ページの画像
PDF

PART THIRD.

MODERN. THOMAS THE RHYMER was renowned among his contemporaries, as the author of the celebrated romance of “Sir Tristrem." Of this once-admired poem only one copy is now known to exist, which is in the Advocates' Library. The Editor, in 1804, published a small edition of this curious work ; which, il it does not revive the reputation of the bard of Ercildoune, is at least the earliest specimen of Scottish poetry hitherto published. Soine account of this romance has already been given to the world in Mr Ellis's “Specimens of Ancient Poetry,“ vol. i. p. 165, part iii. 410; a work to which our predecessors and our posterity are alike obliged; the former, for the preservation of the best-selected examples of their poctical taste; and the latter, for a history of the English language, which will only cease to be interesting with the existence of our mother-tongue, and all that genius and learning have recorded in it. It is sufficient here to mention that so great was the reputation of the romance of "Sir Tristrem" that few were thought capable of reciting it after the manner of the author.

The following attempt to commemorate the Rhymer's poetical fame, and the traditional account of his marvellous return to Fairy Land, being entirely modern, would have been placed with greater propriety among the class of Modern Ballads, had it not been for its immediate connection with the first and second parts of the same story.

WHEN seven years more had come and gone,

Was war through Scotland spread,
And Ruberslaw showed high Dunyon

His beacon blazing red.
Then all by bonny Coldingknow,

Pitched palliouns took their room,
And crested helms, and spears a rowe,

Glanced gaily through the broom.
The Leader, rolling to the Tweed,

Resounds the ensenzie ;
They roused the deer from Caddenhead,

To distant Torwoodlee.
The feast was spread in Ercildoune,

In Learmont's high and ancient hall;
And there were knights of great renown,

And ladies, laced in pall.
Nor lacked they, while they sat at dine,

The music nor the tale,
Nor goblets of the blood-red wine,

Nor mantling quaighs of ale.
True Thomas rose, with harp in hand,

When as the feast was done;
(In minstrel strife, in Fairy Land,

The elfin harp he won.)
Hushed were the throng, both limb and tongue,

And harpers for envy pale ;
And armed lords leaned on their swords,

And hearkened to the tale.
In numbers high, the witching tale

The prophet poured along ;
No after bard might e'er avail

Those numbers to prolong.

Yet fragments of the lofty strain

Float down the tide of years,
As, buoyant on the stormy main,

A parted wreck appears.
He sung King Arthur's table round :

The warrior of the lake;
How courteous Gawaine met the wound,

And bled for ladies' sake.
But chief, in gentle Tristrem's praise,

The notes melodious swell ;
Was none excelled in Arthur's days

The knight of Lionelle.
For Marke his cowardly uncle's right

A venomed wound he bore ;
When fierce Morholde he slew in fight,

Upon the Irish shore.
No art the poison might withstand ;

No medicine could be found,
Till lovely Isolde's lilye hand

Had probed the rankling wound.
With gentle hand and soothing tongue,

She bore the leech's part;
And, while she o'er his sick-bed hung,

He paid her with his heart.
O fatal was the gift, I ween!

For, doomed in evil tide,
The maid must be rude Cornwall's queen,

His cowardly uncle's bride.
Their loves, their woes, the gifted bard

In fairy tissue wove ;
Where lords, and knights, and ladies bright,

In gay confusion strove.
The Garde Joyeuse, amid the tale,

High reared its glittering head ;
And Avalon's enchanted vale

In all its wonders spread. Brangwain was there, and Segramore,

And fiend-born Merlin's gramarye;
Of that famed wizard's mighty lore,

O who could sing but he ?
Through many a naze the winning song

In changeful passion led,
Till bent at length the listening throng

O'er Tristrem's dying bed.
His ancient wounds their scars expand,

With agony his heart is wrung :
O where is Isolde's lilye hand,

And where her soothing tongue ?

She comes, she comes !-like flash of flame

Can lovers' footsteps fly:
She comes, she comes !-she only came

To see her Tristrem die.
She saw him die : her latest sigh

Joined in a kiss his parting breath :
The gentlest pair that Britain bare

United are in death.
There paused the harp ; its lingering sound

Died slowly on the ear ;
The silent guests still bent around,

For still they seemed to hear.
Then woe broke forth in murmurs weak

Nor ladies heaved alone the sigh ;
But, half ashamed, the rugged cheek

Did many a gauntlet dry. On Leader's stream, and Learmont's tower,

The mists of evening close ; In camp, in castle, or in bower

Each warrior sought repose. Lord Douglas in his lofty tent,

Dreamed o'er the woeful tale; When footsteps light, across the bent,

The warrior's ears assail.
He starts, he wakes :-“What, Richard, ho!

Arise, my page, arise!
What venturous wight, at dead of night,

Dare step where Douglas lies?
Then forth they rushed : by Leader's tide,

A selcouth sight they see-
A hart and hind pace side by side,

As white as snow on Fairnalie.
Beneath the moon, with gesture proud,

They stately move and slow;
Nor scare they at the gathering crowd,

Who marvel as they go.
To Learmont's tower a message sped,

As fast as page might run ;
And Thomas started from his bed,

And soon his clothes did on.
First he woxe pale, and then woxe red;

Never a word he spake but three ;-
“My sand is run ; my thread is spun;

This sign regardeth me."
The elfin harp his neck around,

In minstrel guise, he hung;
And on the wind, in doleful sound,

Its dying accents rum.;

Then forth he went ; yet turned him oft

To view his ancient hall;
On the gray tower, in lustre soft,

The autumn moonbeams fall.
And Leader's waves, like silver sheen,

Danced shimmering in the ray :
In deepening mass, at distance seen,

Broad Soltra's mountains lay.
“Farewell, my father's ancient tower!

A long farewell,” said he :
“ The scene of pleasure, pomp, or power,

Thou never more shalt be.
“ To Learmont's name no foot of carth

Shall liere again belong,
And on thy hospitable hearth

The hare shall leave her young.
“Adieu ! Adieu!” again he cried,

All as he turned him roun' -
“Farewell to Leader's silver tide!

Farewell to Ercildoune !"
The hart and hind approached tlie place,

As lingering yet he stood ;
And there, before Lord Douglas' firce,

With them he crossed the flcoe!.
Lord Douglas leaped on his berry-brown steel,

And spurred him the Leader ver;
But, though he rode with lightning specil,

He never saw them more.
Some said to hill, and some to glen,

Their wondrous course had been ;
But ne'er in haunts of living men

Again was Thomas seen.

WAR SONG OF THE ROYAL EDINBURGH LIGHT DRAGOONS. The following War-song was written during the apprehension of an invasion. The corps of volunteers, to which it was addressed, was raised in 1797, consisting of gentlemen, mounted and armed at their own expense. It still subsists, as the Right Troop of the Royal Mid-Lothian Light Cavalry, commanded by the Hon. Lieutenant-Colonel Dundas. The noble and constitutional measure of arming freemen in defence of their own rights, was nowhere more successful than in Edinburgh, which furnished a force of 3,000 armed and disciplined volunteers, including a regiment of cavalry, from the city and county, and two corps of artillery, each capable of serving twelve guns. To such a force, above all others, might, in similar circumstances, be applied the exhortation of our ancient Galgacus: Proinde ituri in aciem, et majores vestros et posteros cogitate."

To horse! to horse! the standard flies,

The bugles sound the call ;
The Gallic navy stems the seas,

The voice of battle's on the breeze,

Arouse ye, one and all !
From high Dunedin's towers we come,

A band of brothers true ;
Our casques the leopard's spoils surround,
With Scotland's hardy thistle crowned ;

We boast the red and blue.
Though tamely crouch to Gallia's frown

Dull Holland's tardy train;
Their ravished toys though Romans mourn,
Though gallant Switzers vainly spurn,

And, foaming, gnaw the chain ;
O! had they marked the avenging call

Their brethren's murder gave,
Disunion ne'er their ranks had mown,
Nor patriot valour, desperate grown,

Sought freedom in the grave !
Shall we, too, bend the stubborn hend.

In Freedom's temple born,
Dress our pale cheek in timid smile,
To hail a master in our isle,

Or brook a victor's scorn?
No! though destruction o'er the land

Come pouring as a flood,
The sun, that sees our falling day,
Shall mark our sabres' deadly sway,

And set that night in blood.
For gold let Gallia's legions fight,

Or plunder's bloody gain; Unbribed, unbought, our swords we draw, To guard our King, 18 fence our Law,

Nor shall their edge be vain.
If ever breath of British gale

Shall fan the tricolor,
Or footstep of invader rade,
With rapine foul, and red with blood,

Pollute our happy shore, -
Then farewell home! and farewell friends!

Adieu each tender tie!
Resolved, we mingle in the tide,
Where charging squadrons furious ride,

To conquer, or to die.
To horse ! to horse! the sabres gleam;

High sounds our bugle call;
Combined by honour's sacred tie;
Our word is Laws and Liberty!

March forward, one and all!

« 前へ次へ »