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On lightning's wing, with vengeance in his eye,
Fierce as a thousand furies forth he flew, Wielding his blood-stained battle-axe on high,
To level Scotia's hero stanch and true,
But Heav'n, that ever eyes and shields the brave,
Though death and peril menace and abound, Stretched forth his arm omnipotent to save;
Thus peerless valour ample succours found.
As Sinclair with his chosen few advanced,
And circled round him as a wall of fire, Soon on another charger there he pranced,
Dealing destruction with avenging ire.
On right and left bold Neville was assailed,
But like a shattered bark at length gave way Before the stemless tide which here prevailed
A tide of blood, of terror, and dismay.
Though broke the lines, troops scattered here and
there, Yet they again resumed a partial form, And host on host once more were brought to bear,
In all the dreadful vengeance of the storm.
At length, as bends the oak beneath the blast,
The English yielded to impending fate; In wild confusion fled they at the last,
As fugitives before the good and great;
Expecting all by flight a pass to find,
Then to the eastward of yon spreading plain, And thus gain refuge from the storm behind;
But all anticipation proved in vain.
Then rushed our heroes on their vanquished foes
Relentless fury glared in every eye; Deaf to the calls for quarter that arose,
The woods returned their dying wail and cry.
While hundreds o'er yon precipices flew,
Who at the base a mangled ruin lay;
To tell the tidings of that dismal day.
None had escaped the all-devouring storm
That raged and ravaged with resistless power, Had not their leaders, with humane decorum,
Then checked the carnage of that dreadful hour:
And thus allowed the hapless hence to fly,
Like Lot away from Sodom's fiery doom, Bewailing their defeat with many a sigh,
Disgraced, dishonoured, sunk in hopeless gloom.
But years and ages since have passed away,
And shrouded in their flight those scenes of gore; All feudal strifes and quarrels, where are they?
The braying trumpet, the tumultuous roar ?
The clang of arms, the bustling to and fro,
When hostile bands in bannered pomp appear; The shouts of triumph and the plaints of woe
No more arrest the Muse that lingers here.
Where Scotia's heroes, bulwarks of her name,
Her pride, her glory, with their laurelled brow, Whose scorpion-scourges lashed Oppression tame,
And sceptred Tyranny compelled to bow ?
What though their dust to dust hath long returned,
Though lost their forms as bubbles on the wave ? Their hallowed names in glory bright have burned
Through ages, and shall triumph o'er the grave.
What though no piles of sculptured beauty rise,
A nation's gratitude to image forth ? A nation's heart can best immortalize
The only lasting tribute to their worth.
How changed these scenes where frequent have they
trod, In all the glory of victorious power ! Where thousands bravely rallied at their nod,
And faced invasion in her darkest hour.
All is a blank, a wilderness, a waste
Oblivion here erects her ebon throne; Where, in the wreck of ages, can be traced
The power and splendour once on Roslin shone ?
No faint memorial tells where once it stood;
A motley village bears the honoured name, Since regal vengeance, as a fiery flood,
In ashes laid that town of antique fame.
Thou hoary ruin, crumbling in decay,
The prey of kindred fury and of years, No more thy portals welcome in the gay* The princely retinue no more appears.
In thee what solitude and silence now!
The sighing winds the lonely thistles waveThe broom and brier in homage seem to bow,
And weep o'er wrecked magnificence the grave.
Where now the trains of conquering heroes, where
Oft met within thy once resplendent halls ? All fled as dreams: the owl her home has there,
And hoots in sorrow to thy naked walls.
Where, too, the revelry, the laugh, and song,
The fairy dance, where fashion used to floatThe swelling music that inspired the throng ?
Here all are evanescent, all forgot.
Approach with reverence, Folly, and be wise
To Wisdom's grave monitions here attend; Pride and Ambition bow in tears and sighs,
And recognise your vanity and end.
Ye sons of pleasure, fashion, wealth and fame, 'Mid Fortune's smiles, on wheels of splendour
hurled, Here learn that these are but an empty name
Life but a dream, a shadow but the world.
In pleasing sorrow let me linger here,
And breathe to Solitude my tale of woe; Thy classic scenes, O Roslin, I revere
Thy wizard fancy still where'er I go.
With awe to thee, thou venerable dome,
And reverential homage last I turn,
In silent accents seems to bid me mourn.
And where the worshipper without a sigh,
While musing o'er thy grey corroded walls, Where nameless sculpture fascinates the eye,
Whose mangled elegance the heart appals ?
Thy figured glories time hath long effaced
Thy towers and turrets blasted and decayed, And changed thee to a melancholy waste
The swallow's dwelling, and the bat’s lone shade.
Though sport of accident, of years the prey,
Hail! hallowed relic, wonder of the age, Whose frowning ruins mournfully betray
Reforming fury and fanatic rage.