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Old Raeburn's child, the fairest flower That ever bloomed in Eskdale-moor. 'Twas she the Sire that morn had seen, And judged to be the Fairy Queen; 'Twas she who framed the artless lay, That stopt the warriors on their way.
Close to her lover's breast she clung, And round his neck enraptured hung :.— "O my dear Owen! haste and tell, What caused you dare this lonely dell, And seek your maid, at midnight still, Deep in the bowels of the hill? Here in this dark and drear abode, By all deserted but my God, Must I have reft the life he gave, Or lived in shame a villain's slave. I was, at midnight's murkest hour, Stole from my father's stately tower, And never thought again to view The sun or sky's ethereal blue;But since the first of Border-men
Has found me in this dismal den,
I to his arms for shelter fly,
With him to live, or with him die."
How glowed brave Owen's manly face,
While in that lady's kind embrace!
Warm tears of joy his utterance staid;
"0, my loved Ann!" was all he said.
Though well they loved, her high estate
Caused Owen aye aloof to wait;
And watch her bower, beside the rill,
When twilight rocked the breezes still,
And waked the music of the grove
To hymn the vesper song of love.
Then underneath the green-wood bough,
Oft had they breathed the tender vow.
With Ann of Raeburn here they found
The flowers of all the Border round;
From whom the strangest tale they hear, That e'er astounded warrior's ear. 'Twould make even Superstition blush, And all her tales of spirits hush.
That night the spoilers ranged the vale, By Dryhope towers, and Meggat-dale. Ah! little trowed the fraudful train, They ne'er should see their wealth again t Their lemans, and their mighty store, For which they nightly toils had bore, Full twenty Autumn moons and more! They little deemed, when morning dawned, To meet the deadly Rippon brand; And only find, at their return, In their loved cave an early urn. Ill suits it simple bard to tell Of bloody work that there befeL He lists not deeds of death to sing, Of splintered spear, and twanging string,Of piercing arrow's purpled wing,
How faulchions flash, and helmets ring.
Not one of all that prowling band,
So long the terror of the land,
Not one escaped their deeds to tell;
All in the winding lab'rinth fell.
The spoil was from the cave conveyed,
Where in a heap the dead were laid;
The outer cave our yeomen fill,
And left them in the hollow hill.
But still that dell, and bourn beneath,
The forest shepherd dreads as death.
Not there at evening dares he stray,
Though love impatient points the way;
Though throbs his heart the maid to see,
That's waiting by the trysting tree.
Even the old Sire, so reverend gray, Ere turns the scale of night and day,Oft breathes the short and ardent prayer,
That Heaven may guard his footsteps there;
His eyes, meantime, so dim with dread,
Scarce ken the turf his foot must tread.
For still 'tis told, and still believed,
That there the spirits were deceived,
And maidens from their grasp retrieved:
That this they still preserve in mind,
And watch, when sighs the midnight wind,
To wreck their rage on humankind.
Old David, for this doughty raid,
Was keeper of the forest made;
A trooper he of gallant fame,
And first of all the Laidlaw name.
E'er since, in Ettrick's glens so green,
Spirits, though there, are seldom seen;
And fears of elf, and fairy raid,
Have like a morning dream decayed.