Imágenes de páginas


[ocr errors]


returned with the hart and hind, to the Land of Faërie. To make his peace with the more severe antiquaries, the Editor has prefixed to the Second Part some remarks on Learmont's prophecies.


TRUE Thomas lay on Huntlie bank;

A ferlief he spied wi' his e'e;
And there he saw a ladye bright,

Come riding down by the Eildon Tree.
Her shirt was o’ the silk,

Her mantle oʻthe velvet fyne;
At ilkah tett of her horse's mane,

Hang fifty siller bells and nine.
True Thomas, he pulled aff his cap,

And louted low down to his knee,-
All hail, thou mighty qucen of heaven!
For thy peer on earth I never did see."
O no, O Thomas,” she said;

“That name does not belang to me;
I am but the queen of fair Elfand,

That am hither come to visit thee.
“ Harp and carp,i Thomas,” she said;

Harp and carp along with me;
And if ye dare to kiss my lips,

Sure of your bodie I will be.”
“Betide me weal, betide me woe,

That weird i shall never danton me."
Syne he has kissed her rosy lips,

All underneath the Eildon Tree.
“Now, ye maun go wi' me,” she said ;

True Thomas, ye maun go wi' me;
And ye maun serve me seven years,

Through weal or woe as may chance to be.”
She mounted on her milk-white steed;

She's ta'en true Thomas up behind;
And aye, when’er her bridle rung,

The steed flew swifter than the wind.
O they rade on, and farther on;

The steed gaed swifter than the wind,
Until they reached a desart wide,

And living land was left behind.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

i Sing.

LA wonder.-Jamieson.

& The eye.

h Each. That weird, &c.— That destiny shall never frighten me.


"Light down, light down, now, true Thomas,

And lean your head upon my knee:
Abide, and rest a little space,

And I will show you ferlies three.
“O see ye not yon narrow road,

So thick beset with thorns and briers ?-
That is the path of righteousness,

Though after it but few inquires.
And see pot ye that braid, braid road,

That lies across that lily leven?k
That is the path of wickedness,

Though some call it the road to heaven.
“And see not ye that bonny road,

That winds about the fernie brae ?-
That is the road to fair Elfland,

Where thou and I this night maun gae.
“But, Thomas, ye maun hold your tongue

Whatever ye may hear or see;
For, if you speak word in Elflyn land,

Ye'll ne'er get back to your ain countrie.”
O they rade on, and farther on,

And they waded through rivers aboon' the knee,
And they saw neither sun nor moon,

But they heard the roaring of the sea.
It was mirk,m mirk night, and there was nae stern

And they waded through red blude to the knee,
For a' the blude, that's shed on earth,

Rins through the springs o' that countrie.
Syne they came on to a garden green,

And she pu'd an apple frae a treeo-
“ Take this for thy wages, true Thomas;

It will give thee the tongue that can never lie.”
"My tongue is mine ain,” true Thomas said ;

A gudely gift ye wad gie to me!
I neither dought p to buy nor sell,

At fair or tryst where I may be..
“I dought neither speak to prince or peer,

Nor ask of grace from fair ladye.”
“Now hold thy peace!" the ladye said,

“For, as I say, so must it be.” * Lily leven is a lawn overspread with lilies or flowers.--Jamieson. 1 Above. m Dark.

n Star. • The traditional commentary upon this ballad informs us, that the apple was the produce of the fatal Tree of Knowledge, and that the garden was the terrestrial paradise. The repugnance of Thomas to be debarred the use of falsehood when he might find it convenient, has a comic effect.

P Am able.

He has gotten a coat of the even cloth,

And a pair of shoes of velvet green;
And, till seven years were gane and past,

True Thomas on earth was never seen.



[ocr errors]

THE prophecies, ascribed to Thomas of Ercildoune have been the principal' means of securing to him remembrance

amongst the sons of his people.” The author of “ Sir Tristrem” would long ago have joined, in the vale of oblivion, “Clerk of Tranent, who wrote the adventure of 'Schir Gawain,'” if, by good hap, the same current of ideas respecting antiquity, which causes Virgil to be regarded as a magician by the Lazaroni of Naples, had not exalted the bard of Ercildoune to the prophetic character. Perhaps, indeed, he himself affected it during his life. We know, at least, for certain, that a belief in his supernatural knowledge was current soon after his death. His prophecies are alluded to by Barbour, þy Winton, and by Henry the Minstrel, or Blind Harry, as he is usually termed. None of these authors, however, give the words of any of the Rhymer's vaticinations, but merely narrate, historically, his having predicted the events of which they speak. The earliest of the prophecies ascribed to him, which is now extant, is quoted by Mr. Pinkerton from a MS. It is supposed to be a response from Thomas of Ercildoune to a question from the heroic countess of March, renowned for the defence of the Castle of Dunbar against the English, and termed, in the familiar dialect of her time, Black Agnes of Dunbar. This prophecy is remarkable, in so far as it bears very little resemblance to any verses published in the printed copy of the Rhymer's supposed prophecies.

Corspatrick (Comes Patrick), earl of March, but more commonly taking his title from his castle of Dunbar, acted a noted part during the wars of Edward I. in Scotland. As Thomas of Ercildoune is said to have delivered to him his famous prophecy of King Alexander's death, the author has chosen to introduce him into the following ballad. All the prophetic verses are selected from Hart's publication.

WHEN seven years were come and gane,

The sun blinked fair on pool and stream;
And Thomas lay on Huntlie bank,

Like one awakened from a dream.
He heard the trampling of a steed,

He saw the fiash of armour flee,

And he beheld a gallant knight

Come riding down by the Eildon Tree.
He was a stalwart knight, and strong;

Of giant make he 'peared to be:
He stirred his horse, as he were wode, 9

Wi' gilded spurs, of faushion free.
Says—“Well met, well met, true Thomas !

Some uncouth ferlies show to me.”
Says-“ Christ thee save, Corspatrick brave !

Thrice welcome, good Dunbar, to me!
“Light down, light down, Corspatrick brave,

And I will show thee curses three,
Shall gar fair Scotland greet and grane,

And change the green to the black livery.
“A storm shall roar, this very hour,

From Rosse's Hills to Solway Sea."
Ye lied, ye lied, ye warlock hoar!

For the sun shines sweet on fauld and lea."
He put his hand on the earlie's head;

He showed him a rock, beside the sea,
Where a king lay stiff, beneath his steed,"

And steel-dight nobles wiped their e'e.
“The neist curse lights on Branxton Hills:

By Flodden's high and heathery side,
Shall wave a banner, red as blude,

And chieftains throng wi' meikle pride.
“A Scottish king shall come full keen;

The ruddy lion beareth he:
A feathered arrow sharp, I ween,

Shall make him wink and warre to see.
“ When he is bloody, and all to bledde,

Thus to his men he still shall say-
“For God's sake, turn ye back again,

And give yon southern folk a fray !
Why should I lose the right is mine?

My doom is not to die this day.'s
“ Yet turn ye to the eastern hand,

And woe and wonder ye sall see;
How forty thousand spearmen stand,

Where yon rank river meets the sea.
There shall the lion lose the gylte,

And the libbards + bear it clean away;
At Pinkyn Cleuch there shall be spilt

Much gentil blude that day.” 9 Mad. * King Alexander, killed by a fall from his horse, near Kinghorn. • The uncertainty which long prevailed in Scotland concerning the fate of James IV. is well known.

t Leopards.

[ocr errors]

“Enough, enough, of curse and ban;

Some blessing show thou now to me,
Or, by the faith o' my bodie,” Corspatrick said,

Ye shall rue the day ye e'er saw me!”
“The first of blessings I shall thee show,

Is by a burn, that's called of bread;
Where Saxon men shall tine the bow,

And find their arrows lack the head.
“Beside that brigg, out ower that burn,

Where the water bickereth bright and sheen,
Shall many a falling courser spurn,

And knights shall die in battle keen.
“Beside a headless cross of stone,

The libbards there shall lose the gree;"
The raven shall come, the erne shall go,

And drink the Saxon blood sae free.
The cross of stone they shall not know,

So thick the corses there shall be."
“But tell me now,” said brave Dunbar,

" True Thomas, tell now unto me,
What man shall rule the isle Britain,

Even from the north to the southern sea ?”
A French queen shall bear the son,

Shall rule all Britain to the sea;
He of the Bruce's blood shall come,

As near as in the ninth degree.
“ The waters worship shall his race;

Likewise the waves of the farthest sea;
For they shall ride ower ocean wide,

With hempen bridles, and horse of tree.”


MODERN. THOMAS THE RHYMER was renowned among his contemporaries, as the author of the celebrated romance of “Sir Tristrem." Of this once-admired poem only one copy is now known to exist, which is in the Advocates' Library. The Editor, in 1804, published a small edition of this curious work; which, if it does not revive the reputation of the bard of Ercildoune, is at least the earliest specimen of Scottish poetry hitherto published. Some account of this romance has already been given to the world in Mr. ELLIS's “Specimens of Ancient Poetry," vol. i. p. 165, part iii. 410; a work to which our predecessors and our posterity are alike obliged ;

u Prize

« AnteriorContinuar »