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Our lords are to the mountains gane,
A hunting o' the fallow deer,
For stealing o' the bishop's mare.
never more touching than in the picture of the hero singling out his poor aged father from the crowd of spectators; and the simple grandeur of preparation for this afflicting circumstance in the verse that immediately precedes it is matchless.
That the reader may properly appreciate the value of Burns's touches, I here subjoin two verses from the most correct copy
of the ballad, as it is printed in the Border Minstrelsy, vol. ii.
He looked over his left shoulder,
And for to see what he might see;
Came tearing his hair most piteouslie.
O hald your tongue, my father, he says,
But they canna banish me from heaven hie!"
The Grahames were a warlike and restless clan, who held the debatable land on the Scotish border by the uncertain and dangerous tenure of plundering warfare. Though mostly Scotchmen, we find them on the skirts of the English armies, when
And they have tied him hand and foot,
And led him up, thro' Stirling town;
Cried, Hughie Graham thou’rt a loun.
O lowse my right hand free, he says,
And put my braid sword in the same;
Dare tell the tale to Hughie Graham.
Up then bespake the brave Whitefoord,
As he sat by the bishop's knee,
If ye'll let Hughie Graham free.
they ravaged the land, sharing the spoils of their country. Indeed they considered themselves independent, and flew to arms with the prevai party, making cruel havoc, and ultimately filling their fastnesses with the spoil of either kingdom.
They felt much hampered in the time of peace, when the Scotish and English Wardens found leisure to ascertain the bounds of sovereign property. Their aid and assistance was of easy purchase, and (if we may place any faith on an old song) was reckoned equivalent to the strength of an army.
"O! the Graemes, the gallant Graemes,
Wad the gallant Graemes but stand by me,
Ere a foot's breadth I wad Alinch or flee."
O haud your tongue, the bishop says,
And wi' your pleading let me be ; For tho' ten Grahams were in his coat,
Hughie Graham this day shall die.
Up then bespake the fair Whitefoord,
As she sat by the bishop's knee; Five hundred white pence I'll gie you,
If ye'll gie Hughie Graham to me. O haud your tongue now lady fair,
And wi' your pleading let it be; Altho’ten Grahams were in his coat,
Its for my honor he maun die.
They've ta’en him to the gallows knowe,
He looked to the gallows tree, Yet never colour left his cheek,
Nor ever did he blink his ee.
At length he looked round about,
To see whatever he could spy: And there he saw his auld father,
And he was weeping bitterly.
O haud your tongue, my father dear,
And wi' your weeping let it be; Thy weeping's sairer on my heart,
Than a' that they can do to me.
And ye may gie my brother John,
My sword that's bent in the middle clear, And let him come at twelve o'clock,
And see me pay the bishop's mare.
And ye may gie my brother James
My sword that's bent in the middle brown, And bid him come at four o'clock,
And see his brother Hugh cut down.
Remember me to Maggy my wife,
The neist time ye gang o'er the moor, Tell her she staw the bishop's mare,
Tell her she was the bishop's whore.
And ye may tell my kith and kin,
I never did disgrace their blood;
To mak it shorter by the hood,
THE BONNY ERLE OF MURRAY.
The last verse of this old fragment is beautiful and affecting
Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands,
Oh ! where have you been?
And they laid him on the green !
Now wae be to thee, Huntly!
And wherefore did you sae ?
But forbade you him to slay.
He was a bra' gallant,
As e'er rid at the ring,
Oh! he might hae been a king.
He was a bra' gallant,
As e'er played at the ba',
Was the flower amang them a'.