صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

against a kiss of mine, that he carries came as fixed and frozen, as stars in a swords made of good Ripon steel, and winter night. This passed away with pistols of good Swedish iron, in yon a smothered groan and a passing of her horsepack of his—wilt thou pledge a hand over her bosom, and she again kiss, my gentle cousin ? And instead resumed her narrative. "Truly," said

of a brain, stored with plans for passing !, “ my forward cousin, thou art

Ithe an English yard for a Scottish ell, and best soldier our poor prince could peril making pieces of homespun plaiding his cause with thou canst make a pedseem costly works from the looms of lar churt into a deep plodding politiArras, or even Leeds, it is furnished cian, capable of overturning a throne. with more perilous stuff, pretty Eleanor ; And his pack filled with shreds of lace and no man can tell us better, how many and remnants of ribbon, into a maga. nf the Scottish cavaliers have their feet zine of weapons fit for furnishing an ready for the stirrup, and on what day army. What will thy wise head make they will call on the Selbys to mount of these dubious sybil verses, which and strike for their ancient lord and this mysterious politician of thine has their lost inheritance." Something of been doļing out for thy especial instructhis colour had been passing in my own tion ?"! “By the rood, my witty Eleanmind, but the temper of the Selbys ever or,” said Walter, “I shall win a battle, more required to be repressed than en- and wed thee in revenge for this. But couraged—and so I endeavoured to thinkest thou not, that the box which manage thee poor Walter Selby,”-she has endowed that white neck of thine went on in a slow solemn tone-" I with a cross and rosary of gold, and saw thee, thou last and thou bravest of wood still more precious, may not conall the Selbys with thy banner spread, tain things equally curious and strange? thy sword bright, and thy long golden Some golden information, this pediar locks waving on thy shoulders, when -since pedlar thou wilt have himthe barriers of Preston were lost and carries in his looks—I wish I could find won, and the gallant lairds of Ashie- the way to extract it.” The stranger, steel fought like brothers by thy side- as if guessing by our looks and our O, that this last bright picture were whispers what was passing between us, all I remember of thee. "But can the proceeded to instruct us in his own sinheart of woman, though her head begular way-he described the excellent gray, forget that she saw those long temper of his Sheffield whittles-praislocks which made the dames sigh, ed the curious qualities of his spectawaving, soiled and bloody, on the gates cles which might enable the wearer to of Carlisle. There is much done in see distant events, and after soothing this world that must be answered for in over some lines of a psalm or hymn, the next, and this cruel and remorseless common to the presbyterians, he prodeed is one-," Old Eleanor, while she ceeded to chant the following ballad, spoke, looked as though her agitated of which I regret the loss of several fancy had given semblance to the pic- verses. ture she had drawn, and her eyes


The Pedlar's Ballað,
It is pleasant to sit on green Saddleback top,

And hearken the eagle's cry;
It is pleasant to roam in the bonnie green wood,

When the stags go bounding by:
And it's merry to sit when the red wine goes round,
'Mid the poet's sweet song and the minstrel's sweet sound.

[ocr errors]

It is merry in moonshine to lead down the dance,

To go startling away when the string
Shakes out its deep sound, and the fair maidens fly

Like the sunlight-or birds on the wing.
And it's merry at gloaming aneath the boughs green,
To wooe a young maiden and roam all unseen.
But it's blyther by far when the pennon is spread,

And the lordly loud trumpet is pealing,
When the bright swords are out, and the war courser neighs,

As high as the top of Helvellyn,
And away spurs the warrior, and makes the rocks ring,
With the blows that he strikes for his country and king.
Our gallants have sprung to their saddles, and bright

Are the swords in a thousand hands;
I came through Carlisle, and I heard their steeds neigh

O'er the gentle Eden's sands.
And seats shall be emptied, and brands shall be wet,
'Ere all these gay gallants in London are met.
Lord Nithsdale is mounted by winding Nith,

Lord Kenmore by silver Dee;
The blythe lads spur on from the links of the Orr,

And Durisdeer's greenwood tree.
And the banners which waved when Judæa was won,
Are all given again to the glance of the sun.
The Johnstone is stirring in old Annandale,

The Jardien-the Halliday's coming,
From merry Milkwater, and haunted Dryfe bank :

And Erske that shall list at the gloaming,
The war shout, the yell, and of squadrons the dash,
And gleam to the claymore, and carabine's flash.
Then come with the war horse, the basnet and sword,

And bid the big trumpet awaken ;
The bright locks that stooped at a fair lady's feet,

'Mid the tempest of war must be shaken. It is pleasant to spur to the battle the steed

And cleave tbe proud helmet that holds a foe's head." Thy sword's tusty, Howard-hot Dacre art thou

Šo cool when the war-horse is bounding? Come, Percy, come thou, like a Percy of yore,

When the trumpet of England is sounding; And come, gallant Selby—thy name is a name,

a While a soldier has soul, and a minstrel has flame. And come too, ye names that are nameless come mount,

And win ye a name in proud story,
A thousand long years at the sock and the share

Are not worth one moment of glory.
Come arm ye, and mount ye, and make the helms ring,
Of the Whigs, as ye strike for your country and king.

“ The whole household of Wilton- gentle blood in my veins, I would wrap hall, including Walter Selby and myself, him up in bis own plaid and beat him had gradually gathered around this mer- to death with his own ell wand, which chant-minstrel, whose voice from an I'll warrant is a full thumb breadth ordinary chant, had arisen, as we be- short of measure." I stood looking on came interested, into a tone of deep Walter Selby and the stranger, the martial melody. Nor was it the voice former standing aloof, with a look of alone of the stranger that became chang- haughty determination, and the lated, his face, which at the commence- ter, with an aspect of calm and inment of the ballad had a dubious and trepid resolution, enduring the scoff sinister expression, brightened up with of the hot-brained youth, and the enthusiasm, his trame grew erect, and scorn of the vulgar matrón. It might his eyes gleamed with that fierce light be now about nine o'clock, the air was which has been observed in the eyes of balmy and mute, the sky blue and unthe English soldiers on the eve of bat- clouded, and the moon, yet unrisen, tle. « What thinkest thou, fair Elean- had sent as much of her light before or, of our merchant now," said Walter her as served, with the innumerable Selby : “ I should like to have such a stars, to lighten the earth from the sumform on my right hand when I try to mit of the mountains to the deepest empty the saddles of the southern horse vales. I never looked upon a more of some of the keenest whigs."- lovely night, and gladly turned my face “ And I'll pledge thee, young gentle from the idle disputants to the green man," said the pedlar, raising his voice mountain-side, upon which that fueat once from the provincial drawl and runner gleam which precedes the moon obscurity of lowland Scotch into the had begun to scatter its light. While purest English, “any vow thou askest continued gazing, there appeared a sight of me to ride on which hand thou wilt, on Soutra-fell side, strange, ominous

, and be to thee a friend and a brother, and obscure, at that time, but which when the battle is at the hottest, and so was soon after explained in desolation I give thee


hand on't." “ I touch and in blood. I saw all at once, a boty no hand,” said Walter Selby, “and I of horsemen coming swiftly down the vow no vow either in truce or battle, steep and impassible side of the moun till I know if thou art of the lineage of tain, where no earthly horse ever rode. the gentle or the churl; I am a Selby, They amounted to many hundreds, and and the Selbys" " The Selbys," trooped onwards in succession, their said the stranger, in a tone, slow and helmets gleaming, and their drawn deliberate," an ancient and a swords shining amid the starlight. On noble race; but this is no time, young beholding this vision, I uttered a faint gentleman, to scruple precedence of scream, and Walter Selby, who was blood. In the field where I have rid- always less or more than other men, den, noble deeds have been achieved shouted till the mountain echoed, “Saw by common hands, while the gentle and ever man so gallant a sight? A thouthe far descended have sat apart nor

sand steeds and riders on the perpensoiled their swords; I neither say I am dicular side of old Soutra-see where of a race churlish or noble, but my they gallop along a line, where I could sword is as sharp as other men's, and hardly fly a hawk! O, for a horse with might do thee a friendly deed, were so sure and so swift a foot as these, that it nigh thee in danger."-"Now God I might match me with this elfin chihelp us,” said the dame of Wilton-hall, valry. My wanton_brown, which can “ what will old England become- bound across the Derwent like a bird here's young Wat Selby

debating lineage with me on its back, is but a packhorse and blood with a packman churl-in to one of these." Alarm was visible in good truth, if I had but one drop of every face around; for we all knew




[ocr errors]


what the apparition foreboded..a lost horse and man; in the rear I saw a form battle and a ruined cause. I heard my which made me shudder--a form still father say that the like sight appeared present to my eye and impressed upon on Helvellyn side, before the battle of my heart, old and sorrow-worn as it is, Marston-moor, with this remarkable as vividly as in early youth. I saw the difference, the leader wore on his head shape of Walter Selby-his short cloak, the semblance of a royal crown, where- his scarlet dress, his hat and feather as the leaders of the troop whom I be- bis sword by his side

and that smiling beld wore only earls' coronets.

6. Now

glance in his deep dark eye which was his right hand protect us," said the never there but for me, and which I dame of Wilton-hall, “ what are we could know among the looks of a thoudoomed to endure? what will follow sand thousand. As he came, he laid this?"...“ Misery to many," answered "

bis bridle on his horse's neck and leanthe pedlar, "and sudden and early death ed aside, and took a long, long look at ,

, to some who are present.”

“ Cease

me. The youth himself, full of life and thy croak, thou northern raven," said gladness beside me, seemed to discover Walter Selby, “ if they are phantoms, the resemblance between the spectrelet them passwhat care we for men rider and him, and it was only by throwof mist ? and if they are flesh and bone, ing myself on his bosom, that I hinas I guess by their bearing they must dered him from addressing the apparisurely be, they are good and gallant tion. How long I remained insensible soldiers of our good king, and thus do in his arms I know not, but when I I bid them welcome with my bugle.” recovered, I found myself pressed to the

, He winded his horu till the mountain youth's bosom ; and a gentleman, with echoed far and wide; the spectre-horse-armed attendants, standing beside me, men, distant near a quarter of a mile, all shewing by their looks the deep inseemed to halt; and the youth had his terest they took in my fate.* hom again at his lips to renew the note, The vision of the spectre-horsemen, when he was interrupted by the pedlar, in which human fate was thus darkly who laying his hand on the instrument, shadowed forth, passed away, and desaid, “ Young man, be wise, and be parted too, am afraid, from the ruled ; yon vision is sent for man's in- thoughts of those to whom it came as a struction, not for his scoff and his signal and a warning, as a cloud passes scorn.". The shadowy troop now ads from the face of the summer-moon.vanced, and passed towards the south at am now to tell a tale I have related a the distance of a hundred yards. I thousand times to the noble and the looked on them as they went, and I low; it is presented to me in my imagined I knew the forms of many dreams, for the memory of spilt blood living men, doomed speedily to perish clings to a young mind, and the life's in the battle field, or on the scaffold. blood of Walter Selby was no common I saw the flower of the jacobite chivalry blood to me.--Seated on horseback, ---the Maxwells, the Gordons, the with Walter Selby at my bridle-rein, Boyds, the Drummonds, the Ogilvys, and before and behind me upwards of the Camerons, the Scotts, the Fores- a score of armed cavaliers, I had ters, and the Selbys. The havoc which ceeded along the mountain side about happened among these noble names, a mile, (without knowing their intenit is needless to relate; it is written in tions, or my own destination, and with tale, related in ballad, and sung in song,

a brain crazed at the remembrance of and deeper still it is written in family that fatal vision) when a horn was feeling and national sympathy. A su- winded at a small distance in our front. pernatural light accompanied this pa- We quickened our pace; but the way geant, and rendered perfectly visible was rough and difficult, and we were

[ocr errors]

proobliged to go a sinuous course, like the oblige thee, his ballad told more truth meanderings of a brook, round rock than I reckoned amidstrel might and cairn and heathy hill, while the infuse into verse. All the border cavahorn, continuing to sound, still seemed liers of England and Scotland are near as far a-head as when we first heard it. us, or with us, and now for the game It was about twelve o'clock; and the of coronets and crowns,-a coffin, coz, moon gleamed down from the summit or an earl's bauble,- for we march of a mountain, and lightened us on our upon Preston.” Prepared as I was for way through a narrow wooded valley, these tidings, I could not hear them where a small stream glimmered and without emotion, and I looked with an sparkled in the light, and ran so crook- eye on Walter Selby that was not caled a course, as compelled us to cross culated to inspire acts of heroism. I it every hundred yards. Walter now could not help connecting our present addrsssed me in his own singular way: march on Preston with the shadowy “ Fair. Eleanor, mine own grave and procession I had so recently witnessed ; staid cousin, knowest thou whither thou and the resemblance which one of the goest ? Comest thou to counsel how phantoms bore to the youth beside me, fifty men may do the deeds of thousands, pressed on my heart.“ Now do not and how the crown of this land may be be afraid of our success, my fair shifted like a 'prentice's cap? “ Tru- coz," said he, “when to all the proud

“ ly,” said I, “I go with thee, like an names of the border-yames thou trast afflicted damosel of yore, in the belief long since learned by heart, and tenthat thy wisdom and valour may rein- dered musical by repeating thein-we state me in my ancient domains, or add the names of two most wise and else win for me some new and princely prudent persons, who shall hereafter be inheritance.” * Thou speakest,” said called the setters-up and pluckers down the youth, “ like one humble in hope, of kings-even thy cool and chivalrous and puttest thy trust in one who would cousin, and a certain staid and sedate willingly work miracles to oblige thee. errant damosel.” This conversation But ponder, fair damsel-my sword, obtained for us the attention of several though the best blade in Cumberland, stranger cavaliers who happened to join cannot cut up into relics five or six re- us as, emerging from the woody glen, giments of dragoons ; nor is this body, we entered upon a green and wide moor though devoted to thee, made of that or common. One of them, with a short knight-errant stuff that can resist sword cloak and slouched hat and heron's and bullet. So I counsel thee, most feather, rode up to my right hand, and discreet coz, to content thyself with glancing his eye on our faces, thus hearing the sound of battle afar off, fór addressed himself to mz in a kind-heartwe are going on a journey of no smalled, but antique style : “Fair lady, there peril.” To these sensible and conside- be sights less to a warrior's liking than rate words, I answered nothing, but so sweet a face beside a wild momrode on, looking, all the while, Walter tain, about the full of the moon. The Selby in the face, and endeavouring to cause that soils one of these bright say something witty or wise. He re- tresses in dew, must be a cause dear to sumed his converse : “ Nay, nay, mine man's heart; and, fair one, if thou wilt own sweet and gentle cousin, my sweet permit me to ride by thy bridle-rein, Eleanor, I am too proud of that troubled my presence may restrain sundry flouts glance of thine, to say one word more and jests which young cavaliers, some about separation,”-and our horses' what scant of grace and courtesy (and heads and our cheeks came closer as he there be such in our company) may spoke.“ That ballad of the pedlar, use, on seeing a lady so fair and so for pedlar shall the knight be still, to young, on such a dangerous and an

« السابقةمتابعة »