British Women Romantic Poets Project

Metrical Legends of Exalted Characters.

Baillie, Joanna, 1762-1851

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British Women Romantic Poets Project
Shields Library, University of California, Davis, California 95616
I.D. No. BailJMetri

Copyright (c) 2001, Nancy Kushigian

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Davis British Women Romantic Poets Series

I.D. No. 59
Nancy Kushigian, -- General Editor
Charlotte Payne, -- Managing Editor

Metrical legends of exalted characters

Baillie, Joanna

Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown

[This text was scanned from its original in the Shields Library Kohler Collection, University of California, Davis. Kohler ID no. I:51. Another copy available on microfilm as Kohler I:51mf.]

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[Title Page]

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Metrical Legends



&c. &c.


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IN calling the following pieces Metrical Legends, I do not use the term as denoting fictitious stories, but as chronicles or memorials. The acts of great men, as related in history, are so blended with the events of the times in which they lived, and with the acts of their contemporaries, that it is difficult for a great proportion of readers to form, at the conclusion of the history, a distinct idea of all they have really performed: and even of those who might do so without difficulty, how few bestow their leisure in fairly considering those claims of the great and the good to their respect and admiration! Biography, where sources of inform-

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ation regarding the private character and habits of the individual remain, has made amends for this unavoidable defect in history, and is a most instructive and interesting study. Yet the minute detail of the character too often does the same injury to the departed Great, which a familiar acquaintance still oftener does to the living; for a lengthened, unrelieved account is very unfavourable to that rousing and generous admiration which the more simple and distant view of heroic worth is fitted to inspire;-- an impulse most healthful and invigorating to the soul.

Romance, in verse and in prose, has, and often successfully, attempted to supply those deficiencies, by adding abundance of fictitious circumstances to the traces of history and biography--a task pleasing to the writer and the reader. But in her zeal to display the abstract perfections of a hero, she has not rested satisfied with additions; she has boldly and

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unwarrantably made use of absolute contradictions to those traces, even when generally known and well authenticated. This is the greatest injury to the Mighty Dead. It is throwing over the venerated form of a majestic man, a gauzy veil, on which is delineated the fanciful figure of an angel. If time has removed that form to such a distance, that a faint outline only can be perceived, let us still behold the outline unshaded and unchanged. "Disturb not the ashes of the dead," is a sentiment acknowledged and obeyed by every feeling mind; but to disturb those memorials of worth--those shadowings of the soul--what may be called their intellectual remains, is by far the greater sacrilege.

My reader must not, however, suppose that I would debar romance from the use of every real name, and oblige her to people her stories entirely with beings fictitious both in name and character. This would be too rigid. Where

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history is so obscure or remote, that we know little of a hero but his name, the romance writer may seize it as lawful spoil; for he cannot thereby confuse our ideas of truth and falsehood, or change and deform what has no form. It is only when a character known, though imperfectly, is wrested from the events with which it was really connected, and overlaid at the same time with fanciful attributes, that this can be justly complained of.

Having this view of the subject in my mind, and a great desire, notwithstanding, to pay some tribute to the memory of a few characters for whom I felt a peculiar admiration and respect, I have ventured upon what may be considered, in some degree, as a new attempt,--to give a short descriptive chronicle of those noble beings, whose existence has honoured human nature and benefited mankind.

In relating a true story, though we do not add any events or material circumstances to it,

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and abstain from attributing any motives for action, which have not been credibly reported, or may not be fairly inferred, yet, how often do we spontaneously, almost unwittingly, add description similar to what we know must have belonged to the actors and scenery of our story! Our story, for instance, says, "that a man, travelling at night through a wild forest, was attacked by a band of robbers." Our story-teller adds, "that the night was dark as pitch, scarcely a star to be seen twinkling between the drifted clouds; that the blast shook the trees, and howled dismally around him." Our story says, "that hearing the sound of approaching steps, he went behind a tree to wait till the robbers should pass, but unfortunately stumbling, the noise of his fall betrayed him, and he was seized upon, wounded, and stripped of every thing he possessed." Our story-teller adds, (particularly if the subject of the story is known to be of a timid spirit), "that their footsteps

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sounded along the hollow ground like the trampling of a host; that he stopped and listened with fearful anxiety; that, on their nearer approach, voices were mingled with the sound, like the hoarse deep accents of a murderer; that he trembled with fear; that, in quitting the path, every black stump or bush seemed to him a man in armour; that his limbs shook so violently, he could not raise his feet sufficiently to disentangle them from the fern and long grass which impeded him," &c. Or our story may say, "that the daughter of a proud chief stole from his castle on a summer morning, and joined her expecting lover in a neighbouring wood." The story-teller says, "she opened the door of her chamber with a beating heart, listened anxiously lest any one should be a-stir in the family; that the sun shone softly through the ruddy air, on the fresh green boughs and dewy-webbed plants as she passed, and that she sighed to think she might never return to the

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haunts of her childhood any more." The story says, "she fled with him on horseback;" and the story-teller cannot well say less than, "that he set her on a beautiful steed, which stood ready caparisoned under the trees; that the voice of her lover gave her courage; that they passed over the silent country, in which not even a peasant was to be seen at his early labour, with the swiftness of an arrow, and every stream they crossed gave them confidence of escaping pursuit," &c. And thus our story-teller goes on, being present in imagination to every thing he relates, and describing the feelings, sounds, and appearances which he conceives must naturally have accompanied the different events of his story, almost, as I said before, without being aware that he is taking so much of what he relates entirely for granted.

In imitation then of this human propensity, from which we derive so much pleasure, though mischievous, when not indulged with charity

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and moderation, I have written the following Metrical Legends, describing such scenes as truly belong to my story, with occasionally the feelings, figures, and gestures of those whose actions they relate, and also assigning their motives of action, as they may naturally be supposed to have existed.

The events they record are taken from sources sufficiently authentic; and where any thing has been reasonably questioned, I give some notice of the doubt. I have endeavoured to give them with the brief simplicity of a chronicle, though frequently stopping in my course, where occasion for reflection or remark naturally offered itself, or proceeding more slowly, when objects, capable of interesting or pleasing description, tempted me to linger. Though my great desire has been to display such portraitures of real worth and noble heroism, as might awaken high and generous feelings in a youthful mind; yet I have not, as far as I know, im-

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puted to my heroes motives or sentiments beyond what their noble deeds do fairly warrant. I have made each Legend short enough to be read in one moderate sitting, that the impression might be undivided, and that the weariness of a story, not varied or enriched by minuter circumstances, might be, if possible, avoided.--It has, in short, been my aim to produce sentimental and descriptive memorials of exalted worth.

The manner of the rhyme and versification I have in some degree, borrowed from my great contemporary Sir Walter Scott; following in this respect, the example of many of the most popular poets of the present day. Let it not, however, be supposed, that I presume to believe myself a successful borrower. We often stretch out our hand for one thing, and catch another; and if, instead of the easy, light, rich, and fanciful variety of his rhyme and measure, the reader should perceive that I have,

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unfortunately, found others of a far different character, I ought not to be greatly surprised or offended. But, indeed, I have been almost forced to be thus presumptuous; for blank verse, or heroic rhyme, being grave and uniform in themselves, require a story varied with many circumstances, and would only have added to the dryness of a chronicle, even though executed with a skill which I pretend not to possess. Yet when I say that I have borrowed, let it not be supposed I have attempted to imitate his particular expressions; I have only attempted to write in a certain free irregular measure, which, but for him, I should probably never have known or admired.

These days are rich in Poets, whose fertile imaginations have been chiefly employed in national or Eastern romance; the one abounding in variety of character, event, and description of familiar or grand objects, and enlivened with natural feelings and passions; the other, deco-

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rated with more artificial and luxurious description, and animated with exaggerated and morbid emotions, each in its own way continually exciting the interest and curiosity of the reader, and leading him on through a paradise of fairyland. In these days, therefore, legends of real events, and characters already known to the world, even though animated with a warmth of sentiment, and vividness of description far exceeding my ability to give, have not the same chance for popularity which they might formerly have had. I own this, and am willing unrepiningly to submit to disadvantages which arise from such a delightful cause. For who would wish, were it possible, to remove such an impediment for his own convenience! It is better to take a humble place with such contemporaries, than to stand distinguished in a desert place. I only mention this circumstance to bespeak some consideration and indulgence from readers accustomed to such intoxicating entertainment.

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The hero of my first legend is one, at the sound of whose name some sensation of pride and of gratitude passes over every Scottish heart. He belongs indeed to the "land of the mountain and the flood," which, till of later years, was considered by her more fertile neighbour as a land of poverty and barrenness; but the generous devotedness of a true patriot connects him with the noblest feelings of all mankind; or if the contemplation of that excellence be more circumscribed, the feeling in his countrymen which arises from it, is for that very reason the deeper and the dearer. The circumstances of the times which followed him,--the continuance of Edward's power in Scotland, destroyed, many years after, by the wisdom and perseverance of a most gallant and popular king, has made the name of Wallace occur but seldom in the regular histories of Scotland, while his great actions are mentioned so carelessly and briefly, that we read them with

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disappointment and regret. But when we remember, that, from being the younger son of a private gentleman of small consideration, he became the military leader and governor of the whole nation, whose hereditary chieftains, accustomed to lead their clans to battle, were both proud and numerous, we may well suppose that all related of him by his friend and contemporary, Blair, which makes the substance of the blind Minstrel's poem, is true; or, at least, if not entirely correct, does not exceed the truth.

The mixture of fiction which is found in it, forms no reasonable objection to receiving those details that are probable and coincide with general history and the character and circumstances of the times. To raise his country from the oppression which her nobles so long and so basely endured; to make head against such a powerful, warlike and artful enemy; to be raised by so many hereditary chiefs to be warden or protector of the realm, on whose behalf he,

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as a rival power, entered into compacts and treaties with the Monarch, who had England and some fair provinces of France under his dominion, presupposes a fortune and ability in war, joined with talents for governing, equal to all that his private historian or even tradition has ascribed to him. We may smile at the wonderful feats of strength related of him by Blind Harry, and traditionally received over the whole country; but when we consider that his personal acts , when still very young, are the only reason that can be given for attracting so many followers to his command, we must believe that his lofty soul and powerful intellect were united to a body of extraordinary strength and activity. Wallace Wight, or the Strong, is the appellation by which he is distinguished in his own country; and the romantic adventures of a Robin Hood are by tradition fondly joined to the mighty acts of Scotland's triumphant deliverer.

His character and story are in every point of view particularly fitted either for poetry or

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romance; yet, till very lately, he has not been the subject, as far as I know, of any modern pen. Wallace, or the Field of Falkirk, written in nervous and harmonious verse, by a genius particularly successful in describing the warlike manners and deeds of ancient times, and in mixing the rougher qualities of the veteran leader with the supposed tenderness of a lover, is a poem that does honour to its author and to the subject she has chosen. Wallace, or the Scottish Chief, which through a rich variety of interesting, imaginary adventures, conducts a character of most perfect virtue and heroism to an affecting and tragical end--is a romance deservedly popular. This tribute to the name of Wallace from two distinguished English women, I mention with pleasure, notwithstanding all I have said against mixing true with fictitious history.* * Since the above observations were written, Mrs. Heman's prize-poem, on the given subject of the meeting between Wallace and Bruce on the banks of Carron, has appeared, with its fair-won honours on its brow; and there is a Play on the life of our hero, from the pen of a very young and promising dramatist, which is at present represented with success on the stage of Covent Garden.

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Wallace, it must be owned, though several times the deliverer of his country from the immediate oppression of her formidable enemy, was cut off in the midst of his noble exertions and left her in the power of Edward; therefore he was not, in a full sense, the deliverer of Scotland, which was ultimately rescued from the yoke by Robert Bruce. But had there been no Wallace to precede him, in all human likelyhood, there would have been no Bruce. Had it not been for the successful struggles of the first hero, the country, with her submissive nobles, would have been so completely subdued and permanently settled under the iron yoke of Edward, that the second would never have conceived the possibility of recovering its

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independence. The example set by Wallace, and the noble spirit he had breathed into his countrymen, were a preparation--one may almost say, the moral implements by which the valiant and persevering Bruce accomplished his glorious task.

The reader, perhaps, will smile at the earnestness with which I estimate the advantage of having been rescued from the domination of Edward, now, when England and Scotland are happily united; making one powerful and generous nation, which hath nobly maintained, for so many generations, a degree of rational liberty, under the form of a limited monarchy, hitherto enjoyed by no other people. But when we recollect the treatment which Ireland received as a conquered country, and of which she in some degree still feels the baleful effects, we shall acknowledge, with gratitude, the blessing of having been united to England under far different circumstances. Nay, it may not, per-

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haps, be estimating the noble acts of William Wallace at an extravagant rate to believe, that England as well as Scotland, under Divine Providence, may owe its liberty to him: for, had the English crown, at so early a period, acquired such an accession of power, it would probably, like the other great crowns of Europe, have established for itself a despotism which could not have been shaken.

In comparing the two great heroes of that period, it should always be remembered, that Bruce fought for Scotland and her crown conjoined; Wallace, for Scotland alone; no Chronicler or Historian, either English or Scotch, having ever imputed to him any but the purest and most disinterested motives for his unwearied and glorious exertions.

The hero of my second Legend is Columbus; who, to the unfettered reach of thought belonging to a Philosopher, the sagacious intrepidity of a chieftain or leader, and the adventurous

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boldness of a discoverer, added the gentleness and humanity of a Christian. For the first and last of these qualities he stands distinguished from all those enterprising chiefs who followed his steps. The greatest event in the history of Columbus takes place at the beginning, occasioning so strong an excitement that what follows after, as immediately connected with him, (his persecution and sufferings excepted,) are comparatively flat and uninteresting; and then it is our curiosity regarding the inhabitants and productions of the new world that chiefly occupy our attention. Landing on some new coast; receiving visits from the Indians and their Caziques; bartering beads and trinkets for gold or provisions, under circumstances similar to those attending his intercourse with so many other places; nautical observations, and continued mutinies and vexations arising from the avarice and ambition of his officers, are the changes continually recurring. His history, therefore,

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circumstantially, rather obscures than displays his greatness; the outline being so grand and simple, the detail so unvaried and minute. The bloody, nefarious, and successful adventures of Cortes and Pizarro, keep their heroes (great men of a more vulgar cast,) constantly in possession of the reader's attention, and have rendered them favourable subjects of history, tragedy, and romance. But the great consequences and change in human affairs which flowed from the astonishing enterprise of Columbus, have made his existence as one of the loftiest landmarks in the rout of time. And he is a hero who may be said to have belonged to no particular country; for every nation has felt the effects of his powerful mind; and every nation, in the days at least in which he lived, was unworthy of him. This, notwithstanding these poetical defects in his story, has prevented him from being neglected by poets. The first epic poem produced in the continent which he

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discovered, has, with great propriety, Columbus for its hero; and fragments of a poem on the same noble subject, published some years ago in this country, have given us cause to regret, that the too great fastidiousness of the author should have induced him to publish fragments only: a fastidiousness which, on this occasion, had been better employed, as such a disposition most commonly is, against others and not himself.

The subject of my third Legend is a woman, and one whose name is unknown in history. It was indeed unknown to myself till the publication of Mr. Rose's answer to Fox's History of James II., in the notes to which work a very interesting account of her will be found, given in extracts from Lady Murray's narrative, a MS. hitherto unpublished. My ignorance regarding her is the more extraordinary, as she married into a family of my own name, from which it is supposed, my forefathers took their

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descent; one of my ancestors also being the friend of that Baillie of Jerviswood, who suffered for the religion and independence of his country, and engaged in the same noble cause which obliged him, about the time of Jerviswood's death, to fly from Scotland and spend several years in a foreign land. Had her character, claiming even this very distant and slight connection with it, been known to me in my youthful days, I might have suspected that early association had something to do in the great admiration with which it has inspired me; but becoming first acquainted with it when the season of ardour and enthusiasm is past, I believe I may be acquitted from all charge of partiality. It appears to me that a more perfect female character could scarcely be imagined; for while she is daily exercised in all that is useful, enlivening and endearing, her wisdom and courage on every extraordinary and difficult occasion, give a full assurance to the mind, that

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the devoted daughter of Sir Patrick Hume, and, the tender help-mate of Baillie, would have made a most able and magnanimous queen.

The account we have of her is given by her own children; but there is a harmonious consistency, and an internal evidence of truth through the whole of it, which forbids us to doubt. At any rate, the leading and most singular events of her life, mentioned in the inscription on her tomb from the pen of Judge Burnet, must be true. But after having written the Legend from Mr. Rose's notes alone, I have been fortunate enough to see the original work from which they were taken; and, availing myself of this advantage, have added some passages to it which I thought would increase the interest of the whole, and set the character of the heroine in a still more favourable light. For this I am indebted to the kindness and liberality of Thomas Thomson, Esq. keeper of the Registers, Edinburgh, who will, I hope,

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be induced, ere long, to give such a curious and interesting manuscript to the public.

I might have selected for my heroine women who, in high situations of trust, as sovereigns, regents, and temporary governors of towns, castles, or provinces, and even at the head of armies, have behaved with a wisdom and courage that would have been honourable for the noblest of the other sex. But to vindicate female courage and abilities has not been my aim. I wished to exhibit a perfection of character which is peculiar to woman, and makes her, in the family that is blessed with such an inmate, through every vicissitude of prosperity and distress, something which man can never be. He may indeed be, and often is, as tender and full of gentle offices as a woman; and she may be, and has often been found, on great occasions, as courageous, firm, and enterprising, as a man; but the character of both will be most admired when these qualities cross them

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but transiently, like passing gleams of sunshine in a stormy day, and do not make the prevailing attribute of either. A man seldom becomes a careful and gentle nurse, but when actuated by strong affection; a woman is seldom roused to great and courageous exertion but when something most dear to her is in immediate danger: reverse the matter, and you deform the fair seemliness of both. It is from this general impression of their respective natures that tenderness in man is so pathetic, and valour in woman so sublime. A wise and benevolent Providence hath made them partake of each other's more peculiar qualities, that they may be meet and rational companions to one another--that man may be beloved, and woman regarded with respect.

What has been considered as the jealousy of man lest woman should become his rival, is founded, I believe, on a very different principle. In regard to mental acquirements of an abstruse or difficult kind, though a pretty general dis-

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approbation of them, when found in the possession of women, is felt, and too often expressed in illiberal and unworthy phrase, yet I apprehend, that had these been supposed to be cultivated without interfering with domestic duties, no prejudice would ever have been entertained against them. To neglect useful and appropriate occupations, for those which may be supposed to be connected with vanity, rather than with any other gratification, is always offensive. But if a woman possess that strong natural bent for learning which enables her to acquire it quickly, without prejudice to what is more necessary; or if her fortune be so ample that the greater part of her time reasonably remains at her own disposal, there are few men, I believe, who will be disposed to find fault with her for all that she may know, provided she make no vain display of her acquirements; and amongst those few, I will venture to say, there will not be one truly learned man

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to be found. Were learning chiefly confined to gownsmen, a country gentleman, who neglected his affairs and his husbandry to study the dead languages, would meet with as little quarter as she who is tauntingly called a learned lady. But as every one in the rank of a gentleman is obliged to spend so many years of his youth in learning Latin and Greek, whatever may be his natural bias or destined profession, he is never ridiculed, under any circumstances, for pursuing that which has already cost him so much labour. Women have this desirable privilege over the other sex, that they may be unlearned without any implied inferiority; and I hope our modern zeal for education will never proceed far enough to deprive them of this great advantage. At the same time they may avowedly and creditably possess as much learning, either in science or languages, as they can fairly and honestly attain, the neglect of more necessary occupations being here considered as approaching to a real breach of rectitude.

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"My helpful child!" was the fond and grateful appellation bestowed upon our heroine, with her mother's dying blessing; and could the daughters of every family conceive the self-approbation and happiness of cheerful and useful occupation, the love of God and favour of man which is earned by this blessed character of helpfulness, how much vanity and weariness, and disappointment, and discontent, would be banished from many a prosperous home! "It is more blessed to minister than be ministered unto," said the most perfect character that ever appeared in human form. Could any young person of ever such a listless or idle disposition, not entirely debased by selfishness, read, in the narrative alluded to, of the different occupations of Lady Griseld Baillie and a sister of hers, nearly of her own age, whose time was mostly spent in reading or playing on a musical instrument, and wish for one moment to have been the last-mentioned lady rather than the other?

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But in preferring a heroine of this class for my Legend, I encountered a difficulty which, I fear, I have not been able to overcome; the want of events, and the most striking circumstance of the story belonging to the earlier part of it, while the familiar domestic details of her life, which so faithfully reveal the sweetest traits of her character, are associated in our imaginations with what is considered as vulgar and mean. I have endeavoured by the selection I have made of things to be noticed, and in the expressions which convey them to the fancy, to offend, as little as might be, the fastidious reader; and I beg that he will on his part receive it with indulgence.

Of the few shorter pieces, contained in this small volume, I have little to say. The two first were originally written very rapidly for the amusement of a young friend, who was fond of frightful stories; but I have since endeavoured to correct some of the defects arising from hasty

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composition. The third is taken from a true, or at least traditional story. It was told to me by Sir George Beaumont, as one which he had heard from his mother, the late Lady Beaumont, who said it was a tradition belonging to the castle of some baron in the north of England, where it was believed to have happened. It was recommended by him as a good subject for a ballad, and, with such a recommendation, I was easily tempted to endeavour, at least, to preserve its simple and striking circumstances, in that popular form. I have altered nothing of the story; nor have I added anything but the founding of the abbey and the baron's becoming a monk, in imitation of the ending of that exquisite ballad, The Eve of St. John, where so much is implied in so few words; the force and simplicity of which I have always particularly admired, though I readily own (and the reader will have too much reason to agree with me) that it is more easily admired than imitated.

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"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.

That nun who ne'er beholds the day,
    That monk who speaks to none,
That nun was Smaylho'mes lady gay,
    That monk the bold baron."

The fourth is taken from the popular story of Fadon, in the Blind Minstrel's Life of Wallace. That the hero, in those days of superstition, and under the influence of compunction for a hasty deed, might not have had some strong vision or dream which, related to his followers, might give rise to such a story, I will not pretend to say. However, it could not with propriety find a place in a legend which rejects fiction. Yet, thinking it peculiarly fitted for the subject of a mysterious ballad, and being loth to lose it entirely, I have ventured to introduce it to the reader in its present form. Ballads of this character generally arrest the attention and

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excite some degree of interest. They must be very ill-written indeed if this fail to be the case; and if some modern ballads of extraordinary power, from a very witching pen, have not rendered the public less easy to please than they formerly were, I may hope that these productions, slight as they are, will at least be received with forbearance.

Having now said all which, I believe, I may reasonably say in explanation and behalf of the contents of my book, I leave my reader to peruse it, perhaps, in nearly the same disposition regarding it as if I had said nothing at all on the subject. But I have the satisfaction, at least, of having endeavoured to do justice to myself, and shall not be condemned unheard.


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INSENSIBLE to high heroic deeds,
Is there a spirit clothed in mortal weeds,
    Who at the Patriot's moving story,
    Devoted to his country's good,
    Devoted to his country's glory,
Shedding for freemen's rights his generous blood;--
    List'neth not with breath heaved high,
    Quiv'ring nerve, and glistening eye,
Feeling within a spark of heavenly flame,
That with the hero's worth may humble kindred claim?

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    If such there be, still let him plod
        On the dull foggy paths of care,
    Nor raise his eyes from the dank sod
        To view creation fair:
    What boots to him the wond'rous works of God?
His soul with brutal things hath ta'en its earthy lair.


    Come, youths, whose eyes are forward cast,
    And in the future see the past,--
The past, as winnow'd in the early mind
    With husk and prickle left behind!
    Come; whether under lowland vest,
    Or, by the mountain-tartan prest,
        Your gen'rous bosoms heave;
    Pausing a while in thoughtful rest,
        My legend lay receive.
    Come, aged sires, who love to tell
What fields were fought, what deeds were done;
    What things in olden times befell,--
Those good old times, whose term is run!

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    Come ye, whose manly strength with pride
    Is breasting now the present tide
    Of worldly strife, and cast aside
    A hasty glance at what hath been!
    Come, courtly dames, in silken sheen,
And ye, who under thatched roofs abide;
Yea, ev'n the barefoot child by cottage fire,
Who doth some shreds of northern lore acquire,
    By the stirr'd embers' scanty light,--
    List to my legend lay of Wallace wight.


Scotland, with breast unmail'd, had sheath'd her sword,
Stifling each rising curse and hopeless prayer,
And sunk beneath the Southron's faithless lord
        In sullen, deep despair.
    The holds and castles of the land
    Were by her hateful foemen mann'd.
    To revels in each stately hall,
    Did tongues of foreign accent call,

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Where her quell'd chiefs must tamely bear
From braggard pride the taunting jeer.
Her harvest-fields, by strangers reap'd,
Were in the stranger's garner heap'd
    The tenant of the poorest cot,
Seeing the spoiler from his door
Bear unreproved his hard-earn'd store,
    Blush'd thus to be, and be a Scot.
The very infant, at his mother's beck,
    Tho' with writh'd lip and scowling eye,
Was taught to keep his lisping tongue in check,
    Nor curse the Southron passing by.


Baron brave and girded knight,
The tyrant's hireling slaves could be;
Nor graced their state, nor held their right.
Alone upon his rocky height,
The eagle rear'd his unstain'd crest,
And soaring from his cloudy nest,

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Turn'd to the sun his daring eye,
And wing'd at will the azure sky,
    For he alone was free.


    Oh! who so base as not to feel
        The pride of freedom once enjoy'd,
    Tho' hostile gold or hostile steel
        Have long that bliss destroy'd!
    The meanest drudge will sometimes vaunt
        Of independent sires, who bore
        Names known to fame in days of yore,
    'Spite of the smiling stranger's taunt;
        But recent freedom lost--what heart
Can bear the humbling thought--the quick'ning, mad'ning smart!


    Yes, Caledonian hearts did burn,
    And their base chain in secret spurn;

Page 8

    And, bold upon some future day,
    Swore to assert Old Scotland's native sway;
But 'twas in fitful thoughts that pass'd in thought away.
    Tho' musing in lone cave or forest deep,
    Some generous youths might all indignant weep;
        Or in the vision'd hours of sleep,
    Gird on their swords for Scotland's right,
        And from her soil the spoiler sweep,
Yet all this bold emprise pass'd with the passing night.


    But in the woods of Allerslie,
    Within the walls of good Dundee,
    Or by the pleasant banks of Ayr,
    Wand'ring o'er heath or upland fair,
    Existed worth without alloy,
    In form a man, in years a boy,
    Whose nightly thoughts for Scotland's weal,
    Which clothed his form in mimick steel,

Page 9

    Which helm'd his brow, and glav'd his hand,
    To drive the tyrant from the land,
        Pass'd not away with passing sleep;
    But did, as danger nearer drew,
        Their purpos'd bent the firmer keep,
            And still the bolder grew.


    'Tis pleasant in his early frolick feats,
    Which fond tradition long and oft repeats,
    The op'ning of some dauntless soul to trace,
Whose bright career of fame, a country's annals grace;
    Yet this brief legend must forbear to tell
    The bold adventures that befell
    The stripling Wallace, light and strong,
    The shady woods of Clyde among,
    Where, roaring o'er its rocky walls,
    The water's headlong torrent falls,
Full, rapid, powerful, flashing to the light,

Page 10

    Till sunk the boiling gulf beneath,
    It mounts again like snowy wreath,
    Which, scatter'd by contending blasts,
    Back to the clouds their treasure casts,
A ceaseless wild turmoil, a grand and wondrous sight!
    Or, climbing Carthland's Craigs, that high
    O'er their pent river strike the eye,
    Wall above wall, half veil'd, half seen,
    The pendant folds of wood between,
    With jagged breach, and rift, and scar,
    Like the scorch'd wreck of ancient war,
    And seem, to musing fancy's gaze,
    The ruin'd holds of other days.
    His native scenes, sublime and wild,
    Where oft the youth his hours beguil'd,
    As forester with bugle horn;
    As angler in the pooly wave;
    As fugitive in lonely cave,
        Forsaken and forlorn!

Page 11

    When still, as foeman cross'd his way,
    Alone, defenceless, or at bay,
    He raised his arm for freemen's right,
And on proud robbers fell the power of Wallace wight.


    There is a melancholy pleasure
    In tales of hapless love;--a treasure
    From which the sadden'd bosom borrows
    A short respite from present sorrows,
    And ev'n the gay delight to feel,
    As down young cheeks the soft tears steal;
Yet will I not that woeful tale renew,
    And in light hasty words relate
How the base Southron's arm a woman slew,
    And robb'd him of his wedded mate.
The name of her, who shar'd his noble breast,
    Shall be remember'd and be blest.
        A sweeter lay, a gentler song,
        To those sad woes belong!

Page 12


As light'ning from some twilight cloud,
    At first but like a streaky line
    In the hush'd sky, with fitful shine
    Its unregarded brightness pours,
Till from its spreading, darkly volumed shroud
    The bursting tempest roars;
    His countrymen with faithless gaze
    Beheld his valour's early blaze.


    But rose at length with swelling fame
    The honours of his deathless name;
    Till, to the country's farthest bound,
    All gen'rous hearts stirr'd at the sound;
    Then Scotland's youth with new-wak'd pride,
    Flock'd gladly to the hero's side,
    In harness braced, with burnish'd brand,
        A brave and noble band!

Page 13


    Lenox, Douglas, Campbell, Hay,
    Boyd, Scrimger, Ruthven, Haliday,
    Gordon, Crawford, Keith, were there;
    Lander, Lundy, Cleland, Kerr,
    Steven, Ireland's vagrant lord;
    Newbiggen, Fraser, Rutherford,
    Dundas and Tinto, Currie, Scott;
    Nor be in this brave list forgot
    A Wallace of the hero's blood,
    With many patriots staunch and good;
        And first, though latest nam'd, there came,
    Within his gen'rous breast to hold
    A brother's place,--true war-mate bold!
        The good, the gallant Graham.


    Thus grown to strength, on Biggar's well-fought field
He made on marshall'd host his first essay;
Where Edward's gather'd powers, in strong array,

Page 14

Did to superior skill and valour yield,
        And gain'd the glorious day.


    Then at the Forest kirk, that spot of ground
Long to be honour'd, flush'd with victory,
Crowded the Scottish worthies, bold and free,
        Their noble chieftain round;
    Where many a generous heart beat high
    With glowing cheek and flashing eye,
    And many a portly figure trod
    With stately steps the trampled sod.
    Banners in the wind were streaming;
    In the morning light were gleaming
    Sword, and spear, and burnish'd mail
    And crested helm, and avantail,
    And tartan plaids, of many a hue,
    In flickering sunbeams brighter grew,
    While youthful warriors' weapons ring
    With hopeful, wanton brandishing.

Page 15


    There, midmost in the warlike throng,
    Stood William Wallace, tall and strong;
    Towering far above the rest,
    With portly mien and ample breast,
    Brow and eye of high command,
    Visage fair, and figure grand:
Ev'n to the dullest peasant standing by,
Who fasten'd still on him a wondering eye,
    He seem'd the master-spirit of the land.


    O for some magic power to give
    In vision'd form what then did live!
    That group of heroes to pourtray,
    Who from their trammell'd country broke
    The hateful tyrant's galling yoke
        On that eventful day!

Page 16


Behold! like changeful streamers of the North,
    Which tinge at times the wintry night,
    With many hues of glowing light,
Their momentary forms break forth
        To Fancy's gifted sight.
    Each in his warlike panoply
    With sable plumage waving high,
    And burnish'd sword in sinewy hand,
    Appears a chieftain of command,
    Whose will, by look or sign to catch,
    A thousand eager vassals watch.
What tho' those warriors, gleaming round,
    On peaceful death-bed never lay,
    But each, upon his fated day,
His end on field or scaffold found;
    Oh! start not at the vision bright,
    As if it were a ghastly sight!
    For, 'midst their earthly coil, they knew
    Feelings of joy so keen, so true,

Page 17

As he who feels, with up-rais'd eye,
    Thanks Heaven for life, and cannot rue
The gift, be what it may the death that he shall die.


        Warden of Scotland, (not ashamed
    A native right of rule to own
    In worth and valour matchless shown)
        They William Wallace there proclaim'd;
        And there, exultingly, each gallant soul,
        Ev'n proudly yielded to such high controul.
        Greater than aught a tyrant ere achieved,
        Was power so given, and so receiv'd.


    This truth full well King Edward knew,
    And back his scatter'd host he drew,
    Suing for peace with prudent guile;
    And Wallace in his mind, the while,

Page 18

    Scanning with wary, wise debate
    The various dangers of the state,
    Desire of further high revenge foregoes
        To give the land repose.
    But smother'd hatred, in the garb of peace,
    Did not, mean time, from hostile cunning cease;
        But still more cruel deeds devis'd,
        In that deceitful seeming guised.


The Southron rulers, phrasing fair
    Their notice, summon'd lord, and laird, and knight,
        To hold with them an ancient court of right,
    At the good town, so named, their court of Ayr.
            And at this general summons came
            The pride and hope of many a name,
    The love and anxious care of many a gentle dame.

Page 19


    Ent'ring the fatal Barns, fair sight!
        Went one by one the manly train,
    But neither baron, laird, nor knight,
            Did e'er return again.
    A heaven-commission'd friend that day
    Stopp'd Wallace, hast'ning on his way,
    (Who, by some seeming chance detain'd,
    Had later at his home remain'd,)
    The horse's bridle sternly grasp'd,
    And then for rueful utterance gasp'd.
    "Oh! go not to the Barns of Ayr!
    "Kindred and friends are murder'd there.
    "The faithless Southrons, one by one,
    "On them the hangman's task hath done.
        "Oh! turn thy steed, and fearful ruin shun!"
        He, shudd'ring, heard, with visage pale,
    Which quickly chang'd to wrath's terrific hue;
And then apace came sorrow's bursting wail;
The noble heart could weep that could not quail,

Page 20

"My friends, my kinsmen, war-mates, bold and true!
"Met ye a villain's end! Oh is it so with you!"


    The hero turn'd his chafing steed,
    And to the wild woods bent his speed.
    But not to keep in hiding there,
    Or give his sorrow to despair,
    For the fierce tumult in his breast
    To speedy, dreadful action press'd.
    And there within a tangled glade,
    List'ning the courser's coming tread,
    With hearts that shar'd his ire and grief,
    A faithful band receiv'd their chief.


In Ayr the guilty Southrons held a feast,
    When that dire day its direful course had run,
And laid them down, their weary limbs to rest
            Where the foul deed was done.

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    But ere beneath the cottage thatch
    Cocks had crow'd the second watch;
    When sleepers breathe in heavy plight,
    Press'd with the visions of the night,
    And spirits, from unhallow'd ground,
    Ascend, to walk their silent round;
    When trembles dell or desert heath,
    The witches' orgy dance beneath,--
    To the roused Warder's fearful gaze,
    The Barns of Ayr were in a blaze.


        The dense, dun smoke was mounting slow
        And stately, from the flaming wreck below,
And mantling far aloft in many a volumed wreath;
    Whilst town and woods, and ocean wide did lye,
Tinctur'd like glowing furnace-iron, beneath
            Its awful canopy.
Red mazy sparks soon with the dense smoke blended,
And far around like fiery sleet descended.

Page 22

From the scorch'd and crackling pile
Fierce burst the growing flames the while;
Thro' creviced wall and buttress strong,
Sweeping the rafter'd roofs along;
Which, as with sudden crash they fell,
Their raging fierceness seem'd to quell,
And for a passing instant spread
O'er land and sea a lurid shade;
Then with increasing brightness, high
In spiral form, shot to the sky
With momentary height so grand,
That chill'd beholders breathless stand.


Thus rose and fell the flaming surgy flood,
'Till fencing round the gulphy light,
Black, jagg'd, and bare, a fearful sight!
Like ruin grim of former days,
Seen 'thwart the broad sun's setting rays,
    The guilty fabric stood.

Page 23


And dreadful are the deaths, I ween,
Which midst that fearful wreck have been.
The pike and sword, and smoke and fire,
Have minister'd to vengeful ire.
    New-waked wretches stood aghast
To see the fire-flood in their rear,
Close to their breast the pointed spear,
    And in wild horror yell'd their last.


But what dark figures now emerge
From the dread gulph and cross the light,
    Appearing on its fearful verge,
        Each like an armed sprite?
    Whilst one above the rest doth tower,--
    A form of stern gigantic power,
    Whirling from his lofty stand
    The smold'ring stone or burning brand?
Those are the leagued for Scotland's native right,

Page 24

Whose clashing arms rang Southron's knell,
When to their fearful work they fell,--
    That form is Wallace wight.


    And he like heaven's impetuous blast
    Which stops not on its mission'd way,
    By early morn, in strong array,
        Onward to Glasgow past;
    Where English Piercy held the rule;
Too noble and too brave to be a tyrant's tool.
    A summon'd court should there have been,
    But there far other coil was seen.
    With fellest rage, in lane and street,
    Did harnass'd Scot and Southron meet;
Well fought and bloody was the fierce afray:
    But Piercy was by Wallace slain,
    Who put to rout his num'rous train,
        And gain'd the town by noon of day.

Page 25


    Nor paused he there, for ev'ning tide
        Saw him at Bothwel's hostile gate,
    Which might not long assault abide,
        But yielded to its fate.
    And on from thence, with growing force,
    He held his rapid, glorious course;
    Whilst his roused clansmen, braced and bold,
    As town and castle, tower and hold,
    To the resistless victor fell,
        His patriot numbers swell.
    Thus when with current full and strong,
    The wintry river bears along
        Thro' mountain pass, and frith, and plain;--
    Streams that from many sources pour,
    Answer from far its kindred roar,
        And deep'ning echoes roar again.
    From its hill of heathy brown,
    The muirland streamlet hastens down;
    The mountain torrent from its rock,
    Shoots to the glen with furious shock;

Page 26

    E'en runlet low, and sluggish burn,
    Speed to their chief with many a mazy turn,
And in his mingled strength, roll proudly to the main.


    O'er Stirling's towers his standard plays,
    Lorn owns his rule, Argyle obeys.
    In Angus, Merns, and Aberdeen,
    Nor English Lord nor Cerf is seen;
Dundee alone averts King Edward's fate,
And Scotland's warden thunders at her gate.


    But there his eager hopes are crost,
    For news are brought of English host,
    Which fast approaching thro' the land,
    At Stirling mean to make their stand.
    Faint speaks the haggard breathless scout,
    Like one escaped from bloody rout,--
    "On, Cressingham and Warren lead
    "The martial'd host with stalwart speed,

Page 27

    "It numbers thirty thousand men,
    "And thine, bold chieftain, only ten."


    But higher tower'd the chieftain's head,
    Broad grew his breast with ampler spread;
    O'er cheek and brow the deep flush past,
    And to high heaven his eyes he cast:
    Right plainly spoke that silent prayer,
    "My strength and aid are there!"
    Then look'd he round with kindly cheer
    On his brave war-mates standing near,
    Who scann'd his face with eager eye
    His secret feelings to descry.
    "Come Hearts! who, on your native soil,
        "For Scotland's cause have bravely stood,
    "Come, brace ye for another broil,
        "And prove your generous blood.
        "Let us but front the tyrant's train,
    "And he who lists may count their numbers then."

Page 28


    Nor dull of heart, nor slow were they
    Their noble Leader to obey.
Cheer'd with loud shouts he gave his prompt command,
    Forthwith to bound them on their way.
        And straight their eager march they take
        O'er hill and heath, o'er burn and brake,
    Till marshall'd soon in dark array,
Upon their destin'd field of war they stand.


    Behind them lay the hardy north;
    Before, the slowly winding Forth
        Flow'd o'er the noiseless sand;
    Its full broad tide with fossy sides,
    Which east and west the land divides,
        By wooden bridge was spann'd.
    Beyond it, on a craggy slope,
    Whose chimney'd roofs the steep ridge cope,
        There smoked an ancient town;

Page 29

    While higher on the firm-based rock,
    Which oft had braved war's thunder-shock,
        Embattled turrets frown.
    A frith, with fields and woods, and hamlets gay,
        And mazy waters, slyly seen,
        Glancing thro' shades of Alder green,
    Wore eastward from the sight to distance grey;
        While broomy knoll and rocky peak,
        And heathy mountains, bare and bleak,
        A lofty screen on either hand,
            Majestic rose, and grand.


Such was the field on which with dauntless pride
        They did their coming foe abide;
        Nor waited long till from afar
        Were spy'd their moving ranks of war,
    Like rising storm, which, from the western main,
    Bears on in seried length its cloudy train;--
    Slowly approaching on the burthen'd wind,
Moves each dark mass, and still another lowers behind.

Page 30

    And soon upon the bridge appears,
        Darkly rising on the light,
    Nodding plumes and pointed spears,
And, crowding close, full many a warlike knight,
Who from its narrow gorge successive pour
To form their ranks upon the northern shore.


    Now, with notes of practis'd skill,
    English trumpets, sounding shrill,
    The battle's boastful prelude give
    Which answer prompt and bold receive
    From Scottish drum's long rowling bent,
    And,--sound to valiant clansmen sweet!--
    The highland pipe, whose lengthen'd swell
    Of warlike pibroch, rose and fell,
    Like wailings of the midnight wind,
    With voice of distant streams combin'd,
While mountain, rock, and dell, the martial din repeat.

Page 31


Then many a high-plumed gallant rear'd his head,
And proudly smote the ground with firmer tread,
        Who did, ere close of ev'ning, lye
        With ghastly face turn'd to the sky,
No more again the rouse of war to hear.
        And many for the combat burn'd,
        Who never from its broil return'd,
                Kindred or home to cheer.
        How short the term that shall divide
            The firm-nerv'd youth's exerted force,--
        The warrior, glowing in his pride,
                From the cold stiffen'd corse!
        A little term, pass'd with such speed,
        As would in courtly revel scarce suffice,
        Mated with lady fair, in silken guise,
                The measur'd dance to lead.


    His soldiers, firm as living rock,
    Now braced them for the battle's shock;

Page 32

    And watch'd their chieftain's keen looks glancing
    From marshall'd clans to foes advancing;
    Smiled with the smile his eye that lighten'd,
    Glow'd with the glow his brow that brighten'd:
    But when his burnish'd brand he drew,
    His towering form terrific grew,
    And every Scotchman, at the sight,
    Felt thro' his nerves a giant's might,
And drew his patriot sword with Wallace Wight.


    For what of thrilling sympathy,
    Did e'er in human bosom vye
    With that which stirs the soldier's breast,
    When, high in god-like worth confest,
    Some noble leader gives command,
    To combat for his native land?
    No; friendship's freely-flowing tide,
    The soul expanding; filial pride,
    That hears with craving, fond desire
    The bearings of a gallant sire;

Page 33

    The yearnings of domestic bliss,
    Ev'n love itself will yield to this.


    Few words the lofty hero utter'd,
    But deep response was widely mutter'd,
    Like echo'd echoes, circling round
    Some mountain lake's steep rocky bound.


    Then rush'd they fiercely on their foes,
    And loud o'er drum and war-pipe rose
        The battle's mingled roar.
    The eager shout, the weapon's clash;
    The adverse rank's first closing crash,
    The sullen hum of striving life,
    The busy beat of trampling strife,
    From castle, rocks, and mountains round,
Down the long firth, a grand and awful sound,
        A thousand echoes bore.

Page 34


    Spears cross'd spears, a bending grove,
    As front to front the warriors strove.
    Thro' the dust-clouds, rising dun,
    Their burnish'd brands flash'd to the sun
    With quickly changing, shiv'ring light,
    Like streamers on the northern night;
    While arrow-showers came hurtling past,
    Like splinter'd wreck driven by the blast,
    What time fierce winter is contending,
    With Norway's pines, their branches rending.


    Long penants, flags, and banners move
    The fearful strife of arms above,
    Not as display'd in colours fair,
    They floated on the morning air;
        But with a quick, ungentle motion,
    As sheeted sails, torn by the blast,
    Flap round some vessel's rocking mast
            Upon a stormy ocean.

Page 35


    Opposing ranks, that onward bore,
    In tumult mix'd, are ranks no more;
    Nor aught discern'd of skill or form;--
    All a wild, bick'ring, steely storm!
While oft around some fav'rite Chieftain's crest,
    The turmoil thick'ning, darkly rose,
    As on rough seas the billow grows,
O'er lesser waves high-heaved, but soon deprest.
    So gallant Grame, thou noble Scot!
        Around thee rose the fearful fray,
    And other brave compeers of bold essay,
    Who did not spare their mothers' sons that day,
        And ne'er shall be forgot.


    But where the mighty Wallace fought,
        Like spirit quick, like giant strong,
        Plunging the foe's thick ranks among,
            Wide room in little time was hew'd,
            And grizly sights around were strew'd;

Page 36

            Recoil'd aghast the helmed throng,
        And every hostile thing to earth was brought.
            Full strong and hardy was the foe
            To whom he gave a second blow.
                Many a knight and lord
                Fell victims to his sword,
            And Cressingham's proud crest lay low.


    And yet, all Southrons as they were,
        Their ranks dispers'd, their leader slain,
    Passing the bridge with dauntless air,
        They still came pouring on the plain;
    But weaken'd of its rafter'd strength,
        'Tis said by warlike craft, and trod
    By such successive crowds, at length
        The fabrick fell with all its living load.
Loud was the shriek the sinking Southrons gave,
Thus dash'd into the deep and booming wave.
    For there a fearful death had they,

Page 37

        Clutching each floating thing in vain,
        And struggling rose and sunk again,
    Who, 'midst the battle's loud affray,
        Had the fair meed of honour sought,
        And on the fieldlike lions fought.


And there, upon that field--a bloody field,
    Where many a wounded youth was lying,
    And many dead and many dying,
Did England's arms to Scotland's heroes yield.
    The close confusion opening round,
    The wild pursuit's receding sound,
    Is ringing in their ears, who low
    On cloated earth are laid, nor know,
    When those who chase and those who fly,
    With hasty feet come clatt'ring by,
        Or who hath won or who hath lost;
Save when some dying Scotchman lifts his head,
And, asking faintly how the day hath sped,

Page 38

    At the glad news, half from the ground
    Starts up, and gives a cheering sound
        And waves his hand and yields the ghost.
    A smile is on the corse's cheek,
Stretch'd by the heather bush, on death bed bare and bleak.


    With rueful eyes the wreck of that dire hour,
    The Southron's yet unbroken power,
    As on the river's adverse shore they stood,
    Silent beheld, till, like a mountain flood,
    Rush'd Stirling's castled warriors to the plain;
        Attack'd their now desponding force,
        And fiercely press'd their hasty course
    Back to their boasted native soil again.


    Of foes so long detested,--fear'd,
    Were towns and castles quickly clear'd;
Thro' all the land at will might free men range:

Page 39

    Nor slave nor tyrant there appear'd;
        It was a blessed change!


    The peasant's cot and homely farm,
    Hall-house and tower, secure from harm
    Or lawless spoil, again became
    The cheerful charge of wife or dame.
    'Neath humble roofs, from rafter slung
    The harmless spear, on which was hung
    The flaxen yarn in spindles coil'd,
    And leathern pouch and hozen soil'd,
    And rush or osier creel* , that held
    Both field and houshold geer; whilst swell'd
    With store of Scotland's fav'rite food,
    The seemly sack in corner stood;
    Remains of what the foe had left;
    Glad sight to folks so long bereft!

Page 40

    And look'd at oft and wisely spared,
    Tho' still with poorer neighbours shared.
    The wooden quaigh * and trencher placed
    On the shelv'd wall, its rudeness graced.
    Beneath the pot red faggots glanced,
    And on the hearth the spindle danced,
    As housewife's slight, so finely true,
    The lengthen'd thread from distaff drew,
    While she, belike, sang ditty shrill
    Of Southron louns with lengthen'd trill.
Creel, the common Scotch name for basket. Quaigh, a stained drinking cup.

    In castle hall with open gate,
    The noble lady kept her state,
    With girdle clasp'd by gem of price,
    Buckle or hasp of rare device,
    Which held, constrain'd o'er bodice tight,
    Her woollen robe of colours bright;
    And with bent head and tranquil eye,
    And gesture of fair courtesy,

Page 41

    The stranger guest bade to her board
    Tho' far a field her warlike lord.
    A board where smoked on dishes clear
    Of massy pewter, sav'ry cheer,
    And potent ale was foaming seen
    O'er tankards bright of silver sheen,
    Which erst, when foe men bore the sway,
    Beneath the sod deep buried lay.
    For household goods, from many a hoard,
    Were now to household use restored.


        Neighbours with neighbours join'd, begin
    Their cheerful toil, whilst mingled din
    Of saw or hammer cleave the air,
    The roofless bigging * to repair,
    The woodman fells the gnarled tree,
    The ploughman whistles on the lea;

Page 42

    The falkner keen his bird lets fly,
    As lordlings gaze with upcast eye;
    The arrow'd sportsman strays at will,
    And fearless strays o'er moor and hill;
    The traveller pricks along the plain;
    The herdboys shout and children play;
    Scotland is Scotland once again,
        And all are boon and gay.
* Bigging, house or building of any kind, but generally rustic and mean.

    Thus, freedom from a grievous yoke,
    Like gleam of sunshine o'er them broke;
    And souls, when joy and peace were new,
    Of every nature, kindlier grew.
    It was a term of liberal dealing,
    And active hope and friendly feeling,
    Thro' all the land might freemen range,
        It was a blessed change!

Page 43


    So, when thro' forest wild hath past
    The mingled fray of shower and blast,
    Tissue of threaded gems is worn
    By flower and fern and briar and thorn,
    While the scourged oak and shaken pine,
    Aloft in brighten'd verdure shine.
    Then Wallace to St. Johnston went,
    And thro' the country quickly sent
    Summons to burgher, knight, and lord,
    Who, there convened, with one accord,
    Took solemn oath with short debate,
        Of fealty to the state,
    Until a King's acknowledged, rightful sway,--
A native King, they should with loyal hearts obey.
    And he with foresight wise, to spare
    Poor Scotland, scourged, exhausted, bare,
    Whose fields unplough'd, and pastures scant,
    Had brought her hardy sons to want,
    His conquering army southward led,
    Which was on England's plenty fed:

Page 44

    And there, I trow, for many months they took
Spoil of the land which ill that hateful change could brook.


        Edward, meantime, asham'd and wroth
        At such unseemly foil, and loth
        So to be bearded, sent defiance
        To Scotland's chief, in sure reliance
    That he, with all which he may southward bring,
Of warlike force, dare not encounter England's King.


    But Wallace, on the day appointed,
    Before this scepter'd and anointed,
    Who, strengthen'd with a num'rous host,
    There halted, to maintain his boast,
    On Stanmore's height, their battle ground,
    With all his valiant Scots was found.
    A narrow space of stony moor,
    With heath and likens mottled o'er,

Page 45

    And cross'd with dew-webs wiry sheen,
    The adverse armies lay between.
    When upland mists had worn away,
    And blue sky over-head was clearing,
    And things of distant ken appearing
Fair on the vision burst, that martial grand array.
    The force on haughty Edward's side,
    Spearmen and archers were descry'd,
    Line beyond line, spread far and wide,
        Receding from the eye;
    While bristling pikes distinct and dark,
    As traced aloft with edgy mark,
        Seem'd graven on the sky;
    And armed Knights arm'd steeds bestriding,
        Their morions glancing bright,
    And to and fro their gay squires riding,
        In warlike geer bedight.
    O'er all the royal standard flew,
    With crimson folds of gorgeous hue,
    And near it, ranged, in colours gay,
    Inferior flags and banners play,

Page 46

    As broad-wing'd hawk keeps soaring high,
Circled by lesser birds, that wheeling round him fly.
    Huge waggon, sleaded car, and wain,
    With dark, piled loads, a heavy train,
    Store-place of arms and yeoman's cheer,
        Frown'd in the further rear.


    And martial'd on the northern side,
    The northern ranks the charge abide,
    In numbers few, but stout of heart,
    Their nation's honour to assert.


Thus on the field with clans and liegemen good,
England's great King, and Scotland's Warden stood.
    That Monarch proud, did rightly claim
    'Mongst Europe's lords the fairest fame,
    And had, in cause of Christentie,
    Fought with bold Saracens right gallantly.

Page 47

    That Warden was the noblest man
    That e'er grac'd nation, race, or clan,
    And grasp'd within his brave right hand
A sword, which from the dust had rais'd his native land.


    Who had not cried, that look'd upon
        So brave and grand a sight,
    "What stalwart deeds shall here be done
        "Before the close of night!"
    But Edward mark'd with falt'ring will,
    The Scottish battle ranged with skill,
    Which spoke the Leader's powerful mind.
    On England's host that number'd twice their foes,
    But newly raised, nor yet enured to blows,
    He rueful look'd, his purpose fail'd,
    He look'd again, his spirit quail'd,
        And battle gage declin'd.

Page 48


    And thus did he to Wallace yield,
    The bloodless honours of the field.
    But as the Southron ranks withdrew,
    Scarcely believing what he saw,
    The wary Chief might not expose
    His soldiers to returning foes,
    Or ambush'd snare, and gave the order,
        With beat of drum and trumpet sounding,
        The air with joyous shouts resounding,
    To cross with homeward steps the English border.


    Scotland thus, from foes secure,
    Her prudent Chieftain to enure
    His nobles still to martial toil,
    Sought contest on a distant soil;
    And many a young and valiant knight,
For foreign wars were with their leader dight.
    And soon upon the seas careering

Page 49

    In gallant ship, whose penants play,
        Waving and curling in the air,
        With changeful hues of colour fair,
    Themselves as gallant, boon, and gay,
        Their course with fav'ring breezes steering,
    To friendly France they held their way.


        And they upon the ocean met
        With warlike fleet, and sails full set,
        De Longoville, that bold outlaw,
        Whose name kept mariners in awe.
        This man, with all his desp'rate crew
        Did Wallace on the waves subdue.
        One Scottish ship the pirate thought
        As on her boarded deck he fought,
        Cheer'd by his sea-mates' warlike cries,
            A sure and easy prize.
        But Wallace's mighty arm he felt;
        Yea, at his conqueror's feet he knelt;

Page 50

        And there disdained not to crave
        And take the mercy of the brave;
        For still, as thing by nature fit,
        The brave unto the brave are knit.
        Thus natives of one parent land,
        In crowded mart, on foreign strand,
        With quick glance recognize each other;
        "That mien! that step! it is a brother!
        "Tho' mingled with a meaner race,
        "In foreign garb, I know that face,
        "His features beam like those I love,
        "His limbs with mountain vigour move,
        "And tho' so strange and alien grown,
        "The kindred tie my soul will own."
    De Longoville, ev'n from that hour, a knight,
    True to his native King, true to the right,
    Fought with the Scottish hero to the end,
In many a bloody field, his tried and valiant friend.

Page 51


    And nobly in the lists of France,
    Those noble Scots with brand and lance,
    'Midst foreign knights and warriors blended,
    In generous rivalry contended,
    Whilst their brave Chieftain taught them still,
The soldier's dext'rous art and leader's nobler skill.


        But English Edward, tired the while
        Of life inert and covert guile,
    Most faithless to the peace so lately made,
Was northward bound again, poor Scotland to invade.
        Then Wallace, with his valiant band,
            By Scotland's faithful sons recall'd,
            Whom foreign yoke full sorely gall'd,
        Must raise again his glaved hand
    To smite the shackles from his native land.

Page 52


    Brave hearts, who had in secret burn'd,
        To see their country bear the yoke,
    Hearing their Warden was return'd,
        Forth from their secret hidings broke,
            Wood, cave, or mountain-cliff, and ran
            To join the wond'rous man.


    It was a sight to chase despair,
    His standard floating on the air,
    Which, curling oft with courteous wave,
    Still seem'd to beckon to the brave.
    And when approach'd within short space,
    They saw his form and knew his face,--
    That brow of hope, that step of power,
    Which stateliest strode in danger's hour,--
    How glow'd each heart!--"Himself we see!
    "What, tho' but few and spent we be!

Page 53

    "The valiant heart despaireth never;
    "The rightful cause is strongest ever;
"While Wallace lives, the land is free."


And he this flatt'ring hope pursued,
And war with England's King renew'd.
By martial stratagem he took
    St. Johnston's stubborn town, a hold
    So oft to faithless tyrants sold;
And cautious patriots then forsook
Ignoble shelter, kept so long,
And join'd in arms the ardent throng,
Who with the Warden southward past,
Like clouds increasing on the blast.


    Fife from the enemy he won,
    And in his prosp'rous course held on,
    Till Edward's strength, borne quickly down,
    Held scarcely castle, tower, or town,

Page 54

    In all the southern shires; and then
    He turn'd him to the north again;
Where from each wall'd defence, the foe expell'd,
Fled fast, Dundee alone still for King Edward held.


    But the oppressor, blushing on his throne
To see the Scotch his warriors homeward chase,
    And those, so lately crush'd, so powerful grown,
But ill could brook this sudden foul disgrace.
    And he a base, unprincely compact made
With the red Cumming, traitor, black of heart!
    Who to their wicked plot, in secret laid,
Some other chieftains gain'd with wily art.
            And he hath dared again to send
        A noble army, all too brave
            For such unmanly, hateful end,
        A land of freedom to enslave.
At Falkirk soon was England's proudest boast
Marshall'd in grand array, a brave and powerful host.

Page 55


        But there with valiant foe to cope,
        Soon on the field stood Scotland's hope,
        Ev'n thirty thousand warriors, led
            By noble Wallace, each, that day,
        Had cheerfully his heart's blood shed
            The land to free from Southron's sway.
    Alas! had all her high-born chieftains been
        But as their leader and their clansmen true,
    She on that field a glorious day had seen,
And made, tho' match'd with them, in number few,
King Edward's vaunted host that fatal day to rue.


        But envy of a hero's fame,
        Which so obscured each lofty name,
        Was meanly harbour'd in the breast
        Of those who bore an honour'd crest.
        But most of all Red Cumming nursed
        In his dark breast this bane accursed,

Page 56

        That, with the lust of power combin'd,
        O'er-master'd all his wretched mind.
        Then to Lord Stewart, secretly,
        Spoke with smooth words the traitor sly,
        Advising that, to grace his name,
            Being by right confess'd the man,
            Who ought to lead the Scottish van,
        He should the proud distinction claim.
            And thus, as one of low estate,
            With lip of scorn, and brow elate,
Did he, by traitors back'd, the godlike Wallace bate.


    "Must noble chiefs of high degree,
    "Scotland's best blood, be led by thee?
    "Thou, who art great but as the owl,
    "Who plumed her wing from every fowl,
    "And, hooting on her blasted tree,
    "Would greater than the eagle be."

Page 57


"I stood," said Wallace "for the right,
"When ye in holes shrunk from the light;
"My plumes spread to the blazing sun
"Which coweringly ye sought to shun.
"Ye are the owls, who from the gloom
"Of cleft and cranny boasting come;
"Yet, hoot and chatter as ye may,
"I'll not to living man this day
"Resign the baton of command,
"Which Scotland's will gave to my hand,
"When spoil'd, divided, conquer'd, maim'd,
"None the dangerous honour claim'd;
"Nor, till my head lie in the dust,
"Will it betray her sacred trust."


With flashing eye, and dark red brow,
He utter'd then a hasty vow,
Seeing the snare by treason laid,
So strongly wove, so widely spread,

Page 58

    And slowly from the field withdrew;
While, slow and silent at his back,
March'd on his wayward, cheerless track,
    Ten thousand Scotchmen staunch and true,
Who would, let good or ill betide,
By noble Wallace still abide.


To them it was a strange and irksome sight,
    As on a gentle hill apart they stood,
To see arm'd squadrons closing in the fight,
    And the fierce onset to their work of blood.
To see their well-known banners as they moved
    When dark opposing ranks with ranks are blending,
To see the lofty plumes of those they loved
    Wave to and fro, with the brave foe contending.


    It hath been said, that gifted seer,
        On the dark mountain's cloudy screen,
        Forms of departed chiefs hath seen,

Page 59

    In seeming armour braced with sword and spear,
        O'erlooking some dire field of death,
        Where warriors, warm with vital breath,
    Of kindred lineage, urge the glorious strife;
        They grasp their shadowy spears, and forward bend
        In eager sympathy, as if to lend
    Their aid to those, with whom in mortal life,
        They did such rousing, noble conflict share,--
        As if their phantom forms of empty air,
Still own'd a kindred sense of what on earth they were.


    So Wallace and his faithful band survey'd
    The fatal fight, when Scotland was betray'd
    By the false Cumming, who most basely fled,
    And from the field a thousand warriors led.
    O how his noble spirit burn'd,
    When from his post the traitor turn'd,
    Leaving the Stuart sorely prest!
        Who with his hardy Scots the wave

Page 60

    Of hostile strength did stoutly breast,
        Like clansmen true and brave.
    His visage flush'd with angry glow,
    He clench'd his hand, and struck his brow.
    His heart within his bosom beat
    As it would break from mortal seat,
    And when at last they yielded space,
    And he beheld their piteous case,
Big scalding tears cours'd down his manly face.


    But, ah! that fatal vow, that pride
    Which doth in mortal breast reside,
    Of noble minds the earthly bane,
    His gen'rous impulse to restrain,
    Had power in that dark moment! still
    It struggled with his better will.
And who, superior to this tempter's power,
Hath ever braved it in the trying hour?
O! only he, who, strong in heavenly grace,

Page 61

    Taking from wretched thrals, of woman born,
    Their wicked mockery, their stripes, their scorn,
Gave his devoted life for all the human race.
    He viewed the dire disast'rous fight,
    Like a fall'n cherubim of light,
    Whose tossing form now tow'rs, now bends,
    And with its darken'd self contends,
    Till many a brave and honour'd head
    Lay still'd upon a bloody bed,
And Stuart, midst his clans, was number'd with the dead.


    Then rose he, like a rushing wind,
    Which strath or cavern hath confin'd,
    And straight thro' England's dark array,
With his bold mates, hew'd out his bloody way.
A perilous daring way, and dear the cost!
For there the good, the gallant Grame he lost.
    The gallant Grame, whose name shall long
    Remember'd be in Scottish song.

Page 62

    And second still to Wallace wight
    In lowland tale of winter's night,
Who loved him as he never loved another.
    Low to the dust he bent his head,
    Deep was his anguish o'er the dead.--
    "That daring hand, that gentle heart!
    "That lofty mind! and must we part?
        "My brother, Oh, my brother!"


    But how shall verse feign'd accents borrow,
    To speak with words their speechless sorrow,
    Who, on the trampled, blood-stain'd green
        Of battle-field, must leave behind
    What to their souls hath dearest been,
            To stiffen in the wind?
    The soldier there, or kern or chief,
    Short parley holds with shrewdest grief;
Passing to noisy strife from what, alas!
Shall from his sadden'd fancy never pass,--

Page 63

    The look that ev'n thro' writhing pain,
    Says, "shall we never meet again!"
    The grasping hand or sign but known,
    Of tenderness, to one alone:
    The lip convulsed, the life's last shiver;
    The new-closed eye, yet closed for ever,
    The brave must quit;--but, from the ground,
    They, like th' enchafed lion bound.
    Rage is their sorrow, grimly fed,
        And blood the tears they shed.


    Too bold it were for me to tell,
How Wallace fought; how on the brave
    The ruin of his anguish fell,
Ere from the field, his bands to save,
    He broke away, and sternly bore
    Along the stony Carron's shore.
    The dark brown water, hurrying past,
    O'er stone and rocky fragment cast

Page 64

    The white churn'd foam with angry bray,
    And wheel'd and bubbled on its way,
    And lash'd the margin's flinty guard,
    By him unheeded and unheard;
    Albeit, his mind, dark with despair,
    And grief, and rage, was imaged there.


    And there, 'tis said, the Bruce descried
    Him marching on the rival side.
    The Bruce, whose right the country own'd,
        (Had he possess'd a princely soul,
        Disdaining Edward's base controul,)
To be upon her chair of power enthron'd.


    "Ho, chieftain!" said the princely slave,
    "Thou who pretend'st the land to save
    "With rebel sword, opposed to me,
    "Who should of right thy sovereign be;

Page 65

    "Think'st thou the Scottish crown to wear,
        "Opposed by foreign power so great,
        "By those at home of high estate?
    "Cast the vain thought to empty air,
    "Thy fatal mad ambition to despair."


    "No!" Wallace answer'd; "I have shewn
    "This sword to gain or power or throne
    "Was never drawn; no act of mine
    "Did e'er with selfish thought combine.
    "Courage to dare, when others lay
    "In brutish sloth, beneath the sway
    "Of foreign tyranny; to save
    "From thraldom, hateful to the brave,
    "My friends, my countrymen; to stand
    "For right and honour of the land,
        "When nobler arms shrunk from the task,
        "In a vile tyrant's smiles to bask,
"Hath been my simple warrant of command.

Page 66

    "And Scotland hath confirm'd it.--No;
    "Nor shall this hand her charge forego,
    "While Southron in the land is found
"To lord it o'er one rood of Scottish ground,
        "Or till my head be low."


Deep blush'd the Bruce, shame's conscious glow
        And own'd the hero's words were true;
And with his followers, sad and slow
        To Edward's camp withdrew.


But fleeting was the mighty tyrant's boast,
    (So says the learned clerk of old,
    Who first our hero's story told,)
Fleeting the triumph of his numerous host.
    For with the morning's early dawn
        The Scottish soldiers, scatter'd wide,

Page 67

        Hath Wallace round his standard drawn,
            Hath cheer'd their spirits, rous'd their pride,
        And led them, where their foes they found,
        All listless, scatter'd on the ground.
        On whom with furious charge they set;
        And many a valiant Southron met
        A bloody death, waked from the gleam
And inward vision of a morning's dream;
        Where Fancy in his native home
        Led him through well-known fields to roam,
        Where orchard, cot, and copse appear,
        And moving forms of kindred dear;--
        For in the rugged soldier's brain
        She oft will fairy court maintain
        Full gently, as beneath the dusk
            Of hard-ribb'd shell, the pearl lies,
        Or silken bud in prickly husk;--
He from her vision's sweet unseals his eyes
To see the stern foe o'er him darkly bending,
To feel the deep-thrust blade his bosom rending,

Page 68


    So many Southrons there were slain,
    So fatal was the vengeance ta'en,
    That Edward, with enfeebled force,
    Check'd mad ambition's unbless'd course,
And to his own fair land return'd again.


    Then Wallace thought from tower and town
        And castled hold, as heretofore,
    To pull each English banner down
        And free the land once more.
But ah! the generous hope he must forego!
        Envy and pride have Scotland's cause betrayed;
All now are backward, listless, cold, and slow,
            His patriot arm to aid.


    Then to St. Johnston, at his call,
    Met burghers, knights, and nobles all,

Page 69

    Who on the pressing summons wait,
    A full assembly of the state.
There he resign'd his ensigns of command,
Which erst had kept the proudest Thanes in awe;
    Retaining in that potent hand
    Which thrice redeem'd its native land,
His simple sword alone, with which he stood
Midst all her haughty peers of princely blood,
    The noblest man e'er Scotland saw.


        And thus did Scottish lords requite
        Him, who, in many a bloody fight,
The country's champion stood; her people's Wallace wight.
    O black ingratitude! thy seemly place
        Is in the brutish, mean, and envious heart;
    How is it then, thou dost so oft disgrace
        The learn'd, the wise, the highly born, and art
        Like cank'ring blights, the oak that scathe,
        While fern and brushwood thrive beneath;

Page 70

        Like dank mould on the marble tomb,
        While graves of turf with violets bloom.
Selfish ambition makes the lordliest Thane
A meaner man than him, who drives the loaded wain.


    And he with heavy heart his native shore
    Forsook to join his old ally once more.
    And in Guienne right valiant deeds he wrought;
        Till under iron yoke opprest,
        From north to south, from east to west,
    His most unhappy groaning country sought
    The generous aid she never sought in vain;
        And with a son's unwearied love,
        Which fortune, time, nor wrongs could move,
    He to maintain her cause again repass'd the main.
        The which right bravely he maintain'd;
        And divers castles soon regain'd.
        The sound ev'n of his whisper'd name
    Revived in faithful hearts the smother'd flame,
    And many secretly to join his standard came.

Page 71

        St. Johnston's leaguered walls at length
        Were yielded to his growing strength;
        And on, with still increasing force,
        He southward held his glorious course.


Then Edward thought the chief to gain,
    And win him to his princely side
With treasur'd gold and honours vain,
    And English manors fair and wide.
But with flush'd brow and angry eye
    And words that shrewdly from him broke,
    Stately and stern, he thus bespoke
        The secret embassy.
    "These kingly proffers made to me!
    "Return and say it may not be.
    "Lions shall troop with herdsmen's droves,
    "And eagles roost with household doves,
    "Ere William Wallace draw his blade
    "With those who Scotland's rights invade.

Page 72

    "Yea, ev'n the touch of bondsman's chain,
        "Would in my thrilling members wake
    "A loathful sense of rankling pain
        "Like coiling of a venom'd snake."
    The King abash'd, in courtly hold,
    Receiv'd this answer sooth and bold.


    But ah! the fated hour drew near
    That stopp'd him in his bold career.
Monterith, a name which from that day, I ween,
Hateful to every Scottish ear hath been,
    Which highland kern and lowland hind
    Have still with treacherous guile combin'd,--
    The false Monteith, who under show
    Of friendship, sold him to the foe,
    Stole on a weary secret hour,
        As sleeping and disarm'd he lay,
    And to King Edward's vengeful power
            Gave up the mighty prey.

Page 73


    At sight of noble Wallace bound,
    The Southrons raised a vaunting sound,
As if the bands which round his limbs they drew,
        Had fetter'd Scotland too.
They gaz'd and wonder'd at their mighty thrall;
    Then nearer drew with movements slow,
    And spoke in whispers deep and low.--
    "This is the man to whom did yield
    "The doughtiest knight in banner'd field,
"Whose threat'ning frown the boldest did appal!"
    And, as his clanging fetters shook,
    Cast on him oft a fearful look,
    As doubting if in verity
    Such limbs with iron might holden be:
While boldest spearmen by the pris'ner's side
With beating heart and haggard visage ride.


    Thus on to London they have past,
    And in the Tower's dark dungeons cast

Page 74

    The hero; where, in silent gloom,
    He must abide his fatal doom.
    There pent, from earthly strife apart,
    Scotland still rested on his heart.
    Aye; every son that breathed her air
    On cultur'd plain or mountain bare,
    From chief in princely castle bred
    To herdsman in his sheeling shed,
    From war-dight youth to barefoot child,
    Who picks in brake the berry wild;--
        Her gleamy lakes and torrents clear,
    Her towns, her towers, her forests green,
    Her fields where warlike coil hath been,
        Are to his soul most dear.


    His fetter'd hands support a head,
    Whose nodding plume had terror spread
    O'er many a face, ev'n seen from far,
    When moving in the ranks of war.

Page 75

    Lonely and dark, unseen of man,
        But in that Presence whose keen eye
    Can darkest breast of mortal scan,
        The bitter thought and heavy sigh
    Have way uncheck'd, and utter'd grief
Gave to his burthen'd heart a soothing, sad relief.


    "It hath not to this arm been given
        "From the fell tyrant's grinding hand
        "To set thee free, my native land!
    "I bow me to the will of Heaven!
    "But have I run my course in vain?
    "Shall thou in bondage still remain?
    "The spoiler o'er thee still have sway,
    "Till virtue, strength, and pride decay?
    "O no! still panting to be free,
    "Thy noblest hearts will think of me.
    "Some brave, devoted, happier son
    "Will do the work I would have done;

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    "And blest be he, who nobly draws
        "His sword in Scotland's cause!"


    Perhaps his vision'd eye might turn
    To him who fought at Bannockburn.
    Or is it wildness to believe
    A dying patriot may receive,
    (Who sees his mortal span diminish'd
    To nought, his generous task unfinish'd,)
    A seeming fruitless end to cheer,
    Some glimpses of the gifted seer?
    O no! 'tis to his closing sight
    A beacon on a distant height,--
The moon's new crescent, seen in cloudy kirtled night.


And much he strove with Christian grace,
    Of those who Scotland's foes had been,
His soul's strong hatred to efface,
        A work of grace, I ween!

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    Meekly he bow'd o'er bead and book,
    And every worldly thought forsook.


    But when he on the scaffold stood,
    And cast aside his mantling hood,
    He eyed the crowd, whose sullen hum,
    Did from ten thousand upcast faces come,
    And armed guardsmen standing round,
    As he was wont on battle-ground,
    Where still with calm and portly air,
    He faced the foe with visage bare;
    As if with baton of command
    And vassal chiefs on either hand,
    Towering her marshall'd files between,
    He Scotland's warden still had been.
    This flash of mortal feeling past,--
    This gleam of pride, it was the last.
    As on the cloud's dense skirt will play,
    While the dark tempest rolls away,

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    One parting blaze; then thunders cease,
    The sky is clear, and all is peace.
And he with ready will a nobler head
    Than e'er was circled with a kingly crown,
    Upon the block to headsman's stroke laid down,
And for his native land a generous victim bled.


    What tho' that head o'er gate or tower,
        Like felons on the cursed tree,
    Visited by sun and shower,
        A ghastly spectacle may be!
    A fair renown, as years wear on,
    Shall Scotland give her noblest son.
    The course of ages shall not dim
    The love that she shall bear to him.


    In many a castle, town, and plain,
    Mountain and forest, still remain

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    Fondly cherish'd spots, which claim
The proud distinction of his honour'd name.


    Swells the huge ruin's massy heap
    In castled court, 'tis Wallace's keep.
    What stateliest o'er the rest may lower
        Of time-worn wall, where rook and daw,
        With wheeling flight and ceaseless caw,
    Keep busy stir, is Wallace's tower.
    If thro' the green wood's hanging screen,
        High o'er the deeply-bedded wave,
    The mouth of arching cleft is seen
        Yawning dark, 'tis Wallace's cave.
    If o'er its jutting barrier grey,
        Tinted by time, with furious din,
    The rude crags silver'd with its sprey,
        Shoot the wild flood, 'tis Wallace's lin.
    And many a wood remains, and hill and glen
Haunted, 'tis said, of old by Wallace and his men.

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There schoolboy still doth haunt the sacred ground,
    And musing oft its pleasing influence own,
As, starting at his footsteps echo'd sound,
            He feels himself alone.


Yea, ev'n the cottage matron, at her wheel,
    Altho' with daily care and labour crost,
Will o'er her heart the soothing magic feel,
    And of her country's ancient prowess boast;
While on the little shelf of treasured books,
    For what can most of all her soul delight,
Beyond or ballad, tale, or jest, she looks,--
    The history renown'd of Wallace wight.


    But chiefly to the soldier's breast
        A thought of him will kindling come,
    As waving high his bonnet's crest,
        He listens to the rolling drum,

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    And trumpet's call and thrilling fife,
        And bagpipes' loud and stormy strain,
    Meet prelude to tumultuous strife
        On the embattled plain.


    Whether in highland garb array'd,
    With kirtle short and highland plaid,
    Or button'd close in lowland vest,
Within his doughty grasp, broad sword, or gun be prest,--
    Rememb'ring him, he still maintains
    His country's cause on foreign plains,
    To grace her name and earn her praise,
    Led by the brave of modern days.


    Such, Abercrombie, fought with thee
        On Egypt's dark embattled shore,
    And near Corunna's bark-clad sea
        With great and gallant Moore.

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        Such fought with Ferguson and Graham,
        A leader worthy of the name,
And fought in pride of Scotland's ancient fame
                With firmer nerve and warmer will:
        And wheresoe'er on hostile ground,
        Or Scot or hardy Celt are found,
    Thy spirit, noble Wallace, fighteth still.


    O Scotland! proud may be thy boast!
Since Time his course thro' circling years hath run,
    There hath not shone, in Fame's bright host,
A nobler hero than thy patriot son.


Manly and most devoted was the love
With which for thee unweariedly he strove;
No selfish lust of power, not ev'n of fame,
Gave ardour to the pure and generous flame.

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        Rapid in action, terrible in fight,
        In counsel wise, inflexible in right,
Was he, who did so oft, in olden days,
Thy humbled head from base oppression raise.
Then be it by thy generous spirit known,
        Ready in freedom's cause to bleed,
        Spurning corruption's worthless meed,
That in thy heart thou feel'st this hero was thine own.

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Is there a man, that, from some lofty steep,
Views in his wide survey the boundless deep,
When its vast waters, lined with sun and shade,
Wave beyond wave, in seried distance, fade
To the pale sky;--or views it, dimly seen,
The shifting skreens of drifted mist between,
As the huge cloud dilates its sable form,
When grandly curtain'd by th' approaching storm,--
Who feels not his awed soul with wonder rise
To Him whose power created sea and skies,
Mountains and deserts, giving to the sight
The wonders of the day and of the night?

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    But let some fleet be seen in warlike pride,
Whose stately ships the restless billows ride,
While each, with lofty masts and bright'ning sheen
Of fair spread sails, moves like a vested Queen;--
Or rather, be some distant bark, astray,
Seen like a pilgrim on his lonely way,
Holding its steady course from port and shore,
A form distinct, a speck, and seen no more,--
How doth the pride, the sympathy, the flame,
Of human feeling stir his thrilling frame!
"O Thou! whose mandate dust inert obey'd!
"What is this creature man whom thou hast made!"


    On Palos' shore, whose crowded strand
    Bore priests and nobles of the land,
    And rustic hinds and townsmen trim,
    And harness'd soldiers stern and grim,

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    And lowly maids and dames of pride,
    And infants by their mother's side,--
    The boldest seaman stood that e'er
    Did bark or ship through tempest steer;
    And wise as bold, and good as wise;
    The magnet of a thousand eyes,
        That on his form and features cast,
    His noble mien and simple guise,
        In wonder seem'd to look their last.
    A form which conscious worth is gracing,
    A face where hope, the lines effacing
        Of thought and care, bestow'd, in truth,
    To the quick eyes' imperfect tracing
            The look and air of youth.


    Who, in his lofty gait, and high
    Expression of th' enlighten'd eye,
    Had recognis'd in that bright hour
The disappointed suppliant of dull power,

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    Who had in vain of states and kings desired
    The pittance for his vast emprise required?--
    The patient sage, who, by his lamp's faint light,
    O'er chart and map spent the long silent night?--
    The man who meekly fortune's buffets bore,
Trusting in One alone, whom heaven and earth adore?


    Another world is in his mind,
    Peopled with creatures of his kind,
    With hearts to feel, with minds to soar,
    Thoughts to consider and explore;
    Souls, who might find, from trespass shriven,
    Virtue on earth and joy in heaven.
    "That Power divine, whom storms obey,"
        (Whisper'd his heart,) a leading star,
    Will guide him on his blessed way;
        Brothers to join by fate divided far.
    Vain thoughts! which heaven doth but ordain
    In part to be, the rest, alas! how vain!

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    But hath there liv'd of mortal mould,
    Whose fortunes with his thoughts could hold
    An even race? Earth's greatest son
    That e'er earn'd fame, or empire won,
Hath but fulfill'd, within a narrow scope,
A stinted portion of his ample hope.
    With heavy sigh and look depress'd,
        The greatest men will sometimes hear
    The story of their acts address'd
        To the young stranger's wond'ring ear,
            And check the half-swoln tear.
    Is it or modesty or pride
    Which may not open praise abide?
    No; read his inward thoughts: they tell,
    His deeds of fame he prizes well.
    But, ah! they in his fancy stand,
    As relicks of a blighted band,
    Who, lost to man's approving sight,
    Have perish'd in the gloom of night,

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    Ere yet the glorious light of day
    Had glitter'd on their bright array.
    His mightiest feat had once another,
        Of high Imagination born,--
    A loftier and a nobler brother,
        From dear existence torn;
    And she for those, who are not, steeps
    Her soul in woe,--like Rachel, weeps.


    The signal given, with hasty strides,
    The sailors climb'd their ships' dark sides;
    Their anchors weigh'd; and from the shore
    Each stately vessel slowly bore.
    High o'er the deeply shadow'd flood,
    Upon his deck their leader stood,
    And turn'd him to the parted land,
    And bow'd his head and waved his hand.
    And then, along the crowded strand,
        A sound of many sounds combin'd,

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        That wax'd and wan'd upon the wind,
    Burst like heaven's thunder, deep and grand;
    A lengthen'd peal, which paused, and then
        Renew'd, like that which loathly parts,
    Oft on the ear return'd again,
        The impulse of a thousand hearts.
    But as the lenghten'd shouts subside,
        Distincter accents strike the ear,
    Wafting across the current wide,
        Heart-utter'd words of parting cheer:
    "Oh! shall we ever see again
    "Those gallant souls re-cross the main?
    "God keep the brave! God be their guide!
    "God bear them safe thro' storm and tide!
    "Their sails with fav'ring breezes swell!
    "O brave Columbus! fare thee well!"


    From shore and strait, and gulph and bay,
    The vessels held their daring way,

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    Left far behind, in distance thrown,
    All land to Moor or Christian known,
    Left far behind the misty isle,
    Whose fitful shroud, withdrawn the while,
    Shews wood and hill and headland bright
    To later seamen's wond'ring sight,
    And tide and sea left far behind
    That e'er bore freight of human kind;
    Where ship or bark to shifting gales
    E'er tack'd their course or spread their sails.
    Around them lay a boundless main
    In which to hold their silent reign;
    But for the passing current's flow,
    And cleft waves, brawling round the prow,
    They might have thought some magic spell
Had bound them, weary fate! for ever there to dwell.


    What did this trackless waste supply
    To soothe the mind or please the eye?

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    The rising morn thro' dim mist breaking,
    The flicker'd east with purple streaking;
    The mid-day cloud thro' thin air flying,
    With deeper blue the blue sea dying;
    Long ridgy waves their white mains rearing,
    And in the broad gleam disappearing;
    The broaden'd blazing sun declining,
    And western waves like fire-flood shining;
    The sky's vast dome to darkness given,
    And all the glorious host of heaven.


    Full oft upon the deck, while other's slept,
To mark the bearing of each well-known star
That shone aloft, or on th' horizon far,
    The anxious Chief his lonely vigil kept;
The mournful wind, the hoarse wave breaking near,
    The breathing groans of sleep, the plunging lead
    The steer's man's call, and his own stilly tread,
Are all the sounds of night that reach his ear.

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His darker form stalk'd through the sable gloom
    With gestures discomposed and features keen,
    That might not in the face of day be seen,
Like some unblessed spirit from the tomb.
    Night after night, and day succeeding day,
    So pass'd their dull, unvaried time away;
    Till Hope, the seaman's worship'd queen, had flown
    From every valiant heart but his alone;
    Where still, by day, enthron'd, she held her state
            With sunny look and brow elate.


But soon his dauntless soul, which nought could bend,
    Nor hope delay'd, nor adverse fate subdue,
With more redoubled danger must contend
    Than storm or wave--a fierce and angry crew.
"Dearly," say they, "may we those visions rue
        "Which lured us from our native land,
        "A wretched, lost, devoted band,

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        "Led on by hope's delusive gleam,
        "The victims of a madman's dream!
        "Nor gold shall e'er be ours, nor fame;
        "Not ev'n the remnant of a name,
        "On some rude-letter'd stone to tell
        "On what strange coast our wreck befell.
            "For us no requiem shall be sung,
        "Nor prayer be said, nor passing knell
            "In holy church be rung."


        To thoughts like these, all forms give way
        Of duty to a leader's sway;
        All habits of respect, that bind
        With easy tie the human mind.
        Ev'n love and admiration throw
        Their nobler bands aside, nor show
        A gentler mien; relations, friends,
        Glare on him now like angry fiends;

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        And, as he moves, ah, wretched cheer!
        Their mutter'd curses reach his ear,
        But all undaunted, firm and sage,
He scorns their threats, yet thus he soothes their rage:
        "I brought you from your native shore
        "An unknown ocean to explore.
        "I brought you, partners, by my side,
        "Want, toil, and danger, to abide.
"Yet weary stillness hath so soon subdued
        "The buoyant soul, the heart of pride,
"Men who in battle's brunt full oft have firmly stood.
        "That to some nearing coast we bear,
        "How many cheering signs declare!
        "Way-faring birds the blue air ranging,
        "Their shadowy line to blue air changing,
        "Pass o'er our heads in frequent flocks;
        "While sea-weed from the parent rocks
        "With fibry roots, but newly torn,
"In tressy lengthen'd wreaths are on the clear wave borne.

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"Nay, has not ev'n the drifting current brought
"Things of rude art,--of human cunning wrought?
        "Be yet two days your patience tried,
        "And if no shore is then descried,
        "Ev'n turn your dastard prows again,
        "And cast your leader to the main."


        And thus awhile with steady hand
        He kept in check a wayward band,
        Who but with half-express'd disdain
        Their rebel spirit could restrain
        The vet'ran rough as war-worn steel,
        Oft spurn'd the deck with grating heel;
        The seaman, bending o'er the flood,
        With stony gaze all listless stood;
        The sturdy bandit, wildly rude,
            Sung, as he strode, some garbled strain,
        Expressive of each fitful mood,
            Timed by his sabre's jangling chain

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        The proud Castilian, boasted name!
            Child of an ancient race
        Which proudly priz'd its spotless fame,
            And deem'd all fear disgrace,
Felt quench'd within him honour's generous flame,
And in his gather'd mantle wrapp'd his face.


So pass'd the day, the night, the second day
With its red setting sun's extinguish'd ray.
Dark, solemn midnight coped the ocean wide,
When from his watchful stand Columbus cried,
"A light, a light!"--blest sounds that rung
    In every ear.--At once they sprung
    With haste aloft, and, peering bright,
    Descried afar the blessed sight.
    "It moves, it slowly moves like ray
    "Of torch that guides some wand'rer's way!
    "And other lights more distant, seeming
    "As if from town or hamlet streaming!

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    " 'Tis land, 'tis peopled land; man dwelleth there,
"And thou, O God of Heaven! hast heard thy servant's prayer!"


    Returning day gave to their view
    The distant shore and headlands blue
    Of long-sought land. Then rose on air
        Loud shouts of joy, mix'd wildly strange
    With voice of weeping and of prayer,
        Expressive of their blessed change
    From death to life, from fierce to kind,
From all that sinks, to all that elevates the mind.
    Those who, by faithless fear ensnared,
    Had their brave chief so rudely dared,
    Now, with keen self-upbraiding stung,
    With every manly feeling wrung,
    Repentant tears, looks that entreat,
    Are kneeling at his worshipp'd feet.

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    "O pardon blinded, stubborn guilt!
    "O henceforth make us what thou wilt!
    "Our hands, our hearts, our lives, are thine,
"Thou wond'rous man! led on by power divine!"


        Ah! would some magic could arrest
        The generous feelings of the breast,
        Which thwart the common baser mass
        Of sordid thoughts, so fleetly pass,--
            A sun glimpse thro' the storm!
        The rent cloud closes, tempests swell,
        And its late path we cannot tell;
            Lost is its trace and form.
    No; not on earth such fugitives are bound;
In some veil'd future state will the bless'd charm be found.


    Columbus led them to the shore,
    Which ship had never touch'd before;

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    And there he knelt upon the strand
    To thank the God of sea and land;
    And there, with mien and look elate,
    Gave welcome to each toil-worn mate.
    And lured with courteous signs of cheer,
    The dusky natives gath'ring near;
    Who on them gazed with wond'ring eyes,
    As mission'd spirits from the skies.
    And there did he possession claim,
    In Isabella's royal name.


    It was a land, unmarr'd by art,
    To please the eye and cheer the heart:
    The natives' simple huts were seen
    Peeping their palmy groves between,--
    Groves, where each dome of sweepy leaves
    In air of morning gently heaves,
    And, as the deep vans fall and rise,
    Changes its richly verdant dies;

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    A land whose simple sons till now
    Had scarcely seen a careful brow;
    They spent at will each passing day
    In lightsome toil or active play.
    Some their light canoes were guiding,
    Along the shore's sweet margin gliding.
    Some in the sunny sea were swimming,
    The bright waves o'er their dark forms gleaming;
    Some on the beach for shell-fish stooping,
    Or on the smooth sand gaily trooping;
    Or in link'd circles featly dancing
    With golden braid and bracelet glancing.
    By shelter'd door were infants creeping,
    Or on the shaded herbage sleeping;
    Gay feather'd birds the air were winging,
    And parrots on their high perch swinging,
    While humming-birds, like sparks of light,
    Twinkled and vanish'd from the sight.

Page 143


    They eyed the wond'rous strangers o'er and o'er,--
        Those beings of the ocean and the air,
    With humble, timid rev'rence; all their store
        Of gather'd wealth inviting them to share;
    To share whate'er their lowly cabins hold;
    Their feather'd crowns, their fruits, their arms, their gold.
    Their gold, that fatal gift!--O foul disgrace!
Repaid with cruel wreck of all their harmless race.


There some short, pleasing days with them he dwelt,
And all their simple kindness dearly felt.
        But they of other countries told,
            Not distant, where the sun declines,
        Where reign Caziques o'er warriors bold,
            Rich with the gold of countless mines.
        And he to other islands sail'd,
        And was by other natives hail'd.

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        Then on Hispaniola's shore,
        Where bays and harbours to explore
        Much time he spent, a simple tower
            Of wood he built, the seat to be
        And shelter of Spain's infant power;
            Hoping the nurseling fair to see,
        Amidst those harmless people shoot
        Its stately stem from slender root.
There nine and thirty chosen men he placed,
    Gave parting words of counsel and of cheer;
One after one his nobler friends embraced,
    And to the Indian chieftain, standing near,
        "Befriend, my friends, and give them aid,
        "When I am gone," he kindly said,
Blest them, and left them there his homeward course to steer.


    His prayer to Heaven for them preferr'd
    Was not, alas! with favour heard.

Page 145

    Oft, as his ship the land forsook,.
    He landward turned his farewell look,
    And cheer'd his Spaniards cross the wave,
    Who distant answer faintly gave;
    Distant but cheerful. On the strand
    He saw their clothed figures stand
    With naked forms link'd hand in hand;--
    Saw thus caress'd, assured, and bold,
    Those he should never more behold.
    Some simple Indians, gently won,
    To visit land, where sets the sun
    In clouds of amber, and behold,
    The wonders oft by Spaniards told;
    Stood silent by themselves apart,
    With nature's yearnings at their heart,
    And saw the coast of fading blue
    Wear soft and sadly from their view.
    But soon by their new comrades cheer'd,
    As o'er the waves the ship career'd,
    Their wond'ring eyes aloft were cast
    On white swoln sails and stately mast,

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    And check'ring shrouds, depicted fair,
    On azure sea and azure air;
    And felt, as feels the truant boy,
    Who, having climb'd some crumbling mound
    Or ruin'd tower, looks wildly round,--
        A thrilling, fearful joy.


    Then with his two small barks again
    The dauntless Chief travers'd the main;
    But not with fair and fav'ring gales
    That erst had fill'd his western sails:
    Fierce winds with adverse winds contended;
    Rose the dark deep,--dark heaven descended,
    And threaten'd, in the furious strife,
The ships to sink with all their freight of precious life.


    In this dread case, well may be guess'd
    What dismal thoughts his soul depress'd:

Page 147

    "And must I in th' o'erwhelming deep,
        "Our bold achievement all unknown,
    "With these my brave advent'rers sleep,--
        "What we have done to dark oblivion thrown?
    "Sink, body! to thy wat'ry grave,
    "If so God will; but let me save
    "This noble fruitage of my mind,
    "And leave my name and deeds behind!"


    Upon a scroll, with hasty pen,
        His wond'rous tale he traced,
    View'd it with tearful eyes, and then
        Within a casket placed.
    "Perhaps," said he, "by vessel bound
    "On western cruize, thou wilt be found;
    "Or make, sped by the current swift,
    "To Christian shore thy happy drift.
"Thy story may by friendly eyes be read;
"O'er our untimely fate warm tears be shed;

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"Our deeds rehears'd by many an eager tongue,
"And requiems for our parted souls be sung."
        This casket to the sea he gave;
    Quick sunk and rose the freightage light,--
        Appear'd on many a booming wave,
Then floated far away from his still gazing sight.
    Yet, after many a peril braved,--
        Of many an adverse wind the sport,
    He, by his Great Preserver saved,
        Anchor'd again in Palos' port.


O, who can tell the acclamation loud
That, bursting, rose from the assembled crowd,
To hail the Hero and his gallant train,
From such adventure bold return'd again!--
The warm embrace, the oft-repeated cheer,
And many a wistful smile and many a tear!--
            How, pressing close, they stood;
        Look'd on Columbus with amaze,--
        "Is he," so spake their wond'ring gaze,

Page 149

            "A man of flesh and blood?"
        While cannon far along the shore
        His welcome gave with deaf'ning roar.


And then with measur'd steps, sedate and slow,
They to the Christian's sacred temple go.
Soon as the chief within the house of God
        Upon the hallow'd pavement trod,
            He bowed with holy fear:--
        "The God of wisdom, mercy, might,
        "Creator of the day and night,
        "This sea-girt globe, and every star of light
                "Is worship'd here."
        Then on the altar's steps he knelt,
        And what his inward spirit felt,
        Was said unheard within that cell
        Where saintly thoughts and feelings dwell;
        But as the choral chaunters raise
        Thro' dome and aisle the hymn of praise,

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        To heaven his glist'ning eyes were turn'd,
        With sacred love his bosom burn'd.
            On all the motley crowd
The gen'rous impulse seized; high Dons of pride
Wept like the meekest beedsman by their side,
            And women sobb'd aloud.


        Nor statesmen met in high debate
        Deciding on a country's fate,
        Nor saintly chiefs with fearless zeal
        Contending for their churches' weal,
        Nor warriors, midst the battle's roar,
        Who fiercely guard their native shore;
        No power by earthly coil possest
        To agitate the human breast,
        Shows, from its native source diverted,
        Man's nature noble, tho' perverted,
        So strongly as the transient power
    Of link'd devotion's sympathetic hour.

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        It clothes with soft unwonted grace
        The traits of many a rugged face,
        As bend the knees unused to kneel,
        And glow the hearts unused to feel;
    While every soul, with holy passion moved,
Claims one Almighty Sire, fear'd, and adored, and loved.


With western treasures, borne in fair display,
To Barcelona's walls, in grand array,
Columbus slowly held his inland way.
        And still where'er he pass'd along,
        In eager crowds the people throng.
        The wildest way o'er desert drear,
        Did like a city's mart appear.
        The shepherd swain forsook his sheep;
        The goat-herd from his craggy steep
        Shot like an arrow to the plain;
        Mechanics, housewives, left amain

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        Their broken, tasks, and press'd beside
        The truant youth they meant to chide:
        The dull Hidalgo left his tower,
        The Donna fair her latticed bower;
        Together press'd, fair and uncouth,
        All motley forms of age and youth.
        And, still along the dark-ranged pile
        Of clust'ring life, was heard the while
        Mix'd brawling joy, and shouts that rung
        From many a loud and deaf'ning tongue.
        Ah! little thought the gazing throng,
        As pass'd that pageant show along,
        How Spain should rue, in future times,
            With desert plains and fields untill'd,
            And towns with listless loit'rers fill'd,
    The with'ring spoil receiv'd from foreign climes!
        Columbus gave thee, thankless Spain!
        A new-found world o'er which to reign:
        But could not with the gift impart
        A portion of his liberal heart

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        And manly mind, to bid thee soar
        Above a robber's lust of ore,
Which hath a curse entail'd on all thy countless store.


        To Barcelona come, with honours meet
        Such glorious deeds to grace, his sov'reigns greet
        Their mariner's return. Or hall,
        Or room of state was deem'd too small
        For such reception. Pageant rare!
        Beneath heaven's dome, in open square,
            Their gorgeous thrones were placed;
        And near them on a humbler seat,
        While on each hand the titled great,
        Standing in dizen'd rows, were seen,
        Priests, guards, and crowds, a living screen,--
        Columbus sat, with noble mien,
                With princely honours graced.
    There to the royal pair his tale he told:
        A wond'rous tale, that did not want
        Or studied words or braggart's vaunt;

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        When at their royal feet were laid
        Gems, pearls, and plumes of many a shade,
            And stores of virgin gold,
        Whilst, in their feathered guise arrayed,
        The Indians low obeisance paid.
        And at that wond'rous story's close
        The royal pair with rev'rence rose,
        And kneeling on the ground, aloud
        Gave thanks to Heaven. Then all the crowd,
        Joining, from impulse of the heart,
        The banded priest's extatic art,
        With mingled voice Te Deum sang;
With the grand choral burst, walls; towers, and welkin rang.


        This was his brightest hour, too bright
        For human weal;--a glaring light,
        Like sunbeam thro' the rent cloud pouring
        On the broad lake, when storms are roaring;
Bright centre of a wild and sombre scene;
More keenly bright than Summer's settled sheen.

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        With kingly favour brighten'd, all
        His favour court, obey his call.
        At princely boards, above the rest,
        He took his place, admir'd, caress'd:
        Proud was the Don of high degree,
        Whose honour'd guest he deign'd to be.
        Whate'er his purpos'd service wanted,
        With ready courtesy was granted:
        No envious foe durst cross his will.
        While eager ship-wrights ply their skill,
        To busy dock-yard, quay, or port,
        Priests, lords, and citizens resort:
        There wains the heavy planks are bringing,
        And hammers on the anvil ringing;
        The far-toss'd boards on boards are falling,
        And brawny mate to work-mate calling:
        The cable strong on windlass winding;
        On wheel of stone the edge-tool grinding;

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        Red fire beneath the caldron gleaming,
        And pitchy fumes from caldron steaming.
        To sea and land's men too, I ween,
        It was a gay, attractive scene;
        Beheld, enjoyed, day after day,
        Till all his ships, in fair array,
            Were bounden for their course at last,
        And amply stored and bravely mann'd,
        Bore far from blue, receding land.
        Thus soon again, th' Atlantic vast
            With gallant fleet he past.


By peaceful natives hail'd with kindly smiles,
He shortly touch'd at various pleasant isles;
And when at length her well-known shore appear'd,
And he to fair Hispaniola near'd,
        Upon the deck, with eager eye,
        Some friendly signal to descry,
        He stood; then fir'd his signal shot,
        But answ'ring fire received not.

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        "What may this dismal silence mean?
        "No floating flag in air is seen,
        "Nor ev'n the Tower itself, tho' well
        "Its lofty scite those landmarks tell.
        "Ha! have they so regardless proved
        "Of my command?-- their station moved!"
        As closer to the shore they drew,
        To hail them came no light canoe;
    The beach was silent and forsaken:
        Nor cloth'd nor naked forms appear'd,
        Nor sound of human voice was heard;
        Naught but the sea-birds from the rock,
        With busy stir that flutt'ring broke;
Sad signs, which in his mind portentous fears awaken.


    Then eagerly on shore he went,
    His scouts abroad for tidings sent;
    But to his own loud echo'd cry
    An Indian came with fearful eye,

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    Who guess'd his questions' hurried sound,
    And pointed to a little mound,
    Not distant far. With eager haste
    The loosen'd mould aside was cast.
Bodies, alas! within that grave were found,
        Which had not long been laid to rest,
    Tho' so by changeful death defaced,
    Nor form, nor visage could be traced,--
        In Spanish garments dress'd.
Back from each living Spaniard's cheek the blood
Ran chill, as round their noble chief they stood,
Who sternly spoke to check the rising tear.
"Eight of my valiant men are buried here;
"Where are the rest?" the timid Indian shook
In every limb, and slow and faintly spoke.
    "Some are dead, some sick, some flown;
    "The rest are up the country gone,
    "Far, far away." A heavy groan
    Utters the Chief; his blanch'd lips quiver;
    He knows that they are gone for ever.

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        But here 'twere tedious and unmeet
        A dismal story to repeat,
        Which was from mild Cazique received,
        Their former friend, and half believed.
        Him, in his cabin far apart,
        Wounded they found, by Carib dart;
        Receiv'd, said he, from savage foe
        Spaniards defending. Then with accents low
        He spoke, and ruefully began to tell,
        What to those hapless mariners befell.
        How that from lust of pleasure and of gold,
            And mutual strife and war on Caribs made,
        Their strength divided was, and burnt their hold,
And their unhappy heads beneath the still earth laid.


    Yet, spite of adverse fate, he in those climes
    Spain's infant power establish'd; after-times
    Have seen it flourish, and her sway maintain
    In either world, o'er many a fair domain.

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    But wayward was his irksome lot the while,
    Striving with malice, mutiny, and guile;
        Yet vainly striving: that which most
    His generous bosom sought to shun,
        Each wise and lib'ral purpose crost,
Must now at Mammon's ruthless call be done.
            Upon their native soil,
        They who were wont in harmless play
        To frolic out the passing day,
            Must pine with hateful toil.


Yea; this he did against his better will;
For who may stern ambition serve, and still
            His nobler nature trust?
        May on unshaken strength relic,
        Cast Fortune as she will her dye,
            And say "I will be just?"

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            Envy mean, that in the dark
            Strikes surely at its noble mark,
            Against him rose with hatred fell,
            Which he could brave, but could not quell.
            Then he to Spain indignant went,
            And to his sov'reigns made complaint,
            With manly freedom, of their trust,
            Put, to his cost, in men unjust,
            And turbulent. They graciously
        His plaint and plea receiv'd; and hoisting high
        His famed and gallant flag upon the main,
        He to his western world return'd again.
        Where he, the sea's unwearied, dauntless rover,
        Thro' many a gulph and straight, did first discover
            That continent, whose mighty reach
            From th' utmost frozen north doth stretch
            Ev'n to the frozen south; a land
            Of surface fair and structure grand.

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        There, thro' vast regions rivers pour,
        Whose mid-way skiff scarce sees the shore;
        Which, rolling on in lordly pride,
        Give to the main their ample tide;
        And dauntless then, with current strong,
        Impetuous, roaring, bear along,
        And still their sep'rate honours keep,
In bold contention with the mighty deep.


        There broad-based mountains from the sight
        Conceal in clouds their vasty height,
        Whose frozen peaks, a vision rare,
Above the girdling clouds rear'd far in upper air,
        At times appear, and soothly seem
            To the far distant, up-cast eye,
            Like snowy watch-towers of the sky,--
        Like passing visions of a dream.

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        There forests grand of olden birth,
        O'er-canopy the darken'd earth,
        Whose trees, growth of unreckon'd time,
        Rear o'er whole regions far and wide
        A checker'd dome of lofty pride
            Silent, solemn, and sublime.--
        A pillar'd lab'rinth, in whose trackless gloom,
Unguided feet might stray till close of mortal doom.


        There grassy plains of verdant green
        Spread far beyond man's ken are seen,
        Whose darker bushy spots that lye
        Strew'd o'er the level vast, descry
        Admiring strangers, from the brow
        Of hill or upland steep, and show,
        Like a calm ocean's peaceful isles,
When morning light thro' rising vapours smiles.

Page 164


        O'er this, his last--his proudest fame,
        He did assert his mission'd claim.
        Yet dark ambitious envy, more
        Incens'd and violent than before,
        With crafty machinations gain'd
        His royal master's ear, who stain'd
        His princely faith, and gave it power
        To triumph, in a shameful hour.
        A mission'd gownsman o'er the sea
            Was sent his rights to supersede
            And all his noble schemes impede,--
        His tyrant, spy, and judge to be.
        With parchment scrolls and deeds he came
        To kindle fierce and wasteful flame.
        Columbus' firm and dauntless soul
        Submitted not to base controul.
        For who that hath high deeds achieved,
        Whose mind hath mighty plans conceived,

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        Can of learn'd ignorance and pride
        The petty vexing rule abide?
        The lion trampled by an ass!--
No; this all-school'd forbearance would surpass.
        Insulted with a felon's chain,
        This noble man must cross the main,
And answer his foul charge to cold, ungrateful Spain.


        By India's gentle race alone
        Was pity to his suff'rings shown.
                They on his parting wait.
        And looks of kindness on him cast,
        Or touch'd his mantle as he past,
                And mourn'd his alter'd state.
        "May the Great Spirit smooth the tide
        "With gentle gales, and be thy guide!"
        And when his vessel wore from land,
            With meaning nods and gestures kind,
        He saw them still upon the strand
            Tossing their dark arms on the wind.

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            He saw them like a helpless flock
            Who soon must bear the cruel shock
            Of savage wolves, yet reckless still,
            Feel but the pain of present ill.
He saw the fate he could not now controul,
And groan'd in bitter agony of soul.


            He trode the narrow deck with pain,
            And oft survey'd his rankling chain.
            The ship's brave captain grieved to see
                Base irons his noble pris'ner gall,
            And kindly sued to set him free;
                But proudly spoke the lofty thrall,
            "Until the King whom I have served,
            "Who thinks this recompense deserved,
            "Himself command th' unclasping stroke,
            "These gyved limbs will wear their yoke.
            "Yea, when my head lies in the dust,
            "These chains shall in my coffin rust.

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            "Better than lesson'd saw, tho' rude,
"As token, long preserv'd, of black ingratitude!"


Thus pent, his manly fortitude gave way
To brooding passion's dark tumultuous sway.
Dark was the gloom within, and darker grew
Th' impending gloom without, as onward drew
Th' embattled storm that, deep'ning on its way,
With all its marshall'd host obscured the day.
Volume o'er volume, roll'd the heavy clouds,
    And oft in dark dim masses, sinking slow,
Hung in the nether air, like misty shrouds,
    Veiling the sombre, silent deep below.
Like eddying snow-flakes from a lowering sky,
Athwart the dismal gloom the frighten'd sea-fowl fly.
        Then from the solemn stillness round,
        Utters the storm its awful sound.
        It groans upon the distant waves;
        O'er the mid-ocean wildly raves;

Page 168

        Recedes afar with dying strain,
            That sadly thro' the troubled air
            Comes like the wailings of despair,
And with redoubled strength returns again:
Through shrouds and rigging, boards and mast,
Whistles, and howls, and roars th' outrageous blast.


    From its vast bed profound with heaving throws
    The mighty waste of welt'ring waters rose.
    O'er countless waves, now mounting, now deprest,
    The ridgy surges swell with foaming crest,
    Like Alpine barriers of some distant shore,
    Now seen, now lost amidst the deaf'ning roar;
    While, higher still, on broad and sweepy base,
    Their growing bulk the mountain billows raise,
    Each far aloft in lordly grandeur rides,
With many a vassal wave rough'ning his furrow'd sides.
        Heav'd to its height, the dizzy skiff
        Shoots like an eagle from his cliff

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        Down to the fearful gulf, and then
        On the swoln waters mounts again,--
        A fearful way! a fearful state
        For vessel charged with living freight!


        Within, without the tossing tempests rage:
        This was, of all his earthly pilgrimage,
        The injur'd Hero's fellest, darkest hour.
            Yet swiftly pass'd its gloomy power;
            For as the wild winds louder blew,
            His troubled breast the calmer grew;
            And, long before the mighty hand,
            That rules the ocean and the land,
        Had calm'd the sea, with pious rev'rence fill'd,
        The warring passions of his soul were still'd.
        Through softly parting clouds the blue sky peer'd,
And heaven-ward turn'd his eye with better feelings cheer'd.
        Meek are the wise, the great, the good;--
He sighed, and thought of Him, who died on holy rood.

Page 170


        No more the angry tempest's sport,
        The vessel reach'd its destined port.
        A town of Christendom he greets,
        And treads again its well-known streets;
        A sight of wonder, grief, and shame
        To those who on his landing came,
        And on his state in silence gaz'd.
            "This is the man whose dauntless soul"--
        So spoke their looks--"Spain's power hath rais'd
            "To hold o'er worlds her proud controul!
        "His honour'd brows with laurel crown'd,
        "His hands with felon fetters bound!"


        And he before his Sov'reign Dame
        And her stern Lord, indignant came;
            And bold in conscious honour, broke
        The silence of his smother'd flame,
    In words that all his inward anguish spoke.

Page 171

        The gentle Queen's more noble breast
        Its generous sympathy exprest;
        And as his varied story show'd
        What wrongs from guileful malice flow'd,
        Th' indignant eye and flushing cheek
        Did oft her mind's emotion speak.
        The sordid King, with brow severe,
        Could, all unmov'd, his pleadings hear;
        Save, that, in spite of royal pride,
        Which self-reproach can ill abide,
        His crimson'd face did meanly show
        Of conscious shame th' unworthy glow.
    Baffled, disgraced, his enemies remain'd,
    And base ambition for a time restrain'd.


        With four small vessels, small supply
        I trow! yet granted tardily,
        For such high service, he once more
        The western ocean to explore

Page 172

        Directs his course. On many an isle
        He touch'd, where cheerly, for a while,
        His mariners their cares beguile
            Upon the busy shore.
        And there what wiles of barter keen
        Spaniard and native pass between;
        As feather'd crowns, whose colours change
        To every hue, with vizards strange,
        And gold and pearls are giv'n away,
        For beed or bell, or bauble gay!
        Full oft the mutt'ring Indian eyes
        With conscious smile his wond'rous prize,
        Beneath the shady plantain seated,
        And thinks he hath the stranger cheated;
        Or foots the ground like vaunting child,
        Snapping his thumbs with anticks wild.


        But if, at length, tired of their guests,
        Consuming like those hateful pests,

Page 173

        Locusts or ants, provisions stored
        For many days, they will afford
        No more, withholding fresh supplies,
        And strife and threat'ning clamours rise,--
        Columbus gentle craft pursues,
        And soon their noisy wrath subdues.
        Thus speaks the chief,--"Refuse us aid
        "From stores which Heaven for all hath made!
        "The moon, your mistress, will this night
        "From you withhold her blessed light,
        "Her ire to show; take ye the risk."
            Then, as half-frighten'd, half in jest,
            They turn'd their faces to the east,
        From ocean rose her broaden'd disk;
        But when the deep eclipse came on,
        By science sure to him foreknown,
            How cower'd each savage at his feet,
        Like spaniel couching to his lord,
        Awed by the whip or angry word,
                His pardon to entreat!

Page 174

        "Take all we have, thou heavenly man!
        "And let our mistress smile again!"


        Or, should the ship, above, below,
        Be fill'd with crowds, who will not go;
        Again, to spare more hurtful force,
        To harmless guile he has recourse.
        "Ho! Gunner! let these scramblers know
        "The power we do not use:" when, lo!
            From cannon's mouth the silv'ry cloud
        Breaks forth, soft curling on the air,
        Thro' which appears the light'ning's glare,
            And bellowing roars the thunder loud.
        Quickly from bowsprit, shroud, or mast,
        Or vessel's side the Indians cast
        Their naked forms, the water dashing
        O'er their dark heads, as stoutly lashing
        The briny waves with arms out-spread,
        They gain the shore with terror's speed.

Page 175


        Thus checker'd still with shade and sheen
        Pass'd in the West his latter scene,
        As thro' the oak's toss'd branches pass
        Soft moon-beams, flickering on the grass;
        As on the lake's dark surface pour
        Broad flashing drops of summer-shower;--
        As the rude cavern's sparry sides
        When past the miner's taper glides.
        So roam'd the Chief, and many a sea
        Fathom'd and search'd unweariedly,
        Hoping a western way to gain
        To eastern climes,--an effort vain;
For mighty thoughts, with error uncombin'd,
Were never yet the meed of mortal mind.


        At length, by wayward fortune crost,
            And oft-renew'd and irksome strife
        Of sordid men,-- by tempests tost,

Page 176

And tir'd with turmoil of a wand'rer's life,
He sail'd again for Europe's ancient shore,
So will'd High Heav'n! to cross the seas no more.
His anchor fix'd, his sails for ever furl'd,--
A toil-worn pilgrim in a weary world.


        And thus the Hero's sun went down,
        Closing his day of bright renown.
        Eight times thro' breeze and storm he past
        O'er surge and wave th' Atlantic vast;
        And left on many an island fair
        Foundations which the after-care
        Of meaner chieftains shortly rear'd
        To seats of power, serv'd, envy'd, fear'd.
No kingly conqueror, since time began
The long career of ages, hath to man
A scope so ample given for trade's bold range,
Or caus'd on earth's wide stage such rapid mighty change.

Page 177


        He, on the bed of sickness laid,
        Saw, unappall'd, death's closing shade;
        And there, in charity and love
        To man on earth and God above,
        Meekly to heaven his soul resign'd,
        His body to the earth consign'd.
        'Twas in Valladolid he breathed his last,
        And to a better, heavenly city past;
        But St. Dominga, in her sacred fane
Doth his blest spot of rest and sculptur'd tomb contain.


There burghers, knights, advent'rers brave
        Stood round in fun'ral weeds bedight;
    And bow'd them to the closing grave,
            And wish'd his soul good night.

Page 178


Now all the bold companions of his toil
    Tenants of many a clime, who wont to come,
(So fancy trows) when vex'd with worldly coil
            And linger sadly by his narrow home;--
        Repentant enemies, and friends that grieve
            In self-upbraiding tenderness, and say,
        "Cold was the love he did from us receive,"--
            The fleeting restless spirits of a day,
            All to their dread account are pass'd away.


            Silence, solemn, awful, deep,
    Doth in that hall of death her empire keep;
    Save when at times the hollow pavement, smote
            By solitary wand'rer's foot, amain
    From lofty dome and arch and aisle remote
            A circling loud response receives again.
    The stranger starts to hear the growing sound,

Page 179

            And sees the blazon'd trophies waving near;--
        "Ha! tread my feet so near that sacred ground!"
He stops and bows his head:--"Columbus resteth here!"


    Some ardent youth, perhaps, ere from his home
    He launch his vent'rous bark, will hither come,
    Read fondly o'er and o'er his graven name
    With feelings keenly touch'd,--with heart of flame;
    Till wrapp'd in fancy's wild delusive dream,
    Times past and long forgotten, present seem.
    To his charm'd ear, the east wind rising shrill,
    Seems thro' the Hero's shroud to whistle still.
    The clock's deep pendulum swinging, thro' the blast
    Sounds like the rocking of his lofty mast;
    While fitful gusts rave like his clam'rous band,
    Mix'd with the accents of his high command.
    Slowly the stripling quits the pensive scene,
And burns, and sighs, and weeps to be what he has been.

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    O! who shall lightly say that fame
    Is nothing but an empty name!
    Whilst in that sound there is a charm
    The nerves to brace, the heart to warm,
    As, thinking of the mighty dead,
        The young, from slothful couch will start,
    And vow, with lifted hands outspread,
        Like them to act a noble part?


        O! who shall lightly say that fame
        Is nothing but an empty name!
        When, but for those, our mighty dead,
            All ages past, a blank would be,
        Sunk in oblivion's murky bed,--
            A desert bare, a shipless sea?
        They are the distant objects seen,--
        The lofty marks of what hath been.

Page 181


        O! who shall lightly say that fame
        Is nothing but an empty name!
    When mem'ry of the mighty dead
            To earth-worn pilgrim's wistful eye
        The brightest rays of cheering shed,
            That point to immortality?


        A twinkling speck, but fix'd and bright,
        To guide us thro' the dreary night,
        Each hero shines, and lures the soul
        To gain the distant happy goal.
    For is there one who, musing o'er the grave
    Where lies interr'd the good, the wise, the brave,
    Can poorly think, beneath the mould'ring heap,
    That noble being shall for ever sleep?
    No; saith the gen'rous heart, and proudly swells,--
"Tho' his cered corse lies here, with God his spirit dwells."

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    WHEN , sapient, dauntless, strong, heroic man!
    Our busy thoughts thy noble nature scan,
    Whose active mind, its hidden cell within,
    Frames that from which the mightiest works begin;
    Whose secret thoughts are light to ages lending,
    Whose potent arm is right and life defending,
    For helpless thousands, all on one high soul depending:--
    We pause, delighted with the fair survey,
    And haply in our wistful musings say,
    What mate, to match this noble work of heaven,
    Hath the all-wise and mighty master given?

Page 208

    One gifted like himself, whose head devises
    High things, whose soul at sound of battle rises,
    Who with glav'd hand will thro' arm'd squadrons ride,
    And, death confronting, combat by his side;
    Will share with equal wisdom grave debate,
    And all the cares of chieftain, kingly state?
    Aye, such, I trow, in female form hath been
    Of olden times, and may again be seen,
    When cares of empire or strong impulse swell
    The generous breast, and to high deeds impel;
    For who can these as meaner times upbraid,
    Who think of Saragossa's valiant maid?

    But she of gentler nature, softer, dearer,
    Of daily life the active, kindly cheerer;
    With generous bosom, age, or childhood shielding,
    And in the storms of life, tho' mov'd, unyielding;
    Strength in her gentleness, hope in her sorrow,
    Whose darkest hours some ray of brightness borrow

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    From better days to come, whose meek devotion
    Calms every wayward passion's wild commotion;
    In want and suff'ring, soothing, useful, sprightly,
    Bearing the press of evil hap so lightly,
    Till evil's self seems its strong hold betraying
    To the sweet witch'ry of such winsome playing;
    Bold from affection, if by nature fearful,
    With varying brow, sad, tender, anxious, cheerful,--
    This is meet partner for the loftiest mind,
With crown or helmet graced,--yea, this is womankind!
Come ye, whose grateful memory retains
Dear recollection of her tender pains
To whom your oft-conn'd lesson, daily said,
With kiss and cheering praises was repaid;
To gain whose smile, to shun whose mild rebuke,
Your irksome task was learnt in silent nook,
Tho' truant thoughts the while, your lot exchanging
With freer elves, were wood and meadow ranging;--
And ye, who best the faithful virtues know
Of a link'd partner, tried in weal and woe,
Like the sight willow, now aloft, now bending,
But, still unbroken, with the blast contending,
Whose very look call'd virtuous vigour forth,
Compelling you to match her noble worth;--
And ye, who in a sister's modest praise
Feel manly pride, and think of other days,
Pleased that the play-mate of your native home
Hath in her prime an honour'd name become;--
And ye, who in a duteous child have known
A daughter, help-mate, sister, blent in one,
From whose dear hand which, to no hireling leaves
Its task of love, your age sweet aid receives,
Who reckless marks youth's waning faded hue,
And thinks her bloom well spent, when spent for you;--
Come all, whose thoughts such dear remembrance bear,
And to my short and faithful lay give ear.

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        Within a prison's hateful cell,
        Where, from the lofty window fell,
        Thro' grated bars, the sloping beam,
            Defin'd, but faint, on couch of stone,
            There sat a pris'ner sad and lone,
    Like the dim tenant of a dismal dream.
        Deep in the shade, by low-arch'd door,
        With iron nails thick studded o'er,
        Whose threshold black is cross'd by those
        Who here their earthly being close,
        Or issue to the light again
        A scaffold with their blood to stain,--
        Moved something softly. Wistful ears
        Are quick of sense, and from his book
    The pris'ner rais'd his eyes with eager look,--
"Is it a real form that thro' the gloom appears?"

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        It was indeed of flesh and blood,
        The form that quickly by him stood;
        Of stature low, of figure light,
        In motion like some happy sprite;
        Yet meaning eyes and varying cheek,
        Now red, now pale, seem'd to bespeak
        Of riper years the cares and feeling
        Which with a gentle heart were dealing.
            "Such sense in eyes so simply mild!
            "Is it a woman or a child?
"Who art thou, damsel sweet? are not mine eyes beguiled?"


    "No; from the Redbraes' tower I come;
    "My father is Sir Patrick Hume;
    "And he has sent me for thy good,
    "His dearly honour'd Jerviswood.
    "Long have I round these walls been straying,
    "As if with other children playing;

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    "Long near the gate have kept my watch
    "The sentry's changing-time to catch.
    "With stealthy steps I gain'd the shade
    "By the close-winding staircase made,
    "And when the surly turnkey enter'd,
        "But little dreaming in his mind
        "Who follow'd him so close hehind ,
"Into this darken'd cell, with beating heart, I ventured."


    Then from the simple vest that braced
    Her gentle breast, a letter traced
    With well-known characters, she took,
    And with an eager, joyful look,
    Her eyes up to his visage cast,
        His changing countenance to scan,
    As o'er the lines his keen glance past.
        She saw a faint glow tinge the sickly wan;
    She saw his eyes thro' tear-drops raise
    To heaven their look of silent praise,

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    And hope's fresh touch undoing lines of care
Which stress of evil times had deeply graven there.
        Meanwhile, the joy of sympathy to trace
        Upon her innocent and lovely face
        Had to the sternest, darkest sceptic given
Some love of human kind, some faith in righteous Heaven


        What blessings on her youthful head
        Were by the grateful patriot shed,
        (For such he was, good and devoted,
        And had at risk of life promoted
        His country's freedom and her faith,
        Nor reck'ning made of worldly skathe)
        How warm, confiding, and sincere,
        He gave to her attentive ear
        The answer which her cautious sire
        Did to his secret note require;--
        How after this with 'quiries kind,
        He ask'd for all she left behind

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        In Redbraes' tower, her native dwelling,
        And set her artless tongue a-telling,
        Which urchin dear had tallest grown,
        And which the greatest learning shown,
        Of lesson, sermon, psalm, and note,
        And Sabbath questions learnt by rote,
        And merry tricks and gambols play'd
        By ev'ning fire, and forfeits paid,--
    I will not here rehearse, nor will I say,
    How, on that bless'd and long-remember'd day,
    The pris'ner's son, deserving such a sire,
    First saw the tiny maid, and did admire,
    That one so young and wise and good and fair
Should be an earthly thing that breath'd this nether air.


        E'en let my reader courteously suppose,
        That from this visit happier days arose;
        Suppose the pris'ner from his thraldom freed,
                And with our lay proceed.

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The damsel, glad her mission'd task was done,
Back to her home long since had blithely gone;
And there remain'd, a meek and duteous child
        Where useful toil, with play between,
        And pastime on the sunny green,
The weeks and months of passing years beguiled.


        Scotland the while convulsive lay
        Beneath a hateful tyrant's sway;
    For James's bigot mind th' ascendant gain'd,
        And fiercely raged blind ruthless power;
    While men, who true to conscience' voice remain'd,
        Were forced in caves and dens to cower;
    Bereft of home or hold or worldly wealth,
        Upon the bleak and blasted heath,
    They sang their glorious Maker's praise by stealth,
            Th' inclement sky beneath.

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        And some were forced to flee their native land,
            Or in the grated prison's gloom,
Dealt to them by corruption's hateful hand,
                Abide their fatal doom.


        And there our former thrall, the good,
        The firm, the gentle Jerviswood
        Again was pent, with sickness worn,
            Watching each pulse's feebler beat
        Which promised, ere the fated morn,
            The scaffold of its prey to cheat.


And now that patriot's ancient, faithful friend,
Our maiden's sire, must to the tempest bend.
        He too must quit his social hearth,
            The place where cheerful friends resort,
            And trav'llers rest and children sport,
        To lay him on the mould'ring earth;
        Thro' days of lonely gloom to rest his head

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        With them, who, in those times unblest,
        Alone had sure and fearless rest,
            The still, the envied dead.


        Sad was his hiding-place, I ween,
        A fearful place, where sights had been,
    Full oft, by the benighted rustic seen;
        Aye, elrich forms in sheeted white,
    Which, in the waning moonlight blast,
        Pass by, nor shadow onward cast,
                Like any earthly wight;
        A place, where midnight lights had shone
            Thro' charnel windows, and the glancing
        Of wand'ring flame, on church-path lone,
    Betray'd the hour when fiends and hags were dancing,
Or to their vigil foul with trooping haste advancing.
        A place, whose gate with weeds o'ergrown,
            Hemlock and dock of deep dull green,
            That climbing rank the lintals screen,

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            What time the moon is riding high
            The very hounds went cowering by,
        Or watch'd afar with howling moan;
For brutes 'tis said, will see what meets no human eye.


        You well may guess his faithful wife
            A heart of heavy cheer had then,
        List'ning her household's hum of life,
            And thinking of his silent den.
        "Oh! who will to that vault of death,
            "At night's still watch repair,
        "The dark and chilly sky beneath,
            "And needful succour bear?
    "Many his wants, who bideth lonely there!"


        Pleased had you been to have beheld,
            Like fire-sparks from the stricken stone,
            Like sun-beams on the rain-drop thrown,

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            The kindling eye of sweet Griseld,
            When thus her mother spoke, for known
            Was his retreat to her alone.
            The wary dame to none beside
            The dangerous secret might confide.
            "O fear not, mother! I will go,
                "Betide me good or ill:
            "Nor quick nor dead shall daunt me; no;
            "Nor witch-fires, dancing in the dark,
            "Nor owlet's shriek, nor watch-dog's bark,
"For I shall think, the while, I do God's blessed will.
            "I'll be his active Brownie sprite,
"To bring him needful food, and share his lonely night."


            And she, ere stroke of midnight bell,
            Did bound her for that dismal cell;
            And took that haunted, fearful way
            Which, till that hour, in twilight grey

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            She never by herself had past,
            Or ev'n athwart its copse-wood cast
            A hasty glance, for dread of seeing
            The form of some unearthly being.
            But now, far other forms of fear
                To her scared sight appear,
        And, like a sudden fit of ague, move her;
                The stump of some old, blasted tree,
                Or upright stone, or colt broke free
                To range at will the dewy lea,
            Seem lurking spy or rustic lover,
Who may, ev'n thro' the dark, her secret drift discover.


            She pauses oft.--"What whispers near?--
            "The babbling burn sounds in mine ear.
            "Some hasty form the pathway crosses:--
            " 'Tis but a branch the light wind tosses.
            "What thing is that by church-yard gate,
            "That seems like spearman tall to wait?

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            " 'Tis but the martyr's slender stone
            "Which stands so stately and alone:
            "Why should I shrink? why should I fear?
                "The vault's black door is near."
            And she with icy fingers knock'd,
            And heard with joy the door unlock'd,
            And felt the yawning fence give way
        As deep and harsh the sounding hinges bray.


        But to describe their tender meeting,
            Tears shed unseen, affection utter'd
            In broken words, and blessings mutter'd,
        With many a kiss and kindly greeting,
        I know not; would my feeble skill
        Were meeter yoke-mate to my will!


    Then from the struck flint flew the spark,
        And lighted taper, faint and small,

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        Gave out its dun-rays thro' the dark,
            On vaulted roof and crusted wall;
        On stones reversed in crumbling mould,
            And blacken'd poles of bier decay'd
            That lumb'ring on the ground were laid;
        On sculptured wrecks, defaced and old,
        And shreds of painted 'scutcheons torn
            Which once, in pointed lozenge spread,
        The pillar'd church aloft had worn;
        While new-swept nook and lowly bed,
            Strange sight in such a place!
            Betray'd a piteous case,--
Man from man's converse torn, the living with the dead.


            The basket's store of viands and bread,
                Produced with looks of kind inviting,
            Her hands with busy kindness spread;
                And he her kindly care requiting,

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                Fell to with thanks and relish keen,
                Nodded and quaff'd her health between,
While she his glee return'd, her smiles with tears uniting.
                No lordling at his banquet rare
                E'er tasted such delicious fare;
                No beauty on her silken seat,
                With lover kneeling at her feet,
E'er wept and smiled by turns with smiles so fondly sweet


                But soon youth's buoyant gladsome nature
                Spreads joy unmix'd o'er every feature,
                As she her tale is archly telling
                Of feuds within their busy dwelling,
                While, round the sav'ry table sitting,
                She gleans his meal, the rest unwitting,
                How she, their open eyes deceiving,
                So dext'rous has become in thieving.
                She tells, how, of some trifle prating,
                She stirs them all to keen debating,

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                While into napkin'd lap she's sliding
                Her portion, oft renew'd, and hiding,
                Beneath the board, her store; amazing
                Her jealous Frere, oft on her gazing.
                Then with his voice and eager eye,
                She speaks in harmless mimickry.
                "Mother! was e'er the like beheld?
                "Some wolf possesses our Griseld;
                "She clears her dish, as I'm a sinner!
                "Like plowman at his new-year's dinner."


                And what each urchin, one by one,
                Had best in sport or lesson done,
She fail'd not to repeat:
                Tho' sorry tales they might appear
                To a fastidious critic's ear,
They were to him most sweet.

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            But they must part till o'er the sky
            Night cast again her sable dye
            For ah! her term is almost over
                How fleetly hath it flown!
            As fleetly as with tristed lover
                The stealthy hour is gone.
            And could there be in lovers' meeting
                More powerful chords to move the mind,
            Fond heart to heart responsive beating,
Than in that tender hour, pure, pious love entwined?


            Thus, night succeeding night, her love
            Did its unwearied nature prove,
            Tender and fearless; till, obscured by crimes,
            Again so darkly lower'd the changeful times,
            That her good sire, tho' shut from light of day,
            Might in that lowly den no longer stay.

Page 227


        From Edinbrough town a courier came,
        And round him flock'd the castle's dame,
        Children and servants, young and old.
        "What news? what news? thy visage sad
        "Betrays too plainly tidings bad."
    And so it did; alas! sad was the tale he told.
        "From the oppressor's deadly hate
        "Good Jerviswood has met his fate
        "Upon the lofty scaffold, where
        "He bore himself with dauntless air;
        "Albeit, with mortal sickness spent,
        "Upon a woman's arm he leant.
"From earth to heaven at yestere'en he went."


                In silence deep the list'ners stood,
                An instant horror chill'd their blood.

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                The lady groan'd, and turn'd aside
                Her fears and troubled thoughts to hide.
                The children wept, then went to play;
                The servants cried "Awaladay!"
But oh! what inward sights, which borrow
                The forms that are not, changing still,
                Like shadows on a broken rill,
Were blended with our damsel's sorrow!
                Those lips, those eyes so sweetly mild,
                That bless'd her as a humble child;
                The block in sable, deadly trim,
                The kneeling form, the headsman grim,
                The sever'd head with life-blood streaming,--
                Were ever 'thwart her fancy gleaming.
                Her father, too, in perilous state,
He may be seiz'd, and like his friend
Upon the fatal scaffold bend.
May Heaven preserve him still from such a dreadful end!
                And then she thought, if this must be,
                Who, honour'd sire, will wait on thee,

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                And serve thy wants with decent pride,
            Like Baillie's kinswoman, subduing fear
            With fearless love, thy last sad scene to cheer,
                Ev'n on the scaffold standing by thy side?
            A friend like his, dear father, thou shalt have,
To serve thee to the last, and linger round thy grave.


            Her father then, who narrowly
            With life escaped, was forced to fly
            His dangerous home, a home no more,
            And cross the sea. A friendly shore
            Receiv'd the fugitive, and there,
            Like prey broke from the spoiler's snare,
            To join her hapless lord, the dame
            With all her num'rous fam'ly came;
            And found asylum, where th' opprest
            Of Scotland's patriot sons had rest,
            Like sea-fowl clust'ring in the rock
            To shun some rising tempest's shock.

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            But said I all the fam'ly? no:
            Word incorrect! it was not so:
            For one, the youngest child, confin'd
            With fell disease, was left behind;
            While certain things, as thus by stealth
            They fled, regarding worldly wealth
            Of much import, were left undone;
            And who will now that peril run,
                Again to visit Scotland's shore,
            From whence they did in fear depart,
            And to each parent's yearning heart
The darling child restore?


            And who did for affection's sake
            This task of peril undertake?
            O! who but she, whose bosom swell'd
                With feelings high, whose self-devotion
                Follow'd each gen'rous, strong emotion,
The young, the sweet, the good, the brave Griseld.

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        Yes; she again cross'd o'er the main,
            And things of moment left undone,
            Tho' o'er her head had scarcely run
            Her nineteenth year, no whit deluded
            By wily fraud, she there concluded,
    And bore the youngling to its own again.


        But when she reach'd the Belgian strand,
            Hard was her lot. Fast fell the rain,
        And there lay many miles of land,
            A stranger's land, ere she might gain
        The nearest town. With hardship crost,
        The wayward child its shoes had lost;
        Their coin was spent, their garments light,
        And dark and dreary was the night.
Then like some gypsie girl on desert moor,
Her helpless charge upon her back she bore.
        Who then had guess'd that figure slight,
        So bending in such humble plight,

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            Was one of proud and gentle race,
        Possessing all that well became
        Th' accomplish'd maid or high-born dame,
Befitting princely hall or monarch's court to grace?


Their minds from many racking cares reliev'd,
The gladsome parents to their arms receiv'd
            Her and the infant dear, caressing
            The twain by turns; while many a blessing,
            Which sweetly all her toil repaid,
            Was shed upon their gen'rous maid:
And tho' the inmates of a humble home,
To which they had as wretched outlaws come,
            Tho' hard their alter'd lot might be,
                In crowded city pent,
            They lived with mind and body free
                In grateful, quiet content.

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            And well, with ready hand and heart,
                Each task of toilsome duty taking,
            Did one dear inmate play her part,
                The last asleep, the earliest waking.
            Her hands each nightly couch prepared,
            And frugal meal on which they fared;
            Unfolding spread the servet white,
            And deck'd the board with tankard bright.
            Thro' fretted hose and garment rent,
            Her tiny needle deftly went,
            Till hateful penury, so graced,
            Was scarcely in their dwelling traced.
            With rev'rence to the old she clung,
            With sweet affection to the young.
            To her was crabbed lesson said,
            To her the sly petition made.
            To her was told each petty care;
            By her was lisp'd the tardy prayer,

Page 234

            What time the urchin, half undrest
            And half asleep, was put to rest.


            There is a sight all hearts beguiling,--
            A youthful mother to her infant smiling,
            Who, with spread arms and dancing feet,
And cooing voice, returns its answer sweet.
Who does not love to see the grandame mild,
Lesson with yearning looks the list'ning child?
            But 'tis a thing of saintlier nature,
            Amidst her friends of pigmy stature,
            To see the maid in youth's fair bloom,
            A guardian sister's charge assume,
            And, like a touch of angel's bliss,
            Receive from each its grateful kiss.--
To see them, when their hour of love is past,
            Aside their grave demeanour cast.
            With her in mimick war they wrestle;
            Beneath her twisted robe they nestle;

Page 235

            Upon her glowing cheek they revel,
            Low bended to their tiny level;
            While off, her lovely neck bestriding
            Crows some arch imp, like huntsman riding.
This is a sight the coldest heart may feel;--
To make down rugged cheeks the kindly tear to steal.


            But when the toilsome sun was set,
            And ev'ning groups together met,
            (For other strangers shelter'd there
            Would seek with them to lighten care,)
            Her feet still in the dance mov'd lightest,
            Her eye with merry glance beam'd brightest,
            Her braided locks, were coil'd the neatest,
            Her carol song was trill'd the sweetest;
            And round the fire, in winter cold,
            No archer tale than hers was told.

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        O! spirits gay, and kindly heart!
        Precious the blessings ye impart!
        Tho' all unwittingly the while,
        Ye make the pining exile smile,
        And transient gladness charm his pain,
        Who ne'er shall see his home again.
        Ye make the stern misanthrope's brow
        With tint of passing kindness glow,
        And age spring from his elbow-chair
        The sport of lightsome glee to share.
        Thus did our joyous maid bestow
        Her beamy soul on want and woe;
        While proud, poor men, in thread-bare suit,
        Frisk'd on the floor with lightsome foot,
        And from her magic circle chace
        The fiends that vex the human race.

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        And do not, gentle reader, chide,
        If I record her harmless pride,
        Who sacrificed the hours of sleep,
        Some show of better times to keep;
        That, tho' as humble soldier dight,
A stripling brother might more trimly stand
        With pointed cuff and collar white,
Like one of gentle race mix'd with a homelier band.
        And in that band of low degree
        Another youth of gentle blood
        Was found, who late had cross'd the sea,
            The son of virtuous Jerviswood,
        Who did as common sentry wait
        Before a foreign prince's gate.
        And if his eye, oft on the watch,
        One look of sweet Griseld might catch,
    It was to him no dull nor irksome state.

Page 238


        And thus some happy years stole by;
            Adversity with Virtue mated,
        Her state of low obscurity,
            Set forth but as deep shadows, fated
        By Heaven's high will to make the light
        Of future skies appear more bright.
And thus, at lowest ebb, man's thoughts are oft elated.
        He deems not that the very struggle
            Of active virtue, and the war
                She bravely holds with present ill,
                Sustain'd by hope, does by the skill
        Of some conceal'd and happy juggle,
Become itself the good which yet seems distant far.
        So, when their lamp of fortune burn'd
        With brightest ray, our worthies turn'd,
        A recollection, fondly bent,
On these, their happiest years, in humble dwelling spent.

Page 239


        At length the sky, so long with clouds o'ercast,
            Unveil'd its cope of azure hue,
            And gave its fair expanse to view;--
        The pelting storm of tyranny was past.


        For he, the Prince of glorious memory,
        The Prince, who shall, as passing ages fly,
        Be blest; whose wise, enlighten'd, manly mind,
        Ev'n when but with a stripling's years combin'd,
        Had with unyielding courage oft contended
        For Europe's freedom,--for religion, blended
        With just, forbearing charity, and all
        To man most dear;--now, at the honour'd call
        Of Britain's patriot sons, the ocean plow'd
        With gallant fleet, encompassed by a crowd
        Of soldiers, statesmen, souls of proof, who vow'd
Firm by his side to stand, let good or ill befall.

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        And with those worthies, 'twas a happy doom,
        Right fairly earn'd, embark'd Sir Patrick Hume.
        Their fleet, tho' long at sea, and tempest-tost,
In happy hour at last arrived on England's coast.


        Meantime his Dame and our fair Maid
        Still on the coast of Holland stay'd,
        With anxious and misgiving minds,
        List'ning the sound of warring winds:
        The ocean rose with deaf'ning roar,
        And beat upon the trembling shore,
        Whilst breakers dash'd their whit'ning spray
        O'er mound and dyke with angry bray,
        As if it would engulph again
The land once rescued from its wild domain.


        Oft on the beach our Damsel stood
            Midst groups of many a fearful Wight,

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            Who viewed, like her, the billowy flood,
        Silent and sad, with visage shrunk and white,
                While bloated corse and splinter'd mast,
                And bale and cask on shore were cast,--
A sad and rueful sight!
                But when, at the Almighty will,
                The tempest ceas'd, and sea was still,
                From Britain's isle glad tidings came,
                Received with loud and long acclaim.


        But joy appears with shrouded head
        To those who sorrow o'er the dead;
        For, struck with sore disease, while there
        They tarried pent in noisome air,
        The sister of her heart, whom she
        Had watch'd and tended lovingly,
        Like blighted branch whose blossoms fade,
        That day was in her coffin laid.

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        She heard the chimed bells loudly ringing,
        She heard the carol'd triumph singing,
        And clam'rous throng, and shouting boys,
        And thought how vain are human joys!


        Howbeit, her grief at length gives way
        To happier thoughts, as dawns the day
    When her kind parent and herself depart,
            In royal Mary's gentle train,
    To join, ere long, the dearest to her heart,
            In their own native land again.
        They soon their own fair island hail'd,
        As on the rippling sea they sail'd.
        Ye well may guess their joyful cry,
        With up-raised hands and glist'ning eye,
        When, rising from the ocean blue,
        Her chalky cliffs first met their view,
        Whose white verge on th' horizon rear'd,
        Like wall of noon-day clouds appear'd.

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            These ye may guess, for well the show
            And outward signs of joy we know.
            But cease we on this theme to dwell,
            For pen or pencil cannot tell
    The thrill of keen delight from which they flow.
            Such moments of extatic pleasure
            Are fancy's fairest, brightest treasure,
            Gilding the scope of duller days
                With oft-recurring retrospect,
            With which right happily she plays.
                Ev'n as a moving mirror will reflect
            Its glancing rays on shady side
            Of holme or glen, when school-boys guide
            With skilful hands their mimick sun
                To heaven's bright sun opposed; we see
            Its borrow'd sheen on fallow dun,
                On meadow green, on rock and tree,
            On broomy steep, on rippling spring,
            On cottage thatch, and every thing.

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        And Britain's virtuous Queen admired
            Our gentle Maid, and in her train
            Of ladies will'd her to remain:
    What more could young ambition have desired?
            But, like the blossom to the bough,
            Or wall-flower to the ruin's brow,
            Or tendril to the fost'ring stock,
            Or sea-weed to the briny rock,
            Or misletoe to sacred tree,
            Or daisy to the swarded lea,
            So truly to her own she clung;--
Nor cared for honours vain, from courtly favour sprung.


        Nor would she in her native North,
        When woo'd by one of wealth and worth,
                The neighbour of her happy home,
        Tho' by her gentle parents press'd,
        And flatter'd, courted and caress'd,
                A splendid bride become.

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        "I may not," said her gentle heart,
            "The very thought endure,
        "That those so kind should feel the smart
        "A daughter's wants might oft impart,
            "For Jerviswood is poor.
        "But yet, tho' poor, why should I smother
        "This dear regard? he'll be my brother,
        "And thus thro' life we'll love each other,
        "What tho', as changing years flit by,
        "Grey grow my head, and dim his eye!
        "We'll meekly bear our wayward fate,
        "And scorn their petty spite who rate,
        "With senseless gibes, the single state,
    "Till we are join'd, at last, in heavenly bliss on high."


        But Heaven for them decreed a happier lot:
                The father of the virtuous youth,
                Who died devoted for the truth,
        Was not, when better times return'd, forgot:

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        To the right heir was given his father's land,
        And with his lady's love, he won her hand.


        Their long-tried faith in honour plighted,
        They were a pair by Heaven united,
        Whose wedded love, thro' lengthen'd years,
        The trace of early fondness wears.
        Her heart first guess'd his doubtful choice,
        Her ear first caught his distant voice,
        And from afar, her wistful eye
        Would first his graceful form descry.
        Ev'n when he hied him forth to meet
        The open air in lawn or street,
            She to her casement went,
        And after him, with smile so sweet,
            Her look of blessing sent.
        The heart's affection,--secret thing!
        Is like the cleft rock's ceaseless spring,

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        Which free and independent flows
        Of summer rains or winter snows.
        The fox-glove from its side may fall,
            The heath-bloom fade or moss-flower white,
        But still its runlet, bright tho' small,
            Will issue sweetly to the light.


        How long an honour'd and a happy pair,
        They held their seemly state in mansion fair,
        I will not here in chiming verses say,
        To tire my reader with a lengthen'd lay;
        For tranquil bliss is as a summer day
    O'er broad Savanna shining; fair it lies,
    And rich the trackless scene, but soon our eyes,
In search of meaner things, turn heavily away.


        But no new ties of wedded life,
        That bind the mother and the wife,

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        Her tender, filial heart could change,
        Or from its earliest friends estrange.
        The child, by strong affection led,
        Who brav'd her terror of the dead
        To save an outlaw'd parent, still
        In age was subject to his will.
        She then was seen with matron air,
        A Dame of years, with count'nance fair,
Tho' faded, sitting by his easy chair.
    A sight that might the heart's best feelings move!
    Behold her seated at her task of love!
        Books, papers, pencil, pen, and slate,
        And column'd scrolls of ancient date,
        Before her lie, on which she looks
        With searching glance, and gladly brooks
        An irksome task, that else might vex
        His temper, or his brain perplex;
        While, haply, on the matted floor,
            Close nestling at her kirtled feet,
        Its lap enrich'd with childish store,
            Sits, hush'd and still, a grandchild sweet,

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        Who looks at times with eye intent,
        Full on its grandame's parent bent,
            Viewing his deeply-furrowed brow,
            And sunken lip and locks of snow,
                In serious wonderment.
            Well said that grateful sire, I ween!
            Still thro' life's many a varied scene,
         Griseld our dear and helpful child hath been.


Tho' ever cheerfully possessing
In its full zest the present blessing,
Her grateful heart remembrance cherish'd
        Of all to former happiness allied,
Nor in her fost'ring fancy perish'd
        Ev'n things inanimate that had supplied
Means of enjoyment once. Maternal love,
        Active and warm, which nothing might restrain,
Led her once more, in years advanced, to rove
        To distant southern climes, and once again

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            Her footsteps press'd the Belgian shore,
The town, the very street that was her home of yore.


        Fondly that homely house she eyed,
        The door, the windows, every thing
        Which to her back-cast thoughts could bring
The scenes of other days.--Then she applied
        To knocker bright her thrilling hand,
        And begg'd, as strangers in the land,
        Admittance from the household Dame,
        And thus preferr'd her gentle claim:
        "This house was once my happy home,
            "Its rooms, its stair, I fain would see;
            "Its meanest nook is dear to me,
"Let me and mine within its threshold come."
            But no; this might not be!
        Their feet might soil her polish'd floor,
        The Dame held fast the hostile door,
            A Belgian housewife she.

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        "Fear not such harm! we'll doff our shoes:
        "Do not our earnest suit refuse!
        "We'll give thee thanks, we'll give thee gold;
        "Do not kind courtesy with-hold!"
            But still it might not be;
The dull unpliant Dame refus'd her gentle plea.


            With her and her good lord, who still
            Sweet union held of mated will,
                Years pass'd away with lightsome speed;
But ah! their bands of bliss at length were riven;
                And she was cloth'd in widow's sable weed,
Submitting to the will of Heaven.
            And then a prosp'rous race of children good
            And tender, round their noble mother stood.
            And she the while, cheer'd with their pious love,
            Waited her welcome summons from above.

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        But whatsoe'er the weal or woe
        That Heaven across her lot might throw,
        Full well her Christian spirit knew
        Its path of virtue, straight and true.
When came the shock of evil times, menacing
The peaceful land--when blood and lineage tracing
        As the sole claim to Britain's throne, in spite
Of Britain's weal or will, Chiefs of the North,
In warlike muster, led their clansmen forth,
Brave, faithful, strong and toughly nerved,
Would they a better cause had served!
        For Stuart's dynasty to fight,
        Distress to many a family came,
        Who dreaded more th' approaching shame
        Of penury's ill-favour'd mien,
        Than ev'n the pang of hunger keen.
        How softly then her pity flow'd!
        How freely then her hand bestow'd!

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        She did not question their opinion
        Of party, kingship, or dominion:
            She would not ev'n their folly chide,
        But like the sun and showers of heaven,
        Which to the false and true are given,
            Want and distress reliev'd on either side.


    But soon, from fear of future change,
    The evil took a wider range.
    The Northern farmers, spoil'd and bare,
    No more could rent or produce spare
    To the soil's lords. All were distress'd,
And on our Noble Dame this evil sorely press'd.
    Her household numerous, her means with-held;
        Shall she her helpless servants now dismiss
        To rob or starve, in such a time as this,
    Or wrong to others do? But nothing quell'd
    Her calm and upright mind.--"Go, summon here
        "Those who have serv'd me many a year."

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    The summons went; each lowly name
    Full swiftly to her presence came,
    And thus she spoke: "Ye've served me long,
    "Pure, as I think, from fraud or wrong,
    "And now, my friendly neighbours, true
    "And simply I will deal with you.
    "The times are shrew'd, my treasures spent,
    "My farms have ceas'd to yield me rent;
    "And it may chance that rent or grain
    "I never shall receive again.
    "The dainties which my table fed,
    "Will now be changed for daily bread,
    "Dealt sparely, and for this I must
    "Be debtor to your patient trust,
    "If ye consent."--Swift thro' the hall,
    With eager haste, spoke one and all.
    "No, noble Dame! this must not be!
    "With heart as warm and hand as free,
    "Still thee and thine we'll serve with pride,
    "As when fair fortune graced your side.

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    "The best of all our stores afford
    "Shall daily smoke upon thy board;
    "And, should'st thou never clear the score,
    "Heaven for thy sake will bless our store."
        She bent her head with courtesy,
        The big tear swelling in her eye,
        And thank'd them all. Yet plain and spare,
        She order'd still her household fare,
        Till fortune's better dye was cast,
            And adverse times were past.


Good, tender, gen'rous, firm and sage,
    Thro' grief and gladness, shade and sheen,
    As fortune changed life's motley scene,
Thus pass'd she on to rev'rend age.
And when the heavenly summons came,
Her spirit from its mortal frame
And weight of mortal cares to free,
It was a blessed sight to see,

Page 256

The parting saint her state of honour keeping
In gifted dauntless faith, whilst round her, weeping,
    Her children's children mourn'd on bended knee.


            In London's fair imperial town
            She laid her earthly burthen down.
            In Mellerstain, her northern home,
            Was rais'd for her a graven tomb
Which gives to other days her modest, just renown.

        And now, ye polish'd fair of modern times,
        If such indeed will listen to my rhymes,
        What think ye of her simple, modest worth,
        Whom I have faintly tried to shadow forth?
        How vain the thought! as if ye stood in need
        For pattern ladies in dull books to read.
        Will she such antiquated virtues prize,
        Who with superb Signoras proudly vies,

Page 257

        Trilling before the dear admiring crowd
        With out-stretch'd straining throat, bravuras loud,
        Her high-heav'd breast press'd hard, as if to boast
        The inward pain such mighty efforts cost:
        Or on the white-chalk'd floor, at midnight hour,
        Her head with many a flaunting full-blown flower
        And bartisan of braided locks enlarged,
        Her flimsy gown with twenty flounces charged,
        Wheels gaily round the room on pointed toe,
        Softly supported by some dandy beau:--
        Will she, forsooth! or any belle of spirit,
        Regard such old, forgotten, homely merit?
        Or she, whose cultur'd, high-strain'd talents soar
        Thro' all th' ambitious range of letter'd lore
        With soul enthusiastic, fondly smitten
        With all that e'er in classic page was written,
        And whilst her wit in critic task engages,
        The technic praise of all prais'd things outrages;

Page 258

        Whose finger, white and small, with ink-stain tipt,
        Still scorns with vulgar thimble to be clipt;
        Who doth with proud pretence her claims advance
        To philosophic, honour'd ignorance
        Of all, that, in divided occupation,
        Gives the base stamp of female degradation;
        Protests she knows not colour, stripe nor shade,
        Nor of what stuff her flowing robe is made,
        But wears, from petty, friv'lous fancies free,
        Whatever careful Betty may decree;
        As certes, well she may, for Betty's skill
        Leaves her in purfle, furbelow, or frill,
        No whit behind the very costliest fair
        That wooes with daily pains the public stare;
        Who seems almost asham'd to be a woman,
        And yet the palm of parts will yield to no man,
        But holds on battle-ground eternal wrangling,
        The plainest case in mazy words entangling:--
        Will she, I trow, or any kirtled sage,
        Admire the subject of my artless page?

Page 259

            And yet there be of British fair, I know,
        Who to this legend will some favour show
        From kindred sympathy; whose life proceeds
        In one unwearied course of gentle deeds,
        And pass untainted thro' the earthly throng,
        Like souls that to some better world belong.
        Nor will I think, as sullen cynics do,
        Still lib'ling present times, their number few.
        Yea, leagued for good they act, a virtuous band,
        The young, the rich, the loveliest of the land,
        Who clothe the naked, and each passing week,
        The wretched poor in their sad dwellings seek,
        Who, cheer'd and grateful, feebly press and bless
        The hands which princes might be proud to kiss:--
        Such will regard my tale, and give to fame
A generous helpful Maid,--a good and noble Dame.

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Page [275]


Page [276]

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THE fires blazed bright till deep midnight,
    And the guests sat in the hall,
And the Lord of the feast, Lord John of the East,
    Was the merriest of them all.

His dark-grey eye, that wont so sly
    Beneath his helm to scowl,
Flash'd keenly bright, like a new-wak'd sprite,
    As pass'd the circling bowl.

In laughter light, or jocund lay,
    That voice was heard, whose sound,
Stern, loud, and deep, in battle-fray
    Did foe-men fierce astound;

Page 278

And stretch'd so balm, like lady's palm,
    To every jester near,
That hand which thro' a prostrate foe
    Oft thrust the ruthless spear.

The gallants sang, and the goblets rang,
    And they revel'd in careless state,
Till a thund'ring sound, that shook the ground,
    Was heard at the castle gate.

"Who knocks without, so loud and stout?
    "Some wand'ring knight, I ween,
"Who from afar, like a guiding star,
    "Our blazing hall hath seen.

"If a stranger it be of high degree,
    "(No churl durst make such din,)
"Step forth amain, my pages twain,
    "And soothly ask him in.

Page 279

"Tell him our cheer is the forest deer,
    "Our bowl is mantling high,
"And the Lord of the feast is John of the East,
    "Who welcomes him courteously."

The pages twain return'd again,
    And a wild, scared look had they;
"Why look ye so?--is it friend or foe?"
    Did the angry Baron say.

"A stately knight without doth wait,
    "But further he will not hie,
"Till the Baron himself shall come to the gate,
    "And ask him courteously."--

"By my mother's shroud, he is full proud!
    "What earthly man is he?"
"I know not, in truth," quoth the trembling youth,
    "If earthly man it be.

Page 280

"In Raveller's plight, he is bedight,
    "With a vest of the crim'sy meet;
"But his mantle behind, that streams on the wind,
    "Is a corse's bloody sheet."

"Out, paltry child! thy wits are wild,
    "Thy comrade will tell me true:
"Say plainly, then, what hast thou seen
    "Or dearly shalt thou rue."

Faint spoke the second page with fear,
    And bent him on his knee,
"Were I on your father's sword to swear,
    "The same it appear'd to me."

Then dark, dark lower'd the Baron's eye,
    And his red cheek changed to wan;
For again at the gate more furiously,
    The thund'ring din began.

Page 281

"And is there ne'er of my vassals here,
    "Of high or low degree,
"That will unto this stranger go,--
    "Will go for the love of me?"

Then spoke and said, fierce Donald the Red,--
    (A fearless man was he,)
"Yes; I will straight to the castle gate,
    "Lord John, for the love of thee."

With heart full stout, he hied him out,
    Whilst silent all remain:
Nor moved a tongue those gallants among,
    Till Donald return'd again.

"O speak," said his Lord, "by thy hopes of grace,
    "What stranger must we hail?"
But the haggard look of Donald's face
    Made his falt'ring words to fail.

Page 282

"It is a knight in some foreign guise,
    "His like did I never behold;
"For the stony look of his beamless eyes
    "Made my very life-blood cold.

"I did him greet in fashion meet,
    "And bade him your feast partake,
"But the voice that spoke, when he silence broke,
    "Made the earth beneath me quake.

"O such a tone did tongue ne'er own
    "That dwelt in mortal head;--
"It is like a sound from the hollow ground,--
    "Like the voice of the coffin'd dead.

"I bade him to your social board,
    "But in he will not hie,
"Until at the gate this castle's Lord
    "Shall entreat him courteously.

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"And he stretch'd him the while with a ghastly smile,
    "And sternly bade me say,
" 'Twas no depute's task your guest to ask
    "To the feast of the woody bay."

Pale grew the Baron, and faintly said,
    As he heaved his breath with pain,
"From such a feast as there was spread,
    "Do any return again?

"I bade my guest to a bloody feast,
    "Where the death's wound was his fare,
"And the isle's bright maid, who my love betray'd,
    "She tore her raven hair.

"The sea-fowl screams, and the watch-tower gleams,
    "And the deaf'ning billows roar,
"Where he unblest was put to rest,
    "On a wild and distant shore.

Page 284

"Do the hollow grave and the whelming wave
    "Give up their dead again?
"Doth the surgy waste waft o'er its breast
    "The spirits of the slain?"

But his loosen'd limbs shook fast, and pour'd
    The big drops from his brow,
As louder still the third time roar'd
    The thund'ring gate below.

"O rouse thee, Baron, for manhood's worth!
    "Let good or ill befall,
"Thou must to the stranger knight go forth,
    "And ask him to your hall."

"Rouse thy bold breast," said each eager guest,
    "What boots it shrinking so?
"Be it fiend or sprite, or murder'd knight,
    "In God's name thou must go.

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"Why should'st thou fear? dost thou not wear
    "A gift from the great Glendower,
"Sandals blest by a holy priest,
    "O'er which nought ill hath power."

All ghastly pale did the Baron quail,
    As he turn'd him to the door,
And his sandals blest, by a holy priests
    Sound feebly on the floor.

Then back to the hall and his merry mates all,
    He cast his parting eye.
"God send thee amain, safe back again!"
    He heav'd a heavy sigh.

Then listen'd they, on the lengthen'd way,
    To his faint and less'ning tread,
And, when that was past, to the wailing blast,
    That wail'd as for the dead.

Page 286

But wilder it grew, and stronger it blew,
    And it rose with an elrich sound,
Till the lofty keep on its rocky steep,
    Fell hurling to the ground.

Each fearful eye then glanced on high,
    To the lofty-window'd wall,
When a fiery trace of the Baron's face
    Thro' the casements shone on all.

But the vision'd glare pass'd thro' the air,
    And the raging tempest ceast,
And never more, on sea or shore,
    Was seen Lord John of the East.

The sandals, blest by a holy priest,
    Lay unscath'd on the swarded green,
But never again, on land or main,
    Lord John of the East was seen.

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Page [288]

Page [289]


O GO not by Duntorloch's Walls
    When the moon is in the wane,
And cross not o'er Duntorloch's Bridge,
    The farther bank to gain.

For there the Lady of the Stream
    In dripping robes you'll spy,
A-singing to her pale wan babe,
    An elrich lullaby.

And stop not at the house of Merne,
    On the eve of good Saint John,
For then the Swath'd Knight walks his rounds
    With many a heavy moan.

Page 290

All swath'd is he in coffin weeds,
    And a wound is in his breast,
And he points still to the gloomy vault,
    Where they say his corse doth rest.

But pass not near Glencromar's Tower,
    Tho' the sun shine e'er so bright;
More dreaded is that in the noon of day,
    Than these in the noon of night.

The night-shade rank grows in the court,
    And snakes coil in the wall,
And bats lodge in the rifted spire,
    And owls in the murky hall.

On it there shines no cheerful light,
    But the deep-red setting sun
Gleams bloody red on its battlements
    When day's fair course is run.

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And fearfully in night's pale beams,
    When the moon peers o'er the wood,
Its shadow grim stretch'd o'er the ground
    Lies blackening many a rood.

No sweet bird's chirping there is heard,
    No herd-boy's horn doth blow;
But the owlet hoots and the pent blast sobs,
    And loud croaks the carrion-crow.

No marvel! for within its walls
    Was done the deed unblest,
And in its noisome vaults the bones
    Of a father's murderer rest.

He laid his father in the tomb
    With deep and solemn woe,
As rumour tells, but righteous Heaven
    Would not be mocked so.

Page 292

There rest his bones in the mouldering earth,
    By lord and by carle forgot;
But the foul, fell spirit that in them dwelt,
    Rest hath it none, I wot!

"Another night," quoth Malcom's heir,
    As he turn'd him fiercely round,
And closely clench'd his ireful hand,
    And stamp'd upon the ground:

"Another night within your walls
    "I will not lay my head,
"Tho' the clouds of heaven my roof should be,
    "And the cold dank earth my bed."

"Your younger son has now your love,
    "And my stepdame false your ear;
"And his are your hawks, and his are your hounds,
    "And his your dark-brown deer.

Page 293

"To him you have given your noble steed,
    "As fleet as the passing wind;
"But me have you shamed before my friends,
    "Like the son of a base-born hind:"

Then answer'd him the white-hair'd chief,
    Dim was his tearful eye,
"Proud son, thy anger is all too keen,
    "Thy spirit is all too high.

"Yet rest this night beneath my roof,
    "The wind blows cold and shrill,
"With to-morrow's dawn, if it so must be,
    "E'en follow thy wayward will."

But nothing moved was Malcom's heir,
    And never a word did he say,
But cursed his father in his heart,
    And sternly strode away.

Page 294

And his coal-black steed he mounted straight,
    As twilight gather'd round,
And at his feet with eager speed
    Ran Swain, his faithful hound.

Loud rose the blast, yet ne'ertheless
    With furious speed rode he,
Till night, like the gloom of a cavern'd mine,
    Had closed o'er tower and tree.

Loud rose the blast, thick fell the rain,
    Keen flash'd the light'ning red,
And loud the awful thunder roar'd
    O'er his unshelter'd head.

At length full close before him shot
    A flash of sheeted light,
And the high-arch'd gate of Glencromar's tower,
    Glared on his dazzled sight.

Page 295

His steed stood still, nor step would move,
    Up look'd his wistful Swain,
And wagg'd his tail, and feebly whined;
    He lighted down amain.

Thro' porch and court he pass'd, and still
    His list'ning ear he bow'd,
Till beneath the hoofs of his trampling steed
    The paved hall echoed loud.

And other echoes answer gave
    From arches far and grand;
Close to his horse and his faithful dog
    He took his fearful stand.

The night-birds shriek'd from the creviced roof,
    And the fitful blast sung shrill,
But ere the mid-watch of the night,
    Were all things hush'd and still.

Page 296

But in the mid-watch of the night,
    When hush'd was every sound,
Faint, doleful music struck his ear,
    As if waked from the hollow ground.

And loud and louder still it grew,
    And upward still it wore,
Till it seem'd at the end of the farthest aisle
    To enter the eastern door.

O! never did music of mortal make
    Such dismal sounds contain;
A horrid elrich dirge it seem'd,--
    A wild unearthly strain.

The yell of pain, and the wail of woe,
    And the short shrill shriek of fear,
Thro' the winnowing sound of a furnace flame,
    Confusedly struck his ear.

Page 297

And the serpent's hiss, and the tyger's growl,
    And the famish'd vulture's cry,
Were mix'd at times, as with measured skill,
    In this horrid harmony.

Up brizzled the locks of Malcom's heir,
    And his heart it quickly beat,
And his trembling steed shook under his hand,
    And Swain cower'd close to his feet.

When, lo! a faint light thro' the porch
    Still strong and stronger grew,
And shed o'er the walls and the lofty roof
    Its wan and dismal hue.

And slowly ent'ring then appear'd,
    Approaching with soundless tread,
A funeral band in dark array,
    As in honour of the dead.

Page 298

The first that walk'd were torchmen ten,
    To lighten their gloomy road,
And each wore the face of an angry fiend,
    And on cloven goats' feet trod.

And the next that walk'd as mourners meet,
    Were murderers twain and twain,
With bloody hands and surtout red,
    Befoul'd with many a stain.

Each with a cut-cord round his neck,
    And red-strain'd, starting eyen,
Show'd that upon the gibbet tree,
    His earthly end had been.

And after these, in solemn state,
    There came an open bier,
Borne on black, shapeless, rampant forms,
    That did but half appear.

Page 299

And on that bier a corse was laid,
    As corse could never lie,
That did by decent hands composed
    In nature's struggles die,

Nor stretch'd, nor swath'd, but every limb
    In strong distortion lay,
As in the throes of a violent death
    Is fix'd the lifeless clay.

And in its breast was a broken knife,
    With the black blood bolter'd round;
And its face was the face of an aged man,
    With the filleted locks unbound.

Its features were fixed in horrid strength,
    And the glaze of its half-closed eye,
A last dread parting look express'd,
    Of woe and agony.

Page 300

But, oh! the horrid form to trace,
    That followed it close behind,
In fashion of the chief-mourner,
    What words shall minstrel find?

In his lifted hand, with straining grasp,
    A broken knife he press'd,
The other half of the cursed blade
    Was that in the corse's breast.

And in his blasted, horrid face,
    Full strongly mark'd, I ween,
The features of the aged corse
    In life's full prime were seen.

Aye, gnash thy teeth and tear thy hair,
    And roll thine eye-balls wild,
Thou horrible accursed son,
    With a father's blood defiled!

Page 301

Back from the bier with strong recoil,
    Still onward as they go,
Doth he in vain his harrow'd head,
    And writhing body throw.

For, closing round, a band of fiends
    Full fiercely with him deal,
And force him o'er the bier to bend,
    With their fangs of red-hot steel.

Still on they moved, and stopp'd at length,
    In the midst of the trembling hall,
When the dismal dirge, from its loudest pitch,
    Sunk to a dying fall.

But what of horror next ensued,
    No mortal tongue can tell,
For the thrill'd life paus'd in Malcom's heir,
    In a death-like trance he fell.

Page 302

The morning rose with cheerful light,
    On the country far and near,
But neither in country, tower, nor town,
    Could they find Sir Malcom's heir.

They sought him east, they sought him west,
    O'er hill and vale they ran,
And met him at last on the blasted heath,
    A crazed and wretched man.

He will to no one utter his tale,
    But the priest of St. Cuthbert's cell
And aye, when the midnight warning sounds,
    He hastens his beads to tell.

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Page [307]


A FEAST was spread in the Baron's hall,
    And loud was the merry sound,
As minstrels played at lady's call,
    And the cup went sparkling round.

For gentle dames sat there, I trow,
    By men of mickle might,
And many a chief with dark-red brow,
    And many a burly knight.

Each had fought in war's grim ranks,
    And some on the surgy sea,
And some on Jordan's sacred banks,
    For the cause of Christentie.

Page 308

But who thinks now of blood or strife,
    Or Moorish or Paynim foe?
Their eyes beam bright with social life,
    And their hearts with kindness glow.

"Gramercie Chieftain, on thy tale!
    "It smacks of thy merry mood."--
"Aye, Monks are sly, and women frail,
    "Since rock and mountain stood."

"Fye, fye! sir knight, thy tongue is keen,
    " 'Tis sharper than thy steel."--
"So, gentle lady, are thine eyen,
    "As we poor lovers feel."

"Come, pledge me well, my lady gay,
    "Come, pledge me, noble frere;
"Each cheerful mate on such a day,
    "Is friend or mistress dear."

Page 309

And louder still comes jeer and boast,
    As the flaggons faster pour,
Till song, and tale, and laugh are lost,
    In a wildly mingled roar.

Aye, certes, 'tis an hour of glee,
    For the Baron himself doth smile,
And nods his head right cheerily,
    And quaffs his cup the while.

What recks he now of midnight fear,
    Or the night wind's dismal moan?
As it tosses the boughs of that Elden Tree,
    Which he thinketh so oft upon?

Long years have past since a deed was done,
    By its doer only seen,
And there lives not a man beneath the sun,
    Who wotteth that deed hath been.

Page 310

So gay was he, so gay were all,
    They mark'd not the growing gloom;
Nor wist they how the dark'ning hall,
    Lower'd like the close of doom.

Dull grew the goblet's sheen, and grim
    The features of every guest,
And colourless banners aloft hung dim,
    Like the clouds of the drizzly west.

Hath time pass'd then so swift of pace?
    Is this the twilight grey?
A flash of light pass'd thro' the place,
    Like the glaring noon of day.

Fierce glanced the momentary blaze
    O'er all the gallant train,
And each visage pale, with dazzled gaze,
    Was seen and lost again.

Page 311

And the thunder's rolling peal, from far,
    Then on and onward drew,
And varied its sound like the broil of war,
    And loud and louder grew.

Still glares the lightning blue and pale,
    And roars th' astounding din;
And rattle the windows with bickering hail,
    And the rafters ring within.

And cowering hounds the board beneath
    Are howling with piteous moan,
While lords and dames sit still as death,
    And words are utter'd none.

At length in the waning tempest's fall,
    As light from the welkin broke,
A frighten'd man rush'd thro' the hall,
    And words to the Baron spoke,

Page 312

"The thunder hath stricken your tree so fair,
    "Its roots on green-sward lie,"--
"What tree?"--"The Elden planted there
    "Some thirty years gone by."

"And wherefore starest thou on me so,
    "With a face so ghastly wild?"--
"White bones are found in the mould below,
    "Like the bones of a stripling child."

Pale he became as the shrouded dead,
    And his eye-balls fix'd as stone;
And down on his bosom dropp'd his head,
    And he utter'd a stifled groan.

Then from the board, each guest amazed,
    Sprang up, and curiously
Upon his sudden misery gazed,
    And wonder'd what might be.

Page 313

Out spoke the ancient seneschal,
    "I pray ye stand apart,
"Both gentle dames and nobles all,
    "This grief is at his heart.

"Go, call St. Cuthbert's monk with speed,
    "And let him be quickly shriven,
"And fetch ye a leech for his body's need,
    "To dight him for earth or heaven."

"No, fetch me a priest," the Baron said,
    In a voice that seem'd utter'd with pain;
And he shudder'd and shrunk, as he faintly bade
    His noble guests remain.

"Heaven's eye each secret deed doth scan,
    "Heaven's justice all should fear:
"What I confess to the holy man,
    "Both Heaven and you shall hear."

Page 314

And soon St. Cuthbert's monk stood by
    With visage sad but sweet,
And cast on the Baron a piteous eye,
    And the Baron knelt low at his feet.

"O Father! I have done a deed
    "Which God alone did know;
"A brother's blood these hands have shed,
    "With many a fiend-like blow:

"For fiends lent strength like a powerful charm,
    "And my youthful breast impell'd,
"And I laugh'd to see beneath my arm
    "The sickly stripling quell'd.

"A mattock from its pit I took,
    "Dug deep for the Elden Tree,
"And I tempted the youth therein to look
    "Some curious sight to see.

Page 315

"The woodmen to their meal were gone,
    "And ere they return'd again,
"I had planted that tree with my strength alone,
    "O'er the body of the slain.

"Ah! gladly smiled my Father then,
    "And seldom he smiled on me,
"When he heard that my skill, like the skill of men,
    "Had planted the Elden Tree.

"But where was his eldest son so dear,
    "Who nearest his heart had been?
"They sought him far, they sought him near,
    "But the boy no more was seen.

"And thus his life and lands he lost,
    "And his Father's love beside;
"The thought that ever rankled most
    "In this heart of secret pride.

Page 316

"Ah! could the partial parent wot
    "The cruel pang he gives,
"To the child neglected and forgot,
    "Who under his cold eye lives!

"His elder rights did my envy move,
    "These lands and their princely hall;
"But it was our Father's partial love,
    "I envy'd him most of all.

"Now thirty years have o'er me past,
    "And, to the eye of man,
"My lot was with the happy cast,
    "My heart it could not scan.

"Oh! I have heard in the dead of night,
    "My murther'd brother's groan,
"And shudder'd, as the pale moon-light
    "On the mangled body shone.

Page 317

"My very miners, pent in gloom,
    "Whose toil my coffers stored,
"And cursed belike their cheerless doom,
    "Were happier than their lord.

"O holy man! my tale is told
    "With pain, with tears, with shame;
"May penance hard, may alms of gold,
    "Some ghostly favour claim?

"The knotted scourge shall drink my blood,
    "The earth my bed shall be,
"And bitter tears my daily food,
    "To earn Heaven's grace for me."

Now, where that rueful deed was done,
    Endow'd with rights and lands,
Its sharp spires bright'ning in the sun,
    A stately Abbey stands.

Page 318

And the meekest monk, whose life is there
    Still spent on bended knee,
Is he who built that Abbey fair,
    And planted the Elden Tree.

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Page [320]

Page [321]


ON Gask's deserted ancient hall
    Was twilight closing fast,
And, in its dismal shadows, all
    Seem'd lofty, void, and vast.

All sounds of life, now reft and bare,
    From its walls had pass'd away,
But the stir of small birds shelter'd there,
    Dull owl, or clatt'ring jay.

Loop-hole and window, dimly seen,
    With faint light passing through,
Grew dimmer still, and the dreary scene
    Was fading from the view:

Page 322

When the trampling sound of banded men
    Came from the court without;
Words of debate and call, and then
    A loud and angry shout.

But mingled echoes from within
    A mimick mock'ry made,
And the bursting door, with furious din,
    On jarring hinges bray'd

An eager band, press'd rear on van,
    Rush'd in with clam'rous sound,
And their chief, the goodliest, bravest man,
    That e'er trode Scottish ground.

Then spoke forthwith that leader bold,
    "We war with wayward fate:
"These walls are bare, the hearth is cold,
    "And all is desolate.

Page 323

"With fast unbroke and thirst unslaked,
    "Must we on the hard ground sleep?
"Or, like ghosts from vaulted charnel waked
    "Our cheerless vigil keep?"

"Hard hap this day in bloody field,
    "Ye bravely have sustain'd,
"And for your pains this dismal bield,
    "And empty board have gain'd.

"Hie, Malcom, to that varlet's steed,
    "And search if yet remain
"Some homely store, but good at need,
    "Spent nature to sustain.

"Cheer up, my friends! still, heart in hand,
    "Tho' few and spent we be,
"We are the pith of our native land,
    "And she shall still be free.

Page 324

"Cheer up! tho' scant and coarse our meal,
    "In this our sad retreat,
"We'll fill our horn to Scotland's weal,
    "And that will make it sweet."

Then all, full cheerly, as they could,
    Their willing service lent,
Some broke the boughs, some heap'd the wood,
    Some struck the sparkling flint.

And a fire they kindled speedily,
    Where the hall's last fire had been,
And pavement, walls, and rafters high,
    In the rising blaze were seen.

Red gleam on each tall buttress pour'd,
    The lengthen'd hall along,
And tall and black behind them lower'd
    Their shadows deep and strong.

Page 325

The ceiling, ribb'd with massy oak,
    From bick'ring flames below,
As light and shadow o'er it broke,
    Seem'd wav'ring to and fro.

Their scanty meal was on the ground,
    Spread by the friendly light,
And they made the brown-horn circle round,
    As cheerly as they might.

Some talk of horses, weapons, mail,
    Some of their late defeat,
By treach'ry caused, and many a tale
    Of Southron spy's retreat.

"Aye, well," says one, "my sinking heart
    "Did some disaster bode,
"When faithless Fadon's wily art
    "Beguiled us from the road."

Page 326

"But well repaid by Providence
    "Are such false deeds we see;
"He's had his rightful recompence,
    "And cursed let him be."

"Oh! curse him not! I needs must rue
    "That stroke so rashly given:
"If he to us were false or true,
    "Is known to righteous Heaven."

So spoke their chief, then silent all
    Remain'd in sombre mood,
Till they heard a bugle's larum call
    Sound distant thro' the wood.

"Rouse ye, my friends!" the chieftain said,
    "That blast, from friend or foe,
"Comes from the west; thro' forest shade
    "With wary caution go.

Page 327

"And bring me tidings. Speed ye well!"
    Forth three bold warriors past.
Then from the east with fuller swell
    Was heard the bugle blast.

Out past three warriors more; then shrill,
    The horn blew from the north,
And other eager warriors still,
    As banded scouts, went forth.

Till from their chief each war-mate good
    Had to the forest gone,
And he, who fear'd not flesh and blood,
    Stood by the fire alone.

He stood, wrapp'd in a musing dream,
    Nor rais'd his drooping head,
Till a sudden, alter'd, paly gleam
    On all around was spread.

Page 328

Such dull, diminish'd, sombre sheen
    From moon eclips'd, by swain
Belated, or lone herd is seen
    O'er-mantling hill and plain.

Then to the fitful fire he turn'd,
    Which higher and brighter grew,
Till the flame like a baleful meteor burn'd
    Of clear sulphureous blue.

Then wist the chief, some soul unblest,
    Or spirit of power was near;
And his eyes adown the hall he cast,
    Yet naught did there appear.

But he felt a strange unearthly breath
    Upon the chill air borne,
And he heard at the gate, like a blast of wrath,
    The sound of Fadon's horn.

Page 329

Owls, bats, and swallows, flutt'ring, out
    From hole and crevice flew,
Circling the lofty roof about,
    As loud and long it blew.

His noble hound sprang from his lair,
    The midnight rouse to greet,
Then, like a timid trembling hare,
    Couch'd at his master's feet.

Between his legs his drooping tail,
    Like dog of vulgar race,
He hid, and with strange piteous wail,
    Look'd in his master's face.

The porch seem'd void, but vapour dim
    Soon fill'd the lowering room,
Then was he aware of a figure grim,
    Approaching thro' the gloom.

Page 330

And striding as it onward came,
    The vapour wore away;
Till it stood distinctly by the flame,
    Like a form in the noon of day.

Well Wallace knew that form, that head,
    That throat unbraced and bare,
Mark'd deep with streaming circlet red,
    And he utter'd a rapid prayer.

But when the spectre rais'd its arm,
    And brandish'd its glitt'ring blade,
That moment broke fear's chilly charm
    On noble Wallace laid.

The threaten'd combat was to him
    Relief; with weapon bare,
He rush'd upon the warrior grim,
    But his sword shore empty air.

Page 331

Then the spectre smiled with a ghastly grin,
    And its warrior-semblance fled,
And its' features grew stony, fix'd, and thin,
    Like the face of the stiffen'd dead.

The head a further moment crown'd
    The body's stately wreck,
Shook hideously, and to the ground
    Dropt from the bolter'd neck.

Back shrunk the noble chief aghast,
    And longer tarried not,
But quickly to the portal past,
    To shun the horrid spot.

But in the portal, stiff and tall,
    The apparition stood,
And Wallace turn'd and cross'd the hall,
    Where entrance to the wood.

Page 332

By other door he hoped to snatch,
    Whose pent arch darkly lower'd,
But there, like sentry on his watch,
    The dreadful phantom tower'd.

Then up the ruin'd stairs so steep,
    He ran with panting breath,
And from a window--desp'rate leap!
    Sprang to the court beneath.

O'er wall and ditch he quickly got,
    Thro' brake and bushy stream,
When suddenly thro' darkness shot
    A red and lurid gleam.

He look'd behind, and that lurid light
    Forth from the castle came;
Within its circuit thro' the night
    Appear'd an elrich flame.

Page 333

Red glow'd each window, slit, and door,
    Like mouths of furnace hot,
And tint of deepest blackness wore
    The walls and steepy moat.

But soon it rose with bright'ning power,
    Till bush and ivy green,
And wall-flower, fringing breach and tower,
    Distinctly might be seen.

Then a spreading blaze with eddying sweep,
    Its spiral surges rear'd,
And then aloft on the stately keep,
    Fadon's Ghost appear'd.

A burning rafter, blazing bright,
    It wielded in its hand;
And its warrior-form, of human height,
    Dilated grew, and grand.

Page 334

Coped by a curling tawny cloud,
    With tints sulphureous blent,
It rose with burst of thunder loud,
    And up the welkin went.

High, high it rose with wid'ning glare,
    Sent far o'er land and main,
And shot into the lofty air,
    And all was dark again.

A spell of horror lapt him round,
    Chill'd, motionless, amazed,
His very pulse of life was bound
    As on black night he gazed.

Till harness'd warriors' heavy tread,
    From echoing dell arose;
"Thank God!" with utter'd voice, he said,
    "For here come living foes."

Page 335

With kindling soul that brand he drew
    Which boldest Southron fears,
But soon the friendly call he knew,
    Of his gallant brave compeers.

With haste each wond'rous tale was told,
    How still, in vain pursuit,
They follow'd the horn thro' wood and wold,
    And Wallace alone was mute.

Day rose; but silent, sad, and pale,
    Stood the bravest of Scottish race;
And each warrior's heart began to quail,
    When he look'd in his leader's face.

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No. I.

HERRERA'S Hist. vol. i. page 24.--"Don Christopher Columbus, whom the Spaniards, for the more easy pronunciation, called Colon, was born in the city of Genoa, in which particular, as also that his father's name was Dominick, all who write or treat of him do agree, and he himself owns it; and as for his original, some say it was from Plasencia, and others from Cucureo, on the coast near the same city; but some say he was descended from the lords of the castle of Cucaro, which is that part of Italy formerly called Lyguria, now the dukedom of Montserrat, so near Alexandria de la Polla, that the bells are heard from the one to the other; but which was the most certain descent, was left to be decided by the supreme council of the Indies. It appears that the Emperor Otho the Second, in the year 940, confirmed to the Earls Peter, John, and Alexander Columbus, the lands they held as fiefs, and in fee simple, within the liberties of the cities of Acqui, Savona, Aste, Monferrat, Turin, Vercelli, Parma, Cremona, and Bergamo, and all their other possessions in Italy; and it further appears by other deeds, that the Columbi of Cucaro,

Page 342

Cucureo, and Plasencia, were the same; and that the aforesaid Emperor, the same year, 940, granted to the said brothers of the house of Columbus, Peter, John, and Alexander, the castles of Cucaro, Conzano, Rosignano, and others, and the fourth part of Bistagno, all which belonged to the empire, which is a testimony of the antiquity of this house."
No. II.

Herrera, vol. i. page 24.--"He came into Spain, and more particularly into Portugal, when he was very young.-- And being very positive in the notion he had long conceived, that there were new lands, undiscovered, he resolved to make the same public; but being sensible that such an enterprize was only fit for great Princes, he first proposed it to the republic of Genoa, which looked upon it as a dream; and after that to King John of Portugal, who, though he gave him a favourable hearing, being then taken up with the discovery of the coast of Africk on the ocean, did not think fit to undertake so many things at once, and yet referred it to Doctor Calzadillo, called Don Diego Ortiz, Bishop of Ceuta, who was a Castilian, born at Calzadillo, and to Master Rodrigo and Jusepe, Jewish physicians, to whom he gave credit in affairs of discoveries and cosmography; and, though they affirmed they looked upon it as a fabulous notion, having heard Don Christopher Columbus, and understood the motives he had, and what course he designed to steer, not altogether rejecting the project, they advised him to send a caravel, upon pretence of sailing to Cabo Verde, to endeavour to find by that course Don Christopher proposed to discover the secret;

Page 343

but that vessel, having been many days out at sea, and in great storms, returned without finding any thing, making a jest of Columbus's project, who was not ignorant of this attempt.

"This action very much troubled Columbus; and he took such an aversion to Portugal, that, being rid of his wife, who was dead, he resolved to go away into Spain; and, for fear of being served as he had been in Portugal, he was resolved to send his brother, Don Bartholomew Columbus, into England, where Henry the Seventh then reigned. He was a long time on his way, having been taken by pirates, and staid there to be acquainted with the humours of the court, and the method of managing affairs. Don Christopher, designing to propose that affair to their Catholic Majesties, Ferdinand and Elizabeth, (Herrera here calls this queen Elizabeth,) in the year 1484, privately made his way to Portugal by sea, toward Andaluzia, being satisfied that the king was convinced that his project was well-grounded, and that those who went in the caravel had not performed what he expected of them, and therefore designed to attempt that affair again. He arrived at Palos de Moquer, whence he went away to the court, which was then at Cordova.         *         *         *         He began to propose his affair at Cordova, where the most encouragement he found was in Alonzo de Quintanilla, controller of the revenue of Castile, a very discreet man, and who delighted in great undertakings; who, looking upon Columbus as a man of worth, gave him maintenance, without which he could not have subsisted so long in that tedious suit, which was so home pressed, that their Catholic Majesties, giving some attention to the affair, referred it to Father Ferdi-

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nand de Talavera, of the order of St. Jerome, Prior of Prado, and the Queen's confessor, who was afterwards the first Bishop of Granada. He held an assembly of cosmographers, who debated about it; but there being few of that profession in Castile, and those none of the best in the world, and, besides, Columbus would not altogether explain himself, lest he should be served as he had been in Portugal, they came to a resolution nothing answerable to what he had expected; some alledging, that since, during so many ages as there were from the creation of the world, men so well versed in marine affairs had known nothing of those countries Columbus persuaded them must be found, it was not to be imagined that he could know more than all of them; others, adhering more to cosmographical reasons, urged, that the world was so large that there would be no coming to the utmost extent of the east in three years' sail, whither Columbus said he intended his voyage; and, in confirmation thereof, they alledged that Seneca, by way of dispute, said, that many discreet men did not agree upon the question, whether the ocean were infinite, and doubted whether it could be sailed, and supposing it to be navigable, whether there was any country inhabited on the other side, and whether it was possible to go to it; they added, that no part of this inferior sphere was inhabited, except only a small compass which was left in our hemisphere above the water, and that all the rest was sea; and that notwithstanding it were so, that it were possible to arrive at the extreme part of the East, it would be also granted, that from Spain they go to the extreme part of the West."

Herrera, in the following chapter to the above, says, "There

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were also others who affirmed, that if Columbus should sail away directly westward, he would not be able to return to Spain, by reason of the roundness of the globe; because, whosoever should go beyond the hemisphere known by Ptolemy, would fall down so low, that it would be impossible ever to return, by reason it would be like climbing up a hill; and though Columbus fully answered these arguments, they could not comprehend him; for which reason those of the assembly judged the enterprize to be vain and impracticable, and that it was not becoming the grandeur of such mighty Princes to proceed upon so imperfect an account.

"After much delay, their Catholic Majesties ordered this answer to be given to Columbus, that being engaged in several wars, particularly in the conquest of Granada, they could not enter upon fresh expenses; but when that was over, they would cause further inquiry to be made into his proposals, and so dismissed him.         *         *         Having received the answer above, Columbus went away to Sevil, very melancholy and discontented, after having been five years at court to no effect. He caused the affair to be proposed to the Duke de Medina Sidonia, and, some say, to the Duke de Medina Celi at the same time; and they also rejecting him, he writ to the King of France, designing to go over to England to look for his brother, of whom he had heard nothing for a long time, in case the French would not employ him. With this design he went to the monastery for his son Don Diego, in order to leave him at Cordova; and communicating his design to Father John Perez de Marchena, God having reserved this discovery for the crown of Castile and Leon, and Columbus going unwillingly to treat with

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other Princes, because, by reason of the long time he had lived in Spain he looked upon himself as a Spaniard, he put off his journey at the request of Father John Perez, who, to be the better informed of the grounds Columbus went upon, sent for Garci Hernandez, a physician, and they three conferred together upon what Columbus proposed, which gave Garci Hernandez, as being a philosopher, much satisfaction. Whereupon Father John Perez, who was known to the Queen, as having confessed her sometimes, writ to her, and she ordered him to come to court, which was then in the town of Santa Fe, at the siege of Granada, and to leave Columbus at Palos, giving him hopes of success in his business. Father John Perez having been with the Queen, she ordered twenty thousand maravedies in florins to be sent to Columbus by James Prieto, an inhabitant of Palos, for him to go to court; where he being come, the affair began to be canvassed again. But the prior of Prado, and others who followed them, being of a contrary opinion, and Columbus demanding very high terms, and, among the rest, to have the title of Admiral and Viceroy, they thought he demanded too much, if the enterprize succeeded, and looked upon it as a discredit, if it did not; whereupon the treaty entirely ceased, and Columbus resolved to go away to Cordova, in order to proceed from thence to France, being positive not to go to Portugal upon any account.

"Alonzo de Quintanilla, and Lewis de Santangel, a clerk of the revenue of the crown of Arragon, were much concerned to think that this enterprize should be disappointed. Now, at the request of Father John Perez, and Alonzo de Quintanilla, the Cardinal Don

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Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza had heard Columbus, and looking upon him as a grave man, he had an esteem for him.         *         *          *         In January, 1492, he set out from Santa Fe for Cordova, in great anguish, the city of Granada being then in possession of their Catholic Majesties. The same day, Lewis de Santangel told the Queen, he wondered that she, who had never wanted spirit for the greatest undertakings, should now fail, where so little could be lost, and so much might be gained; for, in case the affair succeeded, and fell into the hands of another Prince, as Columbus affirmed it was like to do in case Spain would not accept of it, she might guess how prejudicial it would be to her crown; and since Columbus appeared to be a discreet man, and demanded no reward but out of what he should find, and was willing to defray a part of the charge, venturing his own person also, the thing ought not to be looked upon as altogether so impracticable, as the cosmographers said, nor be reckoned as lightness to have attempted such a mighty enterprize, though it should prove unsuccessful, inasmuch as it became great and generous monarchs to be acquainted with the wonders and secrets of the world, by which other Princes have gained everlasting renown; besides, that Columbus demanded only a million of maravedies to fit him out; and therefore he intreated her not to suffer the apprehension of so small an expense to disappoint so great an enterprize.

"The Queen, finding herself importuned on the same account by Alonzo de Quintanilla, who was much in credit with her, thanked them for their advice, and said, she accepted it, provided they would stay till she could recover a little from the expense of the

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war; however, if they thought it should be immediately put into execution, she would consent that they should borrow what money was requisite upon some of her jewels. Quintanilla and Santangel kissed her hands, for that she had at their request resolved to do what she had refused to so many others, and Lewis de Santangel offered to lend as much of his own as was necessary. Upon this resolution, the queen ordered an Alguazil of the court to go post after Columbus, and to tell him from her, that she commanded him to return, and to bring him away. The Alguazil overtook him two leagues from Granada, at the bridge of Pinos, and though much concerned for the small regard shown him, he returned to Santa Fe, where he was received, and the secretary John Coloma was ordered to draw up conditions and dispatches, after he had spent eight years inculcating the enterprize, and enduring many crosses and hardships."
No. III.

Herrera, vol. i. page 45.--"It pleased God in his mercy, at the time when Don Christopher Columbus could no longer withstand so much muttering, contradiction and contempt, that on Thursday the 11th of October, of the aforesaid year 1492, in the afternoon, he received some comfort by the manifest tokens they perceived of their being near land; for the men aboard the Admiral saw a green rush near the ship, and next a large green fish, of those that keep close to the rocks. Those aboard the caravel Pinta saw a cane and a staff, and took up one that was artificially wrought, and a little board, and saw abundance of weeds, fresh torn off the shore.

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Those aboard the caravel Nina saw other such like tokens, and a branch of a thorn with the berries on it which appeared to be newly broken off; for which reasons, and because they brought up sand on sounding, there was a certainty of their being near land, which was confirmed by the shifting of the winds, which seemed to come from shore. Columbus, being satisfied that he was near land, after nightfall, when they had said the Antiphon, Salve Regina , as is usual among the sailors every night, he discoursed the men, telling them, how merciful God had been to them, carrying them safe so long a voyage; and that, since the tokens were hourly more manifest, he desired them to watch all night, since they knew that, in the first article of the instructions he had given them when they came out of Spain, he told them, that when they had run seven hundred leagues without discovering land, they were to lie after midnight till day and be upon the watch, for he firmly confided that they would find land that night, and that, besides the ten thousand maravedies' annuity their Highnesses had promised the person that should first discover it, he would give a velvet doublet. Two hours before midnight, Columbus, standing on the poop, he saw a light, and privately called Peter Gutierras, groom of the privy-chamber to the King," [it appears from this that the crew had not been on the watch as he desired them,] "and bid him look at it, and he answered he saw it. Then they called Roderick Sanehez of Segovia purser of the fleet, who could not discern it; but afterwards it was seen twice and looked like a little candle, &c.         *          *          *         Two hours after midnight, the caravel Pinta being always a-head, it made signs of land, which was first discovered by a sailor whose

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name was Roderick de Triana, but two leagues distant. But their Catholic Majesties declared that the ten thousand maravedies' annuities belonged to the admiral, and it was always paid him at the shambles of Sevil, because he saw the light amidst the darkness, meaning the spiritual light that was then coming into those barbarous people: God so ordering it, that when the war with the Moors was ended, after they had been seven hundred and twenty years in Spain, this work should be taken in hand, to the end that the kings of Castile and Leon should be always employed in bringing infidels over to the light of the Catholic faith."
No. IV.

"When all things were ready, and he was upon the point of departing, he called them together, and spoke to them to this effect:-- 'He bid them offer up their prayers to God, and return thanks to him for having carried them to such a country to plant his holy faith, and not forsake him, but to live like good Christians, and he would protect them. That they should pray to God to grant him a good voyage, that he might soon return to them with a greater power; that they should love and obey their captain, because it was requisite for their own preservation, and he charged them so to do in the name of their Highnesses. That they should respect Gaucanagari, and give no offence to any of his people, nor offer violence to man or woman, that the opinion of their coming from heaven might be confirmed. That they should not part nor go up the country, nor out of Gaucangari's dominions, since he loved them so well, that with his consent they should survey the coast in canoes

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and their boat, endeavouring to discover gold mines, and some good harbour, because he was not well pleased with that where they remained, which he called the Nativity; that they should endeavour to barter the most they could fairly, without showing covetousness; and endeavour to learn the language, since it would be so useful to them, since they had opened the way to that new world.' They answered they would punctually perform all he ordered them. Wednesday, the 2d of January, 1493, he went ashore to take his leave, dined with Gaucanagari and his Caziques, recommended the Christians to him, whom he had commanded to serve and defend him from the Caribes. He gave him a fine shirt, and said, he would soon return with presents from the King of Spain. He answered with great tokens of sorrow for his departure."
No. V.

Herrera (vol. i. page 125.) having related how the Admiral founded a colony at Isabella, in the island of Hispaniola, left it for a time to build a fort in another part of the country, and after a time returned to it again, when he found many of the settlers dead, and the rest suffering from sickness and want of provisions, proceeds in these words:--"He found the men much fatigued, many of them dead, and those who were in health very disconsolate for fear they should not long survive, and they sickened the faster as the provisions declined.         *          *          *          Being thus out of hopes of any relief, starving with hunger, and sick, many of them persons of distinction, who had never undergone such hardships, they died very impatient and almost desperate; and therefore, after this colony

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of Isabella was abandoned, it was reported that dreadful cries were heard in that place, so that people durst not go that way. It was positively affirmed, that two men passing along among the buildings of the Isabella, there appeared to them in the street, two ranks of men very well clad, their swords by their sides, with mufflers about their faces, as travellers used to wear at that time in Spain; and those two persons wondering to see such new-comers there, so well dressed, whereas there was no knowledge of them in the island, saluted them, and asked them when and from whence they came; the others returned no answer, but putting their hands to their hats, with them took off their heads, and so vanished, which was such a surprise to the aforesaid two men, that they came not to themselves in a long time after."
No. VI.

Herrera, vol. i. page 252., gives this account of the fate of Bovadilla:--"He (Columbus, from Spain) arrived there (Santo Domingo) the 29th of June, and sent Peter de Terreros, captain of a ship, to acquaint Nicholas de Obando with the necessity he was under of leaving that ship there, and to desire he would permit him to enter the port with his ships, not only to change or buy another, but also to shelter himself from a great storm he was sure would soon happen. Obando would not consent to it, and the admiral being informed that the fleet of thirty-two sail was ready to put to sea, sent to advise him not to permit it to go out in eight days, because there would be a most dreadful tempest, for which reason he was going to put into the next harbour he should find, as ac-

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cordingly he did to Puerto Hermoso, sixteen leagues from Santo Domingo. Nicholas de Obando would not believe it, and the pilots made a jest of it, calling him a prophet. Among many tokens of a storm observed by mariners, one is, the porpoises and other such like fishes playing upon the superficies of the water, from which and other observations, the admiral had concluded that there would be a storm.

"As soon as Obando arrived at Hispaniola, he put his orders in execution, and accordingly Francis de Bovidilla was sent aboard the fleet with Francis Roldan, and all the rest that had been concerned in his insurrection, as also the Cazique Gaurinoex, lord of the Vale Royal, one hundred thousand castellanos of gold, beside the above-mentioned vast grain of gold," (so large that they had dined off it instead of a table,) "and one hundred thousand more, belonging to passengers, at which time those two hundred thousand castellanos were worth more than two millions. The fleet, consisting of thirty-one ships, set sail about the beginning of July, and within forty hours there arose such a violent storm as had not been known in many years, so that twenty ships were cast away, and not a man saved, and all the town of Santo Domingo, which was then on the other side of the river, the houses being slight, was blown down. The admiral's ships were dispersed and in the utmost danger, but met again in Puerto Hermoso, and thus the admiral and his ships escaped, and the fleet perished because they would not believe him. There Francis de Bovadilla, who had sent the Admiral in irons to Spain, perished, as did Francis Roldan and his companions, who had rebelled against the King. The two hundred thousand castellanos

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of gold and the vast grain above-mentioned, were also lost. The worst ship in the fleet, on board which the Admiral had four thousand pesos, escaped, and was the first that arrived in Spain."
No. VII.

Robertson's History of America, book iii.--"For a considerable time the supply of treasure from the New World was scanty and precarious, and the genius of Charles the Fifth conducted public measures with such prudence that the effects of this influence were little perceived. But when Philip the Second ascended the Spanish throne, with talents far inferior to those of his father, and remittances from the colonies became a regular and a considerable branch of revenue, the fatal operation of this rapid change in the state of the kingdom, both on the monarch and his people, was at once conspicuous. Philip, possessing the spirit of unceasing assiduity, which often characterizes the ambition of men of moderate talents, entertained such an opinion of his own resources, that he thought nothing too arduous for him to undertake. Shut up himself in the solitude of the Escurial, he troubled and annoyed all the nations round him. He waged open war with the Dutch and English; he encouraged and aided a rebellious faction in France; he conquered Portugal, and maintained armies and garrisons in Italy, Africa, and both the Indies. By such a multiplicity of great and complicated operations, pursued with ardour during the course of a long reign, Spain was drained both of men and money."

After mentioning the wretched impolicy of Philip the Third, in banishing the Moors from Spain, continuing the subject, he says--

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"In proportion as the population and manufactures of the parent state declined, the demands of her colonies continued to increase. The Spaniards, like their monarch, intoxicated with the wealth which poured in annually upon them, deserted the paths of industry to which they had been accustomed, and repaired with eagerness to those regions from which this opulence issued. By this rage of emigration, another drain was opened, and the strength of the colonies augmented by exhausting that of the mother-country. All those emigrants, as well as the adventurers, who had at first settled in America, depended absolutely on Spain for almost every article of necessary consumption. Engaged in more alluring and lucrative pursuits, or prevented by restraints which government imposed, they could not turn their own attention towards establishing the manufactures requisite to comfortable subsistence. They received their clothing, their furniture, whatever ministers to the ease or luxury of life, and even their instruments of labour, from Europe. Spain, thinned of people, and decreasing in industry, was unable to supply their growing demands. She had recourse to her neighbours. The manufactures of the low countries, of England, of France, and of Italy, which her wants called into existence, or animated with new vivacity, furnished in abundance whatever she required.         *         *         *         In short, not above a twentieth part of the commodities exported to America were of Spanish growth or fabric: all the rest was the property of foreign merchants, though entered in the name of Spaniards. The treasure of the new world may be said henceforward not to have belonged to Spain. Before it reached Europe, it was anticipated as the price of goods purchased from

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foreigners. That wealth which, by internal circulation, would have spread through each vein of industry, and have conveyed life and movement to every branch of manufacture, flowed out of the kingdom with such a rapid course as neither enriched nor animated it. On the other hand, the artisans of other nations, encouraged by this quick sale of their commodities, improved so much in skill and industry as to be able to afford them at a rate so low, that the manufactures of Spain, which could not vie with theirs, either in quality or cheapness of work, were still more depressed. This destructive commerce drained off the riches of the nation faster and more completely than even the extravagant schemes of ambition carried on by its monarchs. Spain was so much astonished and distressed at beholding her American treasures vanish almost as soon as they were imported, that Philip the Third, unable to supply what was requisite in circulation, issued an edict, by which he endeavoured to raise copper money to a value in currency nearly equal to that of silver; and the Lord of Peruvian and Mexican mines was reduced to a wretched expedient, which is the last resource of petty impoverished states.         *         *        *         Spain early became sensible of her declension from her former prosperity, and many respectable and virtuous citizens employed their thoughts in devising methods for reviving the decaying industry and commerce of their country. From the violence of the remedies proposed, we may judge how desperate and fatal the malady appeared. Some, confounding a violation of police with criminality against the State, contended that, in order to check illicit commerce, every person convicted of carrying it on, should be punished with

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death and confiscation of all his effects. Others, forgetting the distinction between civil offences and acts of impiety, insisted that counterband trade should be ranked among the crimes reserved for the cognizance of the Inquisition; that such as were guilty of it might be tried and punished, according to the secret and summary form in which that dreadful tribunal exercises its jurisdiction."

Herrera, vol. iv. p. 298.--"The seventh Inga Yapaugne, as soon as his father was dead, paid him very great honours, and a greater number of women and servants was shut up in his tomb, to die there, and serve him in the other world, than any other had before; and he had more treasure, more provisions, and more clothes, put in with them, and more men and women hanged themselves in their own hair.         *         *         *         This custom of burying women and other persons with the dead was universal among the mountain and Yunga Indians. When Acoya, Lord of the greatest part of the vale of Xauxa, died, a boy ran away to the Spaniards, because they would have shut him up alive in that prince's tomb."

This author says, that the Mexicans and those under their dominions computed, that every third child of the poorer sort was taken for sacrifice, and their idols were the better served, as the legs and arms of the victims were a most acceptable feast to the worshippers. To the deity of agriculture, when the reeds of the Indian wheat were small, they sacrificed new-born babes, and others bigger, as it grew up, till it was eared and ripe, and then they sacrificed men.

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Speaking of the temple of Mexico, he says, vol. ii. p. 380.-- "Either to shew the multitude of sacrifices they offered to their gods, or to keep in their minds the remembrance of death, to which all men are subject, they had a charnel of the sculls of men, taken in war and sacrificed, which was without the temple."--After describing it, he adds: "The number was so great, that Gomora, who had it from Andrew de Tapia and Gonzalvo de Umbria, two persons that took the pains to count them, tells us, they amounted to above one hundred and thirty thousand sculls, beside those that were in the towers, which they could not count," (when we consider that the Mexicans had not been in possession, by their own account, of the country above two centuries, and the temple probably not built for many years after their first arrival, this is a very great number); "and the said Gomora condemns this practise, in regard that they were the heads of men sacrificed, as being the effect of so cruel a cause as was the killing so many innocent persons; and he is in the right, for had they been the heads of men that had died a natural death, it was commendable to expose them to public view, to put the living in mind of their end."

The Indians seem to have had great intercourse with the devil, as well became the gloomy cruelty of their worship; and the Spaniards, impressed with horror at the dreadful waste of human life for sacrifices and feasts, which always went together, seem in some degree to have credited the reality of that intercourse. These following passages from Herrera are curious, and will shew how far this was the case:--

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"The arms over the gates of the palace, borne in Montezuma's colours and those of his ancestors, were an eagle stooping to a tyger, with the talons ready to lay hold. Some will have it to be a griffon, not an eagle; affirming that there are griffons on the mountains of Taguacan, and that they unpeopled the vale of Anncutlan, devouring the inhabitants.         *         *         *         This is not certain, there being nothing to prove it but their bare word; for hitherto the Spaniards never saw any griffon in that country, though the Indians shewed the pictures of some among their antiquities. They were represented to have down, and no feathers, and said to be so strong that they could break the strongest bones of men and deer; their shape between a lion and an eagle, with four legs, a beak, talons, and wings to fly.         *         *         *         Pliny and other natural philosophers look upon what is said of the griffon as a fable, though many tales and stories are told of them. Our people, never having seen any, some conclude and affirm, that ever since the beginning of idolatry among the Indians in New Spain, the devil was wont to appear in that shape, as he did in many others that were no less fierce and frightful."

After describing the great riches in gold and jewels, &c. of a private chapel, "where Montezuma was wont to pray many nights, and the devil appeared and spoke to him, giving answers and advice suitable to his petition and request," he proceeds to give an account of his various houses, and thus concludes:--"None of these houses belonging to the King were without chapels or oratories to the devil, whom they worshipped for the sake of what was there, and accordingly they were all large, and had many people belonging to

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them, which shews how superstitious they were, and how many ways the devil endeavoured to be honoured and worshipped."

In an account of the manners of Castilla del Oro, or the country about the isthmus of America, there is this passage:--"There was a sort of men among them called masters, in their language, each of these had a very little cottage without a door, and open at the top. The master went into it at night, pretended to talk with the devil, forming several voices, and then told the lord what the devil had discovered and answered to him. In these provinces, there were witches that did harm to children, and even to great people at the instigation of the devil, who gave them ointments made of certain herbs, with which they daubed themselves. He appeared to them in the shape of a beautiful male child, to the end that those simple people might believe him without being frightened. They never saw his hands, or his feet; he had three claws like a griffon, and he attended the witches when they went to do any harm. The Adelantado Pascuas de Andagoya affirmed, he had proof that a witch was one night in a town, with other women, and that at the same time she was seen a league and a half from thence, at a farm, where there were some people belonging to her lord."

In an account of the religion and manners of the Indians in some part of the new kingdom of Grenada, there is this curious passage:-- "As to the origin of the human race, the barbarians of this country believe, that a man they called Are, who always lay down, and was not really a man, but a shadow of a man, carved the faces of men and women on pieces of wood, and casting them into the water, they came out alive, and he married them. They went away from

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him, began to till the ground, and they never saw that Are again: and this, they say, happened on the other side of the great river of the Magdalen. Their prayers and devotions were performed on the water, and the devil strangely deluded them, and they talked with him, who persuaded them that it was not good to go to heaven, besides many more absurdities. They accounted the Sun their father and the Moon their mother; and when she was eclipsed, they wept, saying, 'Whither are you going, mother?' &c.         *         *         *         And then they made noise with their trumpets, pipes, drums and other instruments; and the devil persuaded them that the heaven with all its light would be turned upside down."

In mentioning the Indians amongst the mountains of Abibe-- "Most of the Indians about this mountain were subject to a Cazique, Nutibara, who was carried about on a golden bier, and had heads of his enemies before his house, for they were wont to eat their bodies; they worshipped the Sun; the devil appeared, and spoke to them in several shapes. An Indian woman, who went away with Bovadillo's men, told them, that when captain Cesar returned to Carthagena, the prime men of those vales assembled, and having offered extraordinary sacrifices, the devil appeared to them in the shape of a tyger, and told them that those men were come from beyond sea, and would soon return to subdue the country, therefore they should prepare for their defence; and then he vanished, after which preparations were made accordingly, and all the gold being taken out of the graves, was hid."

In another part of the history, he says,--"In this city of Tlascala was a spring to which they carried new-born children to be bathed,

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in the nature of baptism, which they thought delivered them from misfortunes, and there they offered flowers, perfumes, and sacrificed men. They were great conjurers, wizards and diviners; used to cast lots, and believe in dreams and prodigies. They saw strange apparitions of the devil, in the shape of a lion, tyger, or other borrowed body, and he would talk to them, and was known by having no shadow, no small bones in the joints, neither eye-brows nor eye-lids, his eyes round, without balls or white.          *          *         *         *         Their temples were pyramidal, with steps going up to the top, where was one or two little chapels, and before them large columns, with fires and perfumes on them day and night.          *         *          *          They were exact in the service of their temples, and the greatest sacrifice was of men and dogs, so that there were shambles of dogs sacrificed; but the prime sacrifice of all was that of the first prisoner taken in war. One who had been a priest, and was converted, said, that when they tore out the heart of the wretched person sacrificed, it did beat so strongly, that he took it up from the ground three or four times, till it cooled by degrees, and then he threw the body, still moving, down the steps. To know whether the devil consented to what they asked, they offered him something like henbane, an herb reckoned of great virtue for distempers, which they placed on certain vessels on the altar; when the priests came to see those vessels, and found the print of eagles' feet on them, they declared the same to the people, and then they joyfully began the solemnity with trumpets, drums, horns, and other instruments, the multitude celebrating that token given them by the devil."

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WODROW'S History, page 394. chap. 8. book 3.--"Mr. Robert Baillie of Jerviswoode, with whose sufferings I shall end this section, was a gentle man who had testimony of some of the greatest men of this age, whom I could name, for the best of men and greatest of statesmen, and so was a very proper object of the fury of this period, and could scarce escape the rage and malice of the duke of York, and such as were with him, carrying on the plot against our religion, reformation, and liberty.

"Indeed, he fell a sacrifice for our holy reformation, and received the crown of martyrdom on account of his zealous appearances against popery, and arbitrary power. I can never consider this great man, and several others, in this and succeeding years, of the most judicious and notable of our martyrs, neglected of design by the collectors of the cloud of witnesses , but I blame their private and party spirit.

"Jerviswood's trial was published by the managers, and I may perhaps make some remarks afterwards upon it. I shall here give some few hints I meet with in the records with relation to him when before the council, of which there is nothing in his printed trial.

"Through his long confinement and bad treatment when in prison,

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this good man turned very sickly and tender; and it was reckoned almost certain by all, that, had the managers spared this gentleman a few weeks longer, they would have been rid of him by a natural death, and escaped the indelible blot of inhumanity and barbarity to so excellent a person. He was evidently a dying man when tried before the Justiciary, and was obliged to appear in his nightgown before them, and was scarce able to stand when he spake; and yet he was kept in the pannel for ten hours, and behoved to take cordials several times; and next day he was carried in a chair in his nightgown to the scaffold.

"By the council books, I find, August 18., 'the Lady Jerviswood is, upon her petition, allowed to see her dying husband with the physicians but to speak nothing to him but what they hear and are witnesses to.' I am of opinion, this low state of his health put the managers at first off the design of processing him criminally; and to secure his estate, while he is dying a natural death, brought on by their maltreatment, they raise a process, in order to fine him to the value of six thousand pounds.

"Thus, August 30. the Council order the Advocate to pursue Jerviswood for resetting, entertaining and corresponding with rebels, and, as far as I can find, he was not able to appear before the council when they passed a decree against him, only he ordered his advocate to appear for him."

Page 39 --(The interrogatories put to Jerviswood on his examination by a committee appointed by the council.)

"1. Did you harbour or intercommune with Mr. Samuel Arnot?" &c. &c., (a long list of names.)

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"2. Did you reset Alexander Tweedy, your gardener, after Bothwel-bridge?" (Refusing to answer to these, he was fined in the sum of six thousand pounds.)

"September 10.--The council give orders to remove the Lady Garden, his sister, and the Lady Jerviswood, from his room in prison, they being informed he is recovered of his indisposition. We shall find this was but a very slender recovery, and that afterwards he grew worse, in part no doubt from being deprived of the care of these excellent ladies; and, November 9, the Lady Garden is allowed to be close prisoner with Jerviswood, because of his valetudinary condition.

"He continued in prison, still weaker and weaker, till December 18th, when I find the king's advocate is ordered to pursue a process of treason and forfeiture against Mr. Robert Baillie of Jerviswood, to-morrow at two of the clock; and Sir George Lockart of Camwath, and Sir John Lauder, advocates, are appointed to concur with the king's advocates in the process. I need not again remark, that this was to prevent Jerviswood's employing them in defence of his just rights. However, the time was exceeding short, and therefore, though it seems to be the more straitning to him, the libel and indictment were not put in his hands till the 22d. Upon the 23d, Jerviswood gives a petition to the council, shewing,--

" 'That only yesterday he received an indictment of treason, at eleven of the clock, to appear before the justiciary this day at two of the clock in the afternoon, which is so short a time, that the petitioner has got no lawyer consulted, nor time to raise his letters of exculpation for proving his defences and objections

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against the witnesses, as is allowed by the Act of Regulation, and the ordinary time in such cases is fifteen days; and the petitioner at present being so sick and weak, that he is not able to come over his bed, without being lifted, as appears by the testimony of his physicians; wherefore he humbly supplicates that the council may prorogate the diet to some competent time, and allow him lawyers, viz. Sir Patrick Hume, Mr. Walter Pringle, Mr. James Graham, Mr. William Fletcher, Mr. James Falconer, and Mr. William Baillie.'-- The council refuse to prorogate the diet, 'but grant him the advocates he seeks, and allow them to plead without hazard; they containing themselves in their pleadings in terms of law and loyalty, as they shall answer it at their peril.'

"Jerviswood's advocates pled that he ought not to pass to the knowledge of an assize, because he had not received a citation of fifteen days, &c. &c. That his harbouring, entertaining and intercommuning with the persons named, is res hactenus judicata , and the pannel already fined in a vast sum on that account. The advocate then restricted to the pannel's entering into a conspiracy for raising a rebellion, and for procuring money to be sent to the Earl of Argyle, and for concealing this. The Earl of Tarras was brought as a witness against Jerviswood, against whose evidence it was objected, that, being himself under an indictment for high treason, and under the fear of death, his testimony ought not to be admitted. The Lords repelled all objections and called the Earl as a witness. His deposition," says Wodrow, "and that of commissary Monro, Philiphaugh, and Gallowshiels, have more than once been printed, not only in Jerviswood's process, but in Prat's History of the Rye-

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house Plot, and I shall not here enter on the detail of them. They prove that Jerviswood, being in hazard, as all the nation were, of oppression, after the unaccountable decision in Blackwood's case, went up to London, and did speak and talk anent methods to bring in the King, to exclude a popish successor; and that they discoursed likewise upon money to be sent to the Earl of Argyle, and Mr. Martin. In May 1683 came down to Scotland with some proposals to the Earl of Tarras, Philiphaugh, Gallowshiels, and some others, to engage them to a rising, when England rose for the security of the protestant religion; but as to a design against the King's life, nothing of that was known to any of them. Most part of them relate to the plot (as it was called) and design then in hand, and very little militates against Jerviswood in particular. They all adhere judicially to their depositions made before the Lords of the secret committee.

"Before the assize closed, the advocate had a most bloody and severe speech to them, wherein every thing is stretched to the uttermost against the pannel. I shall not insert it here, since it is already published. In short, he urges the appointment of a thanksgiving, for the discovery of a conspiracy through the nations, the practice of the judges in England, who found proof enough to forfeit some of all ranks, and insists upon the witnesses being Jerviswood's relations; and if he be not punished, no man can; the conspiracy is a cheat, the King's judges murderers, and the witnesses knaves; and such as have died martyrs.         *         *         *         I wish I could give as good an account of the moving speech Mr. Baillie had to the inquest, and the home thrusts he gave the advocate; but I can only say, he

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appealed o the advocate's conscience, whether he was not satisfied as to his innocence, and had not owned so much to himself; which the other acknowledged, but added he acted now by order from the government; and to the advocate and judges, he, like a dying man, most pathetically disclaimed any access to or knowledge of any design against the King or his brother's life; but added, if his life must go for his essays to prevent a popish succession, he owned them, and heartily parted with his life as a testimony against a papist's mounting the throne.         *         *         *         Thus this saint of God is hasted away to his father's house. In two days' time they begin and end his process, and executed him as if they had been in fear of being prevented by a natural death. His carriage was most sedate, courageous, and Christian, after his sentence, and during the hours he had to live: and at his execution he was in the greatest serenity of soul possible almost for a person on this side of heaven, though extremely low in body. He prepared a speech to have delivered on the scaffold, but was hindered. Under the prospect of this, he left copies with his friends, and it deserves a room here, as containing a short and distinct view of his case." (See the last speech of Mr. Robert Baillie of Jerviswood, who died at the cross of Edinburgh, Dec. 24. 1684, in Wodrow's Hist. book iii. chap. 8.)

"I have several circumstances of this excellent person's carriage during the trial and execution too large to be inserted here. When his sentence was intimated, he said, 'My Lords, the time is short, the sentence is sharp, but I thank my God, who hath made me as fit to die as ye ere to live.' When sent back to his room in the prison, after the sentence, he leaned over on the bed, and fell into a

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wonderful rapture of joy, from the assurance he had, that in a few hours he should be inconceivably happy. Being, after a little silence, asked how he was, he answered, 'never better, and in a few hours I'll be well beyond all conception; they are going to send me in pieces and quarters through the country, they may hag and hew my body as they please, but I know assuredly nothing shall be lost, but all these, my members, shall be wonderfully gathered, and made like Christ's glorious body.' When at the scaffold, he was not able to go up the ladder without support. When on it, he said, 'My faint zeal for the Protestant religion has brought me to this end:' and the drums interrupted him."

Wodrow's additions and amendments to vol. i. and ii.--"After the case of that singular person, Baillie of Jerviswood, was printed off, I received a narrative of some further circumstances of his trial, from a worthy friend of mine, who was present, and a mournful spectator. What passed made so deep an impression, that he is distinct as to the very words and phrases that were used; and I thought they deserved a room here.

"Jerviswood, being much indisposed, came to the bar of the justiciary in his night-gown, attended by his sister, who several times gave him cordials, he being so ill that he was obliged to sit down on a stool. He heard all very patiently, only when ------ was reading his long narrative, Jerviswood would now and then look upwards, and hold up his hands. When the declarations and affidavits that came from England were read, he appeared to be in some concern, and said, 'Oh, oh!' staring upon the king's advocate."

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"But when the advocate, in his discourse to the assize, insisted on those declarations, and affidavits, and enlarged more fully upon them in the speech he caused print in Jerviswood's trial, then Jerviswood stared at him very broad, and appeared to be very much troubled.

"After the advocate had ended his discourse, Jerviswood desired liberty of the Earl of Linlithgow to speak a few words, not being able to say much, because of his great weakness; which being granted, he spoke to this purpose: 'That the sickness now upon him, in all human appearance, would soon prove mortal, and he could not live many days; but he found he was intended as a public sacrifice in his life and estate; that he would say nothing as to the justice of their Lordships' interlocutor, and was sorry his trial had given them so much and so long trouble, by staying so long in the Court, it being then past midnight. And then addressed himself to the assize, telling them he doubted not but they would act as men of honour, that there were hard things in the depositions of the witnesses against him, which was to be their rule, and that nothing he could say was to prevail with them; yet, for the exoneration of his own conscience, and that his poor memory and family might not suffer unjustly, he behoved to say, that the most material witnesses were correspondents, (viz. convicted of connection with the conspirators,) and life might be precious to some of them. But there is one thing,' says he, 'which vexes me extremely, and wherein I am injured to the utmost degree, and that is, for a plot to cut off the King and His Royal Highness, and that I sat up nights to form a declaration to

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palliate or justify such a villany. I am in probability to appear, in some hours, before the tribunal of the Great Judge, and in presence of your lordships and all here, I solemnly declare that never was I prompted or privy to any such thing, and that I abhor and detest all thoughts or principles for touching the life of His Sacred Majesty or his royal brother. I was ever for monarchical government.' And then looking directly upon the king's advocate, he said, 'My Lord, I think it very strange that you charge me with such abominable things; you may remember, that when you came to me in prison, you told me such were laid to my charge, but you did not believe them. How then, my Lord, come you to lay such a stain upon me with so much violence? Are you now convinced in your conscience that I am more guilty than before? You may remember what passed betwixt us in prison. 'The whole audience fixed their eyes upon the advocate, who appeared in no small confusion, and said, 'Jerviswood, I own what you say, my thoughts there was as a private man; but what I say here is by special direction of the privy council; and' pointing to Sir William Paterson Clerk, added, 'he knows my orders.'--'Well,' said Jerviswood, 'if your lordship have one conscience for yourself and another for the council, I pray God forgive you! I do.' And turning to the justice-general, he said, 'My lord, I trouble your lordships no further.' "

Hume's Hist. of England, chap. 69.--"The court was aware that the malcontents of England, held a correspondence with those of Scotland: and that Baillie of Jerviswood, a man of merit and learning, with two gentlemen of the name of Campbell, had come to

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London under pretence of negociating the settlement of the Scottish Presbyterians in Carolina, but really with a view of concerting measures with the English conspirators. Baillie was sent prisoner to Edinburgh; but as no evidence appeared against him, the council required him to swear, that he would answer all questions that should be propounded to him. He refused to submit to so iniquitous a condition; and a fine of six thousand pounds was imposed upon him. At length two persons, Spence and Carstairs, being put to the torture, gave evidence which involved the Earl of Tarras and some others, who, in order to save themselves, were induced to accuse Baillie. He was brought to trial; and being in so languishing a condition from the treatment which he had met with in prison, that it was feared he would not survive that night, he was ordered to be executed the very afternoon on which he received sentence."

The husband of Lady Griseld inherited the virtue and firmness of his father. "In the year 1715, though then in the treasury, which might have made him silent in giving an opinion against the measures of the court, he publicly declared himself for mercy to the poor unhappy sufferers by the rebellion; and amongst many arguments for it in a long speech he made in parliament, which, he began by saying, he had been bred in the school of affliction, which had instructed him in both the reasonableness and necessity of showing mercy to others in like circumstances, concluded by entreating them to take the advice which the Prophet Elisha gave to the King of Israel, in the 2d book of Kings, 6th chap. 22d and 23d verses. 'And

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he answered, thou shalt not smite them: would'st thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master. And he prepared great provision for them; and when they had eaten and drank, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.' "-- Lady M.'s Nar. THE END. Printed by A. and R. Spottiswoode,
Printers-Street, London.

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