Page images



Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,

How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair;
How can ye chant, ye little birds,

And I sae weary, fu' o' care !
Thou'lt break my heart, thou warbling bird,

That wantons through the flowering thorn:
Thou minds me of departed joys,

Departed-never to return!
Aft hae I roved by bonnie Doon

To see the rose and woodbine twine:
And ilka bird sang o' its luve,

And fondly sae did I o' mine.
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu'd a rose,

Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree;
And my fause luver stole my rose,

But, ah! he left the thorn wi' me.



At the battie of Bannockburn, June 24, 1314, Edward II., King of England, was completely defeated by a small force of Scots under Bruce.

At Bannockburn the English lay,
The Scots they were na far away,
But waited for the break o' day

That glinted in the east.
But soon the sun broke through the heath,
And lighted up that field o' death,
When Bruce, wi' saul-inspiring breath,

His heralds thus addressed:
Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;
Welcome to your gory bed,

Or to victorie.
Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front o' battle lower;
See approach proud Edward's power-

Chains and slaverie !

“Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave ?

Let him turn and flee !
Wha for Scotland's king and law,
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand, or freeman fa'-

Let him follow me!

“By oppression's woes and pains !
By your sons in servile chains !
We will drain our dearest veins,

But they shall be free !
Lay the proud usurpers low !
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!

Let us do, or die!”



The battle of Flodden was fought September 9, 1513, between the army of King James IV., of Scotland, and an English force under command of the Earl of Surrey. King James was killed and his army completely overthrown.

News of battle !-news of battle!

Hark ! 'tis ringing down the street:
And the archways and the pavement

Bear the clang of hurrying feet.
News of battle? Who hath brought it ?

News of triumph? Who should bring
Tidings from our noble army,

Greetings from our gallant King ?
All last night we watched the beacons

Blazing on the hills afar,
Each one bearing, as it kindled

Message of the opened war.
All night long the northern streamers

Shot across the trembling sky:
Fearful lights, that never beckon

Save when kings or heroes die.

News of battle! Who hath brought it?

All are thronging to the gate; “Warder—warder ! open quickly!

Man-is this a time to wait ?' And the heavy gates are opened:

Then a murmur long and loud, And a cry of fear and wonder

Bursts from out the bending crowd. For they see in battered harness

Only one hard-stricken man, And his weary steed is wounded,

And his cheek is pale and wan. Spearless hangs a bloody banner

In his weak and drooping hand-
What ! can that be Randolph Murray,

Captain of the city band?
Round him crush the people crying,
“Tell us all-oh, tell us true!
Where are they who went to battle,

Randolph Murray, sworn to you?
Where are they, our brothers, children?

Have they met the English foe ?
Why art thou alone, unfollowed ?

Is it weal, or is it woe?"
Like a corpse the grisly warrior

Looks from out his helm of steel;
But no word he speaks in answer,

Only with his armed heel
Chides his weary steed, and onward

Up the city streets they ride;
Fathers, sisters, mothers, children,

Shrieking, praying by his side. “By the God that made thee, Randolph !

Tell us what mischance hath come;": Then he lists his riven banner,

And the asker's voice is dumb. The elders of the city

Have met within their hall The men whom good King James bad charged

To watch the tower and wall. “Your hands are weak with age,” he said, “ Your hearts are stout and true; So bide ye in the Maiden Town,

While others fight for you.

“My trumpet from the Border-side

Shall send a blast so clear,
That all who wait within the gate

That stirring sound may hear.
Or, if it be the will of heaven,

That back I never come,
And if, instead of Scottish shouts,

Ye hear the English drum,-
Then let the warning bells ring out,

Then gird you to the fray,
Then man the walls like burghers stout,

And fight while fight you may. 'Twere better that in fiery flame

The roofs should thunder down, Than that the foot of foreign foe

Should trample in the town !”

Then in came Randolph Murray,–

His step was slow and weak;
And, as he doffed his dinted helm,

The tears ran down his cheek:
They fell upon his corslet,

And on his mailed hand,
As he gazed around him wistfully,

Leaning sorely on his brand.
And none who then beheld him

But straight were smote with fear,
For a bolder and sterner man

Had never couched a spear.
They knew so sad a messenger

Some ghastly news must bring:
And all of them were fathers,

And their sons were with the King.

And up then rose the Provost

A brave old man was he,
Of ancient name, and knightly fame,

And chivalrous degree.

[blocks in formation]

Oh woeful now was the old man's look,

And he spake right heavilyNow, Randolph, tell thy tidings,

However sharp they be!

Woe is written on thy visage,

Death is looking from thy face: Speak, though it be of overthrowIt cannot be disgrace !”

Right bitter was the agony

That wrung that soldier proud: Thrice did he strive to answer,

And thrice he groaned aloud. Then he gave the riven banner

To the old man's shaking hand, Saying—“That is all I bring ye

Froin the bravest of the land ! Ay! ye may look upon it

It was guarded well and long, By your brothers and your children,

By the valiant and the strong. One by one they fell around it,

As the archers laid them low,
Grimly dying, still unconquered,

With their faces to the foe.
Ay! ye well may look upon it -

There is more than honor there,
Else, be sure, I had not brought it

From the field of dark despair. Never yet was royal banner

Steeped in such a costly dye; It hath lain upon a bosom

Where no other shroud shall lie. Sirs ! I charge you, keep it holy,

Keep it as a sacred thing, For the stain ye see upon it

Was the life-blood of your King!”

Woe, woe, and lamentation !

What a piteous cry was there ! Widows, maidens, mothers, children,

Shrieking, sobbing in despair !

[blocks in formation]

O the blackest day for Scotland

That she ever knew before !
O our King—the good, the noble,

Shall we see him never more ?

« PreviousContinue »