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And how old age, and wand'ring long,
LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.
I. If thou would'st view fair Melrose aright, Go visit it by the pale moonlight; For the gay beams of lightsome day Gild, but to flout, the ruins grey. When the broken arches are black in night, And each shafted oriel glimmers white; When the cold light's uncertain shower Streams on the ruin'd central tower; When buttress and buttress, alternately, Seem framed of ebon and ivory; When silver edges the imagery, And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die ;' When distant Tweed is heard to rave, And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave,
* The buttresses, ranged along the sides of the ruins of Melrose Abbey, are, according to the Gothic style, richly carved and fretted, containing niches for the statues of saints, and labelled with scrolls, bearing appropriate texts of Scripture. Most of these statues have been demolished.
Vol. I. -6
Then go-but go alone the while
To fence the rights of fair Melrose;
Had gifted the shrine for their souls' repose.'
David I. of Scotland, purchased the reputation of sanctity, by founding, and liberally endowing, not only the monastery of Melrose, but those of Kelso, Jedburgh, and many others; which led to the well-known observation of his successor, that he was a sore saint for the crown.
The Buccleuch family were great benefactors to the Abbey of Melrose. As early as the reign of Robert II., Robert Scott, Baron of Murdieston and Rankleburn, (now Buccleuch,) gave to the monks the lands of Hinkery, in Ettrick Forest, pro salute
-Chartulary of Melrose, 28th May, 1415.
The arched cloister, far and wide,
IV. “The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me;
Says, that the fated hour is come, And that to-night I shall watch with thee,
To win the treasure of the tomb." From sackcloth couch the Monk arose,
With toil his stiffen'd limbs he rear'd;
And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and wide; * And, darest thou, Warrior! seek to see
What heaven and hell alike would bide? My breast, in belt of iron pent,
With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn ; For threescore years, in penance spent,
My knees those flinty stones have worn;
In ceaseless prayer and penance drie,
Then, daring Warrior, follow me!"
And again he sighed heavily;
And fought in Spain and Italy.
high:Now, slow and faint, he led the way, Where, cloister'd round, the garden lay; The pillar'd arches were over their head, And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead.?
* The Borderers were, as may be supposed, very ignorant about religious matters. Colville, in his Paranesis, or Admonition, states, that the reformed divines were so far from undertaking distant journeys to convert the Heathen, was I wold wis at God that ye wold only go bot to the Hielands and Borders of our own realm, to gain our awin countreymen, who, for lack of preching and ministration of the sacraments, must, with tyme, becum either infidells, or atheists.” But we learn, from Lesley, that, however deficient in real religion, they regularly told their beads, and never with more zeal than when going on a plundering expedition.
* The cloisters were frequently used as places of sepulture. An instance occurs in Dryburgh Abbey, where the cloister has an inscription, bearing, Hic jacet frater Archibaldus.