« AnteriorContinuar »
"And thou, when by the blazing oak
Not thine a race of mortal blood,
Thy sire, the Monarch of the Mine."
Was waved by wind, or wet by dew.
Wild mingling with the howling gale,
Loud bursts of ghastly laughter rise;
The voice of thunder shook the wood,
As ceased the more than mortal yell;
Next, dropped from high a mangled arm;
Oft o'er that head, in battling field,
Streamed the proud crest of high Benmore,
h St. Fillan has given his name to many chapels, holy fountains, &c. in Scotland. He was, according to Camerarius, an abbot of Pittenweem, in Fife; from which situation he retired, and died a hermit in the wilds of Glenurchy, A.D. 649. While engaged in transcribing the Scriptures, his left hand was observed to send forth such a splendour as to afford light to that with which he wrote; a miracle which saved many candles to the convent, as St. Fillan used to spend whole nights in that exercise. The 9th of January was dedicated to this saint, who gave his name to Kilfillan, in Renfrew, and St. Phillans, or Forgend, in Fife.
That arm the broad claymore could wield,
Woe to Moneira's sullen rills!
Woe to Glenfinlas' dreary glen!
Shall draw the hunter's shaft agen!
At noon shall shun that sheltering den,
The wayward Ladies of the Glen.
And we-behind the chieftain's shield,
And we the loud lament must swell.
O hone a rie'! O hone a rie'!
The pride of Albin's line is o'er,
THE EVE OF ST. JOHN.
SMAYLHO'ME, or Smallholm Tower, the scene of the fol lowing ballad, is situated on the northern boundary of Roxburghshire, among a cluster of wild rocks, called SandiknowCrags. The tower is a high square building, surrounded by an outer wall, now ruinous. The circuit of the outer court, being defended, on three sides, by a precipice and morass, is accessible only from the west, by a steep and rocky path. The apartments, as is usual in a Border keep, or fortress, are placed one above another, and communicate by a narrow stair; on the roof are two bartizans, or platforms, for defence or pleasure. The inner door of the tower is wood, the outer an iron gate; the distance between them being nine feet, the thickness, namely, of the wall. From the elevated situation of Smaylho'me Tower, it is seen many miles in every direction. Among the crags by which it is surrounded, one, more eminent, is called the Watchfold, and is said to have been the station of a beacon, in the times of war with England. Without the tower-court is a ruined chapel. Brotherstone is a heath, in the neighbourhood of Smaylho'me Tower.
This ballad was first printed in Mr. LEWIS's "Tales of Wonder." It is here published, with some additional illustrations, particularly an account of the battle of Ancram Moor; which seemed proper in a work upon Border antiquities. The catastrophe of the tale is founded upon a well
known Irish tradition. This ancient fortress and its vicinity formed the scene of the Editor's infancy, and seemed to claim from him this attempt to celebrate them in a Border tale.
THE Baron of Smaylho'me rose with day,
Without stop or stay, down the rocky way
He went not with the bold Buccleuch,
He went not 'gainst the English yew,
To lift the Scottish spear.
Yet his plate-jacki was braced, and his helmet was
And his vaunt-brace of proof he wore;
At his saddle-gerthe was a good steel sperthe,
The Baron returned in three days' space,
And weary was his courser's pace,
He came not from where Ancram Moor
Where the Douglas true, and the bold Buccleuch,
i The plate-jack is coat armour; the vaunt-brace, or wam-brace, armour for the body; the sperthe, a battle-axe.
j Lord Evers, and Sir Brian Latoun, during the year 1544, committed the most dreadful ravages upon the Scottish frontiers, compelling most of the inhabitants, and especially the men of Liddesdale, to take assurance under the king of England. Upon the 17th November, in that year, the sum total of their depredations stood thus, in the bloody ledger of Lord Evers :
Towns, towers, barnekynes, paryshe churches, bastill houses, burned and destroyed
Nags and geldings
Bolls of corn
Insight gear, &c. (furniture) an incalculable quantity.
MURDIN'S State Papers, vol. i. p. 51.
For these services Sir Ralph Evers was made a lord of parliament. In 1545 they again entered Scotland, and even exceeded their former cruelty. They penetrated as far as Melrose, but on their return towards Jedburgh were followed by Angus, who defeated their army at Ancram Moor, and slew both Evers and Latoun. The spot, on which the battle was fought, is called Lilyard's Edge, from an Amazonian Scottish woman of that name, who is reported, by tradition, to have distinguished herself in the same manner as Squire Witherington. The old people point out her monument, now broken and defaced.