Buchanshire tragedy, or, Sir James the Ross

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Buchanshire Tragedy, or, or Sir James the Ross  (1800) 
by Michael Bruce





Sir James the Roſs.

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Edinburgh; Printed by J. Morren,

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OF all the Scottiſh northern chiefs,
high and warlike name,
The braveſt was Sir James the Roſs,
a knight of meikle fame:
His growth was like the tufted fir,
that crowns the mountain's brow.
And waving o'er his ſhoulders broad,
his locks of yellow flew.

The chieftain of the brave clan Roſs,
a firm undaunted band,
Five hundred warriors drew the ſword
beneath his high command.
In bloody fight thrice had he ſtood
againſt the Engliſh keen,
E'er two and twenty opening ſprings
his blooming youth had ſeen,

The fair Matilda dear he lov'd,
a maid of beauty rare;
Even Marg'ret on the Scottiſh throne,
was never half ſo fair,
Lang had he woo'd, lang ſhe refus'd,
with ſeeming ſcorn and pride;
Yet aft her eyes confeſs'd the love,
her faithful tongue deny'd,

At laſt pleas'd with his well try'd faith,
alow'd his tender claim;
She vow'd to him her virgin heart,
and own'd an equal fame,
Her Father, Buchan's cruel lord,
her paſſion diſapprov'd,
and bade her wed Sir John the Graeme,
and leave the youth she lovd.

At night they met as they were wont,
within a ſhady wood,
Where on a bank beſide a barn,
a blooming ſaugh-tree ſtood,
Conceal'd among the under-wood,
the crafty Donald lay.
The brother of Sir John the Graeme)
to hear what what they might ſay.

When thus the maid began, My ſire
your paſſion diſapproves,
And bids me wed Sir John the Graeme,
ſo here muſt end our loves,
My father's will muſt be obey'd.
nought boots me to withſtand,
Some fairer maid in beauty's bloom,
muſt bleſs thee with her hand.

Matilda ſoon ſhall be forgot,
and from thy mind defac'd:
But may that happineſs be thine
which I can never taſte.
What do I hear is this thy vow?
Sir James the Roſs reply'd;
And will Matilda wed the Graeme,
tho' ſworn to be my bride?

His ſword ſhall fooner pierce my heart,
than reave me of thy charms:
Then claſp'd her to his beating breaſt,
faſt locked her into his arms:
I ſpake to try thy love ſhe ſaid,
I'll ne'er wed man but thee;
My grave ſhall by my bridal bed,
e'er Graeme my huſband be.

Take then, dear youth, this faithful kiſs.
in witneſs of my troth
And every plague become my lot,
that day I break my oath.
They parted thus the ſun was ſet,
up haſty Donald flies,
And turn thee, turn thee, beardleſs youth,
he loud inſulting cries.

Soon turn'd about the fearleſs chief,
and ſoon his ſword he drew,
For Donald's blade before his breaſt
had pierc'd his tartans through.
This for my brother's ſlighted love,
his wrongs ſit on my arm:
Three paces back the youth retir'd,
to ſave himſelf from harm.

Returning ſwift his hand he rear'd
from Donald's head above,
And through the brains and craſhing bones
his ſharp edg'd weapon drove.
He ſtagger'd, reel'd, then tumbled down
a lump of breathleſs clay;
So fall my foes quoth valiant Roſs,
and ſtately ſtrode away.

Through the green wood he quickly by'd,
unto Lord Buchan's hall,
And at Matilda's window ſtood,
and thus began to call;
Art thou aſleep, Matilda dear?
awake, my love, awake!
Thy luckleſs lover calls to thee,
a long farewell to take.

For I have ſlain fierce Donald Graeme,
his blood is on my ſword,
And diſtant are my faithful men,
nor can aſſiſt their lord.
To Sky I'll now direct my way,
where my two brothers bide,
And raiſe the valiant of the iſles,
to combat on my ſide.

O do not ſo, the maid replies,
with me till morning ſtay,
For dark and dreary is the night,
and dangerous is the way.
All night I'll watch you in the park,
my faithful page I'll ſend,
To run and raiſe the Roſs's clan
their maſter to defend.

Beneath a buſh he laid him down,
and wrapt him in his plaid,
While trembling for he lover's fate,
at diſtance ſtood the maid.
Swift ran the page o'er hill and dale,
till in a lowly glen,
He met the furious ſir John Greame
with twenty of his men,

Where goeſt thou little page, he ſaid,
ſo late who did the ſend?
I go to raiſe the Roſs's clan,
their maſter to defend:
For he has ſlain fierce Donald Graeme,
his blood is on his ſword.
And far far diſtant are his men,
for to aſſiſt their lord.

And has he ſlain may brother dear?
the furious Graeme replies:
Diſhonour blaſt my name but he
by me ere morning dies.
Tell me where is Sir James the Roſs,
I will the well reward;
He ſleeps into lord Buchan's park,
Matilda is his guard.

They ſpurred their ſteeds in furious mood,
and ſcour'd along the ley,
They reach'd Lord Buchan's lofty tow'rs
by dawning of the day.
Matilda ſtood without the gate,
to whom thus Graeme did ſay,
Saw ye Sir James the Roſs laſt night,
or did he paſs this way?

Laſt day at noon Matilda ſaid,
Sir James the Roſs paſs'd by,
He furiouſly prick'd his ſwift ſteed,
and onward faſt did hie:
By this time he's at Edinburgh,
if horſe and man hold good,
Your page then lied, who ſaid he was
now ſleeping the wood.

She wrung her hands and tore her hair,
brave Roſs thou art betray'd,
And ruin'd by thoſe means the cry'd,
from whence I hoped thine aid.
By this the valiant knight awak'd,
the virgin's ſhrieks he heard,
And up he roſe and drew his ſword,
when the fierce band appear'd.

Your ſword laſt night my brother ſlew,
his blood yet dim its ſhine,
But ere the riſing of the ſun,
your blood ſhall reek on mine.
You word it well, the chief reply'd
But deeds approve the man:
Set by your men an hand to hand,
well try what valour can.

Oft boaſting hides a coward's heart,
may weighty ſword you fear,
Which ſhone in front if Flodden-field,
when your's kept in the rear,
With dauntleſs ſteps he forward ſtrode,
and dar'd him to the fight
The Graeme pave back he fear'd his arm,
for well he knew its might.

Four of his men, the braveſt four,
ſunk down beneath his ſword
But ſtill he ſcorned this baſe revenge,
and ſought their haughty lord.
Behind him baſely came the Graeme,
and wound him in the ſide;
Out ſpouting came the purple tide,
and all his tartans dy'd,

But of his ſword ne'er quat the grip,
nor dropt he to the ground
Till through his en'my's heart his ſteel,
had forced a mortal wound
Graeme like a tree by wind o'erthrown,
fell breathleſs on the clay,
And down beſide him ſunk the Roſs,
who faint and dying lay.

The ſad Matilda ſaw him fall,
O ſpare his life ſhe cry'd;
Lord Buchan's daughter craves his life,
let her not be deny'd.
Her well known voice the hero heard,
and rais'd his death clos'd eyes,
And fix'd them on the weeping maid,
and weakly thus replies;

In vain Matilda begs a life,
by death s arreſt deny'd.
My race is run, Adieu my love
then clos'd his ayes and dy d.
The ſword yet warm from his left ſide,
with frantic hand ſhe drew,
I come, Sir James the Roſs, ſhe cries,
I come to follow you.

She lean'd the hilt againſt the ground,
and bar'd ber ſnowy breaſt,
Then fell upon her lover's face,
and ſunk to endleſs reſt,
Then by this fatal tragedy,
let parents wraning take,
Ne'er to adviſe their children dear,
their ſacred vows to break.