Colville, Elizabeth (DNB00)
|←Colville, Charles||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 11
COLVILLE, ELIZABETH, Lady Colville of Culros (fl. 1603), poetess, is supposed to be identical with Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Melville of Halhil, author of 'Memoirs of his own Life' (Bannatyne Club). To this lady, who married John, eldest son of Alexander Colville (1530P-1597) [q.v.], commendator of Culros, Alexander Hume dedicated his 'Hymns, or Sacred Songs' (1599). In 1603 appeared a poem in ottava rima describing a dream in which the author seemed to descend into hell, and when all but dropping into the fire to be saved by Christ himself. The original title-page is as follows: 'Ane Godlie Dreame compylit in Scottish Meter be M.M., Gentil woman in Culros, at the requesst of her freindis,' Edinburgh, 1603. It will be observed that the initials are not E. M. but M. M. (explained as Mistress Melvill). By the death of his kinsman, the second lord Colvill of Culros, in 1640, John Colvill became of right the third lord, but did not assume the title. Hereldestson, Alexander [q.v.] (1620-1676), is separately noticed. Armstrong (Launcelot Temple) refers to a melody known as Lady Culross's dream as 'an old composition, now I am afraid lost; perhaps because it was almost too terrible for the ear' (Miscellanies (1770) on Vulgar Errors), and in 1859 Lady Lytton communicated to 'Notes and Queries' the fact that she had once possessed a ballad printed in the reign of Richard III in which the following couplet occurred:
It was fals Sir Gawyn's culp that faire Alice
now did seme
Like the ghast Ladye of Culrosse in her
wild shrieking dreme.
[Douglas's Peerage of Scotland, i. 355; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. viii. 247, 312.]