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The last of all the Bards was he,
The Minstrel gazed with wishful eye Who sung of Border chivalry;
No humbler resting place was nigh, For, welladay! their date was fled,
With hesitating step at last, His tuneful brethren all were dead;
The embattled portal arch he pass'd, And he, neglected and oppressid,
Whose ponderous grate and massy bar Wish'd to be with them, and at rest.'
Had oft rollid back the tide of war, No more on prancing palfrey borne,
But never closed the iron door He caroll’d, light as lark at morn;
Against the desolate and poor. No longer courted and caress’d,
The Duchess marked his weary pace, High placed in hall, a welcome guest,
His timid mien, and reverend face, He pour'd, to lord and lady gay,
And bade her page the menials tell, The unpremeditated lay:
That they should tend the old man well: Old times were changed, old manners gone;
For she had known adversity, A stranger fill'd the Stuarts' throne;
Though born in such a high degree; The bigots of the iron time
In pride of power, in beauty's bloom,
Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb!
When kindness had his wants supplied,
And the old man was gratified,
Began to rise his minstrel pride:
And he began to talk anon,
Of good Earl Francis, dead and gone, the lofty visions of chivalry, and partial to the strains in which immediate vicinity, called Auldwark, founded, it is said, by they were formerly embodied, seems to have employed all the Alexander III. Both were designed for the royal residence resources of his genius in endeavouring to recall them to the when the king was disposed to take his pleasure in the extenfavour and admiration of the public, and in adapting to the sive forest of Ettricke. Various grants occur in the records taste of modern readers a species of poetry which was once the of the Privy Seal, bestowing the keeping of the Castle of delight of the courtly, but has long ceased to gladden any other Newark upon different barons. There is a popular tradition eyes than those of the scholar and the antiquary. This is a that it was once seized, and held out by the outlaw Murray, romance, therefore, composed by a minstrel of the present a noted character in song, who only surrendered Newark upon day; or such a romance as we may suppose would have been condition of being made hereditary sheriff of the forest. A written in modern times, if that style of composition had con- long ballad, containing an account of this transaction, is tinued to be cultivated, and partakes consequently of the im- preserved in the Border Minstrelsy, (vol. i. p. 369.) Upon provements which every branch of literature has received the marriage of James IV. with Margaret, sister of Henry since the time of its desertion.”—JEFFREY, April, 1805. VIII., the Castle of Newark, with the whole Forest of Et
| “Turning to the north ward, Scott showed us the crags tricke, was assigned to her as a part of her jointure lands. and tower of Smallholmo, and behind it the shattered frag- But of this she could make little advantage ; for, after the ment of Erceldoung, and repeated some pretty stanzas as
death of her husband, she is found complaining heavily, that cribed to the last of the real wandering minstrels of this dis- Buccleuch had seized upon these lands. Indeed, the office trict, by name Burn:
of keeper was latterly held by the family of Buccleuch, and Sing Erceldoune, and Cowdenknowes,
with so firm a grasp, that when the Forest of Ettricke was disWhere Homes had ance commanding,
parked, they obtained a grant of the Castle of Newark in proAnd Drygrange, wi' the milk-white ewes,
perty. It was within the court-yard of this castle that Geno"Twixt Tweed and Leader standing.
ral Lesly did military execution upon the prisoners whom he The bird that flees through Redpath trees
had taken at the battle of Philiphaugh. The castle continued And Gledswood banks each morrow,
to be an occasional seat of the Buccleuch family for more May chaunt and sing-Sweet Leader's haughs than a century; and here, it is said, the Duchess of Monmouth And Bonny houms of Yarrou.
and Buccleuch was brought up. For this reason, probably,
Mr. Scott has chosen to make it the scene in which the Lay
of the Last Minstrel is recited in her presence, and for her
amusement."-SCHETKY's Ilustrations of the Lay of the Last
It may be added that Bowhill was the favourite residence
of Lord and Lady Dalkeith, (afterwards Duke and Duchess
of Buccleuch), at the time when the poem was composed; the And Scotts that dwelt on Yarrow."
ruins of Newark are all but included in the park attached to
Life, vol vi p. 7A. that modern seat of the family; and Sir Walter Scott, no ? " This is a massive square tower, now unroofed and doubt, was influenced in his choice of the locality, by the ruinous, surrounded by an outward wall, defended by round predilection of the charming lady who suggested the subflanking turrets. It is most beautifully situated, about three ject of his Lay for the scenery of the Yarrow-a beautiful miles from Selkirk, upon the banks of the Yarrow, a fierce walk on whose banks, leading from the house to the old and precipitous stream, which unites with the Ettricke about castle, is called, in memory of her, the Duchess's Walk.- Ep. a mile beneath the castle.
8 Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth, representa"Newark Castle was built by James II. The royal arms, tive of the ancient Lords of Buccleuch, and widow of the unforwith the unicorn, are engrared on a stone in the western side tunate James, Duke of Monmouth, who was beheaded in 1635. of the tower. There was a much more ancient castle in its • Francis Scott, Earl of Cuccleuch, father of the Duchess.
And of Earl Walter,' rest him, God!
And lighten’d up his faded eye,
The Lay of the Last Minstrel.
The humble boon was soon obtain'd;
The tables were drawn, it was idlesse all;
Knight, and page, and household squire,
Or crowded round the ample fire:
Lay stretch'd upon the rushy floor,
From Teviot-stone to Eskdale-moor.5
I Walter, Earl of Buccleuch, grandfather of the Duchess, 6 " The ancient romance owes much of its interest to the and a celebrated warrior.
lively picture which it affords of the times of chivalry, and of 9"Mr. W. Dundas, (see Life of Scott, vol. ii. p. 226,) says,
those usages, manners, and institutions, which we have been that Pitt repeated the lines, describing the old harper's em
accustomed to associate in our minds, with a certain combibarrassment when asked to play, and said, “This is a sort of nation of magnificence with simplicity, and ferocity with thing which I might have expected in painting, but could romantic honour. The representations contained in those Dever have fancied capable of being given in poetry.""
performances, however, are, for the most part too rude and
naked to give complete satisfaction. The execution is always 3."In the very first rank of poetical excellence, we are extremely unequal ; and though the writer sometimes touches inclined to place the introductory and concluding lines of upon the appropriate feeling with great effect and felicity, every canto, in which the ancient strain is suspended, and still this appears to be done more by accident than design; the teelings and situation of the minstrel himself described in
and he wanders away immediately into all sorts of ridiculous the words of the author. The elegance and the beauty of this
or uninteresting details, without any apparent consciousness setting, if we may so call it, though entirely of modern work- of incongruity. These defects Mr. Scott has corrected with manship, appears to us to be fully more worthy of admiration work now before us ; and while he has exhibited a very strik
admirable address and judgment in the greater part of the than the bolder relief of the antiques which it encloses, and leads us to repret that the author should have wasted, in imita ing and impressive picture of the old feudal usages and instition and antiquarian researches, so much of those powers which tutions, he has shown still greater talent in engrafting upon seem fully equal to the task of raising him an independent repu- which the circumstances of the story naturally give rise.
those descriptions all the tender or magnanimous emotions to lation."-JEFFREY.
Without impairing the antique air of the whole piece, or vio• See Appendix, Note A.
lating the simplicity of the ballad style, he has contrived, in
VIL Nine-and-twenty knights of fame
Such is the custom of Branksome-Hall. Hung their shields in Branksome-Hall ;'
Many a valiant knight is here; Nine-and-twenty squires of name
But he, the chieftain of them all,
Beside his broken spear.
Bards long shall tell
How Lord Walter fell !
When startled burghers fled, afar,
The furies of the Border war;
When the streets of high Dunedin
Saw lances gleam, and falchions redden, With belted sword, and spur on heel :
And heard the slogan's7 deadly yell-
Then the Chief of Branksome feil.
Can piety the discord heal,
Or stanch the death-feud's enmity?
Can Christian lore, can patriot zeal,
Can love of blessed charity? And they drank the red wine through the helmet No! vainly to each holy shrine, • barr'd.
In mutual pilgrimage, they drew;
Implored, in vain, the grace divine
For chiefs, their own red falchions slew:
While Cessford owns the rule of Carr, Waited the beck of the warders ten;
While Ettrick boasts the line of Scott, Thirty steeds, both fleet and wight,
The slaughter'd chiefs, the mortal jar, Stood saddled in stable day and night,
The havoc of the feudal war,
Shall never, never be forgot !8
In sorrow o'er Lord Walter's bier
The warlike foresters had bent;
And many a flower, and many a tear,
Old Teviot's maids and matrons lent:
Vengeance, deep-brooding o'er the slain,
Had lock'd the source of softer woe ; To see the midnight beacon gleaming :
And burning pride, and high disdain,
Lest Scroop, or Howard, or Percy's powers, Until, amid his sorrowing clan,
Her son lisp'd from the nurse's knee-
« And if I live to be a man, lisle.3
My father's death revenged shall be !”
this way, to impart a much greater dignity and more power
“The Scotts they rade, the Scotts they ran, ful interest to his production, than could ever be obtained by
Sae starkly and sae steadilie! the unskilful and unsteady delineations of the old romancers.
And aye the ower-word o' the thrang Nothing, we think, can afford a finer illustration of this re
Was-Rise for Branksome readilie," &c. mark, than the opening stanzas of the whole poem ; they Compare also the Ballad of Kinmont Willie, (vol. i. p. transport us at once into the days of knightly daring and 53.) feudal hostility, at the same time that they suggest, in a very
"Now word is gane to the bauld keeper, interesting way, all those softer sentiments which arise out of
In Branksome ha' where that he lay," &c.-ED. some parts of the description."-JEFFREY.
• There are not many passages in English poetry more im· See Appendix, Note B.
pressive than some parts of Stanzas vii, viii. ix.-JEFFREY. 9 See Appendix, Note C.
• See Appendix, Note E.
o Edinburgh. 8 See Appendix, Note D, and compare these stanzas with
7 The war-cry, or gathering-word, of a Border clan. the description of Jamie Telfer's appearance at BranksomeHall, (Border Minstrelsy, vol. ii. p. 5,) to claim the protection
8 See Appendix, Note F. of "Auld Buccleuch"-and the ensuing scene, (page 9, / Orig. (1st Edition.) "The Ladye dropp'd nor sigh nor tear.
Then fast the mother's tears did seek
And, from the turrets round, To dew the infant's kindling cheek.
Loud whoops the startled owl.
In the hall, both squire and knight
Swore that a storm was near,
And looked forth to view the night! All loose her golden hair,
But the night was still and clear! Hung Margaret o'er her slaughter'd sire,
And wept in wild despair, But not alone the bitter tear
From the sound of Teviot's tide, llad filial grief supplied ;
Chafing with the mountain's side, For hopeless love, and anxious fear,
From the groan of the wind-swung oak, Had lent their mingled tide:
From the sullen echo of the rock, Nor in her mother's alter'd eye
From the voice of the coming storm, Dared she to look for sympathy.
The Ladye knew it well! Her lover, 'gainst her father's clan,
It was the Spirit of the Flood that spoke,
And he called on the Spirit of the Fell.
RIVER SPIRIT. Before Lord Cranstoun she should wed,
“ Sleep'st thou, brother?”– Would see her on her dying bed.
—— Brother, nayXI.
On my hills the moon-beams play. Of noble race the Ladye came,
From Craik-cross to Skelfhill-pen, Her father was a clerk of fame,
By every rill, in every glen, Of Bethune's line of Picardie :3
Merry elves their morris pacing, He learn'd the art that none may name,
To aërial minstrelsy, In Padua, far beyond the sea.
Emerald rings on brown heath tracing, Men said, he changed his mortal frame
Trip it deft and merrily. By feat of magic mystery;
Up, and mark their nimble feet!
Up, and list their music sweet!”.
5 Tears of an imprison'd maiden XII.
Mix with my polluted stream; And of his skill, as bards avow,
Margaret of Branksome, sorrow-laden, He taught that Ladye fair,
Mourns beneath the moon's pale beam. Till to her bidding she could bow
Tell me, thou, who view'st the stars, The viewless forms of air. 7
When shall cease these feudal jars? And now she sits in secret bower,
What shall be the maiden's fate?
Who shall be the maiden's mate?"-
“ Arthur's slow wain his course doth roll, Is it the wind that swings the oaks?
In utter darkness round the pole; Is it the echo from the rocks?
The Northern Bear lowers black and grim; What may it be, the heavy sound,
Orion's studded belt is dim; That moans old Branksome's turrets,
Twinkling faint, and distant far, round?
Shimmers through mist each planet star;
Ill may I read their high decree!
But no kind influence deign they shower
On Teviot's tide, and Branksome's tower, The ban-dogs bay and howl;
Till pride be quell'd, and love be free.”
Soc Appendix, Note G. (The name is spelt differently by 6 First Edition_"$t. Kentigerne's hall."-St. Mungo, or the various families who bear it. Carr is sclected, not as the Kentigerne, is the patron saint of Glasgow, most correct, but as the most poetical reading.)
6 See Appendix, Note L. 7 See Appendix, Note M. ? See Appendix, Note H.
8 See Appendix, Note I. • See Appendix, Note K.
• Scaur, a precipitous bank of earth.
| Lika som vse stor sme.
M-MO FINIL I naan arme: Ant "he less went w will:
Strait of Sear, ant sunt of sant Et tient in the song iput.
is er toe grote Lamberani: It text is die ste vt be ull.
Fire sme raad bac be seen.
By Eaçant's Åsg, mi Sentani's Queen
- Srm of Deirmune, ma x need, the usert et lat.
Wsunt size an sie unserend: Aurt ser inrir i nera grate -- Scart çer, soe sen: a rade, I ser menntung sal eni,
tasi tarme so far Tesisate ; dat mnr creams sont
Asta Warse's been adde
Sees than the Munk of St Mary's asie.
Say that the sed how is one.
And to-sudu be sea? 23h vik sem, en nany a sauner ay.
To win the treasure of the res: kar, và tinh tan, thg 12 ,
For this vi bese Nehri's suc Fier un urlet us atat guy.
And, shoazh stars been the soue staght; A anciet me per, the
And the Cross, of bind med
W post to the grace of the magety dead.
* What be gives thee, see the keep: har an bis für miris nr.
Say not toe for ford o sleep: Allest ser neara si 100 ml
Be s seroll, or be it book. 2 ts us the strai bet rire.
Isto it, Khutbor must not bous; Pse the pay wron ricorsed,
I thoa giữ, tạo r lor:
Betta bad's thou ne'er been born
Which drinks of the Teniet elear;
Ere break of day," the Warrior gan say, One moment, ani so more;
“ Again will I be bere: One moment dazeri vita a mother's eyes
And safer by nose may thy errand be done, Ag sne panseri u the arrhed doce:
Than, poble dame, by me; Then from am the arned train.
Letter nor line know I never a one, She cand to her whaiam of Deisraine."
Wert my neck-rerse at Hainbee."
XX. A stark moestrooping Scott was he,
Soon in his saddle sate be fast, 4. der erch'd Border lance by knee;
And soon the steep descent be past, Thrach Sita sands, throazh Tarras moss, Soon cross'd the sounding barbican, Bainetirad, he knew the paths to cross ;
And soon the Teviot side be won. By wily turns, by desperate bounds,
Eastward the wooded path be rode, Hat batteri Pepey's best blood-bounds;
Green hazels o'er his basnet nod; In Fake or Liddel, fords were sone,
He passed the Peel of Goldiland, Bat be poolt nide them, one by one;
And crossid old Borthwick's rearing strand; Anke to him was time or tide,
Dimiy be viewd the Moat-bill's mound, December's adow, July's pride;
Where Druid shades still fitted round;£* 1 Hoe Appendii. Pote N.
Miserere mei, &c, anciently read by criminals claiming the :, a prelatar farad.
benefit of clergy. (" In the mug bet spirited sketch of the 2 This inre of which the metre appear defective, would marauding Borderer, and in the nsireti of his last declaration, haveita fai complement of feet according to the pronunciation the reader vull recognise some of the most striking features of the poet himself-se all who were familiar with his atter of the ancient baliad."-Ortical Krix.1 mee of the letter , vill bear testimony - Ed. * See Appendix, Note 0. s Ibid. Note P. & Thid. Note Q
• Barbicar, the defence of the outer gate of a feudal castle. 7 Hririhet, the place of executing the Border marauders at • Peel, a Border tower. Carlisle. The neck eers is the beginning of the Sls: Psain, 10 See Appeadix, Note R.