Графични страници
PDF файл



My lame foot would be speedily cured,
The music stopped, and I stood still,
And found myself outside the hill,
Left alone against my will,
To go now limping as before,
And never hear of that country more!'

1. Among thy fancies, tell me this:

What is the thing we call a kiss? 4. I shail resolve ye what it is:

It is a creature born and bred
Between the lips, all cherry red;
By love and warm desires fed;

Chor,--And makes more soft the bridal-bed: 2. It is an active flame, that flies

First to the babies of the eyes,
And charms them there with lullabies;

Chor.–And stills the bride, too, when she cries. 2. Then to the chin, the cheek, the ear,

It frisks and flies; now here, now there;
'Tis now far off, and then 'tis near;

Chor.–And here, and there, and everywhere. 1. Has it a speaking virtue?—2. Yes. 1. How speaks it, say?—2. Do you but this, Part your joined lips, then speaks your kiss;

Chor.–And this love's sweetest language is. 1. Has it a body ?-2. Ay, and wings,

With thousand rare encolorings;
And as it Aies, it gently sings,
Chor.-Love honey yields, but never stings

XIV. Alas, alas for Hamelin!

There came into many a burgher's pate A text which says, that heaven's gate

Opes to the rich at as easy rate
As the needle's eye takes a camei in!
The Mayor sent east, west, north, and south,
To offer the Piper by word of mouth,

Wherever it was men's lot to find him,
Silver and gold to his heart's content,
If he'd only return the way he went,

And bring the children all behind him. But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavour, And Piper and dancers were gone for ever, They'made a decree that lawyers never

Should think their records dated duly, If, after the day of the month and year, These words did not as well appear:

•And so long after what happened here On the twenty-second of July,

Thirteen hundred and seventy-six;'
And the better in memory to fix
The place of the children's last retreat,
They called it the Pied Piper's street-
Where any one playing on pipe or tabor,
Was sure for the future to lose his labour.
Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern
To shock with mirth a street so solemn;
But opposite the place of the cavern

They wrote the story on a column,
And on the great church window painted
The same, to make the world acquainted
How their children were stolen away,
And there it stands to this very day.
And I must not omit to say
That in Transylvania there's a tribe
Of alien people that ascribe
The outlandish ways and dress,
On which their neighbors lay such stress,
To their fathers and mothers having risen
Out of some subterraneous prison,
Into which they were trepanned
Long time ago in a mighty band
Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
But how or why they don't understand.

[blocks in formation]


So, Willy, let you and me be wipers
Of scores out with all men—especially pipers:
And, whether they pipe us free from rats or from

mice, If we've promised them aught, let us keep our


Closer, closer let us knit

Hearts and hands together, Where our fireside comforts sit,

In the wildest weather: Oh! they wander wide who roam For the joys of life from horne.


[ocr errors]


grove of doddered hazel; he carried a halve-net on his back, while behind him came a girl, bearing a small harpoon with which the fishers are re

markably dexterous in striking their prey. The Along the sea of Solway, romantic on the Scot

senior seated himself on a large gray stone, which tish side, with its woodlands, its bays, its cliffs and overlooked the bay, laid aside his bonnet, and headlands-and interesting on the English side, submitted his bosom and neck to the refreshing with its many beautiful towns with their shadows

sea-breeze; and taking his harpoon from his aton the water, rich pastures, safe harbors, and nu

tendant, sat with the gravity and composure of a merous ships—there still linger many traditional

spirit of the flood, with his ministering nymph stories of a maritime nature, most of them con

behind him. We pushed our shallop to the shore, nected with superstitions singularly wild and unu- and soon stood at their side. sual. To the curious these tales afford a rich fund “This is old Mark Macmoran, the mariner, of entertainment, from the many diversities of the with his grand-daughter Barbara," said Richard same story; some dry and barren, and stripped of

Faulder, in a whisper that had something of fear all the embellishments of poetry; others dressed

in it; "he knows every creek and cavern and out in all the riches of a superstitious belief and

quicksand in Solway-has seen the Spectre Hound haunted imagination. In this they resemble the

that haunts the Isle of Man; has heard him bark, inland traditions of the peasants; but many of the

and at every bark has seen a ship sunk; and he oral treasures of the Galwegian or the Cumbrian

has seen, too, the Haunted Ships in full sail; and, coast have the stamp of the Dane and the Norse

if all tales be true, he has sailed in them himself; man upon them, and claim but a remote or faint

he's an awful person." afiinity with the legitimate legends of Caledonia.

Though I perceived in the communication of my Something like a rude prosaic outline of several

friend something of the superstition of the sailor, of the most noted of the Northern ballads, the ad

I could not help thinking that common rumor had ventures and depredations of the old ocean kings, made a happy choice in singling out old Mark to still lends life to the evening tale; and among maintain her intercourse with the invisible world. others, the story of the Haunted Ships is still popu- His hair, which seemed to have refused all interlar among the maritime peasantry.

course with the comb, hung matted upon his One fine harvest evening I went on board the shoulders; a kind of mantle, or rather a blanket, shallop of Richard Faulder, of Allanbay; and, pinned with a wooden skewer round his neck, fell committing ourselves to the waters, we allowed a mid-leg down, concealing all his nether garments gentle wind from the east to waft us at its pleas- as far as a pair of hose, darned with yarn of all ure toward the Scottish coast. We passed the conceivable colors, and a pair of shoes, patched sharp promontory of Siddick; and skirting the

and repaired till nothing of the original structure land within a stone's-cast, glided along the shore remained, and clasped on his feet with two massy till we came within sight of the ruined Abbey of silver buckles. If the dress of the old man was Sweetheart. The green mountain of Criffell as rude and sordid, that of his granddaughter was cended beside us; and the bleat of the flocks from gay, and even rich. She wore a bodice of fine its summit, together with the winding of the eve- wool, wrought round the bosom with alternate leaf horn of the reapers, came softened into something and lily, and a kirtle of the same fabric, which, like music over land and sea. We pushed our almost touching her white and delicate ankle, shallop into a deep and wooded bay, and sat showed her snowy feet, so fafry-light and round silently looking on the serene beauty of the place. that they scarcely seemed to touch the grass where The moon glimmered in her rising through the she stood. Her hair, a natural ornament which tall shafts of the pines of Caerlaverock; and the woman seeks much to improve, was of bright sky, with scarce a cloud, showered down on wood, glossy brown, and encumbered rather than adorned and headland, and bay, the twinkling beams of a with a snood, set thick with marine productions, thousand stars, rendering every object visible. among which the small clear pearl found in the The tide, too, was coming with that swift and Solway was conspicuous. Nature had not trusted gentle swell observable when the wind is gen- to a handsome shape, and a sylph-like air, for tle; the woody curves along the land were filling young Barbara's influence over the heart of man; with the flood, till it touched the green branches but had bestowed a pair of large bright blue eyes, of the drooping trees; while in the center current swimming in liquid light, so full of love and gentlethe roll and the plunge of a thousand pellocks ness and joy, that all the sailors from Annanwater told to the experienced fisherman that salmon to far Saint Bees acknowledged their power, and were abundant.

sung songs about the bonnie lass of Mark MacAs we looked, we saw an old man emerging moran. She stood holding a small gaff-hook of from a path that winded to the shore through a polished steel in her hand, and seemed not dissat


isfied with the glances I bestowed on her from and strength. “Andrew, Andrew,” cried the young time to time, and which I held more than requitted woman, in a voice quivering with emotion, “turn, by a single glance of those eyes which retained so turn, I tell you: O the ships, the Haunted Ships!" many capricious hearts in subjection.

But the appearance of a fine run of fish had more The tide, though rapidly augmenting, had not influence with the peasant than the voice of bonnie yet filled the bay at our feet The moon now Barbara, and forward he dashed, net in hand, In streamed fairly over the tɔps of Caerlaverock a moment he was borne off his feet, and mingled pines, and showed the expanse of ocean dimpling like foam with the water, and hurried toward the and swelling, on which sloops and shallops came fatal eddies which whirled and roared round the dancing, and displaying at every turn their extent sunken ships. But he was a powerful young man, of white sail against the beam of the moon. I and an expert swimmer: he seized on one of the looked on old Mark the mariner, who, seated projecting ribs of the nearest hulk, and clinging motionless on his gray stone, kept his eye fixed to it with the grasp of despair, uttered yell after on the increasing waters with a look of seriousness yell, sustaining himself against the prodigious and sorrow in which I saw little of the calculating rush of the current. spirit of a mere fisherman. Though he looked on From a shealing of turf and straw, within the the coming tide, his eyes seemed to dwell particu- pitch of a bar from the spot where we stood, came larly on the black and decayed hulls of two ves- out an old woman bent with with age and leaning sels, which, half-immersed in the quicksand, still on a crutch. “I heard the voice of that lad Andrew addressed to every heart a tale of shipwreck and Lammie; can the chield be drowning, that he desolation, The tide wheeled and foamed around skirls sae uncannilie?" said the old woman, seating them; and creeping inch by inch up the side, at herself on the ground, and looking earnestly at the last fairly threw its waters over the top, and a long water. "Ou aye,” she continued, 'he's doomed, and hollow eddy showed the resistance which the he's doomed: heart and hand can never save him; liquid element received.

boats, ropes, and man's strength, and wit, all vain! The moment they were fairly buried in the vain! he's doomed! he's doomed!" water, the old man clasped his hands together, By this time I had thrown myself into the shal. and said, “Blessed be the tide that will break over lop, followed reluctantly by Richard Faulder, over and bury ye forever! Sad to mariners, and sor- whose courage and kindness of heart superstition rowful to maids and mothers, has the time been had great power; and with one push from the you have choked up this deep and bonnie bay. shore, and some exertion in sculling, we came For evil were you sent, and for evil have you con- within a quoitcast of the unfortunate fisherman, tinued. Every season finds from you its song of He staid not to profit by our aid; for when he persorrow and wail, its funeral processions, and its ceived us near, he uttered a piercing shriek of joy, shrouded corses! Woe to the land where the wood and bounded toward us through the agitated ele. grew that made ye! Cursed be the ax that hewed ment the full length of an oar. I saw him for a secye on the mountains, the hands that joined ye ond on the surface of the water; but the eddying together, the bay that ye first swam in, and the current sucked him down; and all I ever beheld of wind that wafted ye here! Seven times have ye him again was his hand held above the flood, and put my life in peril, three fair sons have you swept clutching in agony at some imaginary aid. I sat from my side, and two bonnie grand-bairns; and gazing in horror on the vacant sea betore us; but now, even now, your waters foam and flash for my a breathing time before, a human being, full of destruction, did I venture my infirm limbs in quest youth and strength and hope, was there: his cries of food in your deadly bay. I see by that ripple were still ringing in my ears and echoing in the and that foam, and hear by the sound and singing woods; and now nothing was seen or heard save of your surge, that ye yearn for another victim; the turbulent expanse of water, and the sound of but it shall not be me nor mine."

its chafing on the shores. We pushed back our Even as the old mariner addressed himself to shallop, and resumed our station on the cliff beside the wrecked ships, a young man appeared at the the old mariner and his descendant. southern extremity of the bay, holding his halve-net “Wherefore sought ye to peril your own lives in his hand, and hastening into the current. Mark fruitlessly,” said Mark, “in attempting to save the rose, and shouted, and waved him back from a doomed? Whoso touches those infernal ships, place which, to a person unacquainted with the never survives to tell the tale. Woe to the man dangers of the bay, real and superstitious, seemed who is found nigh them at midnight when the tide sufficiently perilous; his granddaughter, too, added has subsided, and they arise in their former beauty, her voice to his, and waved her white hands; but with forecastle, and deck, and sail, and pennon, the more they strove, the faster advanced the and shroud! Then is seen the streaming of lights peasant, till he stood to his middle in the water, along the water from their cabin windows, and while the tide increased every moment in depth then is heard the sound of mirth and the clamor

[ocr errors]


of tongues, and the infernal whoop and halloo, and bent for the Scottish coast; and with a speed outsong, ringing tar and wide. Woe to the man who running the swiftest ship, they approached the comes nigh them!”

dangerous quicksands and headland of BorranTo all this my Allanbay companion listened with point. On the deck of the foremost ship not a a breathless attention. I felt something touched living soul was seen, or shape, unless something with a superstition to which I partly believed I in darkness and form resembling a human shadow had seen one victim offered up; and I enquired of could be called a shape, which fitted from exthe old mariner, "How and when came these tremity to extremity of the ship, with the appearhaunted ships there? To me they seem but the ance of trimming the sails, and directing the vesmelancholy relics of some unhappy voyagers, and sel's course. But the decks of its companion were much more likely to warn people to shun destruc- crowded with human shapes: the captain and mate, tion, than entice and delude them to it."

and sailor, and cabin-boy, all seemed there; and "And so," said the old man with smile, which from them the sound of mirth and minstrelsy had more of sorrow in it than of mirth—"and so, echoed over land and water. The coast which young man, these black and shattered hulks seem they skirted along was one of extreme danger; to the eye of the multitude. But things are not and the reapers shouted to warn them to beware what they seem: that water, a kind and convenient of sandbank and rock, but of this friendly counsel servant to the wants of man, which seems no notice was taken, except that a large and famsmooth, and so dimpling, and so gentle, has swal- ished dog, which sat on the prow, answered every lowed up a human soul even now; and the place shout with a long, loud, and melancholy howl. The which it covers, so fair and so level, is a faithless deep sandbank of Carsethorn was expected to quicksand, out of which none escape. Things are arrest the career of these desperate navigators: otherwise than they seem. Had you lived as long but they passed with the celerity of waterfowl, as I have had the sorrow to live; had you seen the I

over an obstruction which had wrecked many storms, and braved the perils, and endured the pretty ships. distresses which have befallen me; had you sat “Old men shook their heads and departed, saygazing out on the dreary ocean at midnight on a ng, 'We have seen the fiend sailing in a bottomhaunted coast; had you seen comrade after com- less ship: let us go home and pray!" but one young rade, brother after brother, and son after son, and wilful man said, 'Fiend! I'll warrant it's nae swept away by the merciless ocean from your very fiend, but douce Janet Withershins, the witch, side; had you seen the shapes of friends, doomed holding a carouse with some of her Cumberland to the wave and the quicksand, appearing to you cummers, and mickle red wine will be spilt atween in the dreams and visions of the night then would them. Dod, I would gladly have a toothfu'! I'll your mind have been prepared for crediting the warrant it's nane o' your cauld, sour slae-water, maritime legends of mariners; and the two haunted like a bottle of Bailie Skrinkie's port, but right Danish ships would have had their terrors for you, drap-o'-my-heart's blood stuff, that would waken a as they have for all who sojourn on this coast. body out of their last linen. I wonder where the

"Of the time and the cause of their destruction,” cummers will anchor their craft?'-—'And I'll vow,' continued the old man, “I know nothing certain: said another rustic, 'the wine they quaff is none of they have stood as you have seen them for un- your visionary drink, such as a drouthie body has counted time; and while all other ships wrecked dished out to his lips in a dream; nor is it shadowy on this unhappy coast have gone to pieces, and and unsubstantial, like the vessels they sail in, rotted, and sunk away in a few years, these two which are made out of a cockle-shell or a cast-off haunted hulks have neither sunk in the quicksand, slipper, or the paring of a seaman's right thumbnor has a single spar or board been displaced. nail. I once got a hansel out of a witch's quaigh Maritime legend says, that two ships of Denmark myself-auld Marion Mathers, of Dustiefoot, whom having had permission, for a time, to work deeds they tried to bury in the old kirkyard of Dunscore. of darkness and dolor on the deep, were at last but the cummer raise as fast as they had laid her condemned to the whirlpool and the sunken rock, down, and naewhere else would she lie but in the and were wrecked in this bonny bay, as a sign to bonnie green kirkyard of Kier, among douce and seamen to be gentle and devout. The night when sponsible fowk. So I'll vow that the wine of a they were lost was a harvest evening of uncom- witch's cup is as fell liquor as ever did a kindly mon mildness and beauty: the sun had newly set; turn to a poor man's heart; and be they fiends, or the moon came brighter and brighter out; and the be they witches, if they have red wine asteer, I'll reapers, laying their sickles at the root of the risk a drouket sart for ae glorious tout on't.'standing corn, stood on rock and bank, looking at Sileuce, ye sinners,' said the minister's son of a the increasing magnitude of the waters, for sea neighboring parish, who united in his own person and land were visible from Saint Bees to Barn- his father's lack of devotion with his mother's love hourie. The sails of two vessels were soon seen of liquor. 'Whist!-speak as if ye had something



[ocr errors][ocr errors]

holy before ye. Let the vessels run their own way ear, and a kindly kiss o' her lip, were old-world to destruction: who can stay the eastern wind, and matters to me, Mark Macmoran; though I mean the current of Solway sea? I can find ye Scripture not to say that I have been free of the folly of warrant for that: so let them try their strength on daunering and daffin with a youth in my day, and Blawhooly rocks, and their might on the broad keeping tryste with him in dark and lonely places. quicksand. There's a surf running there would However, as I say, these times of enjoyment were knock the ribs together of a galley built by the passed and gone with me: the mair's the pity that imps of the pit, and commanded by the Prince of pleasure should fly sae fast away-and as I could Darkness. Bonnie and bravely they sail away nae make sport I thought I should not mar any; there; but before the blast blows by they'll be so out I sauntered into the fresh cold air, and sat wrecked: and red wine and strong brandy will be down behind that old oak, and looked abroad on as rife as dyke-water, and we'll drink the health the wide sea. I had my ain sad thoughts, ye may of bonnie Bell Blackness out of her left-foot think, at the time; it was in that very bay my slipper."

blythe goodman perished, with seven more in his “The speech of the young profligate was ap- company, and on that very bank where ye see the plauded by several of his companions, and away waves leaping and foaming, I saw seven stately they flew to the bay of Blawhooly, from whence corses streeked, but the dearest was the eighth. they never returned. The two vessels were ob- It was a woeful sight to me, a widow .with four served all at once to stop in the bosom of the bay bonnie boys, with nought to support them but these on the spot where their hulls now appear: the two hands, God's blessing, and a cow's grass. mirth and the minstrelsy waxed louder than ever; I have never liked to live out of sight of this bay and the forms of maidens, with instruments of since that time; and mony's the moonlight night I music, and wine-cups in their hands, thronged the sit looking on these watery mountains, and these decks. A boat was lowered; and the same shadowy waste shores; it does my heart good, whatever it pilot who conducted the ships made it start toward may do to my head. So ye see it was Hallowmass the shore with the rapidity of lightning, and its night; and looking on sea and land sat l; and my head knocked against the bank where the four heart wandering to other thoughts soon made me young men stood, who longed for the unblest forget my youthful company at hame. It might drink. They leaped in with a laugh, and with a be near the howe hour of the night; the tide was laugh were they welcomed on deck; wine cups making, and its singing brought strange old-world were given to each, and as they raised them to stories with it; and I thought on the dangers that their lips the vessels melted away beneath their sailors endure, the fates they meet with, and the feet; and one loud shriek, mingled with laughter fearful forms they see. My own blythe goodman still louder, was heard over land and water for had seen sights that made him grave enough at many miles. Nothing more was heard or seen till times, though he aye tried to laugh them away. the morning, when the crowd who came to the “Aweel, atween that very rock aneath us and the beach saw with fear and wonder the two Haunted coming tide, I saw, or thought I saw, for the tale is Ships, such as they now seem, masts and tackle so dream-like, that the whole might pass for a gone; nor mark, nor sign, by which their name, vision of the night, I saw the form of a man: his country, or destination could be known, was left plaid was gray; his face was gray; and his hair. remaining. Such is the tradition of the mariners; which hung low down till it nearly came to the and its truth has been attested by many families middle of his back, was as white as the white seawhose sons and whose daughters have been foam. He began to howk and dig under the bank; drowned in the haunted bay of Blawhooly." an' God be near me, thought I, this maun be the

"And trow ye,” said the old woman, who, at- unblessed spirit of auld Adam Gowdgowpin, the tracted from her hut by the drowning cries of the miser, who is doomed to dig for shipwrecked young fisherman, had remained an auditor of the treasure, and count how many millions are hidden mariner's legend—“and trow ye, Mark Macmoran, forever from man's enjoyment. The form found that the tale of the Haunted Ships is done? I can something which in shape and hue seemed a leftsay no to that. Mickle have mine ears heard; but " foot slipper of brass; so down to the tide he more mine eyes have witnessed since I came to marched, and placing it on the water, whirled it dwell in this humble home by the side of the deep thrice round; and the infernal slipper dilated at

I mind the night weel: it was on Hallowmass every turn, till it became a bonnie barge with its eve: the nuts were cracked, and the apples were sails bent, and on board leaped the form, and eaten, and spell and charm were tried at my fire- scudded swiftly away. He came to one of the side; till, wearied with driving into the dark waves Haunted Ships; and striking it with his oar, a fair of futurity, the lads and lasses fairly took to the ship, with mast, and canvas, and mariners, started more visible blessings of kind words, tender clasps, up: he touched the other Haunted Ship, and proand gentle courtship. Soft words in a maiden's duced the like transformation; and away the three




[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »