Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER III.

BRIGTON.

Fair are the lawns and the fields of sweet Brigton,

Surrounded by woodlands so green,
The sheep feeding rich in the haughs and the meadows,

The river meandering between. OF Brigton, which has already been noticed, and which will be frequently alluded to in the subsequent chapters, more particularly in the “Lily of The Vale," it may suffice only to allude further, in this place, to the strong feelings of high regard and reciprocal attachment which had always been entertained by the members of the Douglas family, and those of the ancient house of Guthrie ; culminating in the legend of the cruel betrayal of the Chief of the latter house, by Miss Douglas of Brigton.

The members of the Douglas family, both male and female, have always been distinguished for their love of field sports, as well as of warlike deeds. Sir David Guthrie of Kincaldrum, Treasurer to the king, and their near neighbour, after he had purchased the lands of Guthrie, as well as the barony of Lour, laid siege to the heart of Miss Douglas of Brigton, resolved to become the victor, or perish in the attempt. Sir David was more of a statesman than a warrior, his mission lying more in the planning and directing of aggressive or defensive wars in the cabinet, than in actual deeds of heroism on the field of battle. Miss Douglas, on the contrary, inheriting all the warlike genius of her race revelled with unbounded enthusiasm in the glowing descriptions of military prowess, of which historians wrote and poets sung, the bravest of the brave fondly winning her sweetest and most approving smiles, and coming the nearest to the sensitive outworks of her impulsive heart.

Although of very different temperaments, the chief of the Guthries effectually wooed and won the beautiful and accomplished Lady of Brigton; and every preparation had been made for the fitting celebration of the approaching nuptials of the happy pair. Alas! the course of true love seldom, if ever, runs always smooth. Sir David, on his way to a distant tournament, rode up one fine summer morning to Brigton's hospitable gates, to bid his ladye-love a temporary adieu. Either from her impulsive mind having otherwise undergone a change, or stung with contempt at the pusilanimous conduct of her carpet lover, in preferring the childish sport of the tournament, and the smiles of the Queen of Beauty, to the manlier warfare of the battle-field, and the ringing shouts of well-earned victory, she cruelly taunted Sir David with his effeminate conduct, and indirectly charged him with lack of courage and patriotism in that the day of Scotland's sorest trial. Be that as it may, her censure had the immediate effect of changing the purposes of her lover, and so effectually, that instead of proceeding to the tournament, he buckled on his armour, and hastened to give proof of his courage and valour in the field of battle ; returning from the wars, however, only to find his affianced bride the wife of another !:

CASTLE GUTHRIE.
In plume and doublet rides the knight,

On a summer morning early,
Of noble bearing, comely face,

His steed cap'risoned rarely.
And loud he knocks at Brigton's gates,

The warder asking sternly :“ From when

come you?”-Sir Da criesI come from Castle Guthrie.

“Go quickly, tell your Ladye fair,

I would her see thus early, I to the tournament away,

And cannot longer tarry.”.

The Ladye looks from her lattice high,

Her lover gazing fondly-
“ The Guthrie would the Douglas wed ?

Back hie to Castle Guthrie.
“ Aside your tilting trappings throw,

Your armour buckle fairly,
The wars ! the wars ! haste to the fray,

Then, having suffered sairly,
And won your spurs by noble deeds,

You ever fighting bravely,
Come back and claim your willing bride--

Then, ho! for Castle Guthrie !"
Forth to the wars Sir David went,

His pride and love taxed sorely,
The foremost ever in the fight,

His spurs he won right bravely.
Now homeward speeds he proud in haste,

To claim his bride, right fairly,
Upon her own conditions won-

All hail to Castle Guthrie !
“ What sounds are these in Brigton's halls,

Of revelry thus early ?”
“ 'Tis e'en our Ladye's nuptial day,"

Leer'd the warder very glibly.
In haste again Sir David sped

To the wars now raging fiercely-
In battle slain, ne'er saw again

His own loved Castle Guthrie !

Centuries afterwards, however, the two houses were united in marriage, in the persons of the late laird of Guthrie, and Miss Anne Douglas; who, both living to a great age, died within a few weeks of each other, and might be said consequently, to have been buried in one grave: lovely in their lives, in their deaths they were not divided.

The new Episcopal Church, Forfar, contains a fine stained glass window, put up at the expense of, and thus inscribed by, the present laird of Guthrie :

“In Honorem Dei, et Memoriam Joannis Guthrie, de Guthrie, Arm : Qui Obiit, 12 Nov. 1845. Ætatis svæ 82. Atqve in Memoriam Annæ Dovglas, Conjvgis ejvs, Qvæ Obiit, 2 Dec. 1845. Ætatis svæ 75."

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER IV.

LEGEND OF THE FIRST CASTLE OF CLAMIS.

How rich with legends is our land !
Its hills and dales and rock-girt strand-
Each doth its dread, mysterious tale,
Low ominous whisper in the gale :
The scowling loop-holed donjon keep,
The frowning walls that round it sweep,
The mouldering castle, grey and grim,
All chant some sad funereal hymn.

How varied, and antagonistic to each other, are the impressions produced on differently constituted minds by the outward aspects of nature, or by the historical traditions of an ancient, classical land like our own! Some expatiate on the richness of the fields, their high state of cultivation, and the comparative produce they yield in return for the diligent labours of the scientific and skilful husbandman. Others exult in the splendid garniture of the straths and valleys, aglow with the golden tints of autumnal fruitage, without one passing thought as to the probable yield per acre of barley, oats, or wheat. Many, while gazing on the far-stretching forests, or on the heath and grass-covered hills, only calculate on the capabilities of the one for the building of so many ships, or speculate on the capacities of the other to rear and fatten so many sheep; while the poetical few luxuriate only in the loveliness of the waving woodlands, ringing out their joyous chimes to fill the soul with melody, or, in a wild transport of luxurious rapture, enjoy with a passionate delight the beauty of the landscape, in all its variety of hill, and dale, and breezy upland, alive with the bleeting of lambs, and vocal with the songs of children and of birds. Some regard with holy reverence the traditionary lore of our country, and are more engrossed with the mere romance of the legend than with its strict historical accuracy. Others, not content with ransacking musty, moth-eaten parchments and chronicles, and grubbing laboriously amongst the debris of decaying antiquarian relics, must needs throw doubts, if not direct discredit, on every startling and romantic incident which does not square with their prosaic ideas, or strictly harmonise with the dry and literal interpretation of history.

What is it that constitutes the grand difference between the scenery of the Western Hemisphere and that of our own beloved land ? Is it not the associations, historical and otherwise, that encompass the land at every point, like a starry atmosphere of refulgent, unfading glory? The prairies of America may be more vast; her forests may cover, in all their primeval grandeur, an immeasurably greater extent and variety of space; her mountains may soar to a loftier altitude,

; approaching nearer the gates of the Celestial City, and the throne of the Great Eternal ; her rivers may flow on in their stately course in mightier volume, and with greater majesty of power; her lakes may be more capacious, and her cataracts more ravishingly sublime. What of that? There is not a valley, forest, mountain, or glen; there is not a river, a lake, a cascade, or a burn throughout the length and breadth of the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland but hath each its separate history-its tale of love, of war, romance, or song-connecting the present with the past in a mystic, weird-like chain, whose golden links stretch far away in traditionary indistinctness to the remote and fabulous ages of antiquity. Nay, there is not a moss-covered stone in the plain, a rugged cairn upon the hill, a willowed or birch-shaded streamlet in the glen, or a lonely tarn in the bosom of the mist-enshrouded mountain but tellus, in a dream, some wondrous legend of imaginative mystery or thrillingly-bewitching story of chase, foray, or daring, gallant deeds of wild, romantic chivalry.

as

« ElőzőTovább »