Imágenes de páginas

The Gray Brother.



The imperfect state of this ballad, which was writ- upon their minds the gloom of superstition, so general ten several years ago, is not a circumstance affected in that age. for the purpose of giving it that peculiar interest “ About the same time he [Peden) came to Anwhich is often found to arise from ungratified curiosity. drew Normand's house, in the parish of Alloway, in On the contrary, it was the Editor's intention to have the shire of Ayr, being to preach at night in his barn. completed the tale, if he had found himself able to After he came in, he halted a little, leaning upon a succeed to his own satisfaction. Yielding to the opi- chair-back, with his face covered ; when he lifted up nion of persons, whose judgment, if not biassed by his head, he said, “ They are in this house that I have the partiality of friendship, is entitled to deference, he not one word of salvation unto;' he halted a little again, has preferred inserting these verses as a fragment, to saying, “This is strange, that the devil will not go out, his intention of entirely suppressing them.

that we may begin our work !' Then there was a The tradition, upon which the tale is founded, re- woman went out, ill-looked upon almost all her life, and gards a house upon the barony of Gilmerton, near Lass- to her dying hour, for a witch, with many presumptions wade, in Mid-Lothian. This building, now called Gil- of the same. It escaped me, in the former passages, merton Grange, was originally named Burndale, from what John Muirhead (whom I have often mentioned) the following tragic adventure. The barony of Gil- | told me, that when he came from Ireland to Galloway, merton belonged, of yore, to a gentleman named he was at family-worship, and giving some notes upon Heron, who had one beautiful daughter. This young the Scripture read, when a very ill-looking man came, lady was seduced by the Abbot of Newbattle, a richly and sat down within the door, at the back of the endowed abbey, upon the banks of the South Esk, now hallan, (partition of the cottage :) immediately he a seat of the Marquis of Lothian. Heron came to the halted and said, “There is some unhappy body just knowledge of this circumstance, and learned also, now come into this house. I charge him to go out, that the lovers carried on their guilty intercourse by and not stop my mouth !' This person went out, and the connivance of the lady's nurse, who lived at this he insisted (went on,) yet he saw him neither come in house of Gilmerton Grange, or Burndale. He formed nor go out.”—The Life and Prophecies of Mr. Alexa resolution of bloody vengeance, undeterred by the ander Pedan, late Minister of the Gospel at New Glensupposed sanctity of the clerical character, or by the luce, in Galloway, part ii. & 26. stronger claims of natural affection. Choosing, there- A friendly correspondent remarks, “ that the infore, a dark and windy night, when the objects of his capacity of proceeding in the performance of a relivengeance were engaged in a stolen interview, he set gious duty, when a contaminated person is present, is fire to a stack of dried thorns, and other combustibles, of much higher antiquity than the era of the Revewhich he had caused to be piled against the house, rend Mr. Alexander Peden.”— Vide Hygini Fabulas, and reduced to a pile of glowing ashes the dwelling, cap. 26. “ Medea Corintho exul, Athenas, ad Ægeum with all its inmates.

Pandionis filium devenit in hospitium, eique nupsit. The scene with which the ballad opens, was sug

Postea sacerdos Dianæ Meleam exagitare gested by the following curious passage, extracted cæpit, regique negabat sacra caste facere posse, eo quod from the Life of Alexander Peden, one of the wan- in ea civitate esset mulier venefica et scelerata; tunc exudering and persecuted teachers of the sect of Camero. latur.nians, during the reign of Charles II. and his successor, James. This person was supposed by his followers, and, perhaps, really believed himself, to be pos

THE GRAY BROTHER. sessed of supernatural gifts ; for the wild scenes which they frequented, and the constant dangers which The Pope he was saying the high, high mass, were incurred through their proscription, deepened All on Saint Peter's day,

1 This tradition was communicated to me by John Clerk, of Britain to concentrate her thunders, and to launch them Esq of Eldin, author of an Essay upon Naral Tactics, who against her foes with an unerring aim. will be remembered by posterity, as having taught the Genius

With the power to him given, by the saints in heaven, For all ’mid Scotland's chiefs of fame,
To wash men's sins away.

Was none more famed than he.

[blocks in formation]

He gazed on the walls, so scathed with fire,

And shrive thee so clean of thy deadly sin,
With many a bitter groan-

That absolved thou mayst be.”-
And there was aware of a Gray Friar,
Resting him on a stone.

“ And who art thou, thou Gray Brother,

That I should shrive to thee, “Now, Christ thee save!” said the Gray Brother; When He, to whom are given the keys of earth and “ Some pilgrim thou seemest to be.”

heaven, But in sore amaze did Lord Albert gaze,

Has no power to pardon me?"Nor answer again made he.

“ O I am sent from a distant clime, “ O come ye from east, or come ye from west,

Five thousand miles away, Or bring reliques from over the sea;

And all to absolve a foul, foul crime, Or come ye from the shrine of St. James the divine, Done here 'twixt night and day.” Or St. John of Beverley?”—

The pilgrim kneeld him on the sand, “I come not from the shrine of St. James the divine, And thus began his sayeNor bring reliques from over the sea;

When on his neck an ice-cold hand I bring but a curse from our father, the Pope,

Did that Gray Brother laye.? Which for ever will cling to me.”

“ Now, woful pilgrim, say not so!

But kneel thee down to me,

1 The contemporary criticism on this noble ballad was all " Then came The Gray Brother, founded on another superfeeble, but laudatory, with the exception of the following re-stition, which seems to have been almost as ancient as the bemark :-“ The painter is justly blamed, whose figures do not lief in ghosts ; namely, that the holiest service of the altar correspond with his landscape-who assembles banditti in an cannot go on in the presence of an unclean person-a heinous Elysium, or bathing loves in a lake of storm. The same sinner unconfessed and unabsolved. The fragmentary form adaptation of parts is expedient in the poet. The stanzas- of this poem greatly heightens the awfulness of its impression ;

and in construction and metre, the verses which really belong 'Sweet are thy paths, O passing sweet!'

to the story appear to me the happiest that have ever been

produced expressly in imitation of the ballad of the middle . And classic Hawthornden,'

In the stanzas, previously quoted, on the scenery of the

Esk, however beautiful in themselves, and however interestdisagreeably contrast with the mysterious gloomy character ing now as marking the locality of the composition, he must of the ballad. Were these omitted, it would merit high rank be allowed to have lapsed into another strain, and produced a for the terrific expectation it excites by the majestic intro- pannus purpureus which interferes with and mars the geneduction, and the awful close."--Critical Revicu, November ral texture."- Life of Scoll, vol. ii. p. 26. 1203.- ED.




Notes 1 to 7.

4 Melville Castle, tne seat of the Right Honourable Lord

Melvillo, to whom it gives the title of Viscount, is delightfully SCENERY OF THE ESK.-P. 602.

situated upon the Eske, near Lasswade. 1 The barony of Pennycuik, the property of Sir George 5 The ruins of Roslin Castle, the baronial residence of the Clerk, Bart., is held by a singular tenure; the proprietor ancient family of St. Clair. The Gothic chapel, which is still being bound to sit upon a large rocky fragment called the in beautiful preservation, with the romantic and woody dell Buckstane, and wind three blasts of a horn, when the King in which they are situated, belong to the Right Honourable shall come to hunt on the Borough Muir, near Edinburgh. the Earl of Russlyn, the representative of the former Lords of Hence the family have adopted as their crest a demi-forester Roslin. proper, winding a horn, with the motto, Free for a Blast. 6 The village and castle of Dalkeith belonged of old to the The beautiful mansion-house of Pennycuik is much admired, famous Earl of Morton, but is now the residence of the noble both on account of the architecture and surrounding scenery. family of Buccleuch. The park extends along the Eske,

2 Auchendinny, situated upon the Eske, below Pennycuik, which is there joined by its sister stream of the same name. the present residence of the ingenious H. Mackenzie, Esq., 7 Hawthornden, the residence of the poet Drummond. A author of the Man of Feeling, 80.-Edition 1803.

house of more modern date is enclosed, as it were, by the 3 “Haunted Woodhouselee."-For the traditions connected ruins of the ancient castle, and overhangs a tremendous prewith this ruinous mansion, see Ballad of Cadyow Castle, Note, cipice upon the banks of the Eske, perforated by winding P. 503.

caves, which in former times were a refuge to the oppressed patriots of Scotland. Here Drummond received Ben Jonson, Upon the whole, tracing the Eške from its source till it foing who journeyed from London on foot in order to visit him. the sea at Musselburgh, no stream in Scotland can boast such The beauty of this striking scene has been much injured of a varied succession of the most interesting objects, as well as late years by the indiscriminate use of the axe. The traveller of the most romantic and beautiful scenery. 1803. . now looks in vain for the leafy bower,

- The beautiful scenery of Hawthornden has, since the above

note was written, recovered all its pr ornament of wood “Where Jonson sat in Drummond's social shade." 1831



Royal Edinburgh Light Bragadns.

[ocr errors]


"Nennius. Is not peace the end of arms?

two corps of artillery, each capable of serving twelve Caratach. Not where the cause implies a general conquest. guns. To such a force, above all others, might, in Had we a difference with some petty isle,

similar circumstances, be applied the exhortation of Or with our neighbours, Britons, for our landmarks, The taking in of some rebellious lord,

our ancient Galgacus : “ Proinde ituri in aciem, a Or making head against a slight commotion,

majores restros et posteros cogitate.” 1812.
After a day of blood, peace might be argued :
But where we grapple for the land we live on,
The liberty we hold more dear than life,
The gods we worship, and, next these, our honours,
And, with those, swords that know no end of battle-

Those men, beside themselves, allow no neighbour,
Those minds, that, where the day is, claim inheritance,
And, where the sun makes ripe the fruit, their harvest,

And, where they march, but measure out more ground
To add to Rome -
It must not be-No! as they are our foes,

To horse! to horse! the standard flies, Let's use the peace of honour--that's fair dealing;

The bugles sound the call; But in our hands our swords. The hardy Roman,

The Gallic navy stems the seas,
That thinks to graft himself into my stock,

The voice of battle's on the breeze,
Must first begin his kindred under ground,
And be allied in ashes.".

Arouse ye, one and all!

From high Dunedin's towers we come,

A band of brothers true; The following War-Song was written during the Our casques the leopard's spoils surround, apprehension of an invasion. The corps of volunteers With Scotland's hardy thistle crown'd; to which it was addressed, was raised in 1797, con- We boast the red and blue.3 sisting of gentlemen, mounted and armed at their own expense. It still subsists, as the Right Troop of Though tamely crouch to Gallia's frown the Royal Mid-Lothian Light Cavalry, commanded Dull Holland's tardy train; by the Honourable Lieutenant-Colonel Dundas. The Their ravish'd toys though Romans mourn; noble and constitutional measure of arming freemen Though gallant Switzers vainly spurn, in defence of their own rights, was nowhere more suc- And, foaming, gnaw the chain; cessful than in Edinburgh, which furnished a force of 3000 armed and disciplined volunteers, including a Oh! had they mark'd the avenging call. regiment of cavalry, from the city and county, and Their brethren's murder gave,

1 The song originally appeared in the Scots Magazine for garded the death of their bravest countrymen, mercilessly 1802.-ED,

slaughtered in discharge of their duty, encouraged and 33 9 Now Viscount Melville.-1831.

thorized the progressive injustice, by which the Alps, once 3 The royal colours.

the seat of the most virtuous and free people upon the Conti • The allusion is to the massacre of the Swiss Guards, on nent, have, at length, been converted into the citadel of a for the fatal 10th August, 1792. It is painful, but not useless, reign and military despot. A state degraded is half enslaved. to remark, that the passive temper with which the Swiss re- --1812.

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »