Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

Hall (Border Minstrelsy, vol. ii. p. 5), to claim the protection
of Auld Buccleuch"-and the ensuing scene (page 9).
"The Scotts they rade, the Scotts they ran,

Sae starkly and sae steadilie!

of the old feudal usages and institutions, he has shown still greater talent in engrafting upon those descriptions all the tender or magnanimous emotions to which the circumstances of the story naturally give rise. Without impairing the antique air of the whole piece, or violating the simplicity of the ballad style, he has contrived, in this way, to impart a much greater dignity and more powerful interest to his production, than could ever be obtained by the unskilful and unsteady Compare also the Ballad of Kinmont Willie (vol. ii. p. 53).

delineations of the old romancers. Nothing, we think, can afford a finer illustration of this remark, than the opening stanzas of the whole poem; they transport us at once into the days of knightly daring and feudal hostility, at the same time that they suggest, in a very interesting way, all those softer sentiments which arise out of some parts of the description." -JEFFREY.

1 See Appendix, Note B.

* See Appendix, Note C.

See Appendix, Note D, and compare these stanzas with the description of Jamie Telfer's appearance at Branksome.

And aye the ower-word o' the thrang
Was-Rise for Branksome readilie,'" &c.

"Now word is gane to the bauld keeper,

In Branksome ha' where that he lay," &c.-ED.

4 There are not many passages in English poetry more impressive than some parts of Stanzas vii. viii. ix.-JEFFREY. See Appendix, Note E.

• Edinburgh.

7 The war-cry, or gathering-word, of a Border clan.
See Appendix, Note F.

9 Orig. (1st Edition,) "The Ladye dropp'd nor sigh nor tear."

[blocks in formation]



"Arthur's slow wain his course doth roll,
In utter darkness round the pole;
The Nothern Bear lowers black and grim;
Orion's studded belt is dim;
Twinkling faint, and distant far,
Shimmers through mist each planet star;
Ill may I read their high decree!
But no kind influence deign they shower
On Teviot's tide, and Branksome's tower,
Till pride be quell'd, and love be free.".
the Ma

The unearthly voices ceast,

And the heavy sound was still; It died on the river's breast,

It died on the side of the hill. But round Lord David's tower

The sound still floated near; For it rung in the Ladye's bower, And it rung in the Ladye's ear. She raised her stately head,

And her heart throbb'd high with pride:"Your mountains shall bend,

And your streams ascend,

Ere Margaret be our foeman's bride!"


The Ladye sought the lofty hall,

Where many a bold retainer lay,
And, with jocund din, among them all,
Her son pursued his infant play.
A fancied moss-trooper,' the boy
The truncheon of a spear bestrode,
And round the hall, right merrily,
In mimic foray' rode.

Even bearded knights, in arms grown old,
Share in his frolic gambols bore,
Albeit their hearts, of rugged mould,
Were stubborn as the steel they wore.
For the gray warriors prophesied,

How the brave boy, in future war,
Should tame the Unicorn's pride,"

Exalt the Crescent and the Star.

[blocks in formation]


A stark moss-trooping Scott was he,
As e'er couch'd Border lance by knee:
Through Solway sands, through Tarras


Blindfold, he knew the paths to cross;
By wily turns, by desperate bounds,
Had baffled Percy's best blood-hounds;
In Eske or Liddel, fords were none,
But he would ride them, one by one'
Alike to him was time or tide,
December's snow, or July's pride:
Alike to him was tide or time,
Moonless midnight, or matin prime:
Steady of heart, and stout of hand,
As ever drove prey from Cumberland;
Five times outlawed had he been,

By England's King and Scotland's Queen.


"Sir William of Deloraine, good at need,
Mount thee on the wightest steed;
Spare not to spur, nor stint to ride,
Until thou come to fair Tweedside;
And in Melrose's holy pile

Seek thou the Monk of St. Mary's aisle.
Greet the Father well from me;

Say that the fated hour is come,
And to-night he shall watch with thee,
To win the treasure of the tomb:

For this will be St. Michael's night,
And, though stars be dim, the moon is bright;
And the Cross, of bloody red,

Will point to the grave of the mighty dead.

[blocks in formation]


Soon in his saddle sate he fast,
And soon the steep descent he past,
Soon cross'd the sounding barbican,'
And soon the Teviot side he won.
Eastward the wooded path he rode,
Green hazels o'er his basnet nod;
He pass'd the Peel' of Goldiland,
And cross'd old Borthwick's roaring strand;
Dimly he view'd the Moat-hill's mound,
Where Druid shades still flitted round;3
In Hawick twinkled many a light;
Behind him soon they set in night;
And soon he spurr'd his courser keen
Beneath the tower of Hazeldean.*

[blocks in formation]

A moment now he slack'd his speed,
A moment breathed his panting steed;
Drew saddle-girth and corslet-band,
And loosen'd in the sheath his brand.
On Minto-crags the moonbeams glint,
Where Barnhill hew'd his bed of flint;
Who flung his outlaw'd limbs to rest,
Where falcons hang their giddy nest,
Mid cliffs, from whence his eagle eye
For many a league his prey could spy;
Cliffs, doubling, on their echoes borne,
The terrors of the robber's horn?
Cliffs, which, for many a later year,
The warbling Doric reed shall hear,

When some sad swain shall teach the grove,
Ambition is no cure for love!


Unchallenged, thence pass'd Deloraine, To ancient Riddel's fair domain,"

Where Aill, from mountains freed,

marauding Borderer, and in the naïveté of his last declaration, the reader will recognize some of the most striking features of the ancient ballad."-Critical Review.]

1 Barbican, the defence of the outer gate of a feudal castle.

2 Peel, a Border-tower.

See Appendix, Note R.

4 See Appendix, Note S.

5 An ancient Roman road, crossing through part of Roxburghshire.

Down from the lakes did raving come;
Each wave was crested with tawny foam,
Like the mane of a chestnut steed.
In vain! no torrent, deep or broad,
Might bar the bold moss-trooper's road.


At the first plunge the horse sunk low,
And the water broke o'er the saddlebow:
Above the foaming tide, I ween,
Scarce half the charger's neck was seen;
For he was barded from counter to tail,
And the rider was armed complete in mail;
Never heavier man and horse
Stemm'd a midnight torrent's force.
The warrior's very plume, I say

Was daggled by the dashing spray;

Yet through good heart, and Our Ladye's grace, At length he gain'd the landing place.


Now Bowden Moor the march-man won, And sternly shook his plumed head, As glanced his eye o'er Halidon;"

For on his soul the slaughter red
Of that unhallow'd morn arose,

When first the Scott and Carr were foes;
When royal James beheld the fray,
Prize to the victor of the day;
When Home and Douglas, in the van,
Bore down Buccleuch's retiring clan,
Till gallant Cessford's heart-blood dear
Reek'd on dark Elliot's Border spear.


In bitter mood he spurred fast,
And soon the hated heath was past;
And far beneath, in lustre wan,

Old Melros' rose, and fair Tweed ran:
Like some tall rock with lichens gray,
Seem'd dimly huge, the dark Abbaye.
When Hawick he pass'd, had curfew rung,
Now midnight lauds were in Melrose sung.

The sound, upon the fitful gale,

In solemn wise did rise and fail,

Like that wild harp, whose magic tone

Is waken'd by the winds alone.

But when Melrose he reach'd, 'twas silence all; He meetly stabled his steed in stall,

And sought the convent's lonely wall."

[blocks in formation]

HERE paused the harp; and with its swell
The Master's fire and courage fell;
Dejectedly, and low, he bow'd,
And, gazing timid on the crowd,
He seem'd to seek, in every eye,
If they approved his minstrelsy;
And, diffident of present praise,
Somewhat he spoke of former days,
And how old age, and wand'ring long,
Had done his hand and harp some wrong.
The Duchess, and her daughters fair,
And every gentle lady there,

Each after each, in due degree,
Gave praises to his melody;

His hand was true, his voice was clear,
And much they long the rest to hear.
Encouraged thus, the Aged Man,
After meet rest, again began.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,'
Go visit it by the pale moonlight;
For the gay beams of lightsome day
Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray.

When the broken arches are black in night,
And each shafted oriel glimmers white;
When the cold light's uncertain shower
Streams on the ruin'd central tower;
When buttress and buttress, alternately,
Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
When silver edges the imagery,

And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;2
When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave,
Then go but go alone the while-
Then view St. David's ruin'd pile ;'
And, home returning, soothly swear,
Was never scene so sad and fair!


Short halt did Deloraine make there;
Little reck'd he of the scene so fair:
With dagger's hilt, on the wicket strong,
He struck full loud, and struck full long.

1 "In the description of Melrose, which introduces the Secand Canto, the reader will observe how skilfully the Author calls in the aid of sentimental associations to heighten the effect of the picture which he presents to the eye."—JEFFREY. 2 See Appendix, Note W.

3 David I. of Scotland, purchased the reputation of sanctity, by founding, and liberally endowing, not only the monastery of Melrose, but those of Kelso, Jedburgh, and many others;

The porter hurried to the gate

"Who knocks so loud, and knocks so late?" "From Branksome, I," the warrior cried; And straight the wicket open'd wide: For Branksome's Chiefs had in battle stood,

To fence the rights of fair Melrose; And lands and livings, many a rood,

Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose.*


Bold Deloraine his errand said;
The porter bent his humble head;
With torch in hand, and feet unshod,
And noiseless step, the path he trod:
The arched cloister, far and wide,
Rang to the warrior's clanking stride,
Till, stooping low his lofty crest,
He enter'd the cell of the ancient priest,
And lifted his barred aventayle,"
To hail the Monk of St. Mary's aisle.


"The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me;
Says, that the fated hour is come,
And that to-night I shall watch with thee,
To win the treasure of the tomb."
From sackcloth couch the monk arose,
With toil his stiffen'd limbs he rear'd;
A hundred years had flung their snows
On his thin locks and floating beard.


And strangely on the Knight look'd he,

And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and wide; "And, darest thou, Warrior! seek to see What heaven and hell alike would hide! My breast, in belt of iron pent,

With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn; For threescore years, in penance spent,

My knees those flinty stones have worn; Yet all too little to atone

For knowing what should ne'er be known.
Wouldst thou thy every future year
In ceaseless prayer and penance drie,
Yet wait thy latter end with fear-
Then, daring Warrior, follow me !"—


"Penance, father, will I none; Prayer know I hardly one;

which led to the well-known observation of his successor, that he was a sore saint for the crown.

4 The Buccleuch family were great benefactors to the Abbey of Melrose. As early as the reign of Robert II., Robert Scott, Baron of Murdieston and Rankleburn (now Buccleuch), gave to the monks the lands of Hinkery, in Ettrick Forest, pro salute animæ suæ.-Chartulary of Melrose, 28th May, 1415. Aventayle, visor of the helmet.

« AnteriorContinuar »