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From many Knights and many Squires
The Bruce had been selected,
And Gordon, fairest of them all,
By Ellen was rejected.
Sad tidings to that noble Youth!
For it may be proclaim'd with truth,
The Gordon loves as dearly.
But what is Gordon's beauteous face?
And what are Gordon's crosses
To them who sit by Kirtle's Braes
Upon the verdant mosses ?
Alas that ever he was born!
The Gordon, couch'd behind a thorn,
Sees them and their caressing,
Beholds them bless'd and blessing.
Proud Gordon cannot bear the thoughts That through his brain are travelling,
And, starting up, to Bruce's heart
He launch'd a deadly jav'lin!
Fair Ellen saw it when it came,
And, stepping forth to meet the same,
Did with her body cover
The Youth her chosen lover.
And, falling into Bruce's arms,
Thus died the beauteous Ellen,
Thus from the heart of her true-love
The mortal spear repelling.
And Bruce, as soon as he had slain
The Gordon, sail'd away to Spain,
And fought with rage incessant
But many days and many months,
This wretched Knight did vainly seek
So coming back across the wave,
And there his sorrow ended.
Now ye who willingly have heard
The tale I have been telling,
May in Kirkonnel church-yard view
The grave of lovely Ellen:
By Ellen's side the Bruce is laid,
May no rude hand deface it,
And its forlorn Hic jacet.
Strange fits of passion I have known,
And I will dare to tell,
But in the lover's ear alone,
What once to me befel.
When she I lov'd, was strong and gay
And like a rose in June,
I to her cottage bent my way,
Beneath the evening moon.
Upon the moon I fix'd my eye,
All over the wide lea;
My horse trudg'd on, and we drew nigh
Those paths so dear to me.
And now we reach'd the orchard plot,
Towards the roof of Lucy's cot
In one of those sweet dreams I slept,
And, all the while, my eyes I kept
On the descending moon.
My horse mov'd on; hoof after hoof
He rais'd and never stopp'd:
When down behind the cottage roof
At once the planet dropp'd.
What fond and wayward thoughts will slide
Into a Lover's head
"O mercy!" to myself I cried,
"If Lucy should be dead!"