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Warriors from the breach of danger
Pluck no longer laurels there ; They but yield the passing stranger Wild-flower wreaths for Beauty's hair.
THE EVE OF SAINT JOHN
The falling gauntlet quits the rein,
Down drops the casque of steel, The cuirass leaves his shrinking side,
The spur his gory heel.
The mouldering flesh the bone,
A ghastly skeleton. The furious barb snorts fire and foam,
And with a fearful bound Dissolves at once in empty air,
And leaves her on the ground.
Half seen by fits, by fits half heard,
Pale spectres flit along,
And howl the funeral song ; “E'en when the heart's with anguish
See Lockhart's life of Scott, Vol 1, Chapter 8, and the Century Magazine, July, 1899. The violet in her green-wood 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 reclin
ing; 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, Kor longer in my false love's eye Remained the tear of parting sorrow.
The Baron of Smaylho'me rose with
He spurred his courser on, Without stop or stay, down the rocky
way, That leads to Brotherstone. He went not with the bold Buccleuch
His banner broad to rear ;
To lift the Scottish spear.
helmet was laced, And his vaunt-brace of proof he wore ; At his saddle-gerthe was a good steel
sperthe, Full ten pound weight and more. The baron returned iv three days' space
And his looks were sad and sour; And weary was his courser's pace
As he reached his rocky tower, He came not from where Ancrara Moor
Ran red with English blood ; Where the Douglas true and the bold
Buccleuch 'Gainst keen Lord Evers stood. Yet was his helmet hacked and hewed,
His acton pierced and tore, His axe and his dagger with blood im
brued, But it was not English gore, He lighted at the Chapellage,
He held him close and still; And he whistled thrice for his little
foot-page, His name was English Will. “Come thou hither, my little foot-page,
Come hither to my knee; Though thou art young and tender of
age, I think thou art true to me.
“Come, tell me all that thou hast seen,
And look thou tell me true! Since I from Smaylho'me tower have
been, What did thy lady do ?”
"My lady, each night, sought the lonely
light That burns on the wild Watchfold ; for from height to beight the beacons
bright Of the English foemen told. “ The bittern olamored from the moss,
The wind blew loud and shrill; Yet the craggy pathway she did cross
To the eiry Beacon Hill. “I watched her steps, and silent came
Where she sat her on a stone ;-No watchman stood by the dreary
flame, It burned all alone. “ The second night I kept her in sight
Till to the fire she came, And, by Mary's might! armed
knight Stood by the lonely flame. “ And many a word that warlike lord
Did speak to my lady there; But the rain fell fast and loud blew the
blast, And I heard not what they were. “ The third night there the sky was fair,
And the mountain-blast was still, As again I watched the secret pair
On the lonesome Beacon Hill. “ And I heard her name the midnight
hour, And name this holy eve; And say, 'Come this night to thy
lady's bower; Ask no bold baron's leave. • He lifts his spear with the bold Buc
cleuch ; His lady is all alone; The door she 'll undo to her knight so
true On the eve of good Saint John.' 16. I cannot come; I must not come ;
I dare not come to thee : On the eve of Saint John I must wan
der alone : In thy bower I may not be.' "Now, out on thee, faint-hearted
knight! Thou shouldst not say me nay ; For the eve is sweet, and when lovers
meet Is worth the whole summer's day.
* And I'll chain the blood-hound, and
the warder shall not sound, And rushes shall be strewed on the
stair; So, by the black rood-stone and by
holy Saint John, I conjure thee, my love, to be there!' ". Though the blood-hound be mute and
the rush beneath my foot, And the warder his bugle should not
blow, Yet there sleepeth a priest in the
chamber to the east, And my footstep he would know.” "O, fear not the priest who sleepeth to
the east, For to Dryburgh the way he has ta'en; And there to say mass, till three days do
pass, For the soul of a knight that is
slayne.' He turned him around and grimly he
frowned Then he laughed right scornfullyHe who says the mass-rite for the soul
of that knight May as well say mass for me : “ • At the lone midnight hour when bad
spirits have power In thy chamber will I be.With that he was gone and my lady left
alone, And no more did I see.”
page, Loud dost thou lie to me ! For that knight is cold and low laid is
mould, All under the Eildon-tree."
Yet hear but my word, my noble lord !
For I heard her name his name; And that lady bright, she called the
knight 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 stiff and stark So I may not trust thy tale. “Where fair Tweed flows round holy
Melrose, And Eildon slopes to the plain, Full three nights ago by some secret foe
That gay gallant was slain. “The varying light deceived thy sight, And the wild winds drowned the
name; For the Dryburgh bells ring and the
white monks do sing For Sir Richard of Coldinghame!” He passed the court-gate and he oped the
tower-gate, And he mounted the narrow stair To the bartizan-seat where, with maids
that on her wait, He found his lady fair.
“The worms around him creep, and his
bloody grave is deepIt cannot give up the dead !” It was near the ringing of matin-bell,
The night was well-nigh done, When a heavy sleep on that baron fell,
On the eve of good Saint John. The lady looked through the chambei
fair, By the light of a dying flame; And she was aware of a knight stood
there 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. * By Eildon-tree for long nights three
In bloody grave have I lain ; The mass and the death-prayer are said
But, lady, they are said in vain. “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; “ How, Richard, hast thou sped ? And art thou saved or art thou lost?"
The vision shook his head !
So bid thy lord believe :
This awful sign receive."
His right upon her hand;
For it scorched like a fiery brand.
Remains on that board impressed ; And forevermore that lady wore
A covering on her wrist.
That lady sat in mournful mood;
Looked over hill and vale; Over Tweed's fair flood and Mertoun's
wood, And all down Teviotdale.
“Now hail, now hail, thou lady bright!”
“ Now bail, thou baron true! What news, what news, from Ancram
fight? What news from the bold Buccleuch !" * The Ancram moor is red with gore,
For many a Southern fell; And Buccleuch has charged us evermore
To watch our beacons well."
The lady blushed red, but nothing she
said : Nor added the baron a word : Then she stepped down the stair to her
chamber fair, And so did her moody lord. In sleep the lady mourned, and the baron
tossed and turned, And oft to himself he said,
There is a nun in Dryburgh bower
Ne'er looks upon the sun; There is a monk in Melrose tower
He speaketh word to none.
Fades slow their light; the east is gray ;
The weary warder leaves his tower ; Steeds snort, uncoupled stag-hounds bay,
And merry hunters quit the bower,
That nun who ne'er beholds the day,
That monk who speaks to noneThat nun was Smaylho'ıne's lady gay, That monk the bold baron.
The drawbridge falls—they hurry outClatters each plank and swinging
chain, As, dashing o'er, the jovial rout
Urge the shy steed and slack the rein. First of his troop, the chief rode on; His shouting merry-men throng be
hind ; The steed of princely Hamilton
Was fleeter than the mountain wind.
When princely Hamilton's abode
Ennobled Cadyow's Gothic towers, The song went round, the goblet flowed,
And revel sped the laughing hours. Then, thrilling to the harp's gay sound,
So sweetly rung each vaulted wall, And echoed light the dancer's bound,
As mirth and music cheered the hall. But Cadyow's towers in ruins laid,
And vaults by ivy mantled o'er, Thrill to the music of the shade,
Or echo Evan's hoarser roar. Yet still of Cadyow's faded fame
You bid me tell a minstrel tale, And tune my harp of Border frame
On the wild banks of Evandale. For thou, from scenes of courtly pride, From pleasure's lighter scenes, canst
turn, To draw oblivion's pall aside
And mark the long-forgotten urn. Then, noble maid ! at thy command
Again the crumbled halls shall rise ; Lo! as on Evan's banks we stand,
The past returns-the present flies. Where with the rock's wood-covered side
Were blended late the ruins green, Rise turrets in fantastic pride
And feudal banners flaunt between : Where the rude torrent's brawling course Was shagged with thorn and tangling
sloe, The ashler buttress braves its force
And ramparts frown in battled row. 'Tis night—the shade of keep and spire
Obscurely dance on Evan's stream; And on the wave the warder's fire
Is checkering the moonlight beam.
Fierce on the hunter's quivered band
He rolls his eyes of swarthy glow, Spurns with black hoof and horn the
sand, And tosses high his mane of snow. Aimed well the chieftain's lance has
flown; Struggling in blood the savage lies; His roar is sunk in hollow groanSound, merry huntsmen! sound the
pryse! 'Tis noon-against the knotted oak
The hunters rest the idle spear; Curls through the trees the slender
smoke, Where yeomen dight the woodland
Proudly the chieftain marked his clan,
On greenwood lap all careless thrown,
Yet missed his eye the boldest man Whose hands are bloody, loose his hair? That bore the name of Hamilton.
'Tis he ! 'tis he! 'tis Bothwellhaugh. • Why fills not Bothwellhaugh his place. From gory selle and reeling steed
Still wont our weal and woe to share? Sprung the fierce horseman with Why comes he not our sport to grace?
bound, Why shares he not our hunter's fare?” And, reeking from the recent deed,
Ile dashed his carbine on the ground. Stern Claud replied with darkening Sternly he spoke_" Tis sweet to hear
faceGray Paisley's haughty lord was he
In good green wood the bugle blown,
But sweeter to Revenge's ear " At merry feast or buxom chase No more the warrior wilt thou see.
To drink a tyrant's dying groan.
“Your slaughtered quarry proudly trode “Few suns have set since Woodhouselee
At dawning morn o'er dale and down, Saw Bothwellhaugh's bright goblets
But prouder base-born Murray rode foam,
Through old Linlithgow's crowded When to his hearths in social glee
town, The war-worn soldier turned him home.
“ From the wild Border's humbled side, “ There, wan from her maternal throes,
In baughty triumph marched he,
While Knox relaxed his bigot pride His Margaret, beautiful and mild,
And smiled the traitorous pomp to see Sate in her bower, a pallid rose, And peaceful nursed her new-born child.
“But can stern Power, with all bis vaunt,
Or Pomp, with all lier courtly glare, "O change accursed ! past are those days;
The settled heart of Vengeance daunt, False Murray's ruthless spoilers came,
Or change the purpose of Despair ? And, for the hearth's domestic blaze, Ascends destruction's volumed flame.
“ With hackbut bent, my secret stand,
Dark as the purposed deell, I chose, “What sheeted phantom wanders wild
And marked where mingling in his band Where mountain Eske through wood
Trooped Scottish pipes and English land flows,
bows. Her arms enfold a shadowy childO! is it she, the pallid rose ?
“ Dark Morton, girt with many a spear,
Murder's foul minion, led the van; “ The wildered traveller sees her glide,
And clashed their broadswords in the And hears her feeble voice with awe* Revenge,' she cries, 'on Murray's
The wild Macfarlanes' plaided clan. pride! And
for injured Bothwell- “Glencairn and stout Parkhead were haugh!'"
Obsequious at their Regent's rein, Ile ceased-and cries of rage and grief And haggard Lindesay's iron eye,
Burst mingling from the kindred band, That saw fair Mary weep in vain. And half arose the kindling chief, And half unsheathed his Arran brand. “Mid pennoned spears, a steely grove,
Proud Murray's plumage floated But who o'er bush, o'er stream and rock,
high ; Rides headlong with resistless speed,
Scarce could his trampling charger move, Whose bloody poniari's frantic stroke So close the minions crowded nigh. Drives to the leap his jaded steed;
" From the raised vizor's shade his eye. Whose cheek is pale, whose eyeballs Dark-rolling, glanced the ranks along, glare,
And his steel truncheon, waved on lugla, As one some visioned sight that saw, Seemed marshalling the iron throng.