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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

John Veitch 1829–94

The Laird of Schelynlaw

SCHELYNLAW TOWER is fair on the brae,

Its muirs are green and wide,

And Schelynlaw’s ewes are the brawest ewes

In a’ the countryside.

The birk grows there and the rowan red,

And the burnie brattles down,

And there are nae sic knowes as Schelynlaw’s,

With the heather and bent sae brown.

But wife, three bairns are a’ frae him gane,

Twa sons in a deidly raid;

And but yestreen his bonnie lass Jean

In Traquair kirkyard was laid.

A lane auld man in his ain auld keep,—

What ane could wish him ill?

Not e’en Traquair wi’ his black fause heart

And his loons that range the hill.

Out in the morn to the muirland dun

Rode ane frae Schelynlaw’s gate,

Into the mist of the hill he rode,

His errand might not wait.

The opening arms of the grey hill haur

Folded the rider dim;

Oh, cloud of the muir! ’t is a gruesome deed

Ye hide in your misty rim.

Up he made for the Black Syke Rig,

And round by the Fingland Glen,

But he turn’d and turn’d him aye in the mist;

Its glower was as faces of men!

And oft a voice sounded low in his ear,

“The sun is no’ gaun to daw—

For that straik o’ blude and that clot o’ blude,

On the breist o’ auld Schelynlaw!”

’T was late o’ nicht—to the House of Traquair

A horseman came jaded and rude,

None asked him whence or why he came,

Nor whose on his hands was the blude.

“But hae ye the Bond?” said hard Traquair.

“The Bond i’ faith I hae;

The deid sign nae mair, the lands are thine,

But foul was the stroke I gae:

“I ’ve ridden wi’ you ower moss and fell,

In moonlight and in mirk,

And monie a stalwart man I ’ve hewn,—

So shrive me, Haly Kirk!

“Lewinshope Tam and Wulrus Will

I slew, and Jock o’ the Ha’;

But there ’s my richt hand to burn in flame,

Could I bring back auld Schelynlaw!”

Schelynlaw’s lands were ne’er bought or sold,

Yet they fell to the house of Traquair;

But Jock o’ Grieston that rode that morn

Was ne’er seen to ride ony mair.

High in state rose the noble Earl,

Well did he please the King;

He could tell any lie to the States or the Kirk,

His warrant the signet-ring.

Many a year has come and gone,

His pride and his power are away,

A graceless son has the old lord’s lands,

And the father’s hairs are grey.

The Court is back to Edinburgh town,

Lairds and braw leddies ride there;

A dole some give to a bow’ddown man,

In pity,—’t is auld Traquair!