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Glenfin las ;
LORD RONALD'S CORONACH.
LORD RONALD'S CORONACH.
" For them the viewless forms of air obey,
Their bidding heed, and at their beck repair ; They know what spirit brews the stormful day,
And heartless oft, like moody madness stare, To see the phantom-train their secret work
“O HONE a rie'! O hone a rie'!
The pride of Albin's line is o'er,
We ne'er shall see Lord Ronald more !"
The simple tradition, upon which the following stanzas are founded, runs thus : While two Highland hunters were passing the night in a solitary bothy (a hut, built for the purpose of hunting), and making merry over their venison and whisky, one of them expressed a wish that they had pretty lasses to complete their party. The words were scarcely uttered, when two beautiful young women, habited in green, entered the hut, dancing and singing. One of the hunters was seduced by the siren who attached herself particularly to him, to leave the hut: the other remained, and, suspicious of the fair seducers, continued to play upon a trump, or Jew's-harp, some strain, consecrated to the Virgin Mary. Day at length came, and the temptress vanished. Searching in the forest, he found the bones of his unfortunate friend, who had been torn to pieces and devoured by the fiend into whose toils he had fallen. The place was from thence called the Glen of the Green Women.
Glenfinlas is a tract of forest-ground, lying in the Highlands of Perthshire, not far from Callender in Menteith. It was formerly a royal forest, and now belongs to the Earl of Moray. This country, as well as the adjacent district of Balquidder, was, in times of yore, chiefly inhabited by the Macgregors. To the west of the Forest of Glenfinlas lies Loch Katrine, and its romantic avenue, called the Troshachs. Benledi, Benmore, and Benvoirlich, are mountains in the same district, and at no great distance from Glenfinlas. The river Teith passes Callender and the Castle of Doune, and joins the Forth near Stirling. The Pass of Lenny is immediately above Callender, and is the principal access to the Highlands, from that town. Glenartney is a forest, near Benvoirlich. The whole forms a sublime tract of Alpine scenery.
This ballad first appeared in the Tales of Wonder?
O, sprung from great Macgillianore,
The chief that never fear'd a foe, How matchless was thy broad claymore,
How deadly thine unerring bow!
Well can the Saxon widows tell,*
How, on the Teith's resounding shore, The boldest Lowland warriors fell,
As down from Lenny's pass you bore.
But o'er his hills, in festal day,
How blazed Lord Ronald's beltane-tree, While youths and maids the light strathspey
So nimbly danced with Highland glee !
Cheer'd by the strength of Ronald's shell,
E'en age forgot his tresses hoar; But now the loud lament we swell,
O ne'er to see Lord Ronald more!
1 Coronach is the lamentation for a deceased warrior, sung by the aged of the clan.
9 In 1801. See ante, p. 567.-The scenery of this, the author's first serious attempt in poetry, reappears in the Lady of he Lake, in Waverley, and in Rob Roy.-ED.
30 hone a rie' signifies — “Alas for the prince or chief."
4 The term Sassenach, or Saxon, is applied by the Highlanders to their Low-Country neighbors.
6 See Appendix, Note A.
1 See Appendix, Note D.
him. It has been alleged, however, that the poet makes a
German use of his Scottish materials ; that the legend, as “Lewis's collection produced also what Scott justly calls briefly told in the simple prose of his preface, is more affecting his first serious attempts in verse;' and of these the earliest than the lofty and sonorous stanzas themselves; that the appears to have been the Glenfinlas. Here the scene is laid in vague terror of the original dream loses, instead of gaining, by the most favorite district of his favorite Perthshire Highlands ;
the expanded elaboration of the detail. There may be some and the Gaelic tradition on which it was founded was far more thing in these objections : but no man can pretend to be an likely to draw out the secret strength of his genius, as well as impartial critic of the piece which first awoke his own childish to arrest the feelings of his countrymen, than any subject with ear to the power of poetry and the melody of verse."'-Life of which the stores of German diablerie could have supplied | Scott, vol. ii. p. 25.
How blazed Lord Ronald's beltane-tree.-P. 589.
And thrice St. Filan's powerful prayer.-P. 592.
While engaged in transcribing the Scriptures, his left hand
candles to the convent, as St. Fillan used to spend whole nights
in that exercise. The 9th of January was dedicated to this The seer's prophetic spirit found.-P. 590.
saint, who gave his name to Kilfillan, in Renfrew, and St.
Phillans, or Forgend, in Fife, Lesley, lib. 7, tells us, that I can only describe the second sight, by adopting Dr. John- Robert the Bruce was possessed of Fillan's miraculous and son's definition, who calls it “ An impression, either by the luminous arm, which he enclosed in a silver shrine, and had it mind upon the eye, or by the eye upon the mind, by which carried at the head of his army. Previous to the Battle of things distant and future are perceived and seen as if they were Bannockburn, the king's chaplain, a man of little faith, abpresent." To which I would only add, that the spectral ap stracted the relic, and deposited it in a place of security, lest it pearances, thus presented, usually presage misfortune ; that the should fall into the hands of the English. But, lo! while Robfaculty is painful to those who suppose they possess it; and ert was addressing his prayers to the empty casket, it was obthat they usually acquire it while themselves under the pres served to open and shut suddenly; and, on inspection, the sure of melancholy.
saint was found to have himself deposited his arm in the shrine
assist his own, he dedicated to him, in gratitude, a priory at
Killin, upon Loch Tay.
In the Scots Magazine for July, 1802, there is a copy of a
very curious crown grant, dated 11th July, 1487, by which
James III. confirms, to Malice Doire, an inhabitant of StrathSt. Oran was a friend and follower of St. Columba, and was fillan, in Perthshire, the peaceable exercise and enjoyment of a buried at Icolmkill. His pretensions to be a saint were rather relic of St. Fillan, being apparently the head of a pastoral dubious. According to the legend, he consented to be buried staff called the Quegrich, which he and his predecessors are alive, in order to propitiate certain demons of the soil, who ob- said to have possessed since the days of Robert Bruce. As the structed the attempts of Columba to build a chapel. Columba Quegrich was used to cure diseases, this document is probably caused the body of his friend to be dug up, after three days the most ancient patent ever granted for a quack medicine. had elapsed; when Oran, to the horror and scandal of the as- The ingenious correspondent, by whom it is furnished, farther sistants, declared, that there was neither a God, a judgment, observes, that additional particulars, concerning St. Fillan, are nor a future state! He had no time to make further discov- to be found in BELLENDEN's Boece, Book 4, folio ccxiii., and eries, for Columba caused the earth once more to be shovelled in Pennant's Tour in Scotland, 1772, pp. 11, 15. over him with the utmost despatch. The chapel, however, and See a note on the lines in the first canto of Marmion. the cemetery, was called Relig Ouran; and, in memory of his rigid celibacy, no female was permitted to pay her devotions,
“ Thence to St. Fillan's blessed well, or be buried in that place. This is the rule alluded to in the
Whose spring can phrensied dreams dispel,
And the crazed brain restore," &c.-ED. poem.