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The traditional commentary upon this ballad informs us, that the apple was the produce of the fatal Tree of Knowledge, and that the garden was the terrestrial paradise. The repugnance of Thomas to be debarred
the use of falsehood, when he might find it convenient, has a comic effect.
The reader is here presented, from an old, and unfortunately an imperfect MS., with the undoubted original of Thomas the Rhymer's intrigue with the Queen of Faéry. It will afford great amusement to those who would study the nature of traditional poetry, and the changes effected by oral tradition, to compare this ancient romance with the foregoing ballad. The same
' incidents are narrated, even the expression is often the
same, yet the poems are as different in appearance, as
, if the older tale had been regularly and systematically
modernized by a poet of the present day.
Incipit Propltesia Theme dc Erseldotm.
In a lande as I was lent,
I saw the throstyl, and the jay,
Ye mawes movyde of her song,
Ye wodwale sange notes gay,
That al the wod about range.
In that longyng as I lay,
Undir nethe a darn tre. . I was war of a lady gay,
Come rydyag ouyr a fair le;
Zogh I suld sitt to domysday,
With my tong to wrabbfi and wry,
It beth neuyr discryuyd for me.
Syclte on say neuer none,
As the son in somers day, ,
All abowte that lady shone;
Hyr sadel was of a rewel bone,
A semly syght it was to se,
Bryht with many a precyous ston?,'
Her hair about her bode it hang,
A while she blew a while she sang,
With sylk and sendel about bedone,
And her eroper of the erase,
Her brydil was of gold fyne,
It was derke as at midnyzt,
The grewhoundes had fylde them on thedere,
The ratches coupled, by my fay,
She blewe her horn Thomas to chere,
The lady into the hall went,
Thomas folowyd at her hand ;
Thar ltept hyrmony a_ lady gent,
Harp and fedyl both he fande,
The getern and the sawtry, '
Lut and rybib ther gon gang,
Thair was al maner of mynstralsy.
And ltoltes standing with dressyng ltnife,
Ladyes that were grct of gre,
Sat and sang of rych aray.
Thomas sawe much more in that place, Than I can descryve,
Till on a day alas, alas,
My lovelye ladye sayd to me,
Bnslt ye, Thomas, you must agayn,
By then zerne that you were at hame,
Thomas answerd with heuy cher,
And sayd, lowely ladye, lat ma be,
Haf I be hot the space of duyes three.
You hath been here thre yeres,
And here you may no longer be;
And I sal tele ye a skele,
To-morrowe of helle ye foule fende Amang our folke shall chuse his fee; For you art a larg man and an hende, Trowe you wele he will chuse thee. Pore all the golde that may be,
Sal you not be betrayed for me,
And thairfor sal you hens wend.
[The elfin queen, after restoring Thomas to earth, pours forth a string of prophecies, in which we distinguish references to the events and personages of the Scottish wars of Edward Ill. The battles of Dupplin and Halidon are mentioned, and also Black Agnes, Countess of Dunbar. There is a copy of this poem in y the Museum in the Cathedral of Lincoln, another in the
collection of Peterborough, but unfortunately they are all in an imperfect state. Mr Jamieson, in his curious collection of Scottish Ballads and Songs, has an entire copy of this ancient poem, with all the collations. The lacuna: of the former edition have been supplied from i his copy.] _
H The spot _is rendered classical by its having given name to the beautiful melody, called the Broom 0’ the
lle liked the wealth of fair England so well,
That he sought in her bosom as native to dwell. lle entcr'd the Humbcr in fearful hour,
And dise|nbark’d with his Danish power.
'l‘hree earls came against him with all their train,-
Weak in battle. in council sage;
Peace of that heathen leader he sought,
Gifts he gave, and quiet he bought;
And the count took upon him the peaceable style Of a vassal and liegeman of Britain's broad isle.
Time will rust the sharpest sword,
Of the Danish band, whom Count \\'itikind led,
lle made himself peace with prelate and priest, Made his peace, and, stooping his head, Patiently listed the counsel they said;
Saint Cuthbert's bishop was holy and grave,
a Thou hast murder'd, robb'd, and spoil'd, Time it is thy poor soul were assoil'd;
Priest didst thou slay, and churches burn,
Time it is now to rt-pen lance to turn;
Fiends hast thou worsliipp'd, with fiendish rite, Leave now the darkness, and wcnd into light: O! while life and space are given, _
Turn thee yet, and think of Heaven!»
That stern old lieatlicn his head he raised,
And on the good prelate he steadfastly gazed ;
it Give the broad lands on the Wear and the Tyne, My faith I will leave and I’ll cleave unto thine.»
SCOTT’S POETICAL “TURKS.
Ireful wait'd old Witikind's look,
His faltering voice with fury shook ;—
u Hear me, Harold, of hardcn'd heart!
Stubborn and wilful ever thou wert.
Thine outrage insane I command thee to cease,
Just is the debt of repentance I 've paid,
Richly the church has a recompense made,
And the truth of her doctrines I prove with my blade-
And least to my son such accounting will show.
Who ne'er from thy childhood knew reason or ruth'!
These are thymates, and not rational men.»
XI. Grimly smiled Harold, and coldly replied, -1 We must honour our sires, if we fear when they chide.
For me, I am yet what thy lessons have made,
I was rock'd in a buckler and fed from a blade;
An infant, was taught to clap hands and to shout, From the roofs of the tower when the flame had broke
In the blood of slain foemcn my finger to dip,
And tinge with its purple my cheek and my lip.-—
"I‘ is thou know'st not truth, that has bar|er'd in eld, For a price, the brave faith that thine ancestors held. When this wolf»-and the carcass he flung on the
u Shall awake and give food to her nurslings again, The face of his father will Harold review;
Till then, aged heathen, young Christian, adieu!»
Priest, monk, and prelate stood aghast,
As through the pageant the heathen pass'd.
A cross-bearer out of his saddle he flung,
Laid his hand on the pommel and into it sprung; Loud was the shriek, and deep the groan,
When the holy sign on the earth was thrown !
The fierce old count nnsheathed his brand,
But the calmer prelato stay'd his hand;
a Let him pass free !-Heaven knows its hour,But he must own repentance's power,
Pray and weep, and penance bear,
Ere he hold land by the Tyne and the Wear.»-
High was the feasting in Witikind's hall,
Revell'd priests, soldiers, and pagans, and all;
And e'en the good bishop was fain to endure
The scandal which time and instruction might cure: It were dangerous, he deem'd, at the first to restrain, . In his wine and his wassail, a half-christen'd Dane. The mead flow’d around, and the ale was drain’d dry, Wild was the laughter, the song, and the cry;
With Kyrie Eleison came clztmorously in
The war-songs of Danesmen, Norweyan, and Finn, Till man after man the contention gave o'er, Outstretclfd on the rushes that strew‘d the hall floor;
l And the tempest within, having ceased its wild rout, Gave place to the tempest that thunder’d without.
Apart from the wassail, in turret alone,
Lay flaxen-hair'd Gunnnr, old Ermengarde's son;
In the train of Lord Harold the page was the first,
For Harold in childhood had Ermengarde nursed;
Unhoused and unfriendezl, an exile from home.
He heard the deep thunder, the plashing of rain,
Ile saw the red lightning through shot-hole and pane; it And oh hi said the page, a on the shelterless wold Lord Harold is wandering in darkness and cold!
What though he was stubborn, and wayward, and wild,
In the chase, by his stirrup, unchidden I run:
I would I were older, and knighthood could hear,
I would soon quit the banks of the 'I'yne and the Wear,For my mother's command with her last parting
breath, Bade me follow her nursliug in life and to death.
a It pours and it thunders, it lightens amain,
As if halt, the Destroyer, had burst from his chain!
And this tempest what mortal may houseless endure!
Whate'er comes of Gunnar he tarries not here.»
lle leapt from his couch and he grasp'd to his spear, Sought the hall of the feast. Undisturb'd by his tread, The tvassuilers slept fast as the sleep of the dead :
a Ungrateful and bestial !» his anger broke forth,
,¢ To forget ‘mid your gohlcts the pride of the North! And you, ye cowl'd priests, \\ho have plenty in store, Must give Gunnar for ransom a palfrey and ore.»-—
Then heeding full little of ban or of curse,
He has seized on the Prior of .Iorvaulx's purse :
Saiut l\Ieneholt's abbot next morning has miss'd
His mantle, deep furr'd from the cape to the wrist:
(Well drench'd on that eve was old llildebrand's brain).
And mounted the bishop's palfrey gay,
Castle and hamlet behind him has cast,
And right on his way to the moorland has pass'd.
A weather so wild at so rash a pace;
So long he snorted, so loud he neigh'd,
There auswer'd a steed that was bound beside,
And the red flash of lightning show'd there where lay Ilis master, Lord Harold, outstretclfd on the clay.