Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors]

eyes wide

open were fixed on her bro- brow has been bowed down to the unther's empty chair, with the intensity baptized hand. They have ta'en him of gaze of one who had witnessed the away, they have ta'en him away ; he appearance of a spirit. She seemed

was too lovely, and too good, and too insensible of any one's presence, and noble to bless us with his continuance sat fixed, and still, and motionless. on earth ; for what are the sons of men The maiden, alarmed at her looks, thus compared to him the light of moonaddressed her:

-Phemie, lass, Phemie beam, to the morning sun; the glowIrving, dear me, but this be awful! I worm, to the eastern star. They have have come to tell ye, that seven of your ta'en him away; the invisible dwellers pet sheep have escaped drowning in the of the earth. "I saw them come on him water; for Corrie, sae quiet and sae with shouting and with singing, and gentle yestreen, is rolling and dashing they charmed him where he sai, and frae bank to bank this morning. Dear away they bore him ; and the horse he me, woman, dinna let the loss of world's rode was never shod with iron, nor gear bereave ye of your senses. I owned, before, the mastery of human would rather make ye a present of a hand. They have ta’en him away over dozen mug-ewes of the Tinwald brood the water, and over the wood, and over myself ; and now I think on't, if ye'll the hill. I got but ae look of his bonsend over Elphin, I will help him hame nie blue ee, but ae, ae look. But as I with them in the gloaming myself. So, have endured what never maiden enPhemie, woman, be comforted.” dured, so shall I undertake what never

At the mention of her brother's name maiden undertook, I will win him from she cried cut, “ Where is he? Oh them all. I know the invisible ones of where is he?"-gazed wildly round, the earth; I have heard their wild and and shuddering from head to foot, fell wondrous music in the wild woods, and senseless on the foor. Other inhabi- there shall a christened maiden seek tants of the valley, alarmed by the sud- him, and achieve his deliverance."

. den swell of the river, which from a She paused, and glancing around a brook had augmented to a torrent, deep circle of condoling faces, down which and impassable, now came in to inquire the tears were dropping like rain, said, if any loss had been sustained, for in a calm and altered, but still delirious numbers of sheep and teds of hay had tone—“Why do you weep, Mary Halbeen observed floating down about the liday ? and why do you weep, John dawn of the morning. They assisted Graeme? Ye think that Elphin Irving; in reclaiming the unhappy maiden from oh! its a bonnie, bonnie name, and her swoon ; but insensibility was joy, dear to many a maiden's heart as well compared to the sorrow to which she as mine ; ye think he is drowned in awakened. They have ta'en him | Corrie, and ye will seek in the deep, away, they have ta'en him away,” she deep pools for the bonnie, bonnie corse, chaunted, in a tone of delirious pathos ; that ye may weep over it, as it lies in “ him that what was whiter and fairer its last linen, and lay it, amid weeping than the lily of Lyddal-lee. They have and wailing, in the dowie kirk-yard. long sought, and they have long sued, Ye may seek, but ye shall never find ; and they had the power to prevail so leave me to trim up my hair, and against my prayers at last. They have prepare my dwelling, and make thyself ta'en him away; the flower is plucked ready to watch for the hour of his res from among the weeds, and the dove is

turn to upper earth.” And she resumed slain amid a flock of ravens. They her household labours with an alacrity came with shout, and they came with which lessened not the sorrow of her song, and they spread the charm, and friends. they placed the spell, and the baptized Meanwhile the rumour few over the

9

vale that Elphin Irving was drowned in part,” said a youth“ if I were sure Corriewater. Matron and maid, old that poor Elphin escaped from that man and young, collected suddenly perilous water, I would not give the along the banks of the river which now fairies a pound of hiplock wool for their began to subside to its natural summer chance of him. There has not been a limits, and commenced their search; fairy seen in the land since Donald interrupted every now and then by call- Cargil

, the Cameronian, conjured them ing from side to side, and from pool to into the Solway for playing on their pool, and by exclamations of sorrow pipes during one of his nocturnal for this misfortune. The search was preachings on the hip of the Brunswark fruitless ; five sheep, pertaining to the hill.” “ Preserve me, bairn,” said an flock which he conducted to pasture, old woman, justly exasperated at the were found drowned in one of the deep incredulity of her nephew, “ if ye eddies, but the river was still too brown winna believe what I both heard and from the soil of its moreland sources to saw at the moonlight end of Craigy. enable them' to see what its deep shelves, burnwood on a summer night, rank after its pools, and its overcharging and rank of the fairy folk; ye'll at least be hazely banks concealed. They remit- lieve a douce man and a ghostly proted farther search till the stream should fessor, even the late minister of Tin. become pure, and old man taking old waldkirk : his only son, I mind the lad man aside, began to whisper about the weel, with his long yellow locks and mystery of the youth's disappearance ; his bonnie blue een, when I was but a old women laid their lips to the ears of gilpie of a lassie, he was stolen away their coevals, and talked of Elphin Ir- from off the horse at his father's elbow, ving's fairy parentage, and his having as they crossed that false and fearsome been dropped by an unearthly hand in water, even Locherbriggfow, on the to a Christian cradle. The young men night of the Midsummer fair of Dumand maidens conversed on other themes; fries. Aye, aye, who can doubt the they grieved for the loss of the friend truth of that; have not the goodly and the lover, and while the former inhabitants of Almsfieldtown and Tinthought that another heart so kind and waldkirk seen the sweet youth riding at true was not left in the vale, the latter midnight, in the midst of the unhallowthought, as maidens will, on the hand- ed troop, to the sound of Aute and some person, gentle manners, and mer- dulcimer; and though mickle they ry blue eye, and speculated with a sigh prayed, nobody tried to achieve his deon the time they might have hoped a liverance.” I have heard it said by return for their love. They were soon

douce folk and sponsible," interrupted joined by others who had heard the another, " that every seven years the wild and delirious language of his sis- elves and fairies pay kane, or make an ter: the old belief was added to this offering of one of their children to the new assurance, and both again com- grand enemy of salvation, and that they mented upon by minds full of super- are permitted to purloin one of the stitious belief, and hearts full of super- children of men to present to the fiend; natural fears, till the youths and maidens a more acceptable offering, I'll warrant, of Corrievale held no more love trystes than one of their own infernal brood for seven days and nights, lest, like that are Satan's sib allies, and drink a Elphin Irving, they should be carried drop of the deil's blood every May away to augment the ranks of the un- morning. And touching this lost lad, christened chivalry.

ye all ken his mother was a hawk of It was curious to listen to the specu- an uncannie nest, a second cousin of lations of the peasantry.

Kate Kimmer of Barsfioshan, as rank

[ocr errors]

- For my

å witch as ever rode on rag wort: "Aye, with short green sward, skirts the Sirs, what's bred in the bone is ill to limit of the forest, his horse made a come out of the flesh.” On these and full pause, snorted, trembled, and similar topics, which a peasantry, full started from side to tide, stooped his of ancient tradition' and enthusiasm, head, erected his ears, and seemed and superstition, readily associate with to scrutinize every tree and bush. the commonest occurrence of life, the The rider too, it may be imagined, people of Corrievale continued to con- gazed round and round, and peered verse till the fall of evening ; when each warily into every suspicious looking seeking his home, renewed again the place. His dread of a supernatural wondrous subject, and illustrated it with visitation was not much allayed, when all that popular belief and poetic ima- he observed a female shape seated on gination could so abundantly supply. the ground at the root of a huge old - The night which followed this me- oak-tree, which stood in the centre of lancholy day was wild with wind and one of those patches of verdant sward, rain ; the river came down broader and known by the name of “ fairy rings," deeper than before, and the lightning, and avoided by all peasants who wish flashing by fits over the green woods of to prosper. A long thin gleam of eastCorrie, showed the ungovernable and ern day-light enabled him to examine perilous flood sweeping above its banks. accurately the being who, in this wild It happened that a farmer, returning place and unusual hour, gave additional from one of the border fairs, encounter- terror to this haunted spot. She was ed the full swing of the storm ; but

dressed in white from the neck to the mounted on an excellent horse, and knees; her arms, long, and white, mantled from chin to heel in a good were perfectly bare; her head ui.covergrey plaid, beneath which he had the ed, allowed her long hair to descend in farther security of a thick great coat, ringlet succeeding ringlet, till the half he sat dry in the saddle, and proceeded of her person was nearly concealed in in the anticipated joy of a subsided

the fleece. Amidst the whole, her tempest' and a glowing morning sun. hands were constantly busy in shedding As he entered the long grove, or rather aside the tresses which interposed beremains of the old Galwegian forest, tween her steady and uninterrupted which lines for some space the banks gaze, down a line of old road which of the Corriewater the storm began to winded among the hills to an ancient abate, the wind sighed milder and

burial ground. milder among the trees ; and here and As the traveller continued to gaze, there a star twinkling through the sud- the figure suddenly rose, and wringing den rack of the clouds, showed the river the rain from her long locks, paced raging from bank to brae. As he shook round and 'round the tree, chaunting the moisture from his clothes, he was in a wild and melancholy manner an not without a wish that the day would equally wild and delirious song. dawn, and that he might be preserved on a road which his imagination beset with greater perils than the raging

The Fairy Oak of Corriewater. river; for his superstitious feeling let

The small bird's head is under its wing, loose upon his path elf and goblin, and The derr sleeps on the grass ; the current traditions of the district sup

The mcon comes out and the stars shine down;

The dew gleams like the glass: plied very largely to his apprehension There is no sound in the world so wide,

Save the sound of the smitten brass, the ready materials of fear.

With the merry citlern and the pipe Just as he emerged from the wood, 01 the fairies as they pask.

But ch! the fire maun burn and burn, where a 'fine sloping bank, covered And the hour is gone and will never return.

[ocr errors]

The green hill cleaves, and forth, with a bound, ceeded to bind up her long and disor

Comes elf and elfin steed;
The moon dives down in a golden cloud, dered tresses, gazed-along the old and

The stars grow dim with dread;
But a light is running along the earth,

unfrequented road. 6 Now God be So of beaveu's they have no need ;

my helper," said the traveller, who O'er mour and mon with a shout they pass, And the word is spur and speed

happened to be the lạird of JohnstoneBut the fire maun vura and I maun quake, bank, “can this be a trick of the fiend, And the bour is gone that will never come back.

or can it be bonnie Phemie Irving, who And when they came to Craigyburnwood chaunts this dolorous sang ? Some

The Qu: en of the Fairies poke; " Come, bind your steeds to the rushes so green, thing sad has befallen that makes her

dod dance by the haunted oak . I found the acorn on Heshbon-hill,

seek her seat in this eerie nook amid la the nook of a palmer's poke,

the darkness and tempest: through A thousand years since; bere it grows!"

and they danced till the greenwood shook- might from aboon I will go on and see." But oh! the fire, the burning fire

And the horse, feeling something of the The longer it burus, it but blazes the higber.

owner's reviving spirit in the applica"I have won me a youth," the Elf-queen said, The faitest that earth inay see;

tion of spur-steel, bore him at once to This pighat I have won young Elph Irving

the foot of the tree. The

poor delirious My cup-bearer to be.

maiden uttered a yell of piercing joy His service lasts i ut for se ven sweet years, And his wage is a kiss for me."

as she beheld him, and with the swiftAud merrily, merrily, laugo'd the wild elves Round Corrie's greenwood tree,

ness of a creature winged, linked her But ob ! the fire it glows in my brain,

arms round the rider's waist and shriekAnd the huur is gone ap: cumes not a-ain. ed till the woods rang.

« Oh, I have The Queen she has whisper'd a secret word, "Cyme bither my Elphin sweet,

ye now, Elphin, I have ye now," and And bring that cup of the charmed wine,

she strained him to her bosom with a Thy lips aud mice to weet."

convulsive But a brown elf shouted a loud loud shout,

grasp

“ What ails ye, my * Corre, leap on your coursers flert.

bonnie lass ?” said the laird of JohnFor bere comes the smell of some baptized fle: h, And the soundiög of baptized feet."

stonebank, his fears of the supernatural But uh! the fire that burns, and maun buro; vanishing, when he beheld her sad and For the time that is gone will never retu: n.

bewildered look. She raised her eyes On a steed as wbite as the new-milk'd milk at the sound, and seeing a strange face,

The Elf-queen leap'd with a bound,
Aud young Elpbin a steed like December snow her arms slipped their hold and she
'Neatb nim at the word be found,
But a maiden came, and her christened arms

dropped with a groan on the ground: She lioked her brother around,

The morning had now fairly broke; And called on God, aod the steed with a sport Sank into the gaping ground.

the flocks shook the rain from their But the fire maun burn and I mauu quake, sides, the shepherds hastened to inspect And the time that is gone will no more come back.

their charges, and a thin blue smoke And she held her brother, and lo! he grew began to stream from the cottages of

A wild bull waked in ire;
And she beld her brotber, and lo! he changed

the valley into the brightening air. The To a river roaring higher ;

laird carried Phemie Irving in his arms, And she held ber brother, and he became A flood of the raging fire;

till he observed two shepherds ascendShe shrieked and sank, and the wild elyes laug bed ing from one of the loops of Corrie

Till mountain rang and mire.-
Bat ob! the fire yet burns jo my brain,

water, bearing the lifeless body of her And the hour is gone and copies pot again. brother. They had found him whirling

round and round in one of the numerous "Oh maiden, why waxed thy faith so faint, Thy spirit so slack and slaw!

eddies, and his hand clutched and filled Tby courage kept good lill the flame wax'd wud, Then thy migbi began to Ibaw;

with wool shewed that he had lost his Had ye kissed him wiih thy christeu'd lip, life in attempting to save the flock of

lé had won him frae 'mang is a'. Nor bless the fire the elfin fire,

his sister. A plaid was laid over the That made thee faint and fa';

body, which, along with the maiden in Nox bless the fire, the elfin fire, The longer it burns it blazes the higher."

a half lifeless state, was carried into a

cottage, and laid in that apartment disAt the close of this unusual strain the tinguished among the peasantry by the gure sat down on the grass, and pro- name of the chamber. While a pea

sant's wife was left to take care of Phe- out insensible, and again recovered ; mie,old man and matron, and maid and relapsed into her ordinary dilirium, had collected around the drowned youth, in which she continued till the Hallowand each began to relate the circum- eve after her brother's burial. She was stance of his death, when the door found seated in the ancient burialsuddenly opened, and his sister, advanc- ground, her back against a broken ing to the corse with a look of delirious grave-stone, her locks white with frostserenity, broke out into a wild laugh rime, seemingly watching with intensiand said: “O, it is wonderful, it's truly ty of look the road to the kirk-yard : wonderful! that bare and death-cold but the spirit which gave life to the body, dragged from the darkest pool of fairest form of all the maids of AnnanCorrie, with its hands filled with fine dale was Aed for ever. -Such is the wool, bears the perfect similitude of my singular story which the peasants know own Elphin ! I'll tell ye-the spiritual by the name of Elphin Irving, the Faidwellers of the earth, the Fairy-folk of ries' Cupbearer; and the title, in its our evening tale, have stolen the living fullest and most supernatural sense, body, and fashioned this cold and ina- still obtains credence among the indusnimate clod to inislead your pursuit. trious and virtuous dames of the romanIn common eyes this seems all that tic vale of Corrie. Even to this day Elphin Irving would be, had he sunk in there are more poetical compositions Corriewater ; but so it seems not to me. made upon the history of Phemie IrYe have sought the living soul, and ye ving and her brother than on any other have found only its garment. But oh, fairy tale; and the following song may if ye had beheld him, as I beheld him be often heard by the traveller issuing to-night, riding among the elfin troop from the rosy lips of some charming the fairest of them all; had you clasped peasant of Annandale. him in your arms, and wrestled with the spirits and terrible shapes froin the

Gay is tby glen, Corrie,

With all try groves flowering; other world, till your heart quailed and Green is thy gien, Corrie,

When July is showering; your flesh was subdued, then would ye

And sweet is you wood, yield no credit to the semblance this

Where the small birds are bowering,

And there dwells the sweet one cold and apparent Aesh bears to my

Wliom I am adoring. brother. But hearken-on Hallowmass

ller roand neck is wbiter eve, when the spiritual people are let

Than winter when snowing, loose on earth for a season, I will take

Her meek voice is mildir

Than Ae in its flowing; my stand in the burial ground of Cor

The klad ground yields music rie, and when my Elphin and his un

Where she goes 1.y the river,

One kind glance would charm me christened troop come past with the

For ever and ever. sound of all their minstrelsy, I will leap on him and win him, or perish for

The proud and the wealthy

To Phemie are bowing; ever."

No looks of love win they

With sighing or suing ; All gazed aghast on the delirious

Far away maun I stand maiden, and many of her auditors gave

With my rude wooing,

She's a flow'ret too lovely more credence to her distempered speech

To bloom for my pu'ing. than to the visible evidence before them. As she turned to depart she

were yoo violet,

On which she is walking : looked round, and suddenly sank upon O were 1 yon small bird,

To which she is talking : the body with tears streaming from her

Or yon rose iv her band, eyes, and sobbed out, “ My brother!

Witb its ripe ruddy blossom;

Or some pure gentle thought, Oh, my brother !” She was carried

To be blest with her bosom,

« VorigeDoorgaan »