Page images
PDF
EPUB

« I come to bear the king his bride,

Here is his hand and royal seal."

Old Erol looked the letter on,

He scarcely could believe his ee; « Our royal liege is sore misled,

I will not yield the maid to thee."

« Then by my faith I must her take

In spite of all that bars my way ; I bear my order from my king,

Which yet I never did gainsay."

He pulled his broad sword from his thigh,

It Aickered like the meteor's ray; 6. Lay on them, lads," Lord Athol cried,

6. I long with such to have a fray."

Clash went the swords along the van,

That onsęt might not be withstood, The highland horse they were so fierce,

They bathed their hooves in lowland blood.

The battle's lost-the bride is won,

The pipes a merry strain resound; She weened it was a bold device,

And to the highlands they were bound.

O, never was a maiden's look

So fraught with wonder and dismay, They did not turn to Ila ford,

But downward bore upon the Tay.

They plunged into the darksome wave,

O but the ford was deep and wide ; But they set their faces to the stream,

And steadily they stemmed the tide.

Away they røde by Almond ford,

And by the side of silver Earn,
But where they went, or what was meant,

The bonny Hay had yet to learn.

And aye the bride had something wrong,

Her veil or scarf was discomposed, Her bridle twisted on the mane;

A belt was broke, a band was loosed.'

And then her fair and dainty foot

From out the golden stirrup fell, And none but Athol might her near,

But yet no look her doubts dispel.

The live-long day nor sign of love,

Nor censure did his looks express; O his was distant kindness all,

Attention and obsequiousness.

When they came in by fair Montieth,

She asked a henchman carelesslye, “ Whose land is this ?-Has Athol here

A castle or a bastailye?

" No, lady fair, these lands are held

By Comyn Glas of Barnygill, Lord Athol has no tower nor land

Besouth the brow of Birnam hill.”

She turned her face back to the north,

That face grew blenched and pale as clay; And aye the clear and burning tear

Hung on the cheek of lovely Hay.

Lord Athol turned him round about, i

“ Why does the tear stand in your eye? Say, are you weary of the way,

Or does your steed bear you o'er high?

“ Or does the west wind blirt your cheek,

Or the sun fa' on your bonny bree?” She hid her face within her vail,

“ Canst thou such question ask at me ?”

“ Beshrew my heart, if I can guess,

When honours thus thy path belay ;Minstrels, play up the music meet,

And make our royal bride look gay." As they went down by Endrick side,

They met our good King Gregory, Who came with all his gallant court,

And welcomed them right courteously ;

He kissed his fair and comely bride,

And placed her on a chariot high;

« Why does Lord Erol stay behind ?

Why comes he not to give me joy?”

“ My royal liege,” Lord Athol said,

" It fits him not thy face to see ; I showed your order and your seal,

But he would not yield the maid to me.

“ I broke his bolts and bars of steel,

I beat his yeomen on the lea,
I won his towers by dint of weir,

And here I've brought her safe to thee."

The king looked east, the king looked west,

And asked the maid the truth to tell ; « Sooth, my good lord, the tale is just,

I nothing wot how it befel.”

King Gregory drew a long, long breath,

He pressed his brow and stroked his beard: “Now, by the rood,” King Gregory said,

“ So strange a tale I never heard.”

What ails our fair and comely bride,

That thus she breathes the broken sigh, That ever and anon she looks

As if to meet some pitying eye? No pitying eye, alas! is there ;

Lord Athol jests and looks away ; True love is blighted in the bloom,

And hope takes leave of bonny Hay.

The holy abbot oped the book,

The twain arose from royal seat, The prayer was said, the question put,

Her tongue refused the answer meets

But aye she wept and sobbed aloud,

To cheer or comfort her was none, And aye she glanced to Athol's lord

With looks would pierce a heart of stone.

His heart was pierced—he deemed her wronged;

But now regret could nought avail; . () when her silken glove was drawn,

He trembled like the aspin pale ;

The king put her fair hand in his !

“ Now, abbot, here thy question try.” The abbot stared and straight obeyed,

Ah, it was answered readily!

“ Then join them, sire, and bless the bond,

I joy such lovers blest to see, The one respected sovereign's will,

The other, parent's high decree."

Lord Athol kneeled and clasped his king,

And shed the tears upon his knee ; But the fair bride hung round his neck,

And kissed his lips in extacye.

“ Go with thy lover, bonny Hay,

Thou well befitt'st his manly side, And thou shalt have the fairest dower

That ever went with highland bride.

“ I ne'er saw such a lovely face,

I never looked on form so fair,
But a foolish thought rose in my breast,

- That Athol's child might be my heir !

“ Go, my brave Douglas of the dale,

And bring your Madeline to me ; I oft have marked her eagle eye

The Queen of Scotland she shall be."

Old Douglas bowed and left the hall,

How proudly waved his locks of gray ! A sound was issuing from his breast,

Laughing or crying none could say.

O such a double bridal and feast,

And such a time of joyful glee, And such a wise and worthy king,

Dumbarton town shall never see.

BARNARD.

A MONASTIC LEGEND.

WHEN first our convent settled there,

Green Ulster was but savage ground ;
They barred the doors at eve with care,

And heard the forests' whistle round.
Barnard, a monk of stedfast look,
One night our abbey's hearth forsook,
And, stung with grief, unwitting came

Down some wild glen without a name.
It was a strange and savage place ;
The grey stones scattered o'er its face

With hoary glimmer shone :
The night was wild ; the moon o'ercast
With clouds careering thick and fast ;
But still her light, in streaks of white,
Burst out, as rapidly she passed

Through her dark path alone.
A wilder'd panic urged him back,
And searching for his former track,

A ring of stones he found;
'Twas piled of yore, by Druids grim,
And 'mong its lights and shadows dim
An aged man of boney limb

Lay gasping on the ground.
« The hand of death is o'er my head,

My soul is full of doubt and dread, Surely my groans have brought thee nigh!

Then stop, and watch me till I die." “ I will-but wherefore art thou here, Why thus alone, when death's so near ?” “ Alone ! alone! The human race May well avoid this bloody place. But troops of spectres come again, And infants whom my sires have slain. Round those dark stones they used to play, And tell me of my dying day.” « Old man, thou ravest, clear thy brow; What were thy sires, and who art thou ?”

Behold around those scattered heaps,
In each of these a Druid sleeps;
These were my sires ; but I have none,
To do my rites, as their's were done.
This glen has been my sires' abode,

« PreviousContinue »