Imágenes de páginas
[graphic][ocr errors]

The Eve of St. John.


SMAYLHO'ME, or Smallholm Tower, the scene of He went not with the bold Buccleuch, che following ballad, is situated on the northern boun- His banner broad to rear; dary of Roxburghshire, among a cluster of wild rocks, He went not ’gainst the English yew, called Sandiknowl-Crags, the property of Hugh Scott,

To lift the Scottish spear. Esq. of Harden, [now Lord Polwarth.] The tower is a high square building, surrounded by an outer wall, Yet his plate-jack was braced, and his helmet wac now ruinous. The circuit of the outer court, being de- laced, fended on three sides, by a precipice and morass, is ac- And his vaunt-brace of proof he wore; cessible only from the west, by a steep and rocky path. At his saddle-gerthe was a good steel sperthe, The apartments, as is usual in a Border keep, or fortress, Full ten pound weight and more. are placed one above another, and communicate by a narrow stair; on the roof are two bartizans, or plat- The Baron return'd in three days space, forms, for defence or pleasure. The inner door of the And his looks were sad and sour; tower is wood, the outer an iron gate; the distance And weary was his courser's pace, between them being nine feet, the thickness, namely, As he reach'd his rocky tower. of the wall. From the elevated situation of Smaylho me Tower, it is seen many miles in every direction. He came not from where Ancram Moor 5 Among the crags by which it is surrounded, one, Ran red with English blood; more eminent, is called the Watchfold, and is said to Where the Douglas true, and the bold Buchave been the station of a beacon, in the times of cleuch, war with England. Without the tower-court is a 'Gainst keen Lord Evers stood. ruined chapel. Brotherstone is a heath, in the neighbourhood of Smaylho’me Tower.

Yet was his helmet hack'd and hew'd, This ballad was first printed in Mr. Lewis's Tales His acton pierced and tore, of Wonder. It is here published, with some additional His axe and his dagger with blood imbrued, illustrations, particularly an account of the battle of But it was not English gore. Ancram Moor; which seemed proper in a work upon Border antiquities. The catastrophe of the tale is He lighted at the Chapellage, founded upon a well-known Irish tradition. This He held him close and still; ancient fortress and its vicinity formed the scene of And he whistled thrice for his little foot-page, the Editor's infancy, and seemed to claim from him His name was English Will. this attempt to celebrate them in a Border tale.3

« Come thou hither, my little foot-page,

Come hither to my knee;
Though thou art young, and tender of age,

I think thou art true to me.

[ocr errors]

The Baron of Smaylho'me rose with day,

He spurr'd his courser on,
Without stop or stay, down the rocky way,

That leads to Brotherstone.

“ Come, tell me all that thou hast seen,

And look thou tell me true!
Since I from Smaylho'me tower have been,

What did thy lady do?"

1 “ This place l is rendered interesting to poctical readers, that she bare the mark of it to her dying day. But the by its having been the residence, in carly life, of Mr. Walter examples of cold are more frequent; as in that famous story Scott, who has celebrated it in his ‘Eve of St. John.' To it of Cuntius, when he touched the arm of a certain woman of he probably alludes in the introduction to the third canto of Pentoch, as she lay in her bed, he felt as cold as ice; and so Marmion.

did the spirit's claw to Anne Styles."-Ed. 1662, p. 135.

*Then rise those crags, that mountain tower,
Which charmed my fancy's wakening hour.'”

Scots Mag. March, 1809. 2 The following passage, in Dr. HENRY MORE's Appendix to the Antidote against Atheism, relates to a similar phenomenon :-“I confess, that the bodies of devils may not be only warm, but sindgingly hot, as it was in him that took one of Melancthon's relations by the hand, and so scorched her,

3 See the Introduction to the third canto of Marmion...

“ It was a barren scene, and wild,

Where naked cliffs were rudely piled;
But ever and anon between
Lay velvet tufts of softest green ;
And well the lonely infant knew

Recesses where the wallflower grew," &c.-Fr.
4 The plate-jack is coat-armour; the vaunt-brace, or wam-
brace, armour for the body: the sperthe, a battle-axe.

5 See Appendix, Note A

1 The farm-house in the immediate vicinity of Smailholm.


* My lady, each night, sought the lonely light, So, by the black rood-stone,' and by holy St. John, That burns on the wild Watchfold;

I conjure thee, my love, to be there !'-
For, from height to height, the beacons bright
Of the English foemen told.

“ Though the blood-hound be mute, and the rust

beneath my foot, “ The bittern clamour'd from the moss,

And the warder his bugle should not blow, The wind blew loud and shrill;

Yet there sleepeth a priest in the chamber to the east, Yet the craggy pathway she did cross

And my footstep he would know.'-To the eiry Beacon Hill.

«« O fear not the priest, who sleepeth to the east ! “ I watch'd her steps, and silent came

For to Dryburgh? the way he has ta’en ; Where she sat her on a stone;

And there to say mass, till three days do pass, No watchman stood by the dreary flame,

For the soul of a knight that is slayne.'It burned all alone.

“ He turn'd him around, and grimly he frown'd; “ The second night I kept her in sight,

Then he laugh'd right scornfullyTill to the fire she came,

the mass-rite for the soul of that knight, And, by Mary's might! an Armed Knight

May as well say mass for me: Stood by the lonely flame.

“* At the lone midnight hour, when bad spirits have “ And many a word that warlike lord

power, Did speak to my lady there;

In thy chamber will I be.'But the rain fell fast, and loud blew the blast, With that he was gone, and my lady left alone, And I heard not what they were.

And no more did I see.”

He who says

[blocks in formation]

i The black-rood of Melrose was a crucifix of black mar- mains were ultimately represented by Sir Walter Scott, whose ble, and of superior sanctity.

remains now repose in the cemetery at Dryburgh.-Ed.] 2 Dryburgh Abbey is beautifully situated on the banks of 3 Eildon is a high hill, terminating in three conical sum. the Tweed. After its dissolution, it became the property of mits, immediately above the town of Melrose, where are the the Halliburtons of Newmains, and is now the seat of the admired ruins of a magnificent monastery. Eildon-tree is Right Honourable the Earl of Buchan. It belonged to the said to be the spot where Thomas the Rhymer uttered hig order of Premonstratenses --{The ancient Barons of New- prophe ies. See ante, p. 573

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »