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And by the watch-fire's glimmering light,
Close by the minstrel's side was seen A huntress maid, in beauty bright,
All dropping wet her robes of green. All dropping wet her garments seem ;
Chilled was her cheek, her bosom bare, As, bending o'er the dying gleam,
She wrung the moisture from her hair. With maiden blush she softly said,
“O gentle huntsman, hast thou seen, In deep Glenfinlas' moon-light glade,
A lovely maid in vest of green: " With her a chief in Highland pride ;
His shoulders bear the hunter's bow, The mountain dirk adorns his side,
Far on the wind his tartans flow?" “And who art thou? and who are they?"
All ghastly gazing, Moy replied : "And why, beneath the moon's pale ray,
Dare ye thus roam Glenfinlas' side?"" “Where wild Loch-Katrine pours her tide,
Blue, dark, and deep, round many an isle, Our father's towers o'erhang her side,
The castle of the bold Glengyle. “To chase the dun Glenfinlas deer,
Our woodland course this morn we bore, And haply met, while wandering here,
The son of great Macgillianore. "O aid me, then, to seek the pair,
Whom, loitering in the woods, I lost; Alone, I dare not venture there,
Where walks, they say, the shrieking ghost.” * Yes, many a shrieking ghost walks there;
Then first, my own sad vow to keep, Here will I pour my midnight prayer,
Which still must rise when mortals sleep.” "O first, for pity's gentle sake
Guide a lone wanderer on her way! For I must cross the haunted brake,
And reach my father's towers ere day.” “First, three times tell each Ave bead,
And thrice a Pater-noster say; Then kiss with me the holy reed;
So shall we safely wind our way." “O shame to knighthood, strange and foul !
Go, doff the bonnet from thy brow, And shroud thee in the monkish cowl,
Which best befits thy sullen vow.
“Not so, by high Dunlathmon's fire,
Thy heart was froze to love and joy,
To wanton Morna's melting eye.”
And high his sable locks arose,
As fear and rage alternate rose. “And thou, when by the blazing oak
I lay, to her and love resigned, Say, rode ye on the eddying smoke,
Or sailed ye on the midnight wind? “Not thine a race of mortal blood,
Nor old Glengyle's pretended line; Thy dame, the Lady of the Flood,
Thy sire, the Monarch of the Mine," He muttered thrice St Oran's rhyme,
And thrice St Fillan's powerful prayer; Then turned him to the eastern clime,
And sternly shook his coal-black hair. And, bending o'er his harp, he flung
His wildest witch-notes on the wind; And loud, and high, and strange, they rung,
As many a magic change they find, Tall waxed the Spirit's altering form,
Till to the roof her stature grew; Then, mingling with the rising storm,
With one wild yell, away she flew. Rain beats, hail rattles, whirlwinds tear:
The slender hut in fragments flew ; But not a lock of Moy's loose hair
Was waved by wind, or wet by dew. Wild mingling with the howling gale,
Loud bursts of ghastly laughter rise; High o'er the minstrel's head they sail,
And die amid the northern skies, The voice of thunder shook the wood,
As ceased the more than mortal yell;
Upon the hissing firebrands fell.
The fingers strained a half-drawn blade:
Torn from the trunk, a gasping head. Oft o'er that head, in battling field,
Streamed the proud crest of high Benmore, That arm the broad claymore could wield,
Which dyed the Teith with Saxon gore.
Woe to Moneira's sullen rills !
Woe to Glenfinlas' dreary glen!
Shall draw the hunter's shaft agen!
At noon shall shun that sheltering den,
The wayward Ladies of the Glen.
No more shall we in safety dwell;
And we the loud lament must swell.
The pride of Albin's line is o'er,
We ne'er shall see Lord Ronald more!
THE EVE OF ST JOHN. SMAYLHO'ME, or Smallholm Tower, the scene of the following ballad, is situated on the northern boundary of Roxburghshire, among a cluster of wild rocks, called Sandiknow-Crags. The tower is a high square building, surrounded by an outer wall, now ruinous. The circuit of the outer court, being defended, on
ides, by a precipice and morass, is accessible only from the west, by a steep and rocky path. The apartments, as is usual in a Border keep, or fortress, are placed one above another, and communicate by a narrow stair ; on the roof are two bartizans, or platforms, for defence or pleasure. The inner door of the tower is wood, the outer an iron gate ; the distance between them being nine feet, the thickness, namely, of the wall. From the elevated situation of Smaylho'me Tower, it is seen many miles in every direction. Among the crags by which it is surrounded, one, more eminent, is called the Watchfold, and is said to have been the station of a beacon, in the times of war with England. Without the tower-court is a ruined chapel. Brotherstone is a heath, in the neighbourhood of Smaylho'me Tower.
This ballad was first printed in Mr Lewis's “Tales of Wonder.” The catastrophe of the tale is founded upon a well-known Irish tradition. This ancient fortress and its vicinity formed the scene of the Editor's infancy, and seemed to claim from him this attempt to celebrate them in a Border tale.
The Baron of Smaylho'me rose with day,
He spurred his courser on,
That leads to Brotherstone.
He went not with the bold Buccleuch,
His banner broad to rear;
To lift the Scottish spear.
And his vaunt-brace of proof he wore;
Full ten pound weight and more.
The Baron returned in three days' space,
And his looks were sad and sour;
As he reached his rocky tower.
Ran red with English blood;
'Gainst keen Lord Evers stood.
His acton pierced and tore;
But it was not English gore.
He held him close and still ;
His name was English Will.
Come hither to my knee;
I think thou art true to me.
And look thou tell me true!
What did thy lady do?" “My lady, each night, sought the lonely light,
That burns on the wild Watchfold;
Of the English foemen told.
The wind blew loud and shrill ;
To the eiry Beacon Hill.
Where she sat her on a stone;
It burned all alone.
Till to the fire she came,
Stood by the lonely flame.
Did speak to my lady there;
And I heard not what they were.
And the mountain blast was still, As again I watched the secret pair,
On the lonesome Beacon Hill.
“ And I heard her name the midnight hour,
And name this holy eve ;
Ask no bold Baron's leave.
His lady is all alone;
On the eve of good St John.'
I dare not come to thee :
In thy bower I may not be.'
Thou shouldst not say me nay;
Is worth the whole summer's day.
not sound, And rushes shall be strewed on the stair ; So, by the black rood-stone, and by holy St John,
I conjure thee, my love, to be there ! "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.'
For to Dryburgh the way he has ta'en ;
For the soul of a knight that is slain,
Then he laughed right scornfully“He who says the mass-rite for the soul of that knight
May as well say mass for me. "At the lone midnight hour, when bad spirits have power,
In thy chamber will I be.'-
And no more did I see."-
From the dark to the blood-red high ;
For, by Mary, he shall die !”
His plume it was scarlet and blue ; .
And his crest was a branch of the yew."