ページの画像
PDF

should Kill when «at the fullest.» At a very crowded sermon, about thirty years ago, a piece of lime fell from the roof of the church. Tlie alarm, for the fulfilment of the words of the seer, became universal; and happy were they who were nearest the door of the predestined edifice. The church was in consequence deserted, and Ins never since had an opportunity of tumbling upon a full congregation. I hope, for the sake of a beautiful specimen of Saxo-Gothic architecture, that the accomplishment of this prophecy is far distant.

Another prediction, ascribed to the Rhymer, seems to have been founded on that sort of insight into futurity* possessed by most men of a sound and combining judgment. It runs thus:

At Eiltlon Tree if you thill be,

A brigg oner Tweed yon there may lee.

The spot in question commands an extensive prospect of the course of the river; and it was easy to foresee, that when the country should become in the least degree improved, a bridge would be somewhere thrown over the stream. In fact, you now see no less than three bridges from that elevated situation.

Corspatrick (Comes Patrick), Earl of March, but more commonly taking his title from his castle of Dunbar, acted a noted part during the wars of Edward I. in Scotland. As Thomas of Ert ildoun is said to have delivered to him his famous prophecy of King Alexander's death, the author has chosen to introduce him into the following ballad. All the prophetic verses are •elected from Hart's publication.

PART H.

ALTERED FROM ANCIENT PROPHECIES.

Wail* seven years were come and gauc,
The sun blink'd fair on pool and stream;

And Thomas lay on Hunllie bank,
Like one awaken'd from a dream.

lie heard the trampling of a steed,
He saw the flash of armour flee.

And he beheld a gallant knight,

Come riding down by the Eiidon Tree.

He was a stalwart knight, and strong;

Of giant make tie 'pear'd to be:
He stirr'd his horse, as lie were wode,

Wi* gilded spurs, of fa us h ion free.

S.i v-—„ Well met, well met, true Thomas!

Some uncouth ferlics show to mc.n Says—«Christ thee save, Corspatrick brave!

Thrice welcome, good Dunbar, to me!

Light down, light down, Corspatrick brave, And I will show thee curses three,

Shall gar fair Scotland greet and grane, And change the green to the black livery.

■ A storm shall roar, this very hour, From Rosse's Hills to Solway $ea.»

« Ye lied, ye lied, ye warlock hoar!

For the sun shines sweet on fauld and lea.**

He put his hand on the eariie's head;

He shew'd him a rock, beside the sea,
Where a king lay stiff, kencalh his steed,'

And stecl-dight nobles wiped their ec.

wTlie neist curse lights on Branston Tlills:
Ity Flnddcn's hig.li and heathery side,

Shall wave a banner red as blude,

And chieftains throng wi' meikle pride.

« A Scottish king shall come full keen;

The ruddy lion bearelh he;
A feather'd arrow sharp, I ween,

Shall make him wink and warn? to see.

« When he is bloody, and all to bledde,
Thus to his men he still shajl say—

* For God's sake turn ye back again.
And give yon southern folk a fray!

Why should I lose the right is mine?
My doom is not to die this day.'1

« Yet turn ye to the eastern hand.
And woe and wonder ye sail see;

How forty thousand spearmen .stand.
Where yon rank river meets the sea.

•< There shall the lion lose the gylte,
And (he lihbards bear it clean away;

At I'liikvri Clench there shall be spilt
Much gcntil blude that day.»

« Enough, enough, of curse and ban;

Some blessing show thou uow to me,
Or, by the faith o' m\ bodic,* Corspatrick sauJ.

« Ye shall rue the day ye e'er caw me!»

« The first of blessings I shall ihec show.
Is by a burn, that's call'd of bread;1

Where Saxon men shall tine the bow,
And find their arrows lack the bead.

« Beside that brigg, out-ower that burn, Where the water bickereth bright and sheen, sV Shall many a falling courser spurn,

And knights shall die in battle keen.

« Beside a headless cross of stone,
The lihbards there shall lose the gree;

The raven shall come, the erue shall go,
And drink the Saxou blood sac free.

The cross of stone they si tall not know.
So thick the corses there shall be.»

« But tell me now,* said brave Dunbar,
« True Thomas, tell uow unto me,

What man shall rule the isle Britain,

Even from the north to the southern sea>

• King Aleiinder; killed by ■ fell fro* kit ban*. wmr ku|k" 1 The uncertainly which lonj; prevailed in ScotUod oanorrta, lha fate of Jmiiett IV. It well known. 1 One of Tbomai'i rhyme*, preterTed by tradition, rem ik*> The barn of breid Shell mo fow reid. Bnnnoekbnrn I* ihe brook here meant. The Scon (Ire ik* Be* of hammock to a thick round cake of aaieavee+d braid.

-< A French queen shall bear the son,
Shall rule all Itritain to the sea:

He of the Bruce's blood shall come,
As near as in the ninth decree.

*» The waters worship shall his race. Likewise the waves of [lie farthest sea;

For they shall ride owcr ocean wide,

With hempen bridles, and horse of trce.i

PART III.

Tiomas Tbi Rhyme* was renowned among his contemporaries, as the author of the celebrated romance of Sir Tristrem. Of this once admired poem only one copT is known to exist, which is in the Advocates' Librarv. The author, in 1804. published a small edition of this curious work, which, if it docs not revive the reputation of the bard of Ercildoun, is at least the earliest specimen of Scottish poetry hitherto published. Some account of this romance has already been given to the world in Mr Ellis's Specimens of sfneient Poetry, vol. 1, p. ifi5t III, p. 410; a work, to which our predecessors and our posterity are alike obliged; the former, fvr the preservation of the best selected examples of their poetical 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 alJ that genius and learning have recorded in it. It is tufnVicnt here to mention, that, so great was the repu

■ tattoo of the romance of Sir Tristrem, that few were thought capable of reciting it after the manner of the author;—a circumstance alluded to by Robert de

ft rune, the annalist:

i

I W'id tong, in aed^ryna; tale.

Of Errefiioon, and of kendale.

Sow ibin« uy* a* tb-*y ihamu wroght.

And in iL.irf iflyiotf it lem > nocbt,

That ihoo may here In Sir TrUtrem,

Ovflr f>eite* 11 tiai the. »temc,

0»W all ii>ut ia or wit;

If Idco it aaid at made Tboma*, etc.

It appears, from a very curious MS. of the thirteenth eeniurv. penes Mr Douce of London, containing a French metrical romance of Sir Tristrem, that the work of our Thomas the Rhymer was known, and referred to, by the minstrels of Normandy and brctagnc. Having; arrived at a part of the romance, where reciters were wool to differ in the mode of telling the story, the French bard expressly cites the authority of the poet of Lrciidoun:

Plaaara de not ^ranter ne volent,
Co que del naim dire »e lolent,
Ki femme Kaberdin dut aimer,
Li naim rndat TrUlram narrer.
E entu«i-b«' par frrant engia,
Qaant it afolc Kaberdin;
Par «il plaie e pur ce*t m:il,
En*eiad Triitnn Gurrrnal,
ha Engleterrc pur Vtoli
TaOKit ico firanter no roll,
Ei ai io1t par raltuo laoitrcr,
Qu'too oe put pas otteer. etc

The tale of Sir Tristrem, as narrated in the Edinburgh MS., is totally different from the voluminous romance

in prose, originally compiled on the same suhject by Rusticien de Puisc, and analysed by M. deTressan; but agrees in every essential particular with the metrical performance just quoted, which is a work of much I higher antiquity.

PART III.—MODERN.

When seven years more had come and jjoue,
Was war through Scotland spread,

And Rubcrslaw show'd high Dunyon (1)
His bcacou blazing red.

Then all by bonnie Coldingknow, (2)
Pitch'd palhouns 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 Gaddenhcad,

To distant Torwoodlcc. (3)

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 lack'd they, while they sat at dine.

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

Nor mantling quaighs a of ale.

True Thomas rose, with harp in hand,

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

The el tin harp he won.)

Hush'd were the throng, both limb and tongue,

•And harper* for envy pale;
And armed lords lean'd on their swords,
And hearkeud to the tale.

In numbers high, the witching tale

The prophet pour'd along; No after bard might e'er avail5

Those numbers to prolong.

Yet fragments of the lofty strain

Tloat down the tide of years, As, buoyant on the stormy main, A parted wreck appears.

He sung King Arthur's Tabic Round:

The warrior of the lake;
How courteous Gawaine met the wound, (4)

And bled for Ladies' sake.

But chief, in gentle Tristrem's praise,

The notes melodious swell;
Was none exeell'd, in Arthur's days,

The knight of Lionelle.

1 E*x»«i>—War-rry, or tfilbaring-word.

1 Qmaighs—Wooden nipt, competed of itavei boopad lugelliat ■

1 Seo introduction to tbi* Ballad.

For Marke, his cowardly uncle's rigbi,

A venom'd wound he bore;
When fierce Morholde he slew in fight,

Upon the Irish shore.

No art the poison might withstand;

No med'cinc could be found, Till lovely Isolde's lily 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, doom'd 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 rear'd its glittering head; And Avalon's enchanted vale

In all its wonders spread.

Brengwain was there, and Segramore,
And fiend-born Merlin's gramarye;

Of that famed wizard's mighty lore,
Owho could sing but heT

Through many a maze the winning song

Id changeful passion Jed,
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 Isoldes lily 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
Join'd 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 hent around,

For still they seem'd to heap.

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 Learmoat'i lover,
The mists of evening close;

In camp, in castle, or in bower,
Each warrior sought repose.

Lord Douglas, in his lofty tent,
Dreain'd o'er the woful tale;

When footsteps light, across.the benr.
The warrior's ears assail.

He starts, he wakes:—« What, Richard, bo!

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

Dare step where Douglas lios!»

Then forth they rushd: by Leader's tide,
A selcouth « sight they see—

A hart and hind pace side by side,
As white as snow on Fairnalie. (5)

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 regardetb nic.»

The elfin harp his neck around,

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

Its dying accents rung.

Then forth he went; yet tarned him oft

To view his ancient ball;
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 shall be.

a To Learmont's name no foot of earth

Shall here again belong,
And on thy hospitable hearth

The hare shall leave her young.

M Adieu! adieu!» again he cried,
All as he turned him roun'—

« Farewell to Leader's silver tide!
Farewell to ErcildouneN

The hart and hind approach'd the place.

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

With them he cross'd the flood. 'SttdKtk—ViQmt'Tvm*.

Lord Douglas leap'd on his berry-brown sleed,
And spurr'd him the Leader o'er;

But, though he rode with lightning speedy
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.

NOTES.

PART I.

Note i. Verse xvii.

aho pud an apple free ■ tree, etc.

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 tlw use of falsehood, when he might find it convenient. has a comic effect.

APPENDIX.

The reader is here presented, from an old, and unfortunately an imperfect MS., with the undoubted original of Thomas the Rhymers intrigue with the Quern of Faery. It will afford great amusement to those vho would study the nature of traditional poetry, and the changes effected by oral tradition, to compare this a orient romance with the foregoing ballad. The same incidents are narrated, evrn the expression is often the ume?, 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.

Jmeipil PropUii* Thorn* d* BntUtum.
la ■ land*. ■» I wu lent,
la the gryking of tba day,
A; aloae aa I weal,
la Ha Bile baakys roe for to play:
I o« thi- throaty I, aad the jay.
\- ni«'i noi yde of ber aong,
Y« wodwale Mage note* pay.
Thai si tbe wod about range,
la that longyng ■■ I lay,
Cadlr netbe a dera tre,

I wit war of a lady jay,
Gasm rydyng oayr a fair le;
Zogb 1 auld ittl to domyaday.
With ay loag to wrabbe and wry.
Cartesly all hyr aray,

II beth r.ruyr diacryuyd for me.
Uvr pelfra wu dappyll gray,
Syck* oa My neuer none,

Aa tbe too Id aomera day.

All abowte that lady abonc;

Hyr aadel wea of a icwel booe,

A aemly ayghl it wu to ae,

Brybt with aaoay a preryoua stowe,

Andcompaiyd all with rrapste;

Stoaea of oryena gret plente.

Her bair abool ber faeda it haag,

Sbe rode oaer tbe faroyle.

A while abe blew a while abe sang.

Her girth* of nobil *Mke they were.

B>r boeola were of beryl atone.

Sadyll aad brydlll war - -:

Witb aylk and aendel aboat bedone,

Hyr patyrel was of a pall fyae,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

I sal ye bryng to Eldys Tre.
Thomas antwerd with beny cber.

And >ayd, lonely ladye, lat ma be.
For I say ye certenly here
Haf I be I 01 tbo spare of da yet three.
Sothly, Thotnai, at I telle ye.
You bath be^n hero tbre yeres.
And here you may no lonjer be;
And I sal trie ye a tkele,
To-morroweof helle ye fool:1 fende
A man 5 our folke thai I chase bis foe;
For you art a larg man and an henda,
Trowe you wele he will chose thee.
Fore all the golde tbat may be,
Sal yoo not be betrayed for me.
And thairfor tnl you bent wend.
Sbe lirn;;ln him euyn to Eldyn tre.
Under nethe the grcne wode spray.
In Hun tie I anket was fayr to be,
Tber breddes tjng loth Dy*i and day.
Forreouyryon montayna gray.
There bathe my far on:
Faro wele, Thomas, 1 wende nay way.

[The elfin quern, after restoring Thomas to «nV pours forth a string of prophecies, in which wedissuv guisli references to the events and persona*;?* of '.v Scottish wars of Edward III. Tlie battles of Do|fia and lid lido n are mentioned, and also Ulark Agw, Countess cf Dunbar. There is a copy of this ports a the Museum in the Cathedral of Lincoln, anou>r is f collection of Peterborough, hut unfortunately they ut all in an imperfect state. Mr Jamieson, in hkcoriooj collection of Scottish ballads and Songs, his utscn copy of this ancient poem, with all the collations. TV lacunte of the former edition have been supplied fma his copy.]

PART III.
Note i. Verse i.

And Ruberslaw tfaow'd high Denyea.

Ruberslaw and Dun yon are two high hills ibo« Jedburgh.

Note a. Verse ii. Then all by bonoie Coldlngkwow. An ancient tower near Ercilrfoun, beJonpng lo • family of the name of Home. One of Thomas $fJ> phecies is said to have run thus:

Veni'cnoe, vengeance! wbeo and whrre?

On the house of Coldinj;know, now and erer nts;r.

The spot is rendered classical by its ha ring gift name to the beautiful melody, called the Brow o --' Cowdenknows.

Note 3. Verse iii.

They rooted the deer from Catddrahead,
To distant Torwoodlee.

Torwoodlee and Caddenhead are places in Selkjrishire.

Note 4. Verse T.

How courteous Gnwalne met the woood.

See in the Fabliaux of Monsieur le Grand, etagtatfr translated by the late Gregory Way, Esq., the tale «r the Knight and tfte Sword.

Note 5. Verse 11 via.

As white at tnuw on Fairnalie.

An ancient seat upon the Tweed, in Selkirkshire t: a popular edition of the first part of Thomas the U«mer, the fairy queen thus addresses him:

Gin ye wad meet wi' a>e agaia.

Gang to the booni« bonks of Fairwatie.

« 前へ次へ »