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of turrets, terraces and battlements ;-it stands on those confines of Durham which adjoin to Yorkshire, and commands extensive views over the two counties.

The late Earl of Darlington (then Lord of the Castle) was an old acquaintance of my father; and when first we came beneath his roof, it presented to us a warmer picture of ancient hospitality than I had ever witness'd; or may, perhaps, ever see again.

We were benighted on our road thither ;-our days journey had been all along unpropitious; it rain'd heavily and incessantly; and we had met with delays, and petty accidents, and vexations, at every turn.—In the last seven miles, after sun-set, a fog arose ;—one of the horses cast a shoe, and his rider dismounted to grope for it in the mud and in the dark ;—my father let down the glass, to ask what was the matter, in phrase too classical for a north-country post-boy to understand; and the post-boy answer'd in a dialect quite incomprehensible to the translator of Terence. I could not act as interpreter between them; for I knew nothing of the north-country language. All this time, the rain was pelting in upon us, at the chaise window; we were chilly,—hungry,--impatient,-comfortless, --sitting dinnerless in a post-chaise,—and waiting the issue of a hunt after a horse-shoe.

As we passed through the outer gate-way of the Castle, the vapour was dense upon the moat, and we were enveloped in night-fog, while the rolling of the carriage-wheels, and the trampling of the horses? hoofs, sounded dolefully over the draw-bridge ;-we might have fancied ourselves victims to the darkest times of Gallick despotism, condemn'd by a lettre de cachet, to linger out our lives in the deepest dungeons of the Bastille; but, lo! on the opening of a massive door, a gleam of light flash'd upon us ;-crack went the whips,--we dash'd forward at full trot,-and, in a moment, drew up,-not to a piazza, nor a vestibule, nor a flight of steps in a cold court-yard,—but before a huge blazing fire, in a spacious Hall. The magical effect of this sudden transition, from destitution to luxury, has never occurr'd to me any where else, except in the two last scenes of every Pantomime, when the Guardian Genius, with a wand, waves and recitatives Harlequin and Columbine out of a Coal-pit, into the Temple of the Goddess of Gas;

“ Hence grief and darkness, enter life and joy!”

VOL. 11.

THE COURT OF KEELDAR.

BY J. LEYDEN.

66

FROM THE

MINSTRELSY OF THE SCOTTISH BORDER."

EILDER is a wild Northumbrian district, adjacent to Cumberland and the Scottish border. Keilder Castle, as it is rather improperly called—for its pretentions to

the character of a castle are extremely o humble—is a shooting-box belonging to his

grace the Duke of Northumberland, the 00000000 building of which was completed in 1775.

To Keilder there is no carriage-road, and whoever visits it, whether plebeian or noble, must be content either to walk or ride on horseback. Though the view from Keilder Castle is not extensive, yet, as a beautiful stream runs immediately in front of it, and as the grounds in this neighbourhood are not without trees,

In somer, when the shaws be sheen,

And leves be large and long, the prospect is extremely pleasant, and its peculiar beauties of wood and meadow-land are rendered more impressive when contrasted with the bleak moors to the north and the west.

The Cout of Keilder is represented by tradition as having been a powerful chief of this district, and the most redoubted adversary of Lord Soulis, and to have perished in a sudden encounter on the banks of the Hermitage. Being arrayed in armour of proof, hə sustained no hurt in the combat ; but stumbling in retreating across the river, the hostile party held him down below water with their lances till he died; and the eddy, in which he perished, is still called the Cout of Keilder's Pool. His grave, of gigantic size, is pointed out on the banks of the Hermitage, at the western corner of a wall, surrounding the burial ground of a ruined chapel. As an enemy of Lord Soulis, his memory is revered ; and the popular epithet of Cout, (i. e. Colt,) was expressive of his strength, stature, and activity. The word, which ought rather to spelled Cowt, is understood in this sense in the neighbourhood of Keilder, as well as on the opposite Scottish Border. Tradition likewise relates, that the young Chief of Mangerton, to whose protection Lord Soulis had, in some eminent jeopardy, been indebted for his life, was decoyed by that faithless tyrant into his castle of Hermitage, and insidiously murdered at a feast.

Sir William Soulis, Lord of Liddesdale, held possession of Hermitage Castle in the reign of Robert the Bruce. His portrait as sketched by local tradition is by no means flattering ; uniting every quality which could render strength formidable, and cruelty detestable. Combining prodigious bodily strength with cruelty, avarice, dissimulation and treachery, is it surprising that a people, who attributed every event of life, in a great measure, to the interference of good or evil spirits, should have added to such a character the mystical horrors of sorcery? Thus, he is represented as a cruel sorcerer; constantly employed in oppressing his vassals, harrassing his neighbours, and fortifying his Castle of Hermitage against the King of Scotland; for which purpose he employed all means, human and infernal; invoking the fiends by his incantations, and forcing his vassals to drag materials, like beasts of burden. Tradition proceeds to relate, that the Scottish King, irritated by reiterated complaints, peevishly exclaimed to the petitioners, “Boil him if you please, but let me hear no more of him.” Satisfied with this answer, they proceeded with the utmost haste to execute the commission ; which they accomplished by boiling him alive on the Nine-stane Rig, in a cauldron, said to have been long preserved at Skelf-hill, a hamlet betwixt Hawick and the Hermitage. Messengers, it is said, were immediately despatched by the King, to prevent the effects of such a hasty declaration; but they only arrived in time to witness the conclusion of the ceremony.

The Keeldar Stone, by which the Northumbrian Chief passed in his incursion, is still pointed out, as a boundary mark, on the confines of Jed forest, and Northumberland. It is a rough insulated mass, of considerable dimensions, and it is held unlucky to ride thrice withershins* around it.

The Brown Man of the Muirs is a Fairy of the mos malignant order, the genuine duergar. Walsingham mentions a story of an unfortunate youth, whose brains were extracted from his skull, during his sleep, by this malicious being. Owing to this operation, he remained insane many years, till the Virgin Mary courteously restored his brains to their station.

Widdershins–German, Widdersins. A direction contrary to the course of the sun; from left, namely, to right.

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“ The heath-bell blows where Keeldar flows,

By Tyne the primrose pale ;
But now we ride on the Scottish side,

To hunt in Liddesdale.”

“ Gin you will ride on the Scottish side,

Sore must thy Margaret mourn ;
For Soulis abhorr'd is Lydall's lord,

And I fear you'll ne'er return.

“ The axe he bears, it hacks and tears ;

'Tis form'd of an earth-fast flint ;2
No armour of knight, tho' ever so wight,

Can bear its deadly dint.

“No danger he fears, for a charm’d sword he wears,

Of adderstone the hilt ;3
No Tynedale knight had ever such might,

But his heart-blood was spilt.”

1 Streamers—Northern Lights. 2 An earth-fast stone, or an insulated stone, enclosed in a bed of earth, is supposed to possess peculiar properties. It is frequently applied to strains and bruises, and used to dissipate swellings; but its blow is reckoned uncommonly severe.

3 The adderstone, among the Scottish peasantry, is held in almost as high veneration, as, among the Gauls, the ovum anguinum, described by Pliny.—Natural History, 1. xxix. c. 3. The name is applied to celts, and other round perforated stones.

The vulgar suppose them to be perforated by the stings of adders.

“In my plume is seen the holly green,

With the leaves of the rowan-tree ;1 And my casque of sand, by a mermaid's hand,

Was formed beneath the sea.

“ Then, Margaret dear, have thou no fear!

That bodes no ill to me,
Though never a knight, by mortal might,

Could match his gramarye,”

Then forward bound both horse and hound,

And rattle o'er the vale ;
As the wintry breeze through leafless trees

Drives on the pattering hail.

Behind their course the English fells

In deepening blue retire;
Till soon before them boldly swells

The muir of dun Redswire.

And when they reach'd the Redswire high,

Soft beam'd the rising sun;
But forinless shadows seem'd to fly

Along the muir-land dun.

And when he reach'd the Redswire high,

His bugle Keeldar blew;
And round did float, with clamorous note

And scream, the hoarse curlew.

The next blast that young Keeldar blew,

The wind grew deadly still ;
But the sleek fern, with fingery leaves,

Waved wildly o'er the hill.

The third blast that young Keeldar blew,

Still stood the limber fern;
And a Wee Man, of swarthy hue,

Upstarted by a cairn.

i The rowan-tree, or mountain-ash, is still used by the peasantry, to avert the effects of charms and witchcraft. An inferior degree of the same influence is supposed to reside in many evergreens; as the holly and the bay. With the leaves of the bay, the English and Welsh peasants were lately accustomed to adorn their doors at Midsummer.- Vide Brand's Vulgar Antiquities.

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