Изображения страниц
PDF
[blocks in formation]

Then all by bonnie Coldingknow, (2)

Pitch'd palliouns took their room, And crested helms, and spears a rowe,

Glanced gaily through the broom.

The Leader, rolling to the Twced,

Resounds the enseozie;? They roused the deer from Caddenhead,

To distant Torwoodlee. (3)

The feast was spread in Ercildoune,

In Learmont's high and ancient hall; And there were knights of great renown,

And ladies laced in pall.

Nor lack'd they, while they sat at dine,

The music nor the tale,
Nor goblets of the blood-red wine,

Nor mantling quaighs ? of ale.

TRONAS TIE RHYMER was renowned among his contemporaries, as the author of the celebrated romance of Sir Tristrem. Of this once admired poem only one copy is known to exist, which is in the Advocates' Library. The author, in 1804, published a small edition of this curious work, which, if it does not revive the reputation of the bard of Ercildoun, is at least the - earliest specimen of Scottish poetry hitherto published. Some account of this romance has already been given

to the world in Mr Ellis's Specimens of Ancient Poetry, | vol. I, p. 165, III, p. 410; a work, to which our prede

cessors and our posterity are alike obliged; the former, for the preservation of the best selected exainples of their poetical taste ; and the latter, for a history of the Eaglish language, which will only cease to be interesting with the existence of our mother tongue, and all that genius and learning have recorded in it. It is sufficient here to mention, that, so great was the reputation of the romance of Sir Tristrem, that few were thought capable of reciting it after the manner of the author ;-a circumstance alluded to by Robert de Brune, the annalist :

I see in song, in sedgeyng tale,
Of Eroeldoun, and of Kendale.
Now tbame says as thoy thame wroght,
And in tbare saying it sem s pocht,
That thou may bere in Sir Tristrem,
Over gestes it bas the steme,
Over all that is or was;

If mes it said as made Thomas, etc. It appears, from a very curious MS. of the thirteenth century, penes Mr Douce of London, containing a French metrical romance of Sir Tristrem, that the work of our Thomas the Rhymer was known, and referred to, by the minstrels of Normandy and Bretagne. Having arrived at a part of the romance, where reciters were wont to differ in the mode of telling the story, the French bard expressly cites the authority of the poet of Ercildoun:

True Thomas rose, with harp in hand,

When as the feast was done; (In minstrel strife, in Fairy Land,

The ellin harp he won.)

Hush'd were the throng, both limb and tongue,

And harpers for envy pale;
And armed lords leand on their swords,

And bearken'd to the tale.

In numbers high, the witching tale

The prophet pour'd along; No after bard miglit e'er avail3

Those numbers to prolong.

Yet fragments of the lofty strain

Float down the tide of years, As, buoyant on the stormy main,

A parted wreck appears.

He sung King Arthur's Table Round :

The warrior of the lake; How courteous Gawaine met the wound, (4)

And bled for ladies' sake.

Plasors de nos granter ne volent,
Co que del paim dire se solent,
Ki femme haberdin dut aimer,
Li naim redat Tristram parrer,
E entusché par grant engin,
Quant il afole Kaherdin ;
Per eest plaie e par cest mal,
Enveiad Tristran Guvernal,
En Engleterre pur Ysolt
Trosis ico granter de volt,
Et si volt par raisua mostrer,
Qu'ico ne put pas esteer, etc.

But chief, in gentle Tristrem's praise,

The notes melodious swell; Was none excell'd, in Arthur's days,

The knight of Lionelle.

The tale of Sir Tristrem, as narrated in the Edinburgh XS., is totally different from the voluminous romance

"Ensensie-War-cry, or gathering-word.

Ouaighs-Wooden cups, composed of staves hooped together. See introduction to tbis Ballad.

For Marke, his cowardly uncle's right,

A venom'd wound he bore; When fierce Morholde he slew in fight,

Upon the Irish shore.

No art the poison might withstand;

No med'cine could be found, Till lovely Isolde's lily hand

Had probed the rankling wound,

With gentle hand and soothing tongue,

She bore the leech's part; And, while she o'er his sick-bed hung,

He paid her with his heart.

O fatal was the gift, I ween!

For, doom'd in evil tide, The maid must be rude Cornwall's queen,

His cowardly uncle's bride.

On Leader's stream, and Learmont's tower,

The mists of evening close;
In camp, in castle, or in bower,

Each warrior sought repose.
Lord Douglas, in his lofty tent,

Dream'd o'er the woful tale;
When footsteps light, across the bene,

The warrior's ears assail.
He starts, he wakes : « What, Richard, bo!

Arise, my page, arise!
What venturous wight, at dead of night,

Dare step where Douglas lies!»
Then forth they rush'd: by Leader's tide,

A selcouth' sight they see-
A hart and hind pace side by side,

As white as snow on Fairnalie. (5)
Beneath the moon, with gesture proud,

They stately move and slow;
Nor scare they at the gathering crowd,

Who marvel as they go.
To Learmont's tower a message sped,

As fast as page might run;
And Thomas started from his bed,

And soon his clothes did on.
First he woxe pale, and then woxe red;

Never a word he spake but three;« My sand is run ; my thread is spun;

This sign regardeth me.»

Their loves, their woes, the gifted bard

In fairy tissue wove; Where lords, and knights, and ladies bright,

In gay confusion strove.

The Garde Joyeuse, amid the tale,

High rear'd its glittering head; And Avalon's enchanted vale

In all its wonders spread.

Brengwain was there, and Segramore,

And fiend-born Merlin's gramarye; Of that famed wizard's mighty lore,

O who could sing but he?

Through many a maze the winning song

Jo changeful passion led, Till bent at length the listening throng

O'er Tristrem's dying bed.

The elfin harp his neck around,

In minstrel guise, he hung;
And on the wind, in doleful sound,

Its dying accents rung.
Then forth he went; yet turned him oft

To view his ancient hall;
On the gray tower, in lustre soft,

The autumn moon-beams fall.

His ancient wounds their scars expand;

With agony his heart is wrung; O where is Isolde's lily hand,

And where her soothing tongue?

She comes, she comes! like flash of flame

Can lovers' footsteps fly: She comes, she comes!-she only came

To see her Tristrem die.'

She saw him die; her latest sigh

Join'd in a kiss his parting breath : The gentlest pair, that Britain bare,

United are in death.

And Leader's waves, like silver sheen,

Danced shimmering in the ray:
In deepening mass, at distance seen,

Broad Soltra's mountains lay.
« Farewell, my father's ancient tower!

A long farewell,» said he : « The scene of pleasure, pomp, or power,

Thou never more shalt be. « To Learmont's name no foot of earth

Shall here again belong, And on thy hospitable hearth

The hare shall leave her young. « Adieu! adieu!» again he cried,

All as he turned him roun« Farewell to Leader's silver tide!

Farewell to Ercildoune !»
The hart and hind approach'd the place,

As lingering yet he stood ;
And there, before Lord Douglas' face,

With them he cross'd the flood.
Selcouth-Wondrous.

There paused the harp; its lingering sound

Died slowly on the ear;
The silent guests still bent around,

For still they seem'd to hear.

Then woe broke forth in murmurs weak,

Nor ladies heaved alone the sigh: But, half ashamed, the rugged cheek

Did many a gauntlet dry.

Lord Douglas leap'id on his berry-brown steed,

And spurr'd him the Leader o'er ;
But, though he rode with lightning speed,

He never saw them more.

Some said to hill, and some to glen,

Their wondrous course had been; But ne'er in haunts of living men

Again was Thomas seen.

NOTES.

PART I.

Note 1. Verse xvii.

- she pa'd an apple frae a tree, ete. The traditional commentary upon this ballad informs us, that the apple was the produce of the fatal Tree of Koowledge, and that the garden was the terrestrial paradise. The repugnance of Thomas to be debarred the use of falsehood, when he might find it convenient, has a comic effect.

APPENDIX.

The reader is here presented, from an old, and unfortunately an imperfect MS., with the undoubted origical of Thomas the Rhymer's intrigue with the Queen of Faery. It will afford great amusement to those who would study the nature of traditional poetry, and the changes effected by oral tradition, to compare this ancient romance with the foregoing ballad. The same incidents are narrated, even the expression is often the same, yet the poems are as different in appearance, as if the older tale had been regularly and systematically modernized by a poet of the present day.

Incipit Prophesia Thome de Erseldoux.
In a lande as I was lent,
In the gryking of the day,
Ay alone as I went,
la Hastle bankys me for to play:
I saw the throstyl, and the jay,
Ye mawes movyde of ber song.
Ye wodwale sange notes gay,
That al the wod about range.
Is that longyag as I lay,
Undir netbe a dere tre,
I was war of a lady gay.
Come rydyng oayr a fair le;
Zogh I sold sitt to domysday,
With my tong to wrabbe and wry,
Certenly all hyr aray,
It beth Beuyr diacryayd for me.
llyr palfra was dappyll gray,
Sycke on say neuer none,
As the son in somers day,
All abowte tbat lady sbone;
Hyr sadel was of a rewel bone,
A semly syght it was to se,
Brybt with mony a precyous stone,
And compasyd all with crapste;
Stones of oryens gret plente,
Her bair about ber bede it hang,
She rode over the fartyle.
A while she blew a while she sang.
Her girths of nobil silke they were,
fler bocols were of heryl stone,
Sadyll and brydill war --:
With sylk and sendel about bedone,
Hyr patyrel was of a pall fyne,

And her croper of the arase,
Her brydil was of gold fyne,
On euery syde forsothe hong bells thro,
Her brydil reynes ---
A semly syzt ----
Crop and patyrel - -
In every joynt ----
She led thre grew hounds in a leash,
And ratches cowpled by her ran;
She bar an born about her halse,
And undyr ber cyrdil meny fene.
Thomas lay and sa---
In the bankes of...
Ho sayd, yonder is Mary of Might,
That bar the child that died for me,
Certes bot I may speeke with that lady bright,
Myd my hert will breke in three;
I schal me hye with all my might
Hyr to mete at Eldyn Tree.
Thomas rathly up he rase,
And ran ouer mountayn hye,
If it be sothe the story says,
He met ber euyn at Eldya Tree.
Thomas knelyd down on his kne
Undir nethe the grenewood spray,
And sayd, lovely lady, thou rue on me,
Queen of Heaven as you well may be ;
But I am a lady of another countrie,
If I be pareld most of prise,
I ride after the wild fee,
My ratches rinnen at my devys.
If thou be pareld most of prise,
And rides a lady in strang foly,
Lovely lady, as thou art wise,
Giue you me leue to lyge ye by.
Do way, Thomas, that were foly,
I pray ye, Thomas, late me be,
That sin will fordo all my bewtie:
Lovely ladye, rewe on me,
And euer more I shall with ye dwell,
Here my trowth I plygbt to thee,
Where yon beleues in beayn or bell.
Thomas, and you myght lyge me by,
Undir nethe this grene wode spray,
Thou would tell full bastely,
That thou had layn by a lady gay.
Lady, I mote lyg by the,
Undir nethe the grene wode tre,
For all the gold in chrystenty,
Suld you neuer be wryede for me.
Man on molde you will me marre,
And yet bot you may balf you will,
Trow you well, Thomas, you cheuyst ye warre ;
For all my bewtie wilt you spill.
Down lyghtyd that lady bryzt,
Undir netbe the grepe wode spray,
And as ye story sayth full ryzt,
Seuyn tymes by ber he lay.
She seyd, man, you lyste thi play,
Wbat berde in bouyr may dele with thee,
That maries me all this long day;
I pray ye, Thomas, lat me be.
Thomas stode up in the stede,
And bebelde the lady gay,
Her heyre hang downe about byr hede,
The tone was black, the other gray,
Her eya semyt onte before was gray,
Her gay cletbyog was all away,
That he before had sene in that stede;
Her body as blo as ony bede.
Thomas sighede, and sayd, allas,
Me thyake this a dallfall syebt,
That thou art fad yd in the face,
Before you shone as son so bryzt.
Take thy leue, Thomas, at son and mone,
At gresse, and at every tre,
This twelvmonth sall you with me gone,
Medyl erth you sall aot se.
Alas, be seyd, fal wo is me,
I trow my dedes will werke me care,
Jesu, my sole tak to ye,
Whedir so euyr iny body sell fare.

I sal ye bryog to Eldyo Tre.
Thomas answerd with beay cher,
And sayd, lowely ladye, lat ma be,
For I say ye certenly here
Haf I be lot the space of dayes thres.
Sotbly, Thomas, as I telle ye,
You bath been here thre yeres,
And here you may no longer be ;
And I sal tele ye a skele,
To-morrowe of helle ye foule fende
Amang our folke shall chuse his fee;
For you art a larg man and an hende,
Trowe you wele be will chase thee.
Fore all the colde that may be,
Sal you not be betrayed for me,
And thairfor sal you beos wend.
She brogbt bim euyn to Eldgn tre,
Under netbe the grepe wode spray,
In Hantle I ankes was fayr to be,
Ther breddes syag both oyzt and day.
Ferre ouyr yon montayas gray,
There hathe my facon:
Faro wele, Thomas, I wende my way.

[The elfin queen, after restoring Thomas to earth, pours forth a string of prophecies, in which we distinguish references to the events and personages of the Scottish wars of Edward III. The battles of Duppla and Halidon are mentioned, and also Black Agus, Countess cf Dunbar. There is a copy of this poem ia the Museum in the Cathedral of Lincoln, another in the collection of Peterborough, but unfortunately they are all in an imperfect state. Mr Jamieson, in his curious collection of Scottish ballads and Songs, has an entre copy of this ancient poem, with all the collations. The lacune of the former edition have been supplied from his copy.]

Sbe rode farth with all her myzt,
Undir nethe the derne lee,
It was derke as at midnyzt,
And euyr in water unto the kne;
Through the space of days thre,
He herde but swowyng of a flode;
Thomas sagd, ful wo is me,
Nowe I spyll for fawte of fode;
To a garden she lede bim tyte,
There was fruyte in grete plente,
Peyros and appless ther were rype,
The date and tbe damese,
The figge and als fylbert tre;
The nyghtyngale bredying in her neste,
The papigage about gan fle,
The tbrostylcok sang wold hafe no rest.
He pressed to pullo fruyt with bis hand
As man for faute ibat was fayat;
She seyd, Thomas, lat al stand,
Or els the deuyl wil the atayat.
Sche said, Thomas, I the hyzt,
To lay thi hade upon my kne,
And thou shalt see fayrer sight,
Than euyr sawo man in their kintre.
Sees thou, Thomas, yon fair way,
That lyces ouyr yone fayr playa ?
Yonder is the way to heuyn for ay,
Whan synfal sawles baf derayed their payoo.
Sees thou, Tbomas, yone second way,
That lygges lawe undir the ryso?
Streight is the way, sotbly to say,
To the joyes of paradyce.
Sees thou, Tbomas, yone thyrd way,
That lygges ouyr yone how?
Wide is the way, sothly to say,
To the brynyng fyres of hell,
Sees thou, Thomas, yone sayr castells,
That standes ouye yone fayr hill?
of town and tower it beereth the belle,
In middell earth is non like theretill.
Whan thou comyst in yon castell gay
I pray the curteis man to be ;
What so any man to you say,
Soke thu answer non bat me.
My lord is servyd at y he messe,
With xxx kpiztes feir and fre;
I sall say syttyng on the dese,
I toke thy speeche beyonde the lo.
Thomas stode as still as stone,
And bebeld that ladye gaye ;
Thao was sche fayr and ryche anone,
And also ryal on hir palfreye.
The grewhoandes bad fylde them on the dere,
The ratches coupled, by my fay,
She blowe ber horn Thomas to chero,
To the castle she went her way.
The lady into the ball went,
Thomas folowyd at ber hand;
Thar kept byr mony a lady gent,
With curtasy and lawe.
Harp and fedyl both he fande,
The getern and the sawtry,
Lut and rybib ther gon gang,
Thair was al maner of mynstralsy.
The most fertly that Thomas thoght,
When he com emyddes the fore,
Fourty hertes to quarry were broght,
That had been befor both long and store,
Lymors lay lappyng blode,
And kokes standing with dressyng knife,
And dressyd dere as tbai wer wode,
And rewell was thair wonder.
Knyghtes dansyd by two and thre,
All that leue long day.
Ladyes that were gret of cre,
Sat and sang of rych aray.
Thomas sawe much more in that place,
Than I can descryve,
Till on a day alas, alas,
My lovelye ladye sayd to me,
Busk ye, Thomas, you must agaya,
Here you may no longer be:
lly tben zerne that you were at hama,

PART III.

Note 1. Verse i.

And Ruberslaw show'd high Denyon. Ruberslaw and Dunyon are two high hills abort Jedburgh.

Note 2. Verse ii.

Then all by bonnie Coldingknow. An ancient tower near Ercildoun, belonging to family of the name of Home. One of Thomas's pro phecies is said to have run thus:

Vengence, vengeance! when and where!

On the house of Coldingknow, now and ever mair.
The spot is rendered classical by its having given
name to the beautiful melody, called the Broom att
Cowden knows.

Note 3. Verse iii.
They rossed the deer from Caddenhead.

To distant Torwoodlee. Torwoodlee and Caddenhead are places in Selkirkshire.

Note 4. Verse x. How courteous Gawalne met the woand. See in the Fabliaux of Monsieur le Grand, elegantly translated by the late Gregory Way, Esq., the tale et the Knight and the Sword.

Note 5. Verse xxviii.

As white as souw op Fairnalie. An ancient seat upon the Tweed, in Selkirkshire. La a popular edition of the first part of Thomas the Rhr. mer, the fairy qucen thus addresses him :

Gin ye wad meet wi' me again.
Gang to the bonnie banks of Fairualie.

Harold the Dauntless :

A POEM.
IN SIX CANTOS.

pain?

INTRODUCTION.

| Tis thus my malady I well may bear,

Albeit outstretch'd, like Pope's own Paridel,

Upon the rack of a tooeasy chair; Teere is a mood of mind we all have known,

i And find, to cheat the time, a powerful spell On drowsy eve, or dark and louring day,

In old romaunts of errantry that tell, When the tired spirits lose their sprightly tone,

| Or later legends of the Fairy.folk, And nought can chase the lingering hours away.

Or oriental tale of Afrite fell, Dall on our soul falls Fancy's dazzling ray,

Of Genii, Talisman, and broad-wing'd Roc, And Wisdom holds his steadier torch in vain,'

Though taste may blush and frown, and sober reason Obscured the painting seems, mistuned the lay,

mock. Nor dare we of our listless load complain, For who for sympathy may seek that cannot tell of l Oft at such season, too, will rhymes unsought,

1 Arrange themselves in some romantic lay;

The which, as things unfitting graver thought, The jolly sportsman knows such drearihood,

Are burnt or blotted on some wiser day.When bursts in deluge the autumnal rain,

These few survive-and proudly let me say, Clouding that morn which threats the heath-cock's Court not the critic's smile, nor dread his frown; brood;

They well may serve to while an hour away, Of such, in summer's drought, the anglers plain,

Nor does the volume ask for more renown, Who hope the soft mild southern shower in vain; Than Ennui's yawning smile, what time she drops it But, more than all, the discontented fair,

down. Whom father stern, and sterner aunt, restrain

From county-ball, or race occurring rare, While all her friends around their vestments gay pre-IHAROLD THE DAUNTLESS.

pare. Ennui!-or, as our mothers call'd thee, Spleen! To thee we owe full many a rare device;

CANTO I. Thine is the sheaf of painted cards, I ween,

The rolling billiard-ball, the rattling dice,
The turning-lathe for framing gimcrack nice:

List to the valorous deeds that were done
The amateur's blotch'd pallet thou mayst claim, By Harold the Dauntless, Count Witikind's son!
Retort, and air-pump, threatening frogs and mice
(Murders disguised by philosophic name),

Count Witikind came of a regal strain,
And much of tritling grave, and much of buxom game. And roved with his Norsemen the land and the main.

Woe to the realms which he coasted! for there Thea of the books, to catch thy drowsy glance

Was shedding of blood, and rending of hair,
Compiled, what bard the catalogue may quote! Rape of maiden, and slaughter of priest,
Plays, poems, novels, never read but once ;-

Gathering of ravens and wolves to the feast:
But not of such the tale fair Edgeworth wrote. When he boisted his standard black,
That bears thy name, and is thine antidote;

Before him was battle, behind him wrack,
Apd pot of such the strain my Thomson sung,

and he burn'd the churches, that heathen Dape, Delicious dreams inspiring by his note,

To light bis band to their barks again..
What time to Indolence his harp he strung:
Oh! might my lay be rank'd that happier list among !

II.

On Erin's shores was his outrage known, Each bath his refuge whom thy cares assail.

The winds of France had his banners blown; For me, I love my study-fire to trim,

Little was there to plunder, yet still And con right vacantly some idle tale,

llis pirates had foray'd on Scottish hill; Displaying on the couch each listless limb,

But upon merry England's coast Till on the drowsy page the lights grow dim,

More frequent be sail'd, for he won the most. And doubtful slumber balt supplies the theme; So wide and so far his ravage they knew, While antique shapes of knight and giant grim, If a sail but gleam'd white 'gainst the welkin blue,

Damsel and dwarf, in long procession gleam, Trumpet and bugle to arms did call, And the romancer's tale becomes the reader's dream. Burghers hasten'd to man the wall,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »