網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

"He lifts his spear with the bold Buccleuch;

His lady is all alone;

The door she'll undo, to her knight so true,
On the eve of good St. John.’—

"I cannot come; I must not come:

I dare not come to thee;

On the eve of St. John I must wander alone:
In thy bower I may not be.'---

"Now, out on thee, faint-hearted knight!
Thou shouldst not say me nay;

For the eve is sweet, and when lovers meet,
Is worth the whole summer's day.

“· And I'll chain the blood-hound, and the warder shall not sound,

And rushes shall be strew'd on the stair;

So, by the black rood-stone,' and by holy St. John,
I conjure thee, my love, to be there!'-

666

Though the blood-hound be mute, and the rush beneath my foot,

And the warder his bugle should not blow,

Yet there sleepeth a priest in the chamber to the east, And my footstep he would know.'

"O fear not the priest, who sleepeth to the east!
For to Dryburgh' the way he has ta'en;
And there to say mass, till three days do pass,
For the soul of a knight that is slayne.'-

"He turn'd him around, and grimly he frown'd; Then he laugh'd right scornfully —

6

He who says the mass-rite for the soul of that knight, May as well say mass for me:

The black-rood of Melrose was a crucifix of black marble, and of superior sanctity.

2 Dryburgh Abbey is beautifully situated on the banks of the Tweed. After its dissolution, it became the property of the Halliburtons of Newmains, and is now the seat of the Right Honourable the Earl of Buchan. It belonged to the order of Premonstratenses.-[The ancient Barons of Newmains were ultimately represented by Sir Walter Scott, whose remains now repose in their cemetery at Dryburgh.-ED.]

"At the lone midnight hour, when bad spirits have power In thy chamber will I be.'

With that he was gone, and my lady left alone,

And no more did I see."

Then changed, I trow, was that bold Baron's brow,
From the dark to the blood-red high:

"Now, tell me the mien of the knight thou hast seen, For, by Mary, he shall die!"—

"His arms shone full bright, in the beacon's red light; His plume it was scarlet and blue;

On his shield was a hound, in a silver leash bound,
And his crest was a branch of the yew."-
"Thou liest, thou liest, thou little foot-page,
Loud dost thou lie to me!

For that knight is cold, and low laid in the mould,
All under the Eildon-tree."—1

"Yet hear but my word, my noble lord! For I heard her name his name;

And that lady bright, she called the knight
Sir Richard of Coldinghame.”-

The bold Baron's brow then changed, I trow,
From high blood-red to pale —

"The grave is deep and dark-and the corpse is stiff and

stark

So I may not trust thy tale.

"Where fair Tweed flows round holy Melrose,
And Eildon slopes to the plain,

Full three nights ago, by some secret foe,
That gay gallant was slain.

“The varying light deceived thy sight, And the wild winds drown'd the name;

For the Dryburgh bells ring, and the white monks do sing, For Sir Richard of Coldinghame!

99

1 Eildon is a high hill, terminating in three conical summits, immediately above the town of Melrose, where are the admired ruins of a magnificent monastery. Eildon-tree is said to be the spot were Thomas the Rhymer uttered his prophecies. See p. 115.

He pass'd the court-gate, and he oped the tower-gate, And he mounted the narrow stair,

To the bartizan seat, where, with maids that on her wait, He found his lady fair.

That lady sat in mournful mood;

Look'd over hill and vale;

Over Tweed's fair flood, and Mertoun's' wood,
And all down Teviotdale.

“Now hail, now hail, thou lady bright!' "Now hail, thou Baron true!

What news, what news, from Ancram fight?
What news from the bold Buccleuch?"-

[ocr errors]

"The Ancram Moor is red with gore,
For many a southern fell;

And Buccleuch has charged us, evermore,
To watch our beacons well."-

The lady blush'd red, but nothing she said:
Nor added the Baron a word:

Then she stepp'd down the stair to her chamber fair, And so did her moody lord.

It cannot give up the dead!”

It was near the ringing of matin-bell,
The night was wellnigh done,
When a heavy sleep on that Baron fell,
On the eve of good St. John.

In sleep the lady mourn'd, and the Baron toss'd and turn'd, And oft to himself he said,-

"The worms around him creep, and his bloody grave is

deep....

The lady look'd through the chamber fair,
By the light of a dying flame;

And she was aware of a knight stood there-
Sir Richard of Coldinghame!

'Mertoun is the beautiful seat of Hugh Scott, Esq. of Harden.

"Alas! away, away!" she cried,
"For the holy Virgin's sake!".
“Lady, I know who sleeps by thy side;
But, lady, he will not awake.

"By Eildon-tree, for long nights three, In bloody grave have I lain;

The mass and the death-prayer are said for me, But, lady, they are said in vain.

66

By the Baron's brand, near Tweed's fair strand,
Most foully slain, I fell;

And my restless sprite on the beacon's height,
For a space is doom'd to dwell.

"At our trysting-place,' for a certain space, I must wander to and fro;

But I had not had power to come to thy bower, Had'st thou not conjured me so."

Love master'd fear-her brow she cross'd;
How, Richard, hast thou sped?

66

And art thou saved, or art thou lost?".
The vision shook his head!

"Who spilleth life, shall forfeit life;
So bid thy lord believe:

That lawless love is guilt above,
This awful sign receive.”

He laid his left palm on an oaken beam;
His right upon her hand;

The lady shrunk, and fainting sunk,
For it scorch'd like a fiery brand.

The sable score, of fingers four,

Remains on that board impress'd;
And for evermore that lady wore
A covering on her wrist.

Trysting-place-Place of rendezvous.

There is a nun in Dryburgh bower,
Ne'er looks upon the sun;
There is a monk in Melrose tower,
He speaketh word to none.

That nun, who ne'er beholds the day,'
That monk, who speaks to none
That nun was Smaylho'me's Lady gay,
That monk the bold Baron.

'The circumstance of the nun, "who never saw the day," is not entirely imaginary. About fifty years ago, an unfortunate female wanderer took up her residence in a dark vault, among the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey, which, during the day, she never quitted. When night fell, she issued from this miserable habitation, and went to the house of Mr. Haliburton of Newmains, the Editor's great-grandfather, or to that of Mr. Erskine of Sheilfield, two gentlemen of the neighbourhood. From their charity, she ob tained such necessaries as she could be prevailed upon to accept. At twelve, each night, she lighted her candle, and returned to her vault, assuring her friendly neighbours, that, during her absence, her habitation was arranged by a spirit, to whom she gave the uncouth name of Fatlips; describing him as a little man, wearing heavy iron shoes, with which he trampled the clay floor of the vault, to dispel the damps. This circumstance caused her to be regarded, by the well-informed, with compassion, as deranged in her understanding; and by the vulgar, with some degree of terror. The cause of her adopting this extraordinary mode of life she would never explain. It was, however, believed to have been occasioned by a vow, that, during the absence of a man to whom she was attached, she would never look upon the sun. Her lover never returned. He fell during the civil war of 1745-6, and she never more would behold the light of day.

The vault, or rather dungeon, in which this unfortunate woman lived and died, passes still by the name of the supernatural being, with which its gloom was tenanted by her disturbed imagination; and few of the neighbouring peasants dare enter it by night.-1803

« 上一頁繼續 »