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tibles, which he had caused to be piled against the house, and reduced to a pile of glowing ashes the dwelling, with all its inmates.
The scene with which the ballad opens, was suggested by a curious passage in the life of Alexander Peden, one of the wandering and persecuted teachers of the sect of Cameronians, during the reign of Charles II. and that of his successor James II.
THE Pope he was saying the high, high mass,
All on Saint Peter's day,
To wash men's sins away.
And the people kneeled around,
As he kissed the holy ground.
Was still, both limb and tongue,
The holy accents rung.
And faltered in the sound-
He dropped it on the ground.
Pollutes our sacred day;
No part in what I say.
To ghostly peace can bring;
Recoils each holy thing.
My adjuration fear !
Nor longer tarry here!”
In gown of sackcloth grey :
from his native field,
I ween, he had not spoke,
His fast he ne'er had broke.
Seemed none more bent pray;
But, when the Holy Father spoke,
He rose, and went his way.
His weary course he drew,
And Pentland's mountains blue.
'Mid Eske's fair woods, regain;
Rolls to the eastern main.
And vassals bent the knee;
Was none more famed than he.
In battle he had stood,
Her noblest poured their blood.
By Eske's fair streams that run,
Impervious to the sup.
And yield the muse the day;
May shun the tell-tale ray;
By blast of bugle free,
And haunted Woodhouselee.
And Roslin's rocky glen, 2 The barony of Pennycuik is held by a singular tenure; the proprietor being bound to sit upon a large rocky fragment, called the Buckstane, and wind three blasts of a horn, when the king shall come to hunt on the Borough Muir, near Edinburgh. Hence the family have adopted as their crest a demi-forester proper, winding a horn, with the motto, Free for a Blast. The beautiful mansion-house of Pennycuik is much admired, both on account of the architecture and surrounding scenery.
a Auchendinny, situated upon the Eske, below Pennycuik, sometime the residence of the ingenious H. Mackenzie, esq., author of the “ Man of Feeling," &c.
b Melville Castle is delightfully situated upon the Eske, near Lass. wade. It gave the title of viscount to Lord Melville.
c The ruins of Roslin Castle, the baronial residence of the ancient family of St. Clair, the Gothic chapel, which is still in beautiful preservation, with the romantic and woody dell in which they are situated, belong to the right honourable the earl of Rosslyn, the representative of the former lords of Roslin.
Dalkeith, which all the virtues love,
And classic Hawthorndene
The Pilgrim's footsteps range,
To Burndale's ruined Grange.
As sorrow could desire;
And the roof was scathed with fire.
While on Carnethy's head,
Had streaked the grey with red;
Newbottle's oaks among,
Our Ladye's evening song:
Came slowly down the wind,
As his wonted path he did find.
Nor ever raised his eye,
Which did all in ruins lie.
With many a bitter groan-
Resting him on a stone.
Some pilgrim thou seem'st to be;"
Nor answer again made he.
Or bring relics from over the sea ;
e Hawthornden, the residence of the poet Drummond. Here Drum. mond received Ben Jonson, who journeyed from London on foot in order to visit him. The beauty of this striking scene has been much injured of late years, by the indiscriminate use of the axe. Upon the whole, tracing the Eske from its source till it joins the sea at Musselburgh, no stream in Scotland can boast such a varied succession of the most interesting objects, as well as of the most romantic and beautiful scenery.
Or come ye from the shrine of Saint James the divine,
Or Saint John of Beverley ?”
Nor bring relics from over the sea;
Which for ever will cling to me.'
But kneel thee down by me,
That absolvèd thou mayst be.”
That I should shrive to thee,
Five thousand miles away,
Done here 'twixt night and day.”
And thus began his saye-
Did that Grey Brother laye.
THOMAS THE RHYMER.
IN THREE PARTS.
FEW personages are so renowned in tradition as Thomas of Ercildoune, known by the appellation of The Rhymer. Uniting, or supposing to unite, in his person, the powers of poetical composition and of vaticination, his memory, even after the lapse of five hundred years, is regarded with veneration by his countrymen. To give anything like a certain history of this remarkable man would be indeed difficult; but the curious may derive some satisfaction from the particulars here brought together.
It is agreed on all hands, that the residence, and probably the birthplace, of this ancient bard, was Ercildoune, a village situated upon the Leader, two miles above its junction with the Tweed. The ruins of an ancient tower are still pointed out as the Rhymer's castle. The uniform tradition bears, that his surname was Lermont, or Learmont; and that the appellation of The Rhymer was conferred upon him in consequence of his poetical compositions. There remains, nevertheless, some doubt upon the subject. ·
We are better able to ascertain the period at which Thomas of Ercildoune lived, being the latter end of the thirteentb century. I am inclined to place his death a little farther back than Mr. Pinkerton, who supposes that he was alive in 1300 (List of Scottish Poets). It cannot be doubted, that Thomas of Ercildoune was a remarkable and important person in his own time, since, very shortly after his death, we find him celebrated as a prophet and as a poet. Whether he bimself made any pretensions to the first of these characters, or whether it was gratuitously conferred upon him by the credulity of posterity, it seems difficult to decide. If we may believe Mackenzie, Learmont only versified the prophecies delivered by Eliza, an inspired nun of a convent at Haddington. But of this there seems not to be most distant proof. On the contrary, all ancient authors, who quote the Rhymer's prophecies, uniformly suppose them to have been emitted by himself.
The popular tale bears, that Thomas was carried off, at an early age, to the Fairy Land, where he acquired all the knowledge, which made him afterwards so famous. After seven years' residence, he was permitted to return to the earth, to enlighten and astonish his countrymen by his prophetic powers; still, however, remaining bound to return to his royal mistress, when she should intimate her pleasure. Ac. cordingly, while Thomas was making merry with his friends in the Tower of Ercildoune, a person came running in, and told, with marks of fear and astonishment, that a hart and hind had left the neighbouring forest, and were, composedly and slowly, parading the street of the village. The prophet instantly arose, left his habitation, and followed the wonderful animals to the forest, whence he was never seen to return. According to the popular belief, he still “drees his weird” in Fairy Land, and is one day expected to revisit earth. In the meanwhile, his memory is held in the most profound respect. The Eildon Tree, from beneath the shade of which he delivered his prophecies, now no longer exists; but the spot is marked by a large stone, called the Eildon Tree Stone. A neighbouring rivulet takes the name of the Bogle Burn (Goblin Brook) from the Rhymer's supernatural visitants.
It seemed to the Editor unpardonable to dismiss a person so important in Border tradicion as the Rhymer, without some farther notice than a simple commentary upon the following ballad. It is given from a copy, obtained from a lady residing not far from Ercildoune, corrected and enlarged by one in Mrs. Brown's MSS. The former copy, however, as might be expected, is far more minute as to local description. To this old tale the Editor has ventured to add a Second Part, consisting of a kind of cento, from the printed prophecies vulgarly ascribed to the Rhymer; and a Third Part, entirely modern, founded upon the tradition of his having