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Far fairer have I seen
And eyes so dark and sheen.
As one day I may be,
A Danish maid for me.
“I love my fathers' northern land,
Where the dark pine-trees grow,
Looks o'er each grassy oe.
From Denmark loth to go,
A path of ruddy glow.
· MISCELLANEOUS PIECES.
THE EVE OF ST. JOHN.
SMAYLHO'ME, or Smallholm Tower, the scene of the following ballad, Is situated on the northern boundary of Roxburghshire, among a cluster of wild rocks, called Sandiknow Crags, the property of Hugb Scott, Esq. of Harden (now Lord Polwarth). The tower is a high square building, surrounded by an outer wall, now ruinous. The circuit of the outer court, being defended on three sides by & precipice and morass, is accessible only from the west, by a steep and rocky path. The apartments, as is usual in a Border keep or fortress, are placed one above another, and communicate by a narrow stair; on the roof are two bartizans, or platforms, for defence or pleasure. The inner door of the tower is wood, the outer an iron gate; the distance between them being nino feet, the thickness, namely, of the wall. From the elevated situation of Smaylho'mo Tower, it is seen many miles in every direction. Among the crags by which it is surrounded, one, more eminent, is called the Watch fold, and is said to have been the station of a beacon in the times of war with England. Without the tower-court is a ruined chapel. Brotherstone is a heath, in the neighbourhood of Smaylho'ms Tower.
The Baron of Smaylho'me rose with day,
He spurr'd his courser on,
That leads to Brotherstone.
He went not with the bold Buccleuch,
His banner broad to rear;
To lift the Scottish spear.
Yet his plate-jack® was braced, and his helmet was laced,
And his vaunt-brace of proof he wore;
Full ten pound weight and more.
The Baron return'd in three days' space,
And his looks were sad and sour;
As he reach'd his rocky tower.
Ran red with English blood;
'Gainst keen Lord Evers stood.
Yet was his helmet hack'd and hew'd,
His acton pierced and tore,
But it was not English gore.
He held him close and still;
His name was English Will.
Come hither to my knee;
I think thou art true to me.
Come, tell me all that thou hast seen,
And look thou tell me true!
What did thy lady do?"
“ My lady, each night, sought the lonely light,
That burns on the wild Watchfold;
Of the English foemen told.
The wind blew loud and shrill;
To the eiry Beacon Hill.
« The plate-jack is coat-armour; the vaunt-brace, or wam-brace, armour for the body; the sperthe, a battle-axe.
See Note 1 of the " NOTES TO THE EVE OF ST JOHN" in the Appendix, The figures of reference throughout the poem relate to further Notes in the Appendix.
" I watch'd her steps, and silent came
Where she sat her on a stone;-
It burned all alone.
Till to the fire she came,
Stood by the lonely flame.
“ And many a word that warlike lord
Did speak to my lady there;
And I heard not what they were.
The third night there the sky was fair,
And the mountain-blast was still,
On the lonesome Beacon Hill,
“And I heard her name the midnight hour,
And name this holy eve;
Ask no bold Baron's leave.
His lady is all alone;
On the eve of good St John.'
I dare not come to thee;
In thy bower I may not be.'-
Thou shouldst not say me nay;
Is worth the whole summer's day.
I conjure thee, my love, to be there!' –
And my footstep he would know.'
o The black-rood of Melrose was a crucifix of black marble, and of super rios sanctity.
"O fear not the priest who sleepeth to the east I
For to Dryburgh the way he has ta'en;
For the soul of a knight that is slayne." -
Then he langh'd right scornfully-
May as well say mass for me: " • At the lone midnight hour, when bad spirits have power,
In thy chamber will I be. -
And no more did I see."
Then changed, I trow, was that bold Baron's brow,
From the dark to the blood-red high: “Now, tell me the mien of the knight thou bast seen,
For, by Mary, he shall die!"
His plume it was scarlet and blue;
And his crest was a branch of the yew."" Thou liest, thou liest, thou little foot-page,
Loud dost thou lie to me!
All under the Eildon Tree." _a
" Yet hear but my word, my noble lord !
For I heard her name his name;
Sir Richard of Coldinghame.”—
The bold Baron's brow then changed, I trow,
From high blood-red to pale « The grave is deep and dark, and the corpse is still and
And Eildon slopes to the plain,
That gay gallant was slain.
* The varying light deceived thy sigbe,
And the wild winds drown'd the name; for the Dryburgh bells ring, and the white monks do sing,
For Sir Richard of Coldinghame !"
a Eildon is a high hill, terminating in three conical summits, immediately above the town of Melrose, where are the admired ruins of a magnificent monastery. Elldon Tree is said to be the spot where Thomas the Rhyme uttered his prophecies.
He pass'd the court-gate, and he oped the tower gate,
And he mounted the narrow stair,
He found his lady fair.
Look'd over hill and vale ;
And all down Teviotdale.
“ Now hail, now hail, thou lady bright!"
“Now hail, thou Baron true!) What news, what news, from Ancram fight?
What news from the bold Buccleuch 1"“ The Ancram Moor is red with gore,
For many a southron fell;
To watch our beacons well."
The lady blush'd red, but nothing she said;
Nor added the Baron a word:
And so did her moody lord.
turn'd, And oft to himself he said, “ The worms around him creep, and his bloody grave is
It was near the ringing of matin-bell,
The night was wellnigh done,
On the ove of good St John.
By the light of a dying flame;
Sir Richard of Coldinghame! “ Alas! away, away!" she cried,
« For the holy Virgin's sake!" “ Lady, I know who sleeps by thy side;
But, lady, he will not awake.
'In bloody grave have I lain ;
But, lady, they are said in vain.
Most foully slain, I fell ;