Puslapio vaizdai

"Enough, enough of curse and ban,

Some blessings show thou now to me,
Or, by the faith o' my bodie,' Corspatrick said,
Ye shall rue the day ye e'er saw me!'

"The first of blessings I shall thee show

Is by a burn that's called of bread (Bannockburn), Where Saxon men shall tine the bow,

And find their arrows lack the head.

"Beside that brigg, out ower that burn,

Where the water bickereth bright and sheen, Shall many a falling courser spurn,

And knights shall die in battle keen.

"Beside a headless cross of stone,

The libbards there shall lose the gree;
The raven shall come, the earne shall go
And drink the Saxon bluid sae free.
The cross of stone they shall not know,
So thick the corses there shall be.'

"But tell me now,' said brave Dunbar,
True Thomas, tell now unto me,
What man shall rule the isle Britain,
Even from the North to the Southern Sea?'

"A French Queen shall bear the son

Shall rule all Britain to the sea; He of the Bruce's blood shall come, As near as in the ninth degree.

"The waters worship shall his race, Likewise the waves of the farthest sea; For they shall ride over ocean wide,

With hempen bridles and horse of tree.'" These, if they were prophecies, and not written after the events which they profess to foretell, were indeed very remarkable. Every one who knows the history of Scotland must be aware that there exist numerous distichal prognostications, all attributed to True Thomas, some of which have been fulfilled, and many of which still remain to be made good. But we have already dwelt long enough on this most wonderful character, of whom, if it were possible to obtain, at this day, a perfectly just and accurate perception, exactly as he really was, divested of fable, we should probably find him standing forth as a very prominent figure amidst the worth and talent of our countrymen. We, for our parts, have a very great antipathy to the utter extinguishment of any such character, whose name and idea have filled our infant and youthful years, and have grown up with our maturer age, so as to form a part and parcel of our constitutional credence ; and we must confess that the doubts recently thrown, by an able writer in one of our contemporary journals, on the actual existence of such a person as Robin Hood, has quite filled us with distress.

We have now, on the left bank of the stream, one of the most classical and far-famed spots in Scotland-the hill of Cowdenknowes. Of itself it is a very pretty, striking hill, starting forward from the adjacent eminences, so as to be prominent in the scene, and rising in a picturesque conical shape. No traveller, however incurious, could possibly pass up or down the valley without putting questions about it. But when its connexion with Scottish song is known, it immediately rises into an object of tenfold importance. There are no less than three different sets of words, which we are acquainted with, adapted to the beautiful, ancient, and plaintive air of the "Broom of the Cowdenknowes;" but the following ballad is universally believed to be the oldest and most original, and, there

fore, we think it right to select and to give it,
even although it is longer than we could wish :-

"O the broom, and the bonny, bonny broom,
And the broom of the Cowdenknows.'
And aye sae sweet as the lassie sang
I' the bought, milking the ewes.

"The hills are high on ilka side,

An' the bought i' the lirk o' the hill;
And aye as she sang her voice it rang,
Out o'er the head o' yon hill.
"There was a troop of gentlemen

Came riding merrilie by,
And one of them has rode out of the way
To the bought, to the bonny May.
"Weel may ye save and see, bonny lass,
An' weel may ye save an' see.'
An' sae wi' you, ye weel-bred knight,
And what's your will wi' me?'
"The night is misty and mirk, fair May,
And I have ridden astray,
And will ye be so kind, fair May,

As come out and point my way?'
"Ride out, ride out, ye ramp rider!

Your steed's baith stout and strang;
For out o' the bought I darena come,
For fear 'at ye do me wrang.'
"O winna ye pity me, bonny lass,

O winna ye pity me?
An' winna ye pity my poor steed,
Stands trembling at yon tree?'
"I wadna pity your poor steed,

Though it were tied to a thorn;
For if ye wad gain my love the night,
Ye would slight me ere the morn;

"For I ken ye by your weel-busket hat,

And your merrie twinkling e'e,
That ye're the Laird o' the Oakland Hills,
An' right aft in his companie.'

"He's ta'en her by the middle jimp,

And by the grass-green sleeve;
He's lifted her over the fauld-dyke,
And speer'd at her sma' leave.

"O he's ta'en out a purse o' gowd,
And streeked her yellow hair,
Now take ye that, my bonny May,
Of me till you hear mair.'

"O he's leapt on his berry-brown steed,
An soon he's o'erta'en his men,
And ane and a' cried out to him,

'O master, ye've tarry'd lang!"

"O I ha'e been east, and I ha'e been west,
An' I ha'e been far o'er the knowes,]
But the bonniest lass that ever I saw
Is i' the bought, milking the ewes.'
"She set the cog upon her head,


An' she's gane singing hame;
'O where ha'e ye been, my ae daughter?
Ye ha'ena been your lane.'

"O naebody was wi' me, father,
O naebody has been wi' me;
The night is misty and mirk, father,
Ye may gang to the door and see.

"But wae be to your ewe-herd, father,
And an ill deed may he die,

He bug the bought at the back o' the knowe,
And a tod has frighted me.

"There came a tod to the bought door,
The like I never saw,

And ere he had ta'en the lamb he did,
I had lourd he had ta'en them a.'

"O whan fifteen weeks was come and gane,
Fifteen weeks and three,

The lase began to look thin and pale,
Au' to long for his merry-twinkling e'e.


"It fell on a day, on a het simmer day,
She was ca'ing out her father's kye,
Bye came a troop o' gentlemen,
A' merrilie riding bye.

"Weel may ye save an' see, bonny May,
Weel may ye save an' see!

Weel I wat ye be a very bonny May,

But whae's aught that babe ye are wi'?' "Never a word could that lassie say,

For never a ane could she blame;
An' never a word could the lassie say,
But, I have a gudeman at hame.'
"Ye lied, ye lied, my very bonny May,
Sae loud as I hear you lie;
For dinna ye mind that misty night
I was i' the bought wi' thee?

"I ken you by your middle sae jimp,

An' your merry twinkling e'e,

That ye're the bonny lass i' the Cowdenknow,
ye may weel seem for to be.'

"Then he's leapt off his berry-brown steed,
An' he's set that fair May on-
Ca' out your kye, gude father, yoursell,
For she's never ca' them out again.
"I am the Laird of the Oakland Hills,
I ha'e thirty plows and three;
An' I ha'e gotten the bonniest lass

That's in a' the south countrie.''

The broom is not permitted, in these days of agricultural improvement, to cover the lovely slopes of the Cowdenknowes. It is, indeed, a curious fact in regard to the history of the plant, that it grows to perfection in a very few years, some seven or eight, we believe, and then dies entirely away, and then some years must generally elapse before the seed, with which the ground must have necessarily been filled, will vegetate; of this we have ourselves had large experience.

a half-crazed state, supported by a trifling pension from the laird, and being the companion and sport of the boys as the "daft Jock" of the place. But the moment he succeeded to the estate by his brother's death, he at once became a wise and well-conducted man, and assumed all the manners of a respectable country gentleman. One beautiful trait in him was, that he continued till his death to remember all those who had been kind to him, and pensioned such of them as required his aid; and this excellent part of his conduct may well be held out as an example, both to country gentlemen and gentlemen of the town.

The gorge of the valley immediately above the point where the Leader joins the Tweed, is filled with the fine old residence of the Tods of Drygrange, which is quite embosomed in wood; and the road breaks out from this to cross the main river by the Fly Bridge, which carries it on to St. Boswell's and Jedburgh.

And now, kind, gentle, and withal, we trust, considerate reader, we venture to ask you, whether, since we first embarked with you on the Silver Tweed, at its very fountain-head, we have not kept to the very bed of its waters with you like an otter? We know that your answer must be in the affirmative, because we feel that, if we have been more uniformly true to our element; so had been a very water-kelpy himself, we could not much have we been so, indeed, that we have been more than once inclined to think that our very na

ture was changed, and we have caught ourselves on the very eve of singing out,

"Merrily swim we, the moon shines bright,

Good luck to your fishing, whom watch ye to-night?" Granting these our premises, therefore, we trust that you will see neither harm nor impropriety in our taking a short recreative carracol according to our own fancy. It was the name of St. Boswell's that put this in our head, and we shall have no power to eject it thence, unless we be permitted to spin it out of our brain like a sort of yarn. St. Boswell's is well known to be the place where his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch has his hunting stables, and the kennel for his fox hounds. He hunts the country around, affording sport in the most liberal manner to all who are disposed to partake of it.

The remains of the more ancient house of Cowdenknowes still stand in the form of an old tower, in which was the dungeon. The legends of the country speak of a very cruel baron who once existed, who hanged people without mercy, and on the slightest pretences, on a tree at the head of the avenue leading to the house. This tree, which is very unsightly, from its gnarled and festered appearance, still remains, and is known by the name of the "Burrow's Tree." But not contented with this, he is said to have put some of his unfortunate prisoners into casks full of spikes, and so to have rolled them down the hill. This last act of cruelty is hardly to be credited, notwithstanding the distich which still remains-But do not, gentle reader, suppose that we are

"Vengeance! vengeance! When and where?

now meditating to give you the slip, to bid adieu to you and your rivers, and to mount and be off with his Grace after the hounds. We shall not deny, however, that our temptations to do so are some of the strongest, for we have here an indi

Upon the house of Cowdenknowes, now and evermair." A very deep pit was discovered recently in the bottom of the old tower, which was believed to have a communication with the house of Sorrow-vidual whom we are disposed to think is about lessfield, on the opposite side of the water, by a trap door, under the hearth of the principal room. This place belonged to an ancient family of the name of Fisher, who, at one time, were all cut off in a battle, so that none remained to mourn for the rest, which circumstance gave rise to the strange name. In later times, Mr. Chambers tells us, that the last of these Fishers was a very remarkable person. So long as his elder brother lived, and possessed the property, he used to reside at the neighbouring village of Earlstonn, in

the very oldest acquaintance we have in life, and for whose history and career we have always felt a great interest and a high respect; we mean Mr. William Williamson, the Duke's huntsman. We knew his father before him, a most excellent and much respected man, who has often carried us in his arms, and Will we knew long before he was attached to the Duke's hounds, and when they were hunted by old Joe King. In those very juvenile days we had a grey Highland pony called Jenny, which, for

We now come to a very beautifal, nay, perhaps, we ought to say the most beautiful part of the Tweed, where it meanders considerably, as it takes its general course in a bold sweep round the parish of Merton. On its north side, the ground rises to a very considerable height in cultivated and wooded hills. From several parts of the road that winds over it, most magnificent views are enjoyed up the vale of the Tweed, including Melrose and the Eildon hills; and then, at the same time, these rising grounds, and the southern banks, which are likewise covered with timber, give the richest effect of river scenery to the im mediate environs of the stream. As we follow it downwards from the Fly Bridge, we have, on oar left, the very ancient place of Bemerside, for centuries, we believe, the seat of the family of Haig. Thomas the Rhymer's prophecy, connected with this name, has stood good for generations :—‹ {

"Whate'er befall, whate'er betide,

There will aye be a Haig in Bemerside."

Most earnestly do we pray that this prophecy may go on to be fulfilled for ever, or at least so long as the place shall produce Haigs who shall be as good men as those we have had, and still have, the good fortune to be acquainted with.

symmetry of form, action, speed, and endurance, was not to be matched in the three Lothians by any quadruped of her inches. When we chanced to join the hunting field, therefore, we managed to make very good play after the fox went away, invariably contriving to get over, or through, whatever obstacle might come in our way. But we must confess that envy did now and then rise in our hearts, when our friend Will, who, young as he was, had already a charge of horses, used to come past us, sitting perched, as if it had been in the third heavens, on the top of a great slapping hunter up to any weight whatsoever, under whose very belly we might have easily passed both horse and man. We cannot say that on such occasions our boyish bile was not in some small degree excited, especially when we saw him tearing and rattling away before us, clearing raspers, five-bar gates, double ditches, bullfinches, and stone walls, and everything that came in his way, whilst we could only get on by dodges of the most artful description. The fact was, that Will's was destined to be from beginning to end a galloping life, whilst, on the other hand, our much-revered Sire, who was so ready to encourage our angling propensities, dreading by anticipation the expenses of a hunting stud, with its attendant establishment of grooms, strappers, and stable boys, did everything in his power to discourage, ab ovo, our natural born love of hunting, and, in the course of a few years, our joining a marching regiment necessarily made us walkers by profession. As for Will, he followed his career until he was placed in the highly respectable, and to him truly acceptable, situation of huntsman to his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch; and there he now is, a highly esteemed gentleman, possessed of a landed property of his own acquiring, and blessed with as large a circle of friends and acquaintances as any man in Scotland, all of whom have the greatest respect for his character; and if this universal respect is to be gained by fidelity and straightforward honesty, it will be quite the same in the end whether these were exercised in fulfilment of the functions of a Lord Chancellor, or in those of a good huntsman. When Will was in his prime, his match was not easily to be found between Turriff and Tenterden, and although, as an old and experienced huntsman, he will not go out of his way to look for a jump, or ride in the same reckless manner he did when we used to follow him on our grey pony Jenny, yet he is not the man to shy a fence when it comes in his way, and his judgment in the management of his hounds is not to be matched. We need not say that it gave us very great pleasure to see him at a meet the season before last, looking as fresh as a four-holy awe which is inspired by the recollection of year-old.

So now, gentlest of readers, having had the relaxation of this erratic bit of a canter, we shall return to the stream, and permitting you to put the water-kelpy's bridle in our mouths, we shall carry you down the stream of the Tweed without further interruption, singing, "Merrily swim we," &c.

We scarcely know a place anywhere which is
so thoroughly embowered in grand timber as
Dryburgh Abbey. It is situated in a level penin-
sula, at no great height above the river, and the
ruins, which rise in scattered masses out of the
richest shrubbery, so as even to tower above the
trees, are exceedingly picturesque. The old
Earl of Buchan, uncle and predecessor to the
present peer, whose property it was, and whose
place of residence was close to it, did a great deal
about it, both outside and inside. Some of his
operations were rather fantastical, especially that
of his filling the chapter-house with the plaster of
Paris casts of a number of worthies, who are
strangely blended together, and some of whom.
are singularly misplaced. But, so far as he here
and there added the accessories of planted shrubs
and creepers, he has much enriched the whole
scene. His admiration for the heroes and great
men of his country was so great that he reared
a colossal statue of Sir William Wallace, twenty
feet high, on the edge of a rock, overlooking the
whole scene.
of Darnwick.

This was executed by Mr. Smith
We are told that it is seen from

[ocr errors]

The most beautiful fragment of the rain is that which is called Saint Mary's aisle, which formed the south arm of the transept, and which still has the greater part of its vaulted roof over it; and let it not be approached save with that

the illustrious dead! for here repose the ashes of the immortal Sir Walter Scott. Here it was that, on the 26th of September, 1832, we beheld his coffin lowered into the grave, amidst the silent sorrow of a countless number of his old friends, who were indeed mourners in the truest sense of the word. But again we beg to refer to the November Number of our Magazine for the

[ocr errors]

year 1832, where we have given a very particular | Out went his line, however, and at the second account of this most impressive scene, written when all the circumstances were fresh upon our


cast it was twisted in ten thousand gordian knots amidst the boughs above him. He was a furiously passionate little man, and he stamped in the water and raved like a demon. A servant climbed up to unravel this misfortune, for Anderson, in his then blind state, could not have done

assisted, he came ashore and sat down, and poured out a string of execrations on the Earl of Buchan and his trees. "What's the use o' them,

The whole environs of the Abbey are so beautiful, so retired, and so sequestered, that the mere lover of woodland nature, who might wander here for a time, might find himself, ere he wist, walk-it in a whole week. Right glad to be thus ing hand in hand with the muse, albeit hitherto an entire stranger to him; and if she did suggest to him a theme, it could not fail to be one of the very purest nature, tinged with heavenly colouring, and rendered sublime by its approach to the throne of the Creator. And if such were the influences that always appeared to us to hang over Dryburgh Abbey, how much must they now be increased since it and its surrounding shades have had the spirit of Scott associated with them.

[ocr errors]

But, alas are we now to be condemned to hold that the muse of Scottish Romance has buried herself in the same grave that holds him who so long and so successfully worshipped her! True it is that we know of no one whose turn of genius runs precisely in the same chivalric channel with that of Scott. But there was a voice, which was full of the simplest and truest rural nature, which was wont to be listened to with intense delight; and why is it that he who gave it utterance should have so long ceased to do so? Let Professor Wilson answer this question, and let us suggest that the best way of replying would be by yielding to the wishes of his fellow-countrymen, and again resuming his literary pursuits. Dryburgh was a favourite haunt of ours in our juvenile days, when we used to angle here, and as our fondness for lovely scenery has been very paramount ever since our very boyhood, we always felt less disappointed whilst angling here without success, than we should have done on some tamer and less luxuriantly rich portion of the river. But we must not omit to mention that there are some four or five miles of very superior rod fishing for salmon here, belonging to different proprietors. We used to be attended in former days by a curious parchment-faced little man from the village of Newstead, called Anderson. He was a first-rate angler, and although he used to be soaked in the river every day up to his neck, he invariably appeared on the ensuing morning, like a wet shoe that had been too hastily dried, and as if he had been shrivelled up into a smaller compass than before. This was probably to be ascribed to the oceans of whisky which he poured down his throat after returning from the river to his own fireside at night. We well remember the risk we ran in fording the Tweed at some distance below the Fly Bridge, when the river was too large for prudent people to have made the attempt. Our wetting rendered some whisky necessary on our reaching a small inn on the north shore, and there Anderson took so much that, by the time we got down, to Dryburgh, where we meant to fish, we were really afraid for his life, when he proceeded to crash through the thicket of trees and shrubs that closely bordered the river's edge, in order to dash into the water like a poodle,


should like to ken, but just to hank our lines and spoil our fishing; od an this place were mine, I would rugg out every buss and fell every tree upon the lands." He was no sooner free than he waded in to a depth that was very perilous in his then whiskified condition-almost immediately hooked a salmon and really when he and the fish were safely landed together, we felt most thankful, for he had slipped and plunged about so, that we more than once believed that rod, line, fish, and man, would have gone to Berwick.

Below Dryburgh Lord Polwarth's property of Merton begins, and runs for about two miles down the Tweed. The angling is good, and we believe it is parcelled out and let to various gentlemen tenants. It is also excellent for trout fishing, especially on what is called the Rutherford water, where Mr. Stoddart tells us that his friend, John Wilson, Esq., had taken, with the minnow, a large creel full of fish out of one or two pools, many of them above a pound and a half in weight, and that he had himself, more than once, taken trout there, with the parr-tail, that weighed nearly three pounds.

As you approach the place of Mackerston, the immediate bed of the stream becomes much diversified by rocks, both on its side and in its channel. This, perhaps, is the only stretch of the river that would, in any way, recall those wild and iron-bound streams, with which those who have lived in the north may have become familiar. The river hurries very rapidly along, confined between walls of rock; and in some places its current may be said to be furious. In other parts, however, there are excellent casts for the rod, althongh some of their very names, as given by Mr. Stoddart, would seem to imply anything but peaceful or unincumbered waters, as, the Clippers, Red Stane, Side Straik, Doors, Willie's Ower Fa'. The proprietor of Mackerston, Sir Thomas Macdougall Brisbane, Bart., has the north side of the water, and his Grace the Duke of Roxburgh the south side. Mackerston is a fine old aristocratic-looking place, and its proprietor is an honour to his country, whether he be considered as a brave soldier or as a scientific philosopher,

Mr. Stoddart gives us a sketch of a rather interesting piscatorial character, of this neighbourhood, who rents the fishings of both the proprietors here.

His name is Robert Kerss-though he is usually called Rob of Trows-a man alike incapable of domineering or of humbling himself. "One that never had an enemy of his own making, nor cringed to form his friendships.


same in his courtesy to anglers of all ranks and degrees to a beggar as to a duke. As a rodfisher for salmon, Rob Kerss has few equals, and in all matters regarding fishing, he is enthusiastic beyond measure. To be in the boat with him, when the fish are in a taking humour, is a treat well worth the paying for. He never grudges the escape of a fish, and has always an encouraging or original remark at hand to keep up the spirit of the amusement." His cottage is prettily situated on a bank, among trees, where his noble and liberal landlord, the Duke of Roxburgh, has supplied the old man with every comfort and convenience. Immediately below Rob Kerss's house, the Duke of Roxburgh's fishings begin, and stretch, for nearly four miles, to a point about half a-mile below Kelso. There are few anglers who know how to make the most of a good piece of water so well as his Grace, as may be conceived from the fact, that it is by no means uncommon for him to kill betwixt twenty and thirty fish in the course of the day. This part of the Tweed is extremely rich and beautiful, for it has within it all the extensive and magnificently-grown timber of the park of Fleurs Palace, now one of the grandest places of residence in Scotland. Nothing can surpass the beauty of the scene when looked at from Kelso bridge. And then, when it is taken from other points, the bridge itself, the ruined abbey, the buildings of the town, with the wooded banks and the broad river, form a combination of objects, harmonizing together, which are rarely to be met with. Each particular description of scenery requires to be judged of and estimated according to its own merits. You cannot, with

any good effect or propriety, compare a wild, mountainous, and rocky, Highland scene with a rich, lowland district. But this we will say, that, of all such lowland scenes, we know of none that can surpass the environs of Kelso; for whilst the mind is there filled with all those pleasing associations with peace and plenty, which such scenes are generally more or less calculated to inspire, there are many parts of it which would furnish glowing subjects for the artist. Here the Tweed is joined by the Teviot, and we must, therefore, mount to the source of this latter stream, and trace its whole course, before we follow the former any farther. But, ere we begin this, will our kind reader permit us to explain, that, during all the time in which we have been engaged in inflicting this deluge of fluvial matter upon him, we have been so much of an invalid as to be unable to sit up sufficiently long to use pen and ink, and that all our private, as well as our official, letters have been written for us by an amanuensis. To such of our friends as may have received these, therefore, it may be matter of wonder how we could have managed to have produced so much writing for the press, and to these we are anxious to explain, that this has been entirely owing to the great kindness and courtesy of our publishers, who have, in the most obliging manner, condescended to print from our manuscript, written with a black-lead pencil, an instrument which, being altogether unlike a pen that is dependant on supplices of ink, we can use it with great ease and convenience, even when lying on our back on a sofa, and looking upwards to the paper we are writing on, as if it were the milky-way over our heads.

Joy ran high in halls of Ilion
E'er the lofty fortress fell;
Song from all the exulting million
Shook the tuneful golden shell.
Weary, every hand abideth,

Pausing from the tearful strife,
While the hero-souled Pelides

Priam's daughter woos to wife.

Bearing laurel boughs they follow
To the temples, throng on throng,
To the shrine of bright Apollo,

To the Thymbrian god of Song.
Through each alley, echoes waking,
Sounds of joy Bacchantic roll,
Whilst her moan, unheeded making,
Sorrows on one mournful soul.

Joyless, midst the joy prevailing,
The despised Cassandra roves,
Stung with sorrow unavailing,

To Apollo's laurel groves.
In the forest's deep recesses
Bursts into prophetic sound,
And the fillet from her tresses
Casts indignant on the ground.
"Mirth each lingering terror chases,

Every heart beats high in cheer, Hope revives their care-worn faces, Sumptuous swells the bridal year.



Me alone of all the million,
Me no fond illusion waits,
For I see, on swooping pinion,
Ruin hover o'er these gates.

"I behold a torch-light glowing,

But not borne in Hymen's hand,
Flashes o'er the welkin throwing,
All unlike from offering brand.
Plenteous banquets they are spreading,
But in my prophetic mind

I can hear the Godhead treading,
Who shall hurl them to the wind.

"Sunk in speechless grief I languish,
Or to desert wastes repair,
For they chide my mortal anguish,
And they mock at my despair.
By the thoughtful wise admonished,
By the joyous held to scorn,
Thou too grievously hast punished,
Pythean! I too much have borne.

"Oh! thou God relentless-minded!
Why unseal my spirit's sight,
In this city of the blinded,

In a land debarred of light.
Why impart the gift of seeing,
What no power can turn aside,"
The foreshadowed must have being,
The predestined must betide.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »