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Ballads and Lyrical pieces. GLENFINLAS;
OR LORD RONALD'S CORONACH."
For them the viewless forms of air obey,
They know what spirit brews the stormful day,
The tradition upon which the following stanzas are founded runs thus: While two highland hunters were passing the night in a solitary bathy (al hut built for the purpose of hunting,) and making merry over their venison and whisky, one of them expressed a wish, that they had pretty lasses to complete their party. The words were scarcely uttered, when two beautiful young women, babited in green, entered the hut, dancing and singing. One of the hunters was seduced by the syren, who attached herself particularly to him, to leave the hut: the other remained, and, suspicious of the fair seducers, continued to play upon a trump, or Jew's harp, some strain consecrated to the virgin Mary. Day at length came, and the temptress vanished. Searching in the forest, he found the bones of his unfortunate friend, who had been torn to pieces and devoured by the fiend, into whose toils he had fallen. The place was from thence called, the Glen of the Green Women.
Glenfinlas is a tract of forest ground, lying in the highlands of Perthshire, not far from Callender, in Menteith. It was formerly a royal forest, and now belongs to the earl of Moray. This country, as well as the adjacent district of Balquidder. was, in times of yore, chiefly inhabited by the Macgregors. To the west of the forest of Glenfinlas lies Loch Katrine, and its romantic avenue called the Trosachs. Benledi, Benmore, and Benvoirlich, are mountains in the same district, and at no great distance from Glenfinlas. The river Teith passes Callender and the castle of Doune, and joins the Forth near Stirling. The pass of Lenny is immediately above Callender, and is the principal access to the highlands from that town. Glenartney is a forest near Benvoirlich. The whole forms a sublime tract of Alpine scenery.
But now the loud lament we swell,
0, ne'er to see lord Ronald more! From distant isles a chieftain came,
The joys of Ronald's hall to find,
That bounds o'er Albyn's hills of wind. 'Twas Moy; whom, in Columba's isle,
The seer's prophetic spirit found, 3 As, with a minstrel's fire the while,
He waked his harp's harmonious sound. Full many a spell to him was known,
Which wandering spirits shrink to hear; And many a lay of potent tone,
Was never meant for mortal ear. For there, 'tis said, in mystic mood,
High converse with the dead they hold, And oft espy the fated shroud,
That shall the future corpse enfold. O so it fell, that on a day,
To rouse the red deer from their den, The chiefs have ta'en their distant way,
And scoured the deep Glenfinlas' glen. No vassals wait, their sports to aid,
To watch their safety, deck their board: Their simple dress, the highland plaid;
Their trusty guard, the highland sword. Three summer days, through brake and dell,
Their whistling shafts successful flew; And still, when dewy evening fell,
The quarry to their hut they drew.
The solitary cabin stood,
Which murmurs through that lonely wood Soft fell the night, the sky was calm,
When three successive days had flown; And summer mist in dewy balm
Steeped heathy bank and nuossy stone. The moon, half hid in silvery flakes,
Afar her dubious radiance shed, Quivering on Katrine's distant lakes,
And resting on Benledi's head. Now in their hut, in social guise,
Their sylvan fare the chiefs enjoy; And pleasure laughs in Roland's eyes,
As many a pledge he quaffs to Moy. 6* What lack we here to crown our bliss,
While thus the pulse of joy beats high? What, but fair woman's yielding kiss,
Her panting breath and melting eye? “ To chase the deer of yonder shades,
This morning left their father's pile The fairest of our mountain maids,
The daughters of the proud Glengyle. “ Long have I sought sweet Mary's heart,
And dropped the tear, and heaved the sigh: But vain the lover's wily art,
Beneath the sister's watchful eye. “ But thou may'st teach that guardian fair,
While far with Mary I am flown, Of other hearts to cease her care,
And find it hard to guard her own. « Touch but thy harp, thou soon shalt see
The lovely Flora of Glengyle,
O HONE a rie'! O hone a rie'!+
The pride of Albyn's line is o'er, And fallen Glenartney's stateliest tree;
We ne'er shall see lord Ronald more! 0, sprung from great Macgillianore,
The chief that never fear'd a foe,
How deadly thine unerring bow!
How, on the Teith's resounding shore,
As down from Lenny's pass you bore.
How blazed lord Ronald's beltane tree;2 While youths and maids the light strathspey
So nimbly danced, with highland glee." Cheered by the strength of Ronald's shell,
E'en age forgot his tresses hoar; * Coronach is the lamentation for a deceased warrior, Ring by the aged of the clan. to hone a rie' signifies “Alas for the prince, or chief."
Unmindful of her charge and me,
Sudden the hounds erect their ears, Hang on thy notes, 'twixt tear and smile. And sudden cease their moaning howl; « Or, if she choose a melting tale,
Closed press'd to Moy, they mark their fears All underneath the green-wood bough,
By shivering limbs, and stifled growl. Will good St. Oran's rule prerail, 4
Untouched, the harp began to ring, Stern huntsman of the rigid brow?”
As softly, slowly, op'd the door, “ Since Enrick's fight, since Morna's death, And shook responsive every string, No more on me shall rapture rise,
As light a footstep pressed the foor. Responsive to the panting breath,
And, by the watch-fire's glimmering light, Or yielding kiss, or melting eyes.
Close by the minstrel's side was seen “ E'en then, when o'er the heath of wo,
An 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, - The last dread eurse of angry heaven,
As, bending o’er the dying gleam,
She wrung the moisture from her hair
With maiden blush she softly said,
"O gentle huutsman, hast thou seen. “ The bark thou saw'st, yon summer morn,
In deep Glenfinlas' moonlight glade,
A lovely maid in vest of green?
“ With her a chief in highland pride; “ The Fergus too, thy sister's son,
His shoulders bear the hunter's bow, Thou saw'st, with pride, the gallant's power.
The mountain dirk adorns his side, As marching 'gainst the lord of Downe,
Far on the wind his tartans flow?” He left the skirts of huge Benmore.
“ And who art thou? and who are they?” “ Thou only saw'st their tartans* wave,
All ghastly gazing, Moy replied: As down Benvoirlich's side they wound,
"And why, beneath the moon's pale ray, Heard'st but the pibroch, 7 answering brave
Dare ye thus roam Glenfinlas' side?"** To many a target clanking round.
u Where wild Loch Katrine pours her tide,
Blue, dark, and deep, round many an isle, I heard the groans, I marked the tears, • I saw the wound his bosom bore,
Our father's towers o'erbang her side,
The castle of the bold Glengyle.
" To chase the dun Glenfinlas deer, “And thou, who bidst me think of bliss,
Our woodland course this morn we bore, And bidst my heart awake to glee,
And haply met, while wandering here, And court, like thee, the wanton kiss,
The son of great Macgillianore. That heart, O Ronald, bleeds for thee!
“O aid me, then, to seek the pair, " I see the death-damps chill thy brow;
Whom, loitering in the woods, I lost; I hear thy warning spirit cry;
Alone, 1 dare not venture there, The corpse-lights dance-they're gone, and now Where walks, they say, the shrieking ghost." No more is given to gifted eye!”
“ Yes, many a shrieking ghost walks there; - Alone enjoy thy dreary dreams,
Then, first, my own sad vow to keep, Sad prophet of the evil hour!
Here will I pour my midnight prayer, Say, sliould we scorn joy's transient beams, Which still must rise when mortals sleep.” Because to-morrow's storm may lour?
“O first, for pity's gentle sake, “ Or false, or sooth, thy words of wo,
Guide a lone wanderer on her way! Clangillian's chieftain ne'er shall fear;
For I must cross the haunted brake, His blood shall bound at rapture's glow,
And reach my father's towers ere day." 'Though doomed to stain the Saxon spear.
« First, three times tell each ave-bead, « E'en now, to meet me in yon dell,
And thrice a pater-noster say: My Mary's buskins brush the dew.”
Then kiss with me the holy reed: He spoke, nor bade the chief farewell,
So shall we safely wind our way.” But called his dogs and gay withdrew.
“O shame to knighthood, strange and foul! Within an hour returned each hound;
Go, doff the bonnet from thy brow, In rushed the rousers of the deer;
And shroud thee in the monkish cowi, They howled id melancholy sound,
Which best befits thy sullen vow. Then closely couched beside the seer.
“ Not so, by leigh Dynlathmon's fire, No Ronald yet; though midnight came,
Thy heart was froze to love and joy, And sad were Moy's prophetic dreams,
When gayly rung thy raptured lyre, As, bending o'er the dying flame,
To wanton Morna's melting eye.” He fed the watch-fire's quivering gleams.
Wild stared the midstrel's eye of flame, • Tartans, the full highland dress, made of the che
And high bis sable locks arose, quered tuff so termed. *7 Pibroch, a piece of martial music, adapted to the high-|
And quick his colour went and came, Land bagpipe.
As fear and rage alternate rose.
“ And thou! when by the blazing oak
perstitious rites, both in the north of Scotland and I lay, to her and love resign’d,
in Wales. Say, rode ye on the eddying smoke,
3. The seer's prophetic spirit found, &c-P. 400. Or sail'd ye on the midnight wind? 1. I can only describe the second sight, by adopting « Not thine a race of mortal blood,
Dr. Johnson's definition, wbo calls it " an imprese Nor old Glengyle's pretended line;
sion, either by the mind upon the eye, or by the Thy dame, the lady of the flood,
eye upon the mind, by which things distant and Thy sire, the monarch of the mine.”
future are perceived and seen as if they were preHe mutter'd thrice St. Oran's rhyme,
sent.” To which I would only add, that the spec
tral appearances, thus presented, usually presage And thrice St. Fillan's powerful prayer; 5
misfortune; that the faculty is painful to those who Then turned him to the eastern clime,
suppose they possess it; and that they usually acAnd sternly shook his coal-black hair.
quire it, while themselves under the pressure of And, bending o'er his harp, he flung
melancholy. His wildest witch-notes on the wind;
4. Will good St. Oran's rule prevail.-P. 401. And loud, and high, and strange, they rung, | St. Oran was a friend and follower of St. Care As many a magic change they find.
lumba, and was bnried in lcolmkill. His preTall waxed the spirit's altering form,
tensions to be a saint were rather dubious. AcTill to the roof her stature grew;
cording to the legend, he consented to be buried Then, mingling with the rising storm,
alive, in order to propitiate certain demons of the With one wild yell, away she flew.
soil, who obstructed the attempts of Columba to
build a chapel. Columba caused the body of his Rain beats, hail ratlles, whirlwinds tear:
friend to be dug up, after three days had elapsed, The slender hut in fragments flew;
when Oran, to the horror and scandal of the asBut not a lock of Moy's loose hair
sistants, declared, that there was neither a God Was waved by wind, or wet by dew.
a judgment, nor a future state! He had no time to Wild mingling with the howling gale, make further discoveries, for Columba caused the Loud bursts of ghastly laughter rise;
earth once more to be shovelled over him with the High o'er the minstrel's head they sail, utmost despatch. The chapel, however, and the And die amid the northern skies.
cemetery, was called Reilig Ouran; and, in memory The voice of thunder shook the wood,
of his rigid celibacy, no female was permitted to As ceased the more than mortal yell;
pay her devotions, or be buried, in that place.
This is the rule alluded to in the poem. And, spattering foul, a shower of blood
5. And thrice St. Fillan's powerful prayer.-P. 402. Upon the hissing firebrands fell.
St. Fillan has given his name to many chapels, Next, dropped from high a mangled arm;
holy fountains, &c. in Scotland. He was, accordThe fingers strained a half-drawn blade;
ing to Camerarius, an abbot of Pitten weem, is And last, the life-blood streaming warm,,
Fife, from which situation he retired, and died a Torn from the trunk, a gasping head. hermit in the wilds of Glenurchy, A. D. 649. Oft o'er that head, in battling field,
While engaged in transcribing the Scriptures, his Streamed the proud crest of high Benmore; (lest hand was observed to send forth such a splenThat arm the broad claymore could wield, dour, as to afford light to that with which he wrote;
Which dyed the Teith with Saxon gore. a miracle which saved many candles to the conWo to Moneira's sullen rills!
vent, as St. Fillan used to spend whole nights in Wo to Glenfinlas' dreary glen!
that exercise. The 9th of January was dedicated There never son of Albyn's hills
to this saint, who gave his name to Kilollan, in
Renfrew, and St. Phillans, or Forgend, in Fife. Shall draw the hunter's shaft agen!
Lesley, lib. 7, tells us, that Robert the Bruce was E'en the tired pilgrim's burning seet
possessed of Fillan's miraculous and luminous At noon shall shun that sheltering den, arm, which he inclosed in a silver shrine, and had Lest, journeying in their rage, he meet
it carried at the head of his army. Previous to the The wayward ladies of the glen.
battle of Bannockburn, the king's chaplain, a man And we behind the chieftain's shield, of little faith, abstracted the relic, and deposited No more shall we in safety dwell;
it in some place of security, lest it should fall into None leads the people to the field
the hands of the English. But, lo! while Robert And we the loud lament must swell.
was addressing his prayers to the empty casket, it
was observed to open and shut suddenly; and, on O hone a rie'! O hone a rie'!
inspection, the saint was found to have himself The pride of Alhyn's line is o'er,
deposited his arm in the shrine, as an assurance And fallen Glenartney's stateliest tree;
of victory. Such is the tale of Lesley. But though We ne'er shall see lord Ronald more!
Bruce little needed that the arm of St. Fillan
should assist his own, he dedicated to him, in NOTES. 1. Well can the Saxon widows tell.-P. 400.
gratitude, a priory" at Killin, upon Loch Tay.
. In the Scots Magazine for July, 1802 (a national The term Sassenach, or Saxon, is applied by
Saxon, is applied by periodical publication, which has lately revived the highlanders to their low-country neighbours."
with considerable energy,) there is a copy of a 2. How blazed lord Ronald's beltane tree.-P. 400. very curious crown-grant, dated 11th July, 1487,
The fires lighted by the highlanders on the by which James III confirms to Malice Doire, en first of May, in compliance with a custom derived inhabitant of Strathfillan, in Perthshire, the peace from the pagan times, are termed, the Beltane able exercise and enjoyment of a relic of St. File Tree. It is a festival celebrated with various su- lan, called the Quegrich, which he, and his pre
decessors, are said to have possessed since the And he whistled thrice for his little foot-page, days of Robert Bruce. As the quegrich was used His name was English Will. to cure diseases, this document is, probably, the “ Come thou hither, my little foot-page; most ancient patent ever granted for a quack me- Come bither to my knee; dicine. The ingenious correspondent, by whom it Though thou art young, and tender of age, ig furnished, further observes, that additional par- I think thou art true to me. ticulars concerning St. Fillan are to be found in
“Come, tell me all that thou hast seen, Bullenden's Boece, book 4, folio ccxiii, and in
And look thou tell me true! Pennant's Tour in Scotland, 1772, pp. 11, 15.
Since I from Smaylho'me tower have been,
What did thy lady do?”
“ My lady, each night, sought the lonely light, SYAYLHO'ME, or Smallholm Tower, the scene of! That burns on the wild Watchfold; the following ballad, is situated on the northern For, from height to height, the beacons bright boundary of Roxburghshire, among a cluster ofl of the English foemen told. wild rocks, called Sandiknow Crags, the property « The bittern clamoured from the moss, of Hugh Scott, Esq., of Harden. The tower is al
"! The wind blew loud and shrill; high square building, surrounded by an outer wall,
" Yet the craggy pathway she did cross, now ruinous. The circuit of the outer court, be
To the eiry beacon hill. ing defended, on three sides, by a precipice and morass, is accessible only from the west, by a "I watched her steps, and silent came steep and rocky path. The apartments, as is usual. Where she sat her on a stone; in a border-keep, or fortress, are placed one above No watchman stood by the dreary flame; another, and communicate by a narrow stair; on It burned all alone. the roof are two bartizans, or platforms, for defence “ The second night I kept her in sight, or pleasure. The inner door of the tower is wood, Till to the fire she came, the outer an iron grate; the distance between them Avd, by Mary's might! an armed knight being nine feet, the thickness, namely, of the wall. Stood by the lonely flame. From the elevated situation of Smaylho'me Tower, la
- And many a word that warlike lord it is seen many miles iu every direction. Among
8 Did speak to my lady there; the crags by which it is surrounded, one, more
But the rain fell fast, and loud blew the blast, eminent, is called The Watchfold; and is said to
And I heard not what they were. have been the station of a beacon, in the times of war with England. Without the tower-court is a “The third night there the sky was fair. ruined chapel. Brotherstone is a heath, in the And the mountain blast was still, neighbourhood of Smaylho'me Tower.
As again I watched the secret pair, This ancient fortress and its vicinity formed the On the lonesome beacon hill. scene of the author's infancy, and seemed to claim “And I heard her name the midnight hour. from him this attempt to celebrate them in a border And name this holy eve; tale. The catastrophe of the tale is founded upon And say, 'Come this night to thy lady's bower: a well-known Irish tradition.
Ask no bold baron's leave. The baron of Smaylho'me rose with day,
“ • He lifts his spear with the bold Buccleuch;
His lady is all alones
The door she'll undo to her knight so true,
On the eve of good St. John.' He went not with the bold Buccleuch,
"I cannot come; I must not come, His banner broad to rear: He went not 'gainst the English yew .
On the eve of St. John I must wander alone; To lift the Scottish spear.
In thy bower I may not be.' Yet his plate-jack* was braced, and his helmet"Now, out on thee, faint-hearted knight! was laced,
Thou shouldst not say me nay; And his vaunt-brace of proof he wore;
For the eve is sweet, and when lovers meet, At his saddle-gerthe was a good steel sperthe, | Is worth the whole summer's day. Full ten pound weight and more.
" And I'll chain the blood-hound, and the warder The baron returned in three days' space,
shall not sound, And his looks were sad and sour;
And rushes shall be strewed on the stair, And weary was his courser's pace,
So, by the black rood-stone, * and by holy St. John, As he reached his rocky tower.
I conjure thee, my love, to be there! He came not from where Ancram Moor!
« • Though the blood-hound be mute, and the rush Ran red with English blood;
beneath my foot, Where the Douglas true, and the bold Buccleuch,
And the warder his bugle should not blow, 'Gainst keen lord Evers stood.
Yet there sleepeth a priest in the chamber to the Yet was his helmet hacked and hewed,
east, His acton pierced and tore;
And my footstep he would know.' His axe and his dagger with blood embrued,
“ But it was not English gore.
O fear not the priest, who sleepeth to the east! He lighted at the Chapellage,
For to Dryburght the way he has ta'en; He held him close and still;
• The black rood of Melrose was a crucifix of black mar.
- ble, and of superior sanctity. The plate-jack is coal-armour; the vaunt-brace, or + Dryburgh abbeyisbeautifully situatedon the banks of wambrace, armour for the body; the sperthe, a battle-axe. the Tweed. After its dissolution, it became the property
I dare not com
And there to say mass, till three days do pass, “ The Ancram Moor is red with gore,
For the soul of a knight that is slayne.' | For many a southron fell; “ He turned him round, and grimly he frowned;
| And Buccleuch has charged us, evermore, Then he laughed right scornfully;
To watch our beacons well." • He who says the mass-rite for the soul of that The lady blushed red, but nothing she said: knight,
Nor added the baron a word: May as well say mass for me.
Then she stepp'd down the stair to her chamber a • At the lone midnight hour, when bad spirits
fair, have power,
And so did her moody lord. In thy chamber will I be.'
In sleep the lady mourned, and the baron tossed With that he was gone, and my lady left alone,
and turned, And no more did I see.”
And oft to himself he said, Then changed, I trow, was that bold baron's brow,
“ The worms around him creep, and his bloody From the dark to the blood-red bigh;
grave is deep“Now, tell me the mien of the knight thou hast
It cannot give up the dead!"
It was near the ringing of matin bell, For, by Mary, he shall die!”
The night was well nigh done, “ His arms shone full bright in the beacon's red/ When a heavy sleep on that baron fell, light,
On the eve of good St. John. His plume it was scarlet and blue;
The lady looked through the chamber fair, On nis shield was a hound, in a silver leash bound, By the light of a dying frame;
And his crest was a branch of the yew.” And she was aware of a knight stood there, " Thou liest, thou liest, thou little foot-page,
Sir Richard of Coldi-ghame! Loud dost thou lie to me!
|“ Alas! away, away!” she cried, For that knight is cold, and low laid in the mould, “For the holy Virgin's sake!” All under the Eildon tree."*
“ Lady, I know who sleeps by thy side; “ Yet hear but my word, my noble lord!
But, lady, he will not awake. For I heard her name his name;
“ By Eildon tree, for long nights three, And that lady bright, she called the knight, In bloody grave have I lain; Sir Richard of Coldinghame.”
The mass and the death prayer are said for me, The bold baron's brow then changed, I trow, But, lady, they are said in vain. From high blood-red to pale!
“By the baron's brand, near Tweed's fair strand, “ The grave is deep and dark, and the corpse is Most foully slain I fell; stiff and stark,
And my restless sprite on the beacon's height, So I may not trust thy tale.
For a space is doomed to dwell. “ Where fair Tweed flows round holy Melrose,
“ At our trysting-płace,* for a certain space, And Eildon slopes to the plain,
I must wander to and fro; Full three nights ago, by some secret foe,
But I had not had power to come to thy bower, That gay gallant was slain.
Hadst thou not conjured me so.” “ The varying light deceived thy sight, And the wild winds drowned the name;
Love mastered fear; her brow she crossed; For the Dryburgh bells ring, and the white monks “How, Richard, hast thou sped? do sing,
And art thou saved, or art thou lost!” For sir Richard of Coldinghame!”
The Vision shook his head! He passed the court gate, and he op'd the tower Who spilleth life shall forfeit life; grate,
So bid thy lord believe: And he mounted the narrow stair,
That lawless love is guilt above, To the bartizan seat, where, with maids that on This awful sign receive.”
her wait, He found his lady fair.
He laid his left palm on an oaken beam;
His right upon her hand: That lady sat in mournful mood;
The lady shrunk, and, fainting, sunk,
For ii scorched like a fiery brand.
The sable score of fingers four, « Now hail, now hail, thou lady bright!”
Remains on that board impressed;
| And for evermore that lady wore “Now hail, thou baron true! What news, what news, from Ancram fight?
| A covering on her wrist. What news from the bold Buccleuch?”
There is a nun in Dryburgh bower,
Ne'er looks upon the sun: of the Haliburtons of Newmains, and is now the seat of There is a monk in Melrose tower, the right honourable the earl of Buchan. It belonged to He speaketh word to none. the order of Premonstratenses.
* Eildon is a high hill, terminating in three conical That nun, who ne'er beholds the day, summits, immediately above the town of Melrose, where That monk, who speaks to pone, are the admired ruins of a magnificent monastery. 'Eildon The
onastery. Eildon That pun was tree is said to be the spot wliere Thomas the Rhymer uttered his prophecies.
| That monk the bold baron. + Mertoun is the beautiful seat of Hugh Scott, esg. of Harden
. Trysting-place, a place of rendezvous.