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'By the Baron's brand, near Tweed's fair strand, Most foully slain I fell;
And my restless sprite on the beacon's height For a space is doomed to dwell.
'At our trysting-place, for a certain space
I must wander to and fro;
But I had not had power to come to thy bower, Hadst thou not conjured me so.'
Love mastered fear—her brow she crossed;
'Who spilleth life, shall forfeit life,
So bid my lord believe;
That lawless love is guilt above,
This awful sign receive.'
He laid his left palm on an oaken beam;
His right upon her hand;
The lady shrunk, and fainting sunk,
For it scorched like a fiery brand.
The sable score, of fingers four,
And for evermore that lady wore
There is a Nun in Dryburgh bower,
There is a Monk in Melrose tower,
That Nun, who ne'er beholds the day,
O, Brignall banks are wild and fair,
And as I rode by Dalton-hall.
A Maiden on the castle wall
'O, Brignall banks are fresh and fair,
I'd rather rove with Edmund there,
'If, maiden, thou would'st wend with me, To leave both tower and town,
'Thou first must guess what life lead we,
That dwell by dale and down :
And if thou canst that riddle read,
Then to the greenwood shalt thou speed,
Yet sung she, ‘Brignal banks are fair,
'I read you, by your bugle-horn,
I read you for a ranger sworn,
'A ranger, lady, winds his horn,
His blast is heard at merry morn,
Yet sung she, 'Brignall banks are fair,
I would I were with Edmund there,
'With burnished brand and musketoon, So gallantly you come,
I read you for a bold dragoon,
That lists the tuck of drum.'-
But when the beetle sounds his hum,
And, O! though Brignall banks be fair,
Yet mickle must the maiden dare,
'Maiden! a nameless life I lead, A nameless death I'll die ;
The fiend, whose lantern lights the mead, Were better mate than I!
And when I'm with my comrades met,
'Yet Brignall banks are fresh and fair,
Would grace a summer queen.'
[From Quentin Durward.]
Ah! County Guy, the hour is nigh,
The sun has left the lea,
The orange-flower perfumes the bower,
The lark, his lay who trill'd all day,
Breeze, bird, and flower, confess the hour,
The village maid steals through the shade,
To beauty shy, by lattice high,
The star of Love, all stars above,
Now reigns o'er earth and sky;
And high and low the influence know-
[Published in the Edinburgh Annual Register for 1808.]
The violet in her greenwood bower,
Where birchen boughs with hazels mingle,
May boast itself the fairest flower
In glen, or copse, or forest dingle.
Though fair her gems of azure hue,
Beneath the dewdrop's weight reclining.
I've seen an eye of lovelier blue,
More sweet through watery lustre shining.
The summer sun that dew shall dry,
Ere yet the day be past its morrow;
[BORN at Bothwell Manse, Lanarkshire, Sept. 11, 1762; came to live in London, 1784. Published Plays on the Passions, vol. i., 1798; vol. ii., 1802; vol. iii., 1812; Miscellaneous Dramas. 1804; The Family Legend, 1810; Dramas, 3 vols., 1836; Fugitive Verses, 1840. Died at Hampstead, Feb. 23, 1851.]
In reading Joanna Baillie's poetry we find her to possess a quickness of observation that nearly supplies the place of insight; a strongly moralised temperament delighting in natural things; a vigorous, simple style. These are not especially dramatic qualities, and although she won her reputation through her plays, the poetry by which she is remembered is chiefly of a pastoral kind. She described herself, with justice, as 'a poet of a simple and homely character,' and her truest poems deal with simple and homely things: had she not persuaded herself that she possessed a more ambitious vocation. she could have taken an honourable place among idyllic poets. About the year 1790 Miss Baillie published her first little book of poems. It met with little notice, being, as she said, too rustic for those times when Mr. Hayley and Miss Seward were the chief poets south of the Tweed. Before the publication of her next work the great wave of German romanticism had burst on our literature, an impulse inspiring Scott and Southey with the spirit of herɔic chivalry, and moving even this quiet singer of woods and fields to tell of supernatural horrors and of 'the great explosions of Passion.'
In 1798 appeared the earliest volume of a 'Series of Plays, in which it is attempted to delineate the stronger passions of the mind -each passion being the subject of a tragedy and a comedy.' These dramas are noticeable for the sustained vigour of their style and for the beautiful lyrics with which they are interspersed, but