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ATHIRCO.

THEN was his sonne Athirco elected by the generall voices of all the estates, who in the beginning of his reigne shewed himselfe verie sober, gentle, courteous, and friendlie of behaaiour, exercising himselfe in all laudable pastimes conuenient for his estate, and herewith he was so frée and liberall towards all men, that he wan him woonderfull much praise and loue amongest his people. But these his noble vertues increased not in him togither with his age, but contrarilie decaied, in such sort, that after he had reigned eight yéeres, he was quite
Athirco changed in conditions from good to bad. altered: in place of liberalitie, imbracing auarice: for courtesie and amiable countenance, he vsed sterne and loftie lookes: for commendable exercises, he gaue himselfe wholie to filthie pleasures and sensuall lusts of the bodie: and such as could further his purpose most in these his beastlie affections, he cherished and had them most in estimation, not regarding at all the Athirco regardeth not his nobles. nobilitie of his realme, but was as readie to wrong them by vilanous iniurie, as he was anie other of the lowest and meanest degrée.

It chanced that a noble man in Argile (being one of no small authoritie amongst the The vilanous act of Athirco in abusing a noble mans daughters. people of that countrie) named Natholocus, had two fairc yoong gentlewomen to his daugnters: now the king being verie desirous to satisfie his lust vpon them, forced them both the one after the other, and not so content, deliuered them afterwards to be abused in semblable sort by his pages and seruants. The father vnderstanding this vilanie doone to his daughters, by their owne lamentable complaint, sent for his friends, and opening vnto them the whole matter, he required their assistance. They being in a woonderfull furie to heare of such an The kinsmen and friends of the gentlewomen conspire against Athirco. iniurie doone to their bloud, promised in reuenge therof to spend life, lands & goods, and foorthwith departing in sunder, they prepared themselues to assemble their powers, procuring a great number of other noble men to ioine with them in so necessarie an enterprise, as to rid the countrie of such a catife wretch, respecting nothing but the satisfieng of his filthie carnall lusts, and the accomplishment of his most beastlie appetites.

When they were once got togither in a companie, they marched forth towards Dunstafage, where they vnderstood that the king as then did soiourne, a great multitude of people still resorting vnto them by the waie, after it was once knowne whereabo they went. Athirco hearing of their approch, called togither his power, supposing at the first to haue beaten downe his enimies; but when he had throughlie weied the matter, and considered of what force and Athirco doubting to be forsaken of his owne men if it came to the triall of battel conueied himselfe from among them. Athirco slaeth himselfe. 242 H. B. Doorus the brother of Athirco conueieth himself out of the way. Natholocus séeketh the life of Doorus. power they were, & how feeble his part was through want of good wils in his people, he priuilie stole awaie from them, and would haue passed ouer into Ila, one of the westerne Iles, to haue procured some succor there, but being imbarked and set from the shore, he was by contrarie winds driuen backe againe to land, where doubting to come into his enimies hands, he chose rather to slea himselfe, and so ended his wretched life in such miserable extremitie after he had reigned the space of 12 yéeres. His reigne continued till the daies of the emperor Gordian the third, or (as others saie) till the time of the emperor Valerian. But as William Harison hath gathered, he reigned in the daies of the emperor Aurelius Claudius. Doorus the brother of Athirco vnderstanding of the death of his brother, disguised himselfe in beggers weed for doubt of death, and went into Pictland with thrée of his nephues, sonnes to the same Athirco, whose names were Sindocke, Carance, and Donald.

Howbeit, Natholocus hauing knowledge whither he was fled, sent forth certeine of his seruants, with commandement to search him out, commanding furthermore verie streictlie, that if they found him, they should dispatch him out of life, for feare of further mischeefe. But they that were sent, finding one in all features and proportion of bodie resembling Doorus, slue the one in stead of the other, and so returning home to their maister, they made him verie ioifull of the newes, although indéed they came not néere to Doorus. Then Natholocus causing the estates of the realme to assemble, he handled the matter in such wise, by disuading them to choose any of Athircos bloud to reigne ouer them (for doubt least they should séeke any meanes how to reuenge his death) that in the end this Natholocus was elected himselfe, Natholocus is chosen to be king. more by force than by anie common consent of the nobles: for diuers of them doubting the craftie nature, which they knew to be in him, wished rather that the issue of Athirco (hauing deserued nothing why to be defrauded of the kingdom, saue onlie in respect of the fathers offenses) might haue inioied that which of right they ought to haue had, that is, either one of them to be king, or else some néere kinsman of theirs to reigne as king, till the eldest of them might come to sufficient yeares to beare the rule himselfe.

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