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THE GRAY BROTHER.
The imperfect state of this ballad, which was written several years ago, is not a circumstance affected for the purpose of giving it that peculiar interest which is often found to arise from ungratified curiosity. On the contrary, it was the Editor's intention to have completed the tale, if he had found himself able to succeed to his own satisfaction. Yielding to the opinion of persons, whose judgment, if not biassed by the partiality of friendship is entitled to deference, he has preferred inserting these verses as a fragment, to his intention of entirely suppressing them.
The tradition, upon which the tale is founded, regards a house upon the barony of Gilmerton, near Lasswade, in Mid-Lothian. This building, now called Gilmerton Grange, was originally named Burndale, from the following tragic acventure. The barony of Gilmerton belonged, of yore, to a gentle. man named Heron, who one beautiful daughter. This young lady was seduced by the Abbot of Newbattle, a richly endowed abbey, upon the banks of the South Esk, now a seat of the Marquis of Lothian. Heron came to the knowledge of this circumstance, and learned also; that the lovers carried on their guilty intercourse by the connivance of the lady's nurse, who lived at this house of Gilmerton Grange, or Burndale. He formed a resolution of bloody vengeance, undeterred by the supposed sanctity of the clerical character, or by the stronger claims of natural affection. Choosing, therefore, a dark and windy night, when the objects of his vengeance were engaged in a stolen interview, he set fire to a stack of dried thorns, and other combustibles, which he had caused to be piled against the house, and reduced to a pile of glowing ashes the dwelling, with all its inmates 1.
The scene with which the ballad opens was suggested by the following curious passage, extracted from the Life of Alexander Peden, one of the wandering and
persecuted teachers of the sect of Caineronians, during the reign of Charles II and his successor, James. This person was supposed by his followers, and, perhaps, really believed himself, to be possessed of supernatural gifts; for the wild scenes which they frequented, and the constant dangers which were incurred through their proscription, deepened upon their minds the gloom of superstition, so general in that age.
About the saine time he (Peden) came to
Andrew Normand's house, in the parish of Alloway, in the shire of Ayr, being to preach at night in his barn. After he came in, he halted a little, leaning upon a chair-back, with his face covered ; when he lifted up his head, he said, “They are in this house that I have not one word of salvation unto"; he halted a little again, saying, “This is strange that the devil will not go out, that we may begin our work!" Then there was a woinan went out, ill-looked upon almost all her life, and to her dying hour, for a witch, with many presumptions of the same. It escaped me, in the former passages, what John Muirhead (whom I have often mentioned) told me, that when he came from Ireland to Galloway, he was at family-worship, and giving some notes upon the Scripture read, when a rery ill-looking man came, and sat down within the door, at the back of the hallan (partition of the cottage): immediately he halted and said, "There is some unhappy body just now come into this house. I charge him to go out, and not stop my mouth!” This person wentout, and he insisted (went on), vet he saw him neither come in nor go out.' The Life and Prophecies of Mr. Alexander Peden, late Minister of the Gospelat New Glenluce, in Galloway, part ii. § 26.
A friendly correspondent remarks, that the incapacity of proceeding in the performance of a religious duty, when a contaminated person is present, is of much higher antiquity than the era of the Reverend Mr. Alexander Peden.'-Vide Hygini Fabulas, cap. 24. "Medea Corintho exul, Athenas, ad Aegeum Pandionis filium devenit in hospitium, eique nupsit. . . Postea sacerdos Dianae Medeam exagitare coepit, regique negabat sacra caste facere posse, eo quod in ea civitate esse: mulier venefica et scelerata ; tunc exulatur.
By blast of bugle free.-P. 671. The barony of Pennycuik, the property of Sir George Clerk, Bart., is held by a singular tenure; the proprietor being bound to sit upon a large rocky fragment called the Buckstane, and wind three blasts of a horn, when the King shall come to hunt on the Borough Muir, near Edinburgh. Hence the family have adopted as their crest a demiforester proper, winding a horn, with the motto, Free for a Blast. The beautiful inansion-house of Pennycuik is much admired, both on account of the architecture and surrounding scenery.
1 This tradition was communicated to me by John Clerk, Esq. of Eldin, author of an Essay 11 por Naval Tactics.
Auchendinny's hazel glade.-P. 671. Auchendinny, situated upon the Eske, below Pennycuik, the present residence of he ingenious H. Mackenzie, Esq., author of che Man of Feeling, &c.-Edition 1803.
Dalkeith.-P. 671. The village and castle of Dalkeith belonged of old to the famous Earl of Morton, but is now the residence of the noble family of Buccleuch. The park extends along the Eske, which is there joined by its sister stream of the same name.
Haunted Woodhouselee.-P. 671.
NOTE VII. For the traditions connected with this
Classic Hawthornden.-P. 671. ruinous inansion, see Ballad of 'Cadyow Castle,' Note III, p. 690.
Hawthornden, the residence of the poet Drummond. A house of more inodern date is enclosed, as it were, by the ruins of the
ancient castle, and overhangs a tremendous NOTE IV.
precipice upon the banks of the Eske, perMelville's beechy grove.-P. 671.
forated by winding caves, which in former
times were a refuge to the oppressed patriots Melville Castle, the seat of the Right Jonson, who journeyed from London on foot
of Scotland. Here Drummond received Ben Honourable Lord Melville, to whom it gives the title of Viscount, is delightfully
in order to visit liim. The beauty of this situated the Eske, near Lasswade.
striking scene has been much injured of upon
late years by the indiscriminate use of the axe, The traveller now looks in vain for the
leafy bower, NOTE V.
Where Jonson sat in Drummond's social shade. Roslin's rocky glen.-P. 671.
Upon the whole, tracing the Eske from its source till
it joins the sea at Musselburgh, The ruins of Roslin Castle, the baronial no stream in Scotland can boast such a varied residence of the ancient family of St. Clair. succession of the most interesting, objects, The Gothic chapel, which is still in beautiful as well as of the most romantic and beautiful preservation, with the romantic and woody scenery. 1803. . .-The beautiful scenery of dell in which they are situated, belong to the Hawthornden has, since the above note was Right Honourable the Earl of Rosslyn, the written, recovered all its proper ornament of representative of the former Lords of Roslin.
are lost :
Sometimes the mount, with vast convulsions torn,
ON THE SETTING SUN. Emits huge rocks, which instantly
(1733.) are borne With loud explosions to the starry
(Preserved by his Schoolmaster.) skies,
Those evening clouds, that setting ray, The stones made liquid as the huge | And beauteous tints, serve to display mass flies,
Their great Creator's praise ; Then back again with greater weight | Then let the short-lived thing call'd recoils,
man, While Ætna thundering from the Whose life's comprised within a span, bottom boils.
To him his homage raise.
We often praise the evening clouds,
BOTHWELL'S SISTERS THREE. But seldom think upon our God,
A FRAGMENT. Who tinged these clouds with gold !
(1799.) When fruitful Clydesdale's apple
bowers THE VIOLET.
Are mellowing in the noon,
When sighs round Pembroke's ruin'd (1797.)
towers The violet in her greenwood bower,
The sultry breath of June, Where birchen boughs with hazels When Clyde, despite his sheltering Iningle,
The angler guides his fly,--
If chance by Bothwell's lovely braes clining;
A wanderer thou hast been, I've seen an eye of lovelier blue,
Or hid thee from the summer's blaze More sweet through wat’ry lustre
In Blantyre's bowers of green, shining
Full where the copsewood opens wild The summer sun that dew shall dry,
Thy pilgrim step hath staid,
Where Bothwell's towers, in ruin piled Ere yet the day be past its morrow; Nor longer in my false love's eye
O'erlook the verdant glade, Remain'd the tear of parting sorrow.
And many a tale of love and fear
Hath mingled with the scene-
And Bothwell's bonny JeanWITH FLOWERS FROM THE ROMAN O, if with rugged minstrel lays WALL.
Unsated be thy ear,
And thou of deeds of other days (1797-)
Another tale wilt hear,Take these flowers which, purple waving,
Then all beneath the spreading beech, On the ruin'd.rampart grew,
Flung careless on the lea, Where, the sons of freedom braving,
The Gothic muse the tale shall teach Rome's imperial standards flew.
Of Bothwell's sisters three. Warriors from the breach of danger
Wight Wallace stood on Deckmont Pluck no longer laurels there ;
head, They but yield the passing stranger
He blew his bugle round, Wild-flower wreaths for Beauty's Till the wild bull in Cadyow wood hair.
Has started at the sound.
Saint George's cross,
o'er Bothwell hung, Was waving far and wide, And from the lofty turret flung
Its crimson blaze on Clyde;
"Yon spell-bound den, as the aged tell,
Was hewn by demon's hands ; But I had lourd melle with the fiends
of hell Than with Clavers and his band.'
And rising at the bugle blast
That marked the Scottish foe,
And bent the Norman bow.
Proud Pembroke's Earl was he-
He heard the deep-mouth'd blood
hound bark, He heard the horses neigh, He plunged him in the cavern dark,
And downward sped his way.
Now faintly down the winding path
Came the cry of the faulting hound,
THE COVENANTER'S FATE.
He threw him on the flinted floor, (1799.)
And held his breath for fear;
As the sounds died on his ear: And ne'er but once, my son, he says,
O bare thine arm, thou battling Lord, Was yon sad cavern trod,
For Scotland's wandering band; In persecution's iron days,
Dash from the oppressor's grasp the When the land was left by God.
sword, From Bewlie bog, with slaughter red, And sweep him from the land !
A wanderer hither drew,
• Forget not thou thy people's groans As by fits the night wind blew;
From dark Dunnotter's tower,
Mix'd with the seafowl's shrilly moans, For trampling round by Cheviot edge And ocean's bursting roar !
Were heard the troopers keen,
As bold he strides through conquest's The moonbeams through the misty
O stretch him on the clay !
O from their tower of trust
And crush them in the dust!' • Yon cavern dark is rough and rude, And cold its jaws of snow;
Sweet prayers to me!' a voice replied; But more rough and rude are the * Thrice welcome, guest of mine!' men of blood,
And glimmering on the cavern side That hunt my life below!
A light was seen to shine.