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THE BLACK LINN OF LINKLATER.
Nursed in tenderness and love,
THE BLACK LINN OF LINK LATER.
The Black Linn of Linklater is mentioned by Sir Walter Scott, as being the refuge of the renowned Balfour of Burley, one of the leaders of that heroic and devoted, but much misguided band of men known by the name of the Scottish Covenanters. A description of Balfour and of his principal confederates, and also of Grahame of Claverhouseafterwards Marquis of Dundee—who headed the King's forces against the unfortunate insurgents, is to be found in the well-known work, entitled “Old Mortality.” From that highly dramatic work of the “Great Wizard of the North,” we quote the following admirable description of the scene represented in the accompanying engraving.
“ Their walk kept the direction of the brook, though without tracing its windings. The landscape, as they advanced, turned waster and more wild, until nothing but heath and rock encumbered the side of the valley.
They soon came to a decayed thicket, where brambles and thorns supplied the room of the oaks and birches of which it had once consisted. Here the guide turned from off the open heath, and conducted Morton to the brook. A hoarse and sullen roar had in part prepared him for the scene which presented itself, yet it was not to be viewed without surprise and even terror. A ledge of flat rock, projected over one side of a chasm not less than a hundred feet deep, where the dark mountain-stream made a decided and rapid shoot over the precipice, and was swallowed up by a deep, black, yawning gulf. The eye could see but one sheet of foaming uproar and sheer descent, until the view was obstructed by the projecting crags, which inclosed the bottom of the waterfall, and hid from sight the dark pool which received its tortured waters.
Having descended nigh twenty feet, and being sixty or seventy above the pool which received the fall, they stood nearly opposite the point of the cliff over which it thundered. Both these tremendous points,—the first shoot, namely, of the yet unbroken stream, and the deep and sombre abyss into which it was emptied, were full before them; the whole stream of billowy froth dashing from the one, and boiling and eddying in the other. They were so near this grand phenomenon, that they were covered by its spray, and well-nigh deafened by its incessant roar. But crossing in the
very front of the fall, and at scarce three yards' distance from the cataract, an old oak-tree, flung across the chasm in a manner that seemed accidental, formed a bridge of fearfully narrow dimensions and uncertain footing. ... The guide indicated, that there lay the farther passage, and as if to give her companion courage, tripped over and back without the least hesitation. Envying the little bare feet which caught a safer hold of the rugged side of the oak than he could pretend to with his heavy boots, Morton nevertheless resolved to attempt the passage; and fixing his eye firm on a stationary object on the other side, without allowing his head to become giddy, or his attention to be distracted by the flash, the foam, and the roar of the waters around him, he strode steadily and safely along the uncertain bridge; reached the mouth of the cavern on the farther side of the torrent, and presented himself to the view of his old associate in command.”
BALFOUR OF BURLEY.
Meet home, Oh! strange fierce spirit,
For thee was this wild glen,
Thou strong one among men!