Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Is my soul tamed

lilies, and other relics of its former And baby-rid with the thought that flood or field Can render back, to scare men and the moon,

beauty begin to open their bloom, clingThe airy shapes of the corses they enwomb? ing amid the neglect and desolation of And what if 'ris soshall I love the crown the place, with something like human Of my most golden hope, cause its fair circle affection to the soil. This rustic ruin Is haunted by a shadow ?

Old Play.

presents no attractions to the eye of the ON the Scottish side of the sea of profound antiquary, compared to those

Solway, you may see from Allan- of its more stately companion, Caerlabay and Skinverness the beautiful old verock Castle; but with this rude cotcastle of Caerlaverock, standing on a tage and its garden connects a tale so small woody promontory, bounded by wild, and so moving, as to elevate it, the river Nith on one side, by the deep in the contemplation of the peasantry, sea on another, by the almost impassa- above all the princely feasts and feudal ble morass of Solway on a third ; while atrocities of its neighbour. far beyond, you observe the three spires It is now some fifty years since I visof Dumfries, and the high green hills of ited the parish of Caerlaverock; but Dalswinton and Keir. It was former- the memory of its people, its scenery, ly the residence of the almost princely and the story of the Ghost with the names of Douglas, Seaton, Kirkpatrick, Golden Casket, are as fresh with me as and Maxwell : it is now the dwelling- matters of yesterday. I had walked place of the hawk and the owl; its out to the river-bank one sweet aftercourts are a lair for cattle, and its walls noon of July, when the fishermen were afford a midnight shelter to the passing hastening to dip their nets in the comsmuggler; or, like those of the city ing tide, and the broad waters of the doomed in Scripture, are places for the Solway sea were swelling against bank fishermen to dry their nets. Between and cliff, as far as the eye could reach. this fine old ruin and the banks of the It was studded over with boats, and its Nith, at the foot of a grove of pines, more unfrequented bays were white and within a stone-cast of tide-mark, with waterfowl. I sat down on a small the remains of a rude cottage are yet grassy mound between the cottage ruins visible to the curious eye-the bramble and the old garden plat, and gazed, and the wild-plum have in vain tried to with all the hitherto untasted pleasure triumph over the huge, gray, granite of a stranger, on the beautiful scene beblocks which composed the foundations fore. of its walls. The vestiges of a small

Over the whole looked the stately garden may still be traced, more par- green mountain of Criffel, confronting ticularly in summer, when roses and its more stately, but less beautiful neigh

31 ATHENEUM VOL. 10.

bour, Skiddaw; while between them blue-ribbed boot-hose. Having laid flowed the deep, wide, sea of Solway, his charge to the grass, he looked leihemmed with cliff, and castle, and town. surely around him, and espying meAs I sat looking on the increasing mul- a stranger, and dressed above the mantitude of waters, and watching the suc- ner of the peasantry, he acknowledged cess of the fishermen, I became aware my presence by touching his bonnet; of the approach of an old man, leading, and, as if willing to communicate someas one will conduct a dog in a string, thing of importance, he stuck the tether a fine young milch cow, in a halter of stake in the ground, and came to the twisted hair, which passing through the old garden fence. Wishing to know ends of two pieces of flat wood, fitted the peasant's reasons for avoiding the to the animal's cheek-bones, pressed ruins, I thus addressed him :-“This her nose, and gave her great pain is a pretty spot, my aged friend, and whenever she became disobedient. The the herbage looks so fresh and abundant, cow seemed willing to enjoy the luxury that I would advise thee to bring thy of a browze on the rich pasture which charge hither; and while she continued surrounded the little ruined cottage; to browze, I would gladly listen to the but in this humble wish she was not to history of thy white locks, for they seem be indulged, for the aged owner, coiling to have been bleached in many temup the tether, and seizing her closely by pests." “Ay, ay,” said the peasant, the head, conducted her past the tempt- shaking his white head with a grave ing herbage, towards a small and close- smile, “they have braved sundry temcropt hillock, a good stone-cast distant. pests between sixteen and sixty; but In this piece of self-denial the animal touching this pasture, sir, I know noseemed reluctant to sympathize-she body who would like to crop it-the snuffed the fresh green pasture, and aged cattle shun the place—the birds plunged, and startled, and nearly broke never build in the branches—the chilaway:

dren never come near to play—and the I had often heard of the singular su- aged never chuse it for a resting-place; perstitions of the Scottish peasantry, but pointing it out, as they pass, to the and that every hillock had its song, ev- young, tell them the story of its desolaery hill its ballad, and every valley its tion.Sae ye see, sir, having no good tale. I followed with my eye the old will to such a spot of earth myself, I man and his cow; he went but a little like little to see a stranger sitting in such way, till, seating himself on the ground, an unblessed place; and I would as retaining still the tether in his hand, he good as advise ye to come owre with me said, “ Now, bonnie lady, seast thy fill to the cowslip knoll—there are reasons on this good green-sward—it is hale- mony that an honest man should nae some and holy, compared to the sward sit there." I arose at once, and seating at the doomed cottage of auld Gibbie myself beside the peasant on the cowGyrape-leave that to smugglers’ nags: slip knoll, desired to know something Willie o’Brandyburn and Roaring Jock of the history of the spot from which he o'Kempstane will ca’ the haunted ha'a had just warned me.' The Caledonian hained bit--they are godless fear- looked on me with an air of embarrassnoughts.” I looked at the person of ment:-“I am just thinking,” said he, the peasant: he was a stout hale old“ that as ye are an Englishman, I should man, with a weather-beaten face, fur-' nae acquaint ye with such a story. Yell rowed something by time, and, perhaps, make it, I'm doubting, a matter of reby sorrow. Though summer was at proach and vaunt, when ye gae hame, its warmest, he wore a broad chequer- how Willie Borlan o'Caerlaverock told ed mantle, fastened at the bosom with ye a tale of Scottish iniquity, that cowa skewer of steel,-a broad bonnet, ed all the stories in southron book or from beneath the circumference of history.” This unexpected obstacle which straggled a few thin locks, as was soon removed. “My sage and white as driven snow, shining like am- considerate friend,” I said, “ I have the ber, and softer than the finest flax, blood in my bosom will keep me from while his legs were warmly cased in revealing such a tale to the scoffer and

1

Scorner. I am something of a Caerla- heard mingling with the hasty clang of verock man--the grandson of Marion the waterfowls' wings as they forsook Stobie of Dookdub."

The peasant

the waves, and sought shelter among seized my hand—“ Marion Stobie! the hollows of the rocks. The storm bonnie Marion Stobie o' Dookdub- was nigh. The sky darkened down at whom I woed so sair, and loved sae once-clap after clap of thunder follang!-Ishall tell the grandson of bonnie lowed, and lightning flashed so vividly, Marion Stobie ony tale he likes to ask and so frequent, that the wide and agifor; and the Story of the Ghost and tated expanse of Solway was visible the Gowd Casket shall be foremost." from side to side-from St. Bees to

“ You may imagine, then," said the Barnhourie. A very heavy rain, minold Caerlaverock peasant, rising at once gled with hail, succeeded ; and a wind with the commencement of his story accompanied it, so fierce, and so high, from his native dialect into very passa. that the white foam of the sea was showble English — you may imagine these ered as thick as snow on the summit of ruined walls raised again in their beau- Caerlaverock Castle. Through this ty-whitened and covered with a coat- perilous sea, and amid this darkness and ing of green brom; that garden, now tempest, a bark was observed coming desolate, filled with herbs in their sea- swiftly down the middle of the season, and with flowers hemmed round her sails rent-and her decks crowded with a fence of cherry and plum-trees; with people. The carry, as it is called, and the whole possessed by a young ofthe tempest was direct from St. Bees to fisherman, who won a fair subsistence Caerlaverock; and experienced swains for his wife and children, from the wa- could see that the bark would be driven ters of the Solway sea : you may im- full on the fatal shoals of the Scottish agine it, too, as far from the present side-but the lightning was so fierce time as fifty years. There are only that few dared venture to look on the two persons living now, who remember approaching vessel, or take measures when the Bonne-Homme-Richard, the for endeavouring to preserve the lives first ship ever Richard Faulder com- of the unfortunate mariners. My father manded, was wrecked on the Pellock- stood on the threshold of his door, and sand-one of these persons now ad- beheld all that passed in the bosom of dresses you—the other is the fisherman the sea. The bark approached fastwho once owned that cottage-whose her canvas rent to threads, her masts name ought never to be named, and nearly levelled with the deck, and the whose life seems lengthened as a warn sea foaming over her so deep, and so ing to the earth, how fierce God's judg- strong, as to threaten to sweep ments are. Life changes—all breath- mains of her crew from the little refuge ing things have their time and their sea- the broken masts and splintered beams son ;but the Solway flows in the still afforded them. She now seemed same beauty_Criffel rises in the same within half a mile of the shore, when a majesty—the light of morning comes, strong flash of lightning, that appeared and the full moon arises now, as they to hang over the bark for a moment, did then--but this moralizing matters showed the figure of a lady, richly little. It was about the middle of har- dressed, clinging to a youth who was vest-I remember the day well--it had pressing her to his bosom. My father been sultry and suffocating, accompani- esclaimed, 'Saddle me my black horse, ed by rushings of wind,--sudden con- and saddle me my gray, and bring them vulsions of the water, and cloudings of down to the Dead man's bank'-_and the sun :- I heard my father sigh, and swift in action as he was in resolve, he say, 'dool-dool to them found on the hastened to the shore, his servants foldeep sea to-night--there will happen lowing with his horses. The shore of strong storm and fearful tempest.' The Solway presented then, as it does now, day was closed, and the moon came the same varying line of coast—and the over Skiddaw : all was perfectly clear house of my father stood in the bosom and still — frequent dashings and whirl- of a little bay, nearly a mile from where ing agitations of the sea were soon we sit. The remains of an old forest

the re

interposed between the bay at Dead

First Fisherman. man's bank, and the bay at our feet ; "O lady, lady, weep nok, nor wail, and mariners had learnt to wish that if Though the sea runs howe as Dalswinton vale, it were their doom to be wrecked, it Then flashes high as Barnbourie brave, might be in the bay of douce William Though 'ewise thee and this ravening food

And yawns for thee, like the yearning graveBorlan, rather than that of Gilbert There is but my arm, and this splintering wood, Gyrape, the proprietor of that ruined The fell quicksand, or the famish'd brine, cottage. But human wishes are vani- Can ne'er harm a face to fair a chine. ties, wished either by sea or land.-I

Both. have heard my father say he could ney

“O lady, lady, be bold and brave, er forget the cries of the mariners, as

Spread thy white breast to the fearful wave

And cling to me, with that white right hand, the bark smote on the Pellock-bank, and And I'll set thee safe on the good dry land." the flood rushed through the chasms A lightning flash on the shallop strook, made by the concussion but he would The Solway roor'd, and Caerlaverock shook. far less forget the agony of a lady,

From the sinking ship there were shrieking cast,

That were heard above the tempest's blastthe loveliest that could be looked upon, and the calm and affectionate courage The young fishermen having conof the young man who supported her, cluded their song, my companion proand endeavoured to save her from de- ceeded—“The lightning still flashed struction. Richard Faulder, the only vivid and fast, and the storm raged with man who survived, has often sat at my unabating fury; for between the ship fire side, and sung me a very rude, but and the shore, the sea broke in frighta very moving ballad, which he made ful undulation, and leaped on the greenon this accomplished and unhappy pair; sward several fathoms deep abreast. and the old mariner assured me he had My father mounted on one horse, and only added rhymes, and a descriptive holding another in his hand, stood preline or two, to the language in which pared to give all the aid that a brave Sir William Musgrave endeavoured to man could, to the unhappy mariners ; soothe and support his wife.”

but neither horse nor man could endure It seemed a thing truly singular, that the onset of that tremendous surge. at this very moment two young fisher- The bark bore for a time the fury of men, who sat on the margin of the sea the element—but a strong eastern wind below us, watching their halve-nets, came suddenly upon her, and, crushing should sing, and with much sweetness, her between the wave and the freestone the very song the old man had describ- bank, drove her from the entrance of ed. They warbled verse and verse al- my father's little bay towards the dwellternately—and rock and bay seemed to ing of Gibbie Gyrape, and the thick retain, and then release the sound.- forest intervening, she was out of sight Nothing is so sweet as a song by the in a moment. My father saw, for the sea-side on a tranquil evening. last time, the lady and her husband

looking shoreward from the side of the SIR WILLIAM MUSGRAVE.

vessel,

as she drifted along; and as he First Fisherman.

galloped round the head of the forest, * O lady, lady, why do you weep? Though the wind be loosed on the raging deep,

he heard for the last time the outcry of Though the heaven be mirker, than mirk may be, some, and the wail and intercession of And our frail bark ships a fearful sea,

others. When he came before the fishYet thou art safe-as on that sweet night When our bridal candles gleamed far and bright"- ed itself—the ship, dashed to atoms,

erman's house, a sean ful sight presentThere came a shriek, and there came a sound, And the Solway roared, and the ship spun round. covered the shore with its wreck, and Second Fisherman.

with the bodies of the mariners-not a "O lady, lady, why do you cry?

living soul escaped, save Richard FaulThough the waves be flashing top-mast high,

der, whom the fiend who guides the Though our frail bark yields to the dasbing brine, spectre-shallop of Solway had renderAnd heaven and earth show no saving sign, ed proof to perils on the deep. The There is one who comes in the time of need,

fisherman himself came suddenly from And curbs the waves at we eurb a steed" The lightning came with the whirlwind blast,'

his cottage, all dripping and drenched, And cleaved the prow, and smete down the mast. and my father addressed him.---0,

Gilbert, Gilbert, what a frightful sighting man in a flock of a purer kind of is this-has heaven blessed thee with Presbyterians—and a precept and exmaking thee the means of saving a hu- ample to the community. man soul ?'_ Nor soul nor body have « Though the portioner of GyrapeI saved,' said the fisherman, doggedly : ha' prospered wondrously-his claims

I have done my best—the storm to parochial distinction, and the conproved too stark, and the lightning too tinuance of his fortune, were treated fierce for me—their boat alone came with scorn by many, and with doubt near with a lady and a casket of gold by all : though nothing open or direct

- but she was swallowed up with the was said-looks, more cutting at times surge.' My father confessed after- than the keenest speech, and actions, wards, that he was touched with the still more expressive, showed that the tone in which these words were deliv- hearts of honest men were alienatedered, and made answer, If thou hast the cause was left to his own penetradone thy best to save souls to-night, a tion. The peasant scrupled to become bright reward will be thine-if thou his servant-sailors hesitated to receive hast been fonder for gain than for work- his grain on board, lest perils should ing the mariners' redemption, thou hast find them on the deep-the beggar much to answer for.'-As he uttered ceased to solicit an aromous—the drothese words, an immense wave rolled ver and the horse couper, an unscrulandward as far as the place where they pling generation, found out a more disstood—it almost left its foam on their tant mode of concluding bargains than faces, and suddenly receding, deposit- by shaking his hand-his daughters, ed at their feet the dead body of the handsome and blue-eyed, were neither lady. As my father lifted her in his wooed nor married-no maiden would arms, he observed that the jewels which hold tryste with his sons—though had adorned her hair, at that time worn maidens were then as little loth as now; long-had been forcibly rent away“ and the aged peasant, as he passed his the diamonds and gold that enclosed new mansion, would shake his head her neck, and ornamented the bosom and say— The voice of spilt blood of her rich satin dress, had been torn will be lifted up against thee-and a off-the rings removed from her fin- spirit shall come up from the waters gers—and on her neck, lately so lily- will make the corner-stone of thy habwhite and pure, there appeared the itation tremble and quake. It hapmarks of hands--not laid there in love pened during the summer which sucand gentleness, but with a fierce and ceeded this unfortunate shipwreck, that deadly grasp. The lady was buried I accompanied my father to the Solwith the body of her husband, side by way, to examine his nets. It was near side, in Caerlaverock burial-ground.

- midnight—the tide was making, and I My father never openly accused Gil- sat down by his side and watched the bert the fisherman of having murdered coming of the waters. The shore was the lady for her riches as she reached glittering in star-light as far as the eye the shore, preserved, as was supposed, could reach. Gilbert, the fisherman, from sinking, by ber long, wide, and had that morning removed from his stiff satin robes- but from that hour cottage to his new mansion—the fortill the hour of his death, my father mer was, therefore untenanted ; and never broke bread with him-never the latter, from its vantage ground on shook him or his by the hand-nor the crest of the hill, threw down to us spoke with them in wrath or in love. the sound of mirth, and music, and The fisherman, from that time too, dancing—a revelry common in Scotwaxed rich and prosperous and from land, on taking possession of a new being the needy proprietor of a halve- house. As we lay quietly looking on net, and the tenant at will of a rude the swelling sea, and observing the wacottage, he became, by purchase, lord ter-fowl swimming and ducking in the of a handsome inheritance-proceed- encreasing waters, the sound of the ed to build a bonny mansion, and call- merriment became more audible. My ed it Gyrape-ha’; and became a lead- father listened to the mirth-looked to

« ZurückWeiter »