thine,
Like tamless monster, caged, to pine
Through the sweet prime of age!
Could aught but lust for power, and pride,
Have shaped this death-through years to bide-
To glut a tyrant's rage?
Thy recreant brother, Fife's proud heir,
Had he possessed the sould to dare
Not England's king to fear,
How great had he been in the deed
Which gave the Bruce his rightful meed!
Then-hadst thou not been here!
Then hie thee, stranger! tell my foes
That Isabel, 'mid all her throes,
Is high of heart, and leal;
Mothers henceforth shall proudly tell
How caged and prison'd Isabel
Did serve her country's weal!
The image shows the remains of Berwick Castle, which you'll pass on the east coast train to Scotland.