Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tion round the top of a tall pine. Every thing gave indication of an approaching thunder gust. A distant irregular peal rattled along the sky like a volley of musketry. They thought it was a salute to the general. Soon after the air grew damp and misty, it began to drizzle, a few drops pattered on the roofs, and it set in to rain.

A scene of confusion ensued. The pedagogue and his disciples took shelter in the school-house, the crowd dispersed in all directions, with handkerchiefs thrown over their heads, and their gowns tucked up, and every thing looked dismal and disheartening. The barroom was full of disconsolate faces. Some tried to keep their spirits up by drinking, others wished to laugh the matter off, and others stood with their hands in their pockets looking out of the window to see it rain, and making wry faces.

Night drew on apace, and the rain continued. Still nothing was to be heard of the general. Some were for despatching a messenger to ascertain the cause of this delay, but who would go out in such a storm! At length the monotonous too-too of the horse trumpet was heard, there was a great clattering and splashing of hoofs at the door, and the troop reined up, spattered with mud, drenched through and through, and completely crest-fallen, Not long after, the foot company came straggling in, dripping wet, and diminished to one half its number by desertions. The tailor entered the bar-room reeking and disconsolate, a complete epitome of the miseries of human life written in his face. The feathers were torn out of his clam shell hat, his coat was thoroughly spunged, his boots full of water, and his buff pantaloons clung tighter than ever to his little legs. He trembled like a leaf; one might have taken him for Fever and Ague personified. The blacksmith on the contrary, seemed to dread the water as little as if it were his element. The rain did not penetrate him, and he rolled into the bar-room like a great sea-calf, that after sporting about in the waves, tumbles himself out upon the sand to dry.

A thousand questions were asked at once about the general, but there was no body to answer them. They had seen nothing of him, they had heard nothing of him, they knew nothing of him! Their spirits and patience were completely soaked out of them; no patriotism was proof against such torrents of rain.

Every heart seemed now to sink in despair. Every hope had given way, when the twang of the stage horn was heard, sending forth its long drawn cadences, and enlivening the gloom of a rainy twilight. The coach dashed up to the door. It was empty, not a solitary passenger. The coachman came in without a dry thread about him. A little stream of water trickled down his back from the rim of his hat. There was something dismally ominous in his look, he seemed to be a messenger of bad news

'The gin'ral!—the gin'nd 1—where's the gin'ral!'

'He's gone on by another road. So much for the opposition line and the new turnpike!' said the coachman, as he tossed olfa glass of New England.

'He has lost a speech 1' said the lawyer. 'He has lost a coat!' said the tailor. 'He has lost a dinner I' said the landlord.

It was a gloomy night at the Bald Eagle. A few boon companions sat late over their bottle, drank hard, and tried to be merry; but it would not do. Good humour flagged, the jokes were bad, the laughter forced, and one after another slunk away to bed, full of bad liquor, and reeling with the fumes of brandy and beer.

SONG.

The gloamin star was bliokin' in the sky sae blue,

The guwan hud folded up its fringe on the lea,
And the black-bird had forsaken the loftiest bough,

To woo his happy mate 'mang the leaves o' the tree;
And we were far awa' in the deep and dowie dell,

Where nae ane o' the warl' to listen was near,
When first my lassie deigned the tender tale to tell,

To tell me the tale that is sweetest to hear.
It was na o' the gowd that makes the miser fain,
It was na o' the gems that glitter on a crown,
It was na o' the trappings o' pleasure's empty train,

Nor deeds o' the warrior that lead to renown:
•Twas o' that secret charm that the bosom ean pro?e,
The joy that awakes when with her we love dear;
Twas the breathing o' the vow o' heart-felt love,
Oh! this is the tale that is sweetest to hear.

Our seat was 'mang the wild flowers that bordered the stream,

And we sat till the light <>' the mornin' came;
For the cares o' the warl' had a' vanished like a dream,
And our bosoms knew a bliss that knows not a name.
Her locks were hung around wi' the dawnin's dewy drops,

And bonnie was her cheek as the blossom on the brier,
But the loveliest o' a' were the pure and simple lips

That told me the tale that is sweetest to hear,
Oh! fairest grows the floweret unaided by art,

And sweet is the hinny in the bloom o' the haw;
The hame o' our childhood is dear to our heart,

But the lassie o' our love is dearer than a'.
The sun may cease to rise when the mornin' star is set.
And nature cease to change wi' changin' o' the year;
But never shall my bosom the maiden forget,
Who tald me the tale that is sweetest to hear.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

BALLAD OF CRESENTIUS.

I Loor'd upon his brow,—no sign

Of guilt or fear was there,
He stood as proud by that death-shrine

As even o'er Despair
He had a power; in his eye
There was a quenchless energy,

A spirit that could dare
The deadliest form that Death could take,
And dare it for the daring's sake.

He stood, the fetters on his hand,

He raised them haughtily;
And had that grasp been on the brand,

It could not wave on high
With freer pride than it waved now;
Around he looked with changeless brow

On many a torture nigh;
The rack, the chain, the axe, the wheel,
And, worst of all, his own red steel.

I saw him once before ; he rode

Upon a coal-black steed,
And tens of thousands throng'd the road,

And bade their warrior speed.
His helm, his breastplate, were of gold,
And graved with many dint, that told

Of many a soldier's deed;
The sun shone on his sparkling mail,
And danced his snow-plume on the gale.

But now he stood chained and alone.

The headsman by his side,
The plume, the helm, the charger gone;

The sword, which had defied
The mightiest, lay broken near:
And yet no sign or sound of fear

Came from that lip of pride;
And never king or conqueror's brow
Wore higher look than did his now.

He bent beneath the headsman's stroke

With an uncover'd eye;
A wild shout from the numbers broke

Who throng'd to see him die.
It was a people's loud acclaim,
The voice of anger and of shame

A nation's funeral cry,
Rome's wail above her only son,
Her patriot and her latest one.

Miss LAN DON. THE LOVE-SICK MAID.

A TALE OF TUK OLD C0RI'ALS.

The old barony of Gorbals, which now forms an important suburb of Glasgow, was in former times celebrated for its manufactory of swords, harquebusses, and other implements of war. People who could not command the real Ferraras were accustomed to uphold the blades of the Gorbals, as being little inferior to them in temper and delicacy of edge; and its harquebusses or hand-guns were on all hands admitted to equal those of Ghent, Milan, or Paris. Dim shadows of this ancient renown may be traced down even to the present day. Families still exist who through a long line of ancestry have figured as gunsmiths, cutlers, or turners; and it is a remarkable fact, that, till within these few years, the only individuals in the west of Scotland who manufactured guns, were to be found in this old barony.

During the wars between England and Scotland, few places were busier or merrier than the Gorbals, or Gorbells, as it was then called —a name perhaps derived in some way from corbells, a term used in forti fixation and architecture. But at no time had it ever presented such an appearance of business and bustle, as when the Regent Murray, in the year 1568, was lying at Glasgow with his forces, and news arrived of the escape of Queen Mary from Lochleven Castle. Night and day the smithy's furnace belched forth its sparkling smoke, and the cutler's wheel found no pause to its gyrations. The Laird of Elphinston was at that period Baron of the Gorbals, and formed one of the confederated lords who had compelled Mary to renounce her crown, and nominated Murray to the regency during the minority of her infant son. His castle or rather tower (which the modem Goths of the Gorbals first converted intoa police office and afterwards abandoned and dismantled) was situated in the heart of the village, and as it had a chapel attached to it, and numerous buildings belonging to the ecclesiastics,* he was able to accommodate a large proportion of the Regent's followers. It was here, on the 12th of May, 1568, that the Regent's army rendezvoused, and from this place it issued, to meet and give battle to the Queen's forces, who were, with their unfortunate lady, on their way to Dumbarton castle. The Queen's road from Hamilton to that stronghold passed through the village of Langside, a place not two miles south from the Gorbals, and there Murray pitched his camp, with the resolution of disputing

* This place is still distinguished by the name of the Chapel Close, and, (thanks to our Irish friends.) contains, we believe, as many Catholics at this day as ever it did before the Kefonnation.

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »