« PreviousContinue »
THE BALLAD OF KING GREGORY.
KING Gregory sits in Dunbarton tower,
He looks far o'er the dale and down ; 66 What boots it me,” said Gregory,
“ That all the land I see's my own?
“ Scotland is mine by heritage,
And Erin yields and bows the knee,
But they darena parl again wi' me ;
“ For they ha'e gotten the meddler's cast,
Their doughty raids ha'e cost them dear,
Or dare her sons to deeds o' weir.
« The shield hangs useless in my hall,
The sword rusts on the yeoman's thigh,
And here sits sachless Gregory,
60 I may spread my sails of silk,
And lightly sweep along the sea,
And chase the dun deer o'er the lea ;
“ But aye at e'en when I come hame
Frae the firth or the muirland hill,
But there's something wanting still."
King Gregory sat in Dumbarton tower,
He looked a far o'er land and sea; He saw his grey hills round him stand,
And the vale and the greenwood tree
He saw the links and the shores of Clyde,
And the sea that rowed wi' ceaseless play ; It was dyed wi' green, it was dyed wi' red,
And it tried to climb the rock so grey, But aye it fell wi' a grumbling sound,
And left behind the dewy spray.
It was not the mountain, it was not the dale,
Nor the fairy hues that dyed the sea, Nor the wave that wrestled wi' the rock,
That drew King Gregory's wistful e'e ;
It was the maidens of Leven side
That walked or played with blythsome glee, For they were lythe of lire and limb,
And 0 but they were bright of blee !
King Gregory went into his bower,
That bower was fair and that bower was wide ; King Gregory went into his hall,
And he strode it o'er from side to side.
King Gregory went to his chamber,
And looked around with joyful brow, He looked into his royal bed,
And he found there was meet room for two.
And sore he wondered that so long
Something awanting he should ken ; Something he lacked of happiness,
But knew not what it was till then.
King Gregory called his nobles in ;
“My gallant knights, pray list to me; My day of life is past the noon,
And the grey hairs wave aboon my bree.
“ Seek me a may of noble kin,
I reck nought of her dower or land, Be she a fair and comely dame,
As fits the queen of fair Scotland.”
Then every barun rose with speed
And ilk ane roosed the child he loved
Aboon all maids that e'er were known.
O they were all sae fair and sae good,
King Gregory was in extacy; And every ane that was defined,
King Gregory thought “ that's she for me."
But up spake Douglas of the dale,
A grim and stalwart carl was he ; « My liege, I have two maidens young,
But they're somewhat dark like you and me,
“ But John of Erol has a maid,
For comely maik and courtesye, Her 'jke ne'er clove the summer gale
Since Scotland rose up frae the sea;
“ That ever was bred a form sae fair
Of earthly life I could not ween, And ever since I saw her face
I deemed her formed to be a queen."
Then every noble lord stood dumb,
And cast at him an angry e'e, But all allowed in sullen mood
That Erol's maid was fair to see.
The king has written a broad letter,
And he sealed it with his signet ring, And he has sent to Erol's lord
To bring his daughter to the king ;
* And see that she be robed in silk,
All fringed wi' the gouden cramasye, For I have neither spouse nor child,
And queen of Scotland she shall be.”
When Erol looked the letter on,
A blythe and happy man was he, But ere the half of it was done
There was something glistened in his e'e.
Then Erol turned him round about,
And he stamped and he cried, “ O woe is me, I have pledged my word to Athol's lord,
And a queen my child must never be.