Imágenes de páginas

Lest Scroop, or Howard, or Percy's powers,

Threaten Branksome's lordly towers,
From Warkworth, or Naworth, or merry Carlisle."

Nine-and-twenty knights of fame

Hung their shields in Branksome-Hall;"
Nine-and-twenty squires of name
Brought them their steeds to bower from stall;

Nine-and-twenty yeomen tall
Waited, duteous, on them all:
They were all knights of mettle true,
Kinsmen to the bold Buccleuch.

Ten of them were sheathed in steel,
With belted sword, and spur on heel :
They quitted not their harness bright,
Neither by day, nor yet by night:

They lay down to rest,

With corslet laced,
Pillow'd on buckler cold and hard;

They carved at the meal

With gloves of steel,
And they drank the red wine through the helmet


Such is the custom of Branksome-Hall."

Many a valiant knight is here;
But he, the chieftain of them all,
His sword hangs rusting on the wall,

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 Dunedino
Saw lances gleam, and falchions redden,
And heard the slogan's' deadly yell-
Then the Chief of Branksome fell.

Ten squires, ten yeomen, mail-clad men,
Waited the beck of the warders ten;
Thirty steeds, both fleet and wight,
Stood saddled in stable day and night,
Barbed with frontlet of steel, I trow,
And with Jedwood-axe at saddlebow ;)
A hundred more fed free in stall :-
Such was the custom of Branksome-Hall.

Can piety the discord heal,

Or stanch the death-feud's enmity!
Can Christian lore, can patriot zeal,

Can love of blessed charity ?
No! vainly to each holy shrine,

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,

While Ettrick boasts the line of Scott,
The slaughter'd chiefs, the mortal jar,
The havoc of the feudal war,

Shall never, never be forgot 78

Why do these steeds stand ready dight ?
Why watch these warriors, arm’d, by night?-
They watch, to hear the blood-hound baying:
They watch to hear the war-horn braying;
To see St. George's red cross streaming,
To see the midnight beacon gleaming :
They watch, against Southern force and guile,

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;
But o'er her warrior's bloody bier
The Ladye dropp'd nor flower nor tear!"

of the old feudal usages and institutions, he has shown still Hall (Border Minstrelsy, vol. ii. p. 5), to claim the protection greater talent in engrafting upon those descriptions all the ten- of Auld Buccleuch"--and the ensuing scene (page 9). der or magnanimous emotions to which the circumstances of

"The Scotts they rade, the Scotts they ran, the story naturally give rise. Without impairing the antique

Sae starkly and sae steadilie! air of the whole piece, or violating the simplicity of the bal

And aye the ower-word o' the thrang lad style, he has contrived, in this way, to impart a much

Was— Rise for Branksome readilie,'" &c. greater dignity and more powerful interest to his production, Compare also the Ballad of Kinmont Willie (vol. ii. p. 53). than eould ever be obtained by the unskilful and unsteady delineations of the old romancers. Nothing, we think, can “Now word is gane to the bauld keeper, afford a finer illustration of this remark, than the opening

In Branksome ha' where that he lay,” &c.--Ed. stanzas of the whole poem ; they transport us at once into the

4 There are not many passages in English poetry more imdays of knightly daring and feudal hostility, at the same time

pressive than some parts of Stanzas vii. viii. ix.-JEFFREY. that they suggest, in a very interesting way, all those softer sentiments which arise out of some parts of the description."

6 See Appendix, Note E. - JEFFREY.

6 Edinburgh. 1 See Appendix, Note B.

7 The war-cry, or gathering-word, of a Border clan. a See Appendix, Note C.

See Appendix, Note F. See Appendix, Note D, and compare these stanzas with 9 Orig. (1st Edition) “The Ladye dropp'd nor sigh nor the description of Jamie Telfer's appearance at Branksome,


Vengeance, deep-brooding o'er the slain,

Had lock'd the source of softer woe; And burning pride, and high disdain,

Forbade the rising tear to flow; Until, amid his sorrowing clan,

Her son lisp'd from the nurse's knee“ And if I live to be a man,

My father's death revenged shall be !" Then fast the mother's tears did seek To dew the infant's kindling cheek.

Is it the roar of Teviot's tide,
That chafes against the scaur's red side?
Is it the wind that swings the oaks ?
Is it the echo from the rocks?
What may it be, the heavy sound,
That moans old Branksome's turrets round ?

At the sullen, moaning sound,

The ban-dogs bay and howl;
And, from the turrets round,

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;

But the night was still and clear!

All loose her negligent attire,

All loose her golden hair,
Hung Margaret o'er her slaughter'd sire,

And wept in wild despair :
But not alone the bitter tear

Had filial grief supplied;
For hopeless love, and anxious fear,

Had lent their mingled tide:
Nor in her mother's alter'd eye
Dared she to look for sympathy.
Her lover, 'gainst her father's clan,

With Carr in arms had stood,'
When Mathouse-burn to Melrose ran

All purple with their blood; And well she knew, her mother dread, Before Lord Cranstoun she should wed, Would see her on her dying bed.


From the sound of Teviot's tide,
Chafing with the mountain's side,
From the groan of the wind-swung oak,
From the sullen echo of the rock,
From the voice of the coming storm,

The Ladye kuew it well!
It was the Spirit of the Flood that spoke,

And he called on the Spirit of the Fell.



“Sleep’st thou, brother!"


Of noble race the Ladye came,
Her father was a clerk of fame,

Of Bethune's line of Picardie ;'
He learn'd the art that none may name,

In Padua, far beyond the sea."
Men said, he changed his mortal frame

By feat of magic mystery;
For when, in studious mood, he paced

St. Andrew's cloister'd hall,
His form no darkening shadow traced

Upon the sunny wall !

–“ Brother, nay-
On my hills the moonbeams play.
From Craik-cross to Skelflill-pen,
By every rill, in every glen,
Merry elves their morris pacing,

To aërial minstrelsy,
Emerald rings on brown heath tracing,

Trip it deft and merrily.
Up, and mark their nimble feet !
Up, and list their music sweet !"-


RIVER SPIRIT. " Tears of an imprison'd maiden

Mix with my polluted stream; Margaret of Branksome, sorrow-laden,

Mourns beneath the moon's pale beam. Tell me, thou, who view'st the stars, When shall cease these feudal jars?, What shall be the maiden's fate? Who shall be the maiden's mate?"

And of his skill, as bards avow,

He taught that Ladye fair,
Till to her bidding she could bow

The viewless forms of air."
And now she sits in secret bower,
In old Lord David's western tower,
And listens to a heavy sound,
That moans the mossy turrets round.

1 See Appendix, Note G. (The name is-spelt differently by the various families who bear it. Carr is selected, not as the most correct, but as the most poetical reading.)

See Appendix, Note H. 8 See Appendix, Note I.

* See Appendix, Note K.

First Edition--"$t. Kentigerne's hall."-St. Mungo, or
Kentigere, is the patron saint of Glasgow.

8 See Appendix, Note L.
7 See Appendix, Note M.
8 Scaur, a precipitous bank of earth.

XXI. A stark moss-trooping Scott was he, As e'er couch'd Border lance by knee: Through Solway sands, through Tarras



MOUNTAIN SPIRIT. * Arthur's slow wain his course doth roll, In utter darkness round the pole; The Nothern Bear lowers black and grim; Orion's studded belt is dim; Twinkling faint, and distant far, Shimmers through mist each planet star;

ni may I read their high decree! But no kind influence deign they shower On Teviot's tide, and Branksome's tower, Till pride be quell'd, and love be free.”...

XVIII. The unearthly voices ceast,

And the heavy sound was still ; It died on the river's breast,

It died on the side of the hill. But round Lord David's tower

The sound still floated near; For it rung in the Ladye's bower,

And it rung in the Ladye's ear. She raised her stately head,

And her heart throbb’d high with pride :"Your mountains shall bend, And your streams ascend,

Ere Margaret be our foeman's bride !"

Blindfold, he knew the paths to cross;
By wily turns, by desperate bounds,
Had baffled Percy's best blood-hounds ;o
In Eske or Liddel, fords were none,
But he would ride them, one by one.
Alike to him was time or tide,
December's snow, or July's pride:
Alike to him was tide or time,
Moonless midnight, or matin prime:
Steady of heart, and stout of hand,
As ever drove prey from Cumberland;
Five times outlawed had he been,
By England's King and Scotland's Queen.

“Sir William of Deloraine, good at need,
Mount thee on the wightest steed;
Spare not to spur, nor stint to ride,
Until thou come to fair Tweedside;
And in Melrose's holy pile
Seek thou the Monk of St. Mary's aisle.
Greet the Father well from me;

Say that the fated hour is come,
And to-night he shall watch with thee,

To win the treasure of the tomb:
For this will be St. Michael's night,
And, though stars be dim, the moon is bright;
And the Cross, of bloody red,
Will point to the grave of the mighty dead.

The Ladye sought the lofty hall,

Where many a bold retainer lay,
And, with jocund din, among them all,

Her son pursued his infant play. A fancied moss-trooper, the boy

The truncheon of a spear bestrode, And round the hall, right merrily,

In mimic foray' rode. Even bearded knights, in arms grown old,

Share in his frolic gambols bore, Albeit their hearts, of rugged mould,

Were stubborn as the steel they wore. For the gray warriors prophesied,

How the brave boy, in future war, Should tame the Unicorn's pride,

Exalt the Crescent and the Star.*

XXIII. “What he gives thee, see thou keep; Stay not thou for food or sleep: Be it scroll, or be it book, Into it, Knight, thou must not look; If thou readest, thou art lorn! Better hadst thou ne'er been born.”—

The Ladye forgot her purpose high,

One moment, and no more;
One moment gazed with a mother's eye,

As she paused at the arched door: Then, from amid the armed train, She call'd to her William of Deloraine."

XXIV. “O swiftly can speed my dapple-gray steed,

Which drinks of the Teviot clear;
Ere break of day,” the Warrior 'gan say,

· Again will I be here: And safer by none may thy errand be done,

Than, noble dame, by me;
Letter nor line know I never a one,

Wer't my neck-verse at Hairibee."

i Sze Appendix, Note N.
· Foray, a predatory inroad.

* This line, of which the metre appears defective, would have its full complement of feet according to the pronunciation of the poet himself-as all who were familiar with his utterance of the letter r will bear testimony.-Ed.

4 See Appendix, Note 0. 6 Ibid. Note P. 6 Ibid. Note Q.

7 Hairibee, the place of executing the Border marauders at Carlisle. The neck-verse, is the beginning of the 51st Psalm, Miserere mei, &c., anciently read by criminals claiming the benefit of clergy. (“In the rough but spirited sketch of the

Down from the lakes did raving come; Each wave was crested with tawny foam,

Like the mane of a chestnut steed. In vain! no torrent, deep or broad, Might bar the bold moss-trooper's road.

XXV. Soon in his saddle sate he fast, And soon the steep descent he past, Soon cross’d the sounding barbican," And soon the Teviot side he won. Eastward the wooded path he rode, Green bazels o'er his basnet nod; He pass'd the Peel of Goldiland, And cross'd old Borthwick's roaring strand; Dimly he view'd the Moat-hill's mound, Where Druid shades still fitted round ; In Hawick twinkled many a light; Behind him soon they set in night; And soon he spurr’d his courser keen Beneath the tower of Hazeldean."

XXIX. At the first plunge the horse sunk low, And the water broke o'er the saddlebow: Above the foaming tide, I ween, Scarce half the charger's neck was seen; For he was barded from counter to tail, And the rider was armed complete in mail ; Never heavier man and horse Stemm'd a midnight torrent's force. The warrior's very plume, I say Was daggled by the dashing spray; Yet through good heart, and Our Ladye's grace, At length he gain’d the landing place.

XXVI. The clattering hoofs the watchmen mark ;"Stand, ho! thou courier of the dark.”“For Branksome, hol” the knight rejoin'd, And left the friendly tower behind. He turn'd him now from Teviotside,'

And, guided by the tinkling rill,
Northward the dark ascent did ride,

And gain'd the moor at Horsliehill ;
Broad on the left before him lay,
For many a mile, the Roman way.”

XXX. Now Bowden Moor the march-man won,

And sternly shook his plumed head, As glanced his eye o'er Halidon ;o

For on his soul the slaughter red Of that unhallow'd morn arose, When first the Scott and Carr were foes; When royal James beheld the fray, Prize to the victor of the day; When Home and Douglas, in the van, Bore down Buccleuch's retiring clan, Till gallant Cessford's heart-blood dear Reek'd on dark Elliot's Border spear.

XXVII. A moment now he slack'd his speed, A moment breathed his panting steed; Drew saddle-girth and corslet-band, And loosen'd in the sheath his brand. On Minto-crags the moonbeams glint, Where Barnhill hew'd his bed of flint; Who flung his outlaw'd limbs to rest, Where falcons hang their giddy nest, Mid cliffs, from whence his eagle eye For many a league his prey could spy; Cliffs, doubling, on their echoes borne, The terrors of the robber's horn? Cliffs, which, for many a later year, The warbling Doric reed shall hear, When some sad swain shall teach the grove, Ambition is no cure for love!

XXXI. In bitter mood he spurred fast, And soon the hated heath was past; And far beneath, in lustre wan, Old Melros' rose, and fair Tweed ran: Like some tall rock with lichens gray, Seem'd dimly huge, the dark Abbaye. When Hawick he pass'd, had curfew rung, Now midnight lauds were in Melrose sung. The sound, upon the fitful gale, In solemn wise did rise and fail, Like that wild harp, whose magic tone Is waken'd by the winds alone. But when Melrose he reach'd, 'twas silence all; He meetly stabled his steed in stall, And sought the convent's lonely wall."

XXVIII. Unchallenged, thence pass'd Deloraine, To ancient Riddel's fair domain,"

Where Aill, from mountains freed,

maranding Borderer, and in the naïveté of his last declaration,
the reader will recognize some of the most striking features of
the ancient ballad."-Critical Review.]

1 Barbican, the defence of the outer gate of a feudal castle.
2 Peel, a Border-tower.
* See Appendix, Note R.
• See Appendix, Note 8.

6 An ancient Roman road, crossing through part of Roxburghshire.

6 See Appendix, Note T.

7 Ibid. Note U. 8 Barded, or barbed, -applied to a horse accoutred with defensive armor.

Halidon was an ancient seat of the Kerrs of Cessford, now demolished. Abont a quarter of a mile to the northward lay the field of battle betwixt Buccleuch and Angus, which is called to this day the Skirmish Field.--See Appendix, Note D.

10 Lauds, the midnight service of the Catholic church. 11 See Appendix, Note V.

The porter hurried to the gate-
“ Who knocks so loud, and knocks so late ?"
"From Branksome, I," the warrior cried;
And straight the wicket open'd wide :
For Branksome's Chiefs had in battle stood,

To fence the rights of fair Melrose;
And lands and livings, many a rood,

Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose.“

HERE paused the harp; and with its swell
The Master's fire and courage fell;
Dejectedly, and low, he bow'd,
And, gazing timid on the crowd,
He seem'd to seek, in every eye,
If they approved his minstrelsy;
And, diffident of present praise,
Somewhat he spoke of former days,
And how old age, and wand'ring long,
Had done his hand and harp some wrong.
The Duchess, and her daughters fair,
And every gentle lady there,
Each after each, in due degree,
Gave praises to his melody;
His hand was true, his voice was clear,
And much they long the rest to hear.
Encouraged thus, the Aged Man,
After meet rest, again began.

III. Bold Deloraine bis errand said ; The porter bent his humble head; With torch in hand, and feet unshod, And noiseless step, the path he trod: The arched cloister, far and wide, Rang to the warrior's clanking stride, Till, stooping low his lofty crest, He enter'd the cell of the ancient priest, And lifted his barred aventayle, To hail the Monk of St. Mary's aisle.

The Lay of the Last Minstrel.


IV. “The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me;

Says, that the fated hour is come,
And that to-night I shall watch with thee,

To win the treasure of the tomb."
From sackcloth couch the monk arose,

With toil his stiffen'd limbs he rear'd; A hundred years had flung their snows

On his thin locks and floating beard.

I. If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright, Go visit it by the pale moonlight; For the gay beams of lightsome day Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray. When the broken arches are black in night, And each shafted oriel glimmers white; When the cold light's uncertain shower Streams on the ruin'd central tower ; When buttress and buttress, alternately, Seem framed of ebon and ivory; When silver edges the imagery, And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die ;, When distant Tweed is heard to rave, And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave, Then go-but go alone the while Then view St. David's ruin'd pile ;' And, home returning, soothly swear, Was never scene so sad and fair!

And strangely on the Knight look'd he,

And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and wide ; “ And, darest thou, Warrior! seek to see

What heaven and hell alike would hide ? My breast, in belt of iron pent,

With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn; For threescore years, in penance spent,

My knees those flinty stones have worn; Yet all too little to atone For knowing what should ne'er be known. Wouldst thou thy every future year

In ceaseless prayer and penance drie, Yet wait thy latter end with fear

Then, daring Warrior, follow me !"


Short halt did Deloraine make there; Little reck'd he of the scene so fair : With dagger's hilt, on the wicket strong, He struck full loud, and struck full long. 1 " In the description of Melrose, which introduces the Second Canto, the reader will observe how skilfully the Author calls in the aid of sentimental associations to heighten the effect of the pictare which he presents to the eye."-JEFFREY.

* See Appendix, Note W.

3 David I. of Scotland, purchased the reputation of sanctity, by founding, and liberally endowing, not only the monastery of Melrose, but those of Kelso, Jedburgh, and many others;

VI. “Penance, father, will I none;

Prayer know I hardly one; which led to the well-known observation of his successor, that he was a sore saint for the crown.

* The Buccleuch family were great benefactors to the Abbey of Melrose. As early as the reign of Robert II., Robert Scott, Baron of Mardieston and Rankleburn (now Buccleuch), gave to the monks the lands of Hinkery, in Ettrick Forest, pro salute animæ suæ.---Chartulary of Melrose, 28th May, 1415.

6 Aventayle, visor of the helmet.

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