Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The Gray Brother.

À FRAGMENT.

same.

The imperfect state of this ballad, which was self, to be possessed of supernatural gifts; for the written several years ago, is not a circumstance wild scenes which they frequented, and the conaffected for the purpose of giving it that peculiar stant dangers which were incurred through their interest which is often found to arise from ungrati- proscription, deepened upon their minds the gloom fied curiosity. On the contrary, it was the Editor's of superstition, so general in that age. intention to have completed the tale, if he had “ About the same time he [Peden) came to Anfound himself able to succeed to his own satisfac- drew Normand's house, in the parish of Alloway, tion. Yielding to the opinion of persons, whose in the shire of Ayr, being to preach at night in his judgment, if not biassed by the partiality of friend- barn. After he came in, he halted a little, leaning ship, is entitled to deference, he has preferred upon a chair-back, with his face covered; when he inserting these verses as a fragment, to his inten- lifted up his head, he said, “They are in this house tion of entirely suppressing them.

that I have not one word of salvation unto; he The tradition, upon which the tale is founded, halted a little again, saying, “This is strange, that regards a house upon the barony of Gilmerton, the devil will not go out, that we may begin our near Lasswade, in Mid-Lothian. This building, work! Then there was a woman went out, illnow called Gilmerton Grange, was originally looked upon almost all her life, and to her dying named Burndale, from the following tragic adven- hour, for a witch, with many presumptions of the ture. The barony of Gilmerton belonged, of yore,

It escaped me, in the former passages, to a gentleman named Heron, who had one beau- what John Muirhead (whom I have often mentiful daughter. This young lady was seduced by tioned) told me, that when he came from Ireland the Abbot of Newbattle, a richly endowed abbey, to Galloway, he was at family-worship, and giving upon the banks of the South Esk, now a seat of the some notes upon the Scripture read, when a very Marquis of Lothian. Heron came to the knowledge ill-looking man came, and sat down within the of this circumstance, and learned also, that the door, at the back of the hallan. (partition of the lovers carried on their guilty intercourse by the cottage]: immediately he halted and said, ' There connivance of the lady's nurse, who lived at this is some unhappy body just now come into this house of Gilmerton Grange, or Burndale. He house. I charge him to go out, and not stop my i formed a resolution of bloody vengeance, unde- mouth! This person went out, and he insisted terred by the supposed sanetity of the clerical (went on), yet he saw him neither come in nor go character, or by the stronger claims of natural out.”—The Life and Prophecies of Mr. Alexander affection. Choosing, therefore, a dark and windy Peden, late Minister of the Gospel at Neu Glenluce, night, when the objects of his vengeance were in Galloway, part ii. & 26. engaged in a stolen interview, he set fire to a A friendly correspondent remarks, “ that the stack of dried thorns, and other combustibles, incapacity of proceeding in the performance of a which he had caused to be piled against the house, religious duty, when a contaminated person is and reduced to a pile of glowing ashes the dwell present, is of much higher antiquity than the era ing, with all its inmates.'

of the Reverend Mr. Alexander Peden."— Vide The scene with which the ballad opens, was Hygini Fabulas, cap. 26. “Medea Corintho erul, suggested by the following curious passage, ex- Athenas, ad Ægeum Pandionis filium devenit in tracted from the Life of Alexander Peden, one of hospitium, eique nupsit. the wandering and persecuted teachers of the sect

Postea sacerdos Diance Medeam exagiof Cameronians, during the reign of Charles II. and tare cæpit, regique negabat sacra caste facere posse, his successor, James. This person was supposed eo quod in ea civitate esset mulier venefica et sceleby his followers, and, perhaps, really believed him- rata ; tunc exulatur.

i This tradition was communicated to me by John Clerk, Esq., of Eldin, author of an Essay upon Naval Tactics, who will be remembered by posterity, as having taught the Genius

of Britain to concentrate her thunders, and to launch them against her foes with an unerring ajm.

[blocks in formation]

Again unto his native land

His weary course he drew, To Lothian's fair and fertile strand,

And Pentland's mountains blue.

1 See Appendix, Notes 1 to 7.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

1 The contemporary criticism on this noble ballad was all “ Then came The Gray Brother, founded on another superfeeble, but landatory, with the exception of the following re- stition, which seems to have been almost as ancient as the be mark :-" 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 canfot go on in the presence of an unclean person--a heinous Elysium, or bathing loves in a lake of storm. The same adap sinner unconfessed and unabsolved. The fragmentary form of tation of parts is expedient in the poet. The stanzas, 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 to * And classic Hawthornden,'

produced expressly in imitation of the ballad of the middle

age. In the stanzas, previously quoted, on the scenery of the disagreeably contrast with the mysterious, gloomy character Esk, however beautiful in themselves, and however interestof the ballad. Were these omitted, it would merit high rank ing now as marking the locality of the composition, he must for the terrific expectation it excites by the majestic intro- be allowed to have lapsed into another strain, and produced a duction, and the awful close."--Critical Review, November, pannus purpureus which interferes with and mars the general 1803.-Ep.

texture."--Life of Scott, vol. ii. p. 26.

APPENDIX

NOTES 1 to 7.

SCENERY OF THE ESK.-P. 605.

horn, with the motto, Free for a Blast. The beautiful man sion-house of Pennycuik is much admired, both on account of the architecture and surrounding scenery.

? Auchendinny, situated upon the Eske, below Pennycaik, the present residence of the ingenious H. Mackenzie, Esq., author of the Man of Feeling, &-c.-Edition 1803.

1 The barony of Pennycuik, the property of Sir George Clerk, Bart., is held by a singular tenure ; the proprietor being bound to sit upon a large rocky fragment called the Buckstane, and wind three blasts of a horn, when the King shall come to hunt on the Borough Muir, near Edinburgh. Hence the family have adopted as their crest a demi-forester proper, winding a

9" Haunted Woodhouselee." --For the traditions connected with this ruinous mansion, see Ballad of Cadyor Castle, Note,

p. 603.

• Melville Castle, the seat of the Right Honorable Lord pice upon the banks of the Eske, perforated by winding caves, Melville, to whom it gives the title of Viscount, is delightfully which in former times were a refuge to the oppressed patriots situated upon the Eske, near Lasswade.

of Scotland. Here Drummond received Ben Jonson, who 5 The ruins of Roslin Castle, the baronial residence of the journeyed from London on foot in order to visit him. The ancient family of St. Clair. The Gothic chapel, which is still beauty of this striking scene has been much injured of late in beautiful preservation, with the romantic and woody dell years by the indiscriminate use of the axe. The traveller now in which they are situated, belong to the Right Honorable looks in vain for the leafy bower, the Earl of Rosslyn, the representative of the former Lords of

“Where Jonson sat in Drummond's social shade." Roslin.

6 The village and castle of Dalkeith belonged of old to the Upon the whole, tracing the Eske from its source till it joins famous Earl of Morton, but is now the residence of the noble the sea at Musselburgh, no stream in Scotland can boast such family of Buccleuch. The park extends along the Eske, a varied succession of the most interesting objects, as well as which is there joined by its sister stream of the same name. of the most romantic and beautiful scenery. 1803.

7 Hawthornden, the residence of the poet Drummond. A -The beautiful scenery of Hawthornden has, since the above house of more modern date is enclosed, as it were, by the note was written, recovered all its proper ornament of wood. ruins of the ancient castle, and overhangs a tremendous preci- | 1831.

War-Song

OF THE

ROYAL EDINBURGH LIGHT DRAGOONS.

War-Song

Nennius. Is not peace the end of arms ?

measure of arming freemen in defence of their own "Caratach. Not where the cause implies a general conquest. rights, was nowhere more successful than in EdinHad we a difference with some petty isle, Or with our neighbors, Britons, for our landmarks,

burgh, which furnished a force of 3000 armed and The taking in of some rebellious lord,

disciplined volunteers, including a regiment of Or making head against a slight commotion,

cavalry, from the city and county, and two corps After a day of blood, peace might be argued :

of artillery, each capable of serving twelve guns. But where we grapple for the land we live on, The liberty we hold more dear than life,

To such a force, above all others, might, in similar The gods we worship, and, next these, our honors,

circumstances, be applied the exhortation of our And, with those, swords that know no end of battle ancient Galgacus : “ Proinde ituri in aciem, et maThose men, beside themselves, allow no neighbor,

jores vestros et posteros cogitate.1812.
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,
Let's use the peace of honor--that's fair dealing ;
But in our hands our swords. The hardy Roman,
That thinks to graft himself into my stock,
Must first begin his kindred under ground,

ROYAL EDINBURGH LIGHT DRAGOONS. And be allied in ashes."

Bonduca.

To horse! to horse! the standard flies,

The bugles sound the call;

The Gallic navy stems the seas, The following War-Song was written during the

The voice of battle's on the breeze, apprehension of an invasion. The corps of volun

Arouse ye, one and all ! teers to which it was addressed, was raised in 1797, consisting of gentlemen, mounted and armed From high Dunedin's towers we come, at their own expense. It still subsists, as the A band of brothers true; Right Troop of the Royal Mid-Lothian Light Cav- Our casques the leopard's spoils surround, alry, commanded by the Honorable Lieutenant- With Scotland's hardy thistle crown'd; Colonel Dundas.' The noble and constitutional We boast the red and blue.”

OF THE

1 The song originally appeared in the Scots Magazine for 1802.-ED

2 Now Viscount Melville.-1831. 9 The royal colors.

[blocks in formation]

END OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO MINSTRELSY OF THE SCOTTISH BORDER.

« AnteriorContinuar »