« AnteriorContinuar »
Was preface meet, ere yet abroad
A heap of wither'd boughs was piled
1 [See Aprendix, Note G.)
Whose harden'd heart and eye might brook
eager huntsman knew his bound,
v. Of Brian's birth strange tales were told. 3 His mother watch'd a midnight fold,
'[MS.—“While the bless'd creed gave only worse."] 2 [MS.—“He pray'd with many a cross between,
And terror took devotion's mien.”] 3 The legend which follows is not of the author's invention It is possible he may differ from modern critics, in supposing that the records of human superstition, if peculiar to, and characteristic of, the country in which the scene is laid, are a legitimate subject of poetry. He gives, however, a ready assent to the narrower proposition which condemns all attempts of an irre. gular and disordered fancy to excite terror, by accumulating a train of fantastic and incoherent horrors, whether borrowed from all countries, and patched upon a narrative belonging to one which knew them not, or derived from the author's own ima.
Built deep within a dreary glen,
Where scatter'd lay the bones of men, gination. In the present case, therefore, I appeal to the record which I have transcribed, with the variation of a very few words, from the geographical collections made by the Laird of Macfar. lane. I know not whether it be necessary to remark, that the miscellaneous concourse of youths and maidens on the night and on the spot where the miracle is said to have taken place, might, even in a credulous age, have somewhat diminished the wonder which accompanied the conception of Gilli-Doir-Magrevollich.
“ There is bot two myles from Inverloghie, the church of Kil. malee, in Loghyeld. In ancient tymes there was ane church builded upon ane hill, which was above this church, which doeth now stand in this toune; and ancient men doeth say, that there was a battell foughten on ane litle hill not the tenth part of a myle from this church, be certaine men which they did not know what they were. And long tyme thereafter, certaine herds of that toune, and of the next toune, called Unnatt, both wenches and youthes, did on a tyme conveen with others on that hill; and the day being somewhat cold, did gather the bones of the dead men that were slayne long tyme before in that place, and did make a fire to warm them. At last they did all remove from the fire, except one maid or wench, which was verie cold, and she did remaine there for a space. She being quyetlie her alone, without anie other companie, took up her cloaths above her knees, or thereby, to warm her; a wind did come and caste the ashes upon her, and she was conceived of ane man-chyld. Severall tymes thereafter she was verie sick, and at last she was knowne to be with chyld. And then her parents did ask at her the matter heiroff, which the wench could not weel answer which way to satisfie them. At last she resolved them with ane answer, As fortune fell upon her concerning this marvellous miracle, the chyld being borne, his name was called Gilli-Doir-Maghrevollich, that is to say, the Black Child, Son to the Bones. So called, his grandfather sent him to school, and so he was a good schollar, and godlie. He did build this church which doeth now stand in Lochyeld, calleá Kilmalee."-MACFARLANE, ut supra, ii. 188.
In some forgotten battle slain,
1 [" There is something of pride in the perilous hour,
Whate'er be the shape in which death may lower ;
All rejoicing in his decay."-BYRON-Siege of Corinth.] 3 [" Remove yon skull from out the scattered heaps.
Is that a temple where a god may dwell !
For heath-bell, with her purple bloom,
Behold through each lack-lustre, eyeless hole,
Childe Harold.) 1 [" These reflections on an ancient field of battle afford the most remarkable instance of false taste in all Mr Scott's writings. Yet the brevity and variety of the images serve well to shew, that even in his errors there are traces of a powerful genius."-JEFFREY.]
2 The snood, or riband, with which a Scottish lass braided her hair, had an emblematical signification, and applied to her maiden character. It was exchanged for the curch, toy, or coif, when she passed, by marriage, into the matron state. But if the dam. sel was so unfortunate as to lose pretensions to the name of maiden, without gaining a right to that of matron, she was neither permitted to use the snood, nor advanced to the graver dignity of the curch. In old Scottish songs there occur many sly allusions to such misfortune; as in the old words to the popular tune of “ Ower the muir amang the heather.”
"Down amang the broom, the broom,
Down amang the broom, my dearie,
That gard her greet till she was wearie."