페이지 이미지
PDF

THE EXECUTION OF MONTROSE.—VV. E. Aytoun.

James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, was executed in Edinburgh, May 21, 1650, for an attempt to overthrow the power of tbo commonwealth, and restore Charles IL The ballai is a narrative of the event, supposed to be related by an aged Highlander, who had followed Montrose throughout his campaigns, to hif grandson, Evan Cameron.

Come hither, Evan Cameron! Come, stand beside my knee:
I hear the river roaring down towards the wintry sea;
There's shouting on the mountain-side, there's war within
the blast,

Old faces look upon me, old forms go trooping past;
I hear the pibroch wailing amidst the din of fight,
And my dim spirit wakes again upon the verge of night.

Twas I that led the Highland host through wild Lochaber's snows,

What time the plaided clans came down to battle with Montrose.

J.'ve told thee how the Southrons fell beneath the broad claymore,

And how we smote the Campbell clan by Inverlochy's shore. I've told thee how we swept Dundee, and tamed the Lindsay's pride;

But never have I told thee yet how the Great Marquis died.

A traitor sold him to his foes;—Oh, deed of deathless shame! I charge thee, boy, if e'er thou meet with one of Assynt'i name,—

Be it upon the mountain's side, or yet within the glen, Stand he in martial gear alone, or backed by armed men,— Face him as thou wouldst face the man who wronged thy sire's renown;

Remember of what blood thou art, and strike the caitiff down.

They brougTit him to the Watergate,hard bound with hempen span,

As though they held a lion there, and not an unarmed man. They set him high upon a cart—the hangman rode below— They drew his hands behind his back, and bared his noble "brow:

Then, as a hound is slipped from leash, they cheered—the

common throng,— And blew the note with yell and shout, and bade him pass

along.

But when he came, though pale and wan, he looked so great and high,

So noble was his manly front, so calm his steadfast eye,—

[graphic]

The morning dawned full darkly, the rain came flashing down,

And the jagged streak of the levin-bolt lit up the gloomy town:

The thunder crashed across the heaven, the fatal hour was come,

Yet aye broke in, with muffled beat, the 'larum of the drum. There was madness on the earth below, and anger in the sky,

And young and old, and rich and poor, came forth to see him die.

Ah God! that ghastly gibbet! how dismal 'tis to see
The great, tall, spectral skeleton, the ladder, and the tree!
Hark! Hark! it is the clash of arms, the bells begin to toll—
He is coming! he is coming! God's mercy on his soul!
One last long peal of thunder—the clouds are cleared away,
And the glorious sun once more looks down amidst the daz-
zling day.

He is coming! he is coming!—Like a bridegroom from his room

Came the hero from his prison to the scaffold and the doom. There was glory on his forehead, there was luster in his eye, And he never walked to battle more proudly than to die: There was color in his visage, though the c heeks of all were wan,

And they marveled as they saw him pass, that great and goodly man!

He mounted up the scaffold, and he turned him to the crowd; But they dared not trust the people, so he might not speak aloud.

But he looked upon the heavens, and they were clear and blue,

And in the liquid ether the eye of God shone through:
Yet a black and murky battlement lay resting on the hill,
As though the thunder slept within,—all else was calm and
still.

The grim Geneva ministers with anxious scowl drew near,
As you have seen the ravens flock around the dying deer.
He would not deign them word nor sign, but alone he bent
the knee;

And veiled his face for Christ's dear grace beneath the gallows-tree.

Then, radiant and serene, he rose, and cast his cloak away; For he had ta'en his latest look of earth and sun and day.

A beam of light fell o'er him, like a glory round the shriven, And he climbed the lofty ladder, as it were the path to heaven.

[graphic][graphic]
« 이전계속 »