網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Vaults every warrior to his steed;

Loud bugles join their wild acclaim -
“ Murray is fall'n, and Scotland freed !

Couch, Arran! couch thy spear of flame!"
But, see! the minstrel vision fails

The glimmering spears are seen no more;
The shouts of war die on the gales,

Or sink in Evan's lonely roar.
For the loud bugle, pealing high,

The blackbird whistles down the vale,
And sunk in ivied ruins lie

The banner'd towers of Evandale.
For Chiefs, intent on bloody deed,

And Vengeance shouting o'er the slain,
Lo! high-born Beauty rules the steed,

Or graceful guides the silken rein.
And long may Peace and Pleasure own

The maids who list the minstrel's tale;
Nor e'er a ruder guest be known

On the fair banks of Evandale !

THE GREY BROTHER.

A FRAGMENT.

The imperfect state of this ballad, which was written several years ago, is not a circumstance affected for the purpose of giving it that peculiar interest, which is often found to arise from ungratified curiosity. On the contrary, it was the Editor's intention to have completed the tale, if he had found himself able to succeed to his own satisfaction. Yielding to the opinions of persons, whose judgment, if not biassed by the partiality of friendship, is entitled to deference, he has preferred inserting these verses as a fragment, to his intention of entirely suppressing them.

The tradition upon which the tale is founded, regards a house upon the barony of Gilmerton, near Lasswade, in Mid-Lothian. This building, now called Gilmerton Grange, was originally named Burndale, from the following tragic adventure. The barony of Gilmerton belonged, of yore, to a gentleman named Heron, who had one beautiful daughter. This young lady was seduced by the Abbot of Newbattle, a richly endowed abbey, upon the bank of the South Esk, now a seat of the Marquis of Lothian. Heron came to the knowledge of this circumstance, and learned also, that the lovers carried on their guilty intercourse by the connivance of the lady's nurse, who lived at this house of Gilmerton Grange, or Burndale. He formed a resolution of bloody vengeance, undeterred by the supposed sanctity of the clerical character, or by the stronger claims of natural affection. Choosing, therefore, a dark and windy night, when the objects of his vengeance were engaged in a stolen interview, he set fire to a stack of dried thorns, and other combustibles, which he had caused to be piled against the house, and reduced to a pile of glowing ashes the dwelling, with all its inmates.'

The scene with which the ballad opens, was suggested by the following curious passage, extracted from the Life of Alexander Peden, one of the wandering and persecuted teachers of the sect of Cameronians, during the reign of Charles II. and his successor, James. This person was supposed by his followers, and, perhaps, really believed himself, to be possessed of supernatural gifts; for the wild scenes which they frequented, and the constant dangers which were incurred through their proscription, deepened upon their minds the gloom of superstition, so general

in that age.

“ About the same time he [Peden] came to Andrew Normand's house, in the parish of Alloway, in the shire of Ayr, being to preach at night in his barn. After he came in, he halted a little, leaning upon a chair-back, with his face covered; when he lifted up his head, he said, “They are in this house that I have not one word of salvation unto;' he halted a little again, saying, “This is strange, that the devil will not go out, that we may begin our work!' Then there was a woman went out, ill-looked upon almost all her life, and to her dying hour, for a witch, with many presumptions of the same. It escaped me, in the former passages, what John Muirhead (whom I have often mentioned) told me, that when he came from Ireland to Galloway, he was at familyworship, and giving some notes upon the Scripture read, when a very ill-looking man came, and sat down within the door, at the back of the hallan, (partition of the cottage:) immediately he halted and said, “There is some unhappy body just now come into this house. I charge him to go out, and not stop my mouth!' The person went out, and he insisted, (went on,] yet he saw him neither come in nor go out." - The Life and Prophecies of Mr. Alexander Peden, late Minister of the Gospel at New Glenluce, in Galloway, part ii. § 26.

'This tradition was communicated to me by John Clerk, Esq. of Eldin, author of an Essuy upon Naval Tactics, who will be remembered by pos. terity, as having taught the Genius of Britain to concentrate her thunders, and to lanch them against her foes with an unerring aim.

A friendly correspondent remarks, * that the incapacity of proceeding in the performance of a religious duty, when a contaminated person is present, is of much higher antiquity than the era of the Reverend Mr. Alexander Peden.”— Vide Hygini Fabulas, cap. 26. “ Medea Corintho exul, Athenas, ad Ægeum Pandionis filium devenit in hospitium, eique nupsit.

"Postea sacerdos Diane Medean exagitare cæpit, gique negabat sacra caste facere posse, eo quod in ea civitate esset mulier venefica et scelerata ; tunc exulatur.

THE GREY BROTHER.

The Pope he was saying the high, high mass,

All on Saint Peter's day,
With the power to him given, by the saints in heaven,

To wash men's sins away.
The Pope he was saying the blessed mass,

And the people kneeld around,

And from each man's soul his sins did pass,

As he kiss'd the holy ground.
And all, among the crowded throng,

Was still, both limb and tongue,
While, through vaulted roof, and aisles aloof,

The holy accents rung.
At the holiest word he quiver'd for fear,

And falter'd in the sound
And, when he would the chalice rear,

He dropp'd to the ground.
" The breath of one of evil deed

Pollutes our sacred day;
He has no portion in our creed,

No part in what I say.
“A being, whom no blessed word

To ghostly peace can bring;
A wretch, at whose approach abhorr'd,

Recoils each holy thing.
“Up, up, unhappy! haste, arise !

My adjuration fear!
I charge thee not to stop my voice,

Nor longer tarry here!”—
Amid them all a pilgrim kneeld,

In gown of sackcloth grey;
Far journeying from his native field,

He first saw Rome that day.

For forty days and nights so drear,

I ween he had not spoke,
And, save with bread and water clear,

His fast he ne'er had broke.

Amid the penitential flock,

Seem'd none more bent to pray; But, when the Holy Father spoke,

He rose and went his way.

Agam unto his native land

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

And Pentland's mountains blue.

His unblest feet his native seat,

'Mid Eske's fair woods, regain; Thro' woods niore fair no stream more sweet

Rolls to the eastern main.

And lords to meet the pilgrim came,

And vassals bent the knee;
For all ’nid Scotland's chiefs of fame,

Was none more famed than he.

And boldly for his country, still,

In battle he had stood,
Ay, even when on the banks of Till

Her noblest pour'd their blood.

Sweet are the paths, O passing sweet!

By Eske's fair streams that run,
O’er airy steep, through copsewood deep,

Impervious to the sun.

There the rapt poet's step may rove,

And yield the muse the day; There Beauty, led by timid Love,

May shun the tell-tale ray;

From that fair dome, where suit is paid,

By blast of bugle free,'

'The barony of Pennycujek, 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 Borongh Muir, near Edinburgh. Hence, the family have adopted, as their crest, a demi-forester proper, winding a horn, with the muito, Free for a Blast. The beautiful mansionhouse of Pennyouick is much admired, both on account of the architecture aur sirrounding seenery.

« 上一頁繼續 »