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Poem by Walter Scott
Addressed to the Right Hon. Lady Anne Hamilton. When princely Hamilton's abode Ennobled Cadyow's Gothic towers, The song went round, the goblet flow'd,, And revel sped the laughing hours. Then, thrilling to the harp's gay sound, So sweetly rung each vaulted wall, And echoed light the dancer's bound, As mirth and music cheer'd the hall. But Cadyow's towers, in ruins laid, And vaults, by ivy mantled o'er, And echoed light the dancer's bound, As mirth and music cheer'd the hall. Yet still, of Cadyow's faded fame, You bid me tell a minstrel tale, And tune my harp, of Border frame. On the wild banks of Evandale. For thou, from scenes of courtly pride, From pleasure's lighter scenes, canst turn, To draw oblivion's pall aside, And mark the long-forgotten urn. Then, noble maid! at thy command, Again the crumbled halls shall rise; Lo! as on Evan's banks we stand, The past returns — the present flies. Where, with the rock's wood cover'd side, Were blended late the ruins green, Rise turrets in fantastic pride, And feudal banners flaunt between: Where the rude torrent's brawling course Was shagg'd with thorn and tangling sloe, The ashler buttress braves its force, And ramparts frown in battled row. 'Tis night — the shade of keep and spire Obscurely dance on Evan's stream; And on the wave the warder's fire Is chequering the moonlight beam. Fades slow their light; the east is grey; The weary warder leaves his tower; Steeds snort; uncoupled stag-hounds bay, And merry hunters quit the bower. The drawbridge falls - they hurry out - Clatters each plank and swinging chain, As, dashing o'er, the jovial rout Urge the shy steed, and slack the rein. First of his troop, the Chief rode on; His shouting merry-men throng behind; The steed of princely Hamilton Was fleeter than the mountain wind. From the thick copse the roebucks bound, The startled red-deer scuds the plain, For the hoarse bugle's warrior-sound Has roused their mountain haunts again. Through the huge oaks of Evandale, Whose limbs a thousand years have worn, What sullen roar comes down the gale, And drowns the hunter's pealing horn? Mightiest of all the beasts of chase, That roam in woody Caledon, Crashing the forest in his race, The Mountain Bull comes thundering on. Fierce, on the hunter's quiver'd band, He rolls his eyes of swarthy glow, Spurns, with black hoof and horn, the sand, And tosses high his mane of snow. Aim'd well, the Chieftain's lance has flown; Struggling in blood the savage lies; His roar is sunk in hollow groan - Sound, merry huntsmen! sound the pryse! 'Tis noon — against the knotted oak The hunters rest the idle spear; Curls through the trees the slender smoke, Where yeoman dight the woodland cheer. Proudly the Chieftain mark'd his clan, On greenwood lap all careless thrown, Yet miss'd his eye the boldest man That bore the name of Hamilton. "Why fills not Bothwellhaugh his place, Still wont our weal and woe to share? Why comes he not our sport to grace? Why shares he not our hunter's fare?" — Stern Claud replied, with darkening face, (Grey Paisley's haughty lord was he), "At merry feast, or buxom chase, No more the warrior wilt thou see. "Few suns have set since Woodhouselee Saw Bothwellhaugh's bright goblets foam When to his hearths, in social glee, The war-worn soldier turn'd him home. "There wan from her maternal throes, His Margaret, beautiful and mild, Sate in her bower, a pallid rose, And peaceful nursed her new-born child. "O change accursed! past are those days; False Murray's ruthless spoilers came, And, for the hearth's domestic blaze, Ascends destruction's volumed flame. "What sheeted phantom wanders wild, Where mountain Eske through woodland flows, Her arms enfold a shadowy child - Oh! is it she, the pallid rose? "The wilder'd traveller sees her glide, And hears her feeble voice with awe - 'Revenge,' she cries, 'on Murray's pride! And woe for injured Bothwellhaugh!'" He ceased - and cries of rage and grief Burst mingling from the kindred band, And half arose the kindling Chief, And half unsheathed his Arran brand. But who, o'er bush, o'er stream and rock, Rides headlong, with resistless speed, Whose bloody poniard's frantic stroke Drives to the leap his jaded steed; Whose cheek is pale, whose eyeballs glare, As one some vision'd sight that saw, Whose hands are bloody, loose his hair? - 'Tis he! 'tis Bothwellhaugh. From gory selle, and reeling steed, Sprung the fierce horseman with a bound, And, reeking from the recent deed, He dash'd his carbine on the ground. Sternly he spoke - "'Tis sweet to hear In good greenwood the bugle blown, But sweeter to Revenge's ear, To drink a tyrant's dying groan. "Your slaughter'd quarry proudly trode, At dawning morn, o'er dale and down, But prouder base-born Murray rode Through old Linlithgow's crowded town. "From the wild Border's humbled side, In haughty triumph marched he, While Knox relax'd his bigot pride, And smiled, the traitorous pomp to see. "But can stern Power, with all his vaunt, Or Pomp, with all her courtly glare, The settled heart of Vengeance daunt, Or change the purpose of Despair? "With hackbut bent, my secret stand, Dark as the purposed deed, I chose, And mark'd, where, mingling in his band, Troop'd Scottish pikes and English bows. "Dark Morton, girt with many a spear, Murder's foul minion, led the van; And clash'd their broadswords in the rear The wild Macfarlanes' plaided clan. "Glencairn and stout Parkhead were nigh, Obsequious at their Regent's rein, And haggard Lindesay's iron eye, That saw fair Mary weep in vain. "'Mid pennon'd spears, a steely grove, Proud Murray's plumage floated high; Scarce could his trampling charger move, So close the minions crowded nigh. "From the raised vizor's shade, his eye, Dark-rolling, glanced the ranks along, And his steel truncheon, waved on high, Seem'd marshalling the iron throng. "But yet his sadden'd brow confess'd A passing shade of doubt and awe; Some fiend was whispering in his breast; 'Beware of injured Bothwellhaugh!' "The death-shot parts - the charger springs - Wild rises tumult's startling roar! And Murray's plumy helmet rings - - Rings on the ground, to rise no more. "What joy the raptured youth can fell, To hear her love the loved one tell - Or he, who broaches on his steel The wolf, by whom his infant fell! "But dearer to my injured eye To see in dust proud Murray roll; And mine was ten times trebled joy, To hear him groan his felon soul. "My Margaret's spectre glided near; With pride her bleeding victim saw; And shriek'd in his death-deafen'd ear, 'Remember injured Bothwellhaugh!' "Then speed thee, noble Chatlerault! Spread to the wind thy banner'd tree! Each warrior bend his Clydesdale bow! - Murray is fall'n, and Scotland free!" Vaults every warrior to his steed; Loud bugles join their wild acclaim - "Murray is fall'n, and Scotland freed! Couch, Arran! couch thy spear of flame!" But, see! the minstrel vision fails - The glimmering spears are seen no more; The shouts of war die on the gales, Or sink in Evan's lonely roar. For the loud bugle, pealing high, The blackbird whistles down the vale, And sunk in ivied ruins lie The banner'd towers of Evandale. For Chiefs, intent on bloody deed, And Vengeance shouting o'er the slain, Lo! high-born Beauty rules the steed, Or graceful guides the silken rein. And long may Peace and Pleasure own The maids who list the minstrel's tale; Nor e'er a ruder guest be known On the fair banks of Evandale!
Poem Theme: Castles
Walter Scott's other poems:
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