Page images
PDF
EPUB

And oft, when evening skies were red,
The heather was their common bed,
Where each, as wildering fancy led,

Still hunted in his dream.

Now is the thrilling moment near
Of sylvan hope and sylvan fear,
Yon thicket holds the harbour'd deer,

The signs the hunters know ;-
With eyes of flame, and quivering ears,
The brake sagacious Keeldar nears ;
The restless palfrey paws and rears ;

The archer strings his bow.
The game's afoot !-Halloo! Halloo !
Hunter, and horse, and hound pursue ;-
But woe the shaft that erring flew-

That e'er it left the string!
And ill betide the faithless yew!
The stag bounds scathless o'er the dew,
And gallant Keeldar's life-blood true

Has drenched the grey-goose wing.

The noble hound-he dies, he dies,
Death, death has fixed his glassy eyes,
Stiff on the bloody heath he lies,

Without a moan or quiver.
Now day may break and bugle sound,
And whoop and hollo ring around,
And o'er his couch the stag may bound,

But Keeldar sleeps for ever.
Dilated nostrils, staring eyes,
Mark the poor palfrey's mute surprise,
He knows not that his comrade dies,

Nor what is death-but still
His aspect hath expression drear
Of grief, and wonder, mix'd with fear,
Like startled children when they hear

Some mystic tale of ill.

But he that bent the fatal bow,
Can well the sum of evil know,
And o'er his favourite bending low,
In speechless grief recline;

21

VOL. II.

Can think he hears the senseless clay
In unreproachful accents say,
• The hand that took my life

away,
Dear master, was it thine ?

. And if it be, the shaft be bless'd,
Which sure some erring aim address’d,
Since in your service, priz’d, caress’d,

I in your service die;
And you may have a fleeter hound,
To match the dun deer's merry bound,
But by your couch will ne'er be found

So true a guard as I.'

And to his last stout Percy rued
The fatal chance, for when he stood,
Gainst fearful odds in deadly feud,

And fell amid the fray,
E'en with his dying voice he cried,
· Had Keeldar but been at my side,
Your treacherous ambush had been spied-

I had not died to day!'

Remembrance of the erring bow
Long since had join’d the tides which flow,
Conveying human bliss and woe,

Down dark Oblivion's river;
But Art can Time's stern doom arrest,
And snatch his spoils from Lethe's breast,
And, in her Cooper's colours drest,

The scene shall live for ever.

BISHOP EGERTON AND HIS STEWARD.

On Dr. John Egerton coming to the see of Durham, he employed one Due as his agent, to find out the true value of the estates held by lease under him, and, in consequence of Due's report, greatly raised both the fines and reserved rents of his tenants ; on which account, the following toast was frequently drunk in and about Durham, “ May the Lord take the Bishop and the Devil have his Due.”—Grose's Olio, 1796.

[blocks in formation]

F the attachment to games of chance which the farmers in some of the retired, inland districts of Northumberland, exhibit in the disposal of certain pendicles of their property, a characteristic example has been already presented to the readers of the Table Book, in the cus_ tom of Guse-plays. An additional instance of their predilection to reward with articles of household worth, suc

cessful adventure and skill, exists in another singular device they practise, called Candle-creel, consisting in playing at cards for candles. After the Martinmas, when the nights grow chill and frosty, and “sober suns must set at five o'clock," the cattle and horses are no longer permitted to pass the night in the open fields, but are harboured snugly, in stable and stall, sheltered from the bitter blasts, unwholesome dews, and pinching frosts, that announce winter's approach, and being then no longer able to forage for their own sustenance, are dependent for provender upon the now increasing activity of the clanking flail. These animals being foddered and bedded in the grey of the evening, are left to rest and rumination, till about eight o'clock or “beast-time,” when all the male population of the place headed by the farmer himself, bearing under his arm a massive lantern, are summoned forth, to furnish a fresh supply of food and litter where wanted, and to curry and rub the horses. To provide the light requisite for inspection of the bestial, forms an important item of the farmer's domestic arrangements, and numerous and sage are the calculations—and manifold the schemes—so that illumination may be procured at the most reasonable outlay, and with the least accruing waste. This is at least the fashion of the present age, pejor avis.” In the olden times, the little farmers, less perplexed with the hideous phantom of rack-rent, indulging a more genial strain, converted it into an occasion of festivity. Parties of three or four convened at a little side-way ale-house, or in their own cheerful homes, each man with a creel or basket of candles at his side, out of which he hazarded or “lantered" stakes, till the rage for play abated, or some vigorous competitor bore off the lion's share. The victors generally secured a store, sufficient to “look the beasts

[graphic]

ול

for a whole winter. Thus at the risk of a trifling sacrifice, many an hour of overflowing happiness gladdened the peaceful dwelling, gave relish to the unbroken level of country life, and diffused a civilizing influence over scenes where human abodes were scant and scattered, and man remote from intercourse with his fellows, was exposed to the danger of becoming churlish and unsocial.-From J. Hardy's. Col.

A BORDER PROPHECY.

Atween Craig-cross and Eildon tree
A bonny bairn there is to be,
That'll neither have hands to fecht nor feet to flee,
To be born in England, brought up in Scotland, and to gang hame

again to England to dee.

T

HIS prophecy has been popular in the south of Scotland

from time immemorial. It is usually ascribed to Alexander Peden the Cameronian seer; but as that right wor

shipful personage succeeded to a great deal of the fame and literary property of Thomas the Rhymer, and has been niore than once detected in repredicting what his predecessor had long before foretold, it may be in reality of much greater antiquity. Be the Author who he may it is certain that the prophecy came to pass in recent times.

About the middle of the last century a boy was born without hands or feet at Ballen mill, near Falstone in Northumberland. His name was Paterson, soon after his birth he was removed to Talnash mill, near the head of the Teviot water, about eight miles above Hawick. Here he was brought up. While yet a child he was taken back to England with the rest of the family, and died at Carlisle, aged 7 years, thus completely fulfilling every particular of the prediction and thereby confirming all the people who knew the circumstances, in a belief of Mr. Peden's prophetic powers.Chambers' Edinburgh Journal, No. 61.

ROOKHOPE RYDE.

FROM RITSON's BISHOPRIC GARLAND.

HIS is a Bishopric Border song, composed in 1572, taken down by Ritson from the chanting of George Collingwood the elder, late of Boltsburn, in the neighbourhood of Rookhope, who was interred at Stanhope, the 16th of December, 1785.

"Rookhope is the name of a valley about five miles in length; at the termination of which,

Rookhope burn empties itself into the river Wear: the dale lies in the north part of the parish of Stanhope, in Weardale. Rookhope-head is the top of the vale. The ballad derives some additional interest, from the date of the event being so precisely ascertained to be the 6th December, 1569, when the Tynedale robbers, taking advantage of the public confusion occasioned by the rebellion of Westmoreland and Northumberland, and which particularly affected the bishopric of Durham, determined to make this foray into Weardale.

To the illustrations of Ritson have been added those of the late Robert Surtees, Esq., of Mainsforth, printed in the “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border."

[graphic]
[graphic]

OOKHOPE stands in a pleasant place,

If the false thieves wad let it be.
But away they steal our goods apace,

And ever an ill death may they die !

And so is the man of Thirlwa'l 'nd Willie-haver, 2

And all their companies thereabout,

1 Thirlwall, or Thirlitwall, is said by Fordun, the Scottish historian, to be a name, given to the Picts' or Roman wall, from its having been thirled, or perforated, in ancient times, by the Scots and Picts. Wyntown also, who most probably copied Fordun, calls it Thirlwall. Thirlwall castle, though in a very ruinous condition, is still standing by the site of this famous wall, upon the river Tippal. It gave name to the ancient family, De Thirlwall.

2 Willie-baver, or Willeva, is a small district or township in the parish of Lanercost, near Bewcastledale, in Cumberland, mentioned in the old border ballad of Hobbie Noble :

“ Warn Willeva, and Spear Edom,
And see the morn they meet them a'.”

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »