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Contributions to Border Minstrelsy.




(This ballad first appeared in Lewis's Tales of Wonder.)

THE simple tradition, upon which the following stanzas are founded, runs thus: While two Highland hunters were passing the night in a solitary bothy (a hut built for the purpose of hunting), and making merry over their venison and whisky, one of them expressed a wish, that they had pretty lasses to complete their party. The words were scarcely uttered, when two beautiful young women, habited in green, entered the hut, dancing and singing. One of the hunters was seduced, by the syren who attached herself particularly to him, to leave the hut; the other remained, and, suspicious of the fair seducers, continued to play upon a trump, or Jew's-harp, some strain, consecrated to the Virgin Mary. Day at length came, and the temptress vanished. Searching in the forest, he found the bones of his unfortunate friend, who had been torn to pieces and devoured by the fiend, into whose toils he had fallen. The place was from thence called, The Glen of the Green Women.

Glenfinlas is a tract of forest-ground, lying in the Highlands of Perthshire, not far from Callender, in Menteith. It was formerly a royal forest, and now belongs to the Earl of Moray. This country, as well as the adjacent district of Balquidder, was, in times of yore, chiefly inhabited by the Macgregors. To the west of the Forest of Glenfinlas lies Loch Katrine, and its romantic avenue, called the Trosachs. Benledi, Benmore, and Benvoirlich, are mountains in the same district, and at no great distance from Glenfinlas. The river Teith passes Callender and the Castle of Doune, and joins the Forth near Stirling. The Pass of Lenny is immediately above Callender, and is the principal access to the Highlands from that town. Glenartney is a forest, near Benvoirlich. The whole forms a sublime tract of Alpine


a Coronach is the lamentation for a deceased warrior, sung by the aged of the clan.

"For them the viewless forms of air obey,

Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair;
They know what spirit brews the stormful day,
And heartless oft, like moody madness, stare,
To see the phantom train their secret work prepare."

"O HONE a rie'! O hone a rie' !"b

The pride of Albin's line is o'er,
And fallen Glenartney's stateliest tree;
We ne'er shall see Lord Ronald more!

O, sprung from great Macgillianore,
The chief that never feared a foe,
How matchless was thy broad claymore,
How deadly thine unerring bow!
Well can the Saxon widows tell,

How, on the Teith's resounding shore,
The boldest Lowland warriors fell,
As down from Lenny's pass you bore.
But o'er his hills, on festal day,

How blazed Lord Ronald's Beltaned tree,
While youths and maids the light strathspey
So nimbly danced, with Highland glee.
Cheered by the strength of Ronald's shell,
E'en age forgot his tresses hoar;
But now the loud lament we swell,
O ne'er to see Lord Ronald more!

From distant isles a Chieftain came,
The joys of Ronald's halls to find,
And chase with him the dark brown game,
That bounds o'er Albin's hills of wind.
'Twas Moy; whom in Columba's isle,
The seer's prophetic spirit found,e
As, with a minstrel's fire the while,
He waked his harp's harmonious sound.
Full many a spell to him was known,
Which wandering spirits shrink to hear;

And many a lay of potent tone,

Was never meant for mortal ear.

For there, 'tis said, in mystic mood,

High converse with the dead they hold,

bO hone a rie' signifies-" Alas for the prince, or chief."

The term Sassenach, or Saxon, is applied by the Highlanders to their Low-country neighbours.

d The fires lighted by the Highlanders, on the first of May, in compliance with a custom derived from the Pagan times, are termed The Beltane-tree. It is a festival celebrated with various superstitious rites, both in the north of Scotland and in Wales.

e Án allusion to the second-sight.

And oft espy the fated shroud,
That shall the future corpse enfold.
O so it fell, that on a day,

To rouse the red deer from their den,
The chiefs have ta'en their distant way,
And scoured the deep Glenfinlas glen.
No vassals wait their sports to aid,

To watch their safety, deck their board;
Their simple dress, the Highland plaid,
Their trusty guard, the Highland sword.
Three summer days, through brake and dell,
Their whistling shafts successful flew ;
And still, when dewy evening fell,
The quarry to their hut they drew.

In grey Glenfinlas' deepest nook
The solitary cabin stood,

Fast by Moneira's sullen brook,

Which murmurs through that lonely wood.

Soft fell the night, the sky was calm,

When three successive days had flown;

And summer mist in dewy balm

Steeped heathy bank, and mossy stone.

The moon, half hid in silvery flakes,
Afar her dubious radiance shed,
Quivering on Katrine's distant lakes,
And resting on Benledi's head.

Now in their hut, in social guise,
Their sylvan fare the chiefs enjoy;
And pleasure laughs in Ronald's eyes,
As many a pledge he quaffs to Moy.-
"What lack we here to crown our bliss,
While thus the pulse of joy beats high?
What, but fair woman's yielding kiss,
Her panting breath, and melting eye?
"To chase the deer of yonder shades,
This morning left their father's pile
The fairest of our mountain maids,

The daughters of the proud Glengyle.
"Long have I sought sweet Mary's heart,

And dropped the tear, and heaved the sigh; But vain the lover's wily art,

Beneath a sister's watchful eye.

"But thou mayst teach that guardian fair, While far with Mary I am flown,

Of other hearts to cease her care,

And find it hard to guard her own.

"Touch but thy harp, thou soon shalt see
The lovely Flora of Glengyle,
Unmindful of her charge and me,

Hang on thy notes, 'twixt tear and smile.
"Or, if she choose a melting tale,

All underneath the green-wood bough,
Will good St. Oran's rule prevail,

Stern huntsman of the rigid brow ?"—
"Since Enrick's fight, since Morna's death,
No more on me shall rapture rise,
Responsive to the panting breath,
Or yielding kiss, or melting eyes.

"E'en then, when o'er the heath of woe,
Where sunk my hopes of love and fame,
I bade my harp's wild wailings flow,
On me the Seer's sad spirit came.
"The last dread curse of angry heaven,
With ghastly sights and sounds of woe,
To dash each glimpse of joy, was given-
The gift, the future ill to know.

"The bark thou sawst, yon summer morn,
So gaily part from Oban's bay,
My eye beheld her dashed and torn,
Far on the rocky Colonsay.

"Thy Fergus too-thy sister's son,

Thou sawst, with pride, the gallant's power,
As marching 'gainst the Lord of Downe,
He left the skirts of huge Benmore.
"Thou only sawst their tartans wave,
As down Benvoirlich's side they wound,
Heardst but the pibroch, answering brave
To many a target clanking round.

"I heard the groans, I marked the tears,
I saw the wound his bosom bore,
When on the serried Saxon spears

He poured his clan's resistless roar.

f St. Oran was a friend and follower of St. Columba, and was buried in Icolmkill. His pretensions to be a saint were rather dubious. Ac. cording to the legend, he consented to be buried alive, in order to propitiate certain demons of the soil, who obstructed the attempts of Columba to build a chapel. Columba caused the body of his friend to be dug up, after three days had elapsed; when Oran, to the horro and scandal of the assistants, declared, that there was neither a God, a judgment, nor a future state! He had no time to make further discoveries, for Columba caused the earth once more to be shovelled over him with the utmost despatch. The chapel, however, and the cemetery, was called Reilig Ouran; and, in memory of his rigid celibacy, no female was permitted to pay her devotions, or be buried, in that place. This is the rule alluded to in the poem.

The full Highland dress, made of the checkered stuff so termed.

"And thou, who bidd'st me think of bliss,
And bidd'st my heart awake to glee,
And court, like thee, the wanton kiss,-
That heart, O Ronald, bleeds for thee!
"I see the death-damps chill thy brow;
I hear thy Warning Spirit cry;

The corpse-lights dance-they're gone, and now...
No more is given to gifted eye!”.
"Alone enjoy thy dreary dreams,
Sad prophet of the evil hour!

Say, should we scorn joy's transient beams,
Because to-morrow's storm may lour?

"Or false, or sooth, thy words of woe,
Clangillian's chieftain ne'er shall fear;
His blood shall bound at rapture's glow,
Though doomed to stain the Saxon spear.
"E'en now, to meet me in yon dell,
My Mary's buskins brush the dew;"-
He spoke, nor bade the chief farewell,
But called his dogs, and gay withdrew.
Within an hour returned each hound;
In rushed the rousers of the deer;
They howled in melancholy sound,
Then closely couch beside the seer.
No Ronald yet; though midnight came,
And sad were Moy's prophetic dreams,
As, bending o'er the dying flame,

He fed the watch-fire's quivering gleams.
Sudden the hounds erect their ears,

And sudden cease their moaning howl;
Close pressed to Moy, they mark their fears
By shivering limbs, and stifled growl.
Untouched, the harp began to ring,
As softly, slowly, oped the door;
And shook responsive every string,
As light a footstep pressed the floor.
And by the watch-fire's glimmering light,
Close by the minstrel's side was seen
A huntress maid, in beauty bright,

All dropping wet her robes of green.
All dropping wet her garments seem;
Chilled was her cheek, her bosom bare,
As, bending o'er the dying gleam,

She wrung the moisture from her hair. With maiden blush she softly said,

"O gentle huntsman, hast thou seen,

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