Imágenes de páginas

E entusché par grant engin,
Quant il afole Kaherdin;
Pur cest plai e pur cest mal,
Enveiad Tristram Guvernal,
En Engleterre pur Ysolt:
THOMAS ico granter ne volt,
Et si volt par raisun mostrer,
Qu' ico ne put pas esteer," &c.

The tale of Sir Tristrem, as narrated in the Edinburgh MS., is totally different from the volu minous romance in prose, originally compiled on the same subject by Rusticien de Puise, and analyzed by M. de Tressan; but agrees in every essential particular with the metrical performance just quoted, which is a work of much higher antiquity."

The following attempt to commemorate the Rhymer's poetical fame, and the traditional account of his marvellous return to Fairy Land, being entirely modern, would have been placed with greater propriety among the class of Modern Ballads, had it not been for its immediate connection with the first and second parts of the same story.

Thomas the Rhymer.


WHEN seven years more were come and gone,
Was war through Scotland spread,
And Ruberslaw show'd high Dunyon'
His beacon blazing red.

Then all by bonny Coldingknow,?

Pitch'd palliouns took their room, And crested helms, and spears a-rowe, Glanced gayly through the broom.

The Leader, rolling to the Tweed,
Resounds the ensenzie ;3

They roused the deer from Caddenhead,
To distant Torwoodlee.1

1 Ruberslaw and Dunyon, are two hills near Jedburgh.

2 An ancient tower near Ercildoune, belonging to a family of the name of Home. One of Thomas's prophecies is said to have run thus:

"Vengeance! vengeance! when and where?

On the house of Coldingknow, now and ever mair!"

The spot is rendered classical by its having given name to the beautiful melody called the Broom' the Cowdenknows.

3 Ensenzie-War-cry, or gathering word.

The feast was spread in Ercildoune,

In Learmont's high and ancient hall: And there were knights of great renown, And ladies, laced in pall.

Nor lacked they, while they sat at dine,
The music nor the tale,
Nor goblets of the blood-red wine,

Nor mantling quaighs of ale.

True Thomas rose, with harp in hand,
When as the feast was done :
(In minstrel strife, in Fairy Land,
The elfin harp he won.)

Hush'd were the throng, both limb and tongue,
And harpers for envy pale;

And armed lords lean'd on their swords,
And hearken'd to the tale.

In numbers high, the witching tale
The prophet pour'd along;
No after bard might e'er avail
Those numbers to prolong.

Yet fragments of the lofty strain
Float down the tide of years,
As, buoyant on the stormy main,
A parted wreck appears.'

He sung King Arthur's Table Round:
The Warrior of the Lake;

How courteous Gawaine met the wound,

And bled for ladies' sake.

But chief, in gentle Tristrem's praise, The notes melodious swell;

Was none excell'd in Arthur's days, The knight of Lionelle.

For Marke, his cowardly uncle's right,
A venom'd wound he bore;
When fierce Morholde he slew in fight,
Upon the Irish shore.

No art the poison might withstand; No medicine could be found,

Till lovely Isolde's lily hand

Had probed the rankling wound.

4 Torwoodlee and Caddenhead are places in Selkirkshire;

both the property of Mr. Pringle of Torwoodlee.

5 Quaighs-Wooden cups, composed of staves hooped together.

6 See Introduction to this ballad.

7 This stanza was quoted by the Edinburgh Reviewer, of 1804, as a noble contrast to the ordinary humility of the gen uine ballad diction.-ED.

• See, in the Fabliaux of Monsieur le Grand, elegantly translated by the late Gregory Way, Esq., the tale of the Knight' and the Sword. [Vol. ii. p. 3.]

With gentle hand and soothing tongue She bore the leech's part;

And, while she o'er his sick-bed hung, He paid her with his heart.

O fatal was the gift, I ween!

For, doom'd in evil tide,

The maid must be rude Cornwall's queen, His cowardly uncle's bride.

Their loves, their woes, the gifted bard

In fairy tissue wove;

Where lords, and knights, and ladies bright, In gay confusion strove.

The Garde Joyeuse, amid the tale, High rear'd its glittering head; And Avalon's enchanted vale

In all its wonders spread.

Brangwain was there, and Segramore,
And fiend-born Merlin's gramarye;
Of that famed wizard's mighty lore,
O who could sing but he?

Through many a maze the winning song

In changeful passion led,

Till bent at length the listening throng O'er Tristrem's dying bed.

His ancient wounds their scars expand,

With agony his heart is wrung:

O where is Isolde's lilye hand,

And where her soothing tongue?

She comes! she comes!-like flash of flame
Can lovers' footsteps fly :

She comes! she comes !-she only came
To see her Tristrem die.

She saw him die; her latest sigh Join'd in a kiss his parting breath; The gentlest pair, that Britain bare, United are in death.

There paused the harp: its lingering sound
Died slowly on the ear;

The silent guests still bent around,
For still they seem'd to hear.

Then woe broke forth in murmurs weak:
Nor ladies heaved alone the sigh;
But, half ashamed, the rugged cheek
Did many a gauntlet dry.

1 Selcouth-Wondrous.

2 An ancient seat upon the Tweed, in Selkirkshire. In a popular edition of the first part of Thomas the Rhymer, the Fairy Queen thus addresses him :

On Leader's stream, and Learmont's tower,
The mists of evening close;
In camp, in castle, or in bower,
Each warrior sought repose.

Lord Douglas, in his lofty tent,

Dream'd o'er the woeful tale; When footsteps light, across the bent, The warrior's ears assail.

He starts, he wakes;-" What, Richard, ho!
Arise, my page, arise!

What venturous wight, at dead of night,
Dare step where Douglas lies!"—

Then forth they rush'd: by Leader's tide,
A selcouth' sight they see-

A hart and hind pace side by side,
As white as snow on Fairnalie.2

Beneath the moon, with gesture proud,
They stately move and slow;
Nor scare they at the gathering crowd,
Who marvel as they go.

To Learmont's tower a message sped,
As fast as page might run;
And Thomas started from his bed,
And soon his clothes did on.

First he woxe pale, and then woxe red; Never a word he spake but three ;"My sand is run; my thread is spun;

This sign regardeth me."

The elfin harp his neck around,

In minstrel guise, he hung;

And on the wind, in doleful sound, Its dying accents rung.

Then forth he went; yet turn'd him oft
To view his ancient hall:

On the gray tower, in lustre soft,
The autumn moonbeams fall;

And Leader's waves, like silver sheen,
Danced shimmering in the ray;
In deepening mass, at distance seen,
Broad Soltra's mountains lay.

"Farewell, my fathers' ancient tower! A long farewell," said he: "The scene of pleasure, pomp, or power, Thou never more shalt be.

"Gin ye wad meet wi' me again,

Gang to the bonny banks of Fairnalie." Fairnalie is now one of the seats of Mr. Pringle of Clifton, M. P. for Selkirkshire. 1833.

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NOTE A.-P. 574.


From the Chartulary of the Trinity House of Soltra.
Advocates' Library, W. 4. 14.

OMNIBUS has literas visuris vel audituris Thomas de Ercildoun filius et heres Thomæ Rymour de Ercildoun salutem in Domino. Noveritis me per fustem et baculum in pleno judicio resignasse ac per presentes quietem clamasse pro me et heredibus meis Magistro domus Sanctæ Trinitatis de Soltre et fratribus ejusdem domus totam terram meam cum omnibus pertinentibus sais quam in tenemento de Ercildoun hereditarie tenui renunciando de toto pro me et heredibus meis omni jure et clameo quæ ego seu antecessores mei in eadem terra alioque tempore de perpetuo habuimus sive de futuro habere possumus. In cujus rei testimonio presentibus his sigillum meum apposui data apud Ercildoun die Martis proximo post festum Sanctorum Apostolorum Symonis et Jude Anno Domini Millesimo cc. Nonagesimo Nono.

NOTE B.-P. 576.

The reader is here presented, from an old, and unfortunately an imperfect MS, with the undoubted original of Thomas the Rhymer's intrigue with the Queen of Faery. It will afford great amusement to those who would study the nature of traditional poetry, and the changes effected by oral tradition, to compare this ancient romance with the foregoing ballad. The same incidents are narrated, even the expression is often the same; yet the poems are as different in appearance, as if the older tale had been regularly and systematically modernized by a poet of the present day.

Incipit Prophesia Thoma de Erseldoun.

In a lande as I was lent,

In the gryking of the day,

Ay alone as I went,

In Huntle bankys me for to play;

I saw the throstyl, and the jay,

Ye mawes movyde of her song,
Ye wodwale sange notes gay,
That al the wod about range.
In that longyng as I lay,

Undir nethe a dern tre,

I was war of a lady gay,
Come rydyng ouyr a fair le :
Zogh I suld sitt to domysday,
With my tong to wrabbe and wry,
Certenly all hyr aray,

It beth neuyer discryuyd for me.
Hyr palfra was dappyll gray,
Sycke on say neuer none;
As the son in somers day,
All abowte that lady schone.
Hyr sadel was of a rewel bone,
A semly syght it was to se,
Bryht with mony a precyous stone,
And compasyd all with crapste;
Stones of oryens, gret plente,
Her hair about her hede it hang,
She rode ouer the farnyle,

A while she blew, a while she sang,
Her girths of nobil silke they were,
Her boculs were of beryl stone,

Sadyll and brydil war - -;

With sylk and sendel about bedone,

Hyr patyrel was of a pall fyne,

And hyr croper of the arase,
Her brydil was of gold fine,

On euery syde forsothe hang bells thre,
Her brydil reynes

A semly syzt Crop and patyrel In every joynt

She led thre grew houndes in a leash,
And ratches cowpled by her ran;
She bar an horn about her halse,
And undir her gyrdil mene flene.
Thomas lay and sa-

In the bankes of

He sayd Yonder is Mary of Might,

That bar the child that died for me,

Certes bot I may speke with that lady bright,

Myd my hert will breke in three;

I schal me hye with all my might,
Hyr to mete at Eldyn Tre.
Thomas rathly up her rase,
And ran ouer mountayn hye,
If it he sothe the story says,

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He met her euyn at Eldyn Tre.
Thomas knelyd down on his kne
Undir nethe the grenewood spray,

And sayd, Lovely lady, thou rue on me,
Queen of Heaven as you may well be.
But I am a lady of another countrie,
If I be pareld most of prise,

I ride after the wild fee,

My ratches rinnen at my devys.
If thou be pareld most of prise,
And rides a lady in strang foly,
Lovely lady, as thou art wise,
Giue you me leue to lige ye by.
Do way, Thomas, that were foly,
I pray ye, Thomas, late me be,
That sin will fordo all my bewtie.
Lovely ladye, rewe on me,

And euer more I shall with ye dwell,
Here my trowth I plyght to thee,
Where you belieues in heuin or hell.
Thomas, and you myght lyge me by,
Undir nethe this grene wode spray,
Thou would tell full hastely,
That thou had layn by a lady gay.
Lady, mote I lyge by the,
Undir nethe the grene wode tre,
For all the gold in chrystenty,
Suld you neuer be wryede for me.

Man on molde you will me marre,
And yet bot you may haf your will,

Trow you well, Thomas, you cheuyst ye warre;
For all my bewtie wilt you spill.
Down lyghted that lady bryzt,
Undir nethe the grene wode spray,
And as ye story sayth full ryzt,
Senyn tymes by her he lay.

She sayd, Man, you lyst thi play,

What berde in bouyr may dele with thee,

That maries me all this long day;
pray ye, Thomas, let me be.
Thomas stode up in the stede,
And behelde the lady gay,

Her heyre hang down about hyr hede,
The tane was blak, the other gray,
Her eyn semyt onte before was gray,
Her gay clethyng was all away,

That he before had sene in that stede
Hyr body as blow as ony bede.
Thomas sighede, and sayd, Allas,
Me thynke this a dullfull syght,
That thou art fadyd in the face,
Before you shone as son so bryzt.
Tak thy leue, Thomas, at son and mone
At gresse, and at euery tre,

This twelmonth sall you with me gone,
Medyl erth you sall not se.
Alas, he seyd, ful wo is me,

I trow my dedes will werke me care,
Jesu, my sole tak to ye,
Whedir so euyr my body sal fare.
She rode furth with all her myzt,
Undir nethe the derne lee,
It was as derke as at midnizt,
And euyr in water unto the kne;
Through the space of days thre,
He herde but swowyng of a flode;
Thomas sayd, Ful wo is me,
Now I spyll for fawte of fode;
To a garden she lede him tyte,
There was fruyte in grete plente,
Peyres and appless ther were rype,
The date and the damese,

The figge and als fylbert tre;
The nyghtyngale bred yng in her neste,
The papigaye about gan fle,

The throstylcock sang wald hafe no rest.
He pressed to pulle fruyt with his hand,
As man for faute that was faynt;
She seyd, Thomas, lat al stand,
Or els the deuyl wil the ataynt.
Sche seyd, Thomas, I the hyzt,
To lay thi hede upon my kne,
And thou shalt see fayrer syght,
Than euyr sawe man in their kintre.
Sees thou, Thomas, yon fayr way,
That lyggs ouyr yone fayr playn?
Yonder is the way to heuyn for ay,
Whan synful sawles haf derayed their payne.
Sees thou, Thomas, yon secund way,
That lygges lawe undir the ryse?
Streight is the way, sothly to say,
To the joyes of paradyce.

Sees thou, Thomas, yon thyrd way,

That lygges ouyr yone how?
Wide is the way, sothly to say,

To the brynyng fyres of helle.

Sees thou, Thomas, yone fayr castell,
That standes ouyr yone fair hill?

Of town and tower it beereth the belle,
In middell erth is none like theretill.
Whan thou comyst in yone castell gaye,
I thee curteis man to be;

What so any man to you say,
Loke thu answer none but me.
My lord is servyd at yche messe,
With xxx kniztes feir and fre;
Lshall say syttyng on the dese,

I toke thy speche beyone the le.
Thomas stode as still as stone,

And behelde that ladye gaye;

Than was sche fayr, and ryche anone,

And also ryal on hir palfreye.

The grewhoundes had fylde thaim on the dere,

The raches coupled, by my fay,

She blewe her horne Thomas to chere,

To the castell she went her way.
The ladye into the hall went,
Thomas folowyd at her hand;
Thar kept her mony a lady gent,
With curtasy and lawe.
Harp and fedyl both he fande,
The getern and the sawtry,

Lut and rybid ther gon gan,
Thair was al maner of mynstralsy,
The most fertly that Thomas thoght,
When he com emyddes the flore,
Fourty hertes to quarry were broght,
That had been befor both long and store.
Lymors lay lappyng blode,

And kokes standyng with dressyng knyfe,
And dressyd dere as thai wer wode,
And rewell was thair wonder.
Knyghtes dansyd by two and thre,
All that leue long day.
Ladyes that were gret of gre,

Sat and sang of rych array.

Thomas sawe much more in that place,
Than I can descryve,

Til on a day, alas, alas,

My lovelye ladye sayd to me,

Busk ye, Thomas, you must agayn,

Here you may no longer be:

Hy then zerne that you were at hame,

I sal ye bryng to Eldyn Tre.

Thomas answerd with heuy
And said, Lowely ladye, lat ma be,
For I say ye certenly here

Haf I be bot the space of dayes three.
Sothly, Thomas, as I telle ye,
You hath ben here thre yeres,
And here you may no longer be;
And I sal tele ye a skele,
To-morrow of helle ye foule fende
Amang our folke shall chuse his fee;
For you art a larg man and an hende,
Trowe you wele he will chuse thee.
Fore all the golde that may be,
Fro hens unto the worldes ende,
Sall you not be betrayed by me,
And thairfor sall you hens wende.
She broght hym euyn to Eldyn Tre,
Undir nethe the grene wode spray,
In Huntle bankes was fayr to be,

Ther breddes syng both nyzt and day.
Ferre ouyr yon montayns gray,
Ther hathe my facon;

Fare wele, Thomas, I wende my way.

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The Elfin Queen, after restoring Thomas to earth, pours forth a string of prophecies, in which we distinguish references to the events and personages of the Scottish wars of Edward III. The battles of Dupplin and Halidon are mentioned, and also Black Agnes, Countess of Dunbar. There is a copy of this poem in the Museum of the Cathedral of Lincoln, another in the collection in Peterborough, but unfortunately they are all in an imperfect state. Mr. Jamieson, in his curious Collection of Scottish Ballads and Songs, has an entire copy of this ancient poem, with all the collations. The bacuna of the former editions have been supplied from his copy.



"The muscle is a square figure like a lozenge, but it is always voided of the field. They are carried as principal figures by the name of Learmont. Learmont of Earlstoun, in the Merss, carried or on a bend azure three muscles; of which family was Sir Thomas Learmont, who is well known by the name of Thomas the Rhymer, because he wrote his prophecies in rhime. This prophetick herauld lived in the days of King Alexander the Third, and prophesied of his death, and of many other remarkable occurrences; particularly of the union of Scotland with England, which was not accomplished until the reign of James the Sixth, some hundred years after it was foretold by this gentleman, whose prophecies are much esteemed by many of the vulgar even at this day. I was promised by a friend a sight of his prophecies, of which there is everywhere to be had an epitome, which, I suppose, is erroneous, and differs in many things from the original, it having been oft reprinted by some unskilful persons. Thus many things are amissing in the small book which are to be met with in the original, particularly these two lines concerning his neighbour, Bemerside:

Tyde what may betide,

Haig shall be laird of Bemerside.'

And indeed his prophecies concerning that ancient family have hitherto been true; for, since that time to this day, the Haigs have been lairds of that place. They carrie, Azure a saltier cantoned with two stars in chief and in base argent, as many crescents in the flanques or; and for crest a rock proper, with this motto, taken from the above written rhyme-Tide what may.'"-NISBET on Marks of Cadency, p. 158.-He

adds, "that Thomas' meaning may be understood by heraulds when he speaks of kingdoms whose insignia seldom vary, but that individual families cannot be discovered, either because they have altered their bearings, or because they are pointed out by their crests and exterior ornaments, which are changed at the pleasure of the bearer." Mr. Nisbet, however, comforts himself for this obscurity, by reflecting, that "we may certainly conclude, from his writings, that herauldry was in good esteem in his days, and well known to the vulgar."Ibid. p. 160.-It may be added, that the publication of predictions, either printed or hieroglyphical, in which noble families were pointed out by their armorial bearings, was, in the time of Queen Elizabeth, extremely common; and the influence of such predictions on the minds of the common people was so great as to occasion a prohibition, by statute, of prophecy by reference to heraldic emblems. Lord Henry Howard also (afterwards Earl of Northampton) directs against this practice much of the reasoning in his learned treatise, entitled, "A Defensation against the Poyson of pretended Prophecies."

NOTE D.-P. 580.

The strange occupation in which Waldhave bebolds Merlin engaged, derives some illustration from a curious passage in Geoffrey of Monmouth's life of Merlin, above quoted. The poem, after narrating that the prophet had fled to the forest in a state of distraction, proceeds to mention, that, looking upon the stars one clear evening, he discerned from his astrological knowledge, that his wife, Guendolen, had resolved, upon the next morning, to take another husband. As he had presaged to her that this would happen, and had promised her a nuptial gift (cautioning her, however, to keep the bridegroom out of his sight), he now resolved to make good his word. Accordingly, he collected all the stags and lesser game in his neighborhood; and, having seated himself upon a buck, drove the herd before him to the capital of Cumberland, where Guendolen resided. But her lover's curiosity leading him to inspect too nearly this extraordinary cavalcade Merlin's rage was awakened, and he slew him with the stroke of an antler of the stag. The original runs thus:

"Dixerat: et silvas et saltus circuit omnes,
Cervorumque greges agmen collegit in unum,
Et damas, capreasque simul; cervoque resedit,
Et, veniente die, compellens agmina præ se,
Festinans vadit quo nubit Guendolana,
Postquam venit eo, pacienter ipse coegit
Cervos ante fores, proclamans, · Guendolana,
Guendolana, veni, te talia munera spectant.
Ocius ergo venit subridens Guendolana,
Gestarique virum cervo miratur, et illum
Sic parere viro, tantum quoque posse ferarum
Uniri numerum quas præ se solus agebat,
Sicut pastor oves, quas ducere suevit ad herbas.
Stabat ab excelsa sponsus spectando fenestra,
In solio mirans equitem, risumque movebat.
Ast ubi vidit eum vates, animoque quis esset
Calluit, extemplo divulsit cornua cervo
Quo gestabatur, vibrataque jecit in illum,
Et caput illius penitus contrivit, eumque
Reddidit exanimem, vitamque fugavit in auras ;
Ocius inde suum, talorum verbere, cervum
Diffugiens egit, silvasque redire paravit."

For a perusal of this curious poem, accurately copied from a MS. in the Cotton Library, nearly coeval with the author, I was indebted to my learned friend, the late Mr. Ritson. There is an excellent paraphrase of it in the curious and entertaining Specimens of Early English Romances, published by Mr. Ellis.

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