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FERGUSE.

AFTER him came th' administration of the realme vnto Ferguse the third, the sonne of
767. king Ethfine, in the yéere 767, who beinǵ established in the same, began fréelie to practise all kinds of vices, which most abundantlie reigned in him, howbeit till that day woonderfullie Ferguse the third created king. A wicked prince. dissembled and kept couert. He séemed to striue how to passe his predecessor in all points of wickednesse. He tooke no regard at all to the gouernement of his realme, but gaue himselfe to excessiue gluttonie, in deuouring of delicate meats and drinks, and therewith kept such a number of vile strumpets in house with him, whome hée vsed as concubines, that his wife was no better estéemed than as an handmaid, or rather a kitchenmaid. Who being a woman of great modestie, and sober aduisednesse, could not yet but take sore gréefe and indignation hereat: and therefore sundrie times assaied by way of wholesome persuasions, to turne his mind from such sinfull vsages and filthie trade of liuing.

Finallie, when she saw there was no hope to conuert his depraued mind, nor by anie meanes to reforme him, but that the more she laboured to doo good vpon him, the woorse he was, through verie displeasure of such iniuries as she dailie susteined at the hands of his concubines, shée found meanes to strangle him secretlie one night as he lay in bed, choosing K. Ferguse the third strangled by his wife. rather to be without a husband than to haue one that should deceiue hir of the right and dutie of mariage; and that in such sort, as she must be faine to suffer the reproch dailie before hir face, being misvsed of them whom he kept as paramours in most despitefull maner. The day after she wrought this feat, the bodie being found dead, was apparelled in funerall wise, and brought foorth vnto the place of iudgement, where inquisition was streictlie made what they were that had done so heinous a déed. For though there were but few that lamented his death, yet some of his friends were verie earnest to haue the matter tried foorth, that such as had committed the murther might suffer due punishment.

Manie were apprehended and had to the racke, but yet could none be found that would Suspicious persons are racked. confesse it. The quéene was void of all suspicion, as she that had béene taken for a woman at all times of great temperancie. But yet, when she heard that a number of innocent persons were tormented without desert, sore lamenting (as should appeare) their miserable case, she came hastilie into the iudgement hall, and getting hir aloft vpon the bench, there, in the presence of all the companie, she had these or the like words vnto the whole assemblie. "I know The quéene confessed the murther. not (good people) I know not what god mooueth me, or what diuine reuengement vexeth mée with sundrie thoughts and cogitations; that of all this day and morning preceding, I haue had neither rest in bodie nor mind. And verelie when I heard that certeine guiltlesse persons were cruellie tormented here in your presence; had not wrath giuen place, partlie vnto modestie, whereof I must confesse there is left but a small portion in me, I had foorthwith rid my selfe out of the way. The kings death was mine act. Conscience constreineth me (setting apart mine owne safegard) to confesse the truth, least the guiltlesse should wrong fullie perish: therfore vnderstand ye for truth, that none of them whom ye haue examined are priuie to the offense. I verelie am she, that with these wicked hands haue strangled this night last past Ferguse, about whose death I sée you in trouble, moued so to doo with two as sharpe pricks as may rest in a woman, to wit, impatient forbearing of carnall lust, & irefull wrath. Ferguse by his continuall vsing of concubines, kept from me the due debt that the husband oweth to the wife: wherevpon when there was no hope to reconcile him with often aduertisements, vehement force of anger rising in my hart, droue me to doo so wicked a déed. I thought rather therefore to dispatch the adulterer, than (being destitute of my husband, & defrauded of all quéenelie honor) to liue still subiect to the perpetuall iniuries of such lewd She giueth hir owne sentence. women as he kept & vsed in my stead. Loose yée therefore those that be accused of the kings death, & as for me ye shall not néed to procéed against me as guiltie of the crime by order of law: for I that was so bold to commit so heinous an act, will accordingly doo execution vpon my selfe euen here incontinentlie in presence of you all: what honor is due to the dead, looke you to that." ¶ Hauing thus made an end of hir tale, she plucked forth a knife which she The quéene taketh execution of hir self. had hid vnder hir gowne, and stroke hirselfe to the heart with the same, falling dead vpon it downe to the ground. All such as were present woondered greatlie at hir stout and hardie stomach, speaking diuerslie thereof, as some in praise, and some in dispraise of these hir monstruous dooings. The bodie of Ferguse was, caried foorth to the lle of Coimekill, and there buried in the third yéere after his entring into the gouernement, and in the yéere of our Lord 769. The quéens corps was not buried in sacred ground, for that she slue hirselfe.

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